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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

Muslim Vs Muslim: A Brief Survey of Conflicts
Irfan Husain

It is easy to blame external forces, and specially the West, for our predicament. And it is true that Western support for the most repressive governments in the Muslim world and elsewhere during the Cold War have made matters worse. But we need to be masters of our own destiny, and not allow tin-pot dictators, shabby politicians or sleazy kings and emirs — or, indeed, Washington — to hold the Muslim world to ransom forever……

Funded by Arabian Gulf petrodollars from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, among other places, and for a long while supported, at least implicitly, by the Obama administration, radical Islamist fighters in Syria opposing Bashar al-Assad have been expanding in strength, numbers, and lethality for the last three years. This winter, they and their branches in Iraq converged, first taking Fallujah, then moving on to the spring and summer debacles across Sunni Iraq and the establishment of a “caliphate” in the territories they control in both countries. ... The disintegration of Iraq is the result of U.S. policies that, since 2003, have been strikingly devoid of coherence or any real comprehension when it comes to the forces at play in the country or the region.  They have had about them an aura of puerility, of "good guys" versus "bad guys," that will leave future historians stunned. Worst of all, they have generated a modern-day Middle Eastern Catch-22 in which all sides are armed, funded, and supported directly or indirectly by Washington or its allies. Meanwhile, ISIS and other Sunni insurgent groups have effectively tapped into the tens of thousands of angry young men I saw in Fallujah last year and are reportedly enjoying significant popular support (as, in some cases, the best of a series of terrible options) in many of the towns and cities where they have set up shop.

Iran Corners US in Iraq
M K Bhadrakumar

Iran Corners US in Iraq
M K Bhadrakumar

An altogether new interpretation is available today that the current turmoil in Iraq has been a carefully hatched plot by the US and its regional allies, especially Turkey which is keeping a deafening silence on the Iraq developments. Could the kidnapping of the Turks in their consulate in Mosul, ostensibly by the ISIL, be in reality a stage-managed publicity stunt that projects Ankara as victim rather than as the mentor of the terrorist group? There are no easy answers......

 

Saudi Vendetta against Muslim Brotherhood
Saeed Naqvi

After a cruel end to the Qaddafi saga, and the stalemate in Syria, the Saudis found that the Qataris were punching above their weight, trying to mediate between the Taliban and Kabul, linking up the Muslim Brotherhood strands in Egypt, Turkey and Hamas – in each instance upstaging Riyadh. If there is one group the Saudis are even more paranoid about than Iran, it is the Akhwan ul Muslimeen or the Muslim Brotherhood which is ideologically opposed to the institution of the King in Saudi Arabia…..

Iran, Saudis Give Battle on Proxy Stage
Ehsan Ahrari

However, being convinced of the victories of its side in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts, the Saudi rulers are not about to oblige the Ayatollahs by lowering their support for those jihadists. Thus, this ostensibly unending hybrid proxy war continues. If Iraq remains as chaotic as it is right now, the sole winners are likely to be ISIS, which is betting on further escalating the chaos to strengthen its presence in Iraq and then using that strength to oust Bashar Assad....

 

The Wahabi-Salafi Mindset Is Devoid Of the Joy of Faith
Dr Mahjabeen Islam

Pakistan is at a point where there needs to be a multi-dimensional approach to free it of the chokehold of terrorism. In peaceful times, we would have had the luxury of safeguarding human rights; at a time of war with an enemy that has invaded the hearts and minds of significant segments of the population, preserving the integrity of Pakistan, as well as countless lives and major national assets, far outweighs the possible violation of human rights. …..

Power Struggles in Middle East Exploit Islam’s Ancient Sectarian Rift
David D. Kirkpatrick

Their battles are an extension of sectarian hostilities nearly as old as Islam. But they are also a manifestation of a radically new scramble for power playing out across the region in the aftermath of the United States invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring revolts. This island nation off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia was the first place where Arab Spring demands for equal citizenship and democratic governance degenerated into a sectarian feud….

 

One of the top items on Turkey's political agenda relates to the ongoing operation against the Gülen Movement, which formed an autonomous shadow state in various government institutions. The group, which is primarily organized within law enforcement and the judiciary, remains active in media, education and finance as well. It aims to accumulate power through anti-democratic channels…..

 

Does Iraq Need a Saddam Hussein II?
Chris Doyle

What Iraq needs is a strong man, a man who can keep a violent, bloodthirsty argumentative Iraqi population all under total control. Iraq has always been violent, that’s how Iraqis are. You have to show an iron fist. They are not ready for democracy. Iraq must have a dictator to survive……

 
The Season for Revolutions in Pakistan
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

The Season for Revolutions in Pakistan
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

The leader of Pakistan Awami Tehreek has announced that the revolution was a few weeks away and that the Awami Inquilab Council had been set up. His voice was full of sound and fury. He got carried away and even called the police and officers of other departments ‘dogs’. No doubt, the members of his party have been killed and an apparently administrative matter was treated in a violent manner. After that the leadership of Awami Tahreek is outraged and its leader wants to turn this anger into a revolution......

Ramadan: Through the Eyes of A Refugee
Ramzy Baroud
Ramadan always takes me back to the refugee camp in Gaza, no matter where I am in the world. And when a TV sheikh preaches about what Ramadan is or is not about, I often reflect on what Ramadan has meant to me and my peers in the refugee camp. It was not about feeling the brunt of the poor, for we all were, Ghassan included, poverty-stricken. It was about sharing the hardships of life, a communal struggle against one’s own weaknesses and a month-long introspection to uncover the collective strength of a beleaguered community. Ramadan was an exacting platform through which poverty and deprivation were devalued so that when Ramadan was over, we felt grateful for the little we had, before we resumed our struggle for the rights and freedoms we truly deserved…….

View from Tehran: ISIL And The Emerging Political Map Of Iraq
Mahmood Monshipouri

The fragmentation of Iraq — a possibility now more real than in the past—into three states would not fail to generate new tensions, which in turn would spill over into the neighbouring countries of Iran, Turkey, and Jordan. That might easily fuel foreign intervention to end or contain the chaos in the region.  Some observers have noted that U.S. Democrats’ design for the partition of Iraq is finally coming to fruition…..

 

If the 1980s is notorious in Pakistan’s history for its so called Islamisation, the current decade will probably be remembered as the era of ‘blasphemisation’ of Pakistan. Over forty years ago Zia ul Haq deployed Islam to legitimize his illegal coup against a democratic government and proceeded to raise a generation of militants in CIA run training camps funded by Saudi money. This period not only witnessed the increasing institutionalization of religion but also the rise of Sunni militancy – the leaders and founding members of notorious organizations like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Lashkar-e-Taiba were a product of the Afghan Jihad....

Pakistan and State Failure: Waiting For Justice
Ahmed Rashid

When people ask me how Pakistan compares to Afghanistan, I answer that Afghanistan has only one civil war - the one between the government and the Taliban. But Pakistan has at least three and possibly half a dozen lesser civil wars. These three major wars are being fought against the Pakistani Taliban, Baloch separatists who want to divide the country and multiple ethnic, criminal and Islamic gangs in Karachi....

Is Pakistan Heading For Another Military Take Over?
Mansoor Jafar

The biggest question nagging people's minds is why the TV channel hurled direct allegations against ISI chief for the assassination attempt on Hamid Mir without any proof. Such a blunder is the last thing expected from the oldest TV news channel in Pakistan owned by country’s largest media house. The past two weeks have created more fears and divisions among Pakistan as people witness growing tension from each side, not knowing who is pulling the strings behind the insane use of accusations…..

 

An Imminent Disaster in Pakistan That We are Unable to See
Mujahid Hussain, New Age Islam

One of the clear reasons is that many members of Pakistan National Assembly are linked with local religious and sectarian extremists. In fact, they seek to strengthen their political existence by providing assistance to the terrorists. This is precisely why tackling the growth of terrorism and extremism in the urban areas is becoming a more difficult task day by day. The political parties in Pakistan are suffering from a disease which no one is trying to cure. They have adopted a policy of giving concessions to the culprits for political gains. This raises questions over the existence of the entire Pakistani state.....

 

Iraq Elections and Turkey
Verda Özer

The civil war in Iraq has escalated since the U.S. withdrawal at the end of 2011. Sunnis, which make up one-fifth of the country, are rising up against the Shiite government’s authoritarian tendencies. Sunni uprisings in Syria have also been another source of motivation. In addition, the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has gained strength in the country. Al-Maliki is gaining from all of these sources of violence…..

 

The strategic expediency of the superpowers will outweigh the merits of the dispute. The Palestinian issue, like Tibet, Nagorno-Karabakh and Kashmir, has remained unresolved during the Cold War and post-Cold War era. It will be interesting to see whether these problems will at all be addressed during the re-emerging Cold War. Jerusalem in the meantime will remain a disputed territory but it belongs neither to Israel nor to US citizens born in Israel. Jerusalem belongs to the people of Palestine and none else....

 

Hamid Mir Vs Ideological Security Establishment
Beena Sarwar

This if for the first time a media house has gone in contradiction with country’s most powerful and feared institution. Why has it happened? Is it an expression of military’s slipping control over country’s vital organs? Also, what will be the outcome in your opinion: will Geo surrender or will there be a rapprochement?....

Hamid Mir: Conspiracy Theories and ‘Patriotism’
Farooq Sulehria

As is often the case, fantastic conspiracy theories began to make the rounds in cyberspace. While a few thought that the assassination attempt was a self-staged ‘drama’ wherein the intention was to wound but not kill Hamid Mir, others claimed that Hamid Mir was not attacked at all. Parallels with the Malala Yusufzai case were drawn....

 

Attacks and Amnesia
Irfan Husain

If our police and our judges cannot deliver, who’s left? The world over, it is law enforcement agencies that are tasked with investigating crime. Occasionally, judges examine matters with a political dimension that might result in criminal prosecution. But nowhere do judges investigate straightforward crimes because that just isn’t their job…..

 
An Act of Desperation
Dr Mohammad Taqi

An Act of Desperation
Dr Mohammad Taqi

The consistent meddling in Afghanistan via jihadist proxies has earned Pakistan only the ire of the Afghans. The election ink-stained finger became a universal symbol of the Afghans voting not just for their presidential candidates but against any intruders and their backers....

 
Libya: Restoring the Monarchy?
Anna Mahjar-Barducci

Libya: Restoring the Monarchy?
Anna Mahjar-Barducci

If the government fails... to assert its power in the months to come it will become a de facto Somalia II.... Soon, these militias, if they have not already done so, will have their own government that will contest the decisions of the paper government of Tripoli… Indicators show that it is already fragmenting into three countries."….

 

The Military-Muslim League Spat in Pakistan
Dr Mohammad Taqi

No names were named but, taking their cue, some sections of the media went after Mr Khawaja Asif with a vengeance. A hard-hitting speech that Mr Asif had made in the National Assembly’s 2006 budget session, criticising the junta and its exploitation of the country, has since been played ad nauseam on various channels. ….

 
Are Iran and Israel Trading Places?
Abbas Milani and Israel Waismel-Manor

Are Iran and Israel Trading Places?
Abbas Milani and Israel Waismel-Manor

By contrast, Iran has a falling birth-rate — a clear indication of growing secularism and the sort of thing that keeps Ayatollah Khamenei awake at night. The long-term power of these demographic trends will, in our view, override Iran’s current theocratic intransigence and might eclipse any fleeting victories for liberalism in Israel.....

 


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