The War Within Islam
Before the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement traced out an awkward assortment of nation-states in the Middle East, the name Syria was used by merchants, politicians and warriors alike to describe a stretch of land enclosed by the Taurus Mountains to the north, the Mediterranean to the west, the Sinai Peninsula to the south and the desert to the east. If you were sitting in 18th-century Paris contemplating the abundance of cotton and spices on the other side of the Mediterranean, you would know this region as the Levant -- its Latin root "levare" meaning "to raise," from where the sun would rise in the east....
Criticizing al-Qaeda loudly and at the high ranks of the state is even more dangerous than getting identified with the group. Standing at the frontline in the front against al-Qaeda would turn Turkey into a tailor-made target. No need to mention that al-Qaeda is as the Turkish border when clashing with other Syrian rebels….
Rami G. Khouri
When they become scared, they stop acting like individuals, and they move as a herd that instinctively seeks the closest water hole and food source. Thriving can wait. Survival is the imperative today, and order is its handmaiden….
Those who are defeated dream of a saviour coming even from afterlife. They exalt Salaheddine who died before 900 years and they carry the pictures of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan. This is the state of some Arabs who invent images from the history or the present and decorate them, hoping that these will inspire change. Establishing a perfect image for leaders is a trap….
The militia commander with the dazzling smile leads us through the desert towards the oilfields, his Toyota pick-up truck throwing up a cloud of exhaust and dust. Looming on the horizon are the steeply sloping mountain ridges surrounding the Owbari Valley. Overhead the midday sun is glaring down on the dunes, a sea of golden desert in what was once the ancient Roman province of Fezzan. The remote oil outpost we are aiming for, called the El Sharara fields, is part of the Murzuq basin and one of the most important in Libya, drawing out 350,000 or so barrels of oil daily from the parched earth….
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar
This ‘foreign hand’ is not of the American, or any other
Western, variety. The ‘conspiracies’ hatched by this external power are
presumably home-grown enough that our otherwise paranoid makers of public
opinion simply do not feel the need to raise a ruckus. As such, when it comes
to Saudi Arabia (and its clone Gulf kingdoms), we declare a holy exception....
“Subconsciously (and sadly) the Muslim-Turkish thinking tolerates it if Muslims kill Muslims; does not tolerate it but does not turn the world upside down when Christians kill Muslims; pragmatically ignores it when too-powerful Christians kill Muslims; but is programmed to turn the world upside down when Jews kill Muslims.”…
Western partners have refused to take much-needed action against them". Prince Nawaf's attempt to capture the moral high ground on the Syrian and Iranian issues conceals the Kingdom's growing isolation from the regional geopolitical scene. This isolation has manifest in increasingly tense relations with Western allies that have prompted calls for rethinking Saudi-Western relations and a growing distance between Saudi and its Arab Gulf neighbours on the Syrian and Iranian issues….
The Syrian debacle has put a damper on the Arab revolutions and beyond. Every country from Afghanistan to Iran to Morocco now points to Syria as a justification that all these revolutions were in vain, that the ruling regimes and all their atrocities are better than this carnage. This is a bogus binary….
“Asymmetric warfare” is the war between two sides whose military power and strategies and tactics differ significantly. Such struggles often involve tactics of unconventional warfare and are characterized by extreme uncertainty. It is completely unknown how far this investigation can go. Yet it is certain that no symmetry will remain at all if this “asymmetric war” does not end soon….
The year 2013 has expectedly been terrible for several Arab countries. It has been terrible because the promise of greater freedoms and political reforms has been reversed, most violently in some instances, by taking a few countries down the path of anarchy and complete chaos. Syria and Egypt are two cases in point….
This best-defence-is-offence attitude is not going to help the government much, however. Corruption is a serious matter and the real best defence would be to help bring those who are charged to justice. Meanwhile, the Gülen Movement, normally a civil society group, should help save itself from the image of secrecy and infiltration that it has been drawn into in the past decade….
Resurgence of Islam Today
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
Much of the 20th century saw that those countries which were more “modern” I.e., Western or secular like Turkey, Tunisia, Egypt, and Iran were seen as more advanced as compared to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which were regarded as religious and traditional and hence “backward.”.....
PAKISTAN’S Federal Interior Minister
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s condemnation of the hanging of Quader Mollah for his
war crimes of 1971 actually reinforces the proof that Mollah was indeed a
collaborator of the Pakistanis and a war criminal, and that he should have
stayed back in Pakistan. ... What the Pak minister said is actually a
confession that till now it had not accepted a liberated Bangladesh and its
independent political existence. So far, those who opposed Bangladesh’s
independence are Pakistan’s heroes. And therefore, what we hear about Jamaat
and Islamist groups getting support in various ways from Pakistan, are perhaps
Dr Qadri won the only National Assembly seat for his party in the 2002 general elections, and used to claim that General Pervez Musharraf had promised him the slot of Prime Minister. In less than a year, he resigned and quit politics. In 2008, he sought asylum in Canada, claiming he was facing threats to his life from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. He got the asylum, and later Canadian nationality, but violated his agreement with his new country’s government that he would not visit Pakistan owing to the threats….
Three years after the Arab Spring, the dominant narrative about this region remains articulated in terms of binary opposites: vanishing republics versus resilient monarchies, the secular versus Islamist divide and the Sunni versus Shiite schism……
Yaqoob Khan Bangash
I am sure that there are millions of my fellow citizens of Pakistan who would never condone the killing of innocent people in the name of the country, and would in fact be glad that a heinous criminal has received the just reward for his actions. As a Pakistani, I am neither ‘saddened’ nor ‘grieved’ by Molla’s death….
The popular uprising in Libya was massively influenced by the NATO military intervention. And it is now clear that the country, still undergoing reconstruction, is confronted with far more complex challenges than those facing Egypt or Tunisia, for example. The euphoria that followed the overthrow of Gaddafi has long since evaporated. Two years after the end of the dictatorship, there are still no functioning state institutions in the country.....
Couple up this entire mixture of variables with a heightened civic sense of the community and you’ll get the current state of affairs of Pakistan. The government is facing exuberant amount of pressure from all sides to clearly define its stance on issues of national and international importance. Pakistan has to realize the dangers of continuing with the war on terror in its narrative-less state. This is not a sustainable policy and if not rectified, it will backlash soon....
If I am not wrong, we were taught in school that Two Nation theory was the base behind the struggle for a separate home land. Quaid e Azam, said .... we want a piece of land, where we can practically implement Islamic Principles to spend our lives according to religion ISLAM. Our elders sacrificed millions of millions lives and finally Pakistan came into existence with the slogan .....
"" PAKISTAN KA MATLAB KIA, LA HI LA HA ILL ALLAH""
The piece of land called ""PAKISTAN"" that appear on the map of Earth on the name of religion Islam ... was thought to be an ISLAMIC COUNTRY but now after 68 years of existence, we start our day with MUSIC broadcast on Radio Channels and when we turn on Television, we find anchors (half expired teenager aunties and aunty type uncles) doing acrobats (following and preaching Indian culture) in their respective morning shows.
Hoisted by its own petard, Pakistan has a story to tell. Decades ago, nobody believed the militants tasked by America with defeating the Soviet Union in Afghanistan would one day become Pakistan’s most implacable foes, turn into sectarian hounds, demoralise the armed forces, and eat into its vitals. In the Arab world, the fragrance of the Spring has turned into an overpowering stench enveloping the Fertile Crescent....
There is no romance of martyrdom or jihad in being incarcerated — there is just the fact of the violent crime. Given that the lure of militancy lies in the rhetoric of faith, mission, and martyrdom, what better way to undermine it than with the reality of criminality and justice? It is high time we highlighted that Pakistan’s pervasive culture of impunity is the root cause of its many woes, and addressing it — rather than its symptoms — is the only way forward....
Nadeem F. Paracha
Applauded for successfully regenerating a demoralised and fractured country’s pride (after the 1971 East Pakistan debacle), and igniting within the working classes a sudden sense of political consciousness, Bhutto is also remembered as the man who (to remain in power) continued to play footsie with reactionary political outfits and (thus) ultimately betraying his own party’s largely secular, democratic and socialist credentials. Not only did he attract fierce opposition from the right-wing Islamic parties, over the decades, the left and liberal sections of the Pakistani intelligentsia have also come down hard on him for capitulating to the demands of right-wing parties on certain theological and legislative issues....
Yaqoob Khan Bangash
The recent furore over the remarks of Syed Munawar Hassan, the Amir of the Jamaat-e-Islami, and the unprecedented reply of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), is significant in several respects. First, this has been one of those rare moments that the so-called ‘liberals’ in Pakistan have stood behind the ISPR in its scathing remarks against the comments of Mr Hassan. For a section of society, which always argues for the non-involvement of the military in civilian affairs and the freedom of speech, this support of the ISPR is startling. So, why this change?....
Left reeling from his failure to promote yet another senseless war in the Middle East by encouraging Washington to launch a military assault against Iran under the pretext that Tehran is developing a nuclear bomb - such fantasy has been flaunted by both Saudi Arabia and Israel as to promote their Zionists agenda in the region and bring down the last bastion of Islam - Saudi Prince Bandar and his brother, the Deputy Defense Minister Salman bin Sultan have been actively supervising the establishment of a new special military unit: Mohammed Army, which will act as an extraterritorial military force to the Kingdom and by extension its Zionist allies…..