Archive for March, 2008

News and Analysis (3/31/08)

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Though some fighting remains, hostilities have largely abated as Sadr orders his forces to cease fire and issues a nine-point statement that demands amnesty for his men:

Despite the Bush administration’s grandiose promises and billions in military aid spent, proper training of Iraqi soldiers remains marred by policy blunders, clashing sectarian and political loyalties, and corruption:

Mike Hayden dismisses the intelligence community’s key report in the process of making the claim that Iran is a threat to the US:

Islamabad’s new government means not only a new strategy against Taliban militancy, but greater oversight of the nation’s shadowy intelligence services:

The FBI stumbled on the NSA domestic spying program within 12 hours of its start,  setting off concerns at the Bureau and Justice Department:

Vatican report on global population stats asserts Muslims now surpass Catholics in numbers of followers:

News and Analysis (3/29-30/08)

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

After continuing to put up stiff resistance to the Iraqi government…

…Muqtada Al-Sadr unilaterally draws down many of his forces and offers a truce, but with certain conditions, including refusal to disarm…

…meanwhile former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski offer his reasons and formula for getting out of Iraq:

Pakistani PM Yusuf Gillani flexes his political muscles, winning a breakthrough unanimous vote of confidence, leading analysts to believe he has the clout to impeach Musharraf:

EU warns secular extremists’ attempts at banning the ruling AK party would be a set back to Turkey’s membership bid:

Condi Rice managed to cajole Israel into minor concessions that don’t include any freezes on settlement building and remove only a fraction of the 563 roadblocks cantonizing the West Bank:

“We’re worried that provocations and insults against us have increased recently. I wouldn’t want to ban (the play) but you can bet on protests from Muslim people. They can’t be expected to put up with everything.”—Nurhan Soykan, Spokeswoman for the Central Council of Muslims in Germany

News and Analysis (3/28/08)

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Dutch extremist politician Geert Wilders finally releases his anti-Islam film online, but his project of incitement might be undermined by another Islamophobe as Muhammad (PBUH) cartoonist Kurt Westergaard says he’ll sue over the film’s unlawful use of his drawing…

…meanwhile the UN Human Rights Council passes an ill-conceived OIC-backed resolution using legislation rather than the free market of ideas to counter hate speech against other faiths:

Ongoing “offensive” against Sadrist militias meant to assert Maliki’s authority and bring peace and stability to Iraq does neither:

Destruction of the CIA’s torture tapes puts the spy agency in huge entanglements, including new legal arguments from Gitmo detainees:

Media activist Robert Weitzel looks at one Christian extremist group’s attempts to influence Mideast policy and the deadly effects it has on peace in the Holy Land:

Journalism professor Lawrence Pintak warns Israel and the Arab League that seeking to undermine Al Jazeera’s influence with the Arab public by shutting it down or shutting it out is risky:

News and Analysis (3/27/08)

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

The Bush administration makes aggressive and counterproductive moves against militants, claiming credit for a stalled offensive that has set off an intra-shi’a civil war in Iraq…

…and Pakistan where Bush provides more $300m more in last minute military aid and conducts more unilateral strikes as Islamabad’s new government comes to power:

Secularists escalate their politically motivated judicial coup to shut down the AKP by taking it to Turkey’s Constitutional Court:

Human Rights Watch details the Thai army’s torture interrogations used to put down an ethno-nationalist rebellion in the south:

President of the International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans, finds the economic and political isolation of Hamas a counterproductive failure:

News and Analysis (3/26/08)

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

As the Egyptian state postpones the verdicts of 40 Muslim Brotherhood members for a second time, analysts point to a trend of arrests deliberately targeting the group’s moderates:

Islamabad’s democratically elected government tells Washington it seeks a more independent and holistic approach to domestic counterterrorism, while Pakistan’s army removes another two high-level Musharraf loyalists from key posts:

Muslim scholar involved in high-level discussions with the Vatican denounces the highly publicized conversion of a Muslim to Catholicism, but says dialogs with the Holy See will continue as planned, while Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders respond warmly to King Abdullah’s call for interfaith discussions:

Although its legal system is far from fully implementing Islamic principles of justice and fairness, Saudi Arabia creeps toward these goals with the creation of a human rights commission and discussions with human rights organizations:

Well-intentioned, but misguided state-run policy to “empower” Muslim women fails to tackle issues of social discrimination and comes off as patronizing:

“The wisdom of the Framers ensures that some of the excesses of Europe – in both directions – [to accommodate Muslim religious practices] won’t be replicated here” – Ruth Marcus, Washington Post columnist

News and Analysis (3/25/08)

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

After being sworn in, Pakistan’s new PM bolsters his reputation for taking principled stances by making good on a promise to lift house arrest orders for the 65 judges deposed by Musharraf:

After realizing the failure of political isolation, some Western officials are beginning to tinker with the idea of including Hamas in peace negotiations:

Despite renewing a ceasefire pledge, Muqtada As-Sadr’s forces face a massive government troop offensive in Basra, aiming to wrest control of the city from the Mahdi Army and other local Shi’a militias…

…meanwhile an op-ed in the Arab news argues an American withdrawal will not lead to an “orgy of violence” some fear:

A German state-sponsored initiative aims to promote tolerance by making religious extremism uncool through comic strips, but Muslim civil society organizations say the effort could have been improved had the State decided to consult them on the project:

Continuing the momentum of earlier Muslim-Christian dialogs, King Abdullah says they should be expanded into an Abrahamic trialog that includes Jews…

…meanwhile Human Rights Watch calls for a uniform penal code to prevent further human rights abuses in the name of Islamic jurisprudence:

News and Analysis (3/24/08)

Monday, March 24th, 2008

A few days after reaching the fifth anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the US reaches another gloomy milestone—4,000 US soldiers killed…

…meanwhile Der Spiegel conducts an in-depth investigation of Germany’s role in providing false intelligence to hawkish elements within the US:

Cheney charges Hamas, Syria and Iran are “wrecking” Middle East peace despite Israel’s refusal to negotiate over the Golan Heights, continuing US and Israel belligerence toward Iran and Israel’s opposition to a unity government that could stabilize the Palestinian National Authority:

A former Al-Qaeda militant recounts his sense of disillusionment and betrayal by UBL’s actions:

Musharraf’s power quickly fades as he faces a hostile new parliament, stuck in a position that is “largely ceremonial” according to Pakistan’s own constitution, and no longer has the backing of the army:

News and Analysis (3/22-23/08)

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Once again Americans detained by America must fight for habeus corpus …

… while an Iraqi collaborator with the Iraq mission gets spurned:

Iranian analysts point to recent elections as evidence Western sanctions are counterproductive:

Middle East analyst Shadi Hamid argues that if Americans want to mitigate violence among Muslims, it should start by understanding the policies and politics fueling their anger:

Montana’s governor declares victory after long-standing opposition to the invasive Real ID act:

Tenacious advocacy for abused women in Dubai and opposition to state control of her work earns Sharla Musabih many supporters and enemies:

As a low-key PPP insider, Yousaf Gillani, is tapped to become Pakistan’s next PM, the US starts to worry as Islambad’s government seeks to tackle militant extremism with law-enforcement techniques and negotiations rather than failed military methods:

News and Analysis (3/21/08)

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Lack of security leaves Afghans vulnerable not only to the Taliban, but to what local residents see as the greater threat—criminal gangs:

Fed up with the coercion and bloody tactics, tribal groups begin turning on extremist militants, but disdain for the Pakistani government and America remain:

British prisons seek imams to prevent radicalization of other prisoners by religious extremists:

Part of a broader plan “to encourage moderation and tolerance in Saudi society”, the State is seeking to retrain 40,000 imams:

Having women-only hours at one gym and the adhan being broadcast across Harvard Yard for a few days last month ignites discussions over pluralism and religious accommodation among students:

New York City counterterror cop goes to court after blowing the whistle on the NYPD for failing to stop a city contractor who bombarded his unit with “hundreds of virulent anti-Arab and anti-Muslim e-mail messages”:

Ongoing political deadlock and rising tensions have people talking of another civil war, with some already making preparations to move elsewhere:

News and Analysis (3/20/08)

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

In a major political breakthrough for Iraq, legislation addressing Sunni concerns is passed:

Reuters correspondent Cynthia Johnston describes how she was harassed by Egyptian security forces while covering the beat on the Muslim Brotherhood:

Despite Big Brother powers given to American intelligence agencies, Al-Qaeda remains alive largely due lack of linguistic and cultural expertise; meanwhile, Bin Laden issues a new threat to the EU, this time over a re-printing of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):

The Kuwaiti Emir dissolves parliament and calls for snap elections after not getting “fruitful cooperation,” not on electoral reform this time, but over pay increases:

Sectarian violence spreads to Nigeria, and barely kept under the surface: