Islam Edit Bureau
06 May 2016
Hiding behind a Pseudonym
A Failed State
Kurds Seeing Calm Before The Storm?
On Alert As Threat Of Chemical Warfare Spreads
Saudi Women Work As Shopkeepers?
Syria Airstrikes Stop?
Men Let Their Wives Uncover Their Faces?
By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Hiding behind A Pseudonym
5 May 2016
It is people’s
rights to express their opinions within the context of common laws, regulations
and values, and by either using a pseudonym or their real name. For example,
the requirements, conditions and bases of expressing one’s opinion on Twitter
are the same whether or not the user is anonymous.
of literature is full of prominent authors and poets who used pseudonyms to
test their styles and ideas, or to protect their posts or status in society.
nowadays lies in hiding behind a fake name to attack and defame. Hiding behind
a pseudonym is a sign of fear and a desire for revenge. Some of those who do so
suffer from a psychopathic crisis, as they have issues with their society and
want to criticize and libel others without confronting them or making a public
behind a pseudonym while expressing opinions that sometimes harmonize with
rogue or terrorist groups reflects weakness, and a lack of morals and values
hiding behind a pseudonym while expressing opinions that sometimes harmonize
with rogue or terrorist groups reflects weakness, and a lack of morals and
values. Saudi rules strictly criminalize those who attack others. This is
justice and the implementation of civil formulas.
6 May 2016
prices in central Baghdad are as high as London’s, even though Iraq’s national
income is down by 70 percent since the oil price crash. Daesh’s bombs regularly
devastate parts of the capital, and still the real estate market booms. Why?
Because there is so much “dirty money” in Iraq that needs to be laundered. If
you lack the political clout to get your stolen money out of the country, the
safest course is to put it into residential property.
a very safe bet either when the entire pseudo-democratic system bequeathed to
Iraq by the US invasion is on the brink of collapse. Last weekend’s intrusion
by thousands of angry Iraqis into the Green Zone, the vast (10 sq km)
government compound in Baghdad, was probably the beginning of the end of the
current dispensation in Iraq. They left only two days later, after delivering
an ultimatum for complete reform of the government. They left but with a vow to
return if it does not happen. It will not happen, and they will be back in the
streets soon. Former prime minister Nouri Al-Maliki, forced from power in 2014
after Daesh forces invaded the western half of Iraq, has been plotting a comeback
with other parties in parliament. He may not succeed, but he and his allies are
certainly able to block the passage of most measures they do not like.
binding Al-Maliki and the other plotters together is their determination to
retain the utterly corrupt system that has allowed them to loot the country’s
oil wealth for so long. The oil wealth is a great deal less now, but it is
still practically Iraq’s only source of income, and they have no intention of
giving it up.
The man who
replaced Maliki, President Haider Al-Abadi, is in relative terms a reformer. He
belongs to the same Dawa Party as Al-Maliki and cannot afford to get too far
out of touch with his power base. Nevertheless, almost a year ago he promised
that he would replace many of his cabinet members, drawn from the various
parties in the ruling coalition, with “technocrats” who would (theoretically)
be less likely to steal the government’s money.
deliver on his promise, however, because any cabinet changes have to be approved
by parliament. None of the parties there were willing to give up their own
cabinet ministers, and with it their ability to divert the government’s cash
flow into their own pockets. Three times Abadi’s proposed reforms were rejected
after the last time, in April, that Moqtada Al-Sadr, a populist cleric with a
big following among Baghdad’s multitudinous Shia poor, ordered the invasion of
the fortified Green Zone. That did force parliament to approve of five of
Abadi’s cabinet changes, and more will probably follow.
changing the figureheads in the government ministries will not end the looting
of public funds, which permeates the system from top to bottom. Indeed, you
might say that corruption is the system in Iraq.
some of the cash-flow to the citizens by means of paying them to do non-jobs.
Most of the rest is stolen by the 25,000 or so people who hold senior
administrative, political or military positions, leaving a small amount for
seven million government employees in Iraq — a large majority of the adult male
population — and most of them do little or no work. Indeed, some of them don’t
even exist, like the “ghost soldiers” whose pay is collected by their officers.
Collectively they were paid around $4 billion a month, which was all right when
monthly oil income was up around $6 billion.
revenue is now down to $2 billion a month. The Central Bank has been making up
the difference from its reserves, but those are now running out. The country’s
economic crisis is now more urgent and more dangerous than the military
confrontation with Daesh, but that does not seem clear to many of the major
players in Iraq’s dysfunctional political system.
It is so
dysfunctional that little is being done even to repair the Mosul Dam, which
requires constant work on its foundations if it is not to break and drown
Mosul, four hours downstream, under a 24-meter-high wave. The wave would be
much lower when it reached Baghdad two days later, but it would still be big
enough to wreck property values for a long time to come.
talk about the Iraqi army driving Daesh back is just hot air. The only Iraqi
military advances have happened under the cover of massive US air strikes, and
the government’s own attention is elsewhere. So, increasingly, is that of the
population. But Daesh is still paying attention.
protesters stormed Iraq's parliament on September 30, a Kurdish news team from
Rudaw found themselves reporting live in the midst of the chaos. A Kurdish
Peshmerga soldier outside the parliament told them that protesters "had
kissed [him] and given [him] flowers. It's very peaceful." It was a
momentary gesture in a region that has become increasingly fractured along
been seeking greater independence and autonomy throughout the region in the
last hundred years in the wake of what many complain were European-imposed
colonial borders that ignored their rights.
rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS)
group in 2014, the Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq have found their areas
largely cut off from the central government.
brought widespread hopes for a Kurdish referendum on independence in the
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, and a federal structure in Syria
that would preserve the Kurds' hard-fought rights.
But a series
of incidents in recent weeks have threatened to undo Kurdish gains and are a
foreshadowing of worse to come if the differing Kurdish political groups cannot
navigate the competing agendas in the region.
Workers' Party (PKK) leader Cemil Bayik told the BBC that they are willing to
escalate the conflict with Turkey that has killed thousands.
border in Syria's Qamishli clashes between the Kurdish People's Protection
Units (YPG) and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ended on April
23 with dozens of casualties.
objective for Kurds must be to build stable institutions and seek international
support, while not falling into the trap of internecine fighting.
conflict between Kurds and Shia Turkmen in Tuz Khurmatu, about 170km north of
Baghdad, boiled over last week.
conflicts are all interconnected. Turkey's ruling party and President Recep
Tayyip Erdogan have amicable relations with KRG leader Massoud Barzani, while
Turkey views both the PKK and YPG as "terrorist" organisations.
PKK operates from bases in Iraq, it is widely resented among members of
Barzani's Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) who recall the bitter years of civil
conflict with it in the 1990s.
also a frigid coexistence between the KRG and the YPG-dominated Kurdish areas
of Syria. For instance, a border crossing between Kurdish Iraq and Syria has
been closed for more than a month.
international volunteers for the YPG were briefly detained in mid-April in the
KRG while trying to travel home to the United Kingdom and Ireland. The message
was clear: the days of an open border are behind us.
At the very
moment when Kurds are the most empowered, they face major obstacles. In Turkey
the Kurdish-dominated Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) made it into parliament
in 2015, only to see the breakdown of the ceasefire with the PKK lead to
massive conflict throughout eastern Turkey. There seems little interest on both
sides in reducing this conflict.
the Assad government will move to neuter Kurdish aspirations if it defeats the
Syrian rebels with help from Iran and Russia.
Yet here we
find Russia politically supporting the Syrian Kurds, and Turkey unsurprisingly
attempting to keep them from gaining any ground or playing a role in peace
rebel groups accuse the Kurds of collaborating with Assad, even though the two
forces have come to blows in Qamishli, where Assad's forces still control the
airport and a small enclave.
the YPG in the unenviable position of being disliked by both sides in the
conflict while it still fights a brutal war against ISIL.
the KRG is fearful of Iranian attempts to undermine moves towards independence.
Iran has a deep influence over the Shia militias such as Hashd al-Shaabi and in
lead-up to the liberation of Mosul from ISIL, the Kurds have been clear that
they prefer a Sunni Arab militia such as the Turkish-backed Hashd al-Watani -
which is led by the former Mosul governor - to re-conquer the city.
want Iranian-backed Shia militias in Mosul, which they view as an attempt to
surround Kurdistan. Saudi Arabia has been growing closer to the KRG over this
issue as well, because of fears of Iranian encroachment throughout the region.
There was a
kind of Kurdish spring in the Middle East in the past few years, bolstered by
military successes against ISIL.
The US has
dispatched military missions to both the KRG and Syria's Rojava in recognition
of these achievements.
Kurds talk independence or federalism, the US administration is quick to oppose
objective for Kurds must be to build stable institutions and seek international
support, while not falling into the trap of internecine fighting.
finding accommodation in Turkey, patching up differences between the YPG and
KRG and frustrating Iran's growing power without open conflict or allowing Iran
to harm the KRG economically.
post-ISIL region comes into shape, the Kurds can play an essential role for the
first time in 100 years to heal the region's difficulties.
on Alert As Threat of Chemical Warfare Spreads
media recently reported that the country is continuing to track chemical
weapons in Syria, including in the Golan Heights, and will act to prevent them
from being used by terrorists. As the conflict continues to rage in the
war-torn country, an Israeli strike on any terrorist group in possession of
chemical weapons – especially those based close to Israel’s own territory -
becomes increasingly likely with each passing day.
to the Times of Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have assessed that the
Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade – an ISIS-affiliated faction based in southern Syria on
Israel’s northern front – has possibly seized chemical weapons and could
attempt to test them in the near-term. The report also indicated Israel does
not assess that militants would attempt to carry out a chemical weapons attack
on Israeli soil as fighters are “not currently concerned with Israel.”
in possession of chemical weapons is highly unlikely to target Israel in an
attack in the near-term given that such an operation would trigger immediate
and sustained retaliation, which they likely cannot withstand. Nonetheless, a
chemical weapons attack taking place close to Israel’s border, regardless of
which party is targeted, is a precedent Israel is unlikely to allow to be set.
In a second
report, published by the same newspaper, an unnamed Israeli official confirmed
that the Israeli military would indeed target any terrorist group conducting
chemical weapons experiments, vowing that “Israel will not stand by — we will
act to thwart such capabilities.”
in possession of chemical weapons is highly unlikely to target Israel given
that such an operation would trigger immediate and sustained retaliation
reports out of Israel are only the latest to confirm that the entirety of
Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal was not destroyed – despite the US and Russia
backed deal that was struck in September 2013 and was supposed to achieve
regime has continued to carry out chemical weapons attacks since the
implementation of the deal, with chlorine attacks continuing to terrorize and
harm; in February, the Syrian American Medical Society published a report
noting that of 161 total chemical weapon attacks, “77 percent have occurred after
the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118 in September
2013, which created a framework for the destruction of Syria’s declared
chemical weapons stockpiles.”
also warned earlier that the Assad regime has kept stockpiles of chemical
weapons, including Sarin. Meanwhile, ISIS has also begun carrying out chemical
weapons attacks, using mustard gas in both Syria and Iraq.
weapons attacks continue in Syria and more actors begin using such weapons, it
can be assessed that Israel is increasingly motivated to act. Further, an
Israeli attack on chemical weapons in Syria in the near-term would serve a
two-fold purpose in addition to thwarting what could be the latest massacre in
would be to signal to the international community, including Russia and Iran,
that Israel will continue to protect its interests no matter how the conflict
changes or what party involves itself. The second would signal to the Assad
regime that Israel remains fully capable and committed to protecting its
northern front – both from the Syrian regime and from terrorists.
ago, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad made a particularly
bellicose statement about the Golan Heights stating, “We are prepared to do
anything in order to return the Golan to the Syrian motherland, including using
military force.” “While there is no chance Syria will seek a broader conflict
with Israel in the near future, Israel may still be inclined to demonstrate
exactly how serious it is when it vows to protect its northern front from both
current and future threats.”
the spiralling cycle of violence being witnessed in the region, it is anybody’s
guess what dimension this chemical warfare will take.
May 6, 2016
Why do some
Shoura Council members get angry at the media when it attacks them for calling
for Saudi women to work as grocery shopkeepers? If Shoura Council members have
made such a recommendation, then what can we expect next? Will some members
recommend that Saudi women work as plumbers or bakers?!
were allowed to run grocery shops, how would they make home deliveries? What
kind of transport would they use? Did the members who came up with this
recommendation think about this? I sometimes think that the recommendations of
Shoura Council members do not make much sense or have not been properly studied
or thought out.
I have a
message for Council members who really care about finding ways to create job
opportunities for women. Firstly, try to lay down a law that protects the
rights of women as clearly as possible in line with Shariah. The work
environment for women should protect women’s rights and safeguard them from
harassment or abuse of power from line managers and those who have the power to
hire and fire employees.
are abused because they are poor and needy. All work environments for women
should have surveillance cameras to prevent any attempt to abuse or harass
women. The Ministry of Labor has not succeeded in ending the exploitation of
women, nor has the Shoura Council.
10 days of airstrikes, coinciding with calls made for a ceasefire agreement in
Aleppo, there are also signs indicating the Assad regime and its allies are
orchestrating a major ground attack against opposition-controlled areas of
Aleppo. Iran has been rallying forces for this campaign and Syrian opposition
military experts say Russian warplanes are targeting Aleppo as the Assad air
force is incapable of such precision air raids that recently leveled medical
centers and a number of bakeries in crowded areas. These atrocious attacks have
prompted the international community to launch a new wave of efforts to produce
a tangible ceasefire on the ground in Syria to include Aleppo. Is this a repeat
episode, or will the innocent people of Syria finally witness a lasting peace
without attacks launched by Assad, Iran and Russia?
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern over the violence seen in
Aleppo and other areas of Syria. He joined other world leaders calling on all
parties involved in the Syria conflict to immediately bring an end to all forms
of aggressive measures and live up to their responsibilities regarding the
grave impact of such violence on civilians. Ban demanded the ceasefire must
expand far beyond Damascus and Latakia — a devious plot blueprinted by Assad
and company — to cover all of Syria, especially Aleppo.
Secretary of State John Kerry also rushed to Geneva seeking to reinforce the
previously crafted ceasefire agreement. Washington is asking Moscow to use its
influence over Bashar Assad to halt the indiscriminate attacks, described by
experts as carpet bombings. May 10 is the date set for Geneva to host a new
round of UN-sponsored peace talks.
As the war
rages in Syria, Iran is escalating tensions by resorting to a deplorable tactic
not seen since the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. Back then the mullahs literally
dispatched 400,000 juveniles to the battlefronts as cannon fodders to fuel the
war. Today, Tehran is repeating that experience to provide forces for the war
in Syria. A program has been aired in Iran showing children undergoing military
training provided by the Iranian regime, preparing the teenage boys — and even
as young as 10 — to learn the simple tactics and know-how of ground warfare. A
recent video clip posted by the Paris-based Iranian opposition has rendered
international outrage describing such measures by Iran as human rights
violations and adding fuel to the threat of fundamentalism and violence across
the Middle East.
no need in denying its role in provoking the war in Syria by deploying militia
groups and mercenaries to fight for Assad. It recently sent units of 65th
regular army brigade to pave the path for a new ground campaign to be carried
out by Assad forces and allies in Aleppo Province. As Afghan, Pakistani, Iraqi
and other recruits have failed to deliver the necessary results, the mullahs in
Tehran are now turning to small teenage boys to fill this void of necessary
boots on the ground.
smuggled out by Daesh defectors unveil how the Assad regime has been in full
cooperation with the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” in selling oil, with all
coordination carried out on the field. These documents show the recent
withdrawal by Daesh from the ancient city of Tadmir was in full harmony with
Assad forces. However, the Syrian regime propaganda machine portrayed the
entire story as if the city had been completely liberated. The truth is that
the Assad regime was fully involved in the rise of Daesh from the very
beginning, seeking to cripple the Syrian opposition as a result. This has been
a plot carefully shaped by Iran.
the Kremlin suddenly announced a decision to pull out the bulk of its forces
from Syria, with various countries welcoming such a move, while others
maintained their suspicion, considering the entire story as a Russian plot
aimed at deceiving the West. Washington and London kept their distance in
disbelief. U.K. Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said Russia withdrawing
forces from Syria is a cycle of forces. Vitaly Churkin, the Russian Ambassador
to the U.N., unveiled plans claiming to launch new airstrikes against Daesh
positions in Raqqa and Deir Ezzur provinces. However, the Syrian opposition
have described such measures as a cloak to provide cover for Russian warplanes
to continue their war crimes in Aleppo.
conglomerate of Syria crises continue in a frenzy, various countries across the
globe are witnessing demonstrations and rallies condemning the atrocious crimes
committed by the Assad regime, Iran and Russia against the Syrian people. A
video clip has gone viral showing a small Syrian child weeping over the body of
his brother. He lost four members of family in a recent airstrike in Aleppo. It
is time for world powers to put their foot down and say enough is enough. Too
many innocent Syrians have lost their lives, been wounded and displaced from
their homes. The international community must rise to its obligations to end
the cruelty imposed on the Syrian people, and uproot the crisis expanding
across the globe.
There was a
hashtag that was recently trending about a man and his wife. Some of the
comments about the hashtag surprised me. The man took his wife out for dinner.
In the restaurant, he sat in the family section inside a small cubicle that had
frosted glass. He took off his “Shemagh” (Saudi headscarf) and put it over the
frosted glass to prevent people from seeing his wife. The picture sparked a
debate in social media and some supported the man’s action while others opposed
support what the man did and found it to be in line with the ruling of Shariah
in relation to Hijab, although many people try to belittle the importance of
Allah says in the Holy Qur’an, “O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters
and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves (part) of their
outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be
abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.” (33:59)
clearly orders women to cover and this order was made thousands of years ago
when sedition was less prevalent than today. Wearing the Hijab is mentioned in
the Holy Qur’an in the following way, “That is purer for your hearts and their
we see many Saudi women uncovering their faces and wearing short dresses. I do
not criticize them and I am not responsible for the action of what other people
do; everyone is responsible for his or her own actions. Let us go back to the
hashtag. What is really strange is that some people criticized the man for what
he did. If some men do not have a problem letting their wives uncover their
faces and wear makeup, then there is no harm in that. But they cannot prevent
other men from looking at their wives’ faces and they should not be angry if
other men do so.
told me a story about a man from Upper Egypt who happened to sit in front of a
young woman who did not cover her face and hair on board a train. The man kept
gazing and staring at the woman’s face although her husband was sitting next to
her. Finally, the husband got angry and told the man to turn his face away and
not look at his wife. The man said, “If you are okay letting your wife wear
makeup in public and not cover her face, you should not be angry if other men stare
jealous by nature. Saad Bin Obada (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the
companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), once said, “If I saw a man
walking with my wife, I would strike him with my sword.” When a companion told
the Prophet (pbuh) about it, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Do you wonder at Saad’s
jealousy, I am more jealous than him and Allah is more jealous.”