Archive for March, 2008

News and Analysis (3/19/08)

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Five years after the invasion, despite an uneven and fragile stability, Iraq still faces the threat of re-intensified sectarian warfare, rampant corruption, and the challenge of rebuilding without much of its professional middle class:

The US may end its attempts at politically isolating Hamas and allow it to be a part of the peace negotiations, but the growing influence of Israel’s religious extremists and the latest Israeli bombing of Gaza are likely to complicate further talks:

Dialog between Muslims and various Christians denominations move ahead, with largely positive responses from all religious groups involved; however, discussions of hot topics like apostasy and proselytism will not be open to the public:

Consumers with names similar to alleged terrorists and drug dealers get caught up in bloated and invasive terror watchlists:

Legal debates under new parliament start after Pakistan’s AG says removed judges can only be reinstated if changes to the constitution during Musharraf’s martial law are undone:

Controversy over debates on whether Muslims have the right to apostasize leads to another 20 hardline Wahhabi clerics pronouncing takfir upon the Muslim writers who support of freedom of religion:

News and Analysis (3/18/08)

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Political reconciliation necessary to stabilize Iraq is jeopardized even before the talks start; meanwhile, Iraq gets rocked by another sectarian bombing, killing at least 43 Shi’a:

After Qatar takes a first step toward fully living up to its Islamic obligation by upholding religious freedom, talks begin between Saudis and the Vatican to allow the construction of churches inside the Kingdom:

FBI internal audit finds massive data errors and inconsistent policies plaguing an increasingly bloated “Terror Watchlist”, but such oversight for other security agencies may not exist anymore as Bush abuses his executive authority to weaken the Intelligence Oversight Board:

More House congressional members are finally taking a stand against telecom immunity after being reassured they won’t lose their seats:

In a challenge to the failed Manichean analysis that has driven recent US counter-terrorism strategy, U.S. planners now seek to amplify rather than ignore anti-terrorist Muslim voices:

News and Analysis (3/17/08)

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Out of at least 16,000 soldiers deserting since the beginning of the Iraq War, more than 200 have fled to Canada to avoid a conflict that has harmed America’s power and life for Iraqis even harder…

…meanwhile Washington Post energy correspondent Steven Mufson argues that while US has not been able to benefit from Iraq’s reserves, oil may probably played a factor in driving the Iraq war:

Despite a distorted election, reformists make some incremental gains against hardliners, but conservative still come away with a 70 percent majority:

Libertarian freelance Julian Sanchez argues that the unrestrained intelligence gathering supported by the Bush administration will repeat a history of political spying abuses:

An audit by the National Security Archive, finds government secrecy is still strongly entrenched as national security agencies fail to a massive backlog of Freedom of Information Act requests:

DC’s draconian restrictions on the Second Amendment are ineffective and counterproductive, fueling a black market many times paid for with drugs:

News and Analysis (3/15-16/08)

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

Islamic Law analyst Noah Feldman gives an overview of Shari’a and its potential mix with democracy:

Despite having an electoral mandate of the Palestinian people, and 64 percent of the Israeli public and a former Mossad head in favor direct talks, the US and Israeli government continue to snub Hamas:

Fueled by a black market of siphoned oil profits, lack of economic opportunity under the occupation, not ideology drives the insurgency:

PM Erdogan slams anti-democratic move by secular fundamentalists to shut down the AK party:

Major Wahhabi religious figure declares takfir on two writers, who, supported by mainstream scholars, argued that Islam allows Muslims to leave their faith without fear of capital punishment:

As Washington Post editorial asks whether Musharraf will allow the new democratic majority to go ahead with its reform program, the US has increasingly silenced its support for the embattled dictator-in-chief:

Arrested at a brothel, Iran’s iron enforcer of state morality gets caught in a major act of personal hypocrisy:

News and Analysis (3/14/08)

Friday, March 14th, 2008

The death of Mosul’s Chaldean Archbishop is the most high profile example of the effects of lawlessness and sectarian violence endured by Iraq’s Christians …

… while Qatar makes a strong symbolic act of Islamic tolerance opening its first Catholic Church, with five other Christian denominations in line to follow …

… and in Germany where the state is entangled with religion, participants at a German Muslim conference, including the Interior Minister, propose offering Islam as a required religion class and supports the construction of more mosques:

After years of fighting fruitless battles with Iran’s political system, former reformists leave politics to pursue personal goals and leisure:

In a politically charged Pakistan, “Mr. 10%” Asif Zardari gets cleared of all seven corruption cases thrown at him, however investigations in Switzerland remain:

Lawyers for Gitmo detainee claim the US manipulated evidence to make the defendant look guilty:

Secret sessions to to discuss secret surveillance? Rep. David Obey (D-WI)’s characterization of their “almost total uselessness” doesn’t stop Congress:

News and Analysis (3/13/08)

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Ousted PM Ismail Haniyeh offers truce with Israel and is willing to have the deployment of some Fatah troops in the Gaza Strip:

GAO head says US continues to undermine itself in Iraq by unnecessarily footing the bill for much of its reconstruction and allowing money to be siphoned off to Sunni and Shi’a militias:

Lawmakers warn that the departure of Adm. William Fallon should not automatically make Bush’s Iran policy more confrontational…

…meanwhile reformist Iranians with strong Revolution creds slam the authoritarian politics of hardliners:

Further disclosure of the FBI’s abuse of national security letters elicits cries for institutional reform:

During the Pentagon’s disclosure of a few of its interrogations, officials admit “only a small fraction of the tens of thousands of interrogations worldwide since 2001 had been recorded”:

Unhappy with Congressional resistance to telecom immunity, despite an alternative proposal allowing the companies to defend themselves in court without the presence of plaintiffs, Bush calls the alternative bill “inadequate”:

News and Analysis (3/12/08)

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

The US gains its second Muslim Congressman with the election of Andre Carson:

Top US commander of military forces in the Middle East leaves his job due to publicized resistance to bombing Iran, while analysts posit Iran’s regional ascent and domestic strengthening of hardliners is largely the result of Bush’s imperial policies:

After stepping back from its incursion into northern Iraq, Ankara offers a set of political and economic policy reforms to ease and head off tensions with Turkish and Iraqi Kurds:

Security experts and critical observers question whether the alleged Muslim terror plot was either State propaganda and/or over-vigilance to a false alarm:

Military statistics show Iraq’s violence has hit a lower, but persistent, plateau while US and Iraqi troops face a long and complicated battle for to bring stability to Mosul’s ethnic tinderbox:

International setbacks and double standards characterize the 2007 issue of world’s most comprehensive report on international human rights:

News and Analysis (3/11/08)

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Congressional representatives say telecoms should be taken to courts “with special authorization to hear classified evidence” to determine the liability of their role in the illegal wiretapping:

Iranian’s authoritarian political structures stifle real democratic development and maintain harmful economic policies:

Systematic, in-depth research of more than 600,000 captured Iraqi documents conclusively refutes the false notion of a link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda:

Ineffective for over 30 years of its existence, the Organization of the Islamic Conference now seeks to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and poverty:

“The Koran is our basic guide. Anything that conflicts with that, we are trying to eliminate.”Ismail Hakki Unal, head of the Hadith department at Ankara University:

Lahore gets rocked by massive suicide blasts targeting a federal police station and an advertising agency building, while food and energy shortages add to Pakistan’s problems:

News and Analysis (3/10/08)

Monday, March 10th, 2008

After the blood of 120 Palestinians and 8 Jewish Israeli seminarians is shed in Gaza and Jerusalem, respectively, Israel finally scales back its military operations, but Tel Aviv OKs more settlements in the West Bank, further suffocating the peace process and leading some to speculate that a third Palestinian uprising is brewing:

10,000 Muslim Brotherhood protesters hit the street in opposition to the recent government crackdown on the group and its interference in local council elections:

Law professor Jon Turley analyzes the convoluted and paradoxical legal reasoning of Attorney General Mike Mukasey:

News and Analysis (3/8-9/08)

Sunday, March 9th, 2008

Bush knocks down bill on intelligence interrogations, confirming his opposition to limiting executive power by rule of law:

Poll of Iranians finds overwhelming dissatisfaction with the authoritarian tendencies of their political system, but very high support for normalized trade and diplomatic relations with the US…

…meanwhile elite reformist, conservative and hardline clerics debate over the direction of the Revolution:

Ignorant of their religion, radicals receive religious education and other forms of rehabilitation from the government, but its effectiveness in the long-term and on hardcore terrorists is uncertain…

…meanwhile the Saudi state throws two reformers behind bars for defending women’s demonstrations that detained relatives be tried or released:

CENTCOM head Jim Fallon is in hot water and may soon be out of a job for publicly ruling out a war with Iran for the third time:

The outgoing GAO head’s desire to empower the agency to conduct oversight on intelligence management practices and financing faces stiff resistance:

Pakistan opposition parties finally form a coalition and seek to reinstate sacked judges immediately: