Archive for December, 2011

News and Analysis (12/14/11)

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

The Brotherhood’s “‘Freedom and Justice’ party championed the rights of free market economy and political and social diversity.”  Unlike the more conservative An-Nour Party, “the group’s most loyal supporters are not the fervent extremists they are made out to be in western media, but are well-educated and predominately middle-class Egyptians”:

Turkey emerges as a new regional power in the face of Iran. “Ali-Akbar Velayati, senior adviser to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, told a press conference on Tuesday that Turkey’s model of ‘secular Islam’ was a version of western liberal democracy and unacceptable for countries that he said were going through an ‘Islamic awakening'”:

Protesting what it calls a “a shatteringly cruel episode” about a woman, blaming her allergies, “gives away her husband’s 16-year-old dog,” the animal rights organization wants a free ad to quote the Prophet Muhammad (as) saying, “”All creatures are like a family of God; and He loves the most those who are the most beneficent to His family”:

Another episode from Aljazeera on Muslims of France, “this three-part series examines the history of Muslim immigration to France – a country where debate continues to rage over how to reconcile a long-standing tradition of secularism with religious diversity”:

Human Right’s activist, Moncef Marzouki, is elected as Interim President in Tunisia as Ennahda promises to form a new government by week’s end:

A “senior Iranian hard-liner criticized the Saudi visit’s attempt to ease strained Iran-Saudi relations. Hossein Shariatmadari, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Moslehi’s trip was a ‘gift’ to a regime on the verge of collapse”:

“Half of Afghanistan’s women prisoners are inmates for ‘zina’ or moral crimes. Many Afghan women’s rights activists say there must be an end to the culture of impunity and police must punish all those behind violence against women”:

 

News and Analysis (12/13/11)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

After propagating the lie that the “Palestinian people” is a recent invention in the latest salvo of his war on Islam, Newt Gingerich should return his Ph.D. in history to Tulane University; among the critics of his absurd gaffe is an observant Orthodox Jew who is ” the first Jew to appear on a major party’s presidential ticket”:

In the wake of the violent overthrow of Ghadhafi, true Arab Spring style demonstrations begin against the secretive NTC which has refused to release the “to release the names of its members – or even confirm how many there are” and been accused of “stealing the revolution”:

Parents are accused of knowingly sending delinquent children to a “jail madrassah” where they are tortured and abused and then recruited to fight by the Taliban …

… meanwhile, a US Congressional panel freezes $700m worth of Pakistan aid as:

Canadian conservatives, progressives, and secularists all agree that Muslim women (like nudists?) should have no right to decide for themselves what they will cover in public:

“Past bills aimed at protecting women have met resistance from Islamists and other conservatives in parliament. But the latest measures were passed unanimously by both the Senate and the National Assembly and will go into effect once the president signs them”:

“If the Netherlands does outlaw the slaughtering practices that make meat kosher for Jews or halal for Muslims, it … would join Switzerland, the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, whose bans are mostly traceable to pre-World War II anti-Semitism”:

Finders keepers? Instead of turning the plane over to China, as some pundits had speculated, Iran may do its own reverse-engineering; ” “Their plane invaded Iran…. Now, instead of offering an apology to the Iranian nation, they impudently ask for the return of the plane” — Iranian Defense Minister minister, Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi:

“The exact number of protesters being held by the authorities is unknown, but activists told the Reuters news agency that it could be as high as 1,400. In a separate development, the state news agency reported that six al-Qaeda militants had been arrested” claiming that the “militants were ‘plotting terrorist attacks'”:

 

News and Analysis (12/11/11)

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Find out who the players are, which parties are in which coalition, how many seats have they won, and what are their prospects in the coming rounds of the Egyptian elections:

Has the Libyan intervention increased the risk of terrorism?

As Syrian “activists called for a general strike starting: today, the civil war continues to grow:

“He added that there were several principles that all ‎Egyptian political forces agreed must be enshrined in Egypt’s ‎national charter, including those concerning civil rights and ‎general freedoms”:

” Tehran’s capture of a largely intact, top secret U.S. drone, which it displayed on state television, not only lays bare America’s surveillance program over Iran, but it also puts sensitive, advanced technology in hostile hands”:

 

News and Analysis (12/8/11)

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

“[T]he intact condition of the Sentinel tends to support the claim by Iran that its forces electronically hijacked the plane and steered it to the ground;” U.S. officials now admit it “was part of a fleet of secret aircraft that the CIA has used for several years in an escalating espionage campaign targeting Iran’s nuclear facilities,” just one part of  “a more confrontational approach … that also includes increased arms sales to Iran’s potential rivals in the Middle East as well as bellicose statements by U.S. officials and key allies”:

In a 150 page opinion, the Appeals Court shrugs off  objections to the admission of testimony from secret foreign witnesses on grounds that “no trial is perfect”” and rules that it is permissible to convict people of supporting terrorism if their otherwise legitimate charitable work frees a listed terrorist organization to “concentrate its efforts on violent activity”:

“Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, 62, acknowledged receiving funding from the Pakistani government, as well as committing tax violations;” expressing his deep regret for “personal mistakes,” even as he insisted he had “never compromised our goals of independence and self-determination for the Kashmiri people and our commitment to peaceful negotiations” …

… in the meantime:

“In theory, the new parliament will be entrusted with forming a 100-member assembly to write the constitution. But the ruling military council says the parliament will not be representative, so they are appointing the council” themselves on the pretext of avoiding religious extremism, but with the patent objective of protecting their own power:

Naming Cairo ex-police chief Mohammed Ibrahim Yusuf as Minister of Interior send s a bad message as “police were accused of brutality during recent protests against the military” in which over forty were killed:

You have no idea how right you are, Bashar!

“[A]rmed militia marched unstopped through Nigeria’s largest city, firing shotguns and rifles in the air in what they called a protest against … Boko Haram, a Muslim sect in Nigeria’s northeast that has killed at least 388 people this year alone” threatening retaliation that would jeopardize “those belonging to the Hausa Fulani ethnic group, Muslims who dominate the country’s north”:

“Lashkar-e-Jhangvi claiming responsibility for the Kabul attack;” although officially “banned in Pakistan … [the group] has a long history of receiving support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate”:

News and Analysis (12/6/11)

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Sectarian violence had been absent in Afghanistan, where an Islamic Brotherhood Council of Shia and Sunni clerics was long established to maintain harmony between the communities. Yet, regional players and developments carried the sectarian epidemic across the boarders of the unstable country:
“The sanctimonious murderers of Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti in the name of Islam, as well as the self-righteous, insult-hurling ‘Christian’ crowd in California –the former persecuting Christians and the latter, Muslims,— both groups, by Abrahamic standards, are guilty of blasphemy” — Pushcart Prize winner Shadab Zeest Hashmi:
As pundits suspect Turkey’s “interest on the predicaments of the Muslim population” in Africa hints at neo-Ottomanm ambitions, “Turkish officials posit that their country remains a diplomatic bridge between East and West and not a power with imperial designs”:

Hassan Nasrallah insists on his militia’s right to keep and bear arms and reiterates his support for Assad’s regime accusing the United States of seeking to destroy Syria “to make up for its defeat in Iraq” and reproaching the Syrian opposition for allowing itself to be “used” by the United States to undermines Assad’s regime because of its support for Hezbollah and other anti-Israel groups:

Israeli concerns that others in the region besides themselves might have nuclear weapons escalate as Prince Turki al-Faisal declares “that because efforts to convince Israel and Iran to forgo nuclear weapons failed, ‘it is our duty towards our nation and people to consider all possible options, including the possession of these weapons’:
Kuwait awaits fresh parliamentary elections after the recent resignation of it’s Prime Minster, while Bahrain remains at stalemate and delays political reform through fooling around with secondary concerns:

News and Analysis (12/5/11)

Monday, December 5th, 2011

“After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in 2003, Shiites regained the right to express their beliefs freely, and since then the annual commemorations [of the murder of Imam Hussain on the day of Ashura] have drawn huge crowds despite the threat of violence”:

“It looks like the 21st-century form of war,” said Patrick Clawson, the director of the Iran Security Initiative at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It does appear that there is a campaign of assassinations and cyber war, as well as the semi-acknowledged campaign of sabotage”:

Official results confirm that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party came out on top in the first round of elections, with the liberals falling even behind the conservative Islamist’s an-Nour Party …

… with at least five parties guaranteed seats so far, the runoff elections that began today will determine whether the liberals and secularists can catch take away an-Nour’s second place position and whether the FJP candidates extend their lead as in Egypt’s souththe Gamaa Islamiyya militant-group–turned-political-party is reported to have threatened FJP supporters:

The followers of the second largest religion in the world “have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey.” In fact, “religious upbringing ‘could be an antidote’ to radicalism. The people most likely to become Islamist radicals, [one former radical] says, are those who were raised without a religious education and came to Islam later, as ‘born-agains'”:

A new cabinet has been sworn in and NTC leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil has “outlined the priorities of the new government, including looking after the families of those killed in the war, treating the injured, reintegrating the fighters with society,” but “Tripoli residents have also become increasingly frustrated with fighters from other areas of Libya who have taken over prime locations in the city”:

“Afghanistan estimates it will need outside contributions of roughly $10 billion in 2015, or slightly less than half the country’s annual gross national product, mostly to pay for its security forces, then slated to number about 350,000”:

Mixed signals; even as “the foreign ministry announced that Syria was now prepared to accept a delegation of observers from the Arab League, after the pan-Arab body announced unprecedented sanctions because of its refusal to comply earlier”:

With “the closure of the NATO supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan” in its tenth day, Obama’s phone call to the Pakistani PM “falls short of an actual apology, although a White House statement denies the killings of our ally’s soldiers were not deliberate:

News and Analysis (12/4/11)

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

After the U.S. Senate passes a bill effectively declaring “war on the American people,” libertarian Sheldon Richman argues, “Permit me to state the obvious: The government shouldn’t be allowed to imprison people indefinitely without charge or trial. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this nearly 800 years after the Magna Carta was signed and over 200 years after the Fifth Amendment was ratified”:

The extremist El-Nour Party taking second place after the Freedom and Justice Party in the Egyptian elections is open to a role in a unity government but is not interested in forming a ruling block with Muslim Brotherhood:

“A conference meant to show governments would unite to support Afghanistan was overshadowed on Sunday by a row between Washington and Tehran after Iran said it had shot down a U.S. spy drone in its airspace”:

Analysts debate whether Iran’s provocative actions are strategically aimed at a foreign powers or tactically serve domestic rivalries …

… and whether the Western strategy that brought down the Soviet Union  could deal with Iranian repression and nuclear proliferation “far short of war or economic strangulation that could trigger war,” namely, “to simply contain and constrain the regime until the flawed idea that is the very basis for its existence results in its own demise”:

M.J. Rosenthal finds neoconservatives confessing their fear of “Iran getting a nuclear weapon and not using it” [emphasis added] because their real concern is not “the Iranian nuclear program” but that “the balance of power in the Persian Gulf and the greater Middle East” might tilt way from Israel and towards Iran:

With the clock running out on the Arab League Ultimatum to Syria, nws comes of a major desertion from Asaa’s security service:

“He’s ushering in a new era in the Muslim community of young imams who have knowledge of classical Islamic scholarship, but who are born in America and familiar with American life, and who are able to connect with the youth,’’ Safaa Zarzour, ISNA secretary general, speaking of William Suhaib Webb, imam of the largest mosque in New England:

“The recent battle for the Kajaki Valley in Helmand Province, which ended with few casualties and Taliban fighters in flight, may mark the last major operation for US troops in Afghanistan”:

 

News and Analysis (12/1/11)

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

The FBI admits the records are kept, but denies they are used in investigations:

“Enough is enough. The government will not tolerate any incident of spilling even a single drop of any civilian or soldier’s blood”:

Salam Fayyad “hopes to be able to pay for day-to-day operations with local revenues by 2013”:

Amnesty International says that “hundreds of people had been arrested, many of them without charge or trial” and that “[p]rominent reformists had been given long sentences following trials Amnesty called “grossly unfair”:

Karzai has pardoned the woman convicted of adultery when she was unable to meet Afghanistan’s prohibitively high evidentiary requirments for accusation that the man married to her cousin had raped her;  her attorney declined comment as to whether she would reconsider her assent to a now-lifted condition that she marry her alleged assailant to avoid having to raise her daughter in prison:

As Visionaire files a lawsuit alleging that that The Learning Channel and an ex-employee stole the  series “All-American Muslim” from them …

… Marwa Helal charges that the program focuses too narrowly “only on American Shia Muslims of Lebanese descent living in Detroit” and questions “whether it represents the experience of Muslim in America in general”:

Official announcement of Egyptian “election results, already 24 hours late, has been delayed further. The Egyptian electoral commission blamed the delay on the high number of votes cast,” but unofficial reports indicate the Muslim Brotherhood is in the lead, followed by the conservative Islamists and then the liberals:

Despite Britain’s vow “to take further action against Iran and to bring other European countries on board” after Iran Released Protesters Detained in the British Embassy Attack the EU stopped short of an embargo (which would be an act of war) in favor of “sanctions on 180 other people and companies”:

“World affairs are full of inconsistency. There’s always a conflict between ideals and interests. But at this critical juncture between the West and the Muslim world, too many double standards only invite derision and charges of hypocrisy”: