Archive for December, 2008

News and Analysis (12/31/08)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Olmert vows to continue warfare until “all goals are achieved” claiming, “Israel has restrained for years and given plenty of chances for a calm”:

We say Obama’s apologetic for Israel is worse than silence:

Israeli action polarizes Muslim communities, challenging alliances and further hindering the ultimate goal of peace:

Spokesman for the most frequent violator of international law states, “Israel would never have done anything against international law, that is inconceivable” in defending ramming of a boat carrying a former Congresswoman:

US military finally held to the American judicial standard, requiring arrest warrants on suspects:

Innocent continue to suffer with hospitals increasingly understaffed and under-supplied:

Mostafa Hosni offers a modern, pragmatic interpretation of Islam compatible with Western culture:

Two years of the interim military government has come to an end [disclosure: Shaikh Hasina’s daughter serves on the Minaret of Freedom Institute’s board of directors]:

News and Analysis (12/30/08)

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

With children among the victims, Israel defends its “kill them all” policy with the argument that “everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel,” ignoring the fact that “the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza,” and boasting the bloodshed is only the first of “several stages”:

Twenty Israelis killed by Palestinian rockets in 8 years and over 350 Palestinians killed in four days; “Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it:”

Israel’s closest Muslim ally will no longer mediate:

As moderate Islamists prepare to combat al-Shabab, a group designated terrorist by the U.S.:

As supplies to U.S. and NATO forces are suspended, the U.S. agrees to an Afghani plan that may revive the local militias:

Will a paranoid attempt to control Muslim NGOs create extremism where it has failed to take root until now?

News and Analysis (12/29/08)

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Humanitarian crisis rapidly deteriorating:

Rather than his promise for change, Obama’s policy quickly resembling that of the Bush Administration:

Israeli strategy hopes to avoid empowering Hamas in the way they empowered Hezbollah in 2006 (we have our doubts) …

… but may have opened the door for militants outside Palestine to call for volunteers to defend Gaza:

More twisted than Scorcese’s “The Departed,” the “War on Drugs” comes into conflict with the “War on Terrorism” (and informant on terrorists goes to jail for dealing drugs):

Critics cite trial timing as political spectacle to build support for al-Maliki’s coalition government:

The unIslamic practice of female circumcision remains widespread among Kurds (but not Iraqi Arabs), affecting more than 60% of women in Northern Iraq:

Entrepreneurship thrives with best selling model “Bye Bye Bush”:

The Tragedy in Gaza

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Israel claims that it has learned from its 2006 disaster in Lebanon, but I suspect that any lessons it learned were tactical rather than ethical. Today I was interviewed by Radio Free Europe on the crisis in Gaza. The interview centered on three basic questions: the nature of the American reaction, whether the Israeli attacks will make things more difficult for the incoming Obama administration, and what the impact of Mahmoud Abbas’s reaction will be.

The reaction of the American government to Israel’s latest aggression was disappointing, but all too typical. Calling the winners of the last Palestinian election “thugs” places the U.S. administration in the position of (1) demonstrating a continuing contempt for democracy even as it professes to be aim at establishing it in the Middle East, (2) continuing to demonstrate an indifference to the apartheid nature of the Israeli occupation of Palestine in general and brutality of the seige on Gaza that provoked the Palestinian rocket fire the spokesman’s phrase was intended to condemn, and (3) demonstrating a complete indifference to the principle of proportionality that no doubt motivated condemnations of the Israeli attacks by others, including the U.N. Secretary General. Palestinian rocket fire provided the excuse for Israel’s violent rampage, but the rocket fIre killed one Israeli while the response has killed hundreds, making Napoleon’s creed of killing ten for one look like moderation, and Hamas’s creed of a life for a life look like pacifism in comparison.

The Obama administration is in for a hard time. The Palestinian-Zionist dispute is a chronically difficult issue that has now been put into crisis mode. Obama has tried to temper his enthusiastic support of Israel with notes of concern for the rights of Palestinians. During times of low violence this can be considered “diplomatic.” At a time of wholesale carnage it sounds hollow. He almost seemed to invite bloodshed with his recent comment, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that.” Really? That comment reminded of the comment an American truck driver made to me years ago upon learning that I was a Palestinian. “If somebody took half of my house, I’d [do everything in my power] to get it back.” Do American truck drivers understand the situation better than the incoming president?
During the ceasefire, the feud between Fatah and Hamas was a power struggle that one could hope could be resolved by negotiation — and some attempts nearly succeeded. But now that Abbas has thrown in his lot with the Israelis as they massacre Gazans, negotiation between them seems like a dream. One should negotiate with one’s enemy, but has anyone ever shared power with a quisling?

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

News and Analysis (12/27-28/08)

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

Single day casualties match those during the first intifada; Israeli destruction includes a Mosque they describe as a “base for terrorist activities” …:

…However, its “excessive use of force” is not likely to have positive consequences for Israel …

… even though the U.S., in an echo of its response to the 2006 Israeli slaughter in Lebanon, solely blames Hamas:

Taliban assert governmental authority imposing taxes, conscription, governors and courts:

“Anytime in Pakistan where more people blame you rather than India for the country’s problems, you are in deep, deep trouble” — Bruce Reidel, Obama transition team “terrorism adviser:”

Should children in war situations be protected or prosecuted? Human rights advicates say juveniles in Guantanamo are not “accorded the protections promised by treaties the U.S. signed:”

Viagra latest bargaining chip used to build alliances:

News and Analysis (12/26/08)

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Escapees are suspected of having al-Qaeda links amid escalating violence, a PM’s cancellation of a trip to Iran, and political turmoil:

“[E]ven as it opens the border to allow much-needed supplies into Gaza,”

The “first significant outburst of sectarian violence since the peace pact was signed” leaves Abyei “smoldering:”

Japan, which “has not engaged in combat since” WWII may “soon follow suit” in the battle against piracy:

A self-proclaimed “modern” Muslim pronounces chastity before marriage as “shameful:”

The mobilization against India is “expected to frustrate the United States:”

News and Analysis (12/25/08)

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

PA deference to Israel brings a 2% growth rate due to tourism …

… while Gaza resistance is met with more death:

Nato’s war on drugs is unpopular and may be illegal:

Although Ahmadinejad names no names in his denunciation of “bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers” the “Israeli ambassador to Britain condemned the speech as a ‘bogus message of goodwill:'”

Resistance without guns or bombs:

“No Afghan can bring himself to believe foreigners are in the country for anything but a nefarious reason.” — Edward Luttwak, a senior associate at CSISS:

News and Analysis (12/24/08)

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

A parting shot from Bush that not only demonstrates a double standard in the treatment of Muslims and Jews, but insults both the Muslim and Christian victims of Charlie Winters’ violation of the Neutrality Act:

No sign of peace in Holy Land:

Seeking a middle ground without corruption or extremism:

President seeks a dignified departure after his attempt to fire thge prime minister backfires:

American deputy commander says there are not enough police:

A government spokesman claims “Overall the voting was peaceful and the turnout is considerably higher than in 2002 elections” despite sporadic

News and Analysis (12/23/08)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008

After fighting in an illegal war, some people would rather die than sell others on taking their place:

“It seems like these guys under normal circumstances weren’t going to do anything until a government informant initiates contact with them and incites them” — James Yee:

An  “agreement between Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant group to temporarily curb rocket attacks” may open the way for another cease fire with Israel:

The U.S. called them al-Qaida linked militants who tried to shoot on U.S. forces, but “Afghan officials say the three killed were innocent Afghans:”

“I assume the new administration will have someone on a plane to Europe within minutes of Obama being sworn in” — Sarah E. Mendelson, director of the Human Rights and Security Initiative:

Controversy over the speaker’s insults had bogged down the resolution to allow non-American troops to stay in Iraq:

With 30,000 more Americans scheduled for deployment and violence against foreign forces reaches its peak since the Taliban ouster …

… but schoolgirls as well as foreign fighters are the targets of violence:

News and Analysis (12/22/08)

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

Police say “publishing statements, writing letters to international organizations and holding news conferences” are illegal activities, but human rights center officials say it is the shutdown that is illegal:

Jamaat-ud-Dawa is defended as “saviour” by some Pakistani Hindus — but some demonstrators came to protest high prices:

While Netanyahu calls for “active assault” on Hamas, Gideon Levy proposes “what most Israelis would consider a truly radical option: direct negotiations:”

Iraqis hope for peaceful relations with the neighbor:

Women flight attendants represent the growing freedom and opportunity available:

The U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion to quash the diverse Islamic Courts movement has had a typical backlash effect, with the most radical Taliban-like forces coming to the fore:

Officials downplay the implications of war associated with such a high alert: