Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rival second Libyan assembly chooses own PM as chaos spreads

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014   No comments
By Feras Bosalum and Ulf Laessing

The Libyan parliament that was replaced in an election in June reconvened on Monday and chose an Islamist-backed deputy as the new prime minister, leaving the chaotic country with two rival leaders and assemblies, each backed by armed factions.

As political unrest mounted, U.S. officials said two series of air strikes in the past week on armed Islamist factions in the capital, Tripoli, were the work of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Can a religious/ethnic state be democratic? Can a religious state be anything but genocidal?

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014   No comments
 




Can a religious/ethnic state be democratic? Can a religious state be anything but genocidal?
Are there "small potatoes" and "big potatoes' in the context of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, ...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

German minister accuses Qatar of funding Islamic State fighters

    Sunday, August 24, 2014   No comments
German Development Minister Gerd Mueller accused Qatar on Wednesday of financing Islamic State militants who have seized wide areas of northern Iraq and have posted a video of a captive American journalist being beheaded.

"This kind of conflict, this kind of a crisis always has a history ... The ISIS troops, the weapons - these are lost sons, with some of them from Iraq," Mueller told German public broadcaster ZDF.

"You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar - and how do we deal with these people and states politically?" said Mueller, a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the center-right Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.

Mueller did not elaborate and presented no evidence of a Qatari link to Islamic State. A German government spokesman said he was checking whether Mueller's remarks reflected the official view of Berlin.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism; ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate

    Saturday, August 23, 2014   No comments
Founder of Wahhabism
ALONG with a billion Muslims across the globe, I turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia every day to say my prayers. But when I visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad, I am forced to leave overwhelmed with anguish at the power of extremism running amok in Islam’s birthplace. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this part of the kingdom, so there is no international scrutiny of the ideas and practices that affect the 13 million Muslims who visit each year.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Was Putin right about Syria?

    Friday, August 22, 2014   No comments
Now, the U.S. is contemplating extending airstrikes on Islamic State militants operating in Iraq in Syria — fighters belonging to a terrorist organization that is leading the war against Assad. The Islamic State's territorial gains in Iraq and continued repression and slaughter of religious minorities there and in Syria have rightly triggered global condemnation. "I am no apologist for the Assad regime," Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, told NPR. "But in terms of our security, [the Islamic State] is by far the greatest threat."

The irony of the moment is tragic. But to some, it doesn't come as much of a surprise. Many cautioned against the earlier insistence of the Obama administration (as well as other governments) that Assad must go, fearing what would take hold in the vacuum.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

James Foley 'beheading': West condemns 'barbaric' murder

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014   No comments
UK, France and other Western governments implicitly and explicitly supported jihadists in Syria, or looked the other way as Gulf rulers supported Nusra and ISIL to expedite the overthrow of Assad. They also looked the other way when their own citizens traveled to Syria to join ISIL. Nusra, and other violent groups. Listening to a likely British citizen carrying out this horrible crime highlights the gravity of that policy. We can now see the fruits of that short-sided, foolish policy. However, it is journalists, civilians, women, and minorities who are paying the heavy price. It is clear now that the West cannot fight ISIL in Iraq and support it or ignore it in Syria. It is about time that they develop a comprehensive strategy to overcome this global threat.


James Foley 'beheading': West condemns 'barbaric' murder

The US, UK and France have expressed abhorrence at the apparent beheading of American journalist James Foley by an Islamic State (IS) militant.

The jihadist group released a video of Foley, missing in Syria since 2012, saying his killing was revenge for US air strikes on its fighters in Iraq.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Saudi Top Cleric and Salafi Wahhabi authority: Qaeda, ISIL “Enemy No 1” of Islam

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014   No comments
Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh on Tuesday blasted Al-Qaeda and the Takfiri group, ISIL, as "enemy number one" of Islam, in a statement issued in Riyadh.

"The ideas of extremism, radicalism and terrorism... have nothing to do with Islam and (their proponents) are the enemy number one of Islam," the kingdom's top cleric said. Saudi Mufti Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh

He cited Takfiris from the Islamic State, which has declared a "caliphate" straddling large parts of Iraq and Syria, and the global Al-Qaeda terror network.

"Muslims are the main victims of this extremism, as shown by crimes committed by the so-called ISIL, Al-Qaeda and groups linked to them," the mufti said, quoting a verse in the Quran urging the "killing" of people who do deeds harmful to Islam.

"In the circumstances the Islamic nation is living through, several countries have been destabilized" by extremists, who "divide Muslims" in the name of religion, the mufti said.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race

    Monday, August 18, 2014   No comments
Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?

You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

David Cameron: [War on ISIL] is a battle against a poisonous ideology that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim

    Sunday, August 17, 2014   No comments
 Stability. Security. The peace of mind that comes from being able to get a decent job and provide for your family, in a country that you feel has a good future ahead of it and that treats people fairly. In a nutshell, that is what people in Britain want – and what the Government I lead is dedicated to building.

Britain – our economy, our security, our future – must come first. After a deep and damaging recession, and our involvement in long and difficult conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is hardly surprising that so many people say to me when seeing the tragedies unfolding on their television screens: “Yes, let’s help with aid, but let’s not get any more involved.”

I agree that we should avoid sending armies to fight or occupy. But we need to recognise that the brighter future we long for requires a long-term plan for our security as well as for our economy. True security will only be achieved if we use all our resources – aid, diplomacy, our military prowess – to help bring about a more stable world. Today, when every nation is so immediately interconnected, we cannot turn a blind eye and assume that there will not be a cost for us if we do.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Maliki and other Iraqi policians are bickering about their rights to power while poor Iraqis are struggling to say alive; Yazidi victims of ISIS dying of thirst on mountains

    Monday, August 11, 2014   No comments
ISR Comment: While thousands and thousands of Iraqis are victimized by ISIL and its affiliates, Iraqi politicians are fighting about who has the right to form a government. Those politicians should be sent to live in these mountains, not these poor, vulnerable people. Shame on you Maliki, shame on you all politicians.

******
Yazidi victims of ISIS dying of thirst on mountains
Stranded on a barren mountaintop, thousands of minority Iraqis are faced with a bleak choice: descend and risk slaughter at the hands of the encircled Sunni extremists or sit tight and risk dying of thirst.

Humanitarian agencies said Tuesday that between 10,000 and 40,000 civilians remain trapped on Mount Sinjar since being driven out of surrounding villages and the town of Sinjar two days earlier. But the mountain that had looked like a refuge is becoming a graveyard for their children.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hillary Clinton: 'Failure' to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS

    Sunday, August 10, 2014   No comments
President Obama has long-ridiculed the idea that the U.S., early in the Syrian civil war, could have shaped the forces fighting the Assad regime, thereby stopping al Qaeda-inspired groups—like the one rampaging across Syria and Iraq today—from seizing control of the rebellion. In an interview in February, the president told me that “when you have a professional army ... fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict—the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Around 20,000 protesters marched through London waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans

    Saturday, August 09, 2014   No comments

 Thousands of demonstrators descended on the streets of central London this afternoon to protest at the bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces.

Waving placards and the black, white, green and red flag of Palestine, the marchers converged on the BBC's Broadcasting House near Oxford Circus.

Chants of "Free, Free, Palestine" were shouted across London's busy West End as marchers then made their way to Hyde Park to be addressed by speakers including George Galloway and Diane Abbott.

Organised by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War, the march passed peacefully, according to most onlookers.

Pupils from Ed Miliband's old school, Haverstock, in Chalk Farm, north London, joined the march, accompanied by a samba band.


read more >>

Friday, August 8, 2014

Hard choices for a gun-shy President: How Obama Evolved on the Issue of ‘Genocide’ in Iraq

    Friday, August 08, 2014   No comments
As a first-time presidential candidate in 2007, Barack Obama built his campaign around a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Nothing could shake him from his plan to end what he called a “dumb” war. At a New Hampshire campaign stop that July, Obama was asked whether he might delay a pullout if it meant preventing outright genocide in Iraq.

No, Obama said. “[If] that’s the criteria by which we are making decisions on the deployment of U.S. forces, then by that argument you would have 300,000 troops in the Congo right now — where millions have been slaughtered as a consequence of ethnic strife — which we haven’t done.”

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Gaza is a crime made in Washington as well as Jerusalem: The carnage unleashed on the Palestinians is part of a decades-old routine that depends on western support

    Thursday, August 07, 2014   No comments

by Seumas Milne
Global revulsion at the mind-numbing carnage of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza seems finally to have spurred some of the western political class to speak out. The resignation of Sayeeda Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim cabinet minister, in protest against her government’s “morally indefensible” stance, emboldened Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, to demand the suspension of arms export licences to Israel.
Last week it was Ed Miliband who condemned Israel’s invasion and the prime minister’s “silence on the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians”. Even the United States administration denounced its strategic protege’s “disgraceful” bombardment of a school, while Barack Obama described Palestinian suffering as “ heartbreaking” – as if he had nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Who started the Gaza war, why, and how, Uri Avnery's account from inside Israel

    Wednesday, August 06, 2014   No comments
BOMBS ARE raining on Gaza and rockets on Southern Israel, people are dying and homes are being destroyed.
Again.

Again without any purpose. Again with the certainty that after it’s all over, everything will essentially be the same as it was before.

But I can hardly hear the sirens which warn of rockets coming towards Tel Aviv. I cannot take my mind off the awful thing that happened in Jerusalem.

How to Fix It: Ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor.

    Wednesday, August 06, 2014   No comments
by Jimmy Carter , Mary Robinson
Israelis and Palestinians are still burying their loved ones as Gaza's third war in six years continues. Since July 8, when this war began, more than 1,600 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed. Many in the world are heartbroken in the powerless certainty that more will die, that more are being killed every hour.

This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government's deployment in Gaza.

Out of a Job: Gaza war and academic freedom

    Wednesday, August 06, 2014   No comments
By Scott Jaschik
Many faculty job offers (which are well-vetted by college officials before they go out) contain language stating that the offer is pending approval by the institution's board of trustees. It's just a formality, since many college bylaws require such approval.

Not so with a job offer made to Steven G. Salaita, who was to have joined the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this month. The appointment was made public, and Salaita resigned from his position as associate professor of English at Virginia Tech. But he was recently informed by Chancellor Phyllis Wise that the appointment would not go to the university's board, and that he did not have a job to come to in Illinois, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Chancellor has criticised Lady Warsi's decision to resign over Britain's "morally indefensible" policy on the conflict in Gaza

    Tuesday, August 05, 2014   No comments
The Chancellor has criticised Lady Warsi's decision to resign over Britain's "morally indefensible" policy on the conflict in Gaza

 George Osborne has condemned Baroness Warsi’s “disappointing and frankly unnecessary” decision to resign over the situation in Gaza.

Lady Warsi, Britain's first female Muslim Cabinet minister, announced her resignation on Twitter on Tuesday morning, calling Britain’s policy on Gaza “morally indefensible”.

Outrage in Saudi Arabia at appearance of female newsreader without headscarf on state television

    Tuesday, August 05, 2014   No comments
The unprecedented appearance of a female newsreader on Saudi state television without a headscarf has caused a scandal in the deeply conservative Islamic state.

The unnamed anchor, who has previously worn a hijab in clips circulated online, was reading a bulletin from London for the Al Ekhbariya channel.

Strict Islamic dress codes in Saudi Arabia require women to dress “modestly” – usually with headscarves, veils and full-length abayas.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Parliament was scene to yet another physical fight on Aug. 4, which apparently erupted due to tension stemming from the government’s policy regarding Iraqi Turkmens

    Monday, August 04, 2014   No comments
During a General Assembly meeting, lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) eventually came to blows, leaving some deputies bleeding.

Following the fight, MHP deputy Sinan Oğan posted Tweets on his personal account, saying it was the AKP deputies who started the fight by attacking him.

UN chief: Gaza school attack a 'criminal act'; Ban Ki-moon tells Israel to 'end this madness' after bombardment kills at least 10 people and injures dozens

    Monday, August 04, 2014   No comments
A third deadly attack on a United Nations school sheltering people fleeing bombardment in Gaza was strongly condemned by both the UN and the US on Sunday, with UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, calling it a "moral outrage and a criminal act" and pleading for an end to "this madness".

The Israeli defence ministry said on Sunday night that Israel would hold a truce in most of Gaza for seven hours on Monday for humanitarian aid and to allow displaced Palestinians to return to their homes, but would fight back if attacked.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Israel's military censor wanted prior review of the New York Times' article on Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, a missing Israeli officer now believed dead

    Sunday, August 03, 2014   No comments
In the New York Times' August 1 article, "Gaza Fighting Intensifies as Cease-Fire Falls Apart," the newspaper revealed that it was the first time "in more than six years" Israel wanted prior review.

The Times said it didn't fully comply with the order. Instead of sending "a draft of this article," they just "summarized" the section of its article about Goldin in a phone call. The Times's report reads, as of August 2:

"Israel’s military censor informed The New York Times that material related to the missing officer had to be submitted for review, the first such notification in more than six years. International journalists must agree in writing to the censorship system in order to work in Israel. The Times did not send the censor a draft of this article before publication, but summarized over the phone its biographical references to Lieutenant Goldin."

Interestingly, the Huffington Post noted that the Times didn't include that paragraph about the censor until "nearly six hours" after publication, pointing to News Diffs' record of changes to the article. That may have been because the prior review request came after publication for future reports.

read more >>

Brian Eno on the Israel-Gaza crisis: How can you justify images such as this? and Peter Schwartz responds to Brian Eno's open letter on Israel-Gaza crisis

    Sunday, August 03, 2014   No comments
Dear All of You,

I sense I’m breaking an unspoken rule with this letter, but I can’t keep quiet any more.

Today I saw a picture of a weeping Palestinian man holding a plastic carrier bag of meat. It was his son. He’d been shredded (the hospital’s word) by an Israeli missile attack – apparently using their fab new weapon, fléchette bombs. You probably know what those are – hundreds of small steel darts packed around explosive which tear the flesh off humans. The boy was Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra. He was four years old.

SPIEGEL has learned from reliable sources that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on US Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace negotiations

    Sunday, August 03, 2014   No comments
SPIEGEL has learned from reliable sources that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on US Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace negotiations. In addition to the Israelis, at least one other intelligence service also listened in as Kerry mediated last year between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states, several intelligence service sources told SPIEGEL. Revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel.
[...]
Still, there are no doubts about fundamental support for Israel on the part of the United States. On Friday, the US Congress voted to help fund Israel's "Iron Dome" missile defense system to the tune of $225 million (around €168 million).


read more >>

Saturday, August 2, 2014

More than 1,000 Turks fighting for ISIL, "the Islamic Caliphate"

    Saturday, August 02, 2014   No comments
The number of Turkish citizens fighting under the umbrella of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is slightly more than 1,000, according to Turkish officials, who admit that they are unable to learn the exact number. The estimated number of armed ISIL fighters is around 12,000 to 15,000, which shows that Turks make up just less than 10 percent of the jihadist group.

Friday, August 1, 2014

American media's new pro-Israel bias: the same party line at the wrong time Evolving conversations on the ground demand probing questions on-air; So why does TV news look like a Netanyahu ad?

    Friday, August 01, 2014   No comments
Here are a few questions you won’t hear asked of the parade of Israeli officials crossing US television screens during the current crisis in Gaza:
  • What would you do if a foreign country was occupying your land?
  • What does it mean that Israeli cabinet ministers deny Palestine’s right to exist?
  • What should we make of a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who as opposition leader in the 1990s addressed a rally under a banner reading “Death to Arafat” a year after the Palestinian leader signed a peace accord with Israel?

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