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Middle East Press (09 Jun 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



How the UK Media Helps Promote Terrorism By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim: New Age Islam's Selection, 09 June 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

09 June 2017

How the UK Media Helps Promote Terrorism

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

To Make Peace in Middle East, Start From the End

By Daoud Kuttab

Qatar Row Is No Passing Cloud

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Iran, Qatar and the Middle East Powder Keg

By Murat Yetkin

Qatar Should Mind Its Own Business

By Dherar Belhoul Al Falasi

Israel's Occupation: 50 Years of Palestinian Oppression

By Philip Luther

Arab Spring and Terror through the Eyes of a Roving Reporter

By Ehtesham Shahid

Qatar, When the Bliss Becomes a Curse

By Radwan Al-Sayed

US Congress Resolution Slams Iran Atrocity

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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How the UK Media Helps Promote Terrorism

By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim

8 June 2017

One of the terrorists who attacked London last week has been revealed as a former acolyte of Anjem Choudary. This is hardly surprising. Choudary has been at the heart of Britain’s radical Islamist scene up until he was imprisoned for encouraging support for ISIS last year. But how did Choudary find himself with so much power and influence over the minds of so many young Muslims? And how did any of them get to the point of committing terror attacks?

The tragic fact is that the media has made Choudary what he is today. And in doing so, they have done more to help promote militancy in Britain than most other forces that conspire against our safety.

Choudary is and never has been an imam or cleric. He has no Islamic credentials – to be an imam one needs over a decade of formal study of the Qur’an, and be recognised as an authority by other scholars. He has never been taken seriously by the mainstream Muslim community in Britain and has been expelled out of virtually every mosque in the country.

What Choudary did have, however, was a quick tongue and a fiery demeanor. And he was wearing a traditional Islamic robe. All he needed to qualify him as the go-to “Muslim preacher” when a sensationalist publication or broadcast were looking for an “interesting character” to give their news stories or their angle on the Muslim community in Britain a bit of edginess.

The price for that “journalistic edge” has been to give this opportunistic spiv a veneer of popularity, which has helped him ensnare a cohort of weak-minded, troubled individuals to his hateful vision of the world.

Public Consciousness

What is more, the media have not only given him a presence in the public consciousness, but they also put him there as a punch-bag. Someone towards which we could vent our disdain and hostility. And both the disdain and hostility were well deserved.

But we have also allowed, nay encouraged, him to portray himself, at least in the mind of some, as a representative of the Muslim community. And this has allowed him to claim that the disdain and hostility was not directed just towards him: but toward Muslims in general. Another brilliant recruitment tool for Jihadism.

And Anjem Choudary is but one of example of how the media has, with ghoulish compulsion, elevated a series of gobby self-promoters to national prominence for no other purpose than to cause inter-communal strife – strife which sells newspapers and TV advertisement slots, but the price of which is now paid in blood in Britain’s streets. Omar Bakri Muhammad, Abu Hamza and many others have graduated from the British media’s inadvertent programme of Islamist propaganda.

Nor is there much evidence that lessons have been learned. Or at least that the right lessons have been learned. Yes, Islamist propaganda is given less airtime on our televisions these days. But the tradition of elevating gobby, unscrupulous self-promoters so that we can all collectively gawp and marvel at how awful they are while they gleefully go about poisoning our society with bile and hate and sow deep divisions for the future is alive and well.

Legitimizing Bigotry

Nigel Farage, Katie Hopkins and many others of their ilk, are still allowed to broadcast hate speech and legitimize bigotry with impunity on the national airwaves. As was Nick Griffin before them.

What exactly is the difference between Katie Hopkins and Anjem Choudary? Hopkins is not advocating a deadly ideology? The terrorist attack which claimed the life of Jo Cox MP stands as evidence against that. Just in these last weeks, Hopkins advocated internment without trial and final solutions. And she continues to be given air time by broadcasters.

The media keeps piling on politicians for not doing enough to combat terrorism. But they have it within their power to do more to combat terrorism than any individual politician: all they would need to do is to stop advertising hate preachers of all ilks, stop lavishing individual terrorists with hours upon hours of coverage, and stop stoking on social tensions with that false air of naivite under the guise of “reporting the facts”.

Yes, social strife sells newspapers. And the more contrived the conflict, the better. But surely by now we understand how irresponsible that is. And that the cost is now counted in the lives of innocent people.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/06/08/How-the-UK-media-helps-promote-terrorism.html

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To Make Peace in Middle East, Start From the End

By Daoud Kuttab

8 June 2017

The visit of Donald Trump to Israel and Palestine showed that the return to negotiations will not be easy. But at the same time it made everyone realise that neither Palestinians nor Israelis are willing to refuse or ignore the wishes of the new resident of the White House.

The fact that both parties understand the dangers of rejecting gestures from Washington provides a unique opportunity for the Trump administration to provide a blueprint for a solution. This requires a change in approach, something that President Trump has said in Saudi Arabia that he is open to.

Instead of working hard to get the Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table, what the US president needs to do now is to huddle with his advisers, look up the archives of many of the nearly agreed plans and devise a "Trump plan".

Such a plan, if it is fair and generally in synch with accepted international guidelines, should be announced unilaterally by the White House and even presented to the UN Security Council for ratification. The parties will then be asked to implement a plan instead of creating one. If Israel refuses to do so, someone will remind them that the state of Israel was established following a UN resolution in 1947 - something Jews in Tel Aviv celebrate to this day.

This process may be arduous, but it will probably be much more effective than trying to accommodate preconditions of all parties and working on useless and unimportant confidence-building measures. Some of these supposed confidence-building measures are nothing more than attempts to avoid dealing with the main issues that separate the two sides.

The basic plan for a Palestinian-Israeli deal already exists. It calls for a contiguous, independent Palestinian state roughly within the 1967 borders with some land swaps. It also calls for Jerusalem to be an open city and capital to both states, and a fair solution to the refugee problem. In fact this is pretty much what the Arab Peace initiative, which has been awaiting Israeli response since 2002, states.

This is not to say that some of the details are not important. During the Clinton and Bush administrations, the two major sources of disagreement were the issue of the return of the refugees and the status of Jerusalem. The latter being the one that is more difficult.

On the refugee issue, the Clinton Parameters called for Israel to accept 100,000 Palestinian refugees over ten years under a family reunification scheme.

On Jerusalem, the parameters suggested that Arab neighbourhoods of the city were included into the state of Palestine, that Jewish ones were part of Israel and that the old city was governed under a special arrangement.

While Palestinians accept that the city should be open and the holy sites should be available to followers of different faiths, Israel has been adamant about not sharing the holy city with anyone else.

Today, with such an international vision already on the table, the parties should be asked, cajoled and pressed to sit down and work out the details of implementing it rather than waste their time in talks ad nauseam on what the result of the talks should be.

The fact that neither side wants to anger Donald Trump might be useful in this instance.

While the issue of settlements is important, it is mostly an internal Israeli problem. It is understood that the bulk of settlers living near the green line would be absorbed into Israel, but settlements around the West Bank and especially in the centre of Hebron pose a bigger challenge to the success of any peace plan.

Palestinians have accepted that settlers can live in the state of Palestine as long as they are not living on stolen Palestinian land and they abide fully to the sovereign Palestinian government.

The challenges listed above reflect the complexity of the problem that Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are facing as they get into the details of peacemaking.

Based on so many lost opportunities, it is clear today that the most efficient way forward is not pressuring the parties to go back to direct talks. Instead, the US and the international community should act as an active facilitator rather than a neutral observer in this conflict. The US should be cognizant of international law and fairness while facilitating a deal, since it knows very well that a bad and unfair deal will not stand the test of time.

One possible interim way to break the logjam might be to agree to a plan to end the occupation and to place the occupied territories under a third party trusteeship for a short and agreed-to transitional period.

The UN, the US, and NATO, as well as other international forces, can be made available to safeguard the occupied territories during this transitional period.

While the Trump administration is keen on getting the talks started, it should give serious consideration to a new strategy. Instead of leaving everything to the parties to the conflict that are negotiating on uneven ground, the US should adapt a more creative strategy. Reversing US foreign policy on this issue and beginning with an endgame plan and a timeline would allow everyone involved in the conflict to know where the peace process is going. This would be a much smarter and practicable path for President Trump to follow, if he really wants to oversee the "ultimate deal".

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/05/peace-middle-east-start-170529110334031.html

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Qatar Row Is No Passing Cloud

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

8 June 2017

Political rows between countries happen every now and then. But in Qatar’s case, the disputes have proved enduring, harmful and inexcusable.

The disagreements were for a time viewed as fleeting and as short-lived inconveniences. But with over 20 years of not seeing eye-to-eye, Doha’s destructive policies grew inescapably consistent.

The first tangible difference took place in 1990 — the year Kuwait was invaded, uprooting at least a million citizens and residents and sending its government to exile.

Given that Kuwait is a key member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), regional leaders convened in the Qatari capital, Doha, for a summit devoted to freeing the GCC state from Iraqi aggression.

The then heir apparent of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, shocked Gulf leaders by leading discussions away from freeing Kuwait, and giving priority to a Doha-Bahrain quarrel over ownership of the Hawar Islands — which paled in comparison with Kuwait’s predicament at the time.

Gulf leaders, particularly the late Saudi King Fahd (may his soul rest in peace), were infuriated by the apparent conceit shown by the Qatari party to advance personal agendas at such a critical time.

King Fahd threatened Sheikh Hamad with withdrawing from the summit, and so did the rest of the GCC leaders.

From that day onward, Qatar’s rifts with everyone never ended.

They only worsened when Sheikh Hamad overthrew his father in bloodless palace coup d’état in 1995, and later appointed his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, the current emir of Qatar. Two decades worth of Sheikh Hamad policies have fed disagreement and undermined Gulf unity.

Doha increasingly began to be a backdoor to the region by playing host to Saudi Arabia’s enemies. It took in protesters who wanted coercive regime change, and sponsored the alliance between Iran, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and Syria’s regime head Bashar Assad for a whole 10 years.

Qatar’s provocations left it at odds with most regional states. And in response to its exceedingly dangerous behaviour, several major Arab countries have finally decided to sever diplomatic relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain announced on Monday they were cutting all land, maritime and transport ties with Qatar.

The decision was not based on the long record of dispute, but a conviction of there being no hope in changing the irreversible course the Doha authorities have set out on.

The fights Qatar is picking are juvenile, but also very risky.

Doha’s continued funding of organizations, individuals, media channels and social media networks that are blatantly campaigning for violent anti-government movements has only destabilized the region.

Qatar has presented itself as an ally to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is on a constant quest to establish a self-styled religious ruling system, resembling Iran’s theocracy. Despite the MB’s failures in Palestine, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, it resumed the agenda of spreading chaos across the region.

The final nail in the coffin of the Gulf-Qatar friendship was struck last week, when the Doha state-owned media agency carried a statement allegedly by Sheikh Tamim that apparently saw him endorse Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Among Qatar’s most dangerous ploys is that which is being played out in Bahrain, where it has not stopped funding both armed and peaceful oppositions. Yet its pitch to overthrow Bahrain’s government remains a failure.

On the other hand, Doha’s investment in disrupting Lebanon received better results, where it frankly supported the Assad regime and Iran proxy Hezbollah during their assassination campaigns against Lebanese leaders and occupation of West Beirut. Until this very day, Hezbollah and its allies maintain the upper hand in Lebanon.

Taking things a step further, Doha recently embarked on reviving communications with Iran, an arch foe of the Gulf countries.

As for its endgame in Bahrain, Qatar might be deluded into believing that toppling the regime would play out positively for its expansionist ambitions. The same is evident with its attempt to spur chaos in Saudi Arabia, another neighbouring state.

Qatar is apparently willing to go to great extremes in doing everything and supporting everyone without distinction. It backs religious extremist groups, Arab fascists and nationalist parties and leftist groups.

Paradoxically, while it hosts one of the largest US military bases in the region, Qatar did not hesitate in broadcasting videotapes in which Al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri openly called for American bloodshed. It is worth noting that US operations against Afghanistan and Iraq are launched from this base.

Qatar also funds paramilitary militias that attack American troops in Iraq.

Taking into consideration all of Qatar’s irrational policies, it is clear that the logic behind Doha’s decision-making is impossible to grasp, and arriving at a truce with its government impossible.

During what is perceived as a critical time, Doha’s approach threatens to dismantle the last of whatever stability the Middle East has known since World War II.

The methods adopted by Qatari authorities are nothing short of delirious — in what could loosely be termed as a “nut job” approach taken by Doha.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1111711

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Iran, Qatar and the Middle East Powder Keg

By Murat Yetkin

June/08/2017

The deadly raids on the Iranian Parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran on June 7, which claimed 12 lives, are grave contributions to the escalation of tension in the Middle East amid the Qatar crisis. The fact that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAESH, has claimed responsibility for the attacks makes it even worse.

The attacks were the first known ISIL attack in the Iranian capital, at least at this scale. Iran has been in a fight against ISIL (and al-Qaeda affiliated groups) for the past couple of years, with thousands of Revolutionary Guards in Syria and Iraq supporting Shiite militant groups. However, this attack may have bigger consequential outcomes and may even trigger a chain reaction in the region if Iran and pro-Iran groups decide to retaliate.

The attack also took place at a time when the U.S.-led coalition has just launched its offensive on June 3 to take the city of Raqqa from the hands of ISIL, amounting to another factor of strain in the region.

The Pentagon announced on June 6 that the U.S.-led forces have been effectively using Turkey’s strategic Incirlik air base in the Raqqa operation. This means that despite all objections to the U.S. over its partner against ISIL, the Turkish government has been keeping the base open. Ankara sees the U.S.’s ground force partner in the Raqqa operation, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been in a fight with Turkey for over three decades.

President Tayyip Erogan said during an iftar fast-breaking invitation in Ankara on June 6 that he has told U.S. President Donald Trump about the future drawbacks of trying to defeat one terrorist organization with the help of another. But he also said “may it be for the good,” indicating that Ankara is not likely to escalate the YPG debate until the end of the Raqqa operation, or until a direct threat is posed by the YPG against Turkish interests.

In the same speech Erdogan also said he saw the Saudi-led sanctions against Qatar as wrong. Underlining his efforts to start dialogue for a solution to the problem, he vowed that Turkey would continue to improve its relations with Qatar.

There is nothing wrong with that. Actually, relations with Qatar were discussed together with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who paid a short working visit to Ankara on June 7 despite the terrible terror attack back in Tehran.

But Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government should know that Qatar is no longer the Qatar of three days ago. Saudi Arabia, with the backing of the U.S., reiterated on June 7 that its relations with Qatar could not return to normal unless Qatar “withdraws its support for terrorism” and stops leaning toward Iran.

Saudi Arabia’s counting of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization like ISIL or al-Qaeda is a matter of disagreement with Erdogan, who sees the Brotherhood as an “ideological” movement rather than a terrorist organization. But under the given circumstances, it is uncertain for how long Qatari Emir Thamim al-Thani will be able to continue supporting and harbouring the Muslim Brotherhood in his country. What’s more, the Brotherhood statement on June 7 which almost declared war on Saudi Arabia is not likely to help either itself or its sympathizers.

It is uncertain whether al-Thani or another name to possibly take his place will continue the same economic cooperation program with Turkey. So it is better for the Turkish government to be prepared for the new Qatar, for better or for worse.

The Qatar crisis, the Saudi escalation and the Tehran terror attack have further increased uncertainties in the Middle East, which is becoming a powder keg that could go off at any moment with new, unexpected sparks.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/iran-qatar-and-the-middle-east-powder-keg.aspx?pageID=449&nID=114065&NewsCatID=409

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Qatar Should Mind Its Own Business

By Dherar Belhoul Al Falasi

June 8, 2017

Monday's decision to cut ties with Qatar was not a surprise. It was long time coming and here's why

What happened last Monday was both foreseeable and inevitable. Over the past 22 years since the 1995 coup d'etat, Qatari politics has gone astray. Its interests no longer seem aligned with its neighbours and natural allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The regime in Doha has sought alliances and partnerships in the alternative politics arena, with the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, Taleban, Hamas, and most recently, Al Nusra and Daesh. Naturally, it is not possible for countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia to tolerate such partnerships, especially as Doha offers these groups a safe haven.

Monday's decision to cut ties with Qatar was not a surprise. It was long time coming and here's why: In May, Qatar was part of the US-Arab and Islamic Summit held in Riyadh on terror. The summit unanimously identified Iran as the regional sponsor of terrorism. Despite that Qatar shocked the region after two days when its Amir Sheikh Tamim made a statement calling Iran a brotherly country and one that 'we should maintain good relations with'. Saudi Arabia and the UAE were among the many other nations that felt betrayed. In fact, Qatar's Foreign Minister, who is also the Amir's cousin, was in Baghdad the day before for secret talks with Iran's top terrorist and commander of Quds Forces, Brigade Major General Qasem Soleimani. Qatar claims the Amir's statement was a result of a cyberattack on the official news website - a claim that hasn't been proven yet.

Qatar government has repeatedly failed to honour its obligations as a member of the GCC. The council requires its members to work for the common good of the six allied countries. Qatar, however, has interfered in Bahrain's anti-terror efforts, encouraging Iran-backed groups to perform several acts of terror against the country. In case of Saudi Arabia, Qatar encouraged destabilising activities by Muslim Brotherhood activists and harbour many convicted terrorists. Similar accounts of damaging Qatari behaviour have also been noticed in the UAE, Kuwait and Egypt.

Qatar has also launched and financed several terror-supporting media outlets that functioned as an alternative propaganda voice for many terror groups. From Osama bin Laden's video messages to the recent coming-out of Al Nusra's leader Joulani, Qatar affiliated media didn't shy from showing sympathy to these groups, justifying their actions and portraying them as legitimate opposition groups; something they are not.

As per WikiLeaks document, Qatar provided a safe haven to the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Another WikiLeaks document showed evidence of cross border human trafficking to help infiltrate terrorists into Saudi Arabia.

The fact that Qatar has provided a regional centre and safe haven for Muslim Brotherhood is a source of concern. Also, Qatar seeks to help terrorist groups thrive everywhere they exist. From Ansar Al Sharia and its affiliates in Libya, to Jabhat Al Nusra in Syria to Al Shabaab in Somalia, Qatar's fingerprints are too clear to ignore. Even the charities in the country are being used as channels for funding terrorist organisations such as Al Shabaab.

At the time of so-called Arab Spring in 2011, Qatar tried tirelessly to stoke instability in the GCC countries in cooperation with Muslim Brotherhood conspirators. Acts of vandalism were encouraged in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Qatar funded media, including Al Jazeera, served as a platform to promote these acts.

There is also credible evidence of Qatar's strong relations with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. These are the same people the Arab Alliance, which incidentally includes Qatar, is fighting against to reinstall the legitimate government. Some reports say Qatar has helped cement a de facto alliance between the Houthi rebels and Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) to fight against the Arab Alliance.

In 2014, the GCC trio (Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain) withdrew envoys in protest of all of these activities. Several months later, at a summit in Riyadh Qatar's Amir pledged to stop such suspicious activities and work on building good relations with brotherly GCC countries. Almost three years later, nothing seems to have changed.

What we demand today is very simple: a friendly, brotherly neighbour that minds its own business without hurting ours. Is that too much to ask for?

Source: khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/qatar-should-mind-its-own-business

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Israel's Occupation: 50 Years of Palestinian Oppression

By Philip Luther

8 June 2017

"Everyone has a right to live in his home and no one may uproot him."

These were the words of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a Knesset event this week marking 50 years of Israel's military occupation of the Palestinian territories in which he vowed to strengthen Israel's "settlement enterprise".

The right elucidated in Netanyahu's speech, it would appear, however, does not extend to Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Israel's unlawful construction and expansion of settlements and their related infrastructure on Palestinian soil is one of the most defining features of Israel's occupation and has bred mass violations against Palestinians over the past five decades.

Tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and properties have been demolished, displacing entire communities from their homes, and at least 100,000 hectares of land have been seized for Israel's settlement project, including for construction and agricultural use.

Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land do not just amount to war crimes under international law, they violate fundamental principles of international law triggering additional responsibilities among all states.

Yet, for decades, Israel has openly defied international law by ruthlessly pursuing its settlement expansion.

Palestinian natural resources such as fertile land, water and minerals have been extensively and unlawfully appropriated to sustain the Israeli settlements. At the same time, Israel has imposed restrictions on Palestinians' access to - and use of - water, land and other natural resources, as well as restricting Palestinians' freedom of movement, tearing families apart, stopping farmers from accessing their farmland and preventing people getting to work or earning a living.

Over the years, as the Palestinian economy has steadily declined under the strain of these restrictions Israel has simultaneously built a multibillion-dollar business out of Palestinian suffering - exporting hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of settlement goods internationally each year.

This thriving enterprise helps to sustain the presence and the expansion of settlements and is a key driving force for the systematic violations we continue to witness against Palestinians today. For five decades, the world has stood by and watched as Israel has exploited Palestinian people, land and natural resources for profit to support its illegal settlement expansion, offering little more than condemnation of Israel's unlawful acts.

International Lack of Action

Unless concerted international action is taken to stop and remove settlements, the already dire human rights situation for Palestinians in the occupied territories will only get worse.

Under international law, states have an obligation to recognise and to render aid or assistance to the illegal situation created by Israeli settlements - yet many states continue to allow imports from settlements and permit their companies to operate on occupied Palestinian land.

The vast majority of states, including all EU member states, publicly acknowledge Israeli settlements as illegal under international law and have been nearly unanimous in their condemnation of the settlement project.

There have also been many UN resolutions passed demanding an end to settlement construction and expansion. As early as 1980, UN Security Council Resolution 465 called on all states not to provide Israel with any assistance "to be used specifically in connection with settlements in the occupied territories".

Yet, time and again, the global condemnation of Israel's settlement policy has fallen on deaf ears. Israel has repeatedly made it clear that it couldn't care less what the world thinks and is doggedly determined to continue its expansion of settlements in flagrant violation of international law.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech pledging his continued commitment to expanding settlements proves just that. Israel's military-run Civil Administration is also set to approve thousands of new homes in existing settlements in the occupied West Bank announced earlier this year as well as plans to establish two new settlements, the first in years.

Ban Settlement Goods

It has become increasingly evident that merely condemning Israel's settlement expansion is not enough. That's why, to mark the 50 years of occupation Amnesty International is making a call, for the first time in the organisation's history, on governments worldwide to uphold their obligations by banning settlement goods from their markets and putting in place laws and regulations to stop their companies from operating in settlements or trading in settlement goods.

Governments worldwide have the responsibility to ensure that goods grown, produced or manufactured on stolen Palestinian land do not end up on our supermarket shelves. They have to show that their verbal condemnation of Israel is more than hot air. Failure of states to do so would undermine the legal principles that they claim to uphold.

Fifty years on, it's easy to feel helpless about what can be done to address decades of injustice and Israeli violations against Palestinians. Banning settlement goods and stopping companies from operating in settlements are concrete steps that governments must take to meet their international obligations and to help to end an inherently discriminatory system that has brought suffering to millions of Palestinians.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/06/cloneoffifty-years-israeli-occupation-1706080912-170608180555863.html

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Arab Spring and Terror through the Eyes of a Roving Reporter

By Ehtesham Shahid

8 June 2017

Jenan Moussa’s twitter page opens a unique window to her life and times. The young and happening Dubai-based roving reporter with a regional news channel is completely different from the armchair journalists most of us have become in Dubai.

She isn’t found on front seats of press conferences nor does she seek PR contacts on social media. Instead, she cultivates sources far away from her comfort zones, and frequently flies out to dangerous places such as Idlib, Aleppo and Benghazi to pursue and document “real stories”.

The thrill for her is talking to common folks on the ground. “I don’t believe a word of what is said unless I have experienced things first hand,” Jenan says.

Jenan’s forays into troubled hotspots keep her on the edge though. There is always a possibility that the official who has promised access could turn out to be a dreaded terrorist or a mere ransom-seeker looking for a high-value target.

As they say, where there is a will there is a way. Seeing her determination, local commanders and activists come forward to help with information and documents. She has developed such close contacts with some that even their staff know that in the worst of circumstances “Madam Jenan” can be trusted with documents.

Sometimes, terrorists who are on US watch-list “criticize” her reports. After all, in her own words, she specializes in “checking garbage bins for secret documents and ISIS laptops”.

Jenan has been doing this for seven years now – almost coinciding with the so-called Arab Spring – and wants to continue for a long time. In a way she embodies the spirit of youth in the Middle East, working hard and trying to make a mark yet not too optimistic about the future.

The Arab Spring

Back in the secure space of Dubai, and away from the shadows of al-Nusra and al-Qaeda, I managed to take Jenan down memory lane last week. Our conversation mostly veered around the youth of the region and what they have been through since Tunisia went up in flames in the winter of 2010.

According to her, political affiliations and scepticism apart, Arab Spring at least ignited hope among the youth that something will change for the better. Needless to add, those hopes were not just mercilessly dashed most youth would probably wish this had never happened at all.

However, it is today’s climate of terror that Jenan is most worried about. She is aware that it is this menace that keeps her relevant to us all, yet longs for the day when violence ceases to be a daily headline.

According to her, if at one level, terror is the outcome of Middle East’s political failures then its recent manifestations in Europe are as much about their failures on the social front and their inability to nip extremism in the bud.

This stirring conversation meant there were bound to be takeaways. A real reporter, with feet on the ground and antenna up, is almost like a soldier who guards the borders while we sleep. What Jenan gathers from the ground are valuable facts that have become sacrosanct in today’s post-truth era.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/06/08/Arab-Spring-and-terror-through-the-eyes-of-a-roving-reporter.html

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Qatar, When the Bliss Becomes a Curse

By Radwan al-Sayed

8 June 2017

I remember I heard this phrase about Qatar when disputes between it and its ally Bashar al-Assad worsened at the end of 2011. What happened to Qatar also happened to its ally Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish and Qatari regimes bet on the “strategic relation” which has linked them to the new Syrian president since 2004.

Through this relation based financial generosity, the Qataris and Turks advised Bashar to make reforms and not use violence against his people. However when he did not take their advice into consideration, they resorted to the same methods they had advised Assad against.

They armed extremists who destroyed the Syrian revolution without causing the least damage to Assad.

The entire world thus came to combat terrorism alongside the peaceful, secular and enlightening regime that cannot harm a fly! What happened in Syria also happened in Lebanon and Qatar had a hand in it.

Supporting Terror

After the 2006 War and Hezbollah’s claims that it achieved “divine victory,” Qatar’s former emir visited Lebanon and toured Beirut’s Dahiyeh (southern suburb) in solidarity with the resistance.

Meanwhile, the resistance accused the Lebanese government, which helped reach the UN Security Council Resolution 1701 to protect Lebanon from Israel, of working for the enemy.

When the Lebanese government began collecting donations to rebuild what the Israeli aggression had destroyed, Qatar refused to donate funds to the Lebanese government but directly donated to Hezbollah and to the Amal Movement to rebuild four towns in South Lebanon.

Qatar was rewarded with banners lifted in Dahiyeh. The banners read: “Thank you Qatar.” Qatar was thanked again later when Hezbollah invaded Beirut to force the Lebanese cabinet to quit. Back then Hezbollah rewarded Qatar by holding a meeting in Doha for rival Lebanese parties and Hezbollah took what it wants from the defeated parties of the March 14 coalition.

Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood

The third and more important incident related to these Qatari policies is Qatar’s stance from the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the people’s election of a president to replace Mohammed Mursi. Qatar viewed what happened as a coup and harbored Brotherhood fugitives and their leaders. For more than three years now, Qatar has been launching a massive campaign against Egypt.

It also equipped and funded the Brotherhood’s activity. Qatar claims its interest in the Brotherhood has humanitarian basis. However Qatar’s actions went way beyond that when it considered itself launching a military campaign to bring Mursi back to power through Al-Jazeera television channel. And what’s greater than Al-Jazeera channel!

No one must be fooled into believing that Qatar’s stance from Egypt is based on concern over legitimacy as it’s claimed. In Libya, for example, Qatar stands with different armed groups against the elected parliament and the Libyan national army.

Alliance with Iran

Let’s go back to the major subject which is the Iranian one. More than two years ago, news about an agreement – that resembled an alliance – between Iran and Qatar was leaked. Among the agreement’s items is training the Qatari navy in the Iranian island of Qeshm. This was surprising because between 2011 and 2013, the two parties publicly clashed due to Qatar’s stance from the Syrian revolution and Iran and its militias’ interferences in favour of Assad.

Back then, someone told me that Qatar shares a gas field with Iran and does not want to harm relations with it. This is definitely not an excuse because sharing a gas field must not push towards allying against Arab and Gulf neighbours! What was a mere piece of news became a public behaviour clearly seen in the massive transactions and deals in Syria and Iraq. These deals were against the interest of the Syrian and Iraqi people.

The result of these deals were seen through al-Nusra Front’s release of Lebanese soldiers and an Iraqi Shiite militias’ release of Qatari “fishermen.” Displacing people and altering Syria’s demography is happening by Qatari arrangements which the Iranians and their militias, including Hezbollah, and the Syrian regime benefit from.

The Curse

The Qatari wealth was a bliss to the Qatari people and to all Arab and foreign workers in the country. However, due to playing smart and the determination to increase influence, Qatar’s bliss turned into a curse on the Qatari people and other Arabs.

We used to say so about Qaddafi’s regime as Qaddafi used to break the norm and harm brothers and close ones for no logical reasons.

Qatar must return to its senses and look after its commitments and respect its sense of belonging. This is what must be done for the bliss to remain a bliss and for Arabs to remain brothers. We are in no need for further exhaustion by supporting extremist groups.

It’s not right to be biased towards the rival and the enemy, be it Iran or Israel, to be spared from evil because by doing so, one brings trouble upon himself.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/06/08/Qatar-when-the-bliss-becomes-a-curse-.html

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US Congress Resolution Slams Iran Atrocity

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

8 June 2017

A resolution recently introduced in the US House of Representatives condemned an atrocity that most Americans, indeed most Westerners, have never heard of: The 1988 killings of approximately 30,000 political prisoners in Iran.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle chose to try to right that wrong by introducing Resolution 188, which deplores the murder of victims who “included thousands of people, including teenagers and pregnant women, imprisoned merely for participating in peaceful street protests and for possessing political reading material, many of whom had already served or were currently serving prison sentences.”

The massacre was carried out in such a way that word spread throughout Iran, terrorizing the populace and paralyzing thousands of families, neighborhoods and communities with grief. The cruelty was extreme. As the resolution noted, “the families of the executed were denied information about their loved ones and were prohibited from mourning them in public.” But the outside world was kept pretty much in the dark, or when confronted with flashes of reality, many chose to close their eyes.

Amnesty International said the vast majority of the executed were affiliated with the main opposition People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The House resolution noted that prisoners were “brought before the commissions and briefly questioned about their political affiliation, and any prisoner who refused to renounce his or her affiliation with groups perceived as enemies by the regime was then taken away for execution.”

The lawmakers were pushed to act in part by the shameless audacity of the government of recently re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, who appointed as his justice minister one of the detested members of Tehran’s “death commission,” Mostafa Pourmohammadi.

Even more galling, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s pick to succeed Rouhani in last month’s presidential elections, Ebrahim Raisi, had already been rewarded for his long years of allegiance by being named custodian of the Astan Quds Razavi foundation, the wealthiest charity in the Muslim world.

Charity here is a relative term. Under the mullahs, the mega-millions all end up in the coffers of the supreme leader to fund Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its terrorist, fundamentalist agenda.

Khamenei sought to manipulate the election, and thereby shore up his wretched regime, by imposing Raisi on Iran’s unwilling people as their president. He did not calculate that the campaign rivalry between the self-described “moderate” incumbent and his “hard-liner” rival would bring the 1988 massacre to the surface, prompting public outrage so extreme that even powerful mullahs within Khamenei’s faction distanced themselves from Raisi.

Khamenei backed down — a big loss for him, but not a big change for Iran’s people. Rouhani, also a veteran of the bloodthirsty regime, got another term that will likely differ little from his first four years, which saw more than 3,000 executions, an intense crackdown, rampant poverty, domestic injustice, escalating foreign meddling, skyrocketing military and security budgets, and a drive to advance the regime’s ballistic missile project.

But it was a rude awakening to the ruling mullahs of how their past crimes against humanity can come back to haunt them. In light of how deeply Iranians reacted to the re-emergence of the 1988 massacre, overturning efforts at the highest level to engineer the “election,” Resolution 188 — condemning the massacre and calling for justice for the victims — is timely and right.

Fearful of the spread of the campaign for justice, the authorities have begun desecrating the unmarked mass graves of those executed in different cities. On June 1, Amnesty International expressed alarm, saying: “The desecration of a mass grave site in Ahvaz, southern Iran, that contains the remains of at least 44 people who were extrajudicially executed would destroy vital forensic evidence and scupper opportunities for justice for the mass prisoner killings that took place across the country in 1988.”

The legislators cited in their resolution an Amnesty report, concluding: “There should be no impunity for human rights violations, no matter where or when they took place. The 1988 executions should be subject to an independent impartial investigation, and all those responsible should be brought to justice, and receive appropriate penalties.” I second that.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1112186

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/how-the-uk-media-helps-promote-terrorism-by-dr-azeem-ibrahim--new-age-islam-s-selection,-09-june-2017/d/111468




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