The Oberlin Review

What Can We Do About Foreign ISIL Fighters?

Leo Hochberg, Columnist

November 15, 2019

 After eight years of bloody conflict in Syria, numerous brutal and horrific urban battles, and the slaughter of thousands of members of Iraq and Syria’s religious and ethnic minorities, the infamously brutal Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant finally appears to be subdued. The terrorist group once controlled territory spanning from the rich oil fields of Northern Iraq to the urban and rural heartlands of Eastern Syria. Now, most of ISIL’s living fighters sit captive in holding camps throughout the Syrian northeast — an area that’s controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces — and in the prison cells of the Iraqi judicial system. Now that major campaigns against the terrorist organization have concluded,...

Karega-Mason’s Facebook Posts Anti-Semitic

Abraham Socher, Associate Professor of Religion and Director of Jewish Studies

March 4, 2016

As a Jew, a historian of Judaism and a faculty member, I was outraged when I read David Gertsman’s story in The Tower, “Oberlin Professor Claims Israel Was Behind 9/11, ISIS, Charlie Hebdo Attack” (Feb. 25), which provided screenshots of several of Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Joy Karega-Mason’s Facebook posts. In those posts, Professor Karega-Mason claims, among other things, that Israel and super rich “Rothschild-led banksters” were behind 9/11, the Malaysian Airlines flight shot down over Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo attacks and, in fact, all of ISIS. The first thing to say is that these were posts for her friends, not lectures to her students, and, no doubt, she intended for them to stay that way. But that...

Peace for Syria Feasible with Rebel, State Solution

Sean Para, Columnist

December 4, 2015

The maelstrom that has engulfed Syria continues to reach new heights of violence. Recent attacks by the Islamic State in Paris, Beirut and the Sinai Peninsula have added a sense of urgency in bringing a resolution to the conflict. The refugee crisis also stems partly from the Syrian Civil War — yet another global problem born out of what originated as an internal conflict. Syria is so fractured that many doubt whether it will survive as a unified state. The only way to break this cycle of violence and preserve some semblance of Syrian territorial integrity is a negotiated solution that allows for both rebel groups and the Assad regime to exist within a common federal political space. Such an agreement would need th...

Paris Attacks Target Multiculturalism

Josh Ashkinaze, Columnist

November 20, 2015

The Paris terrorist attacks were shocking, but one particular detail was especially surprising: One of the suicide bombers who attacked the Stade de France was a Syrian refugee, according to his passport. The document lay next to him, suspiciously intact, despite the condition of his body. This led some French officials to suspect that the passport was planted by a member of the operation. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that a jihadi carrying out the last action of his life would simply forget that he had his passport on him. If the passport that identified the terrorist as a Syrian refugee was deliberately planted, which it seems to have been, this gives insight into the goal of the act: to shake France’s values of d...

Environmentalists Can Learn from ISIS Occupation

Machmud Makhmudov, Columnist

September 18, 2015

In an election season defined thus far by a rogue email server, a neurosurgeon once played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in a made-for-TV film and cries to “make America great again,” it should come as no surprise that one of the most serious and consequential foreign policy arguments made by a presidential candidate thus far was largely dismissed on the spot. Though he lags in national polls for the Democratic nomination, former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley demonstrated clarity of vision and a nuanced understanding of scientific and social history when he tied the rise of the Islamic State — otherwise known as ISIS — with the accumulated effects of climate change. Unsurprisingly, Republicans responded derisivel...

Military historian and Iraq War colonel Peter Mansoor who participated in Tues- day’s panel discussion regarding ISIS

Off the Cuff: Peter Mansoor, military historian and Iraq War colonel

March 6, 2015

Professor Peter Mansoor is the current Raymond E. Mason, Jr. chair of military history at the Ohio State University. Mansoor served in the early years of the Iraq war as the commanding officer of the 1st Armored Division of the 1st Brigade, before later serving as the executive officer to General David Petraeus during the surge. He was invited by the Alexander Hamilton Society and the Oberlin College Republicans and Libertarians to take part in a discussion alongside Professor Zeinab Abul-Magd of ...

U.S. Intervention in Iraq, Syria Ineffective

Dylan Tencic, Contributing Writer

November 14, 2014

During a strategic planning conference with foreign military leaders, President Obama had an encouraging change of perspective on operations in the Iraq and Syria. He acknowledged that the fight against ISIS expands beyond military action and stressed that we are combating an “ideological strain of extremism” more than a military foe. He also said that the United States’s military leadership was acting in compliance with this position. Unsurprisingly, recent developments on the ground tell a different story. Instead of waging what Obama describes as “a campaign that includes all the dimensions of power,” we have ramped up airstrikes to their highest frequency in months, sold more arms to shady allies and...

Maher’s Islam Comments Divisive, Misguided

Machmud Makhmudov, Columnist

October 10, 2014

The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria over the summer has drawn global attention to the world’s Muslim population and, in some cases, resulted in flagrant displays of Islamophobia. Currently, no nation recognizes the group as a legitimate and autonomous entity because of the far-reaching spiritual and political implications of doing so. Barbaric murders by ISIS, including the beheading of several journalists and humanitarian workers from various countries, have triggered visceral reactions against Muslims worldwide in much the same manner as did the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Several moments during a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher clearly displayed this trend of fear-driven prejudice. In the ep...

ISIS Fears Prevent Sound Strategy

Dylan Tencic, Contributing Writer

October 10, 2014

At an Aug. 28 news conference, President Barack Obama made the mistake of being honest with America. Asked to explain what steps the country would take to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, he conceded: “We do not have a strategy yet.” Given the deep-rooted complexities of the controversy, the president had reason to appear indecisive, but the public has clamored around his lack of conviction. The president responded to these criticisms roughly two weeks later, presenting to the nation an exaggerated four-point plan to expand U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and combat ISIS. He asserted that ISIS “is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. It has no vision other than the slaughter of...

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