Books and Documents
Islam and Politics

Re-Imagining Pakistan: The Situation as It Exists Today, Doom and Gloom Reign Supreme
Tahir Kamran

Like many post-colonial states, Pakistan was created first and imagined afterwards. In fact, the process of ‘imagining’ Pakistan continues to this day — particularly on Pakistani TV channels. History as a discipline has been instrumental in tracing the evolutionary process of Pakistan as a political imaginary. If the texts produced by the likes of Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi and Shaikh Muhammad Ikram are read dispassionately, one senses the past has been reconstructed just to suit the historical inevitability of a Muslim state in the North-West of India……


Obama’s Unconvincing Aid to Syria’s Rebels
Joyce Karam

The $500 million in proposed U.S. aid would be almost what ISIS ran off with in its Mosul bank heist last month…..


Noam Chomsky on Israel-Palestine and BDS: Those Dedicated To the Palestinian Cause Should Think Carefully About the Tactics They Choose
Noam Chomsky

The distinguished Israeli scholar Zeev Sternhell, reviewing the reactionary nationalist tide in his country, writes that “the occupation will continue, land will be confiscated from its owners to expand the settlements, the Jordan Valley will be cleansed of Arabs, Arab Jerusalem will be strangled by Jewish neighbourhoods, and any act of robbery and foolishness that serves Jewish expansion in the city will be welcomed by the High Court of Justice. The road to South Africa has been paved and will not be blocked until the Western world presents Israel with an unequivocal choice: Stop the annexation and dismantle most of the colonies and the settler state, or be an outcast.”....

Libya is neither a stable country nor a democratic one, largely due to the short-sighted meddling of Cameron and his allies who thought that democracy would rapidly emerge once the dictatorship was overturned. Mirroring the situation in Somalia, Libya now stands to become Africa’s latest failed state…..


History Cruelly Repeats Itself in the Middle East
Robert Fisk

Oddly, however, no one reminds us that today’s carnage is an obscene replay — by both sides — of what has happened before, and indeed before that. The leftist Israeli historian Illan Pappe has recorded how on Dec 28, 2006, the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem reported that 660 Palestinians had been killed in that year alone, most in Gaza, including 141 children; and that since 2000, Israeli forces had killed almost 4,000 Palestinians with 20,000 wounded. But scarcely has there been a single mention of all of this in a single report on the latest slaughter in the Gaza war….


'Our Everlasting Shame'
Noam Chomsky

When Israel is on “good behavior,” more than two Palestinian children are killed every week, a pattern that goes back over 14 years. The underlying cause is the criminal occupation and the programs to reduce Palestinian life to bare survival in Gaza, while Palestinians are restricted to unviable cantons in the West Bank and Israel takes over what it wants, all in gross violation of international law and explicit Security Council resolutions, not to speak of minimal decency.....


What's happening in Iraq and Syria is not a conventional Shia-Sunni conflict. It is a case of motivated groups of wrongly indoctrinated fighters going out of control and playing havoc. They are killing Sunnis, Sufis, Shias and Christians. Their call for Caliphate is just a camouflage to spread Wahhabism in areas traditionally dominated by spiritually-oriented liberal Muslim sects…..

Bombers from the Maldives
Tufail Ahmad

Societies provide oxygen for Islamists to grow in their midst. The liberal atmosphere of Britain, notably in institutions like the London School of Economics, over past decades offered sanctuaries for Islamists, considering their arguments as legitimate politics against imperialism. Saudi Arabia is bankrolling Wahhabism across the world. Pakistani society has been transformed into a 24x7 seminary for nurturing arguments favourable to jihadists and fatal to Muslim reformists. Under Saudi-Pakistani influence, now the Maldivian society is being transformed on a jihadist path….


Israeli and Palestinian leaders have denounced the murders. But with Jewish teenagers marching through Jerusalem and calling for revenge, and Palestinian teenagers rioting in West Bank villages, the condemnations have so far felt impotent. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is now 79 years old. Netanyahu is 64. Each has spent almost a decade in power (Netanyahu’s terms haven’t been consecutive). There is a limit to how long they can retain control over their young and increasingly restless populations. The median age in Israel is 29.9. In the West Bank, it’s 22.4. In Gaza, 18.2.....

Gaza and the Great Wall of Silence
Aijaz Zaka Syed

Watching Israel’s reign of terror return to Gaza once again with full vindictive force over the past few days though, targeting a helpless, defenceless civilian population for the zillionth time while the world stands and stares, one tends to join people like Ahmadinejad in their wishful thinking......

Iraq's Urgent Need for Unity
Zalmay Khalilzad

If the central government fails to grant satisfactory concessions to Sunnis and Kurds, the Kurds will push for sovereignty and independence. The Kurds are serious, and the international community must adapt to this emerging reality. While all Iraqi leaders bear responsibility for resolving the current crisis, the greatest share lies with the country’s Shiite politicians…..


Israel Awakens the Palestine It Tried To Crush
Ramzy Baroud

The entire episode, particularly after its grim ending, seemed to traumatize Israelis into ignoring harsh truths about the settlers and the militarization of their society. For instance, one of the three has since been accused of humiliating Palestinian prisoners, while another was reportedly an occupation soldier. Amid a portrayal of the three as hapless youths, although one was a 19-year-old soldier, commentators have failed to provide badly needed context to events. Few, if any, assigned the blame where it was most deserved – on expansionist policies which have sown hatred and bloodshed…..


"It would have simply been the end of state sovereignty had the authorities bowed to this demand. The leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood must have anticipated the rejection of the authorities and they knew they were bringing things towards a deadlock."…..


The Myth of the Caliphate and the Islamic State
Afzal Ashraf

The new caliph presents Muslims with a choice to accept him or be assumed apostate and so, liable to be killed. This has precedence in medieval Europe, rather than in Muslim history. A medieval Christian king would declare cuius regio, eius et religio or to whom belongs the realm also belongs the religion, requiring subjects to accept his religion, leave or be killed……


Gaza And Mosul: Where Is The Connection?
Murat Yetkin

The three Israeli boys were kidnapped on June 12, one day after ISIL raided the Turkish Consulate General in Mosul and captured 49 people, including the consul general; it has been a month in captivity as of yesterday. Was there a link between the two provocative actions in two days? It is hard to tell now. But the events have started to unfold in an inflammable manner afterwards. Iraqi Kurds have captured the other oil-rich city of Kirkuk, ISIL has shortened its name to Islamic State (IS), only claiming control over parts of both Syria and Iraq and declared its leader Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi the new Caliph of “all Muslims” on June 24….


Israel’s Bloody Status Quo
Roger Cohen

Israel could send Gaza back to whichever age it wishes. Its military advantage, its general dominance, over the Palestinians has never been greater since 1948. But it chooses otherwise. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s talk of a ground invasion is empty. The last thing Israel wants, short of a cataclysm, is to go into Gaza and get stuck…..


Iraq Crisis: How Saudi Arabia Helped ISIS Take Over the North of the Country
Patrick Cockburn

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein's monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to ISIS, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.....


Growing Salafi Influence in Turkey
Hasan Kanbolat

It would be naive to think that the two Kurdistans on the southern borders of Turkey and a second Saudi Arabia in the same area will not affect Turkey. This refers to a probable Afghanisation of Iraq after Syria and Pakistanisation of Turkey. When will the Turks who have been bystanders to the developments so far wake up to the realities?....


The government argued that the word is unique to Islam, and restricted its use to Muslims. This goes against the established fact that non-Muslims have used the word “Allah” since time immemorial in the Middle East and other parts of the Islamic world. Few were surprised by the ruling. Christians and other minorities in Malaysia knew that the issue was not really about the usage of the word “Allah,” but rather a show of political force about who really rules the country…..


Islam, Iraq and Syria: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Declares Himself Leader Of All Muslims—Who Don’t Buy It

A mix of ruthlessness, astute publicity and clever tactics has allowed SIC to punch above its strength, estimated anywhere between 7,000-20,000 fighters. Its expansion in both Iraq and Syria has followed a pattern. Potential allies such as tribal groups and local militias are wooed with cash, guns and promises. Leaders who resist pledging allegiance, as well as allies who have served their purpose, are then targeted for assassination……


"The interior ministry is reinforcing the Zawiyah to eliminate Wahabism,” he says. “Thanks be to God, the Sufis are strong here.” Morocco’s Sufi revival is likely to mean Sufis will play a growing role not only in national political life, but also as a tool for furthering Morocco’s regional, and even international, influence……

Is the term 'state' intrinsically secular? Does it require a parliament, a capitalist economic model and every political structure mimicking a modern nation state? Well, no. The error of making a distinction between a Caliphate and an Islamic State, is quite frankly, odd. A Caliphate and an Islamic State are synonymous terms. The only difference is the former is the given name of the state and the latter being its ideology. When referring to Caliphates of the past it would be hugely inaccurate to disregard them as examples of states due to the lack of modern governmental trappings……


Let the Arab People Decide Their Destiny
Dr Ahmad M Zaidan

The colonial powers and their stooges, who are still influential in the region, had two objectives: to suppress the Sunni majority, which was regarded as a remnant of the Ottoman empire and, therefore, liable to be punished and declared rogue; and the vacuum created by the abolition of the old system to be filled by a new elite loyal to the new system and its masters. This preface is important in order to understand the current Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia and had a snowball effect, which is still being felt. This can be blamed on the dysfunctional system imposed on the Arab people.....


In Afghanistan, Danger of another ‘Caliph’ Looms Large
Mansoor Jafar

The second-attempt victory of Ashraf Ghani in the Afghan presidential election reminds me of the post-Saddam era in Iraq when a foreign qualified and self-exiled Nouri al-Maliki took the reins of power with pomp and circumstance. Interesting commonality between the Afghan president-elect and Nouri al-Maliki has alarmed many political commentators. Foreign qualified Nouri al-Maliki also returned to Iraq from self-exile after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that overthrew Saddam Hussein and his party Dawah soon emerged as a major political force - with Maliki among its vanguard…….

Will ISIS Unite Tehran and Riyadh?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Some may think that Saudi Arabia does not have the upper hand or the ability to propose a new regional system in the region because it is itself threatened by ISIS from its Iraqi and Yemeni borders. This is not true! ISIS and the other extremist Islamist parties are only capable of destroying areas where there are political vacuums or exhausted by military rivalries like Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Sunni provinces in Iraq. After all, ISIS is an organization used to spread chaos and deepen crises. It can threaten Saudi Arabia’s domestic security, as al-Qaeda did before, but it’s not capable of threatening the state itself......


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