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Books and Documents

The War Within Islam

Reforming Saudi Arabia
Zahid Hussain
Reforming Saudi Arabia
Zahid Hussain

Financed by Saudi money, thousands of madrasas were established along the border areas. Wahhabism became the most effective ideology in motivating radical Muslims for waging jihad against the ‘godless communists’. Saudi Arabia and the US agreed to contribute equal amounts to finance the Afghan war against the Soviets....

 
Pakhtun Renaissance
Ghulam Qadir Khan
Pakhtun Renaissance
Ghulam Qadir Khan

Many believe this is the dawn of a Pakhtun renaissance, as the youth seek to redefine their political status and create a new social contract with the state. Fata’s people in particular have stopped looking up to the recognised leaders, the Maliks and Mullahs, and have come up with an alternate leadership among the youth. For the first time, someone other than a mullah has been able to gather the Pakhtun under one banner....

 

Ankara has set as a strategic goal to destroy the Kurdish gains that resulted from the fragmentation of Syria and Iraq over the last half decade. Turkey also wishes to present itself as the natural leader and patron of Sunni Arab communities in both countries. In asserting these goals, Ankara will partner with or oppose other local powers (Iran, the government of Iraq, the Assad regime), according to immediate tactical needs. ....

 
Hamas Is an Abysmal Failure
Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar

These commentators predicted Hamas would soon prefer governing to jihad, exchange terror for state-running, develop political tools instead of tools of war, and adopt a political stance instead of one of armed conflict. They could not have been more wrong, because no Islamic terror organization abandons terror without being seen as abandoning Islam as well....

 
Abbas' Parting Shots
Daoud Kuttab
Abbas' Parting Shots
Daoud Kuttab

Abbas’ attack on Friedman, in which he used the colloquial insult “Ibn Kalb” (son of a dog), kept the media and pundits debating whether it amounted to a major vulgarity or a simple insult common in Palestinian exchanges. Abbas’ remark was suggested by Friedman to be an anti-Semitic attack. Abbas' insulting description was removed from the text of his speech published by the official Wafa news agency. No Palestinian officially has publicly denounced the statement....

 
No Sign of Spring in Egypt
Dr Murad Ali
No Sign of Spring in Egypt
Dr Murad Ali

While there was a wave of optimism with the ouster of Hosni Mubarak after the Arab Spring, it was little more than false hope that heralded another long and dark night ahead. A recent report by Amnesty International observed that “a generation of young Egyptian activists who came to the fore around the ousting of repressive ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011 is today languishing behind bars”....

 

The prince's social and economic reform program, much of which is included in his "Vision 2030" agenda, seeks to modernize Saudi Arabia in a generation. Shifting from an oil-based economy to a diverse one is one of his most ambitious projects, and it involves vastly increasing his country's infrastructure, technological and, especially, human capacity (including Saudi women). The partnership with U.S. is central to all three pillars, which is why MBS will spend so much time in so many cities in the coming days....

 
Turkey’s Syrian Battleground
Burak Bekdil
Turkey’s Syrian Battleground
Burak Bekdil

In a rather theatrical show, the fall of the city of Afrin – a Kurdish enclave in north-western Syria – after two months of battle between Turkish and Turkey-backed troops and Kurdish militia coincided with the 103rd anniversary of the Turkish victory in Gallipoli. Victory speeches were delivered one after another. Turks cheered in collective euphoria. Front pages were splashed with nationalistic headlines and stories of “our heroic soldiers.”...

 

Ours is a state that was carved out for the protection of a religious minority. To show our devotion to religious plurality we created a symbol: a dab of white on a green flag. Somewhere along the way a culture of hatred for religious minorities was bred in this new state....

 
A Thirst for Barbarity
I.A. Rehman
A Thirst for Barbarity
I.A. Rehman

Brutalisation of the mind is as deadly an affliction as any known to humankind. The hunger for barbarity will affect people in their private and public lives, as it obliterates the fine line that separates sanity from lunacy. Until the drift towards cruelty is arrested there will be no fair trial for the blasphemy accused, and demands for inhuman and degrading punishments will continue to be voiced....

 

“Raising pious generations” has become the landmark of this new political project. Religious actors and religious teachings play an important role in the execution of this project towards re-engineering perceptions and understandings of the population based on religious values and dogma. In this respect, the state continues to govern through religion. Yet, this governance has subsumed and expanded beyond categorizing people, mobilizing constituencies, and containing ethnic conflict. It touches upon the very core of social life and interactions....

The Sufis’ unwavering support for Sisi for a second term in office is a replay of previous scenarios, as former presidents such as Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat showed full support to Sufi orders in return for their political support and to curtail the role of political Islam groups, namely the Muslim Brotherhood....

 

The Shi’ites of Bahrain started their protest movement at the same time as the wave of Islamic awakening in the Arab countries began. On February 14, 2011, Bahrain was the scene of the peaceful protests of the people against the ruling dynasty and claims for self-determination....

 

There should be multiple elements to such an effort, but some immediate tasks come to mind. First, school textbooks. The Saudis promised to eliminate the hate-filled passages a decade ago. Progress has slowly been made, but the job’s still not done. Mohammed bin Salman should order it finished — this year. Behind the scenes, U.S. experts should provide verification....

 

Addressing the post-Daesh challenges in Iraq requires a regional effort, with neighbouring states working together in a genuine spirit of camaraderie for the greater interest of the region. Only such a spirit will give substance and credibility to a regionally supported “Marshall Plan” for Iraq. An integrated Iraq will be a bastion of economic opportunity and political stability for the entire region....

 

This means that, regardless of Netanyahu’s political future, Israeli policies toward Palestinians will remain unchanged, leaving Palestinians with the urgent responsibility of developing their own unified political strategy to counter the Israeli occupation, human rights violations and illegal Jewish settlements....

 

I got my Watan Card last March. On it, apart from my biographical details and a photograph, there is a drawing of the Khyber Pass and the abbreviation N.W.A., for North Waziristan Agency. It marks me and other residents of the region as separate from the full citizens of Pakistan....

 
Palestinians: The Arabs Do Not Care about Us
Khaled Abu Toameh
Palestinians: The Arabs Do Not Care about Us
Khaled Abu Toameh

What is actually happening is that the PA leadership is terrified that many of the Arab countries will support the Trump plan, thus abandoning their Palestinian brothers and leaving them exposed to international pressure to accept the "deal of the century." This fear does not seem to be unjustified....

 
The Next Palestinian President?
Grant Rumley
The Next Palestinian President?
Grant Rumley

In his 13-plus years as President, he has grown increasingly paranoid. Reports surfaced in February that the he had been wiretapping thousands of Palestinians—rivals and allies alike—with the CIA’s help. Among those wiretapped was Mahmoud al-Aloul. Abbas clearly sees Aloul as someone who could one day succeed him. Perhaps international observers should, too....

 
Let Rouhani and Khamenei Fight
Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh

Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries criticize each other regularly, but recently the level of invective among the ruling elite has reached new heights. The vicious infighting between President Hassan Rouhani and his detractors now threatens the governing edifice of the Islamic Republic. Given the clerical regime’s aggressive foreign policy and nuclear ambitions, it is in America’s interest to see this power struggle intensify....

 
Erdogan's Rising Islamist Militarism
Eric Edelman
Erdogan's Rising Islamist Militarism
Eric Edelman and Merve Tahiroglu

Erdogan spotted the weeping girl wearing a military uniform during an address at his party’s congress last week, brought her onto the stage, and told her that if she died as a martyr, her coffin would be covered with the Turkish flag she held in her pocket. “You are ready for anything, aren’t you?” the Islamist strongman asked. The terrified child managed to utter “yes,” though it was hard to hear it through her sobs...

General Ayub Khan took over a politically unstable Pakistan and gave it a decade of prosperity before succumbing to the Pavlovian lure of defeat by touching off the 1965 war with India. Pakistan had to endure a Tashkent Agreement signalling the end of the Ayub Khan regime, but Pakistan could still interpret it as a victory....

 

Just like al-Maliki, al-Abadi rose to power not by virtue of his strength but because of his weakness. Just like al-Maliki, he too may now plunge the country into further sectarian conflict. Another Iraqi leader has succumbed to the sweet taste of power....

 

The question was simple, but odd: “Is it acceptable to eat with the left hand?” The expert's answer, based on a well-known saying of the Prophet Muhammad, advised Muslims to eat and drink with the right hand and to teach their children to do the same because the “devil eats with the left hand.” On YouTube, one can find several Turkish Islamic leaders speaking about this issue. The public was angry about the response and asked about people who are born left-handed or have a missing hand or arm. The Islamic decree does provide room for exceptions for medical reasons....

 

Both Abbas and Hamas need to realize that time is running out and that the status quo cannot be maintained for long. The Trump peace deal will attempt to weaken the PA further and isolate Hamas and other militant groups. Unless both overcome their differences, the probable scenario of an inescapable and irreversible separation between the Gaza Strip and West Bank will become increasingly likely....

 
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