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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

The country was never as modern as Iran had been in the 1960s and the 1970s. Riyadh only took refuge in more orthodox ideology when Tehran was ‘revolutionised’ by Ayatollah Khomeini and a race to export their ideologies began. The new crown prince wants to restore Islam to what it was during its origins....

 

It is instructive that neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt was actively hostile to the address change for the American Embassy in Jerusalem. They voted to repudiate the decision in the U.N. vote on the matter, but that was the end of it. The tide of alliance building is moving in a new and unpredictable direction in the Middle East. An Israel with its advanced technology has become an ally of necessity, not necessarily an ally of long-term common interests, albeit history has a way of uniting unlikely bedfellows....

 
The ‘Impossible State’ and Challenges of Modernity
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran
The ‘Impossible State’ and Challenges of Modernity
Fahad Suleiman Shoqiran

With the wave of changes taking place in Iran, the decline of the ISIS, and the prospects of al-Qaeda’s return, questions about the religious state and its relations to ethics and modernity have returned the fore. The state cannot survive under the theocratic system unless it has effective modern institutions. Therefore, it is claimed that Iran is a modern state and not an Islamic state because of the existence of constitutional arbitration councils that safeguard the interests of the regime....

 

If Saudi Arabia, backed by the UAE and Bahrain and Israel as an officially unacknowledged partner constitutes one block, Turkey forms another that could either include or cooperate with the region’s third pole, Iran. Egypt, conscious of its past as the Arab world’s undisputed leader, may not be able to yet carve out a distinct leadership role for itself, but has worked hard to keep the door open....

 
Iranian and Saudi Youth Try to Bury 1979
Thomas L. Friedman
Iranian and Saudi Youth Try to Bury 1979
Thomas L. Friedman

But today Iran and Saudi Arabia have something new in common: A majority of their populations are under age 30, young people connected through social networks and Smartphones. And a growing number of them are fed up with being told how to live their lives by old, corrupt or suffocating clerics — and they want to bury 1979 and everything it brought....

 

Efforts to foster culture are coming as artists are feeling increased pressure because of tensions in the wider Persian Gulf. A feud has divided the gulf monarchies, pitting Qatar against Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt. In addition, surging hostilities between Shiite Iran and the Sunni Gulf States have fuelled an increasingly vicious sectarian enmity....

 

Even more than the Green Movement of 2009, the recent protests — and the reaction to them — recalled those of the early 2000s. Both then and now, moderate political forces controlled Iran’s presidency and its Parliament. And in both cases, the country’s conservatives deployed intimidation, violence and deceit to undermine the moderates....

 

It should also be a warning sign to Arab leaders that they should wake up and figure out how to regain and exercise their own sovereignty, in order to ensure the well-being of their own citizens. Otherwise, they will wake up one day and realize that they have become little more than properties on a Monopoly board that adolescent airheads in the White House buy, sell, and discard at the whim of wild men in the U.S. waving campaign donation checks....

 

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin-Salman and Jared Kushner. They held numerous meetings, both public and secret, to thrash out their understandings and translate them into practical plans – notably by hastening the pace of normalization between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Israeli occupation state. It seems clear that there is a link between these two occurrences: American acceptance of the putsch in Saudi Arabia in return for Saudi promotion and marketing of the ‘deal of the century....

 

“At the end of the day, later on, Jerusalem won’t be much different from Ramallah. What matters is ending the suffering of the Palestinian people,” Captain Kholi concluded. “Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby Jerusalem will be — Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we would go for it.” He charged that Egypt’s regional foe Qatar and its ruler, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, were the ones guilty of collaborating with Israel....

 

Poverty also holds children back. Faced with a choice between having a child help in the fields or learn nothing at school, many parents rationally pick the former. The difference in enrolment between children of the richest and poorest fifth of households is greater in Pakistan than in all but two of the 96 developing countries recently analysed by the World....

Story of an Assassination
Khaled Ahmed
Story of an Assassination
Khaled Ahmed

Benazir asked, “Am I to be protected?” His reply was, “Depends on how you behave with me.” Benazir entered Pakistan when Musharraf wanted her to stay out. In Karachi, as she was being received by a mammoth procession, she was nearly killed by a suicide-bomber. Azfar asked the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, Brigadier Shah — “Musharraf’s crony, plus reportedly a cuckold”,,,

 

Mumtaz Qadri was hanged. An immediate cause of justice was served but the mindset that aids and abets violence in the name of religion is ever-present and has the clear-cut backing of state institutions. Asia Bibi, the Christian woman defended by Shaheed Taseer, remains in prison. Another young scholar Junaid Hafeez continues to suffer solitary confinement and countless others are at risk....

 

Big things often have small beginnings. In the case of the protests engulfing Iran, it was a steep rise in the price of eggs. That was why hundreds of people first took to the streets in Mashhad, Iran’s second city, on December 28th. They demanded the resignation of Hassan Rouhani, the reformist president, for failing to bring prosperity to most Iranians....

 

There are two power poles in Iran: One comprises the popularly elected president and the Majlis (legislature); the other is represented by the clergy-dominated establishment presided over by the supreme leader or Rahbar. The one stands for the popular will; the other believes in ‘controlled’ democracy. The Rahbar holds a unique position in Iranian political system. He is the guardian of the revolution, the custodian of the constitution and the overall supervisor of the system....

 

“My personal analysis is that in the following days, more Reformist personalities will come forward in defence of the administration and will clarify their position regarding the protests, the right of the people to peaceful assembly and the necessity of avoiding violence. Reformist conduct is always in opposition to any violent movement.”...

 

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence,” the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci apparently liked to say, “but an optimist because of will.” Two-thousand-five-hundred years of Persian civilization and a century-long quest for democracy offer hope about the irrepressible Iranian will for change. But the Islamic Republic’s four-decade history of brutality suggests that change will not come easily, or peacefully, or soon....

 

Even as the hardliners retreated, the protests spread to more than 20 cities, where Iranians of all stripes voiced pent-up anger over a lack of economic and political progress. The protests have also spread to Tehran, the capital, where hundreds of people have been arrested. After six days the tone of the rallies is changing. Many now call for the downfall of the ruling clerics and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps...

 
Palestinians Slam Israeli Expansionism
Daoud Kuttab
Palestinians Slam Israeli Expansionism
Daoud Kuttab

“Unfortunately, Israel has taken advantage of the unacceptable decision regarding Jerusalem, which is in violation of international law, and has used it to further extend its action by declaring war on the Palestinian people, Palestinian lands and Palestinian holy places,” Fatah said....

 

Wine is a taboo in the Islamic tradition, but it was one of the first things Shah Hussain acquired after his mystical awakening. By taking up a forbidden act, he wanted to challenge the traditionally held concepts of the pure and sacred. Purity lies within the heart and not within earthly objects, he conveyed. Bulleh Shah did the same, by visiting the house of a courtesan to learn how to dance. Music and dance are frowned upon in puritanical Islam, both are professions reserved for the so-called lower castes, the Kanjars and Mirasis....

 
Rouhani Acknowledges Iranian Discontent As Protests Continue
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
Rouhani Acknowledges Iranian Discontent As Protests Continue
Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Rouhani, urging the nation to be vigilant, acknowledged that people were unhappy about the state of economy, corruption and a lack of transparency. “People are allowed under the constitution to criticise or even protest but […] in a way that at the end they lead to a better situation in the country for the people,”...

How Abadi Violates Iraq’s Constitution
Rachel Avraham
How Abadi Violates Iraq’s Constitution
Rachel Avraham

Indeed, had the Iraqi government followed the federal constitution like they were supposed to, it is less likely that the Kurds would have pushed forward with an Independence Referendum and thus these recent wave of protests would have been avoided. Therefore, it is of pivotal importance that America tells the Central Iraqi government to stop oppressing the Kurds and to follow the Iraqi Constitution to the last letter....   

 

What is especially disconcerting about the phenomenon is that Netanyahu is not the only one guilty of this. Even his rivals in the opposing camp align themselves with his efforts to delegitimize the left, i.e., themselves....

 

Driven by competing agendas, the Gulf powers are empowering different tribal and/or political groups in Al Mahra: Hadi’s loyalists (Saudi Arabia), secessionists (the UAE), current leading tribes and the former sultanate’s sympathisers (Oman). While preventing Iranian interferences is a shared objective among all three actors, this rivalry could shake consolidated local balances, in a region still relatively quiet despite the civil war raging elsewhere in Yemen....

 

Very little progress has been made in the case since then. Mashal’s sisters are unable to attend their educational institutions because of the threat the entire family faces and neither the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government nor the ANP, after whose leader the university is named, have taken any real action in the matter. In other instances, persons accused of blasphemy had been killed in jails...

 
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