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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

How Zia Redefined Pakistan
I.A. Rehman

The most important feature of the resolution was a declaration that sovereignty belonged to Allah. The Ulema were jubilant. The slogan-walas had defeated the Jinnah lobby. The Jamaat-i-Islami now declared Pakistan an Islamic state. The most telling observation on the Objectives Resolution came from a Congress member of the assembly who warned the house that the resolution had cleared the way for the emergence of an adventurer who could claim to be God’s appointee. And General Zia behaved exactly like that....

 

Saudi Arabia Is Pointing Fingers at Qatar, but On Terror Linkages, It Has a Record of Double-Speak
Christophe Jaffrelot

The Indo-Islamic civilisation has shown great resilience but may follow one of the most aggressive routes of Pakistani Islam today, not only because of the Hindutva push, but also because of factors drawing inspiration and finances from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. Sufism is already under attack in Pakistan, where sectarian and Jihadi repertoires are gaining momentum....

 

The Peril of Saudi Expansion in the Gulf of Aqaba
Cynthia Farahat

In another veiled call for terrorism, the statement also urged citizens to "treat all Saudi companies and institutions, as occupying forces." Not only does this destabilize Egypt's security, more dangerously it can inspire a coup d'état in Egypt. A coup could be launched with the excuse of defending Egyptian land, which may work given President el-Sisi's plummeting popularity.....

 

Turkey’s Main Opposition Changes Focus From ‘Secularism’ To ‘Justice’
Mustafa Akyol

Since the July 15 failed coup, Turkey has been going through one of its darkest eras in which “justice” has become desperately lacking. The coup attempt, for sure, was a bloody episode that required a rigorous prosecution and a state of emergency. But after a few weeks of “national unity,” the government began to use the state of emergency as a tool to crack down on all opposition voices in every walk of life, from politics to journalism to academia. More than 50,000 people found themselves in jail, and another 140,000 people have been fired from their jobs....

 

Erdogan’s “Language Revolution” Epitomizes His Anti-Western and Cultural Islamism
Burak Bekdil

Nevertheless, in deeply polarized Turkey, language is not just language. It has been part of Erdoğan’s campaign to make Turkey more Islamic and more Turkish. Remarkably, in 2014, Erdoğan lectured on a language he does not understand, speak, read, or write. “We once had a language [Ottoman] perfectly suitable for science,” he lamented, “Then it disappeared overnight ...

 

The Secret Saudi-Israeli Partnership
Faraz Talat

Either tacitly or explicitly, Saudi Arabia and Israel have cooperated enough times to make any guise of hostility pointlessly transparent. The only surprise is how Saudi Arabia has been able to feign its concern for Palestinians in the midst of the partnership with their oppressors, while also earning the respect of staunchly anti-Israeli states like Pakistan....

 

Another weird and unfounded opinion is “while Sufism is rooted in Revelation, mysticism is not.” This betrays a dozen of confusions that serious scholars of mysticism, Sufism and Islam can’t be imagined to commit including ignorance of the definition of intellection that undergirds Revelation. Suffice to say, Sufism is best classified as Islamic mysticism or esoteric dimension of Islam and esotericism is linked with intellection that also grounds revelation and it is a category mistake to impose exoteric understanding of God and Revelation on what transcends and ground the same....

The Squeeze Is On Against Hamas
Grant Rumley

Israel, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and several Arab countries are dialling up the financial and diplomatic pressure on Hamas — but they may also be setting the region on a path for war...

 

Iraq's Kurds Question Motives behind Independence Vote
Ibrahim Malazada

Some activists have launched a petition campaign under the banner Why We Stand Against the Referendum, whose signatories include writers and others who think the referendum will be exploited for partisan and clan agendas. “The referendum should derive its legitimacy from a legitimate institution, such as Kurdistan’s parliament, or a legitimate institution within the Iraqi state,”....

 

Liberal Berlin Mosque to Stay Open despite Fatwa from Egypt
Philip Oltermann

Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta al-Masriyyah, a state-run Islamic institution assigned to issue religious edicts, issued a statement on Monday declaring that the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque’s practice of men and women praying side by side was incompatible with Islam, while the legal department of Egypt’s al-Azhar university reacted to news from Berlin with a fatwa on the foundation of liberal mosques per se....

 

House of Saudi Cards: The Inside Story
Pepe Escobar

A top Middle East source close to the House of Saud, and a de facto dissident of the Beltway consensus, minces no words; “The CIA is very displeased with the firing of [former Crown Prince] Mohammad bin Nayef. Mohammad bin Salman is regarded as sponsoring terrorism. In April 2014 the entire royal families of the UAE and Saudi Arabia were to be ousted by the US over terrorism.  A compromise was worked out that Nayef would take over running the Kingdom to stop it.”...

Economic Crunch Jolting Gulf Monarchies
Lal Khan

The Saudi King Salman’s midnight decree installing his son Mohammed bin Salman as the heir apparent exposes the internal crisis of the monarchy. The deteriorating economic situation in the Kingdom due to the collapse of oil prices is behind these drastic changes and is the cause of fissures within the Al Saud family....

 

Turkey's Failed Grand Design for the Middle East
Burak Bekdil

In many ways, the recent crisis between Qatar and its Gulf and other Muslim "friends" marked, among other things, the last nail in the coffin of Turkey's "grand Middle Eastern design." Once again, Turkey's leaders were trapped by their own ideological shallowness into betting on a losing horse....

 

The Long-Term Cost of Saudi Succession Shake-Up
Bruce Riedel

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy and theocracy. The king has complete authority and control. His choice of his favourite son is likely to provoke quiet muttering and complaining in the family and the clerical establishment, but not a challenge. The longer-term costs of upsetting the legitimacy of the line of succession in the midst of low oil prices and regional tensions are much more worrisome. The young prince is poised to inherit a kingdom under stress at home and abroad....

 

Qatar, the Mouse That Roared
Eric Margolis

Qatar’s efforts at modernizing are being met with furious opposition by the leaders of Mideast reaction – feudal kingdom Saudi Arabia, military dictatorship Egypt and their feudal satraps in the UAE and Bahrain. Trump’s green-lighting this foolish venture shows how poorly informed and dunderheaded he is. The other Gulf States should grow up and stop acting like feuding Bedouins....

 
The Qatar Ultimatum
Clifford D. May

The Qatar Ultimatum
Clifford D. May

Qatar has now reached a fork in the road. The emir can support the Arab/Sunni bloc committed to fighting terrorism – Sunni and Shia alike -- announced during President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia. Or he can throw in with Iran and Russia, once-great empires with neo-imperialist ambitions. But his license to play both ends against the middle appears to have expired....

 

The Arab Epics of 1967: The Six-Day War at 50
Nael ElToukhy

The Arab-Israeli war of 1967 — and the Egyptian-Syrian defeat in it — was one of the most significant moments for the modern Middle East, an overwhelming experience, especially for the Egyptians who suffered not just military and political but also psychological consequences. The story of 1967 is one that Egyptians should explore and remember with nuance and sophistication — and reality....

 
Will Iran Descend Into Chaos?
Christopher De Bellaigue

Will Iran Descend Into Chaos?
Christopher De Bellaigue

The fear now is that if Iran is increasingly exposed to Jihadi attacks, attitudes toward Sunnis — in particular the country’s Sunni minority — will harden. “If we don’t slap the enemy” outside our borders, Iran’s public prosecutor told the public in March, “he’ll come to your door.” And what if he is perceived to be already inside?...

 

Feuds between Bedouin Tribes and Inter-Arab Brawls Are Not Pakistan’s Business
Pervez Hoodbhoy

Feuds between Bedouin tribes and inter-Arab brawls are not our business. It matters hugely to KSA — but not at all to us — that the largest mosque in Doha (Qatar) is wrongly named as the Shaykh Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab Mosque. Nor do we care that an unnamed Qatari prince is right or wrong in claiming Abd al-Wahhab as his great grandfather.....

Pakistan, Gripped By Fear, Tries To Normalise Blasphemy Laws, Anti-Liberal Violence
Khaled Ahmed

Blasphemy in Pakistan has acquired a broad meaning; “innuendo” can get you in trouble, but being “liberal” is signal enough for the pious seeking easy paradise. Section 225-C of the Pakistan Penal Code explains how the punishment of death can be attracted: “Whoever insults the sacred name of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) by words either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by imputation, innuendo or insinuation, directly or indirectly, will be punished by hanging”.....

 

Same Same but Different: The GCC Continues To Clash over Islamists
Courtney Freer

At the end of May, the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs demanded that Qatar change the name of its state mosque, which is now dubbed Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Wahhab Mosque, amid claims that al-Thani ruling family is not descendant of al-Wahhab (Qatar and Saudi Arabia are the only countries whose official religion is Wahhabism)....

 

Since Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with a coterie of advisers obsessed with the twin threats of Iranian influence and “radical Islamic terror,” it makes sense that the Saudis decided this was the moment to act. Punishing Qatar and isolating Iran also fit with the Israeli government’s assessment of its strategic interests, as it confronts Hezbollah forces to its north and Hamas in Gaza on its south-western border....

 

King Salman and PM Najib Collaborate To Protect Indian Jihadi Zakir Naik
Zakir Naik

Salman and Najib working together to protect Zakir Naik raises the likelihood that the Saudis and Malaysians are running a joint pool of funds to finance terrorism and related activities in the region, which includes money stolen from 1MDB and from Saudi contributions.PM Najib himself has used the argument of mixed funds in his defence against his theft from another state owned company, SRC International, which was once wholly-owned 1MDB subsidiary.....

Arab Version of the Six Day War: The Great Lie That Refuses To Die
Ben Macintyre

On June 5, 1967, Israel destroyed Egypt’s air force and attacked the planes of Syria and Jordan. Then Israeli forces advanced on Sinai, Jerusalem’s Old City, Suez and the Golan Heights. Six days later Israel had achieved a stunning victory over the encircling Arab armies, and the map of the Middle East was redrawn....

 

A Family Feud: Saudi Arabia Cuts Off Qatar
The Economist

The British kept the Saudis from extending their rule to its coastal protectorates in the 1920s. More recently, Qatar has reached out to an unlikely assembly of Israel, Iran, Turkey and America for support. Of late, though, its alliances have seemed to fray. Israel has deepened its security relationship with Qatar’s rivals, the UAE, and to a lesser extent, Saudi Arabia....



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