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Glenn Beck's Middle East Conspiracy Theory Is About 1,400 Years Late

Glenn Beck says all the violence in the Middle East right now "is a game for the Caliphate," but where the hell's he been the last millennium and a half?
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Liberals, including myself and Daily Banter editor Michael Luciano, were taken slightly aback last month by a temporary moment of clarity in which Glenn Beck admitted he was wrong about the Iraq war.

Don't worry, though. Whatever produced that fleeting epiphany has since receded right back into the depths of Beck's tear-soaked brain. His latest tirade on those Muslims in the Middle East is so ignorant, it proves Beck isn't right twice a day so much as once every couple thousand years.

Have a gander at this clip of Beck on TheBlaze TV on Thursday, where claims that the "game for who is going to control the Middle East" has begun, and apparently it's "the beginning of a very long war in the Middle East" that's "all about the caliphate." Also, Israel is right because Muslims.

"[W]hy doesn't everyone attack Israel? Because once the world gangs up on Israel, Israel wins. As long as Israel looks like the bully on these poor little people, the cause is advanced. And believe me, you do have a reason to feel bad for the Gazans because the Gazans are being used. They are pawns."


"Even Israel is a pawn. This is a game for the Caliphate. This is a game for who's going to control the Middle East. That's why everyone is attacking Israel ... Because once you start this movement and you gather all this rage, it will morph. Mark my words.

"This is the beginning of a civil war in the Middle East that has very little to do with Israel, other than they’re the easiest red meat to hold up in the window."

Hoo boy. This is reasoning so jumbled up it's "not even wrong" -- a logical fallacy in which an argument is not merely invalid but based on premises so detached from reality that it can't even be considered a contribution to the discussion. Basically, imagine a tense negotiation between Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors where Beck bursts in screaming about Benghazi.

Again, Beck starts out arguing something relatively sensible -- that more attention needs to be paid to the plight of the Palestinians. But by the end, he goes full off-the-rails crazy ranting about caliphs, a unified Middle Eastern empire and a new world order. This basically falls in line with his previous stance that some kind of unstoppable Islamic army is going to arise when Sunni and Shi'a radicals realize they have more in common than not. These are claims that make no sense whatsoever, and here's why in reverse order.

Israel's Arab neighbors are actually largely sitting the current war in Gaza out, because many of them are fighting vicious Islamic insurgencies of their own.

Despite Beck's claims that this is all "about the Caliphate," just whose Caliphate is very much in question.

- Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad's opponents include ISIS and secular rebels, and there are credible reports that ISIS and Assad have at times collaborated to eliminate the secular ones.

- Lebanon's Hezbollah is busy fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq in a long, ugly Shi'a-Sunni brawl.

- Al-Qaeda and ISIS have long since parted ways over the latter's brutality, which even the people who brought down the Twin Towers decided they couldn't stomach.

- Turkish theocrats have their own headaches with ISIS, which has seized Turkish hostages in Iraq.

- Hamas and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood have not been getting along as well lately.

- Iraq's bands of militant terrorists include ISIS and remnants of Saddam Hussein's military, while the pro-government forces are a mix of Shi'a Iran's special forces, Kurdish Peshmerga, and allied tribes.

Slate's Chris Kirk created the Middle East Friendship Chart to show how Beck's imagined rampaging armies of Muslims actually get along in practice:


So while the region is indeed a huge mess, the idea that all these militants are somehow coordinating their efforts to form a caliphate when they're just as busy killing each other is ridiculous. What's more, no regional governments seem likely to collapse soon because polls indicate many Arabs are terrified of Islamic extremists:


This is just "the beginning," Beck insists. That may be a surprise to all the other countries in the area fighting civil wars or experiencing rebellions, because the 2003 invasion of Iraq that Beck played a major role in pushing was probably one of the straws that broke the camel's back.

It may also be a surprise to Israel, who battled Gaza militants in 2013, 2008-2009, 2006, the entire Palestinian resistance in two Intifadas, Lebanon in 1982,  as well as the entire region in 1973 and 1967-1970, Egypt in 1956, and the Arab occupants of the British Mandate of Palestine in 1948. But it's easier to rant about Muslims than think for five seconds about how the current conflict is the logical outcome of nearly 70 years of Israel-Arab tensions.

It may also come to the surprise of the British and the French, who brutally occupied huge stretches of the Middle East in the decades and centuries prior to World War II and afterwards found the locals didn't appreciate it.

Beck probably might want to consider that the Ottomans, Turks, Mongols, Crusaders, and various Islamic caliphates all enjoyed carving out various slices of the Middle East over the past 1,000 years as well. The Persian Empire, by the way, might be a little dumbfounded by the idea that the war over the Caliphate is just beginning, because Muslims annihilated them around 651.

So to sum it up, Beck is a good 1,400 years late to the panic over wars involving Islam in the Middle East. He also thinks the current regional instability is some kind of devious Islamic conspiracy (which is playing Obama for a fool!),  rather than the natural outcome of the collision of poor modern governance and well over a thousand years of infighting between regional powers and wars to oust imperialist outsiders, which has left many Arabs resentful of colonialism and each other.

This is really not so different from the history of any other unstable region in the world, but Beck is really suspicious of Muslims, which is why he's getting all panicky. For a guy who "regrets" supporting the Iraq war and says we need to pay care more about the Palestinians, he sure has been quick to unconditionally back Israel's right to bomb Gaza to the stone age and is still doing his best to portray Muslims as savages.

Good job, idiot. You get a big fat fucking F on this one.