Monday, May 11, 2015

CNN airs Fareed Zakaria's "Blindsided" How ISIS Shook the World"



Monday, May 11, 2015, CNN presented Fareed Zakaria’s 50-minute documentary film “Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World”, basic link here.  The film has originally been scheduled for April 27 but got put off because of events in Baltimore and other places.  “ISIS” or “ISIL” stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, wiki (for a legally unrecognized state) here.

Blindsided” is based in part on the photojournalism of Jurgen Todenhofer  filming in territory controlled by ISIS (or ISL)., starting in Mosul. AL Jazeera has a story on his work here .
   
 Todenhofer says he met many Americans as well as other Europeans among the soldiers.  “Completely brainwashed.  I have never seen people like this.” Yet, some Sunni businesses in Mosul say they are better off under ISIS than they were under the Shiite-influenced government of Iraq.

Todenhofer says ISIS wants to draw US troops into a land war in the US.  He said that, contrary to what is usually reported, he saw a lot of American recruits as well as European, and this is disturbing. "They were having the time of their lives." 
   
Zakari says you can draw a line in history from 9/11.

The documentary presents Abu Bakr A-Baghdadi, regarded as the founder and leader of ISIS. He was in American custody at Camp Bucca during the Iraq war. But he was seen as a “man who could be trusted”.  A military tribunal recommended his release in 2004, during Bush’s first term.

Then Zakaria himself explains how ISIS turned western media on its own head, producing gang-style violent videos engineered to go viral and recruit the most psychologically unstable (often, but not always, poor)young Muslim men  in the world (including western countries) to join them.


Then the documentary covers the inadequacy of US intelligence, even showing up in Obama’s complacent “Junior Varsity” remark.  One of the biggest failures was to fail to see the weakness and cowardice of Iraq’s own Army., as in 2014 ISIS captured many towns across northern Syria and Iraq, finally Mosul.  (A coworker of mine at the Minnesota Orchestra in 2002 had distant relatives living in Mosul; the degrees of separation can be small.)

Zakaria presents the story of Maajid Nawaz, who grew up in Britain, had parents of Pakastani origin, and has turned away from radicalism to run for the British Parliament. But he said, when younger, that he had no sympathy for the civilian victims of 9/11 because western countries attack so many Muslim civilians.  One example was in Bosnia.  In time, he realized some of the enemies were not from the west (like Putin’s Russia in Chechnya).  He was also repelled by the 7/7 attack in Britain.
   
Thomas Friedman, from the New York Times, wrote that ISIS offers a disenchanted young Muislim a “wife, a salary, a chance to lord it over someone” and a place to belong.
  
Is ISIS a real threat in the US?  The two perpetrators in Garland TX were mainly inspired.  ISIS, Zakaria says, is about religion but it is very much about power, somewhat like the Stalinist Soviet Union.  It hires a secular force from the former Saddam Hussein regime, and exploits existing religious conflicts between Sunni and Shiites. 

Wikipedia attribution link for map from BBC of ISIL-controlled territory in May 2015, under Creative Commons 3.0 Share-Alike license 

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