Archive for May, 2010

News and Analysis (5/19/10)

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Refusing to take yes for an answer, US obtains votes from the other permanent security council members for Iranian sanctions:

“[H]e was most definitely tortured and Canada … ‘in a sneaky and illegal fashion, participated in the abuse'”:

He is ineligible to run for President under the Emergency Law, but the “anything-but Mubarak” coalition’s support of ElBaradei poses the most likely route to breaking the cycle of oppression in Egypt:

Turabi is arrested again as, separately, a video evidence of election officials stuffing ballot boxes results in a Sudanese Supreme Court order to repeat a state assembly election:

Accused of intervening in government affairs, Ahmad Wali Karzai believed to be involved anti-government activities:

The law calls for a punishment of 150 Euros and “citizenship classes” for those caught wearing a full Hijab:

News and Analysis (5/18/10)

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

A “policy of neither confirming nor denying that Israel even possesses nuclear weapons has allowed the U.S. to deliver the lion’s share of its foreign assistance budget to Israel, despite clear legal prohibitions imposed by the Glenn and Symington amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act:

“The way his commanders have dealt with this is either incompetence or it’s intentional. But either way, it’s just wrong” — Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:

US officials still have not ruled out sanctions as US reacts to the deal reached by Iran, Turkey and Brazil:

“[M]any northern states have refused to recognise the law making marriage for people under 18 illegal”:

Despite inciting  sectarian violence and almost derailing Iraq’s young democracy:

Despite the absence of evidence of wrongdoing on his part, many officials and analysts point to Ahmed Wali Karzai as the scapegoat for the failure to date of intervention in Kandahar:

News and Analysis (5/17/2010)

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Although the agreement still must be approved by the IAEA, the principles of the deal are very similar to the US offer except Iran will exchange nuclear material directly for medical fuel rods with Turkey:

At the center of the largest US led military operation in Afghanistan, a farmer complains, “I am sure if I stay in Marja I will be killed one day either by Taliban or the Americans”:

The plan to enable Mullah Sadiq to switch sides looked good on paper, but the real world obstacles of foreign intervention seem to have doomed it:

Noam Chomsky sites the two reasons he was denied entry , “the government does not like the kind of things I say” and “they seemed upset” that on this trip he would speak at Birzeit but not at any Israeli universities:

Is Qatari government economic intervention into Palestine a positive development for Palestinian territorial integrity, or a statist boondoggle that will make the area unaffordable for many present residents?

The issues of addiction among Afghani police continues to plague the effectiveness of the government:

News and Analysis (5/15-16/2010)

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

“Now Palestinians are looking at the success of their boycott as evidence that a campaign focused on peaceful protest, rather than violent struggle, could finally yield results”:

With about 100 gag orders per year, how many Palestinians are denied due processes and disappear from public record:

Will Iraqi political parties finally form a coalition government now that the Baghdad results have been confirmed?

Political momentum for sanctions is growing as Brazil and Turkey struggle to reach a last minute compromise:

Threatened with death Hesham Shashaa calmly replies, “If you can show me in the [Qur’an] or Sunnah that I am wrong … I will be the first one who would take a gun and join [the resistance], but you won’t be able to find something like that”:

“A decade of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has forced battlefield commanders to accept that victory in today’s wars is less a matter of destroying enemies than of knowing how and when to make them allies”:

Although Gaza remains in economic shambles, the blockade has done little to weaken the control of Hamas over the region:

News and Analysis (5/14/2010)

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Despite “an ‘independent stream’ of evidence that the Pakistani Taliban were behind the attempt and has admitted helping Faisal Shahzad, [o]fficials familiar with the investigation cautioned about inconsistencies” …

… and friends of the main suspects family insist that if he went bad it was more likely in America than in Pakistan:

Economic despair will undoubtedly fuel extremist’s membership numbers and further drive the country into chaos:

Police open fire on demonstrators protesting a night raid that left 11 civilians dead in the Nangahar province, killing one:

Whether the disease is due to mother nature or sabotage, reducing the supply of  opium only increases incentive for farmers to grow the cash crop:

Palestinian schoolgirls invent a technology to aid the unsighted that takes them from a refugee camp to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair:

Will this additional aid be another wasted opportunity for leverage on Israel / Palestine negotiations or is just another example of American “blank-check” policy towards Israel?

News and Analysis (5/13/2010)

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Although the State Department was promised a “thorough, credible and transparent investigation”:

For “Indonesia’s top counterterrorism official, the clash over al-Munawwarah Mosque” shows “that community leaders are willing to oppose radical ideas,” but “that radical groups are very active in propagating their message””

Regarding those with “a respect for the Afghan Constitution, rule of law, human rights; so long as they are willing to renounce violence and ties to … extremist networks”:

Israel continues to refuse to concede an inch of ground on  illegal Jerusalem construction …

… and flatly reject Russia’s call to engage Hamas in peace negotiations:

“There is no more Jaish al-Mehdi at all,” said Bahaa al-Araji, a leader of the Sadr movement in rejecting Maj.-Gen. Vincent Brooks’ intimation that Sadrist might be involved “in a string of deadly attacks Monday across the south“:

News and Analysis (5/12/2010)

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

The botched Times Square attack has drawn world attention “to the seriousness of the fighting” Pakistan’s northwest that last year sent “3.1 million refugees running for their lives”…

… Meanwhile, a Somali immigrant who thought his English was too poor to call 911 but alerted others to the potential attack is still waiting for his recognition from President Obama:

Will the agreement to end de-Baathification finally allow Iraqi politicians to look past sectarian interests and work for the future of Iraq?

As critics debate whether the Muslim comic book heroes have too little or too much Islamic subtext, a US television series is the next major step:

The secretary-general of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights protests that the law is still repressive of rights “like gathering in public” and leaves military tribunals and civilian subjugation to military orders in place:

Will Pakistan honor its agreement to provide nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia in the event of a crisis?

News and Analysis (5/11/10)

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Capitalizing on 9/11, Ergun Caner quickly rose on the evangelical ladder by falsely claiming to be a former jihadist turned preacher:

“Now in its third year, Palfest overcomes the restrictions on movement in the West Bank by sending its writers themselves on tour – and, in the process, gives Palestinians a voice”:

Described as a “half-step” towards democracy by opposition parties, the move could open up Egyptian elections and society into the future:

With almost 100 dead, the attacks demonstrate the importance of a collaboration by the Iraqi government while highlighting potential problems in the US plan to fully withdraw in 2011:

Pakistani’s express frustration that “Clinton’s statement and threatening tone will revive Pakistani fears that no matter how much we do, it won’t be enough”:

While US officials would undoubtedly prefer another candidate, Karzai remains president of Afghanistan and must play an integral part in US policy:

French Parliament is scheduled for a vote reaffirming the “nations values” and “specifying that Muslim veils that cover the face are contrary to gender equality”:

Asking and Telling About “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”

Monday, May 10th, 2010

The Obama administration has requested people in the military and their families to make use of an online inbox to anonymously comment on the impact of its proposal to abolish the “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” policy that has been in place since the Clinton administration.  An unnamed official on the official Army website is quoted as saying, “The inbox will enable servicemembers and families to offer their thoughts about how a repeal of the law that prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military might affect military readiness, military effectiveness and unit cohesion, recruiting and retention, and family readiness….”

Karen Johnson of the Family Research Council asked for my comments on this development for their radio program. Here is my unabridged response:

Don’t ask, don’t tell is a policy that was devised to balance the privacy of soldiers as regards to their sexual orientation against the strong sense of cohesion and trust in one’s fellow soldiers demanded by the nature of the life and death struggle that is the military endeavor. In the highly charged climate around this issue, I believe that the solicitation of anonymous input before any decision to change policy is wise for two reasons. (1) Given the current policy, gay military personnel who wish to comment for or against the change could not otherwise identify themselves as gay in commenting, thus preventing those assessing their responses from knowing pertinent factors that affect their answers; (2) Responders who have concerns about sharing close quarters with openly gay persons might otherwise be inhibited about speaking frankly about their concerns out of fears of violating political correctness.

A 1995 Dept. of Defense study found that 78% of women in the military had experienced some form of sexual harassment on or off duty. As placing men and women in close quarters has caused morale problems for women in the military with regard to unwanted advances from male military personnel, removing the protection don’t ask don’t tell provides to both gay and straight soldiers is a major change of policy which will require policymakers to have a candid in-depth understanding of the emotional concerns both of those who favor and those who oppose such a change, unencumbered by fears of violating current policy or of scorning political correctness.

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

News and Analysis (5/10/2010)

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Holder signals a willingness to compromise the rights of suspects in the face of criticism from those who imagine we can trade liberty for security …

… Despite the successful capture and interrogation of the prime prime suspect in the failed plot …

… While Fareed Zakaria aks why terrorism continues to thrive in Pakistan:

The markets are free in Dubai, but the rights to privacy and political liberty are something else:

Leaving for what was thought to be a short religious pilgrimage, Quazi has been forced to remain in Saudi Arabia under the control of her father:

“While there appears to be little tension, the Iranians do occasionally engage in cold-war-style gamesmanship, American and Iraqi soldiers said”:

Limiting civilian casualties will be a huge challenge as Western forces prepare for the summer attack on Kandahar: