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Afghanistan: Qualified Optimism
S. Binodkumar Singh

The challenges that confront Afghanistan, nevertheless, remain gargantuan. Chief among these is, of course, the Taliban backed by Pakistan's relentlessly malefic state; the problem is infinitely compounded by a glut of arms in the hands of local and irresponsible non-state actors, corruption, the interference of regional extremist groups in Afghan affairs, and serious economic vulnerabilities that can only grow with diminishing international support......

 

Race To Fight Islamic State Or Just A Show Of Force?
Octavia Nasr

All this while they forget the fundamental truth that ISIS and its militants come from their midst. They come from Arab countries as well as from the West. They come from a life of privilege as well as a life of want. They are the highly educated as well as the dropouts. All these attributes make ISIS hard to pin down and extremely dangerous to fight. The airstrikes by bomber jets whether American, French, British or Emirati are simply a show of force with limited impact on a group that can morph back into society and hide until it is ready to strike again…..

Turkey Joins the Anti-ISIS Coalition’s War
Abdulrahman al-Rashed

It seems Turkey’s initial stance was a mere manoeuvre to convince ISIS to release the Turkish hostages the former had detained after the Turkish government began to restrain the activity of fighters crossing to Syria through its land. Another reason Turkey altered its stance was that it had been waiting to see the results of popular stances in Arab countries……

Turks Dislike Islamic State, But Would Leave Fight To Others
Mustafa Akyol

Yet, the fact remains that Jihadism is a marginal trend in Turkish society, and sympathy for jihadists — especially those such as IS, which has murdered and oppressed large numbers of innocent civilians, violating the classic rules of jihad — is minuscule. The overwhelming majority of Turks seem to agree with Mehmet Gormez, Turkey’s top cleric, who said, “[IS'] actions have no place in Islam.”.....

 

The Crisis In Pakistan Is Deepening: Will the Pak Establishment be able to face the mounting Insurgencies?
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

The crisis besetting the state of Pakistan is crystal clear. At a time when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is taking roots in the country by disseminating its literature and pamphlets among its people, the Taliban groups in Peshawar have started suicide attacks. Political and sectarian divides in the administration and the provincial non-cooperation have doubled the problems of the central government. … If the Taliban groups get organised and start attacking Pakistan, the troubles of Pakistan will be maximised paving the way for political tensions to spread far and wide. The situation in Karachi is deteriorating further because the local administration is unable to stop the killers of all kinds. Sectarian killings and attacks on minorities across the country continue unabated.

Ending the Oppression of Muslims: Stop Postulating the Clash of Civilizations
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Allah has ordained that the enemy of the Muslims are those who fight and oppress them. Muslims must not war against those who have not attacked them (in any way). That is the way of Islam – peace unless you declare war against Islam. Muslims who adhere strictly to these tenets and wish to live at peace with non-Muslims can only have credibility and be listened to if the oppression of the Muslims ceases.....

What Do America's Arab Partners Against ISIS Really Want?
Akbar Shahid Ahmed

While Riyadh's rulers have long been willing to cooperate in Middle East operations that matter to the U.S., they take the fight against the Islamic State personally: The group is widely seen as seeking to replace the reigning Saud family with leaders more committed to extreme Wahhabi ideology. The stronger the group becomes, the more capable it is of launching an effort to take over the holy Muslim sites of Mecca and Medina…..

The Gaza War and the End of ‘Arab Gallantry’
Ramzy Baroud

When Arab media commentators laud Netanyahu for killing Palestinians in Gaza and a U.N. spokesman weeps on the air, crying for Gaza’s victims, one is forced to question old beliefs about one’s own supposed exceptionalism. It has turned out that Nakhwa has no borders, and can extend from Bolivia to Sir Lanka, and from South Africa to Norway…..

 

Striking a Balance: Crushing ISIS vs. Boosting Assad
Brooklyn Middleton

The only way the U.S. and Arab states can maintain the sure to be tenuous gains made against ISIS is to empower rebels already on the ground. Saudi Arabia’s serious efforts to train moderate rebels to battle both ISIS and the Syrian military must be backed entirely. At the same time, the FSA should be made a key player in the already formed coalition against ISIS……

 

Abbas Should Resort To International Law
Rami G. Khouri

Abbas specifically wants the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution that would establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza within three years. If that does not fly, he wants the United States to revive bilateral negotiations that would see Israelis and Palestinians focus immediately on the borders of a new Palestinian state. If this approach does not succeed, Abbas also threatens to sign the statutes of the International Criminal Court and take the Palestine state case there. He would reportedly delay this if major European powers recognize the state of Palestine……

 

Turkey — A Unique Member of NATO
Harun Yahya

Over the time it has become obvious that Turkey does not agree with the western policies toward the Middle East and does not trust the West in this regard. The reason behind this distrust is the West’s policy of searching for solutions using only military means, which has so far miserably failed in stopping the bloodshed……

 

China at a Crossroads in Gilgit-Baltistan
Senge Sering

With large outcry in Pakistan against recent Palestinian killings, one wonders at the nation’s pronounced silence on the continued Uighur genocide in China’s restive Xinjiang Province. This absence of protest by Pakistan on Muslim oppression in China is not without reason. China is Pakistan’s major defence and trade ally. China has major investments in much of the country including the UN-declared disputed region of Gilgit-Baltistan which borders Xinjiang.....

 

Lawless in Libya: Entire Country Has Become a Battlefield and the West Has Washed Its Hands of the Disaster That It Contributed To Create
Vijay Prashad

The NATO war destroyed Libyan institutions, and produced in a flash a failed state. The repercussions have been severe for the Libyan people. There is no silver lining here. The West has washed its hands of the disaster that it contributed to create—and has refused at all costs to allow a U.N. investigation into the war itself. Regional actors have no political path for stability. They have turned to their armies…..

 

Dr Mohammed Najibullah: the Afghan Prometheus

The Pakistani security establishment did not want the Afghan Prometheus out alive. He had withstood the combined Pakistani-Arab-US onslaught through Afghan rebels and Arab mercenaries even after the Soviet withdrawal. In fact, Dr Najibullah inflicted the most humiliating defeat on the ISI-backed Mujahideen in the March 1989 battle of Jalalabad after the Soviet pullout. But the Pakistani junta was perhaps more wary of Dr Najibullah’s Afghan nationalist credentials and a larger than life stature that he had attained on both sides of the Durand Line after the Soviet departure. His opponents knew that, if left alive, Dr Najibullah would continue to stand resolutely against Pakistani meddling in Afghanistan…..

 

Is It Saudi Arabia Or Egypt That Lies In The Crosshairs Of The IS?
Hasan Kanbolat

As it is, the IS is already talking of conquering Saudi Arabia. It has declared the Saud family itself infidels. It has already openly said that one of its goals is to “use the stones in Mecca to kill those praying there, and to destroy the Kaa’ba, which is being prayed to instead of God.” And so it is that the real target in front of the IS is not Baghdad but rather Riyadh. The West does not wish to see the IS spread from Iraq (and Yemen) towards Saudi Arabia…..

 

ISIL Release Does Not Seem To Be an ‘Operation’
Günay Hilal Aygün

“There is no operation.” After expressing his satisfaction with the return of the Turkish hostages and the fact that their captivity is finally over, Avcı asked, “What about the other side of the coin?” According to Avcı, we should question what exactly is behind the release of the hostages. Pointing out that a rescue operation -- which is how Erdoğan labelled the event -- is pretty different than what Prime Minister Davutoğlu described as a result of "contacts,”……

 

Counterterrorism Fatigue in Indonesia
Noor Huda Ismail

The BNPT understands the need to prevent the spread of radical ideas among young people, particularly at risk groups, which is why the agency has launched a massive campaign to fight radical narrative in which it will host a series of talk shows featuring repented jihadists such as Nasir Abbas….

 

Muslim Separatists and the Idea of an ‘Islamic’ State
Amina Wadud

This is only to assert that the actions that they have been performing exceed even the recommendations about how to engage with an enemy in battle; where all the sources of Islam first demands that war itself has to be declared and respect for prisoners of war and non-combatants is paramount.  This sweep of ISIS across Iraq killing non-Muslims who never declared war, including journalists- to say nothing of killing other Muslims in mass genocide- cannot be connected to any evidentiary base within Islam……

Palestine Is More Than a Wailing Nightingale
Ramzy Baroud

As a Palestinian Gaza refugee from a simple peasantry background, I was raised to believe that Al-Nakhwa was an essential component of one’s Arab identity. Together with Al-Rojoula — “manhood/fortitude/heroism” — Al-Karm — “generosity” — Al-Karama — “dignity” — and Al-Sharaf — “honour” — were all indispensable tenants in the character of any upright person. The alternative is unthinkably shameful……

 

The basic issue involved holistic education, as best expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s statement, “No nation can remain free unless its citizens are properly educated.  Proper education consists in teaching and learning virtue.  And no nation can remain virtuous unless both the personal and public lives of the individual are infused with awareness and love of Divine Providence”, which was a theist term (as contrasted with deism) back then for God as Muslims understand it. Unfortunately, even the best philosophers have a streak of hypocrisy. ……

 

Unrest in Yemen: Houthis Get Huffy

Yemeni officials are suspicious that the Houthis have bigger goals in mind. The government has been negotiating with the Houthis since August, but every time the group is offered a deal, their leaders increased their demands, says a senior official close to Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the president. When talks failed earlier this year, Houthi fighters arrived in the capital. “They don’t want a political solution,” says the official. “They want a state within a state, like Hizbullah,” he says, referring to the powerful Shia movement in Lebanon……

 

The Dependency of an Islamic State on Sharia
Nurrohman Syarif

….the Prophet is basically a moral and spiritual leader. Although many experts acknowledge Muhammad as a prophet and statesman, such as evidenced by his effort to make common ground with a plural society in the “Medina constitution” issued in his lifetime, Muhammad’s involvement in state affairs was not his main mission. He admitted himself that he was sent to perfect morality. In the history of Islam, Islamic law is developed by experts or Islamic jurists privately and independently. Therefore it is not surprising that Islamic law is diverse, depending on the schools of law and their respective methodology…..

State and Utopia: Are Democracies Collapsing In Asia?
Khaled Ahmed

Goodness is defined on the basis of religious rituals. In the Khyber tribal agency, a warlord called Mangal Bagh coerces you into being good by burning your house if you don’t say Namaaz five times a day in a mosque. This is the “Amr” (enforce good) of Islamic law. The other tenet, called “Nahi” (forbid bad), is democratic and modern, but becomes discriminatory when the law of evidence is applied to women and non-Muslims. Pakistan has both “Amr” and “Nahi”. It can’t protest much about the democracy it can’t have….

 

Is Egypt Doomed to Autocracy?
Alaa Al Aswany

Islamist extremists, certainly, do not believe in democracy. The global Islamic Liberation Party (also known as Hizb ut-Tahrir) argues that there are several fundamental points of incompatibility between Islam and democracy. Most Islamist extremists share this view; the moment they take power, they will establish a quasi-fascist theocracy.....

 

The World’s First Christian Imams
Burak Bekdil

It is more than relieving that we have a prime minister who thinks he can end the half-century-long dispute over Cyprus just by having a spot of tea with his Greek counterpart on both sides of the divided island. Why did the whole world not think of this before?....

 
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