Kyle Orton Profile picture
Research focuses on Syria and terrorist groups like ISIS and the PKK, but one does wander. Likes are just bookmarks. RTs = ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Crystal Steiniger 🌟🌟🌟 Profile picture 3 added to My Authors
4 May
Liverpool University is removing the name of William Gladstone from one of its buildings because the Prime Minister, the great liberal exemplar, had a father who benefited from slavery. The building will be renamed for a Communist, Dorothy Kuya.…
Dorothy Kuya was no idealistic "private" Communist, incidentally: she was a lifelong member of the CPGB, a creature entirely controlled by the KGB, which worked to destroy Britain down to the last day of the Soviet Union.
Annoying @TheTimes uses the Communists' self-description of "anti-racism campaigner", a cynical label adopted by Soviet operatives for political warfare purposes. As regards slavery, the Soviet Empire re-introduced it to a country that had abolished it on a scale unprecedented.
Read 4 tweets
25 Jan
Exactly 365 years ago, on 24 January 1656, a physician and farmer from Portugal, Jacob Lumbrozo, landed in #Maryland, becoming the first documented #Jewish resident of the state. He only lived in the New World for about a decade, but it was quite interesting <THREAD>
Jacob Lumbrozo, the first documented Jew in Maryland, was a successful doctor and businessman in America, given a commission to trade with the Native Indians in 1665, not long before he died, and had trade relations to England and the Netherlands. He did run into trouble, though.
In 1658, Jacob Lumbrozo, the first documented Jew in Maryland, was charged under the state Toleration Act, passed in 1649, three months after King Charles I was executed, for blasphemy, i.e. denying the divinity of Christ.
Read 9 tweets
22 Jan
This is the crux of the problem - diplomatic/political and humanitarian. Any "solution", even a halfway solution, is the same as a call for regime-change. While Bashar al-Asad remains in "power", or at least fronting for an Iranian-Russian occupation, there is nothing to be done.
Here's the other problem: the regime is not going to negotiate its way out of power; sanctions, even in theory, are not going to achieve what a total war did not. And in practice, Asad can load the pain of the sanctions on the populace while his secret police remain intact.
If the sanctions on Asad's state held out the hope of, for example, releasing people from the GULAGs or even just improving their conditions, they would be so much easier to defend. As it is, it is unclear what the sanctions have achieved, or could achieve.
Read 5 tweets
17 Dec 20
Yesterday, Dec. 16, was 104 years since the State Duma of #Russia's Imperial government closed for the last time. Opened in April 1906 as part of the reforms after the 1905 rebellion (triggered by the war loss to Japan), it was a shocking infusion of liberalism to the Tsardom.
So many what-ifs with Russia, even up to the end. If Nicholas II had not taken direct control at the front in September 1915, or if somebody had murdered Rasputin earlier - which might have stopped Nicholas going to the front (he did it partly to get away from Court intrigues).
The political reforms in #Russia after 1905 were serious, and on the economic side the industrialisation of the country was even more successful - it's one of the reasons the Germans were content with war in 1914; it would have been impossible to win by 1917 or perhaps 1916.
Read 6 tweets
20 Nov 20
100 years ago on Nov. 17, the last major component of the counter-revolutionary White Guards led by General Pyotr Wrangel left Crimea in steam ships, essentially marking the triumph of the Bolsheviks, three years after their coup, a disaster the world still hasn't recovered from. Image
The Allies supported the White Guards in #Russia from 1918 primarily as a means of pressuring the Bolsheviks into re-opening the Eastern Front against Germany, meaning the incentive collapsed once the Armistice in the Great War was signed, except with Winston Churchill.
Most of the Allies failed to recognise that the Bolshevik regime was a menace in and of itself, one far worse than the Kaiser, and thus the support for the White Guards was limited and listless. By the end of 1919, the counter-revolutionaries were in disarray.
Read 7 tweets
3 Nov 20
So, it has come to this, the central question:

Are the Trumpists and Republicans (and not-a-few Democrats) right to doubt the polls that show #Biden winning an overwhelming victory over #Trump?

Keeping all musings on this momentous occasion in this thread.
Well, here we go
These early results are not entirely as it might have been wished they would be
Read 206 tweets
24 Aug 20
#OTD 1572: On the eve of St. Bartholomew's Day, the Catholic leadership in #France decapitated the Protestant elite in Paris, and initiated a wave of mob slaughter throughout the country. The Roman Pope had medals and art made to celebrate this as part of the Counter-Reformation. Image
The most immediate Protestant target of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was Admiral Gaspard de Coligny, despised by key elements of the Catholic leadership for personal as well as sectarian reasons dating back a decade to the origins of the Wars of Religion. Image
Historian Barbara Diefendorf pieces together the situation in Paris on the eve of the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre: a Catholic population primed with an essentially genocidal fury at the presence of Protestants, awaiting the slightest signal to act: Image
Read 5 tweets
27 Jul 20
Working on a project the last couple of months about the history of #Al_Qaeda and where it is now. A big takeaway: there has probably never been a moment when the group is so manipulated, influenced, and even controlled in places by state powers.
The role of state intelligence services in manipulating and using terrorist groups for their own ends remains nearly absent in Terrorism Studies; most people even think it's all "conspiracy theory" talk. But it's such a massive operational factor that this is weird.
.@ReuelMGerecht once wrote that the 'nonstate' actor ... designation [of Al-Qaeda] was always more myth than fact". If he overstated, it wasn't by much.…
Read 12 tweets
7 Jun 20
An extraordinary artefact in the West's Cultural Revolution >> Just watch what this crowd does to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, in every way a Leftist supporter of this movement, when he would not support abolishing the police department.
Western Cultural Revolution, example 2:
Any decent Cultural Revolution needs a thorough purge of books that contain Wrong Think; the West's is no different:
Read 10 tweets
27 Mar 20
#MEK should not be called "Iranian opposition". Historically, operationally, and ideologically they are part of the same Islamist revolutionary trend that currently governs #Iran, and a MEK regime would not be noticeably different to the Islamic Republic.
At best #MEK is Trotsky to #Khomeini's Stalin, an opposition *within* the regime that lost a power struggle and wishes, from exile, to displace the ruler of the old country, while not significantly changing the actual system.
The difference in this analogy is that it is far from clear that in #Iran the Stalin figure lost out: MEK's antagonism to Khomeini was because he was not extreme enough in his revolutionary rule.
Read 9 tweets
5 Jan 20
Ben Rhodes' reaction to this ("a lie, offensive, obscene") is very telling. Were it actually a lie, he would have demonstrated it. Instead, he tries to make it "shocking"/illegitimate to say. He will have media surrogates to echo him.

But Pompeo spoke the plain truth.
Here, for example, is the well-known Trumpian outlet, the New York Times:

"Mr. Obama is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian [militia] fighters as he tries to contain the Islamic State ... in Iraq and Syria without committing American ground troops"…
The New York Times again lies for Pompeo … four years in advance

"The United States and #Iran have found a template for fighting [#IS] ... in Iraq: American airstrikes and Iranian-backed ground assaults, with the Iraqi military serving as the go-between"…
Read 5 tweets
3 Jan 20
The reports that #IRGC Quds commander Qassem Sulaymani and his Iraqi deputy, Jamal al-Ibrahimi (Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis), have been killed by a drone strike [apparently American] in Baghdad are now coming from Iraqi politicians close to #Iran/#Hashd and #Hizballah outlets, FWIW.
The #US should have killed Quds Force commander Qassem Sulaymani and the other senior members of the #IRGC network in Iraq, Abu Mahdi chief among them, many years ago. What's odd is "why-now?", if this has happened. Where they aiming for a Hashd guy and got lucky?
By "odd", what I mean is - despite the clear rhetorical and tit-for-tat escalations on the Gulf and at the Iraqi bases - the #US is in no way positioned to absorb what #Iran will throw at them if they have killed Qassem Sulaymani.
Read 48 tweets
31 Dec 19
Senior @StateDept official - without a hint of self-awareness: "There have been... 11 attacks" in two months against bases with coalition forces "so it’s very important that we not tolerate [this] ... if we don’t respond, it will invite further aggression"…
At some level, "We have acted firmly against #Iran now - you may all cheer at will - in order to prevent further aggression because they were emboldened to further and further aggression by our years of cowardice and incompetence", must strike even the #Trump people as a bit off.
The administration has, for once, done the right thing: it not only destroyed #Iranian imperial infrastructure but shed blood. The people blaming #Trump for surfacing the not-so-hidden tensions in a policy he continued from #Obama are either delusional or dishonest.
Read 5 tweets
27 Oct 19
President Trump confirms "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead"
Trump says he watched most of the special forces raid. Describes an operation where #IS's leader fled into a tunnel with several of his children and detonated his vest. Trump says nonetheless that positive ID was possible.
Trump says that the #US has a long reach against all terrorists, #ISIS and others, reminds viewers that Al-Qaeda's Hamza bin Ladin, who was "saying very bad things" about America and its allies, was recently killed.
Read 26 tweets
9 Sep 19
And there we go:

CNN: Top CIA spy in Russia extracted after Trump's May 2017 meeting with Lavrov.

NYT: in actual fact, CIA asked him to leave in late 2016, and he relented in the spring of 2017 b/c of "more media inquiries".…
I'm afraid I've come to simply distrust CNN as the source for anything. It's not a compartmentalized problem to their Trump-Russia reporting. On the area I work on, the Middle East, the errors are regularly so overwhelming, and for no political purpose.
Read 8 tweets
3 Jul 19
It's not even surprising that the @WashingtonPost provides space to terrorists any more.

Cemil Bayik, the #PKK leader, has an op-ed in today's paper calling for "peace" with #Turkey. It's a skilled piece of propaganda.… <thread below>
Bayik notes #PKK was "born in 1978 [and] launched a guerrilla war in 1984". In that gap, the PKK, which spent all its time in #Turkey fighting the Left and other Kurds, moved to Syria and Lebanon to be built into an army by the #Soviets, using #Asad and the #PLO as cut-outs.
#PKK leader Cemil Bayik in his WaPo op-ed skips over the return to violence by the #PKK in 2004 entirely, and then misrepresents how the second ceasefire broke down in 2015, blaming #Turkey. In fact, the PKK murdered several policemen, claiming it as "revenge" for an #IS attack.
Read 7 tweets
30 Jun 19
And there you have it: puncturing the absolute taboo on political violence "because fascists" and "it's only a milkshake", and you open the door for ANTIFA to beat up a journalist. Even more disgraceful how many Leftists and journalists are in the comments excusing this.
Such bravery from this ANTIFA mob, the veritable heirs of those who stormed the beaches at Normandy, as serious commentators actually said of these Red fascists a couple of years ago.
An assortment of the acceptable reasons for political violence against journalists, starting with they "went there hoping for exactly that outcome" through his attackers are "like Second World War veterans", and concluding with having bad opinions is "worse" than being beaten.
Read 4 tweets
22 Jun 19
So ...

■ Obama never would do anything to hinder #Iran, let alone strike directly

■ Even on PJW's terms, Trump can hardly claim credit for sparing people from orders he gave, BUT

■ Trump never gave orders to attack; this is messaging in search of a summit and "better deal"
DoD prepared contingencies for strikes on #Iran, and Trump turned them down when asked for approval.

Some officials got the impression on the day Trump supported strikes, but in the middle of that day he also said Iran's attack could be an "accident".…
Note: nothing got past the planning stage.

Trump never gave an order to attack #Iran that was revoked.

The administration's spinning it that way in the aftermath via the controlled leak is part of the attempt to gain leverage without actually doing anything to get to new talks.
Read 16 tweets
5 Apr 19
July 1979: Ibrahim Yazdi, foreign minister of the new Islamic Republic of #Iran, is interviewed by BBC. An extremely unctuous man (and one soon purged for being too "moderate"), he lies about the governance structure, Khomeini's responsibility for Hoveyda's murder, and much else.
Immediately after the revolution, several figures from the Liberation Movement of Iran—Ibrahim Yazdi (FM), Mehdi Bazargan (PM), Sadegh Ghotbzadeh (later FM)—were given leading positions. LMI had given Khomeini access to a larger audience; once they were unneeded they were purged.
The U.S. Embassy takeover in NOV 1979 was precisely to force Bazargan—who had done more than perhaps anyone to manipulate U.S. AMB Sullivan, convincing him to help usher the Shah out and Khomeini in—to resign. Khomeini felt Bazargan was reducing hostilities with America too much.
Read 6 tweets
20 Jan 19
July 1978, NYT: SAVAK is both ubiquitous and ineffective; "many" #Iran protesters "express pro-American sentiments" and credit Jimmy Carter with forcing the #Shah's liberalization program [which began before Carter took office]; Bazargan quoted throughout…
September 1978: Gregory F. Rose suggests that the #Shah's government and secret police operated a more repressive system than the KGB in the Soviet Union.… This was the kind of nonsense being widely printed at the time.
September 1980: CIA report on the "disappearance" of Imam Musa al-Sadr; doesn't know much and even now has not redacted huge parts of it:…
Read 5 tweets
28 Dec 18
Even when getting people to the point of admitting that the U.S. is supporting the #PKK and that's a problem, there has been a tendency to then speak as if it's a political problem for U.S.-#Turkey relations, rather than PKK being of itself a problem.
The #PKK was on the other side in the Cold War. It's doctrine is anti-Western at its core: its campaign against #Turkey is framed as one where the state is illegitimate because it is the imprint of Western imperialism. The PKK has the same view of #Israel.
The PKK fled Turkey after the coup in 1980, and was nurtured under the Asad regime, acting as a cut-out for the Soviet Union. After training at the Palestinian terrorist camps in Lebanon, the PKK launched its war against Turkey, a frontline NATO state, and was harboured in Syria.
Read 4 tweets