Archive for September, 2009

News and Analysis (9/8/09)

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

At a time when “the CIA was secretly holding about a dozen prisoners,” the U.S. pressed to limit “a far-reaching ban on arrests, detentions and abductions of people without disclosing their fate or whereabouts or ensuring ‘the protection of the law”:

Similar to allowing a thief to keep his bank robbery loot …

… meanwhile, as an Israeli policeman is sentenced to 15 months for the murder of a Arab citizen, a Palestinian is jailed under authoritarian “national security laws”:

Describing Afghanistan as a “war of necessity”, Obama must weigh the prospects of success with the reality of the situation:

After “clear and convincing evidence of fraud”:

Illustrating the poor quality of protections on liberty and free speech:

Signs of turmoil for Lebanon’s “March 14” coalition:

News and Analysis (9/07/09)

Monday, September 7th, 2009

“‘We think that about 15 percent of the polling sites never opened on Election Day,’ the senior Western diplomat said. ‘But they still managed to report thousands of ballots for Karzai'”:

As Iranian leaders continue to fear protest and political unrest from the opposition…

… They threaten a systematic crackdown on humanities studies they claim oppose Iranian values and Islamic culture, in what  amounts to “fascism and totalitarianism” in the eyes of the opposition…

… Meanwhile, Mousavi calls for  an investigation into the election, reform of election laws, restitution to victims of official violence, and lifting restrictions on independent news organizations:

Meshaal welcomed Obama’s “new tone” in dealing with peace talks and emphasizing the need for reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas as a necessity to democracy:

With Ahmadinejad unwilling to compromise on the issue of uranium enrichment:

Concerned about both lack of peer review and human rights violations, critics ask:

Freedom, Not Fashion Is the Issue

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

[Recently, Elham Manea, an Egyptian-born Yemeni who is the deputy head of the Arabic Service of Swiss Radio International, wrote an article critical of Obama’s appointment of researcher Dalia Moghahed to the to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, mainly on the basis that Manea was upset by Obama’s defense of the right of American Muslim women who choose to wear the “hijab” (Islamic headscarf) to do so. I was disturbed by Ms. Manea’s eagerness to ascribe motives to people she has never met and to over-rule their freely made choices on the basis of social pressures that may or may not apply to her own life but are not the case in America. In any case, our respected friend and colleague  historian Khalid Blankenship offers this concise critique.]

I am unable to understand the desire of people who call themselves liberals and progressives to exclude the hijab from the realm of acceptable discourse. It is only a piece of cloth or a dressing style, and the attempt to insist that it has some sinister political or religious symbolism completely fails to recognize the difference that the various forms of hijab contain. My wife, for example, observes hijab, a decision she made herself in college despite the unanimous opposition of the males in her family. Critics such as the one represented in this thread (Manea) do not know me or my family and have no right to impose meanings on our actions that have no relevance to us. Such critics’ discourses, in trying to eliminate the voices of observant Muslims of different stripes from all access to government and in carrying on a prejudicial and hostile discourse against observance in fact, whether they intend it or not, abet and prepare the way for those forces that would like to harm myself and my family, and I will not be silent about it. Surely societies that have no problem with the very parallel forms of observant orthodox and ultraorthodox Jewish women’s dress can find it possible to accommodate various types of Muslim women’s dress as well, without engaging in unsupported innuendos about the intentions of the women wearing them. Let people be judged for positions that they actually take and the actual content of their views instead of for their appearance. And in fact, it would seem to me rather the epitome of liberalism, progressivism, freedom, and democracy for the US government, as opposed to those of France and Turkey, to affirm the right of all women to dress in whatever fashion they choose, including in any of the various forms of Muslim hijab. It is rather an intrusive and illiberal statism that would attempt to dictate even the clothes people may wear. What an absurd usurpation of the concept of liberalism for such a statism to attribute liberalism to itself.

Khalid Blankinship
Temple University

News and Analysis (9/5-6/09)

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

Will the decision open the floodgates for justice to other abused and illegally detained Muslims?

Illustrating McCarthy’s interest in assimilating into Afghani culture, obtaining their trust and working towards  “long-term benefits”:

As extremist factions bid for power in Gaza, Hamas denies an authoritarian social agenda, “We are an Islamic resistance movement that will never oblige anyone against his or her will. Advice is the best tactic”:

The struggle for water has already begun to reshape politics and alliances of the regions:

Despite Iraqi accusations, al-Maliki’s order is the first major attempt for Iraq to secure its own side of the border with Syria:

New Jersey Mosque Dar-ul-Islam is organizing Friday prayer for September 25 on the Capital Hill lawn, hoping to draw over 50,000 people:

The final tally of votes is expected this week, however, results will still not be confirmed due to the high number of complaints of fraud”:

News and Analysis (9/4/09)

Friday, September 4th, 2009

The disingenuity and authenticity of Israel’s commitment to peace markers is displayed in the scheduling of construction approvals before a construction freeze …

… Meanwhile, peaceful protests are met with tear gas by Israeli troops:

Underscoring concerns over interrogation practices in Iran:

Teaching moderation, or submission to an authoritarian state?

While “unanimity” for the objective “to disable and destroy Al Qaeda” remains, Obama’s administration is fractured on the best strategy to achieve this goal …

… But a complete withdrawal seems highly unlikely:

News and Analysis (9/3/09)

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

With 5,000 Palestinian children unable to attend school due to classroom shortages…

… Meanwhile Fatah skepticism remains in detectable in negotiations with Israel, as Bassem Khoury expresses hope “we can really see the end of these measures that are stifling the growth of the Palestinian economy”:

Conservative Parliament almost unanimously approves Ahmadinejad cabinet, including the defense minister Vahidi, who is charged by Argentine prosecutors  in connection to a 1994 bombing:

A major blow to US strategy to improve their image in Afghanistan, the ban illustrates the seriousness of the allegations:

Once considered an international pariah, Gaddafi’s demeanor will illustrate how committed he is to rebuilding relations with the west:

“Gaza’s place is in the dark. It is a jail where no prisoner knows the length of his sentence.”

The earthquake registered at a 7.3 magnitude, destroying over 18,000 houses and building:

News and Analysis (9/2/09)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

“The lewd and deviant behavior of approximately 30 supervisors and guards [private security] has resulted in complete distrust of leadership and a breakdown of the chain of command, compromising security” – POGO report

The cartoon was published as an “act of civil disobedience” to highlight a double standard:

Saeed Jalili dismisses the threat of economic sanctions as a “worthless and ineffectual tool” that will not undermine Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power…

… Meanwhile ElBaradei claims the Iranian nuclear threat has been “hyped” and they was no evidence Iran could produce nuclear weapons anytime soon:

A resilient enemy, Taliban forces seem to have an answer for US strategy:

Market factors rather than Western influence have caused the decline in price:

Challenging social norms, entertainer Zaka brings pushed free speech in a usually lowbrow direction:

News and Analysis (9/1/09)

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

McChrystal’s request for additional “resource recommendations ” are met with skepticism by the Obama administration:

Palestinian fisherman claim they were fired on before they were even close to the edge of the blockade:

Will Mohammed Dahlan’s return to prominence hinder efforts to restore Palestinian unity?

Avoiding a major political schism in January’s elections:

As Ahmadinejad prepares to represent Iranian interests and address the world…

… The prospects for successful negotiations over nuclear policy seems very unlikely:

Migrant works in Dubai have been described as virtual slaves, unable to leave Dubai or improve their quality of life: