A New “Reconquista” “Crusade” Reason? Are the Iraq, Lebanon and Syria Christians trying to flee ISIS/ISIL Storm a “Sufficiently””Valid””Reason”??? – 09/23/2014

If we want to have a hint at what is the future of the West, in its relationship with the New World, it may be interesting to look at Lebanon history…….

“Lebanon’s civil war has been one of the most complex, multifaceted wars of modern times due to its hybrid nature, multiple participants (both state and non-state actors), and its impact on regional, and even global balances of power.”

“The period, starting in 1983, saw attacks against the U.S. and multinational forces deployed in Beirut, resulting in their pullout. It also saw the beginning of the infamous Western hostage crisis that continued throughout the 1980s.

The factions responsible for these acts–using the suicide bomber, a tactic that Shi’i militants would proceed to hone for the next two decades–were clandestine radical Shi’i Islamist groups with ties to Iran and under Syria’s protection. These groups began to emerge in the Shi’i milieu due in part to disillusionment with Amal. A breakaway faction, Islamic Amal, headed by Husayn Musawi, had already split from Amal in 1982. Aside from the religious element, there was also a regional and clannish element at play in the split, and Islamic Amal was based in the Biqa’. There it was soon joined by Iranian Revolutionary Guards dispatched via Syria. They set up base there after seizing an army barracks and created a zone of control in its vicinity in the Biqa’. The new Islamist organization was named Hizballah, “the Party of God.””

“Hizballah was and remains a militant Khomeinist Islamist movement that adheres to Khomeini’s doctrine of velayet-e-faqih, rule by a cleric in an Islamist state. Its ties to Iran are organic, multifaceted, and complex. The exact number of Hizballah’s fighting force, the Islamic Resistance, is not known with certainty. In 1997 one source placed it at 5,000 while another gave estimates between 500-600 core fighters and a reservist force of about 1,000.[57] The number during the civil war was probably in the low hundreds. It did, however, attract defectors, including military commanders from Amal who were disillusioned with that party.”

“During the inter-Shi’i war that began in 1987, Hizballah was able to overrun most of Amal’s positions in Beirut, as Amal pleaded with the Syrians to interfere. Finally a deal was reached between the Syrians and the Iranians and the inter-Shi’i war ended with the deployment of the Syrians in west Beirut, but with Hizballah’s assets safeguarded.

As a result of another Iranian-Syrian agreement after the Ta’if Accord ended the Lebanese war, Hizballah was the only militia to be excluded from handing over its weapons under the pretext that it was a “resistance movement” fighting Israeli occupation. Since the Israeli withdrawal in 2000, and more so after the Syrian withdrawal in 2005, the fate of Hizballah’s armed status (which has grown massively and developed doctrinally, ironically, after the Israeli withdrawal) is the central issue in Lebanon today.”

“Before Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon was compared to Switzerland, and its capital Beirut attracted so many tourists that it was known as “the Paris of the Middle East”. At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure.

“The region that is now Lebanon, as with the rest of Syria and much ofAnatolia, became a major center of Christianity in the Roman Empireduring the early spread of the religion. During the late 4th and early 5th century, a hermit named Maron established a monastic tradition, focused on the importance of monotheism and asceticism, near the Mediterranean mountain range known as Mount Lebanon. The monks who followed Maron spread his teachings among Lebanese in the region. These Christians came to be known as Maronites and moved into mountains to avoid religious persecution by Roman authorities.”

During the 7th century the Muslim Arabs conquered Syria establishing a new regime to replace the Byzantines. Though Islam and the Arabic language were officially dominant under this new regime, the general populace still took time to convert from Christianity and the Syriac language. The Maronite community in particular clung stubbornly to its faith and managed to maintain a large degree of autonomy despite the succession of rulers over Lebanon and Syria.”

“During the 11th century the Druze faith emerged from a branch of Shia Islam. The new faith gained followers in the southern portion of Mount Lebanon. The Northern portion of Mount Lebanon was ruled by Druze feudal families to the early 14th century which was then brought to an end by the Mamluk invasion. The Maronite population increased gradually in Northern Mount Lebanon and the Druze have remained in Southern Mount Lebanon until the modern era. The South of current Lebanon (Jabal Amel), Baalbek and The Beqaa Valley was ruled by The Shia feudal families under the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. The major cities on the coast, AcreBeirut, and others, were directly administered by the Muslim Caliphs and the people became more fully absorbed by the Arab culture.”

“Following the fall of Roman Anatolia to the Muslim Turks, the Byzantines put out a call to the Pope in Rome for assistance in the 11th century. The result was a series of wars known as the Crusades launched by the Franksin Western Europe to reclaim the former Byzantine Christian territories in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially Syria and Palestine (the Levant).The First Crusade succeeded in temporarily establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli as Roman Catholic Christian states along the coast. These crusader states made a lasting impact on the region, though their control was limited, and the region returned to full Muslim control after two centuries following the conquest by the Mamluks.”

“One of the most lasting effects of the Crusades in this region was the contact between the Franks (i.e. the French) and the Maronites. Unlike most other Christian communities in the eastern Mediterranean, who swore allegiance to Constantinople or other local patriarchs, the Maronites proclaimed allegiance to the Pope in Rome. As such the Franks saw them as Roman Catholic brethren. These initial contacts led to centuries of support for the Maronites from France and Italy, even after the fall of the Crusader states in the region.”

“Lebanon is the most religiously diverse country in the Middle East. As of 2014 the CIA World Factbook estimates the following: Muslim 54% (27%Shia Islam, 27% Sunni Islam), Christian 40.5% (includes 21% MaroniteCatholic, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Greek Catholic, 6.5% other Christian),Druze 5.6%, very small numbers of Jews, Baha’is, Buddhists, and Hindus. A study conducted by the Lebanese Information Center and based on voter registration numbers shows that by 2011 the Christian population was stable compared to that of previous years, making up 34.35% of the population; Muslims, the Druze included, were 65.47% of the population.
It is believed that there has been a decline in the ratio of Christians to Muslims over the past 60 years, due to higher emigration rates of Christians, and a higher birth rate in the Muslim population. When the last census was held in 1932, Christians made up 53% of Lebanon’s population. In 1956 it was estimated that the population was 54% Christian and 44% Muslim.”

“A demographic study conducted by the research firm Statistics Lebanonfound that approximately 27% of the population was Sunni, 27% Shi’a, 21% Maronite, 8% Greek Orthodox, 5% Druze, and 5% Greek Catholic, with the remaining 7% mostly belonging to smaller Christian denominations.
Other sources like Euronews or the Spanish diary La Razón estimate the percentage of Christians to be around 53%.
Because the relative size of confessional groups remains a sensitive issue, a national census has not been conducted since 1932. There are 18 state-recognized religious sects – four Muslim, 12 Christian, one Druze, and one Jewish.
The Shi’a residents primarily live in Southern Beirut, the Beqaa Valley, and Southern Lebanon.
The Sunni residents primarily live in Tripoli, Western Beirut, the Southern coast of Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon
The Maronite residents primarily live in Eastern Beirut and the mountains of Lebanon. They are the largest Christian community in Lebanon.
The Greek Orthodox, the second largest Christian community in Lebanon, primarily live in Koura, Beirut, Zahleh, Rachaya, Matn, Aley, Akkar, Tripoli, Hasbaya and Marjeyoun.”

“Article 11 of Lebanon’s Constitution states that “Arabic is the official national language. A law determines the cases in which the French language is to be used”. The majority of Lebanese people speakLebanese Arabic, while Modern Standard Arabic is mostly used in magazines, newspapers, and formal broadcast media. Lebanese Sign Language is the language of the deaf community. Almost 40% of Lebanese are considered francophone, and another 15% “partial francophone,” and 70% of Lebanon’s secondary schools use French as a second language of instruction. By comparison, English is used as a secondary language in 30% of Lebanon’s secondary schools. The use of French is a legacy of France’s historic ties to the region, including itsLeague of Nations mandate over Lebanon following World War I; as of 2004, some 20% of the population used French on a daily basis. The use of Arabic by Lebanon’s educated youth is declining, as they prefer to speak in French and English.
English is increasingly used in science and business interactions. As of 2007 the presence of English in Lebanon has increased. Lebanese citizensof ArmenianGreek, or Kurdish descent often speak ArmenianGreek, orKurdish with varying degrees of fluency. As of 2009, there were around 150,000 Armenians in Lebanon, or around 5% of the population.”

“The culture of Lebanon is the cross culture of various civilizations over thousands of years. Originally home to the Phoenicians, and then subsequently conquered and occupied by the Assyrians, the Persians, theGreeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Fatimids, the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks and most recently the French, Lebanese culture has over the millennia evolved by borrowing from all of these groups. Lebanon’s diverse population, composed of different ethnic and religious groups, has further contributed to the country’s festivals, musical styles and literature as well as cuisine.”

“Despite the ethnic, linguistic, religious and denominational diversity of the Lebanese, they “share an almost common culture”. Lebanese Arabicis universally spoken while food, music, and literature are deep-rooted “in wider Mediterranean and Levantine norms”.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2744572/Some-Christians-arm-Mideast-perils-mount.html
http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/09/lebanese-christians-take-arms-stand-isis-refugees-flood-across-border-2/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syrian_Civil_War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_militias_in_the_Lebanese_Civil_War
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Forces
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lebanese_Forces_(militia)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigers_Militia
http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/lebanons-militia-wars1/

Ebola “State of Emergency” and “Martial Law” “Authoritarianism” vs. “Freethought” – 09/22/2014

In light of what is happening with the Ebola crisis in Africa and, unfortunately, maybe, worldwide, we may want to revisit the notions of “state of emergency” and “martial law”, their “pros” and “cons”, “uses” and “abuses”.

Liberia declared a state of emergency for 90 days due to an outbreak of the fatal disease Ebola.”

“A government may declare that the country is in a state ofemergency. This means that the government can suspend and/or change some functions of the executive, the legislative and or the judiciary during this period of time. It alerts citizens to change their normal behaviour and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans. A government can declare a state of emergency during a time of natural or man-made disaster, during a period of civil unrest, or following a declaration of war or situation of international/internal armed conflict. Justitium is its equivalent in Roman law.”

“It can also be used as a rationale for suspending rights and freedoms, even if those rights and freedoms are guaranteed under the Constitution. Some countries do not have an embedded Constitution such as the United KingdomNew Zealand and Israel. Legislation covers a state of emergency in these countries. Under the protocol of the ICCPR, rights and freedoms may be suspended during a state of emergency, for example, a government can detain citizens and hold them without trial. All rights that can be derogated from are listed in the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. Some sources argue that non-derogable rights cannot be suspended.However this theory is contested. Emergency law does and can override non-derogatory rights during a state of emergency.
Some countries have made it illegal to modify emergency law or the constitution during the emergency, other countries have the freedom to change any legislation or rights based constitutional frameworks, at any time that the legislative chooses to do so. Constitutions are contracts between the individual government and the citizens of that Country. The International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is an international law document signed by states. Therefore the Covenant only applies to states not citizens. However signatories to the Covenant are expected to integrate it into national legislation. The state of emergency (within the ICCPR framework) must be publicly declared and the Secretary-General of the United Nations must be contacted immediately, to declare the reason for the emergency, the date on which the emergency is to start, the derogations that may take place, with the timeframe of the emergency and the date in which the emergency is expected to finish. Although this is common protocol stipulated by the ICCPR often this is not strictly followed.”

“Martial law is usually imposed on a temporary basis when the government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services). In full-scale martial law, the highest-ranking military officer would take over, or be installed, as the military governor or ashead of the government, thus removing all power from the previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
Martial law can be used by governments to enforce their rule over the public. Such incidents may occur after a coup d’état(such as Thailand in 2006 and 2014); when threatened by popular protest (China, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989); to suppress political opposition (Poland in 1981); or to stabilize insurrections or perceived insurrections (Canada, The October Crisis of 1970). Martial law may be declared in cases of major natural disasters; however, most countries use a different legal construct, such as a state of emergency.”

“Martial law has also been imposed during conflicts and in cases of occupations, where the absence of any other civil government provides for an unstable population. Examples of this form of military rule include post World War IIreconstruction in Germany and Japan as well as the southernreconstruction following the U.S. Civil War.
Typically, the imposition of martial law accompanies curfews, the suspension of civil lawcivil rightshabeas corpus, and the application or extension of military law or military justice to civilians. Civilians defying martial law may be subjected tomilitary tribunal (court-martial).”

In the case of Africa, the civilian population has historical reasons to be suspicious of government initiatives that, more often than not, can be examples of “authoritarianism”, more particularly “racial and ethnic democracy”.

“Racial and ethnic “democracies” are those in which “certain racial or ethnic groups enjoy full democratic rights while others are largely or entirely denied those rights,” such as in South Africa under apartheid. The far-reaching implications of denying a different group republican privileges can contribute to the typically highly negative popular and international views of these types of governments.”

“Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by absolute or blind  obedience to authority, as against individual freedom and related to the expectation of unquestioningobedience.
Juan Linz, whose 1964 description of authoritarianism is influential, characterized authoritarian regimes as political systems by four qualities: (1) “limited, not responsible, political pluralism“; that is, constraints on political institutions and groups (such as legislaturespolitical parties and interest groups), (2) a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat “easily recognizable societal problems” such asunderdevelopment or insurgency; (3) neither “intensive nor extensive political mobilization” and constraints on the mass public (such as repressive tactics against opponents and a prohibition of anti-regime activity) and (4) “formally ill-defined” executive power, often shifting or vague.

Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logicreason and empiricism, rather thanauthoritytradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as “freethinking”, and practitioners of freethought are known as “freethinkers”. After World War II there was a strong sense of anti-authoritarianism based on anti-fascism in Europe. This was attributed to the active resistance from occupation and to fears arising from the development of superpowers. Anti-authoritarianism also became associated with countercultural and bohemian movements such as the Beat Generation in the 1950s, the hippies in the 1960s and punksin the 1970s.”

Maybe the first step to eradicate epidemics, of any kind, is a strong injection of “freethinking”……
A line from “Clifford’s Credo” by the 19th-century British mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford perhaps best describes the premise of freethought: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.””

Traditional African medicine, with its belief that illness is not derived from chance occurrences, but through spiritual or social imbalance, differs greatly from Western medicine, which is technically and analytically based. In the 21st century, modern pharmaceuticals and medical procedures remain inaccessible to large numbers of African people due to their relatively high cost and concentration of health centres in urban centres.”

In the case of Western medicine response to Ebola crisis in Africa it would mean “separating the wheat from the chaff” in the advice of “traditional medicine” “doctors” who keep control on their “clientele” including the “disease spreading” procedures of “washing the deceased” Ebola patients before “traditional” burials, when getting in contact, without sufficient protection,  with the deceased fluids is a guarantee of contracting the deadly infection ending with an average of over 60% deaths, including the “burials practitioners”…….:+(


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_of_emergency
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_law
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kingdon_Clifford
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine_man
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_healer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_doctor
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_African_medicine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine

The Lesson of the Day, Epidemic Management – 09/21/2014

The Ebola crisis worsening in West Africa is a reminder to brush up on the talents and skills of the epidemic management vital process……

One issue comes up when you dig some information on the Ebola epidemic and its spread.

It is how wide in Africa the disease already is endemic and, potentially, will spread.

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/PACE_outbreaks_ebola_marburg_en.pdf

Despite the extensive WHO plan, the behavioral psychosocial response to the crisis, not just the medical aspects, will be critical in the success of the remedial efforts, as indicated already by the attacks on the Ebola crisis field crews.

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2014/09/residents-flee-sierra-leone-to-escape-lockdown-ebola-burial-crew-attacked-east-of-freetown/

It is remarkable to see the evolution in sophistication of the WHO Planning from 1999……..

WHO Guidelines for Epidemic Preparedness and Response to Outbreaks. Geneva, Switzerland, May 1999

Part One: The Organism and the Disease
1.1 The Nature and Magnitude of the Problem
1.2 The Organism
1.3 The Disease (Pathogenesis and Clinical Problems)
1.4 Transmission and Immunity
Part Two: Prevention and Control
2.1 Phases of Control
2.2 Control phase
2.3 Outbreak Prevention Phase
2.4 Elimination Phase
Part Three: Epidemic Control
3.1 Management
3.2 Detection
3.3 Confirmation
3.4 Response

3.4.1 Planning a response

3.4.2 Definition and agreement on response

3.4.3 Management of response

3.4.4 Public information

3.4.5 Predicting further outbreaks

3.4.6 Post-outbreak activities

Annex 1: Case Definitions for the Disease
Annex 2: Case Management, Complications
Annex 3: Vaccine Suppliers (including experimental vaccines)
Annex 4: Strategies for the Prevention of Outbreaks
Annex 5: Elimination Strategies
Annex 6: Surveillance and Outbreak Thresholds
Annex 7A: Suspected Case Investigation Form
Annex 7B: Line Listing Form (suspected cases)
Annex 8: Laboratory Diagnostic Methods
Annex 9: Data Analysis and Epidemiological Calculations
Annex 10: Epidemic Response Teams – roles and responsibilities
Annex 11: Prediction of Severe Disease during Outbreaks
Annex 12: Causes of Outbreaks
Annex 13: Supplementary Immunization Activities
Annex 14: Emergency Situations
Annex 15: Safety of Injections
Annex 16: Reference Addresses and Contacts
Annex 17: References and Further Reading

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_epidemic_in_West_Africa
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/PACE_outbreaks_ebola_marburg_en.pdf
http://www.slideshare.net/NcDas/management-of-epidemics
http://www.slideshare.net/dharmendragahwai/management-of-an-epidemic?related=1
http://www.slideshare.net/PaulMarkPilar1/communicable-disease-control-in-emergencies?related=1

http://www.slideshare.net/NcDas/human-resource-development-8384772?related=1
http://www.slideshare.net/NcDas/management-information-system-8763423?related=1
http://www.cartercenter.org/resources/pdfs/health/ephti/library/manuals/man_epidemics_final.pdf

Africa Despite All the Emerging Markets Opportunities Narrative has Still Tribal and Religious Genocides Generate Refugees and Epidemics – 09/19/2014

The Economic Development Propaganda Agencies for Africa may want to change their narrative about “Africa the Continent of Emerging Markets Opportunities”………;+)

So far it has only be, with very few and far between exceptions, the “test bed” of failed attempts at solutions to the tribal and religious sectarian genocides, refugee camps squalors and children and women sex exploitation and slavery….:+(

No wonder it is the cyclical launch base of epidemics and pandemics like Ebola and others through Africa endemic environment and resiliency to eradication…..:+(

When the West left “colonial” Africa in 1974, all the communists-leaning people were jubilant…….;+)

Forty (40) years later, this is the same “hated” West that comes back, at Africa’s request, to “save the day”..;+)

Of course, this is NOT “politically correct (PC)” to say to Africa that a “serious” review of its cultures and civilizations are in order, particularly its “genocidal hubris”where, maybe, as Africa is mostly “modern creativity and improvement deficient”, “plagiarism” of the West “Best Practices” and “reengineering remediation processes” could be very beneficial, as it has been suggested for the last forty (40) years, but, so far, has mostly been “wishful thinking”……..;+)

Africa is a continent of many regions with diverse populations speaking hundreds of different languages and practicing an array of cultures and religions. These differences have also been the source of much conflict since a millennia.”

Prior to being carved up by colonial powers, Africa was divided into a patchwork

of tribal structures and proto-states (historical kingdoms) with heterogeneous political

systems. Some areas were under forms of territorial control which resembled states.”

However, other areas were closer to being stateless, some with acephalous forms of

political organization.The mantra of colonialism in Africa was .indirect rule., an attempt to control the hinterland

by coopting traditional power structures into colonial administration .This ensured a degree of

continuity between the pre-colonial and post-colonial eras. That said, some traditional power

structures were weakened by colonialism while others were strengthened.The biggest impact on political geography was in the form of well-defined borders, initially

between the colonial powers and latterly between newly created independent states.”

The standard economic approach to political violence looks for factors that explain

the costs and benefits of using violence to achieve specific ends, particular in the form

of either remaining in power or mounting an insurgency.On this basis, four main hypotheses are frequently proposed to explain why Africa is

conflict prone: (i) natural resource dependence, (ii) weak and poorly functioning political institutions,

(ii) ethnic fragmentation and polarization and (ii) endemic poverty.”

Benefits from using violence are frequently couched in terms of capturing resources

either directly, as in the capture of territory, or through winning political power.

Since the use of violence is generally thought of as a last resort, civil wars are

usually rationalized in terms of commitment and/or information problems. The extent

of commitment power depends on the institutional structures in place.”

The way that citizens identify with the common good versus sectional interests could

also be important in shaping how institutions function to mitigate conflict risk.

In Africa, much emphasis is placed on ethnicity as the salient cleavage which leads

to polarization and conflict.”

Endemic poverty reduces the opportunity cost of fighting. When there is unem-

ployment and/or low wages it should theoretically make it easier for each side in a

conflict to recruit combatants.”

Conflict can affect development through a variety of

channels including incentives to invest in physical and human capital. It may also

affect incentives to invest in state capacities to support investments.”

One reaction of the findings could be to create a sense that much of

what we see is historically determined and hence not easily amenable to manipulation.

To the extent that there are headwinds in the face of progress which are due to historical

legacies, it is better to understand them than to ignore them.”

“Following World War II, nationalist movements arose across West Africa. In 1957, Ghana, under Kwame Nkrumah, became the first sub-Saharan colony to achieve its independence, followed the next year by France’s colonies (Guinea in 1958 under the leadership of President Ahmed Sekou Touré); by 1974, West Africa’s nations were entirely autonomous.”

“Since independence, many West African nations have been submerged under political instability, with notable civil wars in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ivory Coast, and a succession of military coups in Ghana and Burkina Faso.
Since the end of colonialism, the region has been the stage for some of the most brutal conflicts ever to erupt. Among the latter are:

http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e484c66.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Africa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Africa
http://www.econ.upf.edu/~reynal/lhc_BesleyReynalQuerol_131010_ALL.pdf

Unity vs. Diversity Holy Wars/Sacred Wars”, “Atheism and Polytheism Loss to Monotheism” and their Relationship to “Epidemic Pestilence – 09/18/2014

“A religious war or holy war (Latinbellum sacrum) is a warprimarily caused or justified by differences in religion. The (possibly fictional) account of the conquest of Canaan by theIsraelites in the Book of Joshua, the Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, and the Christian Crusades (11th to 13th centuries) and Wars of Religion (16th and 17th centuries) are the classic examples but a religious aspect has been part of warfare as early as the battles of the Mesopotamian city-states. In the modern era, arguments are common over the extent to which religious, economic, or ethnic aspects of a conflict predominate: examples include the Yugoslav Wars and the civil war in Sudan. In several ongoing conflicts including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Syrian civil war, and the wars inAfghanistan and Iraq, religious arguments are overtly present but variously described as fundamentalism or religious extremism depending upon the observer’s sympathies. At the same time, members of many religions have been and are active members of the modern anti-war movement.”

“Warfare did, of course, have religious aspects since theprehistoric period. Warfare and organised religious cult arise simultaneously with the emergence of tribal structures capable of supporting concerted, large-scale enterprises in theMesolithic. Our earliest direct records of the ideologies behind early warfare are from the Bronze Age Near East. In the religions of the Ancient Near East, each city state would have its own tutelary deity, as it were owning, ruling and protecting the city. Warfare between these cities was conceived of as warfare between the cities’ national gods. By the later Bronze Age, inAssyria and Babylonia, certain gods seem to have acquired the quality of a god of war, e.g. Nergal, perhaps in origin a “warlike” aspect of Shamash, the Sun. The ancient “city-state deity” system is still visible in the Iron Age, thus Athena is the goddess of Athens and responsible for the city’s interests in general, and only secondarily a “goddess of wisdom” or a “goddess of warfare”. Significantly, the Trojan War is portrayed by Homer as a conflict between factions of the gods, as it were fought out by proxy with the use of human armies. Thus, while each war would be seen as a conflict between the deities of the warring parties, there are very few example in ancient history of an actual “Holy War”, where the motivation for the conflict is itself religious in nature. The prime example are the “Sacred Wars” waged by the Amphictyonic League to protect the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the chief religious sanctuary of the ancient Greeks (First Sacred War 595 BC-585 BC, Second Sacred War449 BC-448 BC, Third Sacred War 356 BC–346 BC).”

“In Classical Antiquity develops the notion of a pantheon with a divine “division of labour“. Now, Ares was “war personified”, but while Ares received occasional sacrifice from armies going to war, there was only a very limited “cult of Ares”. Hellenistic religion popularized the idea of gods being representations or allegories of abstract concepts. Now, the Greco-Roman god of war AresMars via interpretatio graeca could be equated with warlike gods encountered among other peoples. While early empires could be described as henotheistic, i.e. dominated by a single god of the ruling elite (as Marduk in the Babylonian empireAssur in the Assyrian empire, etc.), or more directly by deifing the ruler in an imperial cult, the concept of “Holy War” enters a new phase with the development of monotheism. The history of the Roman Empire shows a gradual transformation from polytheism to imperial cult and eventually to Christianity. By contrast, Islam from its beginnings at the end of Late Antiquity was designed as radically monotheistic, and within a century succeeeded in absorbing much of the known world of classical antiquity into the Umayyad Caliphate.”

“The Muslim conquests were a military expansion on an unprecedented scale, beginning in the lifetime of Muhammadand spanning the centuries, down to the Ottoman wars in Europe, and arguably continuing to the present day in the Saheland in Darfur. Until the 13th century, the Muslim conquests were those of a more or less coherent empire, the Caliphate, but after the Mongol invasions, expansion continued on all fronts (other than Iberia which was lost in the Reconquista) for another half millennium until the final collapse of the Mughal Empire in the east and the Ottoman Empire in the west with the onset of the modern period.
There were also a number of periods of infighting among Muslims; these are known by the term Fitna and mostly concern the early period of Islam, from the 7th to 11th centuries, i.e. before the collapse of the Caliphate and the emergence of the various later Islamic empires.”

“While technically, the millennium of Muslim conquests could be classified as “religious war”, the applicability of the term has been questioned. The reason is that the very notion of a “religious war” as opposed to a “secular war” is the result of the Western concept of the separation of Church and State. No such division has ever existed in the Islamic world, and consequently there cannot be a real division between wars that are “religious” from such that are “non-religious”. Islam does not have any normative tradition of pacifism, and warfare has been integral part of Islamic history both for the defense and the spread of the faith since the time of Muhammad. This was formalised in the juristic definition of war in Islam, which continues to hold normative power in contemporary Islam, inextricably linking political and religious justification of war. This normative concept is known as Jihad, an Arabic word with the meaning “to strive; to struggle” (viz. “in the way of God”), which includes the aspect of struggle “by the sword”, Jihad is sometimes understood as Holy War, and jihads have been called to convert other non-Muslim states to Islam or as defense.

“The first forms of military Jihad occurred after the migration (hijra) of Muhammad and his small group of followers toMedina from Mecca and the conversion of several inhabitants of the city to Islam. The first revelation concerning the struggle against the Meccans was surah 22, verses 39-40:

To those against whom war is made, permission is given (to fight), because they are wronged;- and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid. (They are) those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right,- (for no cause) except that they say, “our Lord is Allah”. Did not Allah check one set of people by means of another, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, in which the name of Allah is commemorated in abundant measure. Allah will certainly aid those who aid his (cause);- for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might, (able to enforce His Will).

This happened many times throughout history, beginning withMuhammad‘s battles against the polytheist Arabs including theBattle of Badr (624), and battles in Uhud (625), Khandaq (627),Mecca (630) and Hunayn (630).”

“The medieval Iberian Peninsula was the scene of almost constant warfare between Muslims and Christians. Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back treasure and slaves. In raid against Lisbon, in 1189, for example, the Almohad caliphYaqub al-Mansur took 3,000 female and child captives, while his governor of Córdoba, in a subsequent attack upon Silves in 1191, took 3,000 Christian slaves.

“The Almohad Dynasty conquered all Northern Africa as far asLibya, together with Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberian Peninsula). The Almohads, who declared an everlasting Jihad against the Christians, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms.

“In the late tenth century, a story spread that before Muhammad destroyed the idols at the Kaaba, that of Manātwas secretly sent to a Hindu temple in India; and the place was renamed as So-Manāt or Somnath. Acting on this, the Shiva idolat the Somnath temple was destroyed in a raid by Mahmud Ghazni in CE 1024; which is considered the first act of Jihad in India. In 1527, Babur ordered a Jihad against Rajputs at thebattle of Khanwa. Publicly addressing his men, he declared the forthcoming battle a Jihad. His soldiers were facing a non-Muslim army for the first time ever. This, he said, was their chance to become either a Ghazi (soldier of Islam) or a Shaheed(Martyr of Islam). The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb waged a Jihad against those identified as heterodox within India’s Islamic community, such as Shi’a Muslims.

“Upon succeeding his father to rule the Ottoman Empire,Suleiman the Magnificent began a series of military conquests in Europe. On 29 August 1526, he defeated Louis II of Hungary(1516–26) at the battle of Mohács. In its wake, Hungarian resistance collapsed and the Ottoman Empire became the preeminent power in Central and Eastern Europe. In July 1683 Sultan Mehmet IV proclaimed a Jihad and the Turkish grand vizier, Kara Mustafa Pashalaid siege to Vienna with an army of 138,000 men.

“On 14 November 1914, in Constantinople, capital of the Ottoman Empire, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares Jihad on behalf of the Ottoman government, urging Muslims all over the world—including those in the Allied countries—to take up arms against Britain, RussiaFranceSerbia and Montenegroin World War I. On the other hand, Sheikh Hussein ibn Ali, theEmir of Mecca, refused to accommodate Ottoman requests that he endorse this jihad, a requirement that was necessary were a jihad to become popular, on the grounds that “the Holy War was doctrinally incompatible with an aggressive war, and absurd with a Christian ally: Germany”

“In epidemiology, an epidemic (from Greek ἐπί epi “upon or above” and δῆμος demos “people”) occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience. Epidemiologists often consider the term outbreakto be synonymous to epidemic, but the general public typically perceives outbreaks to be more local and less serious than epidemics.

Epidemics of infectious disease are generally caused by a change in the ecology of the host population (e.g. increased stress or increase in the density of a vector species), a genetic change in the parasite population or the introduction of a new parasite to a host population (by movement of parasites or hosts). Generally, an epidemic occurs when host immunity to a parasite population is suddenly reduced below that found in the endemic equilibrium and the transmission threshold is exceeded.

“An epidemic may be restricted to one location; however, if it spreads to other countries or continents and affects a substantial number of people, it may be termed a pandemic. The declaration of an epidemic usually requires a good understanding of a baseline rate of incidence; epidemics for certain diseases, such as influenza, are defined as reaching some defined increase in incidence above this baseline. A few cases of a very rare disease may be classified as an epidemic, while many cases of a common disease (such as the common cold) would not.”

“Epidemic typhus (also called “camp fever”, “jail fever”, “hospital fever”, “ship fever”, “famine fever”, “putrid fever”, “petechial fever”, “Epidemic louse-borne typhus,”[ and “louse-borne typhus”) is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters. The causative organism is Rickettsia prowazekii,transmitted by the human body louse (Pediculus humanus corporis). Feeding on a human who carries the bacillus infects the louse. R. prowazekii grows in the louse’s gut and is excreted in its feces. The disease is then transmitted to an uninfected human who scratches the louse bite (which itches) and rubs the feces into the wound. The incubation period is one to two weeks. R. prowazekii can remain viable and virulent in the dried louse feces for many days. Typhus will eventually kill the louse, though the disease will remain viable for many weeks in the dead louse.”

“Epidemic typhus is thus found most frequently during times of war and deprivation. For example, typhus killed hundreds of thousands of prisoners in Nazi concentration camps duringWorld War II. The deteriorating quality of hygiene in camps such as Theresienstadt and Bergen-Belsen created conditions where diseases such as typhus flourished. Situations in the twenty-first century with potential for a typhus epidemic would include refugee camps during a major famine, natural disaster, war or other epidemics. In the periods between outbreaks, when human to human transmission occurs less often, the flying squirrel serves as a zoonotic reservoir for the Rickettsia prowazekii bacterium.”

“The mortality rate is 10% to 60%, but is vastly lower (close to zero) if intracellular antibiotics such as tetracycline are used before 8 days. Chloramphenicol is also used. Infection can also be prevented by vaccination.”

WHO vaccinates its personnel (we hope so, for their sake), but, besides that, ‘Who” vaccinates “who”, especially in Low Developing Countries (LDCs) ????? :+(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_war
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_epidemics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemic_typhus

Reality Check: How Do You Run a BSL-4 Facility in the Middle of Africa Ebola Crisis??? – 09/18/2014

Ebola is a viral disease that, on average, kills 60% of those who contracted it.

“Ebolavirus is classified as a biosafety level 4 agent, as well as aCategory A bioterrorism agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It has the potential to be weaponized for use in biological warfare, and was investigated by theBiopreparat for such use, but might be difficult to prepare as aweapon of mass destruction because the virus becomes ineffective quickly in open air.

“Ebola viruses are World Health Organization Risk Group 4 pathogens, requiring biosafety level 4-equivalent containment. Laboratory researchers must be properly trained in BSL-4 practices and wear proper personal protective equipment.”

“During an outbreak, virus isolation is often not feasible. The most common diagnostic methods are therefore real time PCR and ELISA detection of proteins, which can be performed in field or mobile hospitals.

“Ebola virus was first isolated in 1976 during outbreaks of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) and Southern Sudan. The name of the disease originates from the first recorded outbreak in 1976 in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of the Congo, which lies on the Ebola River.

“In late 1989, Hazelton Research Products’ Reston Quarantine Unit in Reston, Virginia suffered a mysterious outbreak of fatal illness (initially diagnosed as Simian hemorrhagic fever virus(SHFV)) among a shipment of crab-eating macaque monkeys imported from the Philippines. Hazelton’s veterinary pathologist sent tissue samples from dead animals to the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases(USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland, where a laboratory test known as an ELISA assay showed antibodies to Ebola virus. An electron microscopist from USAMRIID discovered filovirusessimilar in appearance to Ebola in the tissue samples sent from Hazelton Research Products’ Reston Quarantine Unit.

“Shortly afterward, a US Army team headquartered at USAMRIID went into action to euthanize the monkeys which had not yet died, bringing those monkeys and those which had already died of the disease to Ft. Detrick for study by the Army’s veterinary pathologists and virologists, and eventual disposal under safe conditions.
Blood samples were taken from 178 animal handlers during the incident. Of those, six animal handlers eventuallyseroconverted. When the handlers did not become ill, the CDC concluded that the virus had a very low pathogenicity to humans.

“The Philippines and the United States had no previous cases of Ebola infection, and upon further isolation, researchers concluded it was another strain of Ebola, or a new filovirus of Asian origin, which they named Reston ebolavirus (REBOV) after the location of the incident.

Biosafety level 4
This level is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections, agents which cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic feversMarburg virusEbola virusLassa virusCrimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and various other hemorrhagic diseases. This level is also used for work with agents such as smallpox that are considered dangerous enough to require the additional safety measures, regardless of vaccination availability. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a positive pressure personnel suit, with a segregated air supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a level four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors from opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a biosafety level 4 (or P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.”

“Agents with a close or identical antigenic relationship to biosafety level 4 agents are handled at this level until sufficient data are obtained either to confirm continued work at this level, or to work with them at a lower level.
Members of the laboratory staff have specific and thorough training in handling extremely hazardous infectious agents and they understand the primary and secondary containment functions of the standard and special practices, the containment equipment, and the laboratory design characteristics. They are supervised by qualified scientists who are trained and experienced in working with these agents. Access to the laboratory is strictly controlled by the laboratory director.”

“The facility is either in a separate building or in a controlled area within a building, which is completely isolated from all other areas of the building. A specific facility operations manual is prepared or adopted. Building protocols for preventing contamination often use negatively pressurized facilities, which, even if compromised, would severely inhibit an outbreak of aerosol pathogens.”

“Within work areas of the facility, all activities are confined to Class III biological safety cabinets, or Class II biological safety cabinets used with one-piece positive pressure personnel suits ventilated by a life support system.”

From the top of the head the question for Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria (to begin with, unfortunatly, there may be more) is:

“How do you set up, run and maintain Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for a BSL-4 facility in a Low Developing Country (LDC) environment of 43 degrees Celsius/109.4 Fahrenheit and a history of social unrest and indiscipline??????  :+( “

Even Ghana officials, where WHO wants to run Ebola fight operations, don’t understand the reason for “quarantine”……..:+(

The US military is involved in a very noble gesture of humanitarian effort to try to make the world forget the Rwanda genocide western indifference, but, unfortunately, this time, the adversary, Ebola, may give them some real headaches given the environment, if, and this is a possibility, the US Army NBC specialists are hampered by Political Correctness (PC)……..:+(

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebola_virus_disease
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymerase_chain_reaction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enzyme-linked_immunosorbent_assay
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosafety_level#Levels
http://www.bu.edu/orccommittees/files/2012/05/BU-Biosafety-Manual_revisedMay2012.pdf

What a “Reasonable” Person to Do When “Islamic””Jihad” Begets “Counter-Jihad”?? – 08/23/2014

We may have been “traumatized” by “Anti-Islamist groups and individuals like those that inspired Norwegian Anders Berhing Breivik to launch his bloody attacks in Norway”.

However, unfortunately, in light of what is happening in the world, right now, some of the “Counter-Jihad Movement” “narrative” is taking hold in our collective subconscious……..:+(

“In a 1,500-page manifesto and a YouTube video posted to the Internet just hours before the attacks, Breivik laid out his views, including the idea that liberal policies advocating multiculturalism threaten Western culture. “The EU is formally surrendering an entire continent to Islam while destroying established national cultures, and is prepared to harass those who disagree with this policy,” he wrote. “This constitutes the greatest organized betrayal in Western history, perhaps in human history, yet is hailed as a victory for ‘tolerance.’ ”
“My advice to Westerners in general is to arm themselves immediately, first of all mentally with knowledge of the enemy and pride in their own culture and heritage, but also physically with guns and the skills to use them,” Breivik wrote.”

“The counter-jihad groups increasingly are combining forces for fundraisers — with high-profile European anti-Islam speakers gaining audiences in the United States among right-wing religious and political groups.
On this year’s anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, like-minded groups are invited to attend a conference in New York City called Stop Islamization of Nations , spearheaded by Pam Geller, a well-known voice in the anti-Islam movement.”

“”Freedom fighters from all over the globe, journalists, intellectuals and academicians will be among the participants in the workshop, which will consist of brainstorming sessions to develop mechanisms for cooperation with external partners, and to develop an action plan to address the phenomenon of the Islamic war against free speech,” Gellar wrote in an article announcing the event.”

“Among the speakers listed were several European luminaries of the counter-jihad movement who maintain that their governments have suppressed free speech in deference to Muslim sensitivities, including Anders Gravers and Lars Hedegaard of Denmark. Gravers, Hedegaard and Geller are all listed among the Counter-Jihad report’s “Top Dozen Players.””

Operation Trojan Horse was an organised attempt by Islamiststo covertly co-opt schools in England. The name, based on theAncient Greek legend, came from a leaked letter of questionable authenticity discovered in March 2014, alleged to be from Islamists in Birmingham, detailing how to wrest control of a school and speculating about expanding the scheme to other cities. Around a month later, Birmingham City Council said that it had received “hundreds” of allegations of school takeover plots similar to those illustrated in the letter, some dating back over 20 years. Tahir Alam, the chairman of the Park View Educational Trust which runs six schools in Birmingham, was found to have written a 72-page document for the Muslim Council of Britain in 2007 detailing a blueprint for the “Islamisation” of secular state schools.”

“Investigations by Ofsted and the Education Funding Authority in 21 schools in Birmingham found evidence of an organised campaign to target certain schools by Islamists and that head teachers had been “marginalised or forced out of their jobs”.Golden Hillock School, Nansen Primary School, Park View School– all run by the Park View Educational Trust – Oldknow Academy and Saltley School were placed in special measures after inspectors found systemic failings including the schools having failed to take adequate steps to safeguard pupils against extremism. Another school investigated, Alston Primary, was already in special measures. A sixth school was labelled inadequate for its poor educational standards and twelve schools were found needing of improvements. Three schools were commended. Ofsted subsequently expanded their investigation into schools in East LondonBradford and Lutonover concerns regarding a limited curriculum and pupils’ detachment from the wider community.

Birmingham City Council was accused by Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw of a “serious failure” in supporting schools in protecting children from extremism. Its leader, Sir Albert Bore, said that the Council accepted the Ofsted findings that schools in the city were failing pupils.A government report found that senior council officials and elected members were aware of extremist activities many months before the allegations surfaced but had made no serious attempt to address the issue, instead focussing on community cohesion and appeasement.[1]Birmingham City Council imposed a temporary freeze on the appointment of school governors after probes into Operation Trojan Horse were announced.”

“The report, commissioned by the Ministry of Education, written by Peter Clarke, the former head of the Metropolitan police’s counterterrorism command, said that there were “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained” attempts to introduce an “intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos” into Birmingham schools.”

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that “protecting our children [was] one of the first duties of government” and convened an emergency meeting of the Extremism Taskforce and a ministerial meeting to discuss the affair. He announced proposals to send Ofsted to any school without warning, saying that the schools in question had been able to stage a “cover-up’ previously. The government terminated its funding arrangement with three of the schools. In the wake of the findings, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, announced that all schools in the country will have to promote “British values” of tolerance and fairness and said that teachers will be banned from the profession if they allow extremists into schools.”

“A number of governors and the Muslim Council of Britain dubbed the reaction of authorities to the plot a “witch-hunt”. In protest of the investigations, Tahir Alam and several other governors of affected schools resigned.

The leaked letter on the plot was reported by media including the BBC on 7 March 2014. In it, Islamists claimed responsibility for installing a new headteacher at four schools in Birmingham, and highlighted 12 others in the city which would be easy targets due to large Muslim attendance and poor inspection reports. It encouraged parents to complain about the school’s leadership with false accusations of sex education, forced Christian prayer and mixed physical education, with the aim of obtaining a new leadership of Islamists. It was also encouraged to attain Academy status for successfully infiltrated schools, so as to have a curriculum independent of the Local Education Authority. The letter was alleged to have been written from Birmingham and sent to a contact in Bradford to expand the operation into that city. Its author described the plan as “totally invisible to the naked eye and [allowing] us to operate under the radar”.”