Archive for May, 2011

News and Analysis (5/12/11)

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

If Sen. Inhofe’s description of the photo is accurate, and the bullet appears to have EXITED rather than ENTERED through bin Laden’s eye, no wonder they buried the body at sea; even in war, shooting an unarmed man in the back (even if the bullet entered the ear) is not a heroic act:

“The NATO alliance is completely bereft of morality… No one has the right to say to the people of Libya move away from the cities so we can bombard you” — Gaddafi loyalist denying the compound at which NATO bombings allegedly resulted in 3 deaths and 25 wounded was a “command and control” center:

The Syrian embassy alleges that the Iranian-born reporter they deported to Iran was carrying “a large sum of undeclared Syrian currency in cash, along with transmitting equipment,” and “admitted to providing false information to the Syrian authorities”:

The senior Brotherhood official, who will run as an independent  is tied with Amr Moussa at 20% in the polls, both well ahead of ElBaradei’s 12%, risks  expulsion by the group for violating their pledge not to contest the presidential election:

As the rebels deny links to al-Qaida, the White House meets with the rebel chief with whom Hilary Clinton met in April to discuss how to depose Gaddafi and who both right wing and left wing conspiracy theorists agree is a tool of the Western imperialist powers:

Geert Wilders is the tip of an iceberg. “The key voices of intolerance are neither marginal nor can they be dismissed as old-style far-right activists. They are today often heads of government, important ministers, or powerful politicians”:

“A top military intelligence official has said the discredited dossier on Iraq‘s weapons programme was drawn up “to make the case for war”, flatly contradicting persistent claims to the contrary by the Blair government”:

On the condition that “at least 70 percent of Iraq’s political leadership back the idea”:

News and Analysis (5/11/11)

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The ill-conceived and xenophobic law could annul wills, adoptions, and foreign marriages:

“Egypt’s caretaker government said on Wednesday it will prepare a law within a month to ease restrictions on building churches while banning protests in front of places of worship, after attacks on Cairo churches”:

Is NATO’s Libyan mission to save civilian lives? It sure doesn’t look that way …

… as NATO support enables the rebels to capture an airport at Misrata and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls for an immediate cease-fire in Libya,  a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace warns against too hasty a dismissal of Gaddafi’s claims of al-Qaeda fighters among the rebels; Gaddafi himself released them from prison:

Bin Laden’s sons “demand an inquiry” into “the accuracy of the facts as stated by the United States into the fundamental question of why our father was not arrested and tried but summarily executed”:

Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif expresses “serious concern that our security institutions knew nothing when the helicopter gunships and commandos remained in our territory and airspace for so long,” he told a news conference, calling for a judicial commission to lead the investigation“:

As the killings continue in Syria and Yemen,  Human Rights Watch points a finger at Bangladesh, where they say “a total 732 suspects have been killed since the battalion was formed in 2004 under a previous government”:

Among the Iranian people, it is Rumi more than Khamenei who “is a spiritual guide and guru whose words hold unmatched moral authority”:

 

Muslim “scientists at the conference agreed … that science-religion issues popping up majority-Muslim communities at the moment are unlike the ones we typically see in American public debates,” but are concerned that a  “culture without freedom of thought had left scientists in many parts of the Muslim world in ‘an intellectual vacuum’”:

The sectarian violence in Egypt is being blamed on the Salafis, but in Malaysia it is the ruling party that is accused of provoking sectarian tensions:

A “popular Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany doesn’t mince words when going after Islamic extremists for their treatment of women”:

“If you can’t eliminate injustice, at least tell everyone about it”:

“Ahmadinejad is trying to position Mashaei as his successor,” says Jon Alterman of CSIS. “But a significant part of the religious establishment is afraid of Mashaei,” so they have arrested him on charges of sorcery:

Iraqi “doctors say the biggest menace to patients these days is not so much a lack of money, basic training or even supplies” but rather “the skewed priorities of a corrupt, often indifferent Health Ministry that has gone on spending sprees in certain realms while leaving basic health care to flounder”:

“Tunisian news agency TAP said 13 people had been chosen late on Monday to serve on the committee, including lawyers, accountants and university representatives”:

News and Analysis (5/10/11)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Muslim “scientists at the conference agreed … that science-religion issues popping up majority-Muslim communities at the moment are unlike the ones we typically see in American public debates,” but are concerned that a  “culture without freedom of thought had left scientists in many parts of the Muslim world in ‘an intellectual vacuum'”:

The sectarian violence in Egypt is being blamed on the Salafis, but in Malaysia it is the ruling party that is accused of provoking sectarian tensions:

A “popular Egyptian author Alaa Al Aswany doesn’t mince words when going after Islamic extremists for their treatment of women”:

“If you can’t eliminate injustice, at least tell everyone about it”:

“Ahmadinejad is trying to position Mashaei as his successor,” says Jon Alterman of CSIS. “But a significant part of the religious establishment is afraid of Mashaei,” so they have arrested him on charges of sorcery:

Iraqi “doctors say the biggest menace to patients these days is not so much a lack of money, basic training or even supplies” but rather “the skewed priorities of a corrupt, often indifferent Health Ministry that has gone on spending sprees in certain realms while leaving basic health care to flounder”:

“Tunisian news agency TAP said 13 people had been chosen late on Monday to serve on the committee, including lawyers, accountants and university representatives”:

News and Analysis (5/9/11)

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Under the State Homeland Security Program and Urban Areas Security Initiative, taxpayer money is made available for hate groups posing as national security consultants “to promote Islamophobic conspiracy theories that demonize  mainstream Islam and Muslims communities” at what are supposed to be training seminars for security professionals:

A man who claims “that his wife, whom ‎he said had converted to Islam seven years ago, was kidnapped inside Saint Mina Church in ‎Imbaba” is among those arrested:

“150 imams at the conference didn’t have to look hard to find examples of alleged discrimination against members of their faith. … Exhibit A at the eighth annual conference of the North American Imams Federation was what happened to” to two attendees en route to the conference:

As a “former member of Lashkar-e-Taiba” prepares to testify of ISI involvement in the Mumbai attacks in Chicago, Pakistan’s PM denies allegations of incompetence or complicity in bin Ladin’s residency and promises “Pakistani officials will investigate why bin Laden went undetected while hiding virtually in plain sight in a military town,” but …

“His death comes as our economy is in shambles and America could use a renewed sense of patriotism. Will the threat of counter-attacks push the US into war?”

Gambling man? Obama proceeded with the raid believing there was 45% chance that he was wrong:

The decision “to prevent any groups from building on their allotted portions” and “both Hindu and Muslim groups had appealed against it”:

“By early afternoon, scores of women were demonstrating in Banias, demanding the release of hundreds of detained men who were being held at the city’s soccer stadium”:

“The Guardian newspaper said 61 of the 72 people on board the boat died of hunger or thirst, despite being spotted by a military helicopter and Nato ship”:

Afghanistan After the Death of Osama Bin Laden

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

These are my answers to questions posed by Javier Méndez, a journalist for El Mercurio newspaper, in Santiago, Chile, regarding Afghanistan after the death of Osama Bin Laden:

Q. Do you believe there is a chance that the U.S. and NATO forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan?  Do you think it is convenient for the peace and stability to Afghanistan?

A. I believe there is a respectable chance that U.S. forces will be drawn down according to the schedule President Obama has outlined. The degree to which the draw-down will contribute peace and stability in Afghanistan will depend heavily on whether or not the administration can achieve its professed goal of restoring the pre-intervention balance among the central government, the tribal leaders, and the religious authorities. A failure to withdraw however, will only exacerbate the violence within the country and the anti-Americanism in Afghanistan and the broader Muslims world.

Q. How do you see an internal situation today in Afghanistan? Do you think that there is an existent relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda?

A. There is a relationship between the Taliban and al-Qaeda, if for no other reason than their common grounding in the Wasabi movement. However, that relationship has been dangerously exaggerated. Taliban claims that they would have surrendered bin Laden during their period in power are not new. They offered to do so at the time on the condition the U.S. provided evidence of al-Qaeda’s complicity in the 9/11 bombings. Although U.S. government officials professed to have secretly provided such evidence, the Taliban denied it. The U.S. could have easily resolved the matter by making such evidence public, which it has not done to this day.

Q. Has the Karzai regime strengthened the Islamic hard line factions, especially al-Qaeda in Afghanistan?

A. The corruption in the Karzai regime certainly benefits the hardliners n general, but I don’t think it has provided al-Qaeda any special advantage over others. Al-Qaeda’ interests are international, not Afghani.

Q. After the Osama Bin Laden, what is the role that U.S must play in the war against terrorism and Afghanistan and Pakistan? How important is Afghanistan to the U.S?

A. Al-Qaeda’s primary concern has always been the “near enemies” of the regimes governing the Muslim world. Their actions against America were motivated by the perceived support the “far enemy” gave to their immediate enemies. Today, the relatively peaceful, primarily youth driven movement behind the so-called “Arab spring” is a greater threat to the authoritarian regimes in the Muslim world than are the terrorists. The U.S. should desist from any military intervention and shift its support to the indigenous movement for liberalization and democratization. That support must not be military in nature, but should be manifested in moral support combined with facilitation of for tactical and strategic support by the Muslims of Western civil society who are respected by the youth of the Muslim world. Direct intervention by the Western powers (especially military) will taint the movement, while intellectual ammunition provided by Western Muslims will be seamlessly incorporated into the struggle as it has in the Turkish reform movement.

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

News and Analysis (5/5/11)

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

As Pakistan accused the U.S. of a cold-blooded killing in violation of its sovereignty, “President Obama ruled out publicly releasing photographs of the deceased Osama bin Laden on Wednesday, and White House officials said they would give no new details about the raid on his compound in Pakistan”:

Fueling conservative calls to continue the policy of torturing prisoners is the revelation that detainees lied under waterboarding about bin Laden’s courier, but U.S. officials claim the lies were helpful to the CIA because the “fact that they were covering it up suggested he was important” …

As Mrs. Clinton offers to turn over “$30bn it has frozen in Libyan assets to help the” rebels …

… US-AID advisor Marl Lange warns, “The longer Washington’s elite lack all conviction about the power of real economic engagement – and the real limits of military intervention – the more often we’ll continue to box ourselves into magical foreign policy corners”:

Turkey’s government boasts it is “working to care for all of these sites, Muslim, Christian and Jewish, without discrimination, to restore them and maintain them and to open them up to the public to visit”:

Benjamin Netanyahu, PM of the country that has killed over 1452 children since since Sept. 29, 2000, called the agreement to hold democratic elections in Palestine “a big prize for terror”:

“The moves come despite appeals from the UN and US for President Bashar al-Assad to end the violence against protesters” and as activists vow “to stage a ‘Day of Defiance’ on Friday”:

If convicted on separate charges that he “ordered the deadly use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled Mubarak” the former Interior Minister “would face the death penalty”:

“Bin Laden’s public speech was measured, friendly, and he managed to wrap himself in a saintly aura” while ” Zawahiri generally comes off as an angry … crank” who”gets little traction among any but the already converted,” (and if bin Laden had assassinated Bush, Cheney would have been President):

News and Analysis (5/4/11)

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

With the revelation that, contradictory to early reports, Bin Ladin was neither armed nor using human shields, Eric Holder’s claim that warfare allows for the killing of unarmed opponents is called into question:

Hiding in plain sight is great tactic, but what did Pakistani intelligence know, and when did they know it?

“The tanks were deployed after residents rejected a demand by Baath Party official Sobhi Harbi that they hand over several hundred men in exchange for tanks staying outside the town”:

The generational divide in Egypt threatens to go critical:

Texas high school classmates stick up for girl in the face of a teacher’s hurtful remark about grieving for her “uncle” Osama bin Ladin:

“Under one scenario outlined by officials in all three countries in recent months, power would be rebalanced among all ethnic groups and warring parties, not just President Hamid Karzai’s government and the Taliban”:

Despite the former president’s call to his supporters “to allow the country to restart its economy in peace”:

A “Libyan rebel whose real name could not be used for security reasons, repudiates extremism. But he fears that the persistence of the reasons that first gave rise to Al Qaeda’s worldview mean that in Libya and beyond the ideology will not be stopped”:

With his death, bin Ladin’s alleged will has become the focus of controversy:

 

News and Analysis (5/2/11)

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

As American Muslims join in the cheering for Bin Ladin’s death, a rabbi sounds a note of caution that he would have preferred “to see Bin Laden arrested to stand trial, “ but denials of charges by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood that killing was an intended assassination and not solely a consequence of his violently resisting arrest put in doubt by a senior U.S. security official’s admission that “[t]his was a kill operation” and that the “elite Navy Seals team dropped by helicopter to the compound were under orders to kill not capture bin Laden” …

… so now Libyan rebels demand to know …

… and U.S. denials notwithstanding, the attack on Gadaffi’s residence show “no obvious signs of military command and control”:

“Residents of Deraa told Reuters news agency they had seen packed busloads of handcuffed and hooded young men being taken in the direction of a large detention centre in the city run by the security services”:

His manager told him, “It’s better to be Edgar than Mohamed today,” so he’s suing the Waldorf-Astoria “for religious and racial discrimination, charging that hotel management has created a ‘hostile work environment’” by forcing him to wear false name-tags and allowing co-workers to torment him with names like “terrorist” and “al Qaeda boy”:

In an important policy shift during its hoped-for transition to democracy, Egypt no says that  “the US should view a re-united Palestinian movement, including Hamas, as a positive development, and that it should persuade Israel to negotiate with it”: