The War Within Islam
James M. Dorsey
As Saudi Arabia seeks to inoculate itself against the push for greater freedom, transparency and accountability sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, a major challenge to the kingdom’s puritan interpretation of Islam sits on its doorstep: Qatar, the only other country whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed. It is a challenge that is rooted in historical tensions that go back to Qatari efforts in the nineteenth century to carve out an identity of its own….
It is also obvious to the world that Pakistan has a dependency relationship with Riyadh for reasons that vary from oil supply on concessional rates to Saudi Arabia’s patron-client relationship with the US. It is a popular belief that America often holds parleys with Islamabad through Riyadh. So, to many experts, it does not make sense when people close to the establishment…
Why can’t the Arab countries in the region do their own policing? Yes, we know that the US military is the most powerful and capable in the world. However, if ever there was a need to “draw lines in the sand,” it is now with the Gulf Arab states. Western countries can certainly provide non-military assistance to them, but it is time they put on their helmets, uniforms and gear and do something about resolving their own regional problems….
In the face of such cruel oppression, the Muslim Brotherhood, of course, will not disappear from the face of the earth. It will go underground, and probably get more agitated against its tormentors. I pray day and night that all these “ordeals” will not lead the organization to opt for armed struggle. But it is a real possibility that at least some of their future off shoots might take that dangerous road, throwing Egypt into a disastrous civil war like the one Algeria suffered during the 1990s….
Khaled Abou El Fadl
Finally, only the army and the security forces know how many people they have murdered, tortured, abducted, or dealt with without judicial proceedings. The Mansour government knows very well that trying civilians before military tribunals is a violation of international law, and it knows that bringing loose charges such as "incitement to violence," and then sentencing people to life after two hearings, is a gross denial of due process….
Mehr F. Husain
It is no secret that the once glorious city of Karachi, now a mere shadow of itself, has been cursed with providing a home to land grabbers, target murderers, religious and sectarian hatred and extortion mafia. But over the past few years the city has plunged into the deepest depths of darkness as any moderates, liberals, progressives and generally innocent people have been eradicated for their beliefs, political allegiances and largely, just for existing....
Pakistan is facing increasing militancy in which the army has lost more than 4,500 men. In times like these, unless full backing is given to the army, the ordinary soldier who fights for the chief will not put himself in the line of fire if his chief is seen to be dragged through the courts and insulted…..
Nadeem F. Paracha
Interestingly, religious parties like Jamaat-i-Islami, (JI) Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) and some banned sectarian organisations, that had originally called a joint press conference to condemn the raid, changed their stance half-way through the conference when told that the raid was by Saudi forces and not the Americans....
Prem Shankar Jha
The conspiracy between the Saudi secret service, headed by Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and the CIA has already been thoroughly exposed by the Wall Street Journal (August 25). Gavlak’s story therefore opens up a third possibility: that the intense Syrian bombardment of the area (which began on August 19) penetrated a tunnel that was being used by Saudi backed Jihadis to store chemical weapons supplied by Prince Bandar’s men….
Briefly, the government loses the fight and an Amirul Momineen takes over. Sharia is imposed. Foreigners are driven out. All languages other than Arabic are banned. Beards are mandatory. Women are forbidden to leave the house. All technology and ‘Western’ medicine is declared Haram. The construction of any building higher than the Jamia Mosque is unlawful. This descent into piety happens in just one month from the sanctimonious landing on moon....
The past two years have offered many lessons for Egyptians, who are slowly coming out of the fog of decades of dictatorship. From prioritizing the economy to learning how to build consensus in a burgeoning political space, future leaders have much to take stock of as they reflect on Morsi’s fate. But perhaps the most important lesson for future civilian presidents is to prioritize Sinai within Egypt’s national security agenda. That is, if Egypt’s military ever cedes power back to a civilian government….
Dr Haider Shah
Both Saudi and Israeli government are happy to deal with a military government in Egypt as a democratic and popular government is more difficult to deal with and both countries feel threatened by an elected government on their borders. The third fault line of the Arab world is the divide between traditionalists and modernists....
My latest stance on the military coup d’État has caused some intellectuals and anti-Morsi activists to label me as pro-Morsi, pro-Muslim Brotherhood and pro-Islamist, and to fire up the propaganda machine. How nice it would be if things were so simple. But it is impossible, in all decency, to criticise me for lack of clarity toward the actions of the Morsi government and the ideological positioning of the Muslim Brotherhood….
Dr Irfan Zafar
Before 1947, we were only ruled by British imperialists; today, we bow our heads in front of almost everyone who is ready to put a tag price on us. As individuals, as well as a nation, we have fallen to the lowest levels of existence where the moral fabric of our society has gone down, bit by bit, since our independence….
Nadeem F. Paracha
This scholarly nuance, inspired by the ideas of the nation-state introduced by the British Colonialists, gradually evolved into becoming a pursuit to prepare a well-educated and resourceful Muslim middle-class in the region. Eventually, with the help from sections of the Muslim landed elite in India, the emerging Muslim middle-classes turned the idea into a movement for a separate Muslim homeland comprised of those areas where the Muslims were in a majority in India....
Pakistan’s national security doctrine, postulated by the army, tells Pakistanis when to feel secure and when to experience fear. This has been ingrained in the Pakistani population by the nation-state and its foundational narrative. Pakistani nationalism stands squarely behind the army in its teleology of demonising India, and not behind the elected government, because the latter cannot, so far, create the kind of consensus needed to change the school and college textbooks of Islamiyat …
The Economist called Thursday "The worst single day of political violence in the history of modern Bangladesh" and the Wall Street Journal reports it as "The deadliest riots since independence." But, for all that, paradoxically, the government has succeeded in taking almost full control over the movement, and, for now at least, appears to be very much in control of the situation. If they are smart they can ride this all the way to another five years in office….
In Syria, the aim must be to limit the violence and not favour either the Assad regime, however distasteful, or the opposition that is increasingly dominated by radicalism. The danger and test is whether or not the broken US system of government can accept such a non-ideological and rational approach to policy….
With the advent of the Arab Spring, the Brotherhood and its affiliates, so far confined to opposition and conflict, set up political parties and came to power through the ballot box in Tunisia and Egypt, replacing tyrannies that had flourished for several decades. And in the post-Spring elections, they voted for Islamist parties not for the enforcement of Sharia but…
The Saudis had long fretted about unrest in their predominantly Shia eastern province — the heartland of the kingdom's oil industry. But when republican dictators were being toppled in Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli and revolution was in the air just across the Gulf in Manama, anti-Shia feeling was ratcheted up with the mass arrests of local activists who were accused of being part of a "foreign conspiracy."…
Watching Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf States line up behind the bloody counter-revolution in Egypt, you can’t help suspect that these conservative monarchies are ready to fight to the last Egyptian against the Muslim Brotherhood – waging what amounts to a proxy war against the regional threat of Islamist extremism….
This brings me to Bangladesh. Since its birth as a nation-state in 1971 Bangladesh hasn’t been an exception to the general rule of non-linear experience of democracy: 1974, 1975, 1982, 1991, 1996, 2007 are significant years, when the pendulum has swung back and forth but generally hovered over a mixed terrain of impressive popular support for democracy but with a vision-devoid and corrupt elite holding the reins of power, failing to deliver on several occasions…..
Time and again, state security has won dazzling victories against subversion, only to have the state's enemies rebuild their infrastructures over the following years. Repeatedly, the Egyptian state has been wrong in its claims about the end of Islamist radicalism. …
Rami G. Khouri
…Egypt has experienced neither real politics nor meaningful Islamism in recent years, but rather only superficial caricatures of both of those phenomena. I suspect that what Egypt is experiencing now is not the end of Islamist politics, but the start of its first real test in the public political sphere that is still in the process of being born in Egypt and other Arab countries….
We have an opportunity to move forward as a nation. That opportunity is always there for us, despite the horrifying events of the last week. In it is a power that cannot be taken away by the powerful entities around us. We can seize the opportunity and harness that power by working together to spread more facts…..