Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Caliph? Not Me.

Today, the mainstream news media is beside itself with the revelation that ISIS (a western media construction) has declared a caliphate in the territory they hold in Iraq. So what?

For ages I’ve read right-wing commentaries that concern themselves with the possible declaration of a caliphate. In all cases, the commentaries have been melodramatic to the point of hysteria. The ever-paranoid Daniel Pipes claims it’s “what the terrorists want”. Really? How does he know that? He doesn’t. Yet, Andrew Gilligan regards Pipes as some kind of authority. The fool.

The Roman Catholic church has a pope and an entire city-state.

The Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches have their patriarchs. The Greek Orthodox Patriarch is still called “The Patriarch of Constantinople”, even though the name of the city was changed to Istanbul many years ago.

So what’s the big deal?

The neo-cons and their friends would have us all believe that the declaration of a caliphate is something non-Muslims should fear. Yet, the Ottoman Empire declared itself a caliphate with the Ottoman Sultan as its caliph. The Ottomans were Sunni Muslims, which meant that Shia Muslims rejected the caliphate. Many countries with large Muslim populations, like Malaysia and Indonesia, didn’t recognise the Ottoman Empire’s claim. Interestingly, the West never got into a lather about the Ottoman Caliphate, it was accepted without question or anxiety. Britain and France actually fought on behalf of the fatally weakened Ottoman Empire during the Crimean War to prevent the Russian Empire from seizing territories that had flaked off the larger empire. In fact Britain took advantage of the Ottoman Empire’s weakness and cut deals with the Emir of Kuwait in the 1890s.

So who’s afraid of the big bad caliph? Not me.

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15 Comments

Filed under Iraq, Middle East, World

15 responses to “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Caliph? Not Me.

  1. The ones who should be afraid of “the big bad caliph” are Shia Muslims and other non-Sunni religious groups. The number of refugees in the world is at its greatest level since WWII and this is contributing to that ever rising number. So now, you don’t have to be afraid of a caliphate, but you should be afraid of the long-term consequences of a phenomenon that this is a part of and appears to only be getting worse, the political disintegration of major swaths of the developing world. As for your comparison with the Ottoman Caliphate, while it was accepted without question or anxiety” in the 19th century, that certainly wasn’t the case prior, most of all during that time when it was perhaps the greatest political and military power on earth, though I suppose in the 16th century our ancestors might have been worrying more about Spain.

    • I never hear the same things said about the Vatican, which helped to spirit the Ustashe from Croatia to all destinations west (some settled in the US).

      I’m not sure if Shia Muslims fear this ‘caliphate’. They never accepted the Ottoman Sultans as caliphs and there’s no reason why they would accept this al-Baghdadi fella. If anything, they would fight it. Not a great outcome at any rate.

  2. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    I don’t doubt that the establishment of the Caliphate in central Asia, as envisioned by the various Muslim extremists around the world, would lead to massive discrimination and persecution of the non-Muslim population in those areas. Or even those Muslims, who just happened to belong to the wrong sect than the architects of the new state. My guess is that it would aggressively promote terrorism and attacks on the infidel around the world, in the same way Iran and Libya also promoted terrorism. In the 1990s, for example, the Iran secret service assassinated a group of Kurdish separatists based in a restaurant in Germany. However, I don’t think that’s the reason Pipes and the other Neocons fear and hate them with such venom.
    Saudi Arabia also promotes terrorism and a viciously intolerant form of Islam about the globe. The pretext for Putin’s invasion of Chechnya back in the 1990s was that an Islamic terrorist group, led by a man with the nickname, ‘the Black Arab’, had moved out of the country into South Ossetia, contrary to the terms of a treaty negotiated after the first of Putin’s wars. And the Black Arab did commit atrocities. ISIS and the Sunni insurgents in Iraq and Syria have very strong links to Saudi intelligence and are almost certainly receiving arms and aid from them. Yet Britain still supports Saudi Arabia. And Iran, for all that it is a repressive, theocratic state, is in many ways far more liberal than the Saudis, and was viewed with suspicion by many other Muslim nations because it’s form of Islam appeared dangerously liberal and modern, like Libya and secular Turkey.
    The real reason for the hostility to Iran, and probably the Caliphate, in my opinion has less to do with the threat of global Muslim terrorism, than the fact that they represent an obstacle to American and Western economic penetration of the region and domination of the oil supplies. One of the reasons for the invasion of Iraq, according to Greg Palast’s ‘Armed Madhouse’, was because Saddam Hussein threatened to destabilise the global price of oil and break the OPEC cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia. As for Iran, Forbe’s, the people behind the rich list, who moan about how taxes keep multi-billionaires poor, dislike the Islamic Republic because it consciously excludes foreigners from owning businesses in the country. It’s an attempt to prevent the economic domination by the West, which saw the oil industry owned by Britain in the forerunner to BP, Anglo-Persian Oil. And it also represents another locus of Islamic influence outside the Saudis’ control. This, in my view, is what is really driving the fear of the Caliphate: it represents a serious obstacle and resistance to Saudi-American economic domination of the region and its oil supplies.

    • There is a not-so-invisible hand of Saudi Arabia is pulling strings in the Levant. We should also remember that the Hashemite dynasty that ruled Iraq from 1932 to 1958 originated in the Hejaz in present-day Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was also one of the first countries to sign up to the Bush/Blair ‘coalition of the willing’.

  3. John

    I believe the fall of the Shah of Iran was also linked to Western oil interests. I think – from memory – that he was threatening to refuse to take US dollars by way of payment and was insisting on being paid in gold.
    That was why he was allowed to fall by Western/US interests.
    The West stupidly thought they could control his successor, though why they ever thought that is way beyond me.
    West stupidity began well before Iran and it has never ceased ever since.

    • If true, then it blew up in their faces. They got an Islamic state instead.

      • John

        Agreed! I keep telling the Yanks that the terms American and foreign policy are a contradiction in terms.
        Their foreign policies have completely failed since they supported the illegal establishment of Israel.
        Everywhere they meddle, they leave a complete mess behind.
        They are utter fools.
        They continue carrying on with their stupidity even though their public debt has now reached $17 Trillion – and rising.
        They want to give another $500 million to terrorists in Syria.
        Where does their folly end?

      • The US should stay out of “nation building” or at least rebrand it as “nation-destroying”.

  4. I don’t doubt it has been planned for a long time that the strong power of Iraq is broken up into states that forever fight among themselves. Leaves Israel as the dominant power able to move into the planned Greater Israel. Yes, an Israeli politician in the Yinon plan I think. Around the 1980’s.

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