Archive for January, 2014

News and Analysis (1/13/14)

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The EU is happy with the interim agreement to go into effect on January 20, but can Obama prevent legislators intent on war from derailing the process?

The Muslim Brotherhood’s threatened boycott lends credence to expectations of an easy passage for the proposed entrenchment of military power, a conundrum explained by anecdotal testimony of the Egyptians, who feel isolated, despair of politics, or long for a pharoah,

He was responsible for more civilian deaths that Osama bin Ladin, but he is given a hero’s funeral:

One legislator, convinced Israel is not racist enough, wants to further divide the second class citizen into subclasses:

Syria‘s government and the opposition have agreed to consider opening humanitarian access in the run-up to a peace conference that would bring the sides together for the first time …

… but the “fratricidal fighting erupted several weeks before a much-anticipated detente scheduled for 22 January in Geneva, adding another layer of complexity to a war that long ago ceased to have two clear-cut protagonists”:

“Libya has been struggling to assert itself over up to 1,700 different armed militias, each with their own goals, following Col Gaddafi’s death” but this “is the first assassination of a member of Libya’s transitional government”:

Uh, oh. We’ve heard this song before:

We would normally ignore this story as the vengeful act of a man driven to madness by trauma, but his savagery was made possible by “a crowd of about 20 Christian youths who forced the bus driver to stop and dragged” the victim out to batter and stab him and set him on fire simply because he looked like a Muslim:

“In her appeal to Mr Karzai last week, the child said: “I won’t go back there. God didn’t make me to become a suicide bomber…. The president has condemned the Taliban over the incident, but the group has denied any involvement in the alleged plot”:

News and Analysis (1/10/14)

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Karzai’s spokesman denies U.S. claims that there is “strong evidence” against most of the prisoners and insists, “We cannot allow innocent Afghan citizens to be kept in detention for months and years without a trial for no reason at all”:

“One court in Cairo sentenced 63 people to three years in prison and a fine of $7,000 for taking part in protests in November…. The Egyptian government in November passed a law banning all but police-sanctioned protests” …

… and the repression of secular journalists and Facebook activists continues:

Survey shows Muslims are not monolithic. Again:

“Regional leaders had put pressure on Djotodia to step down after he failed to halt months of inter-religious violence that has forced 1 million people from their homes. Talks to decide a new leadership will take place in Bangui, Central African Republic’s capital, at a later date.” Residents of city began celebrating the news:

“The 2012 suicide of 16-year-old Amina al-Filali after seven months of marriage to the 23-year-old she said had raped her shocked the country and spurred calls” to prevent a provision of Islamic law intended to exempt people who have engaged in pre-marital sex from punishment from being used as a loophole for rapists:

“Aitzaz Hasan, 15, is being hailed as a hero for confronting the attacker, who then detonated his vest…. ‘Shaheed Aitizaz’s brave act saved the lives of hundreds of students and established a sterling example of gallantry and patriotism,’ a statement from the prime minister’s office said”:

Juan Cole says, “For Netanyahu’s demand to make any sense, he first has to define ‘Jewish.'” Does he mean “Jewish” in the sense of “those recognized by Talmudic law as members of the Jewish ‘race’ via maternal descent,” (as Nazi Germany was “Aryan”) or does he mean “adherents of the Judaic religion” (as Saudi Arabia is Islamic)?

“The Hamas movement in the West Bank awaits positive decisions that will enable it to resume its public, social, trade union and political activities” — Khaled al-Haj, Hamas official. In turn, “a member of the Fatah Central Committee, called in turn for Hamas to implement the unity deal”:

With the nuclear talks in their final phases, and Iranian state press issuing ultra-optimistic statements even as Khamenei continues to vilify the US, Russia and Iran close in on a deal to side-step sanctions on Iran’s oil trade:

 

News and Analysis (1/8/14)

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

“Erdoğan argues that a judiciary and police in the sway of the Hizmet (Service) movement of Fethullah Gülen contrived a graft investigation that is shaking his administration. The police website said the deputy head of the national police … and provincial chiefs … were removed from their posts”:

“The charges are often vague. The evidence is elusive. Arrests come swiftly, and the convictions follow. And there is little transparency in what analysts have called the harshest political crackdown in Egypt in decades. But many Egyptians say they’re all right with that” …

… and some aren’t. “The Brotherhood’s legal representatives in London say the move represents only the opening salvo of an extended legal campaign against Egypt’s military-led government. They face an uphill battle, as Egypt has not ratified the ICC’s founding charter and the court cannot intervene without the government’s consent”:

“Iran denounced the US suggestion that it play a role on the sidelines of the second United Nations Syria peace conference this month because the minimal role ‘does not respect its dignity….’ But with skyrocketing sectarian violence throughout the region, … Iran’s active involvement in the region is seen as increasingly important”:

“If you put the shoe on the other foot and said we’re going to have one Christian character that represents all Christians, the ridiculousness would be obvious right away…. It’s patently impossible for a Muslim character to represent ‘all Muslims.’ … I hope people will be pleasantly surprised” — G. Willow Wilson, scriptwriter:

 

“[O]ur community is only further marginalized when U.S. policymakers view Muslim moderates as only those who support American policies in the Muslim world…. Al Qaeda’s nightmare is the image of a well-integrated American Muslim community in the U.S. — socially, economically and politically”:

 

“When Qutaiba Satem, a 19-year-old engineering student, drove an explosives-laden car into a Shiite suburb of Beirut last week and blew himself up, he became the first Lebanese Sunni to commit an apparently sectarian-driven suicide bombing against Shiite civilians in Lebanon“:

“When pressed by BLT about which passage in the Koran condoned rape as a form of punishment, Bylund said he did not know. ‘I’m not sure exactly. I don’t know exactly what’s stated in the Koran, but it’s been shown that that’s the case.’ Jan Hjärpe, a professor of Islamic studies at Lund University, rejected the Sweden Democrat’s claim”:

“El-Motawa says 20-year-old Hakeem el-Oraybi was playing in a televised match when the November 2012 incident took place in which dozens of Shiite protesters attacked a police station in the capital, Manama”:

“The opening of an Israeli detention facility for African migrants has sparked alarm and led to a rare show of strength in Tel Aviv protests”

News and Analysis (1/6/14)

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Could it be that Kerry doesn’t want to repeat the Bush disaster in Iraq, but doesn’t see the danger in Palestine/Israel?

“We should never allow Islam to be desecrated by people who want to give Islam a bad name…. [I]t is high time [for] rightful thinking members of society gather together and prevent these people who are using the mask of ‘Islam’ to create dissention and intolerance” — from message on Facebook page by Siti Kasim: …

… and extremists blame the Muslims who defend the rights of Christians under Islam for encouarging the Christians to be so uppity …

… the explanation for this tragic farce of identity politics lies in the fact that Islam has been “[i]nternalised in the Malay-Muslim psyche as a factor of Malay ethnocentric politics … in Malaysia [and] has been reduced to a political tool to ensure Malay-Muslim (read: Umno) hegemony”:

Imams of Bihar’s Nalanda district have decided to take a hard line against the unIslamic practice of paying a dowry to the bride’s family, as if she were a piece of property for sale. They note the distinction fro the Islamic “mahr” which is a gift from the groom to bride herself, in which her family has no share or claim:

An Egyptian Ph.D. student suggests an explanation as to why the regime fails to realize that patently absurd charges against the Muslim Brotherhood (such as blaming it for a bombing openly claimed by an opposing group) only strengthen the Brotherhood’s credibility in the long run …

… and “Qatar said on Saturday that the decision to name the Brotherhood a terrorist organization was ‘a prelude to a shoot-to-kill policy’ against demonstrators who have been staging frequent protests to call for Mursi’s reinstatement”:

“Look, they come to us and say, ‘Please come back, it’s our responsibility to make sure you’re safe.’ We don’t believe them. Where was their responsibility when we were being attacked? We were trying to call people for help, but the police had their phone switched off” — Mohammed Akhtar, displaced construction worker:

Criticism is seen as “a sign that Turks, whose real incomes have risen almost 50 percent under 11 years of AK Party government, may be starting to lose faith in the way it runs the economy. The lira’s slide to record lows is saddling companies with higher payments on foreign loans that they took out during the good years”:

“[T]he head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, told reporters after a meeting with Erdogan that the two discussed a set of legal proposals that could lead to the re-trial of the military officers and other people accused of plotting against the government. Erdogan responded in a ‘warm and positive’ manner to the proposals:

“‘The ruling was political,’ Mona Seif told Reuters TV after the verdict was announced. She said there was no evidence or witnesses to back up the ruling against the dozen defendants”:

“Poor turnout was a natural reflection of an election boycott by” 27 opposition parties  that “had demanded that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina … allow for a neutral caretaker government to administer the elections. Her refusal and the ensuing boycott have undermined” any chance for “broad public legitimacy”:

 

News and Analysis (1/3/14)

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

“The charge that the Brotherhood has links to Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is central to the government’s case for labeling the group … as a terrorist organization. The confession is the first purported piece of hard evidence …. to make the link. Human rights advocates say that police frequently use torture and … coercion to produce confessions”….

… and the government’s witch hunt against the Muslim Brotherhood .ow targets demonstrators, journalists, and even puppets:

Is the sanctity of privacy in the Sharia the reason for Karzai’s hard line against the drones? “[P]roperty is immune from invasion, … [and] no one, including the state, is allowed to enter or inspect a private residence without prior permission of the resident or holding a court order” — Article 38 of the Afghani constitution:

The law against Christian use of “Allah” spawns a book banning fever as the attempted intimidation of a Catholic newspaper by Muslim groups (whose coalition chairman had recently denied any problems between Muslims and Christians in Sengalor prompts the police to assure the latter of its safety:

As an American group adds it voice to the criticism of the Upper Pradesh government’s handling of the Muzaffarnagar communal riots, the UP government signals it may backs down from its prosecutorial intimidation of Muslim leaders:

Two teenagers learn the hard way just how absurd Islamophobic propaganda that a burka makes the ideal disguise for those engaged in criminal activity really is:

“Democracy is a regime of rules and institutions which is based upon the separation of powers. It is our common responsibility to avoid behaviors that could harm the understanding and perception of an independent and impartial judiciary,”  declares Turkish President Abdullah Gul …

… as a court issues an injunction halting the government’s decision to bar journalists from police buildings:

A Saudi national held in connection with the Iranian embassy bombing for which an al-Qaida linked group claimed responsibility has been identified as the group’s leader by his DNA:

The leader of the splinter rebel faction insists the attacks had “no relation to the peace talks. We will not sabotage them,” and that “the rebels attacked because soldiers allegedly harassed Muslim farmers in the area, which [the military] denies”:

“The North African nation’s new constitution is the product of long, tortuous negotiations between the dominant Islamist party and several secular opposition parties. Of all the countries that went through an Arab Spring upheaval, Tunisia’s transition appears to be the most on track to produce a democracy”:

News and Analysis (1/1/14)

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

“The outgoing head of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) has said Muslim states ought to broaden rights for religious minorities … [and] also said western countries should do more to combat an increase of prejudice against Muslims there”::

The regime accelerates it s repression of the Muslim Brtherhood and its Hamas allies:
“[P]roposals to develop an “inclusive secularism” in France have sparked a firestorm of criticism. Jean-François Copé, the leader of France’s main opposition party, the conservative UMP, said in a statement that the proposals are “explosive and irresponsible” because they replace “the one and indivisible French Republic with a motley assembly of communities, ethnicities and groups of all kinds”:

“Muslims who read the Quran, and not all of them do, but ones that do notice the Quran speaks to the Bible all the time, and the people in the Bible, so it’s a natural progression of curiosity” — Hans Wiersma,  Augsburg College, Minneapolis:

“Security concerns, bureaucracy, bad weather and a complex multinational procurement effort for equipment were the reasons for the delay, an official from the UN’s Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said”:

“Three members of a persecuted ethnic minority from China have been released from Guantanamo Bay and sent to the Central European country of Slovakia, officials said Tuesday, resolving a diplomatic dilemma that had kept the men imprisoned long after a judge had ordered their release”:

“Defence Minister Fayez Ghosn told AFP that Majid al-Majid, the Saudi “emir” of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Abdullah Azzam Brigades, was being held by Lebanese army intelligence in Beirut” …

… and Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington says, that if the Saudi intervention into Lebanon “is being done as a means to confront Hezbollah, or change the internal balance of power, then the effort might be somewhat misguided.” —  …

… but the Lebanese militia’s  intervention into Syria is something else, where in the “Syrian border town of Qusayr …, Hezbollah stormed the town from the south, achieving in three weeks what the army it supports had been unable to do in two years”:

“Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said the experts would report back to their capitals and contacts would continue to ‘finalize a common understanding of implementation’. He declined comment on Iran’s assertion that there was an agreement on the timetable for implementing the accord”:

As the former military ruler faces the death penalty for “treason charges relate[d] to his decision in 2007 to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule., his “defence team is arguing that Mr Musharraf cannot get a fair trial in Pakistan. Defence lawyer Anwar Mansoor said the current prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, “has a bias against” his client. Mr Musharraf seized power from Mr Sharif in a coup in 1999″: