Archive for July, 2013

News and Analysis (7/31/13)

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

A lawyer warns that the EU terrorism designation of Hezbollah’s military arm is “a real legal mess” and unless removed before implementation “will swamp courtrooms and complicate Middle East-European political and economic relations with challenges from all points on the compass with uncertain outcomes”:

Mursi is allowed to meet with Europe’s top diplomat as Egyptian security forces and plainclothes gunmen fire at demonstrators while Brotherhood leaders struggle to keep protests peaceful and the US, unwilling to call a coup a coup, lacks the influence to effectrively press for an inclusive reconciliation:

“Al Qaeda was conceived in the prisons of Egypt … not the caves of Afghanistan. … Nassir’s torture chambers produced Al Qaeda’s intellectual foundation” and if Egypt persists omits current course it may breed a successor generation even more violent:

Competition from private Islamic courts that dispatch justice “with an efficiency many say the state can’t match” pose a threat to the  Tunisian state, and i the case of one that operated from a tiny clothing kiosk,  the state responded by bulldozing it:

“Studying in the West doesn’t mean you would make concessions to the West…. What it does mean is that the level of understanding and ability to pick up nuances are much higher. The next step is seeing how much of that can translate into changes at the top with the ruling clerics, where it really counts”:

“[I]n answer to the question everyone had when they saw the video, no, Lauren Green did not feel compelled to grill a Southern Baptist professor about why he felt the need to write a book about Islam. It just never came up, for some reason” …

… and Maureen Dowd continues in the tradition of “the feminist movement’s long history of having white women speak on behalf of black and brown women, without bothering to actually pay attention to the latter group’s unique experiences”:

“[T]he security forces were totally unprepared for the raid, despite senior prison officials having received intelligence indicating an attack was likely…. The incident … raises serious questions about state institutions’ capacity to battle a domestic Taliban insurgency that has raged for years and killed tens of thousands”:

“Manning has said he leaked the material to expose the U.S military’s “bloodlust” and disregard for human life, and what he considered American diplomatic deceit. He said he chose information he believed would not the harm the US, and he wanted to start a debate on military and foreign policy”:

Tasnim News Agency Interview on the Issue of Israeli-occupied Palestine

Monday, July 29th, 2013

[I was interviewed by Reza Saidi on the issue of Israeli-occupied Palestine. This is the text of my original answers. The published version, in Farsi, is available at http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/106880.]

Q. In your opinion, what are the most important crimes that Israel has committed ?

A. I think the greatest crimes Israel has committed are the murder of tens of thousands of Palestinians, the theft of thousands of dunams of Palestinian land, and the displacement of millions of people and the deprivation of the civil and human rights of those who remained behind.

Q. Why is the West, with the United States at the front, determined to maintain the policy of complete support and protection of Israel?

A. The U.S. Congress, and to a slightly lesser degree the U.S. administrations, have viewed the issue as a domestic political issue rater than as a foreign policy issue with dimensions affecting human rights and broader American interests.   Their belief (founded in reality, but exaggerated into paranoia) that there is a Zionist lobby (which they erroneously think of as a “Jewish” lobby) that will instantly dump from office anyone who doesn’t put Israeli interests above those of the American people  is the explanation for their determination to maintain complete protection and support of Israel.

Q. The European Union has recently placed Hezbollah’s military branch on their international terrorist list. Can one say that this action is in line with Western support Israel?

A. The Western media has portrayed this action as a response, in part, to the allegations that two suspects (a Canadian and an Australian) in a terrorist bombing that killed 5 Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver are connected to Hezbollah. Since neither of these men has been convicted, nor their connection to Hezbollah proven, this seems like a mere excuse, and the pressure put on the EU at the behest of Israel seems like a much more credible explanation.

Q. In your opinion, will the recent talks between Israel and the Palestinians, with American mediation, be fruitful? What do you estimate the results of the talks will be?

A. I have no optimism about the proposed new talks. As long as Israel deems itself exempt from International law, notably in the matter of its illegal settlements and the refusal to recognize the Palestinians’ right of return, it is absurd to expect any meaningful progress from these talks.

Q. In your opinion , what are the most important solutions to deal with the Israeli oppression /Apartheid?

A. The main key to ending Israeli oppression/Apartheid is for the United States to end its unconditional financial and moral support for the Apartheid state. Once aid is made conditional on Israeli conformance to International law, the fanatics in Israel will have to give way to more reasonable voices that would gladly abandon Apartheid for a new arrangement in which their own legitimate rights could be realized without the demonization and oppression of the Palestinian people. While Palestinians may have to make some magnanimous material compromises to attain such a resolution, they would not be called upon to foreswear their fundamental human rights or their dignity.

Q. What is the importance of the international day of Quds? Why did Imam Khomeini choose this particular name for this called this day ?

A. I believe that Imam Khomeini chose to designate the last Friday in Ramadan as the “international day of Quds” as a demonstration of world-wide Muslim solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle for their legitimate rights because it provided political capital to refute those who seek to drive a wedge between Muslim peoples based on their nationality or denomination. Lip service to the Palestinians is the one place where Muslims do not divide themselves between East and West or Sunni and Shia.

Q.  What do you predict for the fate of the Israeli regime?

A. The question is not if but when and how the Israeli state will fall. Eventually the drain that unconditional support of Israel puts on the economic well-being of the U.S. will become transparent and unendurable, and the American people will demand a change of policy. If that happens sooner rather than later, it may be possible that the resolution can be implemented by peaceful negotiations. If the Zionist lobby succeeds in postponing the inevitable long enough, Allah alone knows what costs it shall impose in wealth and blood on the Israelis, the Palestinians, and the peoples of the Middle East in general as well as the people of America.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute
www.minaret.org

 

News and Analysis (7/29/13)

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Has Egypt found its new pharaoh? …

… “Several thousand supporters of Egypt’s ousted Islamist president began marching on a military facility in Cairo on Monday in defiance of an army warning to stay away, risking a new confrontation after dozens were shot dead at the weekend” …

… and “President Adly Mansour has authorised his PM to grant the army powers to arrest civilians … [which] some people see … as an ominous sign – a prelude to a crackdown on the protest camp around the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque”:

“[P]rotesters set on fire two buildings – one belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and another to the” Justice and Construction Party,  the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing:

“Muslim-American civil rights groups are criticizing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for vetoing a bill … passed the bill June 27 as a check against controversial NYPD policies that critics say violate the civil rights of Muslim and other minority New Yorkers”:

Sisters in Islam’s concern that a fatwa on the participation of Muslim women “in the Miss Malaysia World 2013 beauty pageant” exemplified “by Islamic officials here beyond the faith’s intent” when the nonbinding legal opinion “was gazetted as law, making it an offence punishable with a three-year jail term” and/or a $932 fine:

“This is the silliest directive ever! Somehow I don’t think the world have to stop just because we’re fasting. Fasting in Ramadhan is an awesome time between me and my beautiful God. It has nothing to do with non-Muslims eating in restaurants? Sorry MUIB! This is a #fail. Lets stay positive and be a more tolerant society!”:

Fox News feels no need to explain the train of Christians, Jews, and atheists it has paraded to explain Islam over the years, but when the a scholar with “a PhD in the sociology of religion from UCSB and a masters in theological studies from Harvard” writes a book on Jesus, they make his Muslim identity the focus of the discussion:

“We are not all alike. One cannot blame an entire nation for crimes committed by individuals. Also, her destiny is similar to mine” — Almir Salihovic, a Bosnian Muslim massacre survivor married to Dusica, a Croatian Serb:z

“Liberals and candidates from some of Kuwait’s more marginalized tribes have won seats in a parliament which may prove more cooperative with the ruling family after opposition Islamists and populists boycotted the election”:

“Prominent conservative lawmaker Ali Motahari recently said that this June’s presidential election brought national reconciliation and … that Mousavi and Karroubi be freed. Hardliners have repeatedly called for the execution of the two leaders but Khamenei’s remarks suggest that Iran’s ruling system has softened its stance”:

 

News and Analysis (7/26/13)

Friday, July 26th, 2013

“Mohammed Brahmi was shot 14 times in front of his home within sight of his family on Thursday, plunging the country into a political crisis and unleashing demonstrations around the country blaming the government for the assassination”:

With accusations ranging from “killing soldiers and conspiring with the Palestinian group Hamas” coming out ” just hours before millions of Egyptians were expected to take to the streets in mass rallies for and against Egypt’s first freely elected leader” …

… “[t]he Egyptian military has now made it crystal clear that what we are seeing is a return to military backed authoritarian rule” …

… and the April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists have both rejected Sisi’s call for what the latter calls a “blank cheque to commit massacres” …

… but “the US has little leverage to shape events in Egypt, and is unlikely to use what leverage it has”:

A secret meeting between the Brotherhood’s deputy leader and opposition power brokers “was cut short when journalists got wind of the meeting. [Amr] Moussa left convinced that the Brotherhood were over-confident, incompetent in government and had poor intelligence on what was brewing in the streets and the barracks”:

“‘Congress plainly intended to force the State Department to deviate from its decades-long position of neutrality on what nation or government, if any, is sovereign over Jerusalem,’ reads the opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit”:

Her creator defends the defender of girl’s education’s choice of action costume saying that “like any other superhero, Burka Avenger has a back-story too and her reasons for wearing the burka have nothing to do with subservience. ‘Besides she has to kick ass,’ he says. ‘Tight leather pants are hardly practical for that purpose’:

“A Maan correspondent said Hamas was upset about its reports that Hamas militants were contributing to chaos in the Sinai Peninsula following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak publicly about the matter”:

“Human rights groups said the trial judge had failed to investigate “credible” allegations of torture of the defendants”:

 

Palestinians yearn for the corporate life. “Even as $800 smartphones proliferate in Ramallah, Israel has yet to allow Palestinian phone companies access to the spectrum needed to offer mobile data services such as email and Facebook access. As a result, those companies are losing tens of millions of dollars annually to Israeli operators”:

“Black. Muslim. Lesbian…. When I saw the words together for the first time, I was … stunned. Not because I held some narrow notions of what a Muslim was, or could be, but because I thought I was the only one”:

 

News and Analysis (7/24/13)

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

As the repression, polarization, and violence escalate in the wake of the Egyptian military coup …

… putting pressure on the democratically elected government in next-door Gaza …

… the U.S. Senate considers sending “one-fourth of the military aid immediately” and conditioning subsequent blocks “on State Department certification … [of] an ‘inclusive political process and releasing political prisoners … [and] on a democratic election … and … steps to protect the rights of women and religious minorities”:

“The wedding celebration of two protesters in Gezi Park was violently broken up by police this weekend – a reminder that neither the protest nor backlash are ebbing”:

“Though early today government officials claimed the attackers had been kept from their ultimate objective – freeing jihadi comrades – as the day wore on scattered claims were made of a stunning insurgent success … that 500 insurgents escaped from Abu Ghraib … [mostly] members of the Al Qaeda-aligned Islamic State in Iraq”:

Foreign intervention keeps the violence boiling, while the Syrian government blocks humanitarian aid:

“Followers of Islam gave an average of $567 compared to Jewish givers who donated around $412, according to the survey of just over 4,000 people in the U.K. Christians gave considerably less. Protestants donated an average of $308, while Roman Catholics gave around $272, the poll found. Atheists averaged just $177”:

“I did not feel for one moment that this was a sovereign European decision, but rather one that was dictated to them… Europe was not convinced [of Hezbollah involvement in terrorism], but has capitulated … to American and Israeli wishes.” — Shaikh Hassan Nasrallah:

“The two letters … are emblematic of the growing political activism in America of Hindu and Muslims groups from India”:

“The court heard that Lapshyn was charged with carrying out a series of acts with the intention to commit acts of terrorism between 24 April and 18 July, related to the three explosions”:

 

News and Analysis (7/22/13)

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

The U.S. acceptance of the Transfer of Offenders Ordinance 2002 has raised hopes that Dr. Aafia will return home soon but media reports that “the Free Aafia taskforce of committee has recommended a list of 10 points” which they have refused to share “with Aafia’s family or lawyer” suggests the hopes might be premature:

The Saudi crackdown “started on July 17 with the arrest of a well-known Islamist reformist figure, Mussen al-Awaji, who, a few days before, called Saudis to sign a petition condemning the military coup in Egypt, and to ‘act as one Muslim body'”:

“The Egyptian military claimed the demonstrators had attempted to break into the building with the aid of armed motorcyclists” but an examination of video evidence and interviews with eyewitnesses, medics and demonstrators … [reveals] a different story – a coordinated assault on largely peaceful civilians”:

“A firebrand monk blamed Islamic extremists Monday for a small bomb that slightly wounded five people when it went off while he was preaching in Myanmar’s second-largest city, though police said it was too early to speculate”:

“There is no real malice in this photo. He did not insult our prophet, he did not call for the Quran to be defaced and he did not go out to injure a fellow Muslim. At most I could say that he is insensitive for suggesting that a dish most commonly made with pork is halal. We are getting into an uproar over FOOD?”

“Muslim full-face veils have been banned from all public places in France after a controversial law introduced by President Sarkozy in 2011. The Collective Against Islamophobia in France released a statement complaining of ‘heavy-handedness’ and ‘provocation’ by the police during the identity check”:

Rushing to amend the constitution at a time that the military has shut down media outlets and marginalized the winners of the only free elections in Egyptian history and when even the anti-Islamists are unable to agree among themselves as to what changes they want seems like a repeat of the mistake that led to the current crisis:

“The Indian government has lifted a curfew and an Internet shutdown imposed to keep a lid on protests after Indian soldiers killed four unarmed civilians last week in the Ramban district of Kashmir. India has also promised to investigate the Ramban shootings in a familiar effort to calm tensions”:

Rouhani invites Western leaders to his inauguration even as Khamenei warns Americans cant be trusted:

News and Analysis (7/20/13)

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

With Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, taking on “the role of deputy prime minister in addition to his earlier titles of defense minister and commander of Egypt’s armed forces” it’s clear that the military is in control …

… and a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman declares, “I accept that President Morsi wasn’t doing a very good job but the president of France hasn’t been doing a very good job, but they don’t take him down with the army”:

“[S]entenced to nine years in prison and … considered a fugitive by the Italians”, Robert Lady “has defended his actions in several interviews, stating that he was simply following orders” in the “war against terrorism”:

Against the ijma of both the classical and modern scholars that Islam promotes free markets, one modernist has layered onto Islam’s undeniable concern for the poor “an Islamo-Marxist reading of the economy”:

A personal celebrity trainer seeking a personal relationship with God, a Chicana who who stood up to familial male patriarchy, and a lesbian who explains her conversion is not “for the people” but “for me and God”:

“Afghan soldiers are often startled just by the existence of an American officer who is a Muslim religious leader. They are even more surprised by what he has to say”:

“[H]ere’s something we haven’t seen before: a graphic novel encouraging young Muslims in the West to take up [armed] jihad”:

“[J]ust as inmates are free to assemble, socialize and engage in other group activities in common, recreational areas … [when their cells], so too must they be allowed to engage in group prayer in common, out-of-cell areas”:

“In a shameless embrace of stigmatization, a 2007 NYPD report” suggested signs of “Muslims potentially undergoing radicalization … such as ‘Giving up cigarettes, drinking, gambling and urban hip-hop gangster clothes”:

“Political Islam is … an academic concoction [that] works as an analytical umbrella under which political analysts lump various forces that claim to be using historical Islamic texts and traditions to achieve modern political goals”:

News and Analysis (7/18/13)

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Rising repression, an unrepresentative cabinet and continuing misgovernment bode ill for t’s future:

A Pakistani Taliban official regrets the attempted assassination of the young activist, but insists their motives were not opposition to schooling for girls, but retaliation for propagandizing against the Taliban in support of he West’s attempt to impose its norms on their region and the world:

The arrest of “a man who posted an Internet video of an Emirati beating a South Asian van driver after an apparent traffic altercation … underscores the tightening controls on social media by authorities in the image-conscious United Arab Emirates”:

“[D]espite opposition from some Jewish and pro-Israel groups angered by her past advocacy of divesting university funds from Israel[,] … the first Muslim to be student regent … won approval” as supporters cited her “activities in seeking to improve student life … and noted that many Jewish students supported her”:

“The 3-0 decision by a panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York was a setback for journalists, activists and others who had argued that the law put them in danger of indefinite detention”:

“Kandahari rejects all allegations leveled to him and links … three [American] soldiers to the killings”:

A drone “strike, on May 24, 2010, accidentally struck a vehicle carrying Jabir al-Shabwani, killing the then-deputy governor of Mareb and three other passengers…. [S]ome US officials later accused the Yemeni government of intentionally feeding the US false intelligence”:

“The U.S. military has spent $34 million building a state-of-the-art building on a base in southern Afghanistan that no American soldiers will ever use. Military officials warned that the proposed building was an example of wasteful spending three years ago when the construction began but their warnings went unheeded”:

The Awami League insists that the public is demanding justice against those who fought against independence ut the opposition as human rights groups say the trials and punishments are politically self-serving in the face of coming elections:

News and Analysis (7/14/13)

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Islamic law requires Muslims to break fast at sunset during Ramadan. Are the guards at Guantanamo “using the Muslim holy month … to massage hunger strike numbers” in claiming “that less than half of the inmate population are now on strike”?

With the US sending a senior envoy to Egypt, the military-installed interim government moves quickly to take power, threatening Gaza, turning its back on Syrian refugees, and leaving the Muslim Brotherhood and Mursi supporters — their funds frozen by the public prosecutor — to submissively negotiate for a place at the table:

As Turkey comes closer to completing it long overdue transition to civilian rule …

… it has yet to complete acceptance of public demonstrations of popular dissent:

“With its ability to launch attacks reduced by a military crackdown, Boko Haram is redrawing the battle lines in Nigeria’s four-year insurgency by going after softer targets” …

… and a school headmaster, wide-eyed “with horror at describing the attack on the iron-roofed school built by British colonizers in the 1950s”  describes the militants’ brutal shooting of pubescent students followed by the burning of their bodies:

Even the ADL has felt the need to issue a statement against FrontPage Magazine’s absurd bigotry in claiming that the Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American offensive lineman was a “Muslim extremist”:

“Muslims will get a 75 percent share of metals resources and an equal split on fossil fuels, Ghadzali Jaafar, the front’s vice chairman, said in a phone interview yesterday”:

“Such weapons would help to upgrade significantly Syria’s capacity to target manned planes, drones and incoming missiles and would complicate efforts to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria if the US and other nations were to initiate one”:

 

News and Analysis (7/12/13)

Friday, July 12th, 2013

“[E]ven groups that supported Morsi’s ouster say the timetable is rushed, and that it hands too much power to the military while repeating the mistakes that characterized a botched attempt at political transition after the 2011 revolution”:

Morsi “supporters say the sudden turnaround proves that their opponents conspired to make Mr. Morsi fail. Not only did police officers seem to disappear, but the state agencies responsible for providing electricity and ensuring gas supplies failed so fundamentally that gas lines and rolling blackouts fed widespread anger and frustration”:

“The warrants highlight the armed forces’ zero-tolerance policy toward the Brotherhood, which was banned under authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. ‘This just signals that dictatorship is back,’ said Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref”:

“The Brotherhood statement came a day after arrest warrants were issued for the group’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie, and nine other Islamists accused of inciting violence after deadly clashes — the latest moves by the new military-backed government as it tries to choke off the group’s campaign to reinstate Morsi”:

Beyond its repercussions across the Middle East, The Egyptian coup threatens rule of law in teh U.S.as the Obama administration announces it will send jets to in violation of the law prohibiting aid to a country that has militarily deposed a democratically elected head of state:

Look who’s happy about Egypt’s popular military coup. The Syrian dictator says the removal of “Egypt’s first freely elected president” puts “Arab identity … back on the right track”:

“Mohammad Amin, a senior Taliban operative and ‘co-ordinator of the Syrian base’, told the BBC that the cell to monitor ‘the jihad’ in Syria was set up six months ago”:

Secret files provided by Edward Snowden reveal Microsoft’s cooperation allow “Prism access without separate authorization to its cloud storage service SkyDrive. … [T]his access ‘means that analysts will no longer have to make a special request to SSO for this – a process step that many analysts may not have known about'”: