Archive for October, 2021

News and Analysis 10/31/21

Sunday, October 31st, 2021

The U.N. secretary general urges Sudan’s generals to heed the tens of thousands protesting the coup as security forces deploy fatal violence against the demonstrators:

“Over my dead body will they dig up my son’s grave” — Ola Nababta explaining how she was beaten by Israeli forces intent on desecrating the Al-Yousufiya cemetery:

In Bangladesh the government has condemned the violence against Hindus and pledged to “hunt down” the attackers, but in India the police have denied that retaliatory attacks have taken place and refuse to allow victims to file suit:

As Google and Amazon provide Israel with high tech tools to enhance apartheid and dispossession …

… Politico’s new German owner implements a plan to insure the American organ will fall in line behind the apartheid state:

Biden sends a U.S. bomber to fly with Israeli fighter jets to signal his willingness to go to war with Iran:

News and Analysis 10/28/21

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

An Israeli court allowed the municipality to dig up “the cemetery based on its claim that it was in a part which contained no graves,” but when bodies were overturned by bulldozers the “court ignored the evidence and maintained the authorisation”:

The latest development in Kashmir’s descent into totalitarianism is booking young people for “terrorism” because they cheered a Pakistani cricket team’s victory over India:

An attempt to conflate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism backfires and the victim of the smear has been “awarded £70,000 after [a] tribunal judge in London rules he was unfairly dismissed”:

A “program for the return of Kashmiri Hindus and Sikhs who had fled in the 1990s” under Manmohan Singh coincided with a decline in violence. Modi’s policies have reversed this trend:

Pressed by Israel “and pro-Israel NGOs, multiple European governments and private foundations … have conducted extensive audits of each of the six organizations” falsely accused of links to the PFLP. “None found any evidence of foul play”:

“Sushmita Dev, an MP from the regional Trinamul Congress party, told the BBC that the BJP was trying to use the recent violence in Bangladesh to ‘polarise’ the voters ahead of the municipal elections in the state in November”:

Israel persecutes not only Muslims and Christians, but those religious Jews who believe “that Jews should not return to Palestine until the return of the messiah”:

Tunisia’s Democracy Under Threat

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

[These are my notes from the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy program on “Tunisia’s Democracy Under Threat: What is at Stake for the MENA region?” held on October 26, 2021, moderated by Khalil Jahshan (Executive Director of the Arab Center in Washington DC). These notes summarize my impression of selected highlights of the presentations and are not an attempted transcription. I have retained the first person voice in my paraphrase for convenience. I bear responsibility for any errors.]

Jaouhar Ben Mbarek (Prof. of Constitutional Law and one of the main leaders of the anti-coup movement in Tunisia): President Kais Saied’s power grab was enabled by Tunisia’s failure to deal with the economic and social issues that gave rise to the Arab spring.  The progress towards democratic government did not improve the daily lives of the Tunisian people. Saied assumes that the public toleration of his authoritarian exercise of executive power in the absence of a counterbalancing legislature to this point will continue in the future. He refuses to establish the constitutional court on the grounds that it can only be done by constitutional amendment yet the constitution cannot be amended in the absence of a constitutional court. He interprets his position as head of the armed forces as meaning that he is also head of the security forces. He would take away direct election of the legislators at the same time that he institutes direct election of the president. A vocabulary of demonization has arisen unseen since the fascist era in which he describes his political opponents as demons who must be stoned as the demons at Mecca are stoned. Now that his populist narrative that his will is the will of the people has been challenged by the rise of popular movements in opposition to his rule, he has switched to a narrative in which he is the state itself.

Radwan Masmoudi (President of The Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy, Washington DC): When Saied outlined his intentions during his campaign I thought it was a joke because it seemed impossible for him to dissolve parliament, nor could he get the army, which has historically stayed out of Tunisian politics, to support him. However, with promises of logistical and financial support of Egypt, UAE, and Saudi Arabia, he has moved forward with his plans.  Phase one, on July 25 was a “temporary” closing of parliament for some unidentified crisis for one month. On August 23, he indefinitely extended the closing of the parliament. On September 22 he suspended the constitution completely, openly ruling by decree, denying any other party a legal right to challenge his decrees.

Nader Hashemi (University of Denver): The axis of Arab autocracies backing the coup are allies of the U.S., and some of them have become allies of Israel under the “Abraham Accords.” The rise of the dictatorship has been hailed by these quarters as a victory over “the Muslim Brotherhood.” Saied no longer needs to depend on direct aid from the U.S. or the E.U.  There will be strings to the aid: no return to democracy and the complete removal of the Ennahda Party from politics. While these countries are implacable enemies of democracy, they are also strong allies of the U.S. which provides a path for U.S. pressure. [Which Joe Biden will never exert, because of his support of Israel-IDA.]

Sarah Leah Wilson (Executive Director, Democracy for the Arab World Now, Washington DC): The U.S. government has deliberately avoided labeling what happened as a coup because they don’t want to be forced to suspend aid. Contrast this to Biden’s response to Sudan in which the Biden administration has quickly announced suspension of $17 million in assistance. Perhaps Biden would defend the distinction by the relative absence of popular resistance to the Tunisian coup. Democracy in Tunisia did not produce desired economic consequences, but Tunisian unions and business associations are beginning to realize that Saied is producing no improvement there either. We advocate that the U.S. should suspended assistance because the bulk of that assistance was instituted as a reward for the now-aborted transition to democracy.

Jaouhar Ben Mbarek: Ten years of democracy building were insufficient to establish a broad culture of democracy. The wide majority of Tunisians are not concerned with institution building; they were looking for an improvement in their daily lives. Instead of a decentralization of economic power, we remained in an economy dominated by a number of aristocratic families. This was accompanied by a polarization between the political Islamists and the secularists that permitted the enemies of democracy to blame Islamists for the failures and convince the public that the fall of democracy was an acceptable price to pay for the destruction of political Islam.

Radwan Masmoudi: We did not yet have  democracy in Tunisia. Building a democracy requires at least twenty years, so we cannot blame democracy for the corruption and inefficiency and bureaucracy that was still in place. A lot of economic reforms are needed, but they also take time.

Nader Hashemi: The existence of democracy anywhere in the Arab world is an existential threat to the authoritarian states in the region. The Emiratis and the Saudis have repeatedly warned Western diplomats that socio-political pluralism will lead to chaos in the region.

Sarah Leah Wilson: If there is a big enough economic bailout, the new prime minister may have a chance to survive, but the installation of a woman prime minister by these means is an insult to all who want to see women in elected positions of power.

Radwan Masmoudi: The intelligence communities of the U.S. and the E.U. have the proof of the foreign intervention into Tunisia. A friend in the Tunisian government has confirmed the influx of Egyptians military officers in Tunis. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain sent representatives to Tunis within days of the coup to express their support.

Nader Hashemi: I can show you a Wikileaks cable arguing that you cannot allow democracy in the Arab world.

Radwan Masmoudi: We have many who are disappointed by the lack of economic growth, but remember that the Coronavirus has contributed to the decline of the economy in the past year and a half. Democracy has to deliver, but it takes time. You wouldn’t ask a one-year-old baby, why have you not written a book or built a house? The Tunisians I know are not going to give up this fight. They love their freedom and their right to criticize the government. Even North Korea has a parliament. There is a democratic way to resolve this dispute.  Instead of propaganda polling, have elections and let people choose.

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

News and Analysis 10/25/21

Monday, October 25th, 2021

Has the transition to civilian rule in Sudan been aborted?

Interrogated on allegations of throwing rocks, she was released without charge and then denied the opportunity to breast feed her baby for no apparent reason save harassment:

The teacher’s insulting answer to a student’s request to finish a math assignment at home left some of his classmates laughing and others in shock:

1300: The number of planned new illegal settlements and the number of Palestinians detained in the past three months:

“Iran’s economy became dominated by the state after the 1979 revolution when major industries were nationalized in the wake of an Islamic-leftist zeal, and businessman were either jailed, killed or had to flee for their lives”:

Palestinians who report police brutality can expect another beating:

In their new book, Mark Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick show there is no daylight between the Trump and Biden policies on Palestine:

Palestinian author, activist and human rights attorney Jonathan Kuttab … has abandoned any hope for two states and is now calling for a single entity that recognizes the rights and obligations of both sides”:

News and Analysis 10/23/21

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

“Two of the six groups said they would not be forced underground despite the uncertainty of their new status, which would allow Israel to raid the groups’ offices, seize assets, arrest employees and criminalize funding and expressions of support”:

Those who argued that Article 370 was the cause of communal strife and terrorism must confront the fact that two years after its abrogation things have gotten worse:

“UN independent rights experts … called on the Israeli Government to completely end the ‘unlawful practice’ of administrative detention”:

Religious scholars in Bangladesh are condemning violence whether against Hindus or Muslims:

“With PayPal not operating in Palestine, it’s like another checkpoint that’s stopping us from moving,” says a web designer who lost a contract because his client in Australia used PayPal to pay bills:

“Far from becoming one of the world’s 10 largest economies by 2023, as ErdoÄŸan promised, Turkey is now out of the top 20. Double-digit inflation, increasing unemployment, and rising consumer prices have made life unbearable for millions”:

“Shortlisted for The JCB Prize for Literature 2021, Shabir Ahmad Mir’s debut novel captures the vortex that Kashmir has been in over the years”:

Israel systematically erases Palestinian identity, yet “[a] film about a Palestinian citizen of Israel, with a predominantly Palestinian cast, based on a novel by a Palestinian author, won this year’s top Israeli film honor”:

News and Analysis 10/21/21

Thursday, October 21st, 2021

The six prisoners are among the 520 held in Israeli jails without formal charges or trial:

“The court said [that] a Muslim ex-wife has a right to maintenance subject to satisfying certain conditions, is indisputable”:

Colin Powell deserves credit for adding in his refutation of claims that Barak Obama was a Muslim that there is nothing wrong with being a Muslim or for “with some 7-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be president?” …

… but he himself denied claims that he ever questioned the Bush administration’s false claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction:

The AJC, the ADL, and Bend the Arc  are among the religious organizations blowing the whistle on Republicans who seem to oppose someone “eminently qualified” to be confirmed as “be the highest-ranking Muslim in government”:

“Biden has acquiesced to Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem; … followed through on the Taliban-Trump deal …; and appears in no hurry to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by Trump”:

Benny Gantz paints the move as a “humanitarian gesture” but it only allows some Gaza refugees and undocumented spouses of West Bank residents denied freedom in the occupied territory to take menial jobs in Israel:

The terrorist group India blames for the recent violence “emerged in the wake of … [India’s]  harsh communication and movement lockdown in the Kashmir valley to forestall any large-scale protests” of its policies:

Human Rights Watch is demanding Iranian “investigate abuses against Payam Derafshan, prosecute anyone responsible, provide him with adequate redress, and urgently investigate the prevalence of torture and abuse in [its] prisons”:

News and Analysis 10/18/21

Monday, October 18th, 2021

“[I]n addition to the burning and cutting down of trees, the attacks included stealing olive crops, chasing down farmers and pushing them off their lands, as well as threatening them and drowning parts of their lands with the sewage water”:

British Muslims are apprehensive “after it emerged that Ali Harbi Ali, the 25-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder following the fatal stabbing, came from a British Somali family”:

“The grisly killing of a villager during a campaign to evict hundreds of Muslim families from government land in India’s Assam … sparked national outrage”:

“Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for Sunday’s killings, or for an incident the previous day in which two other migrant workers were shot dead”:

The slumping economy and a self-destructive campaign strategy are blamed for the Fatah Alliance’s poor showing in the Iraqi elections, which they call a “sham”:

“Many Iranians blame the scale of Covid fatalities on the decision of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to ban the import of US- and UK-developed vaccines last winter”:

The organizers profess that “blending secular, religious, and personal symbols … cuts ‘to the core of the insidious nature of empire and colonialism.'” But, really, shoes on a prayer rug?

Since the election of its new president, Iran “has so far refused to resume indirect talks with the United States in Vienna”:

News and Analysis 10/15/21

Friday, October 15th, 2021

The unintended positive consequences of the withdrawal from Afghanistan and uncertainty over future U.S. commitments to the Middle East demonstrate the value of nonintervention to safe and secure world:

““We had two goals – the first was to see our families and live in the West Bank under Palestinian Authority protective custody. The second was to prove to all Israeli security organizations and the Israeli government that they’re incompetent”:

“The Palestinian detainee, whose identity is unknown, along with the reason for his detention, was handcuffed and blindfolded during the abuse and moved to a prison, where he underwent a medical examination”:

“India needs to move quickly to improve its shameful record of harassing and detaining critical journalists in Jammu and Kashmir in a complete abandonment of India’s once-proud tradition of press freedom”:

“The latest escalations by Israel is proof that conflict is not incidental or circumstantial to Zionism; it is integral to its logic and necessary for its functioning”:

Stafford County’s resistance to an Islamic cemetery that went on for years “was more than poor judgment. It has become a sterling example for local governments of how not to deal with minority communities”:

News and Analysis 10/13/21

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

The Tunisian dictator seems to think that appointing a woman to replace the democratically elected prime minister will distract attention from the fact that he rules “by decree” and not with the consent of the governed:

Thanks to the Israeli blockade and military strikes as well as cutbacks in humanitarian aid, Gazaa municipal water is intermittent, polluted by sewage, and unpalatably salty. Those who can buy private water:

Angry that authorities refused to bar Muslim students from a college event celebrating a Hindu holiday on the grounds that it is not against the law, BJP allied fanatics “went on the rampage, accusing the college of promoting ‘love jihad'”:

Palestinians are not the only marginalized group to have been denied service by PayPal. Its Venmo division was sued last year “for blocking payments associated with Islam or Arab nationalities or ethnicities”:

“He is keen to stress that the Palestinian question is not and never was a religious one but rather a colonial one. Nevertheless he … writes about God, the Quran and his spiritual beliefs, without feeling the need to hide behind metaphors or caveats”:

The Taliban have signaled that closure of public schools secondary school for girls may be temporary, perhaps due to a shortage of female teachers, but the Prophet (pbuh) made it a priority by saying that education of girls is a road to paradise:

The over 390 workers condemning technology for “surveillance of and unlawful data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian land” remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation:

Under the principle of retribution those criminals who blind women by throwing acid in their eyes should be blinded (unless the victims prefer financial compensation) but Western “human rights” groups object:

A doubling of hate crimes from 2009 to 2018 combined with abuse from peers, professors and administrators, and a refusals to recognize Muslim holidays contribute to the students’ dissatisfaction over safety and inclusion:

News and Analysis 10/11/21

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Columbus “claimed to see more than 400 mosques in the territory he conquered 500 years ago, which today we call Mexico, and he referred to the leader Montezuma as a ‘sultan'”:

The Israeli demonstrates its contempt for the property, persons, freedom, and health of the Palestinians under its occupation …

… except in Beita where “[h]undreds of fearful Palestinians” walked past Israeli soldiers guarding an illegal Israeli settlement to harvest their olives:

“Kisan … is surrounded by several illegal Israeli settlements and outposts, including Ma’ale Amos, Mizpe Shalem and Abei Hanahal, constructed on large tracts of private land expropriated from Palestinian owners”:

Seven-year-old Cassandra Wyatt “has not been back to school since the alleged incident”:

“This is not how they imagined their first home together: a mattress on the floor, a hot plate to cook on and a police guard stationed out front. It’s a secret safe house in India’s capital, 200 miles from the village where they grew up”:

For Hindus and Sikhs in Kashmir, three murders in one week provoke a “flashback” of the pogroms of the 1990s …

… and provide the state with an excuse for “hard action to be taken on all the elements including terrorists, overground workers (OGWs) and sympathizers”:

“[A]fter weeks of consultations, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have reached a deal on ‘‘the way and the timing’ for UN nuclear inspectors to service cameras installed at Iran’s nuclear facilities”:

“Ending endless war means more than troop withdrawal. It also means ending the militarized approach to foreign policy — including the transfer of deadly weapons around the world — that has undermined human rights”:

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s first president wrote that in France Khomeini talked “about liberation and freedom of speech” but from the moment of his return to Tehran, “he was purely in pursuit of power”: