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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

At the outset of the Afrin operation, the Turkish president issued an unequivocal threat to the opposition not to protest the offensive. “Know that wherever you go out on the streets our security forces are on your necks,” Erdogan said. The Turkish police proved that these were not empty threats by arresting protestors in Istanbul and charging them with “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”...

 

Arabic is sometimes considered a language family, rather than a single language. Education and writing is in “modern standard” Arabic, but each region has its own distinct spoken variety, and those dialects separated by enough distance are not mutually comprehensible. They differ at every level from grammar to vocabulary to pronunciation....

 

But back across the border in Turkey, one underreported aspect of the Afrin offensive is yet another domestic crackdown. In the past week more than 150 people, including at least four journalists, have been detained in various locations in Turkey on the grounds that they had criticised the Afrin operation in social media posts. They’re being investigated for “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organisation”....

 
Sindh: Lingering Troubles
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty
Sindh: Lingering Troubles
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

After the June 13, 2017, prison-break incident in which two high-profile terrorists of Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) – Shaikh Muhammad Mumtaz aka Firaun aka Sher Khan aka Shahzad aka Bhai and Muhammad Ahmed Khan aka Munna – managed to escape, the CTD submitted an inquiry report which pointed out that banned outfits were virtually running the affairs of the Central Prison Karachi, imposing their will on prison staff who follow their instructions due to fear or incompetence….

 

Hotel Intercontinental in Kabul, which was attacked by gunmen last Saturday, used to fit like a glove, like a grandmother’s couch. Outside, the war has been raging. Millions of Afghan lives were aimlessly broken, hundreds of thousands lost. The price of more than 16 years of NATO occupation has exceeded $1 trillion, but instead of bringing peace and prosperity, it has reduced Afghanistan to rubble....

 
The Crown Prince and the New Saudi Economy
Nicolas Pelham
The Crown Prince and the New Saudi Economy
Nicolas Pelham

He also needs to be more transparent. Many of his investigations may be well founded. After all, over the three decades his father, King Salman, headed the family council, collecting copious evidence of his relatives’ misdemeanours. As the great medieval Arab historian Ibn Khaldun warned, if dynasties do not reform after three generations of rule, they risk going to pot....

 

Tunisia is still a cauldron of resistance to neoliberalism and neo-colonial attacks on its sovereignty. Despite the state crackdown, Fesh Nestannew and others are determined to keep fighting until the budget is defeated. The streets are simmering once again, and yearning for radical change....

 

The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on one side and the Gulf state of Qatar on the other is spilling poison into the Horn of Africa, embittering animosities between half a dozen countries in the region. Several of them have seized an opportunity to benefit from instability in the Arabian Peninsula by offering bases. But if Arab conflicts spread, countries in the Horn could be dragged into the fray....

 

In psychology, the seven-year itch refers to declining happiness seven years into a romantic relationship. Dissatisfaction and resentment build up; seven years is the median breaking point. It might just be coincidence that Tunisians are becoming disenchanted and frustrated with their revolution that saw the successful overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. But the revolution, which initially broke out over economic frustrations, seems to have come full circle...

 

The murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud should be understood as part of a larger pattern of state brutality. The use of extrajudicial killing and other ruthless tactics has been a pervasive practice among Pakistani police and security forces, particularly when confronted with movements of marginalized ethnic groups...

 

The future for Tunisia looks promising, for all they have accomplished politically and socially they are at the forefront of breaking boundaries in the Arab world and modernizing their way of life. In the years to come there will be several economic difficulties to overcome. However, with a reasonable and liberal government, I believe Tunisia will thrive....

 

Other hard-line and conservative clerics have joined the attacks on Rouhani. Mohsen Araki, a hard-line cleric, said Jan. 14, “Apparently, you have forgotten what you studied [at the seminary] when you were young. It is better now for you to focus on politics. When you don’t have the necessary knowledge, it is better to leave people’s beliefs alone.” Following the ruckus over his remarks, the president’s office issued a statement Jan. 15 saying he never said the Shiite imams must be criticized. ...

 

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....

 


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