Archive for June, 2007

News and Analysis (6/19/07)

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

As the US finally releases money withheld from the Palestinian government, an op-ed in the Washington Post argues that trying to isolate Hamas in the Gaza Strip while attempting to bolster economic, military and political support for Fatah in the West Bank is deeply flawed: 

Iraq shows why its on the Top 10 list on “2007 Failed States Index” as 75 people die in bomb attack on Shi’a mosque in central Baghdad in spite a massive 10,000-man anti-terrorism crackdown in the capital: 

Transitional government grants amnesty to all Islamist groups in hopes of coaxing them into national conciliation talks; Islamists “welcome” the gesture but refuse to enter discuss unless Ethiopia withdraws: 

While stances and political appointees change or entrench themselves among government and opposition parties, experts on Pakistan find that support for democratic reform, not Musharraf’s authoritarianism is the best antidote to fighting extremism: 

What’s Next in Palestine/Israel?

Monday, June 18th, 2007

Javier Mendez of El Mercurio (Santiago, Chile) has posed some questions about the current situation in Palestine/Israel. Here they are, with our answers.
1) What are the expectations for the meeting between Olmert and Bush?

Our expectations for the meeting between Olmert and Bush are very low.      HAMAS is nowin a situation similar to that of the PLO (and therefore Fatah) in the 1970’s. Bush and Olmert do not understand, or do not wish to admit, that bringing Hamas to where Fatah is now would require a similar expenditure of effort and good will. Instead they follow the policies that delayed détente between Israel and the PLO for so many years.

2) Do you think that they will try to analyse or talk about security issues in Gaza, West Bank or will they try to drive forward the peace iniciative called Road Map?

We see no signs that Mr. Bush will push for the pursuit of the road map.

3) Do you believe that recent violence beetween Hamas and Al Fatah could make situation in Middle East get worse? How could violence be stopped in Gaza and West Bank?

Hamas has offered a general amnesty in order to try to halt the cycle of internal violence among the Palestinians. Fatah is unlikely to respond in kind as long as Bush and Olmert continue to press them to disenfranchise Hamas.

4) What are the Israeli conditions for continuing the peace procese?

Israel has consistently rejected Hamas’ offer of a long-term cease fire so one must conclude that it is less interested in ending the rocket attacks from Gaza than in forcing Hamas to pretend to recoginize its legitimacy.

5) In your opinion, what are the chances today for peace in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine?

At this moment the prospects for peace seem the worst they have been in a very long time.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (6/18/07)

Monday, June 18th, 2007

While respected anti-war conservative academic challenges the emerging bi-partisan consensus that further American military adventurism will instigate reform in Muslim societies, and sees only reform only “coming from within” other experts find that occupation of Iraq and support for the authoritarian status quo is destabilizing the Middle East 

US strategy co-opting local Sunni militias to fight Al-Qaeda is met with resistance from Kurdish and Shi’a legislators: 

Turkish polls find public and business leaders prefer a Justice and Development Party-led government: 

After democratically elected Hamas-led government is purged from power, new Fatah-led emergency government begins receiving aid from EU again: 

News and Analysis (6/16-17/07)

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

As internationally respected journalist Ahmed Rashid argues that blind US support for Musharraf will backfire parallels that of the Shah of Iran, US officials visit Pakistan, restating their support for the dictator: 

Former World Bank official tapped to become Prime Minister, meanwhile Hamas declares new government illegal: 

In behind-the-scenes debates between hawks and diplomacy advocates, neo-conservative hawk tells conservative research groups that “diplomatic strategy was failing, and that by next spring Mr. Bush might have to decide whether to take military action.” 

In reaction to latest bombing attack on the Shi’a Askariya mosque, Moqtada As-Sadr calls for peaceful pilgrimage to site’s ruins: 

Civilian Pentagon officials force “overzealous” Army investigator of Abu Gharib torture into early retirement “without explanation”: 

News and Analysis (6/15/07)

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Fatah dissolves Palestinian unity government and declares a national state of emergency as Hamas is victorious in Gaza and grants amnesty to Fatah militants:

Sectarian backlash in Iraq takes place after second bombing of Samarra mosque, but violence is limited by increased security presence and leaders’ appeal for calm:

“We need to isolate the extremists as opposed to isolating the mainstream community” – Salam Al-Maryati, Executive Director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council

Egyptian government uses is state-controlled interpretation as excuse for arresting dissenting and heterodox Muslims:

Pro-active law enforcement, not military, responses and intellectual mobilization of Indonesian orthodox Muslim scholars lead to blow against violent radical network:

Forum to be held in Scotland for young Muslims to vent their grievances over racial profiling, media stereotyping and other forms of discrimination:

News and Analysis (6/14/07)

Thursday, June 14th, 2007

Covering only 10% of FBI national security investigations, internal audit finds over 1,000 potential violations of the law:

Bloody security fallout in Iraq continues as a Pentagon report finds that violence is spreading to other parts of Iraq in spite of increased troops presence; fears of fresh sectarian violence run high after second bombing of Shi’a shrine and the nation’s rival intelligence agencies can’t get their act together due to sectarian agendas:

Some opposition parties in Pakistan embrace recent US State Department remarks as endorsement of their views while others are more muted or critical:

Turkey’s Islamic-oriented party finds success in a secular, working class industrial town by bringing it prosperity through the success of its economic policies: 

“Challenges to Objective Media Coverage of Islam and Muslims”

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

The edited transcript of the Minaret of Freedom Institute annual dinner on “Challenges to Objective Media Coverage of Islam and Muslims” with Caryle Murphy, Nadia Charters-Bilbassy and Alison Weir is available, as are audio files of the event.

Speakers:

Caryle Murphy

Nadia Bilbassy Charters

Alison Weir

(Click on the name of a speaker above to hear an audio of her presentation.)

For an edited transcript (including graphs from Alison Weir’s presentation) click here.

Go to MFI home page.

News and Analysis (6/13/07)

Wednesday, June 13th, 2007

Damaged Shi’a mosque that set off intense sectarian bloodletting in 2006 is finished off with destruction of its minarets, sparking new fears of intensified violence:

Islamist intellectual Hassan Al-Turabi allegedly a one-time supporter of Osama Bin Laden is now a major opposition figure supporting pluralism, democracy, women’s rights and peace talks with Darfurians in Sudan:

Ali Mohammad remains stuck in Guantanamo in spite of official release due to “mistaken identities, bureaucratic inertia and official neglect”:

Indonesian government unveils plan to boost national prosperity through greater economic liberty, reducing government red tape to start businesses and providing tax break incentives for publicly listed companies and greater access to bank loans for small and medium enterprises:

Demands of prominent clan delay start of reconciliation forum, members Islamic Courts Union boycott the talks:

News and Analysis (6/12/07)

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

“The President cannot eliminate constitutional protections with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention”–US court of appeals ruling…

…Meanwhile Georgetown law Professor Rosa Brooks opines that term “unlawful enemy combatant” is the Bush administration’s failed legal attempt to have its cake and it eat too, and ironically finds that civilian courts have been more effective at prosecuting terrorists than the military tribunals:

State hegemony and intellectual incompetence cause people to lose trust in the leaders of the once prestigious Al-Azhar University in Egypt:

“Dirty bomber” Jose Padilla trial centers on the translation and meaning of words, with defense arguing that the FBI misconstrues the concept of jihad and “used the most sinister language possible in its translations:”

Government hypocrisy in Egypt’s latest electoral farce as ruling party claims “unprecedented freedom of expression” and uses religious icon as its party symbol on ballots for illiterate voters, but bans use of religious slogans and images in opposition members’ campaigns and prevents people from reaching polling stations and arrests opposition candidates:

Muslim faithful of Dagestan caught between heavy-handed tit-for-tat provocations between Russian security forces and militant rebels:

News and Analysis (6/11/07)

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Editorial by the Washington Post slams current US policy for not doing more to assist Iraqis who have fled violence in their country:

In spite of very serious risks, US military is arming Sunnis in other parts of the country, touting Anbar province as its model in order to fight Al-Qaeda in Iraq, however Anbar’s anti-Qaeda coalition is beginning to unravel, dissenting members citing dissatisfaction because of cooperation with occupying power:

“The bar is the only organization in Pakistan that has consistently held elections, and we are now reaping the benefits… It is a very functional democracy.” – Asma Jahangir, human rights attorney

LA Times’ investigative reporting finds that the US is dependent on Sudan government’s intelligence cooperation and has its hands tied on Darfur as a result: