|An ominous Islamic Emirate banners flying over a checkpoint in Azaz, Syria|
|The location of Azaz in Syria. (Turkey is to the north.)|
On September 18th, Azaz, a town in Syria’s Idlib province two miles from the boundary with Turkey and 20 miles from Aleppo, fell to Islamists associated with al-Qaeda. Azaz is near a major Turkish–Syrian border crossing and was the scene of fighting between the regime and the more moderate rebel umbrella group, the Free Syrian Army (F.S.A.), last year. Nine centuries or so earlier, during the Crusades, it was the site of a victory of Christian European forces over the town’s Turkish defenders—a resonance that is surely not lost on the deep-historical-grudge-bearing jihadists.
|Near Azaz, a more official border crossing between Turkey and “Free Syria”|
|One finger means I have to go wee-wee, two fingers means behead the infidel:|
students at a school in Aleppo run by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.
|Abu Musab al-Zarqawi|
|The global caliphate some Muslim radicals envision|
|A more Ottoman-centered vision for an Islamic caliphate|
|Ansar al-Dine in Azawad|
|The imaginary Caucasus Emirate of southwestern Russia|
|How Somalia was divided up during the height of al-Shabaab’s influence|
|One view of how Syria might be partitioned|
|The former flag of the “Alawite State” area in French-ruled Syria|
may one day fly again over Tartous and Lattakia.
It doesn’t look good.
|An F.S.A. rebel defending Idlib province from the Assad regime and, now, al-Qaeda-linked Islamists as well|
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it some time in 2013 or 2014. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]