Archive for March, 2011

The Arab League Invited the Interventionist Genie Out of the Bottle

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Amr Moussa was once a hero to the Arab masses for his straight talk, but now he is scrambling to find footing after the Arab League, which he heads, gave the West the green light it sought to intervene into Libya’s internal affairs. According to the Christian Science Monitor, his statement earlier today, “What is happening in Libya differs from the aim of imposing a no-fly zone. What we want is the protection of civilians and not the bombardment of more civilians” evoked this comment from a French Arab specialist: “The Arab states are worried about retaliation from Libya, and I think French citizens have to be worried about that as well.”

Moussa is expressing concern that assurances he had received from the West that the establishment of a no-fly zone would not go further into ground attacks,  or occupation, or even the deaths of civilians are not being respected. I find his naivite disconcerting.  The French have been quite upfront in their expectations of a prolonged intervention (Libya Action Could Last ‘A While,’ Official Says–abc News), admitting that “A cruise missile late Sunday blasted Gadhafi’s residential compound near his iconic tent, and fighter jets destroyed a line of tanks moving on the rebel capital.” Vladimir Putin, with only a touch of rhetorical exaggeration, says the UN resolution authorizing “all necessary measures” in effect “allows everything” and “resembles medieval calls for crusades” (Putin: Libya Intervention Is like ‘Crusades–Reuters / Huffington Post).

President Obama gave no such assurances in his public statement, but to the contrary insisted that establishing a no-fly zone would first require smashing Libya’s anti-aircraft defenses. Joint Chiefs of Staffs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has been frank in admitting that no one knows where this will end (With no-fly zone in Libya now, US-led coalition freer to attack–Christian Science Monitor). There has already been an attack on Gaddafi’s residential compound (even as the allied forces deny that he is a target), and the Western media’s skepticism over Gaddafi’s claims of civilian casualties are reminiscent of the Reagan administration’s callous response to the news that their air attack on Libya had resulted in the death of Gaddafi’s adopted daughter:  to challenge the legitimacy of the adoption, as if that could justify the killing of a 15-month old girl.

We have taken sides in a civil war and we don’t even know the people whose side we have taken. While the Qaddafi’s claims that they are al-Qaeda agents are absurd and may be dismissed out of hand; any assumption that they are pro-American democrats, like any assumption that they are pious Muslims, comes out of empty space. The evidence on the ground suggests they are local residents in places like Benghazi who are fed up with Gaddafi’s anarchistic system, but that tells us nothing about what they will do in power. One must wonder why, once they had freed themselves from Gaddafi’s rule, they were not content to secure their own local governance, but felt they had to march on Tripoli. The pretense that this intervention is to reduce civilian casualties rather than to take sides in battle for power is obvious (How French jets saved Libya’s rebels at the last minute–Christian Science Monitor) and Amr Moussa isn’t the only person who should be uncomfortable about the unfolding of events.

American collusion in this enterprise does not bode well for America. It is not just a matter of fears of retaliation against our country (although I would think we would want to put an end to provoking violent people to come here by engaging in violence abroad).  We are being driven bankrupt by the other two wars into which have been mired and cannot afford to delude ourselves into thinking that this adventure is a Grenada-type intervention that will be over in a few days (Libya Action Could Last ‘A While,’ Official Says–abcNews).

Most embarrassing is the hypocrisy of this intervention is shocking. The Arab world is plagued with dictators. Gaddafi may be distinguished by his instability, but he is also distinguished by the fact that unlike most of them he actually did do something of major benefit to his people, demonizing claims to the contrary notwithstanding: as result of his policy of promoting private home ownership 93% of Libyan homes are privately owned putting his country “at the top of the home-ownership league globally” (Housing in Libya). I am not saying that makes up for his brutality, I only want to know why the pundits are not demonizing the king of Bahrain in this manner as he shoots down demonstrators in his streets. He also invited the Saudis into his country, but the allegations that Gaddafi invited foreign mercenaries into Libya appear to have been exaggerated at best. In the end it is the Libyan rebels and the Arab League who have invited foreigners into Libya.

Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies summed it up well (Don’t “No-Fly” Libya–IPS): “Libyan civilians are paying a huge price in challenging their dictator. But powerful U.S. interests are at stake, and few of them have anything to do with protecting Libyan civilians…. [I]t’s not only about oil. The Libyan uprising is one of many potentially revolutionary transformations across the Arab world and in parts of Africa, where long-standing U.S.-backed dictatorships are collapsing—what kind of credibility can the U.S. expect in post-Qaddafi Libya? Washington may be betting that it can win credibility with the opposition by jumping out in front with an aggressive anti-Qaddafi ‘military assistance’ campaign, … starting with a no-fly zone. But in fact Washington risks antagonizing those opposition supporters, apparently the vast majority, determined to protect the independence of their democratic revolution.”

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

News and Analysis (3/17/11)

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

With the detention of six opposition leaders and a “tear gas and shotgun attack” on “a pro-democracy tent city at Pearl Square on Wednesday in the worst day of violence since activists took to the streets last month,” Obama expresses “deep concern”:

U.S. is open to a Libyan no-fly zone if it will open the door to expanded military intervention, including, but not limited to “allowing aircraft from the international coalition to bomb Libyan tanks”:

The Palestinian version of the democracy revolt seems to be having a positive effect — but will Israel allow Abbas to go to Gaza?

Drone strikes continue to kill civilians:

Indonesian radio stations are intimidated by threats of $16,000 fines into garbling Lady Gaga’s lyrics, but terrorists are emboldened to target an Indonesian popular singer:

“Since Ivory Coast’s disputed November elections, at least 10 mosques have been attacked by supporters of incumbent [Christian] President Laurent Gbagbo, who refuses to cede power to Ouattara, a Muslim”:

He has no way of knowing whether his first letter induced Iran to release the third hiker, but America’s most famous Muslim again asks Khamenei to “show the world the compassion I know you have in your heart”

“The case highlights the fact that the US is engaged in a covert war in Pakistan – a country it has not declared war against” Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: the Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army:

The 31-yr.-old graduate student and mother of three gets her apology:

News and Analysis (3/16/11)

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

The Qur’an (4:92) allows blood money in cases of accidental death if a captive is freed as well; but the U.S. refuses to free Aafia Sidiqui:

With reports of Apache helicopters shooting at peaceful protesters, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expresses alarm at developments:

As Sarkozy denies Saif al-Islam’s accusations that the accepted Libyan campaign contributions, Saif claims the rebellion will be suppressed within 48 hours:

When efforts to take over the demonstration failed, “Hamas police beat up demonstrators with batons, chased out and punched reporters and seized activists’ mobile phones. Fatah loyalists beat each other up on the sidelines of the Ramallah protest, apparently during an argument on whether to join the demonstrators or not”:

She said “I’ve got to go” into her cellphone; he heard “It’s a go” as he passed by; she was wearing a headscarf and had brown skin, so:

“A law guaranteeing religious freedom to prisoners applies to a courthouse holding cell where sheriff’s deputies ordered a Muslim woman to remove her headscarf”:

“An autopsy is due to be carried out on the body in the presence of his family members”:

“Closing the door of interpretations of Islam, partly or wholly, is a threat on Islam itself because by being so, Islam will rot,” — JIL Web site:

Human Rights Watch says atrocities “committed by president Laurent Gbagbo’s forces may constitute crimes against humanity”:

Around 100 people, mainly relatives of political prisoners, gathered in Marjeh Square on Wednesday calling for the release of their loved ones and an end to emergency laws:

CAIR: San Diego Muslim Removed from Southwest Airlines Flight

News and Analysis (3/15/11)

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

For American-grown jihadists, it’s “Give me liberty or give me death”:

How “how some women navigated the restrictions under the Taliban to support their families”:

“Protesters – who organised the event via Facebook – say they have been inspired by uprisings elsewhere in the Middle East … say they want an end to the bitter political deadlock”:

As Bahrain declares martial law, the UAE Foreign Minister says the GCC military intervention is intended to restore “calm and order … and to help … to reach a solution,” but Virginia-based Iran expert Rasool Nafisi warns it “may spur a similar reaction from Iran” turning Bahrain into “a battleground between” them:

Absent the lifting of the state of emergency, we must expect the replacement of the State Security Investigation Service (SSIS) with a new “National Security Force” is nothing but a change of name:

Political considerations trump constitutional ones in the alignments as the NDP and the Muslim Brotherhood favor quick elections while the less organized political forces want to take it slow:

Muslim Sisterhood: 25% of the membership of Egypt’s Muslim Bortherhood are female and some are saying “the time is ripe for female activists to be admitted to the group’s highest echelons after decades of exclusion”:

You can’t call it sexism since one of the scholars also recommends a “shariah-compliant bra” for television host Ali Saleem, best known by his alter ego Begum Nawazish Ali:

“The Prime Minister’s Department said in a statement that the government was releasing the books, which have been held for months at two ports, because it was ‘committed to resolve amicably any interfaith issues,” but that it would not prejudice the “ongoing court case on whether non-Muslims have the constitutional right to use ‘Allah'”:

News and Analysis (3/14/11)

Monday, March 14th, 2011

The confession of Swami Aseemanand that “Hindu radicals” were behind the wave of bombings in Muslim neighborhoods suggests “that a network of radicals stretched right up to senior levels of the country’s Hindu nationalist right wing”:

As Bahraini lawmakers call on the king to impose martial law, there is as yet no call yet for international intervention against the Saudi invasion of Bahrain:

“In Libya, if the objective is humanitarian, then we would work with both sides and not get engaged in the matter of who wins” — Gen. Wesley K. Clarke:

Acknowledging Turkey’s “painful history of military coups,” the NY Times concedes the need to try conspirators, but demands defense lawyers be given “access to any evidence against their clients” and calls on the AKP to “use its parliamentary majority to reform the penal code “:

Western diplomats are concerned that the Boko Haram, previously thought to have been destroyed, “is catching the attention of al-Qaida’s North Africa branch”

Not content with the theft of Palestiian land, Israelis now lay claim their national food as well:

 

News and Analysis (3/10/11)

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Tempering his rhetoric, Peter King steers “clear of his most controversial statements from the past, when he said more than 80 percent of American mosques were tainted by radicalism”:

“At this time in our history, with billions of dollars being spent on wars against terror, our nation should follow President Obama’s example and serve as instruments of goodwill to Muslims throughout the world”:

“The media have plenty to say about Muslim women. But what makes the headlines isn’t the experience of the vast majority of Muslim women. And what rarely emerge are the voices of Muslim women themselves”:

Copts, are “fed up with promises, ….want action” …

… and have formed a political party that “will be conducted in the framework of citizenship. ‘We are Egyptians and our aims are to serve the nation’”:

“How will we beat him? With faith, this is the only way….”We don’t have guns, we don’t have much tools or anything, but we have faith”” — anti-Gaddafi rebel:

The “years-old dispute over the government’s ban on the use of the word “Allah” as a translation for God in Malay-language Bibles and religious texts”:

“The enforcement of a compulsory Islamic dress code on women in Chechnya violates their rights to private life, personal autonomy, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion, thought, and conscience,”

 

 

News and Analysis (3/9/11)

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

When a woman quoted Qur’an to a man to prove that a woman could be president of Egypt, his rebuttal was to grope her:

The violence between Muslims and Copts that started with a church-burning over an interfaith romance accelerates as an estimated 140 are wounded:

Westerners know them as “salons” from the French word, but they started thousands of years ago in Egypt and were adopted by the Muslim middle class in 9th century Baghdad under the name of “mujalasat (“sitting down together”):

As the fighting intensifies, deaths are reported; Gaddafi continues to blame foreigners

… and Defense Secretary Robert Gates wanrs of the ramifications of implementing a no-fly zone:

One witness considers the founding documents of Islam to be intolerant, but at least three others question the premise that Muslims are uncooperative in the fight against terrorism, a fifth counsels Somali-American youth against radicalization, and a sixth “is critical of the FBI for ignoring what he says were signs his son was potentially dangerous”:

Not surprisingly, the promoters of [Oklahoma’s] legislative campaign know next to nothing about sharia”:

As the Tunisians undemocratically ban the old regime from future political involvment …

… the democratic uprising spreads:

News and Analysis (3/8/11)

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Islamophobe Peter King calls the move a vindication of the Bush administration policies and ACLU’s Anthony Romero calls it “a complete about-face”:

Amid false rumors of Gaddafi’s departure and speculation as to whether Obama will be suckered into a military intervention, Gaddafi’s forces check the rebel advance with some injuries and no fatalities:

The defeated Christian president who refuses to cede the presidency to the Muslim opponent who won the election seizes control of the nation’s cocoa industry, and his security forces kill four more civilians after a demonstration at the scene of the unarmed women they murdered last Thursday:

Why are women in need of education and respect offered beer and bikinis instead? A scholar of Women’s Studies and Medical Ethics wonders why the Western media confuses sexual exploitation for sexual liberation:

The High Court ruled Tuesday that authorities had illegally obtained the items when they arrested Anwar:

Iran says it would “make an effort” to find the “former FBI agent who vanished” there in 2007:

After repeated warnings that her department’s denial of Palestinians’ citizenship was a violation of Denmark’s commitment to a 2008 UN convention:

About “200 journalists from official and independent media rallied near the headquarters of Al-Rai, the main state-controlled paper” demanding “”intervention in the media” by the Jordanian government and security agencies, and a change of the state-controlled press ‘to independent newspapers'”:

“The child star said the family was yet to move into a new apartment paid for by a trust set up by the film’s director, Danny Boyle” and she has lost all her awards and press clippings:

News and Analysis (3/7/11)

Monday, March 7th, 2011

As Tunisia presses forth with serious reform …

… the Egyptian military continues its repression by enforcement of the emergency laws (aided by “armed civilians’), and opposition leaders object to elections “held before numerous amendments including amending the law on elections, abolishing the committee for political party affairs, and” reform of the state-run media:

As Iraqis demonstrate regret over their most recent attempt at free and fair elections, waving “”fingers dipped in red ink for anger – a parody of the purple-stained fingers they proudly displayed last year as proof that they had voted on election day” …

… Guineans find “catastrophic management of the transition killed the Guinean economy”:

As demonstrators protest the convening of the King hearings for singling out Muslims and ignoring other targets of terrorist recruitment such as chairman the hearings (with his history of contextualizing IRA violence) …

… President Omaba’s assistant argues, “The most effective voices against al Qaeda’s propaganda are other Muslims”, exemplified by the fact that “Muslim Americans have been so concerned about extremists in their midst that they have turned in people who turned out to be undercover informants”:

As Libyan war planes fight off the rebel advance, Britain is flustered by witness reports that “a small British diplomatic team” sent to make contact with the rebels “were found to be carrying weapons, ammunition, maps and passports from four different countries”:

200 demonstrators indicate continuing support for the position that the university discipline of the “Irvine 11” was sufficient and criminal prosecution by the state is inappropriate and excessive:

News and Analysis (3/3/11)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Not to be outdone by his Muslim counterparts, the Christian dictator of Ivory Coast shoots into crowds of demonstrators and deprives half his country of water and electricity:

Asked to issue a fatwa against the demonstrations, the Saudi shaikh instead rules against Gaddafi, “saying it was ‘a religious obligation’ to fight oppressors and to provide medical and humanitarian help for the protesters: and that those ‘who died trying to liberate their country from dictators were “martyrs”‘” …

… Meanwhile, the rebels reject peace negotiations and soldier-turned-rebel Nasr Ali demands America return to Bush-era interventionism, shouting, “”Bring Bush! Make a no fly zone, bomb the planes”:

The Mubarak appointee is replaced by former Transport Minister Essam Sharaf whose visit to “anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo’s central Tahrir Square … endeared him to the youth groups behind the opposition movement”:

21-year-old postal worker admits to attack that killed two American soldiers:

Laws “to criminalize a minority religion, formal government investigations into disloyalty from a minority group, violent attacks on their place of worship, and the intensity of the hate-mongering evidenced by [a] disgusting video” are reminiscent of — what?

As freedom of religion slips away in Indonesia …

… even David Horowitz is now concerned the same may be happening to the First Amendment in America: