New Age Islam Edit Bureau
Interpol and Turkey’s fight
against the Gülenists
Is sexual harassment really
difficult to understand?
Stability will not come easily
to Saudi Arabia, but the status quo cannot continue
Saudi's bold moves will stir
change in the region
Here are the options for war
with Iran, and how to avoid it
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
The Rohingya crisis is now
genocide and we must recognize it as such
By Dr. Azeem Ibrahim
Rohingya situation has been evolving. And now, it seems, we can no longer avoid
the conclusion we have all been dreading. This is now a genocide, and we, in
the international community, must recognize it as such.
first world leader to confront this reality has been France’s Emmanuel Macron
one week ago: he condemned “this genocide which is unfolding, this ethnic
cleansing”, before calling the UN to act in accordance to their obligations in
such humanitarian disasters.
Macron’s intervention shows the kind of moral courage we need our leaders to
have in this world of escalating humanitarian disasters, from the still ongoing
calamity in Syria, the Yemen famine, or the tragically under-reported violence
across the Sahel.
“genocide” is not a word that can or should be thrown around loosely. And not
even the President of France can carry such a verdict on his own. But serious
analyses by some of the world’s leading legal scholars and increasingly leaning
towards the conclusion that the Rohingya are the victims of genocide.
K. Lowenstein of the International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School, for
example, has found strong evidence of genocide against the Rohingya in Myanmar
in his legal analysis of the human rights situation in Rakhine state as long
ago as Autumn 2015. That was when there were still over 1 million Rohingya
still living in Rakhine state.
analyses, for example by the International Stata Crime Initiative group at
Queen Mary University of London in 2016, have had largely the same findings.
And these analyses of the human rights situation then has proved tragically
prescient. After last month’s dramatic exodus of Rohingya out of Myanmar, there
are now probably fewer than 600,000 left in the country of their birth.
II of UN’s 1948 Genocide Convention describes genocide as any of the following
acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: Killing members of the group;
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; Deliberately
inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part; Imposing measures intended to prevent
births within the group; Forcibly transferring children of the group to another
the Rohingya situation meets most of the above criteria for being described as
a genocide under international law for a number of years now, the label has
been resisted until now because we think of genocide as one huge act of
frenzied violence, like we have seen in Rwanda. But Rwanda has been the
exception, rather than the norm.
Nazi genocide during WW2, for example, began slowly and had few distinctive
flashes to indicate delineate where one degree of crime against humanity ended
and where another began. All in all, that genocide developed and unfolded over
a period of more than 10 years.
Rohingya situation has been going on for decades, but it has certainly been in
genocide territory since at least the outbursts of communal violence in 2012.
Those clashes, and the ones in the subsequent years have driven 200,000 -
300,000 Rohingya out of Myanmar.
somehow, at that rate of attrition, and against the backdrop of Myanmar’s
supposed move toward democracy with the election of Aung San Suu Kyi to power
in late 2015, world leaders have allowed themselves to hope that the situation
could still be turned around.
Reality of an exodus
the reality of an exodus of more than 609,000 people, amounting to
approximately 50 percent of the total Rohingya population in Myanmar, in the
space of just one month, the incontrovertible evidence of large scale burning
of villages by the Myanmar military, the reports of widespread extra-judicial
killings against fleeing civilians by the country’s federal security forces,
have made it much more difficult to avoid the conclusion that this is nothing
short of genocide.
tragedy is that the international community will compound the situation.
Despite President Macron’s call for an adequate response, the UN Security
Council will decline to respond to the situation with the seriousness it
deserves. If a situation is defined by the Council as a “genocide”, then the UN
becomes legally bound to intervene, with peace-keeping missions and so on.
is why Western countries will be reluctant to make the necessary commitments,
and China, who is building one branch of its New Silk Road infrastructure right
through Rakhine state to access the port of Sittwe, will outright veto any such
like we did in Rwanda, just like we did in the Balkans, we are once again
seeing a genocide happen before our very eyes. And all we will do about it,
once again, is to bury our heads in the sand and plead ignorance when our children
will ask us why we let this happen.
Azeem Ibrahim is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Policy and author of
“The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide” (Hurst & Oxford
By BARÇIN YINANÇ
in 1930, INTERPOL Ankara is one of the first and oldest INTERPOL National
Central Bureaus (NCB), its official website says.
in 1923 with the name International Criminal Police Commission Interpol, it is
as old as the Republic of Turkey itself. So the relationship between Interpol
and Turkey dates back to the time of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
have always been a very cooperative member of the organization. But no message
of condolence whatsoever came after the July 2016 coup attempt, when so many
police officers lost their lives,” one source from Ankara told me.
now, Turkey’s foreign interlocutors are tired of hearing from Turks about how
Europe has shown a tepid reaction to the failed coup. One may think that the
disappointment would be limited to government-to-government relations, but it
goes deeper than that.
network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen is an extremely
sophisticated illegal network that penetrated the Turkish state and ultimately
tried to topple the government in a coup attempt last year. It is so unique -
with such an unparalleled structure - and so well-organized abroad that the
fight against the network, especially in Western countries, requires an
extremely sophisticated approach put into practice with highly skilled
aside from a few exceptions Turkey has neither a sophisticated approach nor the
skilled officials. The efforts of those “few exceptions” are dashed away by the
mistakes committed by other incompetent officials.
is entirely the mistake of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
Once upon a time, in order to eliminate Turkey’s secular bureaucracy, which it
considered its enemy, the AK Party helped the Gülenists. While the Gülenists
did everything to root out the secularists, they also canalized all the state’s
means and privileges – such as receiving training abroad - to its members.
Given a free ride for many years, the Gülenists once shined as the most
competent and qualified officials in the state bureaucracy.
the state was cleansed from the “best and brightest” after the coup attempt,
the small handful of remnants of the secular bureaucracy, which had clung on
with many scars from the abuses of the Gülenists, found themselves increasingly
alongside incompetent and unqualified colleagues. The latter now dominate the
bureaucracy only because they know how to pray in the right way. In the
campaign against the Gülenists, they often do more damage than good.
a grave mistake, for example, to upload a list of 70,000 names onto Interpol’s
database a few days after the coup attempt - before legal cases had even
started in Turkey against them – and then lying about it by saying these were
all people who had lost their passports. This move inflicted great damage on
Turkey’s cooperation with Interpol.
is also an external factor that makes the struggle against Gülenists
additionally difficult: The lack of empathy on the part of Turkey’s foreign
Turkish sources admit initial mistakes and try to justify it by the sense of
panic and shock that dominated Ankara in the immediate aftermath of the coup
attempt. But they also accuse Interpol of scrapping a
quarter-and-a-half-century-long cooperation, immediately closing the doors
without even listening or trying to understand their Turkish colleagues.
Interpol refused to give the benefit of the doubt and has suspended all
cooperation on the Gülen cases.
Turkish side has now lowered the number of wanted Gülenists to 2,000. But
Interpol wants a separate justification for each of these cases - a procedure
it does not deploy for foreign jihadist fighters. In addition, Interpol also
says that because the cases relate to a coup attempt, it is a political affair
and they therefore cannot interfere.
Gülenists were stepping up their campaign stating that Turkey is using Interpol
against legitimate democratic dissent, another mistake was made last July:
Turkish authorities sent a list of German companies suspected of having links
to Gülenists to Interpol.
problem here is manifold. Ever since the break up between the AK Party and the
Gülenists in 2013, state institutions have not been able to reshuffle
themselves. The security attaches assigned to Turkey’s foreign missions were
all called back after 2013 and they have still not been replaced. If they had
been replaced in time it could have been a little bit easier to maintain a
healthy dialogue with security officials of Western capitals.
the gist of the problem lies behind the fact that the AK Party does not learn
from its mistakes. The remnants of the secular elites are still looked down on,
while the government prefers to rely on incompetent but so-called pious
secular bureaucracy had years of experience in how to pursue Turkey’s enemies,
especially in Western Europe. The government should have paid more attention to
them. For instance, they should have listened to the advice that Gülenists
should not be labeled a terror organization. There is a huge legal difference
between a terror organization and a criminal organization.
as a friend of mine recently said, Turkey’s state bureaucracy is today
dominated by a group whose vocabulary is limited to around 100 words!
By Suzanne Moore
sexually harass women in the workplace. It’s clearly a big ask, isn’t it? For
certain kinds of men, this appears to be an imposition that confuses them
terribly. How are they to know how to make passes at women? Surely everyone
understands that making a pass is not like raping someone? No they are just
being men, watching porn, sexting teenagers, saying lewd things to colleagues,
banter innit? They are the kind of men no woman wants to get in a lift with,
the type for whom the acronym NSIT (Not Safe in Taxis) was invented. Do these
creeps ever wonder why?
shouldn’t worry too much. The Today programme, Have I Got News For You and
Newsnight are still totally dominated by sniggering men who would hate to
muddle a minor “indiscretion” with a major one. When Jo Brand calmly told a
panel of public school boys and Paul Merton that repeated low-level sexual
harassment wore women down, for a moment they were silenced – but only for a
pops David Goodhart – Etonian, thinktanker, categoriser of people into
Anywheres and Somewheres – to inform us on Twitter that the “inability to
distinguish hand on knee/sleazebag behaviour from rape/serious intimidation is
typical of ideological (metropolitan) thinking”. Okey Dokey. Who exactly is
unable to distinguish this? Men? Women? The police? People who live in cities?
We can of course distinguish, especially perhaps those of us who have
experienced it – and we tend to see it on a continuum. Men who don’t require
consent or get off on making women feel uncomfortable make us both fearful and
compromised in the workplace. This applies as much in an out-of-town superstore
as it does in Westminster.
Goodhart to conjure up this bizarre metropolitan elite argument to shore up
male privilege shows just how fragile these old forms of masculinity are
currently feeling. The idea that outside metropolitan areas it is apparently OK
to behave as a lech is deeply insulting and untrue.
“metropolitan” he means progressive, and this is part of his general attack on
the liberal tribe who have lost touch with reality, Goodhart would be endorsing
a reality that is inherently sexist and arguing that abhorrent attitudes are
from Goodhart, there is battalion of vocal wronged men who think of women as
fantasists, and in expressing that, they reveal more than we may wish to know
poor souls are wounded not by the metropolitan elite or liberal values but by
the visible refutation of their own ideology which assumes that an entitlement
to power means unquestioned sexual entitlement too.
it so difficult for them? They are often, it has to be said, of a certain age.
One man years ago in Westminster told me that his attitude to sex was “throw
enough mud against the wall and some of it sticks”. Pity us walls.
that the ground is shifting and the walls have words, they’re the ones who look
shifty. We are to feel sorry for them. They know not what they do because the
rules have changed. Actually their rules – not the law. This newfangled idea of
consent has befuddled them. The idea that male sexuality is controllable is
news to them.
though they could ask us – the women and the men who don’t behave like this –
how we manage it? How we get through life without intimidating younger people
into having unwanted sexual relations with us, how we don’t touch up strangers
in lifts, how we don’t make sexually suggestive remarks to colleagues all the
time? How we know when we are interested in someone and they are interested in
is hardly the secret knowledge of the metropolitan or a few progressives. It is
about those rather old-fashioned values of respect, decency and manners. Men
who find this impossible to understand need to check themselves and listen.
They are not victims of some new ideology, they are desperately trying to hold
on to a self-serving system in which they held unaccountable power. They feel
that power slipping away and will blame anyone at all except themselves. They
Suzanne Moore is a Guardian columnist
By Michael Stephens
is much risk in the Crown Prince’s bold autocratic revolution in the name of
a weekend of arrests and sweeping anti-corruption purges it’s clear that a
revolution is taking place in Saudi Arabia. It is not an Army revolt, nor a
popular uprising, but palace intrigue of the most Byzantine sort – a move
against the elite, by the elite. With former ministers, royal family members,
and business leaders being rounded up and detained, Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman has taken a giant leap toward becoming de facto leader of his country.
is an irony in his revolution. It is done in the name of reform, yet its
methods are autocratic. And in contrast to previous rulers who traditionally
preferred to take baby steps, Prince Mohammed is in a hurry, with little time
for anybody who appears to be stand in the way of his ambitious programme for
is much merit to this...
By Talmiz Ahmad
evolving domestic and foreign policies will ensure more stability and growth
November 4, was an extraordinary day: it witnessed three developments which,
taken together, suggest a major escalation in the armed conflict in West Asia
is in the offing, even as the region is already groaning under the violence of
bloody wars in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, in which half a million people have been
killed and several million have been displaced.
Arabia is at the heart of all these developments. First, 11 princes have been
detained in the kingdom, along with four sitting ministers and several former
ministers and officials on various corruption charges.
Miteb bin Abdullah, the commander of the National Guard, the country's powerful
domestic security force, has been dismissed, and the force has now also come
under the control of the crown prince. The instrument used to effect these
changes is the anti-corruption committee set up by King Salman and his son,
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as its chairman.
second development was the sudden announcement in Riyadh by the Lebanese Prime
Minister Saad Hariri that he was resigning. Hariri had taken charge only in
December 2016 after entering into a power-sharing agreement with President
Michel Aoun. In his public remarks, Hariri said that Iran had planted
"disorder and destruction" in his country and had made Hezbollah a
"state within a state" in Lebanon.
announcement has plunged Lebanon into a fresh crisis, when it has barely
recovered from the two-year impasse earlier when it could not agree on a
president until Aoun, said to enjoy the backing of Hezbollah, took over in a
compromise arrangement and later got Hariri on board. Hariri's resignation
means that the power-sharing arrangement has collapsed, setting the stage for a
deep national divide.
Saturday came to an end, there was news that the Houthis in Yemen had fired a
missile at Saudi Arabia's international airport in Riyadh. The kingdom
announced that the missile had been intercepted by US-supplied Patriot missiles
and destroyed before it could do any damage. Houthi sources said the missile
was a Burkan-2H, a homemade variant of the Scud missile, which is available to
spokesman of the Saudi-led coalition forces said that a "regional
state" was providing material support to the Houthis and that the missile
"threatens the security of the kingdom and regional and international
security". The statement added: "This hostile and random act by the
Houthis proves that one of the terrorism-supporting countries supports the
Purge in Saudi Arabia
anti-corruption committee has very wide-ranging powers: it is empowered to
investigate, issue arrest warrants, and place tight controls over the funds of
persons under investigation. It can also take "precautionary
measures" while investigations are ongoing, including taking control of
all assets of those being investigated.
upward push, Prince Mohammed bin Salman has attempted to broaden his popularity
base in the country, particularly among the young. He has sought to make them
his partners in the economic and social transformation and to announce policies
that are likely to go down well with them. His decision to allow women to drive
and his commitment to make the country a moderate nation where all faiths will
be tolerated are two such popular initiatives. His anti-corruption stance
touches on a major area of concern for most Saudis.
Hariri resignation is the first salvo in the competition to re-shape West Asian
politics in the aftermath of the removal of Daesh from the regional
configuration. From the US-Saudi-Israeli perspective, this means reducing, if
not eliminating, Iran's influence from Syria and Lebanon. In addition, Israel
is specifically interested in destroying Hezbollah as a military force in the region,
while sections of the US administration would like to see Russia's influence
reduced, though Trump's own view on this is not clear.
face of this challenge, Iran and Hezbollah are gearing themselves for a
military engagement with Israel in Lebanon, while politically Iran is seeking
to ensure it continues to have strong ties with Russia in resisting the US (and
Saudi Arabia) in Syria. This complex inter-play of diplomacy and war is now the
defining feature of regional politics.
now, Russia is pushing ahead with the Syrian peace process led by it, in
association with Turkey and Iran. It has invited all opposition groups to a
conference in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi on November 18, which will be
followed by the eighth round of the Geneva process on November 28. At this
point, Iran has legitimate concerns that Russia might not favour its thinking
that the US be excluded from any role in the peace process, with the nightmare
scenario before it that Moscow might even abandon Tehran in pursuit of closer
ties with Washington not just in Syria, but in other areas where it might suit
Russian interests to work with the US.
his day-long visit to Tehran on November 1, which included an hour-long meeting
with Supreme Leader Khamenei, Putin expressed full support for the nuclear
agreement, highlighted the importance of their bilateral cooperation in the
fight against terrorism, and spoke of the value of their strategic partnership,
particularly in the defence area.
Iran wants more: it would like to see a strong Iran-Russia relationship that
would, in Khamenei's words, "isolate America" and promote their
cooperation in Syria, remain alert to US machinations in Syria and Iraq, and
jointly combat US sanctions on Iran. As of now, Putin seems to be wary of
committing his country to this exclusivist relationship, including in Syria.
Lebanese writer, Rafiq Khouri, has said in Al Anwar that Russia sees the
importance of the US role (with Europe and the Gulf states) in the peace
process since their backing will be required to see through the reconstruction
in Syria after peace has been achieved; peace without reconstruction would be
"putting a cemetery in order", he says sharply.
Ahmad, author and former diplomat, holds the Ram Sathe Chair for International
Studies, Symbiosis International University, Pune, and is Consulting Editor,
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
of confrontation with Iran and its main allies are increasing. The ballistic
missile that Houthis launched on the Saudi capital is a serious military
development that cannot be alienated from the regional conflict with Iran in
Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Diplomatic means have failed owing to the Iranians’
continuous refusal to withdraw their forces and militias from Syria. They had
previously refused to withdraw them from Iraq where they undertook military
operations. Iran’s latest battle is the recent invasion of Kurdistan.
controls its battles from a distance in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The
countries of the region, as well as the US, have failed to adopt a policy that
responds to the “expand and control” strategy that Iran adopted through its
proxies. America, which has suffered as a result of explosions and
assassinations by Hezbollah, simply chose to confront the proxy itself —
through kidnappings and assassinating people involved on Hezbollah leaders.
Egypt and Gulf countries have done the same in the past, and simply pressured
Hezbollah politically and economically.
forces its opponents to resort to one of two options; either through direct
confrontation with the source itself (Iran), or through the formation of
regional proxies who will fight the wars for it. The opponents are unlikely to
adopt the first choice and fight a war with Iran, unless Tehran decides to
launch a direct armed attack, which is not Iran’s way of managing its crises.
Even when Iran lost eight diplomats, among others, in a Taliban ambush in
Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, in the late 1990s, it did not wage a war there but
instead, it built local militias, with patience and persistence.
Iran’s clear control in some fronts such as Iraq, the Iraqi army cannot
confront the pro-Iranian local armed forces, owing to the pluralism of its
political leadership and the predominant Iranian influence there.
very clear that Iran is playing a big role in directing the Iraqi forces and
especially the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to exterminate the Kurds from
Kirkuk. This is a very important regional battle and not only an Iraqi one.
Kurds are not exempt from serious political and military mistakes; they are
committed in this crisis as a result of the independence referendum, the excuse
Iran used to encroach on vital, oil-producing and geographical territories.
states will find no use in resorting to militias’ conflicts to restore balance.
Today, Syria is entering the phase of governance arrangements, the most
important of which is marking its area of control. Iranian militias are
carrying out numerous executions of people in the regions they control, which
were areas of opposition in the past. With their activities, the Iranian
militias are looking to take control of the security in their regions, since
the Syrian regime has no longer enough military and security capacities to
project its power.
these circumstances, the countries of the region will have to confront a huge
Iranian project that is using Syria to control Syria itself, as well as Iraq,
Lebanon and what is beyond the borders at a later stage. Other than this
policy, there will be no way for the Russians or the Syrian regime to weaken Iran
or make it leave, no matter what is being said and promised. By then, it is
expected that Syria will become a country controlled by militias too.
are profiting from the proxy policy because they consider that their investment
in Hezbollah, their most expensive and long-term project, is costing them
around $700 million per year, represented with an advanced army. As for their
Houthi proxies in Yemen, they are cheaper; a fighter might cost them two
dollars per week.
back to my main idea: The fields of confrontation are increasing with Iran’s
expansion and the absence of a means to deter its control. Iran got even more
dangerous after it had succeeded in weakening Saad Hariri’s presence and
promoting the Houthis’ capacity to threaten the heart of Saudi Arabia with
the option of a direct military confrontation with Iran, which nobody wants to
see happening, the only possible option would be strengthening the local
militia forces in the troubled countries.
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is a veteran columnist. He is the former general manager
of Al Arabiya news channel, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat,
where this article is also published. Twitter: @aalrashed