Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What the Sith Jihad wants includes science crime scenes

When I posted ISIS looks like Sith, not Jedi on Facebook, someone called ISIS "The Sith Jihad" in comments.  That's such a good label, I'm using it for them from now on. Unfortunately, the best image is one from the prequel trilogy to "Dune."  The rest are too offensive.  So be it.

I begin with Test Tube's Who Is ISIS And What Do They Want In Iraq?

You heard the presenter right; ISIS prepares quarterly reports.  Here's what Vox had to say about one of them in The surreal infographics ISIS is producing, translated.
We know that ISIS, the al-Qaeda breakaway group that's gaining more and more ground in Iraq at the moment, is an exceptionally well-trained and disciplined fighting force, with a shockingly sophisticated social media strategy to boot. But did you know that they also produce annual reports with fancy infographics detailing all the operations they carried out over a given period?

The most recent report, published on March 31, details the group's operations from November 2012 to November 2013. It's a dense, text-heavy 410 pages, with plenty of data tables tallying up various actions the group took. A previous report covered the period from November 2011 to November 2012 over a much more concise 198 pages. Each report begins with a big, splashy infographic counting up various actions undertaken in the previous year.
The infographics at the link show how many bombings, assassinations, prisoner rescues, and other military operations took place during the reporting period.  The latest includes how many cities they've captured.  I don't know whether to be disgusted or impressed.

That's not all ISIS wants.  Apparently they want to create a bunch of science (and culture) crime scenes.  Follow over the jump for the story explaining how and why that I originally included in Overnight News Digest: Science Saturday (Summer Solstice 2014).

USA Today via Pacific Daily News (Guam): In Iraq, echoes of Taliban's cultural purges
Jun. 20, 2014
ISTANBUL - Ancient statues whispering of civilizations lost. Religious shrines from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. Tombs with relics and bones testifying to this region as the Cradle of Civilization - and where, in the city-states of Mesopotamia millennia ago, the world's first written language was born.

The land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers has an estimated half-a-million archaeological sites and countless priceless artifacts. Only recently recovered and restored following the 2003 war in Iraq, they are nonetheless in danger once again, this time from Islamic extremists taking over large swaths of Iraq who deem this rich heritage "un-Islamic."

As Sunni Muslim insurgents loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant - known as ISIL or ISIS - take cities such as Mosul and Tikrit, and advance toward Baghdad, they have in a published manifesto called on followers to destroy all "infidel" statues, churches, tombs and shrines.

Reports of church burnings and the destruction of shrines have already emerged from multicultural and ethnically diverse Mosul, which is being held by the insurgents. The city in Nineveh province has Assyrian Christian, Islamic and Jewish heritage and is the site of ancient churches and monasteries dating back to the 13th century.
ISIS is not the least bit tolerant.  They're in "good" company in this regard.
Islamic extremists have a history of destroying art, architecture and cultural sites deemed "un-Islamic."

In Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban dynamited two towering Buddha statues carved into a cliff in the country's Bamiyan Valley, to international outcry. Built in the 6th century, the statues were a testament to the country's rich religious history. In 2012, Mali Islamists razed shrines seen as idolatrous in Timbuktu, some of which held the remains of revered Muslim scholars and teachers.
I was wondering if Timbuktu would be mentioned, as I covered the destruction there in Science crime scenes 1 and Science Crime Scenes 2: Timbuktu.  At the time, I made the following observation about the similiaries between Mali and Afghanistan.
Al Qaeda in Mali is making the same mistake that the Taliban did in Afghanistan when they defaced the Buddha statues, except they're doing it to other members of their own faith. That's the sign of kooks: practice your mistakes; you may get them right.
That seems to be the philosophy of ISIS, The Sith Jihad.  May saner heads prevail, just as they eventually did in Mali.

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