Archive for December, 2007

News and Analysis (12/31/07)

Monday, December 31st, 2007

Seeking to capitalize off of the outpouring of sympathy and anger over Bhutto’s death, the Pakistan People’s Party says it will participate in the upcoming January 8th parliamentary vote…

…meanwhile analysts find that the death of Bhutto and attempted assassinations of other top Pakistani officials bear the marks of an overall Al-Qaeda strategy to create instability in Pakistan:

Famous Israel-based human rights organization B’Tselem says number of deaths due to conflicts between Israelis and Palestinians fell compared to last year, but also notes the new humanitarian crisis in Gaza, a 13% increase in Palestinians detained without trial or charge, a 38% increase of demolished Arab homes in East Jerusalem, and a spike in intra-Palestinian violence:

Former ambassador to South Korea and CIA veteran Donald Gregg finds “draconian positions taken by the Bush administration” including issues of torture, the Iraq war and other confrontational policies make conditions more difficult for agents to gather important intelligence:

Pragmatic Iranian leader Ali Akbar Rafsanjani continues his political battles against Ahmedinejad and other hard-liners by helping to revive a “moderate” newspaper that straddles between reformism and conservatism:

News and Analysis (12/30/07)

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

Efforts to keep the CIA’s image viewed non-negatively “by Congress, by prosecutors, by the American public and by Muslims worldwide” through destruction of torture tapes ends up backfiring horribly:

Reza Aslan argues that it is foreign policy, not the “image” of the next American president that will affect how youth in the Muslim world view America:

Iraqi officials proclaim three-fourths of Al-Qaeda in Iraq have been destroyed, however one independent journalist sees ethnically-cleansed Baghdad, massive refugee displacement and the spike in US deaths as characteristic of Iraq’s “worst year”, while Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan continues to grow:

American Muslim charities win legal battle overturning earlier lawsuit for alleged terrorist financing, due to a lack of evidence directly connecting them with the death of an American in the West Bank:

European diplomats holding low-key talks with various tribal leaders, including some Taliban members, were thrown out of the country following a complaint from the US:

Family legacy politics, not meritocracy, continue to reign supreme in Pakistan as Benazir’s son Bilawal and her husband Asif Ali Zardawi are respectively named Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party:

Prominent entrepreneur who led the socially, economically and politically influential Sengalese Islamic association, Serigne Saliou Mbacke, passes away:

News and Analysis (12/28/07)

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Al-Qaeda takes responsibility for Bhutto’s death, and instability and rioting hit Pakistan:

Algeria’s press feels the familiar squeeze being caught between religious militants and an authoritarian government:

Palestinian and Israeli leaders try to forge ahead with peace talks, however ongoing settlement projects, like the ones Palestinian farmer Daoud Nassar are trying to fight, threaten the progress of negotiations:

Resolving issues of power sharing, members of former southern Sudanese rebel group take to their national government posts:

News and Analysis (12/27/07)

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

In a city with supposedly tight security, police stop one suicide bomber from attacking Bhutto’s rally in Rawalpindi, but let a second slip through the cracks, killing the former PM, and failing to prevent an attack on members of rival opposition leader Nawaz Sharif’s camp killing four…

…however according to a former CNN correspondent lax security isn’t the only problem facing the country, but also issues of literacy, government transparency and honesty, and religious freedom:

Leading Iraq war supporter reveals skyrocketing costs of empire and occupation:

TSA begins implementing behavioral profiling program as a more ethical and effective alternative to racial profiling:

In latest Malaysian row over issues of religious conversion, Hindu mom loses legal battle to prevent her former husband from converting their 4-year old to Islam:

News and Analysis (12/26/07)

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

As Congress begins to probe the events and people behind the destruction of the CIA’s torture tape, some Congressional members and former Agency officials believe the orders came directly from the White House:

An ongoing proxy war in Somalia between Eritrea and Ethiopia under the aegis of fighting terrorism threatens to descend into open confrontation, possibly engulfing the entire region in war:

Arrests and political manipulation between Sadr movement and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq threaten to further fragment the country’s Shi’a community…

…meanwhile, the Iraqi central government tentatively backs a draft bill that would promote reconciliation between Shi’as and Sunnis by granting amnesty to tens of thousands of prisoners held in Iraqi and US-run jails:

Improved chances for dialogue between Jews and Muslims flourish in America due to better opportunities for social and economic advancement:

News and Analysis (12/25/07)

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

Massive graft and increased instability in tribal areas cause US aid to Pakistan to come under increased scrutiny from Congress:

9/11 Commission chairman Thomas Kean says the CIA obstructed the Commission’s investigation in spite of the Agency’s denials:

Although Iraqi and Palestinian Christians celebrate some of the calmest Christmases in recent years, the effects of the occupations they live under still linger over their heads:

Lebanese legislators take another step to end political impasse by taking a first crack at a constitutional amendment to elect consensus candidate General Michel Suleiman:

Afghanistan expels two high-level EU officials after they meet with a wide variety of tribal leaders, including members of the Taliban:

“Come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!” (Offer may not apply to Palestinian Christians)

Monday, December 24th, 2007

“Come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem! (Offer may not apply to Palestinian Christians)”

Christmas is supposed to be a happy time. Even though it is not a Muslim holiday, I remember my Mom’s stories of how the Muslims of Palestine used to share in the good will of their Christian neighbors during their holidays. That was before the Israeli occupation. Now as headlines in America boast how “Christians from all over the world” have come to Bethlehem to commemorate the birth of the baby that both Christians and Muslims believe is the Messiah (but only Trinitarian Christians believe is God Incarnate), those same newspapers ignore the fact that the one group of Christians from among those, who, like Jesus (peace be upon him) himself, are Palestinian, who are not allowed to come to Bethlehem.

Here is an e-mail I received from Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian fighting to save his 100-acre family farm just south of Bethlehem from confiscation by the Israelis:

“Yes, there are many Christians all over the world coming to visit Bethlehem and are now there but many Palestinian Christians are not allowed to come to the city especially from other cities in the West Bank as well as from Gaza. It is easier for who are living in the surroundings from Bethlehem to come to the city but still they have to cross checkpoints. The media as always is ignoring the situation of the Palestinian Christians.

“It is very sad thing, even in your own country; you have no freedom of movement and have no access to holy places.”

Many Palestinians have been unable to document their property ownership because they had never registered the land in order to avoid repressive taxation. (They have bills of sale, but the Israelis refuse to accept that as proof). Daoud’s father, however, had registered the land and paid taxes even before the Israeli occupation, yet the Israelis have kept him in court for over 15 years as they seek excuses to take his family’s land and give it to the settlers who ring his property like vultures, scorning earthly documentation of his property rights which they would sacrifice to their blasphemous mythology of God as real estate agent.

While the mainstream press ignores the plight of the Palestinians, Zionist propagandists on the Internet try to blame it on the Muslims. Yet, it was under the Muslims that Jews and Christians prospered in Palestine for centuries. It was Umar who, on conquering Jerusalem, opened it to residency by Jews after the Christians had banned them from the city. It was Salahuddin (Saladin) who let the Jews back in after the Crusaders had slaughtered the Jewish residents of the city (along with Muslims and even some indigenous Christians since all Arabs looked alike to them).

When Daoud, founder of a peace group called “Tent of Nations,” came to the United States last month, the mainstream press ignored his mission. He spoke to a few small groups at churches and universities (and to us at the Minaret of Freedom Institute). What will it take to get the Christians of America to listen to their co-religionists in Palestine?

Merry Christmas, Blessed Eid, and Happy Hannukkah to those who love God.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.

Minaret of Freedom Institute

www.minaret.org

News and Analysis (12/24/07)

Monday, December 24th, 2007

The outsourcing of security missions to both private mercenaries and Sunni militants inthe US-led occupation in Iraq lead to dire consequences:

Without accountability and controls, military aid to Pakistan intended to fight Al-Qaeda is siphoned off to prop up Musharraf’s regime and purchase weapons systems to counter India:

Strong bureaucratic influence, a culture of extreme secrecy, and a strong desire to protect its own explain many of the reasons behind the CIA’s destruction of its torture tapes:

News and Analysis (12/23/07)

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007

In spite of “detailed requests” from 9/11 Commission staffers and members, CIA failed to disclose existence of torture tapes, meanwhile intelligence and counterterrorism experts say it needs to videotape its interrogations more in order to boost accountability and improve research on what interrogation techniques work:

US soldiers and Iraqi officials are worried that arming and enlisting the “Sunni Awakening Councils” to weed out Al-Qaeda in Iraq will end up as a recipe for more sectarian and tribal rivalries, leading Baghdad to state they will disband them once violence calms down:

Saudi Arabia arrests 28 people accused of plotting terrorist attacks around Mecca during the hajj:

Contradicting statements from two other prominent Israeli officials, PM Olmert says it will not agree to a ceasefire with Hamas unless it stops violence and recognizes Israel:

Indian Muslims in Gujarat are on edge on the eve statewide of a vote expected to elect a Hindu nationalist candidate accused of tacitly supporting 2002 Muslim pogroms:

After mosque bombing in Pakistan kills 56, Bhutto slams the government for failing adequately to tackle Taliban militancy:

News and Analysis (12/21/07)

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Former Iranian president Rafsanjani harshly criticizes Ahmadinejad for economic mismanagement, citing rising inflation and comparing his policies to the Shah:

Big Brother seeks to move ahead with a plan to spy domestically from the heavens in spite of civil liberties concerns and lack of communication with House oversight body:

In seeking to uphold the ban on Tariq Ramadan judge reasons that courts have no place in reviewing any visa denials, including those based on ideological grounds:

5 Years of a hubris-guided and badly mismanaged occupation in Iraq is largely the reason behind war costs that now top 11 years in Vietnam, meanwhile political blowback from prominent Shi’a leaders emerge after implementing a plan to arm local Sunni groups to fight Al-Qai’da:

Israeli transport and infrastructure ministers say the country should seriously consider “any potential ceasefire proposal” from Hamas: