News and Analysis (10/19/18)

October 19th, 2018

What is Saudi Arabia afraid of …

… and what are so many “Washington think tankers and pundits, not to mention senior members of the Trump administration” afraid of?

Guess who else engages in targeted political assassinations?

The head of the consulate, which traditionally dealt with Palestinian affairs, will return to Washington…. Instead, Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will oversee U.S. diplomatic ties with the Palestinians” in the Trump administration’s latest move to finish off the two-state solution …

… while an Israeli human rights organization charges that “ongoing efforts to legislate against Israeli human rights organizations “now go hand-in-hand with the routine in which opposition to the occupation is being equated with treason” …

… and “among the Palestinian leadership, Israeli officials and observers, there is increasing concern that after a long period of relative calm, there is a real possibility of an outbreak of sustained violence in the West Bank” …

… while at the Gaza border the Israelis continue to shed blood despite smaller demonstrations:

“The scholarship-winning graduate student was not permitted to clear immigration on 2 October despite having a visa, on the grounds she supported the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel”:
“Anwar, who is known as a Muslim reformist, also condemned Australia’s proposal to move its embassy to Jerusalem and urged countries in the region to take a stronger stance on the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar”:
“Imam Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rasheed Farangi Mahali said that a judicial probe should be conducted to find out whether or not consent of Muslim [orphan] girls was taken before” the Hindu mass wedding:
France’s foreign ministry points out how Trump’s Iran policy may erode American global power in general as the “Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that the European Union is considering creating to enable trade with Iran could be used more broadly to help the bloc avoid the extraterritorial reach of U.S. law”:

News and Analysis (10/17/18)

October 17th, 2018

To understand certain journalists and politicians, you must remember that “Israel is the prism through which they see the world. Anything that happens anywhere in the world, particularly in the Arab and Muslim world, they twist and turn to a narrative that best benefits their favourite garrison state”:

“[D]espite his deep hatred of the Soviet Union, Reagan … lifted the grain embargo put in place by the Carter administration in response the the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Reagan did so against the advice of numerous figures in his administration” …

… and “it’s not easy to keep the focus on Iran’s behavior when the Saudis are doing terrible things to journalists and dissidents, and bombing children in Yemen” — Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations:

Sisi defends the military takeover of the economy (now over 40%) with the astonishing claim that the military is more efficient than the free market:

Pro-Israel members of Congress push their own plan on the Trump-Kushner model of throwing money at Palestinian leaders to forfeit the property rights and national aspirations of their people …

… supporting Sheldon Richman’s observation that “the Palestine-Israel ‘conflict’ … [is] a conflict in the same way that a confrontation between a car owner and a car thief is a conflict)”:

A “global advocacy advisor for Islamic Relief … speaks … about her own experience of gender inequality, which influenced her campaign work for Muslim women’s rights in traditionally conservative societies”:

“By the time I screen-tested for FBI, the character was no longer Latino and the initials OA had come to stand for Omar Adom. There were lines of Egyptian Arabic woven into the dialogue. There were references to pearls of wisdom imparted by a grandfather back in Egypt”:

“It’s definitely about fostering a dialogue to find solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it’s evolved into pointing out that, in general, Muslims and Jews are in a similar situation. More so Muslims these days” — Scott Blakeman, Jewish member of StandUp for Peace:

News and Analysis (10/15/18)

October 15th, 2018

“Khashoggi told his friends he did not trust the offer or the official delivering it” when MBS’s “information czar,” dubbed “the Saudi Steve Bannon” tried to lure him back to Saudi with promises of a job and safe return:

The U.S. pass given to Sisi’s counter-revolution in Egypt and to “the Saudis’ long practice of kidnapping dissidents abroad and forcibly returning them to the country—as happened to activist Loujain al-Hathloul in the United Arab Emirates in March” paved the way for Kashoghi’s disappearance:

Will the Trump administration “recognize that … the Saudis are pursuing interests that do not coincide with ours … [and] ask the same question posed by Bill Clinton to his aides after his first meeting with Netanyahu: ‘Who’s the f***ing superpower here?'”:

Irfan Ahmad argues that “historical Islam is … a civilization with a tradition of rational and reflexive critique all its own” and “in the course of his exposition, he also offers rich and at times provocative observations on not just Islam, but Western traditions of philosophy, freedom, and social criticism”:

Refusing to “pay the fine of 45,000 shekels ($12,423.05) awarded to three Israeli teenagers, calling the court’s ruling a ‘stunt’ intended to intimidate Israel’s critics…[, the activists] asked people to donate money through website ‘givealittle.co.nz’ to the Gaza Mental Health Foundation”:

Road rage is dangerous–and some people are driven into it to it by the mere sight of a Muslim woman behind the wheel:

David Parnham sent “malicious’ letters and ‘highly offensive’ packages to scores of people and organizations…, some with suspicious white substances, … to mosques, Muslim members of Parliament and Queen Elizabeth, among others … [urging] people to commit violence against Muslims”:

Palestinians who throw rocks at an armed occupation army are shot down, but settlers who kill unarmed civilians peacefully going about their own business rarely face indictment …

… while illegal “Israeli settlements release effluent to the Palestinian sewerage system” and illegal taxes for trans-boundary wastewater and challenges to “access to material and energy … due to siege and blockade of Gaza” impede Palestinian wastewater management …

… and Israeli soldiers are abducting Palestinians in Hebron, where the Israeli government will pay $6.1 million dollars to fund 31 homes in an illegal Israeli settlement …

… and the corrupting influence of government regulation is combined with racism as employers use “manpower quotas to obtain surplus documents, which they then rent out to West Bank laborers desperate to earn a living”:

News and Analysis (10/12/18)

October 12th, 2018

“The American Jewish Committee faults those who say Islam is not a religion”:

“The Prevention of Unconstitutional War With Iran Act of 2018 is sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), and Paul becomes the ninth senator — and the first Republican — to put his name on the bill”:

Not satisfied with merely “blocking resolutions critical of Israel,” Haley “stood up for Israel at every opportunity, and, along with Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, she conspired to punish countries and UN agencies … providing aid to Palestinian refugees” …

… but times are changing and Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) provoked an audible gasp followed by a standing ovation when she declared,  “The world has a name for the form of government that is codified in the Nation-State Law. It is called ‘apartheid” …

… while Jim Zogby declares, “[Y]ou can close the [PLO] office, and you can silence the voice, but the Palestinian people will not go away…. They remain on their land, they remain in their camps waiting to return, and we here as a community remain as their voice, the voice of the Palestinian people”:

Friends and foes of the United States were already seeking paths away from the traditional, dollar-dominated financial system …

… and just as “World War I … made it hard … to transact with British banks … [and] combined with … the Federal Reserve Act” to replace the pound sterling with the dollar at the center of world economy, so Trump’s policies may combine with Sino-Euro-Iranian agreements to topple it:

“[F]ollowing allegations that these centers had no legal basis, Chinese authorities have retroactively revised legislation to permit them”:

In talks that “covered everything from poetry and sabers to toxic masculinity and white supremacy to spirituality and mental health[,] the women were honest and articulate, pushing back against societal norms while expressing deep respect for their faith”:

“[A]uthorities have not allowed the detained environmentalists access to lawyers of their choice or set a trial date” and have still produced criminal charges even after eight months  of detention:

“Water shortages in Iraq have added to the public’s dissatisfaction over economic issues such as high unemployment and lack of public services that has fueled mass protests in the south. It has also triggered Baghdad to ban rice planting, driving farmers to leave their land”:

News and Analysis (10/9/18)

October 9th, 2018

Increasingly, “nationalist rhetoric and accusations of terrorism to squelch anyone who might question the state” allows “the authorities to hold people for months without trial” and to impose heavy sentences on “conservatives and liberals alike”:

The CEO of Al Rayan attributes the bank’s popularity with non-Muslims (more than 25% of its customers) to its ethical investment strategy and its inclusion of the customer in the risk-sharing process:

U.S. Aviation workers who were prevented from returning to their jobs as punishment for praying were surprised to hear that they were never fired since “they couldn’t even report for duty if asked to without their badges and uniforms”:

The U.S. wants to give Iran’s money to the families of soldiers who died in the Hezbollah bombing of a Marine base in 1983, even though the bombing was in response to U.S. targeting of Iranian civilians and, in any case, “Iran denies any links to the blast”:

“[P]risoners incarcerated since before the signing of the Oslo agreement in 1993 were supposed to be released as part of a deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority but Israel has reneged on their release”:

“One of the demonstrators killed has been identified as a 12-year-old boy”:

“UNHCR and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Myanmar in early June … to create conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees….  It is clear that none of these conditions have been met”:

“‘The prime minister and the army chief should swear their allegiance to me,’ said Ahmed, who was flanked by his disciples in the video. He also claimed that he was the guardian of the appearance of Imam Mahdi,” inviting Pakistani youth “to take oath of allegiance to him”:

News and Analysis (10/6/18)

October 6th, 2018

Foreign Relations Committee member Sen. Chris Murphy  (D-CT) characterized the event as “another reason why we should probably be rethinking the political and military blank check we’ve been giving the Saudis”:

“The government had ordered last year that all Rohingya inside India — New Delhi puts the figure at 40,000 — be deported. The Supreme Court is considering a petition challenging the order as unconstitutional” …

… while “[m]ember states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who usually stand by the block’s mantra of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, have now joined the chorus of outrage — calling for prosecutions of those responsible”:

“The government has never brought any charge against Abu Zubaydah, in either civilian or military court, presumably because it understands that he has committed no crime. Instead, the United States is content that he should be forgotten, out of sight and out of mind”:

“Michael Pompeo announced the U.S. was quitting a 1955 U.S.-Iran friendship treaty. … Soon after, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the U.S. would leave an optional part of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations that let countries settle disputes with each other in the same court”:

“A two-story house. A couple of jobs. Schools. Donated appliances. … All that’s missing is her husband”:

“[B]arriers to women … are [mostly] cultural; in Islam, men and women have equal spiritual standing. We can see the direction things are moving in. Women are feeling more empowered – their voices cannot be ignored, the momentum is … there. Young women in particular are hungry for change”:

“The lawsuit stated that the jail’s handbook indicated Islamic prayer services are held on Friday in a conference room and Taleem services, or Islamic education services, are held on Tuesdays, ‘but nothing ever takes place on those days'”:

“Rudwan Abu-Rumman, president of the Anne Arundel County Muslim Council, said Grasso sent him a text apologizing for posts criticized earlier this week. Grasso also deleted the posts he shared on his personal page and put a statement on the website for his state Senate campaign”:

“We don’t eat, drink or sleep. Do we stay in other people’s homes? My husband is crippled, we are both old. This is a tyranny” …

… and Israel accuses the demonstrators of “throwing explosive devices and grenades, rolling burning tires and hurling rocks,” yet there were no Israeli casualties:

News and Analysis (10/3/18)

October 3rd, 2018

The village name is Khan al-Ahmar. Sing it out loud to the tune of “Anatevka“:

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi denied Iranian involvement in the attack, calling it a plot “designed by those who want to damage Iran’s long-established relations with France and Europe”:

… but Iran did take credit for a “missile attack … in Syria … [that] killed 40 ‘top leaders’ of Islamic State … in retaliation for an attack on a military parade in Iran on Sept. 22 that killed 25 people, nearly half of them members of its Revolutionary Guards”:

“When I visit these places of worship, I do not go to their prayer hall or take part in the prayer sessions. It’s funny that previously when PAS members used to come with me, this was not wrong”:

“Iran’s capital market regulator … has started work on a new structure for domestic Islamic financing it believes will stimulate capital market activity … weeks after the emergence of a power struggle within Iran’s ruling elites over how best to respond to US sanctions” …

… while analysts puzzle over the rail’s rally, with explanations that include “a new policy allowing the Central Bank to intervene more strongly to support the rial and providing for the import of more foreign currency from abroad”:

“Palestine directed the ICJ to multiple UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions affirming the special international regime that applies to Jerusalem and calling on member states to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as Israeli territory”:

The man was “convicted of setting the fire that injured seven people. But his punishment appears to have everything to do with what he did to the building, but nothing to do with what he did to the people in it” causing a relative of the victims to lament, “It would have been less insulting just to acquit him”:

AI alleges that the killer “sought help many times from the authorities about her violent husband and alleged that her brother-in-law had raped her repeatedly” but that authorities tortured her and “ignored her and failed to provide her with any support as a victim of domestic and sexual violence”:

Ironically Rene Saheb’s “on-going exploration of the Islamic Republic’s most revered narratives … was triggered in 2012 by depression after her US visa application was rejected, despite being accepted at a prestigious New York art school”:

“[N]ew charges include premeditated murder, attempted murder, beating to death and possession of unlicensed weapons, MENA reported”:

News and Analysis (9/30/18)

September 30th, 2018

“The only way to portray Iran as a terrorist state is to define terror as opposing American power…. Zarif’s job is to persuade the world to rebel against Trump’s dictates. He has already had some success, notably in India, China, Russia, and Turkey” …

… Zarif “said the European countries’ efforts in recent months to find ways to maintain trade with Iran following the reinstatement of unilateral US sanctions”:

… Bolton threatened “that Iran could have ‘hell to pay’ if it doesn’t fall in line with the U.S., but experts say his strategy is bunk. ‘It didn’t work with North Korea,’ said one, ‘and it won’t work with Iran'”:

“Iran did not act to stop these attacks by its proxies in Iraq, which it has supported with funding, training and weapons,” said the White House …

… which has never stopped its proxies in Iraq and Israel:

Muslim Advocates “said Hyatt is the first hotel firm to make such a commitment to his group. He said Airbnb, the online home-sharing site, has also committed that it will not do business with hate groups”:

“For the first time in their modern relations, neither Iran nor Saudi Arabia have a political pawn in Islamabad that they can manipulate”:

“Pictures of soldiers shielding women and children with their bodies or carrying them away from the scene were widely shared, while more than 20 newspapers used a photograph on their front pages of a commando cradling a baby while holding an AK-47”:

Palestinians say that “the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations … dictates embassies must be established on the territory of the receiving state and that the ‘special status of Jerusalem’ means that the US violated its international obligations when it moved its embassy“:

“Musicians started playing heavy metal in Iran in the late ’80s and early ’90s. … But all had to stay underground, excluding a few whose music did not include elements from racier subgenres of metal.” In the past three years an increasing number of bands have been permitted to play in public:

News and Analysis (9/27/18)

September 27th, 2018

Press outlets that characterize Rouhani’s words at the U.N. as saber-rattling just aren’t listening:

The poet says she is “very happy to be free, finally, after three years” after “being sent to prison for a poem, but it will be impossible to stop my writing” …

… as Labor Party delegates vote “to criticize Israel’s use of force against Gaza protests, urge more U.K. funding for the U.N. agency for Palestinians and back a freeze on British arms sales to Israel” …

… while the international community is revulsed by Israel’s order to “Palestinians living in a Bedouin village in the occupied West Bank to demolish their homes within the next eight days and leave” …

… and Erdogan says, “The massacres in Bosnia, Rwanda, Somalia, recently in Myanmar, and in Palestine as we speak have all taken place before the eyes of the United Nations Security Council”:

“The video, which has been circulated widely online, shows a female constable repeatedly striking the young student — who local media report is Hindu — and berating her for allegedly conducting an interfaith relationship”:

Yameen destroyed the statues “even though the statues have no religious symbols or meaning. … Despite the edict huge cutouts of Yameen towered over the capital Male in the lead-up to Sunday’s poll, which he lost after five years of strongman rule marked by a regression from democracy”:

PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim asserted that “the new government defends free speech and that allowing space for pro-LGBT views should not necessarily be construed as accepting them”:

“The Iraqi political scene has been roiled by a boiling over of public frustration with government incompetence and by the bellicose rhetoric between Washington and Tehran“:

“The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, the ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Washington, and the director of Israel‘s Mossad spy agency have joined ranks” …

… and the Saudi’s plan to reduce their own oil use “just as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries rebuffs demands from U.S. President Donald Trump that it take action to reduce prices” …

… while a British Foreign Office minister says “the UK would stand firm against Washington’s pressure to abandon the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and continue to pursue progress in ‘a different way'” …

… and EU members plan to “set up a payment system to allow oil companies and businesses to continue trading with Iran in a bid to evade sanctions after the US withdrew from a nuclear agreement” …

… but Israel insists on welshing on  a billion dollar debt to despite an order upheld by Switzerland’s supreme court:

Muslim “victim of, or the perpetrator of, … terrorism?” Check. Male misogynist? Check. Oppressed female? Check. Irrational anger? Check. Superstitious, culturally backwards or anti-modern? Check. Threat to a western way of life? Check. Bodyguard fails the “Riz test” on every count:

News and Analysis (9/23/18)

September 23rd, 2018

Trita Parsi warns that “the terrorist attack in Ahvaz” might be part a Saudi and UAE effort “to goad Iran to retaliate” in order “to spark a larger war and force the US to enter” …

… while Rudolph Guilliani told an Iran Uprising Summit organized by the a Washington-based group associated with the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq”, “I don’t know when we’re going to overthrow them. It could be in a few days, months, a couple of years. But it’s going to happen:

“The court said the government’s refusal to acknowledge that Fikre did not belong on the list and would not be returned there left an overhang that could cause business associates, friends and even family to shun him”:

From unanimously denied to unanimously approved after federal intervention, “Thursday’s votes were followed mostly by applause from residents who filled audience seats at City Hall, and there were only a few grumbles” …

… but a federal investigation into the blocking of cemetery in Virginia “could turn into a lawsuit against” Stafford County”:

The party’s “Interim Manifesto” “calls for the creation of jails ‘exclusively for’ Muslims who “promote extremism or try to convert non-Islamic prisoners … [and] a ban on mosques receiving money from overseas and the abolition of the hate crime category”:

“It’s absurd that the immigration minister thinks this is an important thing to spend time on. Shaking hands does not show if you are integrated or not”– Kasper Ejsing Olesen, the mayor of the town of Kerteminde:

Rouhani asks, “How can Iran, and others, trust the United States while it is threatening to punish other countries for the implementation of the same U.N. resolution it sponsored and voted for?” …

… and Iran’s oil minister will veto any OPEC move  to change to its oil allotment:

President Yameen removed the chief justice and a lower court judge “known for their relative independence” and since then “all major political rivals to Yameen were imprisoned on various charges”:

“Noorul Haq Qadri, Pakistan’s federal minister for religious affairs, warned that Beijing’s strict regulation of Uighur activity fuels extremism rather than counters terrorism”:

The highway from Ramallah to Jerusalem “deteriorates into a half tarmac road, a set of closed, rusting shop doors, and garbage” smelling of raw sewage that “lies, green and gentle, in a pool at the bottom of … The Wall” …

… as Spain and Ireland signal their readiness to recognize Palestine in the face of Trump administration attempts to sabotage the peace process: