Archive for July, 2009

News and Analysis (7/31/09)

Friday, July 31st, 2009

Iran is quickly crossing the fine line between an Islamic democracy and an authoritative theocracy:

Col. Timothy R. Reese believes the Iraqi military’s shortcomings, which  include problems of “corruption, poor management and the inability to resist Shiite political pressure” will not be solved by extending the US military presence in Iraq:

Regional powers have begun challenging the neutrality of Egyptian moderated negotiations, a country heavily influenced by US economic aid:

Denied their fundamental rights to justice and rule of law, restoring these principles to Guantanamo inmates proves to be extremely challenging:

A preemptive move designed to justify what the UN will surely label as war crimes:

As the Israeli Supreme Court becomes the most  likely candidate to serve justice to the Palestinians, what role will the  judiciary play in policy making:

Abduction may be the most disturbing manipulation of Islam by Taliban forces:

Settlement Foes Take Fight to Israel’s High Court

News and Analysis (7/30/09)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

“They’re waiting for Mladic to die before they have to choose between him and the European Union,” -  Petrovic, a former chief of Serbia’s civilian intelligence service:

“This is a case about annulling the article that addresses women’s dress code, under the title of indecent acts. This is my battle. This article is against the constitution and even against Islamic law itself”:

“U.S. efforts to promote democracy and build schools, roads and clinics in the Islamic world will not succeed unless American officials help foster the spread of moderate Islam and its a message of peace;” but does this violate separation of church and state?:

Skeptics believe Taliban forces will integrate into the returning population and continue to incite fear and violence among the Swat Valley’s population:

Little progress has been achieved after the integration of the Awakening forces into the Iraqi army:

Once known as the cradle of human civilization due to the land’s fertility:

Victims are brought to the country under false pretenses and threatened into cooperation

News and Analysis (7/29/09)

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

As Khamenei announces the closure of a detention center and criticizes the treatment of prisoners held there …

… Emerging political divisions complicate any prediction of the future in Iranian politics:

Accusations of brutality and violence as the six year long US protection of the MEK camp has apparently come to an end:

Despite indications the US may remove troops faster than expected…

.. the logistics of protecting Iraqi airspace with US support will require some “creative solutions”:

Emphasizing the difficulty in reaching concessions, Israeli “right-wing activists set up 11 new outposts in defiance of Netanyahu’s engagement with the Obama administration on the settlement issue”:

Illustrating a complete disregard for Iraq’s ancient treasures, US forces caused “major damage” and represented a “grave encroachment” during their 18 month stay at Camp Alpha:

Officially bound by the sanctions set by the Syria Accountability Act, Obama aims to grant more exemptions in order to facilitate his promise of negotiations based on “mutual interest and respect” :

A small but significant step in the closure of Guantanamo:

News and Analysis (7/28/09)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

With Ahmadinejad slated to be sworn in on August 5, Mousavi warns “today’s criminals should bear in mind that our people will never pardon them”:

Although both sides are in agreement over the danger of a nuclear Iran, Israeli officials push for a military option if negotiations and sanctions fail:

Protecting property rights should be a key tenant in the strategy to defeat the Taliban:

Believing the incident may spark another arms race, Pakistan’s attention is once again diverted from the Taliban to its historic enemy in India:

Many details of the charges remains unclear, but the investigation did not uncover “any plans by the Raleigh group to wreak havoc”:

Even after Mubarak rule comes to an end, democracy is unlikely to return to Egypt:

Soldiers engaged in “war crimes” return to the US and continue their violent ways:

today’s criminals should bear in mind that our people will never pardon them.”

News and Analysis (7/27/09)

Monday, July 27th, 2009

As Iran inches closer towards a military dictatorship, the best policy is not direct intervention, but “deterrence and containment” …

… Meanwhile, signs of a destabilized, divided government are abundant:

Taliban strategy attempts to consolidate power through the central leadership while focusing on swaying public opinion…

… as on the other side, David Milliband declares “that it is more important to protect Afghan civilians than to kill the Taliban:

Projects funded through Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) often amount to wasted funds:

In an attempt to replenish Iraq’s educated youth, students will obtain advanced degrees abroad and then to return to Iraq to put their education to use:

“The state, far from ‘being an agency for providing law, order, security and welfare for the masses’, has become ‘an elitist fountain for providing privilege, wealth and power for a small group of people'””

Kabul government is weak link in Afghan strategy

News and Analysis (7/25-26/09)

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

“[M]ass radicalisation of the EU’s 20-odd million Muslims has not taken place” :

Obama remains undeterred despite gaining little ground in the peace process …

… However, signs of more inclusive negotiations are present:

Pointing to the long standing relationship between Muslims and Jews in Morocco:

Emphasizing the cultural differences and need for a different military strategy from Iraq:

Despite past experiences like Blackwater and professions of inetntion to cut back on private contracting defense:

The latest attack on Uighur Muslims focuses on freedom of speech:

News and Analysis (7/24/09)

Friday, July 24th, 2009

The new policy could be a huge stride in obtaining recognition and legitimacy from the West:

Does the shift in policy manifest concerns for the Afghani civilian population or further obscure transparency in US military operations?

An attempt of reconciliation and negotiation or another instance of US officials acting beyond their authority?

Most countries gloss over the violent aspects of their past,  but a move   “to accept and recognize the narrative of the other” would help facilitate the peace  process:

How much longer can Iraqi marshes survive the challenges of pollution and drought?

Apart from its value as a symbol of the freedom of expression required of a democracy, absent the incumbent and likely winner, the presidential debate is meaningless:

The truth about Arab science

Initiating the Stalled Peace Process Through a Settlement Freeze

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Following the usual protocol of the Israeli government, Ehud Olmert responded to US criticism of Israeli settlements by deflecting blame to the Palestinians while portraying Israeli “natural growth” as a helpless and unavoidable condition of the existing settlements. Perhaps spoiled by the unconditional support from the previous Bush administration, Olmert remains in a world in which Israeli actions are unpunishable as Palestinians are starved, suffocated and oppressed to the point of submission.

Olmert believes the settlement issue is a “non-priority issue” and that the limited time available should be better spent in negotiations. His premise is that Israel will not hand over their settlements to Palestinians as part of a “two-state” solution. However, the settlements serve as a tangible reminder of Israeli oppression, limiting their development could be the symbolic olive branch the U.S. administration wants to push negotiations forward.

This symbolism has been repeatedly avoided by Israel and continues to be a major contributor to failing negotiations. Israel assumes making any concession is an admission of  fault and will make them appear weak to the Arab community. The peace process should not produce winners and losers but rather a consensus in which both societies can prospect and develop as neighbors.

Further emphasizing his agenda, Olmert admits his main concern is “the potential to greatly shake U.S.-Israeli relations.” Excluding the United States, Israel often finds itself without allies worldwide, a very scary prospect for a country with such an inflexible agenda. Israel will not break from its hard-line position on Palestine until the US begins applying the necessary political pressure to break the coalition of right-wing conservatives across Israel. Because of the politics and actions of their inhabitants, as well as the nature of their creation, settlements could prove to be that polarizing issue which finally discourages unwavering US support of Israel.

The Israeli government fears the repercussion of settlement concessions in the overall peace process with the Palestinians. Thus Olmert is completely wrong  in arguing a settlement freeze “will not promote Palestinian efforts to enhance security measures … better movement and access to the Palestinians; nor an improved economy in the West Bank. Nor will it weaken the Hamas government in Gaza. It will not bring greater security to Israel, help improve Israel’s relations with the Arab world, strengthen a coalition of moderate Arab states or shift the strategic balance in the Middle East.”

Limiting the growth of settlements and better controlling the Israeli population strengthens Palestine security by reducing provocation to conflict. A settlement freeze cannot directly improve Palestinian mobility and economy or weaken Hamas only because that policy is not directed at those issues. Indirectly, the US would receive more credibility as a facilitator of peace, having achieved a coveted objective.

Only a fool could fail to see how increased U.S. credibility could enhance its ability to intermediate improved Israeli relations with Arab communities and thus help to facilitate a moderation among Muslims worldwide. However, it should come as no surprise Olmert refuses to accept the simple logic of this argument. Just as he cannot understand why Palestinians refused his offer, Olmert chooses to continue the Israeli government’s strategy of deflecting political issues. Targeting Iran and its perceived nuclear ambitions is a prime example. I understand that Ahmadinejad’s hostile and insulting language against Israel has given the Israeli people reason to worry about their security. While this threat hits close to home given certain Palestinian connections to the Iranian government, it seems to me Israel holds the bargaining chips necessary to neutralize Iran’s attractiveness to those Palestinians. The deep suspicion in which Iran is held by Arabs in the Middle East would trump Iranian hate rhetoric if serious negotiations were held and Israel offered a real solution to the conflict.

Palestinians have no reason to prefer an alliance with Iran over a legitimate opportunity for self-determination in their own land. Rather than quelling the conflict by addressing the reasons behind it, Israel would rather continue to promote a hard-line, zero tolerance policy towards its enemies. This policy is completely unsustainable in the long run and will eventually collapse one way or another. Israel cannot survive without the continued support of its most powerful friend. The Israeli government eventually must compromise.

Imran Malik
Program Assistant
Minaret of Freedom Institute

News and Analysis (7/23/09)

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

“Power is always inclined to become absolute, and only people’s movements can put a hold on this inclination” –Mousavi:

The physically ill have always been exempt from the pilgrimage obligation:

Pakistanis object to a US policy that would crush militancy in Pakistan but accepts India’s  occupation of Kashmir:

The Kurdistan Democratic Party may soon find itself in total control of Kurdish affairs…

… Meanwhile, Obama looks to improve Iraqi autonomy, addressing sectarian disputes and seeking to remove Saddam-era UN sanctions still in place:

“[H]e has not been successful. It will be very difficult for him to defend … the past five years. That’s why he is trying to avoid direct debate”:

H1N1 prompts hajj restrictions

News and Analysis (7/22/09)

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Pakistan continues its obsessive focus on India as a security threat, preferring dialog with the Taliban over moving troops from the Indian border to Baluchistan:

Challenging his strongest and most important supporter in Iran:

Is Clinton threatening a blockade, and might that lead to global conflict?

The Saudi take on Guantanamo-style prosecution:

A major step in consolidating peace as both sides accept the fairness of the compromise:

At only 60% complete, the wall only serves as a propaganda tool and a symbolic barrier to peace:,0,7268956.story