Could ISIS be similar to the Bolsheviks?

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
#51
Also, Underlankers is very much correct that if Bush wouldn't have overthrown Saddam Hussein, then there would have currently been no large-scale ISIS presence in Iraq.
Well no. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein didn't cause the problem. Firing his military and officers is what caused the problem.

Had the old regime been left in place but the Tikritis (Saddam and his tribal loyalists) been removed or if parts of the old regime had been incorporated into the new government, the ISIS issue wouldn't have happened.


Meanwhile there's the question of where this Sunni radicalism came from. It didn't just emerge from nowhere. Saddam's secular regime had actually been embracing Sunni Islamism, at least rhetorically, in the decade between the Gulf War and the Second Iraq war. Plus the assassination of Sadat by an Islamist had been a symbol to all secularesque dictators of the region: disregard religion at your own risk.


Imagine the Arab spring if Saddam hadn't been removed. He'd have cracked down hard, but in Syria there still would have been a vacuum for Sunni Islamists to carve a fief out of (although ISIS was born in Fallujah). Saddam, given his opposition to the Assad Regime due to it being an ally of his enemy Iran, would have supported the Sunni rebels who largely would be Islamist.



Also Iraq wasn't just Bush's idea. Given that Saddam had been challenging the no fly zone, the Clinton administration had been drawing up war plans before Bush even took office.

Meanwhile had Saddam been removed in 1991 (not even by the US, just have the US no-fly zone extend to Saddam's helicopters as well as planes and he would have been defeated) you wouldn't have had the same level of sectarianism in place.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#52
Nowhere did he make that contention, but I would caution you against thinking Saddam Hussein and ISIS had/have nothing to do with one another. ISIS's roots in Iraq can be traced back to Saddam Hussein's Faith Campaign begun in 1994, Mosul fell to an alliance of Jihadists and Ba'athists under Saddam's old VP, and ISIS's upper echelons are dominated by former members of Saddam Hussein's security and intelligence services.

But if you want to bring up the question of how Iraq would look if Saddam were still in power, I wonder how you think Uday and Qusay might have handled the succession after their father's death, or how Iraq might have looked under their governance. Or do you think Iraq's rather sorry state has nothing to do with a quarter-century of rule by a genocidal, sectarian megalomaniac whose last decade in power was spent trying to fuse Ba'athism and Salafism?
Well that's very interesting. It makes good sense that Saddam would see what worked in Saudi Arabia and what the Taleban and Al Qaeda were doing (or some of his lieutenants would) and attempt to duplicate it in Iraq. Saddam had to deal with ongoing efforts by the US to depose him in the 1990s. A "faith movement" would make it that much more difficult for the US to buy off tribal leaders ---or ulema--the way the US and Iran's ulema worked together to depose Mossadegh in 1953. What the US did forced Saddam to see beyond Baathist ideology and use religion much the way Stalin used the Greek Orthodox Church against the Nazis at need. And Saddam Hussein was a close student of Stalin and modeled himself after Stalin.
Assad of Syria never did this because Assad was not under the kind of pressure from the US that Saddam was in the 1990s until the Arab Spring. So he never started building links to local Salafists (which he couldn't in any case, being an Alawite).
Yes, a lot of ISIS's resilience can be explained if the links between Saddam's regime and Salafists go back all the way to the 1990s. These links, forged under pressure are also the grain of truth that made the neo-con's case of links between Saddam and Osama bin Laden believable even if the narrative turned out to be factually false.
These links also turned out to be strong enough to survive 8 years of American occupation and to start an insurgency from the moment Iraq was occupied.
Which I think may also be a parallel to Bolshevism. I'm pretty sure that the Bolsheviks started making serious inroads into Tsarist Russian society from 1905 on. None of these movements spring full blown into existence when they first get noticed. (Even the neo-cons in the US built upon years of conservative organising from the 1930s to the 1980s).
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#53
Well no. Overthrowing Saddam Hussein didn't cause the problem. Firing his military and officers is what caused the problem.

Had the old regime been left in place but the Tikritis (Saddam and his tribal loyalists) been removed or if parts of the old regime had been incorporated into the new government, the ISIS issue wouldn't have happened.


Meanwhile there's the question of where this Sunni radicalism came from. It didn't just emerge from nowhere. Saddam's secular regime had actually been embracing Sunni Islamism, at least rhetorically, in the decade between the Gulf War and the Second Iraq war. Plus the assassination of Sadat by an Islamist had been a symbol to all secularesque dictators of the region: disregard religion at your own risk.


Imagine the Arab spring if Saddam hadn't been removed. He'd have cracked down hard, but in Syria there still would have been a vacuum for Sunni Islamists to carve a fief out of (although ISIS was born in Fallujah). Saddam, given his opposition to the Assad Regime due to it being an ally of his enemy Iran, would have supported the Sunni rebels who largely would be Islamist.



Also Iraq wasn't just Bush's idea. Given that Saddam had been challenging the no fly zone, the Clinton administration had been drawing up war plans before Bush even took office.

Meanwhile had Saddam been removed in 1991 (not even by the US, just have the US no-fly zone extend to Saddam's helicopters as well as planes and he would have been defeated) you wouldn't have had the same level of sectarianism in place.
Actually, we would have had Shiites in place and Iran protecting them just as we have now. Something Bush Sr. and the Saudis were definitely NOT willing to see happen. They were not about to throw away everything they supported Saddam in the Iraq-Iran War for. It might have taken a bit longer for something like ISIS to emerge. But emerge it would have. Or we would have had an uncontested "Shiite Crescent stretching all the way to Lebanon and Sunni refugees pouring into Jordan--and Europe 20 years earlier than they are.
Keeping the Baathists in place seemed the lesser evil at the time. The problem was that once America demonises a leader it is almost impossible to take that demonisation back. Yasser Arafat was a notable exception. Look at the problems Obama has had selling the nuclear deal with Iran.
So we punted and hoped and sincerely thought that it was possible to either persuade Saddam to take the hint and go into comfortable exile somewhere or for someone else to kill him and depose him as he had done to his predecessor. After all, this is what works in Africa and Latin America.
The only time that worked, as it turned out was in Egypt where, as it turned out, the Army was not willing to tolerate Mubarak easing his son into power and creating a dynasty. And that was after a Muslim Brotherhood intereggnum that seems to have eliminated the Muslim Brotherhood as a credible "soft" Islamist alternative to Salafism throughout the Mideast.
 
Aug 2014
1,832
Huntington Beach CA
#54
Anyway, I found the source of that Dabiq Doomsday prophecy:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dabiq#In_Islamic_eschatology

"The Last Hour would not come until the Romans land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq. An army consisting of the best (soldiers) of the people of the earth at that time will come from Medina (to counteract them).[6]"
I suppose the Russians could double as Romans. After all, Russia has always claimed to be the Third Rome.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,494
SoCal
#57
Here's a New York Times article which compares ISIS to the Bolsheviks:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/24/opinion/sunday/ross-douthat-can-the-islamic-state-survive.html

Anyway, any thoughts on this New York Times article?
Huh. Looks like that NY Times article was wrong.

Indeed, it is absolutely great that Iraq was able to pull itself together and get rid of ISIS. :)

Also, in hindsight, it looks like the comparison of ISIS with the Bolsheviks was inaccurate. After all, the Bolsheviks had a vast country whose resources they could exploit while ISIS had a few cities and a few pieces of desert and not much else.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
13,494
SoCal
#58
Here's a good primer by Emma Sky, who was intimately involved in all of this and whose memoir "The Unraveling" I would highly recommend.

Link: How Obama Abandoned Democracy in Iraq
Looking at this article again after three years, I would like to state my current thoughts on it:

1. If it was agreed upon before the elections that the party with the most seats should have first go at forming a government, then I agree that Allawi's Iraqiya should have been given the first chance to do this. (Indeed, I am certainly not very fond of changing the rules of an election after it occurs.) In this scenario, I think that the U.S. should have tried using all of its influence to give Allawi the first shot at creating an Iraqi governing coalition.

2. If there was no agreement before the elections on what exactly the "largest bloc" means, though, then it would have been fair game for Maliki to go first. After all, this Israeli article talks about how the largest party in an election does not necessarily have to be a part of the largest bloc:

Kadima wins, but rightist bloc biggest - Israel - Jerusalem Post

3. I do think that Biden's intervention in favor of Maliki was wrong in any case. Indeed, even if my premise in #2 is correct, the U.S. should have been neutral in regards to this (just like it was in the aftermath of the 2009 Israeli elections).

Anyway, how does all of this sound?
 
Aug 2012
1,453
#59
They seem more similar to the French revolutionaries, with their desire to destroy history and remake society in their own image. Reading of their archeological vandalism they engaged in, I was reminded of how the French Revolutionaries defaced Notre Dame Cathedral, removing the statues and using them as public toilets. Both violent, utopian movements with no respect for the past and less concerned with Soviet style bureaucracy than primal bloodletting.
 
Oct 2016
692
On a magic carpet
#60
But if you want to bring up the question of how Iraq would look if Saddam were still in power, I wonder how you think Uday and Qusay might have handled the succession after their father's death, or how Iraq might have looked under their governance. Or do you think Iraq's rather sorry state has nothing to do with a quarter-century of rule by a genocidal, sectarian megalomaniac whose last decade in power was spent trying to fuse Ba'athism and Salafism?
Saddam Hussein was more bizarre than many people realise. He had a blood Qur'an made, written in his own blood instead of ink. He also wrote a novel called Zabiba and the king. It is available on Amazon (I've never read it). Saddam was an evil man. Every family in Iraq knows someone who died under his rule of terror.

That said, the years since have been even worse.
 
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