Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Actually, Khorasan is a place. Back when Persia was not confined to the borders of modern Iran, but rather stretched North and East through Afghanistan and Turkmenistan into Central Asia, "Khorasan" was that NW swath of Persian territory, running from the NW corner of modern Iran all the way through Uzbekistan to what is now Tajikistan. In Central Asia there are still a ton of references to "Khorasan" or variations on that word. I saw it all over the place when I visited Uzbekistan ( Like, for example, the name of the province where Khiva is), and to a lesser extent in Southern Kazakhstan.

I have no idea why a group in Syria has suddenly adopted that name. Syria is not part of historic Khorasan. Actually, the group "Khorasan" hasn't done all that much except for issue statements about its intentions to attack the West, which have been dutifully picked up and amplified by the Western media.

ADDING: This Vox piece mentions that Khorasan "is simply a collection of al-Qaeda veterans from Afghanistan." Afghanistan was once part of Khorasan. so I guess that is all the name refers to.