The War Within Islam
The abduction of 46 or some of the nurses by his ‘Islamic army’ is not in consonance with Islamic diplomatic principles or principles of war. The nurses are not a part of the Iraqi government which Mr Baghdadi is at loggerheads with. They are guests or ambassadors of India doing a noble service to the nation to which he belongs. Their abduction from their place of work and confining them against their will is against the principles of an Islamic caliphate and against the tenets of Islam. They are not the citizens of the country. They are citizens of India with which the ISIS does not have any disputes and which is not a party to the war. Therefore, any harm to the nurses or any other Indian worker in their captivity will not be in the interests of the ISIS itself, not to speak of the damage it will cause to the image of Islam and Muslims the world over. It will become an international issue and will aggravate the international political situation.
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…….
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…..
Islamist militant group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. It also proclaimed the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as caliph and "leader for Muslims everywhere". Setting up a caliphate ruled by the strict Islamic law has long been a goal of many jihadists. Meanwhile, Iraq's army continued an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from the Isis-led rebels. The city was seized by the insurgents on 11 June as they swept across large parts of northern-western Iraq. In a separate development, Israel called for the creation of an independent Kurdish state in response to the gain made by the Sunni rebels in Iraq.
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....
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....
I am ashamed of being a Pakistani today. I am ashamed that I belong to a country that kills human rights lawyers and sitting governors, and issues death threats to university professors. I am ashamed that we believe in spaghetti monster theories and pie in the sky conspiracies and risk the future of our children. I am ashamed that we have rejected our scientists just because they believe in a different dogma. I am ashamed that we cannot protect our women, we cannot protect our children and we cannot protect our men from the evil that is extremism, fundamentalism and the foolhardy idea that Pakistan is a great nation.....
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…..
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.....
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....
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?....
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....
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…..
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....
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."….
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
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.....
Notably, this will be a new experience for all Turks. Because to date, the presidency, the largely symbolic yet highest post in the republic, has been elected by the Parliament. Some political scientists have warned that this unusual system would create problems, by creating two popularly-elected top seats, but others welcomed it as more “democratisation.”….
Bhutto and I
Nadeem F. Paracha
Nadeem F. Paracha
Today is the 35th anniversary of that judicial crime.
Then Radio Pakistan announced that the Pakistan armed forces have surrendered. But we kids were too busy collecting the smothering splinters of the bombs that had been dropped by Indian jets only miles away from our area of residence, not knowing that the country had acutely been split into two. Bhutto was no stranger in our house....
Dr Mohammad Taqi
The signs are that the Pakistani state remains hooked and high on jihadism. From meddling in the Middle East at the behest of its Arab patrons to continuing to stoke the fire in Afghanistan, the Pakistani military-intelligence-Jihadi complex is not inclined to correct its course in the near to midterm. From the Pakistani government’s statement endorsing the Saudi bid for regime change in Syria to turning a blind eye to, if not actively dispatching the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Taliban jihadists to achieve that goal, Pakistan’s role is plain dubious....
Everyone expects Sisi to win. He is genuinely popular among older Egyptians who want a strong hand to restore stability. The opposition, both Islamist and secular, has been corralled – in large part as a result of the extensive military crackdown that has seen large numbers arrested, especially from the now banned Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi will also have strong backing from outside the country….
Saudi Arabia’s efforts to bolster the authority of the GCC, however, have been frustrated on other fronts. Smaller Gulf States have been willing to co-operate when their interests converged with those of the Saudis, mindful of the benefits of closing of ranks to counter regional turbulence. But they have also continued to guard their independence carefully…..
Now it has expired, and nothing has happened yet, but neither has there been any sign that the two sides are talking. Besides, it is misleading to talk of “two sides”: the country has become a jumble of militia-run city-states with rapidly shifting alliances. But the east-west split is real, and it is getting worse…..
Rami G. Khouri
First is the persistence of a power structure that took 60 years to implant itself deep in the Egyptian mindset, society, bureaucracy and military, and will not let go easily. Second is the reflexive demand of an anxious society for a strong leader who can make the world right....