Archive for May, 2009

More Nukes Are Counter-Productive for Pakistan

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

This month MFI’s president Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad was interviewed by Farspress on the crisis in Pakistan. Among the main reasons for the spread of Taliban influence across Pakistan, Dr. Ahmad cited the US presence as a major motivating force. Although you cannot ignore the polarizing effect of “American influence”, real or perceived, in South Asia, the Pakistani government is not without its share of fault in the blame game. Restricting political freedoms, maintaining an atrocious education system and mismanaging the budget continue to push Pakistan to the brink of destruction.

However, the Pakistani government has outdone itself in proving its own ineptitude. Within the near year, Pakistan plans to produce new plutonium for production in more powerful, more mobile nuclear weapons. India has begun similar actions and both countries are claiming the weapons are for defensive purposes. How exactly will another nuclear arms buildup with India solve any of Pakistan’s current problems?

Facing a humanitarian crisis displacing 1.5 million Pakistanis, a defiant population inhabiting the northwest regions of the country and pressure from America’s increased combat in Afghanistan, Pakistan once again focused on the one enemy who poses the smallest imminant threat to its sovereignty. The expansion of nuclear capabilities only serves as superficial strategy distracting from much needed policy change.

Security assurances from the Pakistani government do not counteract the fact that more nuclear material inherently creates a larger risk. Furthermore, the sheer economic costs associated with this nuclear build up will not help solve any of the current problems plaguing Pakistan. Nuclear weapons are come with a panoply of risks and can be counter-productive to any broader strategy for Pakistan to stabilize itself. Such ill-considered strategies encourage America’s  pursuit of an interventionist agenda in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, India’s ability to increase nuclear material production is a legacy of the Bush administration’s partiality towards India. Without the ability to secure nuclear fuel from the United States, India would not have the surplus material to increase their nuclear arsenal. Once again, the US has enacted policies with contradictory objectives, creating even larger problems.

U.S. officials now seek a global approach towards curbing the buildup of nuclear weapons, which is the correct response. Nuclear weapons, while providing a strong incentive to respect a country’s sovereignty, threaten the existence of all humans and all civilizations worldwide. In practice, the weapons serve no practical purpose and can only function as a deterrent.

Given the difficult agenda and large ambitions of the Obama administration, I doubt any meaningful progress will be made on this issue. Pakistan will continue to unnecessarily focus resources on the external threat while Taliban and U.S. ambitions drive the country further into poverty. From the Indian perspective, Pakistani stability would lead to developing trade and promoting prosperity across the region. However, the more radical and unstable Pakistan becomes, the more likely it is for the radicalism and instability to spill into India.

Imran Malik, Program Assistant
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (5/30-31/09)

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

With estimated losses in the billions, the issue of corruption will become a major factor in next year’s elections:

Taliban turn to terrorism as the Pakistani military extends its control over the Swat region:

A bill to ban commemoration of the Nakba is watered down and the Labor party decries “‘the false impression’ that Israel’s Arab citizens were disloyal”:

Murshida are trained to trained to perform all the duties of an Imam except lead prayer:

Despite the abundance of domestic problems, foreign policy is dominating the Iranian political landscape:

By confuting national and religious identity, Jinnah has left a legacy in which some feel they must choose between country and religion:

Rape at Abu Ghuraib — State of Denial

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

In an article in the Daily Telegraph Major General Antonio Taguba has confirmed that there are photographs showing that rape of prisoners was among the torture tactics used at Abu Ghuraib. The allegations of rape appeared in Taguba’s 2004 report on the abuses at Abu Ghuraib. The inhumanity of the human rights abuses there were confirmed by government officials, including Donald Rumsfeld.  Yet to this day there are Americans who are in denial (see, e.g., “Diverting the Spotlight to Include Dick Cheney,” a letter published in the Washington Post). This refusal to face up to the facts demonstrates the reasons why merely describing the photographs is insufficient; it is necessary to release the photographs.

The “America’s-leaders-can-do-no-wrong attitude” has its counterpart among the Muslims. There are Muslims to this day who believe that 9-11 was a false flag operation. Instead of denying the obvious fact that SOME Muslims were involved in the barbaric attack on the World Trade Center, Muslims must own up to the fact that there are some among us who will conveniently ignore, when they find it convenient to do so,  the prohibitions in Islamic law against attacking civilians.  Similarly, we Americans must own up to the fact that there are some leaders who would gladly sacrifice the principle of the rule of law when it is inconvenient for them, even to the point of allowing (encouraging?) the rape of captives completely in their power.

Muslims have had to accept the fact that correcting the gross misperceptions of Islam in the West requires us to distance ourselves from those who engage in violence against innocents. Simlilarly, Americans must realize that combating anger at and mistrust of the United States will require that we distance ourselves from those responsible for the rapes and other prisoner abuses at Abu Ghuraib. For the Obama administration that means they must release photographic evidence. As long as they fail to do so, there will be those who shall ignore or deny the reports of patriots like Major-General Taguba.

Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (5/29/09)

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Obama can’t afford to let his choice of Egypt be seen as support of the autocratic rulers of the Middle East:

The Israeli blockade only promotes hostility and incites violence:

46% of eligible voters are under the age of 30 and younger voters have historically higher turnout rates:

Needed or not, the expensive expansions are generating resentment and hostility in the host countries:

“If the U.S. refuses to take these people, why should we?… If all 50 states in America say, ‘Sorry, we can’t take them,’ this is not very convincing”- Thomas Silberhorn, a member of the German Parliament:

Estimated to posses 1/6 of Iraqi oil reserves, leaders believe sectarian violence is immanent:

News and Analysis (5/28/09)

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

In disbelief over what they call being ” put in jail for taking people out of their jail of poverty and starvation,” HLF members will appeal:

Obama hopes the move will add transparency and legitimacy while avoiding the pitfalls of covert CIA actions:

Between the uncompromising nature of Israeli nationalists…

… And Obama’s unwillingness to concede any settlement growth, something must give…

… However, stolen land isn’t the only problem as Israeli looting of the Palestinian aquifer continues:

A majority government lead by Hezbollah could cost Lebanon more than $200 million dollars annually in international aid:

In what some analysts consider “a prelude to the expulsion of the [remaining] Palestinian Arabs from Israel, the Knesset has passed a preliminary reading of the bill requiring an “loyalty oath” and a ban on the observing the Nakba:

News and Analysis (5/27/09)

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

“It’s a very hardening process for children and psychologically very damaging… if you go in as a child who was just having a lark throwing some stones, you may come out as a full-fledged militant”:

Despite the prospects of a more stable Iraq behind Ayad al-Samarraie,…

…the Pentagon is developing a strategy of keeping combat troops in Iraq for another decade:

CP must address the fact that some Muslims would “prefer to deal with the BJP, an ‘open enemy'” rather than have their votes taken for granted:

The reported threats against women and schools could manifest into action very quickly:

Under allegations Ahmadinejad was behind the decision to block the site,

Will Obama’s strategy fail if Abbas is unable to consolidate Palestinian power?

Solutions for the political stalemate between Iran and the West:

News and Analysis (5/26/09)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Boumediene is seeking financial compensation after 7 years of false imprisonment in Guantanamo:

Despite a highly contested political election, Hezbollah’s opposition refuses to use an inflammatory and unconfirmed German report linking Hezbollah to the Hariri assassination in the campaign:

As the Israeli government encourages discriminatory practices to remove the Arab presence in Jaffa…

… The ultra-nationalist party would not only ban observation of the Nakba, but deny identity cards to anywho do not sign an oath to Israeli apartheid, i.e., its  perpetuation as “a Jewish, Zionist, and democratic [sic] state” …

… Meanwhile, Netanyahu proposes meaningless action under the guise of conciliatory gestures:

The decision could completely reshape the face of Pakistani politics:

Will the plan to reduce opium exports by monitoring Afghan borders only open new channels to China?

News and Analysis (5/25/09)

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Emphasizing the seriousness of the situation, the finding are the result of a investigation to find out how many soldiers are actually employed by the Iraqi Army:

Netanyahu continues to ignore international law and promote a hostile political environment because “it makes no sense to ask us not to answer to the needs of natural growth and to stop all construction”:

Fearing  the implications of open dialogue and free speech:

Investigating into the legitimacy of an Afghani man’s indefinite detention, “Captain Black said he was ordered by a commander several rungs above him to ‘toe the party line'”:

Can Chinese intervention be more successful than American intervention?…

Ahmadinehjad questions the need for any foreign intervention across the region:

Discriminate beliefs and budget restraints contribute to the shortage of nurses badly needed in Iraq:

News and Analysis (5/23-24/09)

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

American juries won’t accept contribution of FBI provocateurs with questionable backgrounds as an excuse for criminal activity:

Contradicting a Bush era acquiescence to Israeli expansionism, the Obama administration is pressing for a full stop on settlement expansion, including “natural growth” construction:

Are ulterior motives behind the imprisonment of Imama Zoubir?

“The U.S. has routinely used the arbitrary powers it assumed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks to hold journalists without charge in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan” – the Committee to Protect Journalists:

Diplomacy and cooperation should lead the way to political stability:

Victims of sectarian violence remain stranded with no aid or hope to return to their past life:

Elements of Sufism and Wahabism are seen in what are considered Somlai “moderates:”

News and Analysis (5/22/09)

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Masjid members suspect the FBI informant was provocateur:

Giving civil libertarians alarm and Neocons cause to gloat, Obama claims his plan of indefinite detention would follow the “rule of law”…

…However, evidence exists that US prisons are perfectly capable of holding terrorists:

Continuing the preferential treatment of certain Middle Eastern countries:

As the US pressures Israel to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, a reminder to Israel that “your weapons of mass destruction are just as dangerous as Iran’s”…

…Meanwhile, Netanyahu reaffirms the uncompromising nature of Israel less than a week from his promise to Obama to reopen negotiations with the Palestinians:

Advocates death raises questions of the US commitment to enforcing human rights in Libya: