Lion of the Blogosphere

How jihadists get their courage

I’ve observed that Arabs make very cowardly soldiers. This explains why Israel, from its very inception as a state in 1948, has always been able to defeat numerically superior Arab armies.

When the United States invaded Iraq, instead of the “Mother of all Battles,” Saddam’s soldiers barely put up a fight.

When numerically smaller ISIS armies invaded Iraqi cities, the Iraqi troops abandoned their posts and ran away.

But what gives the jihadists the courage that Arab soldiers have traditionally lacked? I naively assumed it was their conviction that they were fighting for Allah and would be rewarded in Paradise for their Holy Jihad. But it turns out the that real answer sounds like something out of science-fiction. As explained in recent news stories, the jihadis are taking a drug in the amphetamine family, known in the Middle East as Captagon, which makes them fearless.

Two ISIS fighters caught in Turkey told the local newspaper Rudaw, “When we went into battle, we took the pills that made us euphoric.” Ali Daud, 23, told the newspaper: “It makes us feel big, strong, as if looking at the battle from above. You think the tanks are little birds that you can destroy with your sword. We took the drug only when we went into battle, for maximum effect.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 22, 2015 at 11:41 am

Posted in International

69 Responses

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  1. They probably got the idea from the Shia militias in Iraq; Muqtada al-Sadr’s Jaysh al-Mahdi (army of the Mahdi) was also known as Jaysh al-Wardi (army of the roses) in reference to the rose colored pills they popped. Of course, the not-so-brave Somali street thugs from Blackhawk Down had red teeth from all the qat they chewed, to similar effect.

    Jefferson

    November 22, 2015 at 11:54 am

    • Qat doesn’t do much; its effect was greatly overplayed. It’s more like tobacco.

      Sheila Tone

      November 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm

  2. I’ve observed that Arabs make very cowardly soldiers. This explains why Israel, from its very inception as a state in 1948, has always been able to defeat numerically superior Arab armies.

    Yes, I’m sure the constant flow of military aid from the United States (including from the Obama administration who supposedly hates Israel yet gave them a $225 million Iron Dome missile defense system) has nothing to do with all those victories. 🙂

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-approves-225-million-in-iron-dome-funding/

    I’m not saying the United States shouldn’t support Israel, but give them credit for what they’ve done..

    pumpkinperson

    November 22, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    • Israel got crap from the U.S. in 1948 except for allowing them to purchase some weapons. And they had some stuff left over from when the British left. They defeated numerically superior and BETTER EQUIPPED Arab armies all on their own. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 22, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    • You can shove your military aid…
      And obama too.
      We always have to fight our Arab enemies with one hand tied behind our back.
      And when it’s clear that we’re winning, the US and Europe are stopping us before we could finish them off, so their Arab allies could save face.
      It’s like affirmative action in war. We aren’t allowed to win. We should let the Arabs imagine that they are the winners instead the whiners they are.
      Larry from Israel.

      Larry

      November 22, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    • Yes, I’m sure the constant flow of military aid from the United States (including from the Obama administration who supposedly hates Israel yet gave them a $225 million Iron Dome missile defense system) has nothing to do with all those victories.

      Of course Obama is really on the side of Israel, that’s why he’s giving Iran a free pass on their nuclear program.

      The Arabs were supplied with arms from Russia in 1948, 1967 and 1973. At that time Russian and American arms were comparable in quality. It wasn’t until the Reagan arms buildup and stagnation of the Soviet economy resulted in NATO weaponry finally surpassing by a wide margin their Russian competition.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      November 22, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      • Good comment although I’d argue Soviet technology was vastly superior during the early Cold War era. The roles reversed later but many of the advance weapons Russia deploys nowadays were late Soviet era prototypes. Had the USSR remained intact the technology gap would have been closed by the early 2000s.

        redarmyvodka

        November 24, 2015 at 2:34 am

    • Israel got crap from the U.S. in 1948 except for allowing them to purchase some weapons.

      Weren’t Israeli weapons from 1948 and 1967 usually French and British?

      The Undiscovered Jew

      November 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      • Yes, though the Israelis did get some surplus / black market US stuff left over from WW2. In the Suez Crisis, the Israelis used the P-51 Mustang for ground support and used upgunned Sherman tanks.

        Tarl

        November 23, 2015 at 10:18 am

      • The USSR was the first state to recognize Israel and the only state to supply them weapons in their successful fight against the western backed Arabs.

        redarmyvodka

        November 24, 2015 at 2:24 am

      • In an interesting bit of ironic history, the first airplanes in the Israeli airforce were ME-109s – the iconic fighter of Nazi Germany. Israeli pilots in Nazi planes.

        ibejeph

        November 24, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    • egypt nearly won the yom kippur war. it was the syrians that dropped the ball.

      James N.S.W

      November 22, 2015 at 8:23 pm

      • “egypt nearly won the yom kippur war. it was the syrians that dropped the ball.”

        That’s just a fantasy. By the end, the Egyptians had advanced just a few miles into the Sinai; the Israelis had captured much of the southern side of the Suez canal; and the Egyptian third army was surrounded. This all took place 40 miles or so from Cairo.

        sabril

        November 23, 2015 at 11:39 pm

      • The Egyptians and Syrians needed to concentrate their forces. The main reason Israel won is because they fought them individually instead of all at once. Recognizing these weaknesses Egypt and Syria even formed a new country which briefly existed called the United Arab Republic but that fizzled out.

        redarmyvodka

        November 24, 2015 at 2:21 am

  3. It was common for German soldiers to use meth as a stimulant during WW2. Hitler used it, too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_and_culture_of_substituted_amphetamines#Military_use

    JK

    November 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm

  4. It’s hard to argue that Germans weren’t superior soldiers on their own merit. Russians were issued vodka before battle, are we going to say that it accounted for their victories? I think this isn’t serious. Arabs lack brains, motivation, cohesion, discipline and organization of the Jews. Nevertheless, some had fought well.

    Yakov

    November 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    • Yet, the Arabs had an empire of this magnitude, which the Jews could only dream of!!!

      JS

      November 22, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      • Jews don’t dream of empires and conquest.

        Yakov

        November 22, 2015 at 10:16 pm

      • “Jews don’t dream of empires and conquest.”

        For the most part, I agree. If they started today, Israel could easily take Beirut, Damascus, Anman, and Cairo by Christmas. Unless America got in their way, they could probably take the entire Arabian penninsula in the next few months.

        sabril

        November 23, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      • And yet Hazybolla in Lebanon wiped clean of Israel Forces, where they retreat!!!

        JS

        November 24, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    • Centuries ago Arab mercenaries used some sort of drug to get into a frenzy. I forget whether it was a variant of meth or some something else. But the effect was the same.

      The Undiscovered Jew

      November 22, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      • Are you thinking of the Assassins (Hashishin)?

        CamelCaseRob

        November 22, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      • Yes. They and their imitators.

        The Undiscovered Jew

        November 22, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      • Mongols simply exterminated them. Way to go. Nothing else will work, but Mongols are a different people today and cannot do it. Total genocide is the real solution to ISIS. For example, you don’t just kill Bin Laden, you exterminate his whole extended family of a few thousand people. No people – no problem, as Stalin used to say. Anyone with a name Bin Laden is immediately decapitated and the body with the severed head is left on public display. The way to fight terror is with greater terror, not welfare benefits for a harem.

        Yakov

        November 23, 2015 at 7:18 am

      • “Total genocide is the real solution to ISIS. For example, you don’t just kill Bin Laden, you exterminate his whole extended family of a few thousand people. No people – no problem, as Stalin used to say. Anyone with a name Bin Laden is immediately decapitated and the body with the severed head is left on public display. The way to fight terror is with greater terror, not welfare benefits for a harem.”

        I wonder if a few decades from now we’re actually at the desperation point to actually start doing that. My suspicion is that we won’t want to fight that way until the wars are already lost.

        Mike Street Station

        November 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    • Even Pentagon insiders would feel like amateurs when dealing with the bureaucracy, politics, and turf wars in Arab armies. Nobody wants to share ideas and innovate because they might lose their cushy job and social status despite such shortsightedness losing them wars. To make matters worse their political leadership is really corrupt and stupid. Arabs perform vastly better as irregular forces because of decentralization and the forces of creative destruction.

      redarmyvodka

      November 24, 2015 at 2:49 am

    • @ sabril

      The Levant is not easily defensible territory hence why so many civilizations have conquered it. Israel was previously stopped from seizing Arab capitals by threats of a Soviet nuclear strike.

      redarmyvodka

      November 24, 2015 at 3:02 am

      • “The Levant is not easily defensible territory hence why so many civilizations have conquered it.”

        I agree with this . . . does it contradict my point?

        ” Israel was previously stopped from seizing Arab capitals by threats of a Soviet nuclear strike.”

        When did this happen? I never heard of this before.

        sabril

        November 25, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      • Israel benefits from geography in ways that are generally not discussed. The same goes for the USA whose greatest political, economic, and military asset is the security of two oceans.

        During the Cold War pro-Soviet Arab governments were under the USSR’s nuclear umbrella. Both in 1967 and 1973 the Soviets were prepared to defend their power and prestige in the region with force.

        redarmyvodka

        November 28, 2015 at 12:12 am

  5. Nedd Ludd

    November 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    • It was used during WW2 as a stimulant, to keep soldiers going past the point of fatigue. I suppose someone might take it if they were afraid but I certainly wouldn’t. The last thing I’d want to be on the battlefield is stoned.

      destructure

      November 22, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      • Yes, and wouldn’t it be just as likely to make the soldier jumpy and paranoid? Energy doesn’t always equal bravery.

        Sheila Tone

        November 22, 2015 at 10:43 pm

  6. There’s no magic pill to become an effective soldier. Incentives matter most. They are unwilling to risk their lives for a puppet state set up by foreigners. But the same guys might be willing to fight for a faction affiliated with their sect and ethnicity.

    Giovanni Dannato

    November 22, 2015 at 2:52 pm

  7. Arab performance is a mixed bag. Egyptians performed well in 1973, though obviously Soviet weapons and training were a factor.

    WRB

    November 22, 2015 at 4:07 pm

  8. ISIS has an ideology that people beleive in. Their beliefs, not drugs, motivate them. Ask yourself a question what idea are you willing to go out to fight and die for? If you cannot answer the question, you cannot understand ISIS. So the impotent West keeps inventing excuses, trying to make it not real, hoping it will just go away. Drugs as a motivation is the weakest I’ve heard so far. Bizzare.

    Yakov

    November 22, 2015 at 4:44 pm

  9. A good question to ask is how much courage does one need to shoot a bunch of French SWPLs in Paris?

    JS

    November 22, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    • Knowing that you were going to die? A lot.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 22, 2015 at 7:52 pm

      • Dying is not the end of the world for a religious Arab since there is a lot of benefits and good times in the after life. Getting injured or even worst, shame on the family in the shape of a sister getting pregnant is much worst. Someone already suggested that the most effective way to stop terrorists is to threat them with rape of their family members, maybe Putin will raise the flag in that front, after all the Russians got a lot of experience from WW2.

        Hashed

        November 23, 2015 at 1:13 am

      • Lion — Did you hear about this? Staten Island Goodfellas want to protect NYC from ISIS:

        https://www.rt.com/usa/323032-mafia-isis-warning-gambino/

        JS

        November 23, 2015 at 6:56 pm

    • I’m gonna get personal now. Lion, JS, Maryk and other active folks, what are you willing to fight and die for right now. I’m asking about ideas, so ‘my family’ isn’t an answer, ‘my flag’, on the other hand, is.

      Yakov

      November 23, 2015 at 7:22 am

      • Mates, are you alive?! Lemme help you with an example.

        Yakov

        November 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm

      • Yakov, this video is great, but to be honest I cannot quite imagine what the notion of dying for today’s Russia must be like. They are a step or two farther down the road of Muslim outpopulation than the USA is – a trend that began in the early ’80s and has since mushroomed. Putin unfortunately seems to have lost all will to be vigilant with the savages in Chechnya and elsewhere in the Caucasian and central Asian regions and even speaks out occasionally against the “Russia for Russians” and the “Don’t feed the Caucasus” movements. I love the notion of a great Russia in principle, but post-Chechen war I’m not sure quite what it means anymore as the public image is most definitely one of capitulation to Kadyrov and his circle. One hears about alleged labor shortages, but I’ve seen conflicting data on this as well?

        Viscount Douchenozzlé

        November 23, 2015 at 11:45 pm

      • Everything you say is true, but the fellow in comuflage has been wounded a few times fighting and had a forth child already. Putin doesn’t have a sound policy on domestic issues, but here is what it’s like fighting for Russia :

        Yakov

        November 24, 2015 at 7:16 am

      • Or like this:

        Yakov

        November 24, 2015 at 7:24 am

      • Yakov, this is fascinating – thank you. It seems Chechen loyalties are rather complex; perhaps the current strategy is working better than I’d surmised, although one is essentially forced to assume that the majority (on both sides, particularly the Ukrainian side) are mercenaries. Also particularly moving was the Afghan fighter, clearly an educated guy without much of an accent at all. It’s hard not to be somewhat compelled by the Soviet cause; 100% literacy by WWII among a country of what were previously peasant farmers, the world’s first satellite, first human in space, etc., are pretty difficult to argue with. I just find it odd that so many are essentially fighting for the Soviet cause when the present reality is so different in terms of the oligarchy that now controls the country and so forth, although as I often note, the decline in the ruble means that the balance of power is vastly in favor of the government once again…

        Viscount Douchenozzlé

        November 24, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      • So Yakov, do you think there is a war on the horizon where Meriproles will have to fight and die?

        JS

        November 25, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      • @JS

        Americans have been dying in stupid wars for decades. I think that Trump is smart enough to put an end to it. Also, it’s about time you learn that I like America and have no problem with its proles.

        Yakov

        November 26, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      • @Viscount

        I always hated the Soviet Union, but when free medical care is discontinued and people are dying for lack of medicine, when good free education stops being free and becomes unaffordable for working people, when the national wealth and natural resources are usurped by a small group of oligarchs what is there to fight for but a revolution and a just society? Like the Afghan in the clip said, he isn’t fighting for the government, but for the people. Everyone who fought in Donbass – from communists to monarchists, fought for what they perceived as a different and just society, few fought for Putin. Putin is the best there is and should be appreciated for it, but he is part of the oligarchy.

        Yakov

        November 26, 2015 at 8:10 pm

  10. After their conquest of Kenya, and access to coffee, Arabs supposedly were able to fight, and march/ride longer than Christian armies.

    Half Canadian

    November 22, 2015 at 6:34 pm

  11. I thought I was gonna disprove you by citing The Arab Legion (led by an Englishman, admittedly). It was an excellent fighting force. Then I looked it up and it appears that ethnically it was 80% Chechen. Still the Arabs who fought in it did so with distinction.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Legion

    gothamette

    November 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    • Further to my comment, I wrote in haste – it appears that the Legion that fought in the 1948 war were majority Arab. So they can fight, when they are led properly. They won most of their engagements against the Jewish forces. That said the latter were made up mostly of poorly trained cannon fodder. This is common knowledge in Israel.

      gothamette

      November 22, 2015 at 6:49 pm

  12. ISIS success is in the superior ideology multiplied by the abundance of the talent coming from other countries. Similar to the US success in the high tech.

    MyTwoCents

    November 22, 2015 at 6:48 pm

  13. Its about incentives and motivation. The Arab nations (except Egypt) were created by Western powers or warlords. They rule through brute force and have no political mandate from their populations. There is no reason for Arabs to fight for their countries. Arabs have stronger loyalty to their family, tribe, and religion.

    Israeli soldiers are taught that their Israel is the embodiment of their religion and their tribe. Additionally most Israelis are just a few generations away from family members who immigrated for the purpose of creating a nation. Hence they have strong loyalty towards Israel and will fight to defend their country.

    Like ISIS soldiers, Israeli soldiers would take drugs if they believed it would help them win. Arab soldiers won’t because they don’t care about winning.

    Jimi

    November 22, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    • “Israeli soldiers are taught that their Israel is the embodiment of their religion and their tribe. Additionally most Israelis are just a few generations away from family members who immigrated for the purpose of creating a nation.”

      The Muslims control 47 countries and have 1.7 billion adherents, yet Syrian ‘refugees’ insist they must
      must come to the Europe and America – Aren’t 47 Muslims countries enough places for them to ‘migrate’ to???

      Israel is the Jewish peoples homeland and it is also their Alamo – Israel is smaller than Clark County, Nevada. (Las Vegas.)
      It is where, if necessary, the Jews will make their final stand. It is not as if they have a lot of other choices. Israel is always one-lost-war away from total destruction.
      There will be no rebuilding the fleet after Pearl Harbor, or retreating across thousands of miles of Mother Russia to re-group. There will be no second chances for the Israelis left to the tender mercies of the Arabs.

      “…most Israelis are just a few generations away from family members who immigrated for the purpose of creating a nation…” Wrong!
      Most Israelis are just a few generations away from family members who survived the Holocaust.
      You don’t forget that easily. Nor do Jews forget that Jews had no place to escape to before the Nazi’s
      began exterminating them.
      While a few were taken in, they had mostly been turned away by America and virtually everywhere else.
      I’m not saying it was America’s obligation to take them in, only that as tiny as it is, Israel is a land that every Jewish person in the world can go to, be accepted there, and if necessary, help fight for their own survival.

      Comparing ISIS fighters to Israeli soldiers is obscene – These drugs are used not simply to enhance a soldiers fighting stamina, they are used to over-ride all normal conscience and morality.

      ISIS is magnet for every Muslim psychopath and sociopath in the world. Burning people alive, crucifying them, beheading Christians and other Muslims, sex slavery, and countless other cruelties.
      This behavior is all facilitated by these drugs.
      Normal people would never be able to live with themselves after committing such acts of barbarism.

      Nedd Ludd

      November 23, 2015 at 10:43 am

      • ISIS is magnet for every Muslim psychopath and sociopath in the world.

        Which could actually be a good thing if we bombed the living shit out of ISIS and killed all those psychopaths and sociopaths. But no, we are stuck in the idiotic “bombing only creates more terrorists” mindset.

        Tarl

        November 23, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      • We might be seeing a return of the savage taking lands of the more civilized, that one finds in Hitler’s WWII and any historical conflict before him. Unlike the mass murderers of the past, technology makes them efficient killing machines.

        It’s all about desensitization. ISIS is facilitating acts of barbarism with drugs that one can achieve by mere repetition, but this would take longer to achieve.

        JS

        November 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

  14. It’s quite hard to believe that muslims really buy into their hedonistic visions of an afterlife with 72 virgins (or how many they want to shag). It sucks to be dumb, and countries with a mean IQ of 80 suck, too.

    Friedrich

    November 22, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    • Yep, it’s hard to beleive, but it’s true. My Tajik worker has a degree in mechanical engineering and is generally a pretty good chap. Working for a year with him turned me into a real Islamophobe. He believes it, but he isn’t waiting for it either. Meanwhile he’s got four wives and fourteen kids. All will end up here unless Trump is gonna do what he says he will. Just remember – hr is the elite. Everyday day I feel like killing him. I must be pretty bad myself.

      Yakov

      November 23, 2015 at 7:05 am

      • Regarding HBD and the types of Muslims:

        Iranian, Central and South Asian Muslims are more intelligent and less hostile than their Arab counterparts in the Middle East.

        The Paris Attackers were not even Syrian folks, but Moroccans, who are known for their aggressiveness and sadistic behavior.

        Moroccans and North Africans in general, make Italian guidos look like nice guys, when provoked or in their violent mode. They do have nice looking women that remind you of Ivanka Trump or Jennifer Lawrence with heavy makeup.

        JS

        November 23, 2015 at 9:26 pm

      • While in Kiev on business about ten years ago I recall reading an article in a Russian-language local newspaper about Russian expatriates living in Ukraine and specifically what they liked best about Ukraine relative to Russia. Top of the list was “absence of people from the Caucasus”. No surprise to me.

        Viscount Douchenozzlé

        November 23, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      • The Persians in particular are quite intelligent and have kept their fertility at a civilized level as well. Were it not for the embargo Iran would very likely be quite wealthy and well-managed.

        Viscount Douchenozzlé

        November 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

  15. Maybe shy guys should start taking this drug so they lose the fear of approaching women.

    Jay Fink

    November 23, 2015 at 3:17 am

  16. Of course, the English word “assassin” is derived from the Arabic word for hashhish, which Arabs used to smoke before battle. Captagon is fenethylline, which is metabolized to amphetamine and theophylline, both powerful stimulants.

    The traditional view is that Arabs make poor regular soldiers but superb tribal raiders (the terrorist attacks were essentially tribal raids). T. E Lawrence, who led the Arabs in a series of brilliant victories in WW I, started out using his Arab troops in their usual role as raiders against the Ottoman Turks. However, as the war progressed, his force changed into more of a conventional army. Also, in the Iran-Iraq war, the twentieth century’s longest conventional conflict, the Iraqi Arab armies fought the more numerous (but less well-equipped) Iranians to an eight year bloody draw. So, under an inspirational (Lawrence) or brutal (Saddam) leader, the Arabs can sometimes do alright in a modern military situation. But I think they are still much happier in the tribal raider role.

    Black Death

    November 23, 2015 at 10:23 am

    • Maybe Persian soldiers just suck as bad as Arab soldiers. Much has changed since Xerxes conquered the known world.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 23, 2015 at 11:57 am

      • At the time, the Iran-Iraq war was often referred to as the “military special olympics”.

        Tarl

        November 23, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      • To be exact, the Assassins were Shiites of the Ismalili sect in Persia, so they were not Arabs. Their form of terrorism was to disguise and then knife their victims.

        JS

        November 23, 2015 at 9:17 pm

  17. An interesting note, the Saudis – allegedly allies of the USA and Israel – seem to have been shipping the amphetamines to ISIS: https://www.rt.com/news/319727-saudi-prince-drug-arrest/

    Viscount Douchenozzlé

    November 23, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    • ISIS benefits Saudi Arabia as long as they are fighting against Shiites and Alawites.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 23, 2015 at 8:13 pm

      • No kidding. I just find it incredible that it’s so directly tied to the “royal” family though.

        Viscount Douchenozzlé

        November 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm


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