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World Press (18 Jan 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

India and Pakistan Must Unite against Terror: New Age Islam’s Selection, 18 January 2016

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

18 January 2016

India and Pakistan Must Unite Against Terror

By Khaled Almaeena

Eradicating the Scourge of Racism

By Sabria S. Jawhar

Understanding the Saudi Stance

Saad Al-Dosari

The Enduring Legacy Of Operation Desert Storm

By Ibrahim Al-Marashi

The Dawn of A New Iran

By Hamid Dabashi

Educating Europe’s Refugees as Important as Feeding Them

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed


India and Pakistan Must Unite Against Terror

By Khaled Almaeena

Jan 17, 2016

The terror attack at the Pathankot Air Force Base, the second in the Punjab within a span of six months, once again gave cause for alarm.  It came very shortly after the surprise visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Lahore to attend the wedding of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter. Described as brazen and bizarre by the Indian media, the murderous Pathankot attack served no purpose.

The killing of innocent people is a heinous act. The perpetrators of this act, those who carried it out and the masterminds who planned it, should be hunted down and brought to justice.

India has been at the receiving end of several terror attacks.  The Bombay carnage is one just example. Pakistan has also suffered at the hands of these murderous thugs.

However, the urgent solution to this problem is not a hysterical media and extremists trying to gain points and inflame people. Rather it is to challenge the terror threat and make terror costly for anyone who perpetrates it.

The urgency of the situation does not require bland statements from Pakistan where the attackers came from. Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi know only too well the cost of bloodshed.

They both know that they have rabid extremists in their own land. They both aim at uplifting the living conditions of their countrymen living in abject poverty and deprived of clean water, sanitation and basic health services and goaded into extremism by self-appointed saviours of their country.

While Sharif has promised to further investigate evidence handed over by the Indian authorities, more is expected.

A public examination and media focus on all aspects of this attack should be made. This initial step will soften the situation and will lessen the frenzied rhetoric of extremist organizations in India notably the RSS and their allies who are baying for blood. They and those who claim to have carried out the attack, Jaish-e-Muhammad or whatever murderous group, are undermining the progress of both countries.

Non-state actors should never be allowed by their terror attacks to cause misery and havoc. It is to the credit of the Indian government that it has remained calm. And that is the right thing to do.

Sharif’s call to Modi and his pledge to take action should be followed by meetings of senior security officials from both sides of the border.

What if Ajit Doval, the Indian security Czar, dropped into Islamabad for a cup of “Chai” with his Pakistani counterpart?

Take a leaf out of Sadat’s visit to the Knesset or the extension of Arafat’s hand to a hesitant Rabin on the lawns of the White House.

Well-wishers of both countries want peace for the people of the subcontinent who, while having obtained political freedom in August 1947, have yet to free themselves from several miseries including that of war psychosis and the blackmail of murderers and extremists.

That would be the real day of freedom.

Khaled Almaeena is Editor-at-Large.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/opinion/india-and-pakistan-must-unite-against-terror/


Eradicating The Scourge Of Racism

By Sabria S. Jawhar

18 January 2016

Nearly 12 years ago while working with a Saudi newspaper I met an eager, intelligent young Saudi woman who was prepared to take on the world.

This was a time when young Saudi women were testing the waters of journalism and were taking privately sponsored classes to learn the craft of news reporting.

Some young ladies bowed out of the program or went on to other things once they received their certificate of completion.

But Nawal Al-Hawsawi wanted to save the world and she persisted long after some of her colleagues in class lost interest. Even when some of her editors did not take her seriously she did not lose hope that there was a place for her.

I have kept track of Nawal through the years and have read with great interest her successes in the United States. She married an American and now has children of her own. She is a certified airplane pilot and a licensed family counsellor.

It surprised me not in the least when I learned that she is working to aid victims of domestic violence. But it does surprise me to learn that she is being attacked almost daily on social media for her work and her background as a Saudi citizen.

I can identify with Nawal because we have taken similar paths in our professional and personal lives, although I give her the credit for being much more courageous and adventurous than me. We suffer some of the same slings and arrows for our work and opinions, but Nawal’s work makes mine look like I live the life of a princess.

The attacks on Nawal, including death threats, are racist and delivered by many young Saudis who have delusions of grandeur and believe somehow that there is a certain purity that can only apply to a specific group of Saudis. Nawal is black so she is perceived by the ignorant as not worthy of Saudi citizenship. As noted recently in this newspaper, there are three categories in which the residents of Saudi Arabia fall, according to those misled people.

“The Original Saudis descend from Bedouin tribes, the ‘Vomit from the Sea,’ which is Saudis of foreign descent and ‘strangers,’ which are basically all expats.”

To the bigoted, Nawal falls into the second category. I have heard about these categories many times and even have discussed this at the dinner table with my family. But when Saudis take to social media and ridicule other Saudis’ ethnic and regional background, it says much more about them and their insecurities as Saudis than it does about Nawal and people like her. To many independent-minded Saudis — and yes, there are a few out there — it only puts Nawal above them. In fact, when some Saudis ridicule individuals as vomit from the sea, it’s a reflection on them as narrow-minded racists incapable of being true Muslims.

Nawal was born and raised in Makkah and considers herself the daughter of Al-Hijaz, but she doesn’t carry the tribal credentials or have that perfect alleged Saudi looks that makes her, in the eyes of the hateful, a true Saudi.

I don’t deny that many Saudis divide their brothers and sisters into numerous categories and even rank them whether they are authentic. But that is true in many societies, such as what we are witnessing in the United States presidential Republican campaign in which apparently the only true Americans are white and Christian, or in Europe where darker second-generation Europeans are still marginalized.

But frankly, we Saudis think of ourselves as special because we live in the land of the Two Holy Mosques and the cradle of Islam. Yet many of us behave as if we don’t live in this special place and we don’t accept the teachings of Islam. Really, how do these racist bullies look themselves in the mirror and call themselves Muslims?

Source: arabnews.com/columns/news/866741


Understanding The Saudi Stance

By Saad Al-Dosari

18 January 2016

The report that profiled Saudi Arabia and was published by The Economist earlier this month was a bit unjust. In a lot of its parts, it was like an opinion article rather than a journalistic profile.

Nevertheless, it is always an intriguing opportunity to see how others are looking at you, how they perceive you, make sense of your actions and try to spend the least of efforts to understand your motives and relate to your personality.

What The Economist got right is that we, and the whole world for that matter, are passing through a very tight economical bottleneck these days. The mounting pressure of the declining oil prices combined with the adventures of our Persian neighbor are forcing us, the region, and the whole world, to take measures that were not even on the table a couple of years ago.

Sometimes going to war is not a decision for a nation to contemplate; it becomes an unavoidable eventuality, an inevitable choice; that is exactly what happened in Yemen. It is a war against terrorism and an effort to stop the bloody game Tehran is playing to throw the whole region into chaos.

To Iran, it is a holy mission to avenge the past, at least this is what they are trying to sell to the public in order to keep the fire of hatred burning. To us, it was not an adventure but a necessity.

The Economist also did not understand the execution of terrorists in Saudi Arabia. Those criminals were not partially linked to Al-Qaeda; actually, all of them, no matter of which Muslim background they came from, actively tried to destabilize the country, not through preaches, seminars, and white papers, but through guns, bombs and calls for blood and death. They had to be captured, they had to face the law of the lands they were terrorizing.

What The Economist got right though is that Saudi Arabia is serious about its economic transformation plans. It is right that the plans are not necessarily new; diversification of national income and drastically restructuring the government work and its financial policies have always been on the table, sometimes parts of long-term plans and sometimes in hopes and discussions of those interested in this country’s stability. The fact that we need to face and admit is that the implementation of those plans and translating them into actions has always been a bit slow. However, the Saudi government is decisive in its efforts to reform the economy, reaching its core to modify and correct. It is a tough operation, but once succeeded, it will usher in a new era for the country and its people.

Source: arabnews.com/columns/news/866736


The Enduring Legacy of Operation Desert Storm

By Ibrahim Al-Marashi

17 Jan 2016

It is January 17, 1991, Baghdad time, two days after the UN deadline for Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, which had been occupied in August 1990. Operation Desert Storm had commenced with air strikes against Iraq and its military, launched by US F-117 stealth fighters and cruise missiles, two weapons particularly dreaded by the Iraqi forces as their military correspondence demonstrated.

One of the documents from the first days of the war was a transcript of communications from an Iraqi soldier on a remote outpost on Qaruh Island off the coast of Kuwait. What this unfortunate Iraqi soldier would witness was the transformation in the way the US began to transform Iraq from the air as of 1991.

US Launches Operation Desert Storm

On the eve of the air campaign this remote Iraqi outpost served as a microcosm of what the Iraqi military would endure during the six-week air campaign of the Gulf War.

Enduring Operation Desert Storm

Codenamed "Sha'ab", this outpost received a message from its headquarters on the Kuwaiti mainland, codenamed "Azhar": "In case you see any enemy targets call the base immediately."

The soldier at the outpost, perhaps with a bit of relief responded, "Nothing in the area now. And you?"

A few hours later the silence was broken as Azhar sent an urgent and secret message to the island: "We inform you the enemy has started to attack. Be extremely cautious, aware and alert. Inform us about all enemy targets."

The outpost on the island passed the first day of Operation Desert Storm without an incident. However its fortune ended at 4:45 on the morning of the 17th, as the small island outpost incurred the wrath of the enemy's attacks. Coalition planes pounded the island in three subsequent waves of attack.

Iraqi POWs, taken by US Marines, fanning out in desert, during Gulf War Desert Storm ground campaign (1991) [Getty]

On the following day, the headquarters checked into the status of the island outpost asking: "What is your situation?"

Sha'ab reported no new attacks, but that for nine hours high altitude aircraft were circling over the island.

The next morning, Azhar asked Sha'ab for a status report. Sha'ab replied that there was no enemy movement in the area but they had run out of rations. The headquarters offered no rations but these words of comfort:

"To the people of Saddam Hussein, victory for Iraq. We know that you will teach the enemy the lesson that they need. We want you to save ammunition. Don't use your weapons unless it is a sure target."

This is the last message the outpost received. We do not know the fate of these soldiers on this island, whether they survived or died in an air attack, but the paperwork did survive the war, which was captured by US forces and was later declassified.

Operation Desert Strom represented the first time the US sought to shape, control, and configure the region from the air, and 25 years later ... the US is still trying to determine the destiny of the Middle East from miles above it soil.

First Air War in Iraq

Operation Desert Strom represented the first time the US sought to shape, control, and configure the region from the air, and 25 years later, as the air campaign against ISIL has demonstrated, the US is still trying to determine the destiny of the Middle East from miles above it soil.

Up until 1991, US interventions in the Middle East had been through covert operations, such as using the CIA to overthrow the Iranian premier Mosaddegh in 1953, deploying the Marines to Lebanon twice, in 1958 and then in 1982 during the civil war to prop up pro-Western governments, and in 1987 when the US Navy deployed to the Gulf to reflag Kuwaiti ships during the Iran-Iraq War.

Operation Desert Storm represented the first time the US sought to change the status quo on the ground in the Middle East, the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, from the air, culminating in a six week aerial campaign to compel Iraq to withdraw.

The transcript from the first days of the war revealed the fighting capability of Iraqi military elements on the front lines during Operation Desert Storm, as they endured the next six-weeks of aerial assaults.

Not only were the soldiers hungry on this remote Kuwaiti island but they also had to conserve ammunition when defending themselves from the aerial onslaught. The transcripts exemplified the dilemma faced by the Iraqi military in general and why its overall defence collapsed as Operation Desert Storm proceeded.

The outpost Sha'ab, meaning the "people" or "masses", stood to represent the fate of the Iraqi masses conscripted into a doomed defense of Kuwait and Iraq. The Iraqi military was commanded to defend Iraq and its 19th province, Kuwait, at all costs.

In spite of the desperate need for provisions, in many instances the only things that reached the frontline units were mere words of support from the Iraqi leadership. The Iraqi military did not have any chance of resisting the six-week aerial campaign.

Pyrrhic Victory

Yet, six weeks later Iraqi forces still had not withdrawn from Kuwait. It took US and Coalition ground forces to expel the Iraqi military, which happened relatively quickly within the span of two days more or less.

The decisive victory for the US after Operation Desert Storm had been described as helping the US recover from its Vietnam syndrome.

Yet from a perspective 25 years later, Operation Desert Strom was a Pyrrhic victory. Saddam Hussein survived the 1991 Gulf War, and the air war continued for more than a decade afterwards, dubbed Operation Southern Watch.

Airstrikes constituted a means of disciplining Saddam Hussein from the air, where Coalition aircraft flew 153,000 sorties over Iraq to enforce its "no-fly" zone, targeting targets such as Iraqi anti-aircraft radars. This "Operation" continued until Operation Iraqi Freedom, when George HW Bush sought to finish the unfinished legacy left by his father George W. Bush.

However, the 2003 invasion would lead to an insurgency erupting the same year, which would result in the rise of the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL), which is now being fought with another US air war.

Rather than seeing Operation Desert Strom as the beginning of a conflict that began in January 1991 and ended in March 1991, it was the beginning of US use of air power to try and shape Iraq, which has continued for 25 years, with no end in sight.

Ibrahim al-Marashi is an assistant professor at the Department of History, California State University, San Marcos. He is the co-author of "Iraq's Armed Forces: An Analytical History".

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/01/operation-desert-storm-25-years-iraq-saddam-hussein-kuwait-160117064302534.html


The Dawn of a New Iran

By Hamid Dabashi

17 Jan 2016

In a sudden, though well-choreographed and much-expected dramatic succession of news releases, Iran has emerged from years of economic isolation when the heavy shadow of crippling economic sanctions were lifted in exchange for a drastic curb in its nuclear programme.

"Iran has carried out all measures required under the [July deal]," according to reports, "to enable Implementation Day [of the deal] to occur," the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency has said in a statement," paving the way for the lifting of these crippling economic sanctions.

In a no less dramatic announcement, deliberately designed to coincide with the lifting of these sanctions, Iran was also reported to have released five US citizens, including the much-publicised case of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, as part of a prisoner exchange with the United States.

Iran frees Washington Post reporter in US swap deal

The combined announcements in conjunction with the recent swift release of US sailors caught off the Iranian coast declare a seismic change in the emergence of Iran from its global isolation almost intact as a regional power.

Lucrative Contracts

The release of billions of dollars of frozen Iranian assets will open a floodgate of European and international conglomerates to rush to Iran for lucrative contracts.

At a time when a dramatic drop in the price of crude oil has plunged all oil producing countries (and with them the world economy) in deep despair, the release of these funds amounts to a bonanza for Iranian economy - as if the world had created a safe deposit account for Iran to give it back in its time of need.

What would be the implication of the dawn of this new Iran in its internal and external affairs?

Internally, the ruling regime in Iran faces a robust, young, energetic, ambitious and restless civil society that will miss not a single ... opportunity to assert its rightful place among nations.

The working of two parallel paradoxes will boost Iran both as a nation and as a state to achieve towering significance in its region.

Internally, the ruling regime in Iran faces a robust, young, energetic, ambitious and restless civil society that will miss not a single social, cultural, economic, or political opportunity to assert its rightful place among nations.

The porous boundaries of the nation are going to be opened even more fluidly. With the anticipated increase in global commerce comes unanticipated organic growth of the culture: The widening highways of transnational interchange will make the Iranian civil society even more robust and rambunctious.

Almost 80 million strong, with official policy to boost the population, Iran as a nation will continue to test the survival instincts of the state that lays a claim to it.

What its democratic weakling neighbours don't understand is that the ruling regime in Iran is strong - not despite its restless population, but precisely because of it. Iranians resist tyranny not by blowing up buildings or murdering innocent people, but by going to polls and voting in elections they know are already rigged.

Theirs is a vastly different exercise in the democratic will of a nation.

They have forced even their so-called Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to publicly and repeatedly admit that when they vote, they vote for their country - for the safety, security, and future prosperity of their homeland - and never to legitimise the rule of a band of octogenarian theocrats who are delusional enough to think they are actually ruling this nation's dreams and aspirations.

Externally, the warring position of the ruling state of the Islamic Republic strengthens it not despite its regional adversaries, but in fact, because of them. None of its regional adversaries - from Turkey to Israel to Saudi Arabia - are a match for the Iranian version of soft and smart power.

The military budget of Iran is nowhere near the military budget of any of its regional adversaries. But they have never and will never choose to fight any conventional warfare they can never win.

Over the last three decades and more, they have out-Joseph Nyed Joseph Nye's notion of soft and smart power. They are regionally powerful not despite their adversaries military power, but because of their conventionally flawed calculus of power.

The Achilles heel of the ruling regime in Iran's external affairs, and where it has failed to follow its own logic of soft power, is its continuous support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria.

This is costing the ruling regime not just the hearts and minds of Syrian people, but that of the entirety of the Arab World.

Yes, in the quagmire of Syria there are no innocent parties except the peaceful and democratic aspirations of the Syrian people. Every single other country involved in Syria on both sides of the conflict is implicated in and responsible for the bloody mayhem that is the scene in Syria today.

But each one of these countries will bear the consequences of their bloody involvements in Syria slightly differently. The dawn of a new Iran will never be fully materialised unless and until the democratic will and emancipatory politics of Iranians and Arabs, Sunnis and Shias, see and sow their future liberation on a common field and as integral to each other.

Hamid Dabashi is a Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in New York.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/01/dawn-iran-sanctions-iaea-prisoner-swap-160117054545834.html


Educating Europe’s Refugees As Important As Feeding Them

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

17 January 2016

More than a million refugees have arrived in Europe from around the world, who may be deemed as easy prey for extremist groups.

These groups reached Europe before the influx of refugees and they enjoy greater freedom of expression. They are also more engaged in social activities. The more recent refugees, on the other hand, went to Europe in search of a new life. Yet, many of them may end up becoming the target of extremists looking to expand their presence. They are intent on producing terrorists and spreading an extremist ideology that turns these refugees into opponents of the very society they live in.

Ever since Syrians started fleeing their war-ravaged country in large numbers, they headed to Europe via Turkey. This marked the beginning of a new phase in the crisis, which will probably continue even if the Syrian conflict is resolved. A million refugees, most of whom Syrians, is not a big number in a continent inhabited by around 300 million people. The number is also not a complication for Germany, the biggest refugee hosting country, as its huge economy can sustain them. But the challenge posed by these refugees is bigger on intellectual, social and security fronts.

What is as important is educating them so that they integrate with society easily and confront attempts by extremists to radicalize them.

There are real threats facing these refugees who are victims of the repulsive war which has unjustly displaced more than 10 million Syrian people and a few million Iraqis. The refugees in Europe are vulnerable to exploitation and to being used in this game which is getting more complicated and dangerous. There are powers fighting over them in Europe such as those who oppose refugees, parties protesting over unemployment and groups supporting Syrian and Iranian regimes. Of course the most dangerous are extremists and people cooperating with terrorist groups such as ISIS and al-Nusra Front.

Challenge of Radicalization

It will be in the interest of German and European authorities in general to pre-emptively address this problem by not letting these refugees fall prey to extremists who influence them under the pretext of humanitarian support. These refugees must be intellectually equipped to live with dignity and co-exist in the new society which has hosted them; a society which respects their rights and beliefs and expects the same from refugees. European governments and people are currently focused on helping these refugees. They are being provided food and housing while their papers are processed. However, what is as important is educating them so that they integrate with society easily and confront attempts by extremists to radicalize them.

Governments can do nothing but threaten to expel anyone who is proved to be engaging in extremist activities, as has been seen in Germany. This approach only addresses a small percentage of the 1 million refugees. The biggest challenge is to intellectually strengthen the majority from attempts being made by extremists to turn refugees from being thankful to hateful and into extremists who reject their new society and clash with it.

I am confident that it is possible to spread the culture of co-existence and tolerance, which can be derived from the refugees’ Muslim and Middle Eastern culture that has collapsed in the last three decades due to extremist and hateful ideologies and ongoing wars.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2016/01/17/Educating-Europe-s-refugees-as-important-as-feeding-them.html

URL: http://newageislam.com/world-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/india-and-pakistan-must-unite-against-terror--new-age-islam’s-selection,-18-january-2016/d/106024


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