Archive for December, 2011

News and Analysis (12/31/11)

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Protests are more widespread than ever in Bahrain, while opposition groups in and  out of Syria unite, but doubts about the prospects of the Arab League mission grow after the controversial chief of the mission dismisses an observer’s claim to have seen government snipers with his own eyes as “a hypothetical remark”:

As Iran delays missile tests and proposes to reopen nuclear talks, the director of Mossad dismisses claims that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel:

Israeli soldiers with a conscience, no longer able to keep silent tell the truth about the Gaza massacres …

… meanwhile, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat doesn’t need bombs and guns to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem, he can do it with a pen:

“Creating an official headquarters for the Taliban would … help avoid further missteps, such as inadvertently negotiating with imposters, as happened in November 2010″ and “would make them more independent of Pakistan and the ISI”:

“I was shocked to discover that what the militants were doing was against Islam…. Now I call them terrorists, not jihadis” — Sultan Mehmood Gujar, former funder of Islamist militants:

The U.S. says Egypt agreed to stop raids on democracy groups, but Gamal Banna, “one of Islam’s leading liberal thinkers” and younger brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood warns that if Islamists do not “move quickly to fix years of social and economic neglect … they could lose this opportunity and [the revolution] might collapse”:

After a Christian student’s Internet posting of a supposed picture of Muhammad (peace bne upon him) spawned violence, the military government promised “security around churches” and the ” Muslim Brotherhood has also vowed to protect the country’s churches”:

Richard Bonin writes, “It is remarkable how Ahmad Chalabi, a Shiite exile who commanded no army and led no tribe, managed to get a superpower to wage a war it will rue for years”:

Uri Avnery argues that Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran all owe Israel a big “thank you” for their success:

News and Analysis (12/29/11)

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

The Egyptian military has raided the offices of at least 17 local and foreign NGO’s on the pretext that they receive foreign funding, pretending to forget that they themselves receive $1.3 billion from the U.S. government every year:

“The draft affirms that Israel’s treatment of its minorities [Muslims and Christians] within its borders should be seen by the international community as a ‘core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict'”:

The violence continues; “Why couldn’t the head of the mission be from Egypt, Morocco or the Gulf?” he told The Associated Press by phone. “That his background is military undermines his credibility. Why did not they pick someone who has a legal or rights background?”

In the 19th century, one governor called for the extermination of the Mormons, another called for the expulsion of the Jews, and a political party sparked riots resulting in the massacre of 22 Catholics; so, Muslims, welcome to the club of America’s persecuted religious minorities:

“Wednesday’s raid in Hotan ‘was an excuse for more suppression,’ said Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress. Dilxat said that Uighurs in the area reached by phone gave unverified accounts of a higher death toll and told him that police were confiscating mobile phones to prevent calls, messages and photos from getting out”:

“The incident threatens to spoil efforts to forge Turkish-Kurdish consensus for a planned new constitution expected to partly address the issue of rights for the Kurdish minority” as the AKP admits that “the victims were not militants and that most of the dead were cigarette smugglers under the age of 30” and insists that “by no means will these [mistakes] be covered up”:

“A threat is often, as in this case, a way to send a strategic message. Iran is responding to the bellicose rhetoric that’s emanated from the US and Israel in recent weeks by saying ‘we can make you suffer if provoked'”:

“Paradoxically, the Dayton peace agreement that ended the bloody inter-ethnic war is actually at the origin of [Bosnia’s] institutional and political problems”:

News and Analysis (12/27/11)

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

“Since 9/11, Turkey has convicted nearly 13,000 people of terrorism offenses…. Long pretrial detention, broad police powers, a tendency to launch cases on meager evidence, and, increasingly, the arrest of lawyers representing detainees mean that there are serious problems in Turkey for the rights of defendants”:

“Earlier this year, an Egyptian general was quoted as acknowledging that the military had conducted such tests, saying that they were used so women would not later claim they had been raped by authorities. Human rights groups say such tests are a degrading form of abuse and the general’s justification a legal absurdity”:

The “BBC reports that while Syrian officials have appeared compliant, there are already allegations of a cover-up“:

As the Sultan of Sokoto seeks “to assure ‘all Nigerians that there is no conflict between Muslims and Christians, between Islam and Christianity’ … [but] a conflict between evil people and good people,”” a Muslim “former military ruler who lost a presidential election in April” said “the government was slow to respond and had shown indifference to the bombings” while the Christian Association of Nigeria claims “that the perpetrators and their sponsors ‘are well-known to government and no serious or decisive actions have been taken to stem their nefarious activities’:

The “Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which protects individuals, churches and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning” (and which was drafted by a coalition of which the Minaret of Freedom Institute was a member) may again play a role:

The government claims they “want to put bar codes on officially approved dresses and provide those wearing them with written permissions in order to prevent them from being arrested,” but “several fashion designers who sell dresses from their homes derided that idea, saying it would add even more permission slips to the already overprotected lives of Iranian women”:

“In Eastern Libya, 83 percent said freedom of the press was ‘important,’ and 71 percent said it was important to have laws giving equal rights to “religious and tribal groups,'” but “94 percent agreed with the proposition that ‘people should be prohibited from offending’ religions and … 69 percent of Libyans” disapproved of a secular state:

His family says “the charges against him are fabricated and that he was in Iran to visit his grandmothers”; on television he said, “Although I was appointed to break into Iran’s intelligence systems and act as a new source for the CIA, I had no intention of undermining the country”:

The claim of responsibility for the sectarian terrorism boasts, “the mujahedeen will never stand with their hands tied while the pernicious Iranian project shows its ugly face”:

 

News and Analysis (12/25/11)

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Zionist Christmas presents (“as many as 20 mosques and six churches have been targeted of late, not a single settler has been apprehended for the attacks”) …

… are like those of the Boko Haram:

“Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood … [says] the claim was posted on a fake website created by the regime”:

After “Security forces killed 13 people in an attack on tens of thousands of protesters peacefully marching into the capital” and Saleh’s announcemnt hat he would go to the United States “to get away from attention, cameras, and allow the unity government to prepare properly for elections”:

OIC Secretary General (SG), Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, has praised the Muslim women role in bringing about socio-political changes in the Middle Eastern countries, assuring that his oganization was all out to provide ample opportunities for broader women social role”:

The court’s view was that since the school would have provided space for the student to pray privately, his claim to a right to pray in public was unjustified:

“[A]ngry residents in Tarhouna retaliated by torching the headquarters of some 100 fighters who helped topple the longtime leader from power … on the same day security ministers announced a program for integrating former rebels in civil institutions”:

News and Analysis (12/23/11)

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Despite the fact that the bill contains provisions that ” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned … ‘put every American at risk’ of being sent to Guantanamo Bay” and ” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said it violated the Constitution because U.S. citizens could be apprehended on U.S. soil and held without a trial,”

“Like us, he knows that he’s innocent. We’re ready, and he is ready, to take it to the Supreme Court. And we’re happy to know that the defense team is very much committed to helping us move forward with this as far as it needs to go” — Tamer Mehanna:

“[O]pposition leaders and outside analysts raised questions about the veracity of the government account, noting that attacks by al-Qaeda or other terror groups are virtually unheard of in Syria. Because the Syrian government strictly controls media inside the country, there was no way to independently verify what had happened”:

The attack came “after the group challenged a new government ban on its weekly protests.” Among the victims was “a 13-year-old girl among those hurt had a serious injury to her thigh”:

A protester said, “They want to humiliate us at any price. We’re sending out a message to the State that we’re not going to allow for a ‘second Nakba’,” and  Knesset Member Jamal Zahalka remarked, “The torching of the mosques and the ‘mosque bill’ are part of a war declared against the Arab and Muslim population by the racists and settlers. The sound of the Muezzin, the church bells and the blowing of the shofar have always existed”:

“An unidentified cleric giving the Friday sermon in Tahrir Square blamed the military for divisions and called on the generals to give up power as the only solution to ending ‘dictatorship,'” while “in his sermon at Cairo’s main Al-Azhar mosque, Sheik Nasr Farid Wasil said “’Islam’s forgiveness calls for peace between security (forces) and the people’” …

… “The Mubarak regime used systematic sexual violence against female activists and journalists, and here’s the SCAF upholding that ignoble legacy. But to quote the women in Tahrir this week: ‘The women of Egypt are a red line.’ My body, and mind, belong to me”:

How would the French feel if Turkey prohibited people from denying the French massacres in Algeria constituted genocide? “Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the French vote was comparable with attempts by Mideast rulers to stifle free speech,” adding, “Europe has philosophically and ideologically reverted to the Middle Ages”:

Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani “reiterated that (the) Pakistan Army has and will continue to support the democratic process in the country” and Pakistan’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikar Chaudhry affirmed, “There is no question of a takeover. Gone are the days when people used to get validation for unconstitutional steps from the courts”:

“Ahead of and shortly after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, a number of officials, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz suggested the war could be done on the cheap and that it would largely pay for itself.” It wasn’t; they didn’t; and there were no weapons of mass destruction either:

News and Analysis (12/22/11)

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

“These blasts occurred because of conflicts among politicians…. We call upon all politicians to resolve their problems and leave people to live in security” — a Baghdad resident …

“Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has given every indication in recent days that he’s trying to freeze out his Sunni Arab political opponents from the political process. With sectarian tensions ratcheted up by what Sunni Arabs’ are convinced is a politically motivated terrorist prosecution of Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, who has fled to semi-autonomous Kurdistan for his safety”:

Are the Syrians serious this time?

Despite its admission, the U.S. still hasn’t apologized, insisting that Pakistan shares in the blame for the error:

Whether you agree with it or not, you cannot dismiss the FJP’s detailed 160-page platform as vague sloganeering of the “Islam is the answer” variety:

“For Hamas, a sense of validation has replaced a siege mentality after years of international boycott and blockade by Israel and by Egypt under former president Hosni Mubarak” and “this has translated into a declared intention of following the model of the Islamist parties abroad, which have shown readiness to share power with secular and liberal parties in governing coalitions”:

The “FJP’s critics are indeed numerous, and yet, they are outnumbered by the Brotherhood’s followers, a fact from which the party derives sufficient power to declare its views without fear of significant rebuke” …

… meanwhile the military-appointed prime minister cryptically “told a news conference that the ruling military … ‘want to leave today, not tomorrow’” without explanation:

The bill, yet to be passed by the French Senate, threatens any who publicly side with Turkey’s explanation of the deaths of huindreds of thousands of Armenianas after the Russian invasion of Anatolia with a “year in jail and a fine of 45,000 euros (£29,000; $58,000),”

News and Analysis (12/21/11)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

“Egypt’s conservative society has been shaken by nearly a week of deadly protests and by powerful images of women being stripped and beaten by soldiers in riot gear;” yet the elections continue:

The British court says “there is ‘a substantial case’ for saying the US government is bound under international legal agreements to agree to such [habeus corpus] requests from London. The appeal court has now given the British government a further four weeks to secure his release”:

“The secretary was clear that we have no indication that the Iranians have made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon” —  Pentagon press secretary George Little, clarifying Leon Panetta’s statement that Iran could “assemble” a nuclear weapon within a year if they already had a secret enrichment facility that we don’t know about:

Hashemi wants the “Sunni-backed Iraqiya block to end a boycott of parliament and of his year-old power-sharing government. ‘But,’ he warned, ‘If they insist, they are free to do so and they can withdraw permanently from the state and all its institutions'”:

“A small animal rights party proposed the ban and it won backing from a large anti-Islam political party and a solid majority of Dutch voters, leading to easy passage in Parliament’s Second Chamber. But Christian political parties opposed it from the start out of concern for religious minorities”:

France, which has long banned free and open discussion of the Nazi Holocaust against the Jews now wants to do the same for the Turkish massacre of the Armenians:

As the brutal repression mounts, signs of a Syrian civil war continue to emerge:

Defending “attacks by Israeli extremists on military bases, mosques and Palestinian property,” Israel’s foreign ministry says that “instead of “interfering with Israel’s domestic affairs,” it should focus on interfering in the internal affairs of Syria:

Like the more moderate Freedom and Justice Party, the “Nour Party is committed to agreements signed by previous Egyptian governments, including the 1979 peace treaty with Israel,” insisting that the ““the place for [any changes] is the negotiation table”:

 

News and Analysis (12/19/11)

Monday, December 19th, 2011

With Russia losing patience, Syria signs yet another agreement with the Arab League and releases a Syrian-American blogger:

Fingerpointing about the continuing clashes in Egypt give the lie to the claim that the military and the people are one, and exposes a disconnect between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood:

A spokeswoman for the legal campaign group Reprieve said the UK government’s failure to issue an apology had led Mr Belhaj’s lawyers … to send a letter initiating legal action.” His lawyers said: “The barbaric treatment which our clients describe, both at the hands of the Americans and the Libyans is beyond comprehension’:

“At the beginning of the demonstrations, we agreed with the demands for the end to despotism and corruption and only the street would decide the limit of the demands…. With time, we found many elements want to impose the parliamentary monarchy as a limit — we do not agree” — Hassan Bennajeh, Justice and Charity) group spokesman:

“How much longer will terrorists put innocent Afghans in harm’s way?” — @isafmedia; “I dnt knw. U hve bn pttng thm n ‘harm’s way’ fr da pst 10 yrs. Razd whole vilgs n mrkts. n stil hv da nrve to tlk bout ‘harm’s way’” — Abdulqahar Balkhi, one of the Taliban’s Twitter warriors, who uses the handle ­@ABalkhi:

A natural consequence of the establishment of a state religion? The government of the Maldives seems headed for a collision with religious hardliners in the civil society over the interpretation of Islamic law:

“Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh’s political adviser, Yusef Rizka, says the Gaza leader will travel in the near future to Turkey, Bahrain, Qatar and Tunisia. He says the four nations all invited Haniyeh to visit”:

News and Analysis (12/18/11)

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Hamas spokesman spokesman, Taher al-Nounu affirmed an understanding that “all Palestinian factions operating in the Gaza Strip have agreed to halt the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel”:

Even as it admits to (and regrets) the loss of civilian life engendered by its 11,781 Libyan bombing missions, NATO leaves “the responsibility of initiating any inquiry” as to  to Libya’s interim authorities, whose survival and climb to power were made possible largely by the airstrike campaign”:

“After nearly nine years, $800 billion, 4,500 American dead and an estimated 100,000 Iraqi dead, the war in Iraq is over — at least for the U.S. military”:

“The most secular state in the whole Muslim world, Turkey, used to have many oppressive laws, banning the Kurdish language, criminalizing ‘insulting Turkishness’ and limiting Christian worship; all as a result of secular nationalism, not Islam. … not secularism then, but liberalism … should be sought in both secular and religious sectors”:

“The Official 1931 Census of Palestine, conducted under British auspices, counted 850,000 Palestinian Arabs – both Muslim and Christian – and 175,000 Jews…. The egregiousness of Gingrich’s statement isn’t simply in its inaccuracy, but in its objective” — former U.S. Senator John E. Sununu:

During hundreds of years of Muslim rule the Christians of Palestine were allowed freedom of worship, but an Israeli mayor, seemingly auditioning for the role of King Herod, is banning Christmas trees from the Nazareth Illit suburb of  the Messaiah’s (peace be upon him) home town:

As violent clashes in Egypt continue into their third day, “Senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Mohamed El-Beltagy said Sunday that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is obliged to arrest those responsible for recent clashes that” killed ten and injured hundreds:

The National Council of Churches rejects the Florida Family Association as “a fringe Christian organization” promting “bigotry and ignorance”:

Having fled Pakistan after receiving death threats, the model says, “I agreed to a photo shoot and having an ISI tattoo in a humorous way but I did not have any nude photos. My pictures have been morphed” but the editor of the magazine responds, “We have not photoshopped or faked the cover,” suggesting she is scapegoating them to avoid “a backlash”:

News and Analysis (12/15/11)

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Zionist extremists torch a Jerusalem mosque and scrawl grafitti like ” A good Arab is a dead Arab,” as denunciations of the closure of an access ramp to the al-Aqsa mosque compound an “’attack’ on efforts to revive the peace talks” and a “’declaration of religious war’ on Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem” is followed by a reversal of the closure:

Panetta “said the war was worth the enormous price in blood and treasure – about $750bn (£484bn), 4,500 dead, 32,000 wounded, and that’s just on the American side. Iraqi casualties are far higher, with civilian deaths well over 100,000, many more maimed and up to several million people displaced …,” so Iraqis are understandably more ambivalent:

Panetta insists “the operations were part of U.S. efforts to defend both Afghanistan and the U.S. homeland and involve ‘important intelligence operations which we will continue to pursue,’ but Karzai says that “Afghanistan doesn’t want to be involved in any “adversarial relations” between the U.S. and Iran”:

“Human Rights Watch calls for referral to the international criminal court for abuses such as ‘shoot to kill’ orders “:

“Using the slogan ‘Dilute religious consciousness, advocate a civilized healthy life style,’ the notice said the campaign’s objective was “to completely get rid of the abnormal phenomenon in the entire community of minority ethnic women and youth”:

Protesters shouted takbiir, not takfiir; still, many Muslims see Shariah4Belgium’s interruption of Irshad Manji’s lecture on Allah, Liberty and Love – The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom book tour “as intimidating and aggressive. Others think that the tactic goes against Islam; [not only] the tactic of intimidating but also throwing food (eggs)”:

“If the Taliban opened an office, it would be seen as a willingness to talk peace and signal their intention to try to find a nonviolent solution to an insurgency that has cost the lives of thousands. Karzai’s comments came one day after an Indian newspaper reported that plans were being finalized for a Taliban office in the Gulf state of Qatar”: