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marnixR
Post  Post subject: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 4:04 pm
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i'm currently in the process of reading "The scramble for Africa", about how the european superpowers of the late 19th century carved up Africa, mostly in order to protect their commercial interests

what struck me though that when reading about some of the muslim warlords in the upper Niger region, or the fall of Khartoum to the Mahdis, i could not help but to be reminded of Boko Haram in what is now Niger and northern Nigeria, and of the advances Islamic State is making in Syria and Iraq

could it be that this type of aggressive Islam has always been with us, but in today's more connected world we're more aware of it and are more likely to be affected by it ?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Fri May 22, 2015 7:39 pm
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I think that's certainly part of it. We just hear about it more now with our 24-hour news media and real-time internet news feeds and alerts.

Beyond that, though, I suspect they are also more common and are having a much easier time recruiting with Twitter and Facebook and various other social platforms. Just look at the polished campaigns being put out by the likes of ISIS, for example.

Wonder if there is data on any of this, and whether anyone has quantified past and present participation or membership rates?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun May 24, 2015 6:03 pm
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it's rather hard to gauge, isn't it
it's clear that a hundred years or more ago recruitment would of necessity have been restricted to the local area where the group in question was active, and then spread as more territory was added
but the brutality of killing whoever was not on your side was already there

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Olinguito
Post  Post subject:   |  Posted: Wed May 27, 2015 7:55 am
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IMHO a hundred years ago recruitment was no different from killing whoever didn't want to be recruited. With the Internet and worldwide social media today it's simple to find like-minded people to join your cause voluntarily, whereas a century ago force and coercion would have been needed to ensure that membership did not slacken.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Wed May 27, 2015 12:13 pm
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still, when ISIS expands its physical territory, coercion and killing is very much the plat du jour
what seems to differ is the image building across the world rather than being restricted to its physical domain

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu May 28, 2015 1:14 pm
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In fact, I'd say part of their success is directly due to social media and marketing. They've been so successful at crafting a vicious brutal image of themselves that people are less inclined or primed not to fight back / more likely to give up and surrender without struggle. Those easy successes then cascade forward in a self-reinforcing manner and further magnify their image of strength which consequently attracts even more recruits who want to join a winning team. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 10:42 am
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In 2007 I read John Buchan's 1916 novel Greenmantle and at the time I was surprised to find that it essentially chronicled Western paranoia about uprising of the 'Moslem world' and the Mujahideen.

I guess there is no new history: each generation observes the plight of their forebears and says "oh, that's interesting". And it comes back around for the next generation.

To what extent could the current crisis be considered a battle of empires in a contemporary context?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 2:45 pm
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I struggle with the word empires. I don't see this as a clash of civilizations and don't feel that mantle has been earned by ISIS. It's a clash of ideas and a battle against a bunch of tribal hairless apes, though I acknowledge my criticism is probably more one of scale and than it is of type.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:04 pm
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How can it be a battle of ideas?

Sure, the secular humanist principles of mutual respect, tolerance, rule of law and individual liberty could be regarded as ideas. But can pure, indiscriminatory destruction be regarded as an idea?

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Nov 22, 2015 9:11 pm
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When a disgruntled toddler smashes their dinner plate against the wall, we don't say "oh, (s)he's having an illuminating idea."

ISIS fighters seem to be bemoaning their own lack of personal power. They don't have the capacity to earn what they desire so they forcibly take it, instead.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 2:47 pm
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Rory wrote:
How can it be a battle of ideas?

Sure, the secular humanist principles of mutual respect, tolerance, rule of law and individual liberty could be regarded as ideas. But can pure, indiscriminatory destruction be regarded as an idea?


But their killings and atrocities are not senseless. They're focused and for a specific purpose. That purpose is rooted in the propagation of an idea / set of ideals.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:18 pm
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Isn't that 'ideal' just a thirst for power and/or reward in an 'afterlife'?

Just seems like the brutish angle of humanity wrapped up in a veneer of ideology.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 11:33 pm
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To be clear, my intent is not to defend, but to understand.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:55 am
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I know you are wanting to understand rather than defend ISIS.

According to sharia law, ISIS want to have the ability to rape and genitally mutilate women and girls. They want women and children to have almost no human rights and for men to have absolute power. And they want to do this in the name of a "God".

I don't know exactly what I would describe that as, but I wouldn't describe it as an 'idea'. There is nothing intellectual about it.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:50 pm
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Rory wrote:
I don't know exactly what I would describe that as, but I wouldn't describe it as an 'idea'. There is nothing intellectual about it.

Can't say that I agree. It's a worldview, an outlook, an internal model of the world with which you and I happen to disagree, but it is still an ideology within their minds and hence by definition largely intellectual.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:19 pm
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By way of analogy, do you really believe that rapists (which is what most ISIS members are, literally and metaphorically) sit down and carefully ruminate on the topic of whether or not it is their right to forcibly penetrate another person, without that person's consent?

I think rapists must know (unless severely brain damaged) that their action is wrong and that they do not have the right to harm another. Yet they don't call upon their intellectual faculties. They just harm and destroybecause they want to feel powerful. Because they are losers whom nobody loves.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Mon Nov 30, 2015 8:00 pm
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Rapists are not promoting an ideology or worldview, though. It's a false comparison, and I think you may be conflating specific acts of terrorism with the underlying motivation for terrorism, too.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 12:01 am
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So, what do you think is the underlying motivation of terrorism - that of ISIS, specifically?

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 3:00 am
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To gain control of territory so as to spread their fundamentalist reading of the Quran and impose Sharia law across the globe, transforming it into an Islamic state by cleansing it of infidels and eliminating anyone who has even a slightly different view in preparation for the judgment that they believe will arrive with the coming apocalypse.

There are other items like the desire to control oil and resources like water, incite fear into secular democracies so they restrict freedoms on their own and take isolationist/jingoistic steps that will ease recruitment, and to draw the US and the West into a full scale war to provide further legitimacy to their cause, but these are all peripheral to and in direct support of the core motivations cited in my first paragraph above.

A good read on your question here: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... ts/384980/

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:07 pm
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That's the reason that ISIS spout; that they are doing it in the name of Allah.

But people's alleged reasons for action and their actual reasons for action are often quite different.

If you were to ask a newly-wed why they wish to spend the rest of their life with their partner, they will probably cite a true or pure love. If the actual reason was true selfless love then they would allow their partner to do anything as long as it made them happy: even if that action were sexual promiscuity. Thefac t that most people are uncomfortable with sexual promiscuity teaches that love is actually self-serving. The bride wants to merge genomes with the groom and to have the groom devote his energies exclusively to the upbrigving of their offspring. She does not necessarily care about the groom's happiness. The bride normally does not even recognise that cold objective mechanisms of nture have inspkred her motivation.

It is the same with ISIS, I think - they may habe deluded themselves into thinking that it's about religion. But really, it is about power.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Wed Dec 02, 2015 7:55 pm
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Rory wrote:
That's the reason that ISIS spout; that they are doing it in the name of Allah.

But people's alleged reasons for action and their actual reasons for action are often quite different. <snip>

It is the same with ISIS, I think - they may habe deluded themselves into thinking that it's about religion. But really, it is about power.

I agree there are likely overlapping Venn diagram circles involved here, but have no idea how important a role each circle plays and I am willing to take them at their word that religion is a key part of their motivation.

I see no reason to assume that's insincere or not being stated in earnest.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:51 pm
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Just because they're being honest doesn't mean they're being truthful. A newly-wed might honestly believe that their love of their spouse is not self-interested but that doesn't mean that their statement is true.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:53 pm
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If were to be proven, in a way acceptable even to ISIS, that Allah does not exist - do you really think that ISIS would stop wanting control of territory? Would stop wanting to control women and children? Would stop wanting power?

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:29 am

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Rory wrote:
If were to be proven, in a way acceptable even to ISIS, that Allah does not exist - do you really think that ISIS would stop wanting control of territory? Would stop wanting to control women and children? Would stop wanting power?



To know even a bit about religious extremism is to know the answer is a simple Yes.... They are playing out what they see as their part in the end times..without that belief, they'd want nothing.


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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 9:15 am
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I know that that's the consensus - it doesn't mean that I have to agree with it. What I see is men wanting and forcibly taking power. Yes, they are claiming to do it in the name of a God.

Would the Catholic Church stop being prudish and self-righteous about sex if it could be proven to them, in a way deemed acceptable to them, that God does not exist?

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Olinguito
Post  Post subject:   |  Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:41 pm
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There are people who, if they're hell-bent on doing something, will just do it, finding convenient things along the way to justify their behaviour. ISIS just want to dominate and control other people, using Islam merely as an excuse. If Islam didn't exist, they would look for some other excuse instead (and call themselves by another name).

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 6:49 pm

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Rory wrote:
I know that that's the consensus -


Actually isn't not the consensus at all...most ascribe Western values to these people and it's one of the reasons we (as in the Western powers) keep making mistakes. It all too much reminds me of Osama-bin-laden which people also ascribed Western values--that he wanted wealth, luxury and power, when in fact the man never took power, gave away most of his personal wealth to his cause, and lived extremely austere most of his life--to the point he actually released his wives because he understood they might want more comforts.

Most of ISIS were farmers only a short time ago--many of them refugees from an historically long drought (I've personally seen the abandoned farming communities) being militarily led by former Saddam senior officers who lost their pensions during the US second invasion. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, their top man, we seem to know a lot less about, middle ages, claims to be a descendent of Muhammad (odd for a Sunni), once a prisoner of war and trained through the school of hard knocks after having his organization (ISIS) severely beaten by US forces--it's risen from the ashes. So these disparate groups out of the environmental desperation and economic hopelessness, vengeances to what occurred largely due to Western involvement (climate+invasion), humiliating defeat and imprisonment, they have one thing in common and one hope---their end times views of ISLAM. Unfortunately that view is much more intractable and profoundly deeper than simple power and other hollow Western ideas.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:22 pm
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It's the feeling of coming apocalypse that may be easiest for westerners to relate to. That's something we see in various strains of Christianity (though generally acted upon in different ways), and it's central to the motivating narrative of ISIS. They're trying to prepare the world for the judgment that will supposedly arrive in end times, and any means to achieve that are deemed justified since they feel:

Image





And just because it's fun: :)

Image

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 12:41 am
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So allowing yourself multiple wives, legalising rape, beheading opponents, land-grabbing and attempting to dominate the world... are not the hallmarks of power struggles?

Thanks, LynxFox, for showing me the error of my ways :lol:

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 1:46 am

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Rory wrote:
So allowing yourself multiple wives, legalising rape, beheading opponents, land-grabbing and attempting to dominate the world... are not the hallmarks of power struggles?

Thanks, LynxFox, for showing me the error of my ways :lol:


Don't move the goal line. I never claims that ISIS isn't about power...my claim is without their actions being completely consistent with ISlamic views of the end times... they not only wouldn't be pursuing reenacting the end times, which includes establishment of another Caliphate (aka power), but they wouldn't exist at all. Saying it's all about power, is naive and almost completely misses the depth of their commitment and motivates.
--
Inow you are right... most Westerners should recognize it from their own revelations, as the worst historical Christian based atrocities were usually associated with end-time predictions.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 2:19 am
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Lynx_Fox wrote:
Inow you are right... most Westerners should recognize it from their own revelations, as the worst historical Christian based atrocities were usually associated with end-time predictions.

I suspect it's likely to be for westerners and/or christians the least "foreign" aspect about what motivates ISIS to do what they do.

So many people seem to struggle to wrap their minds around the ideology of ISIS, despite having experience with countless other groups expressing similar extreme views closer to home.

Am unsure why. Perhaps folks get distracted by the barbaric tactics and shocked by their severity, things that were previously more hidden prior to the advent of social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and the well-funded highly-capable media teams so active within ISIS.

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 5:33 pm
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iNow wrote:
Perhaps folks get distracted by the barbaric tactics and shocked by their severity, things that were previously more hidden prior to the advent of social media, the 24-hour news cycle, and the well-funded highly-capable media teams so active within ISIS.


I think that's a lot of it. Those tactics are so foreign to your average American that it becomes all they can think about when thinking of ISIS. The media then exacerbates that fact by focusing on the brutality and severity. This leads to the simplistic views on ISIS held by many, which only plays into ISIS's plan.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:05 am
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Thought this was an interesting political cartoon. Too simplistic, or largely on-point...Thoughts?

Image

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GiantEvil
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:11 am
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^I would say spot on. Don't know what anybody's supposed to do with that hurking bloody mess now.

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 10:13 pm
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That is probably the most accurate political cartoon that I've seen. In no way do I think it is too simplistic. By ousting Saddam we opened a pit of snakes. His removal created a power vacuum, and lead directly to the instability that we see today in the region.

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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:29 am

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Falconer360 wrote:
That is probably the most accurate political cartoon that I've seen. In no way do I think it is too simplistic. By ousting Saddam we opened a pit of snakes. His removal created a power vacuum, and lead directly to the instability that we see today in the region.



True to a point. But it wasn't anymore stable before, just contained, as Saddam rocked the region with regular wars and atrocities against his own people.

So what lesson do we take from it? The best chance to contain ISIS has always been supported Assad as the Russians are doing--but that doesn't pass our purity test as we continue to dream up one unrealistic solution after another....


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 3:52 am
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I agree that the civil war in Syria must end for ISIS to be contained, but why must the dictator who starves and uses chemical weapons on his own people be the only viable option?

I recognize this is a rather unlikely outcome/hypothetical given the realities involved, but what in your opinion would prevent ISIS from being contained were the rebels to ultimately take control of Syria? Perhaps the point of our spear could be directed there.

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:26 am
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Syria's population currently stands at approximately 16 million, according to this article in The Economist: http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/09/daily-chart-18

If the top 30 MEDCs and those progressing from LEDC to MEDC status were to each re-home 0.5 million Syrian refugees (or a variable number in proportion with the host country's baseline population) then ISIS would have nobody to rule.

The rest of th e world could then tell ISIS, "these are not your people, f*@% yourselves."

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Rory
Post  Post subject: Re: islam in "Scramble for Africa"  |  Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:30 am
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And actually an influx of working age individuals and their families may well be healthy for Western countries, too, who need a strong economy to support their ageing populations.

Two world problems fixed in one. And it's not 9am yet. :P

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