Archive | June 13th, 2011

Detained lesbian blogger from Syria turns out to be a Hoax

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Real author of the blog ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus’, Tom MacMaster who is based in Turkey, posts apology but insists his fictitious account was truly reflective of the situation on the ground in Syria.

Haaretz

After the story of the Syrian-American lesbian blogger who went missing during President Bashar Assad’s crackdown made headlines worldwide, it turns out the entire account was a hoax.

Over the past few days, several news reports have surfaced indicating that the author of the blog was from Scotland, after the Washington Post has linked the alleged lesbian blogger’s IP address to Edinburgh.

Pretending to be Amina Arraf, who wrote a blog called “A Gay Girl in Damascus” which documented updates about Syria’s uprising, Tom MacMaster confessed Sunday that every post on the blog has been written by him, including the whole account of Amina’s disappearance and her detention by Syrian security forces which has been reported on by various news outlets.

MacMaster, indicating his location as Istanbul, Turkey, posted a last entry on the blog on Sunday apologizing to the readers, emphasizing that the facts in his posts were truly reflective of the situation on the ground in Syria, even though the narrative voice was fictional.

“I do not believe that I have harmed anyone – I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about,” he wrote.

MacMaster claimed that he was simply trying to convey the events in Syria to a western audience through the fictitious blog.

“I only hope that people pay as much attention to the people of the Middle East and their struggles in thıs year of revolutions,” he wrote.

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For The Sake Of Jewish Sensitivities

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by Gilad Atzmon

 

 

 

It occurred to me recently that the Palestinian solidarity discourse is spiritually, ideologically and intellectually driven by some very misleading terminology: crucial notions such as Zionism, colonialism and apartheid (heard in every discussion, and present in every text book about the conflict), are either confusing, or even delusional: I believe that they are there to actually block any attempt to grasp the true spirit and ideologies that drive the Jewish State rather than to clarify the situation.

Zionism

Many of us tend to refer to Zionism as the ideological driving force behind Israel.

But make no mistake: Israel is not Zionism, and Zionist ideology and politics have very little at all to do with Israeli politics or practice.

It must be understood that Israel and Zionism are, by now, two distinct categories. While Zionism was defined by its founders as an attempt to ‘transform the Diaspora Jew into an authentic and civilised human being’, Israel can, nowadays, only be seen as the pragmatic product of such an ideology.

It may surprise many of you to hear that these days, Israel is not driven or even particularly inspired by Zionism any longer -it is, instead, engaged in self-maintenance. More so, Israelis are hardly even that familiar with Zionist ideology.  For most Israelis Zionism is little more than a dated and archaic concept – it may have historical significance -but it has zero meaning in daily life.

Zionism is, in fact, a Jewish Diaspora discourse. It is there to differentiate between world Jewry that largely supports Israel, and a few sporadic Jewish secular voices who want to maintain their Jewish national  identity while opposing the Jewish State.

The Zionist/ anti Zionist debate is, in fact, a debate that takes place within the Jewish Diaspora, and not within Israel itself. It belongs to the realm of Jewish identity politics. It has very little political significance out of that context.

Because Israel and Israelis are actually impervious to Zionism, ‘Anti Zionist’ activity and ideology have very little impact at all on Israel and Israelis.[1] Israelis are only concerned with direct actions against their Jewish State, and for them,  sanctions are  a matter that concern and worry them a great deal.  Israelis though, are hardly concerned at all with seeking solutions to the so called ‘Jewish Question.’ From an Israeli perspective the Jewish state is the ultimate solution for the ‘Jewish Question.’ I guess that from a realistic and pragmatic perspective, one may have to agree, Israel didn’t really solve the ‘Jewish Question’ it just moved it to a new place.

Why do we then, continue to make this crude mistake, and always refer to Israeli crimes as a Zionist symptom? Why don’t we refer directly and openly to the ‘Jewish State’, because at the end of the day, this is how Israel defines itself.

The answer is simple: it is because we really do not want to offend anyone. We accept that Jews have suffered all through their history and we accept their unique sensitivities.  Hence, voluntarily, we self-censor ourselves. We voluntarily give up on our capacity to think freely, coherently, openly and critically.

Colonialism

Zionism is not colonialism either. As much as many activists around us insist that we must regard Zionism as a colonial project, the truth must be stated: colonialism defines itself by having a clear material relationship between a ‘mother state’ and a ‘settler state’.  In the case of Zionism however, it is impossible to determine what was, or is, the ‘Jewish mother State’. In fact there is no Jewish mother State and there has never been one.

Zionism is not a colonial project and it has never been one. It is indeed true that the Jewish State exhibits some colonial symptoms.[2] But then, some brain cancer  patients also exhibit some symptoms of migraine.  A proper diagnosis aims at discovering the truecause behind symptoms. To diagnose is to trace a true disease rather than provide a superficial explanation that may be linked to a number of sporadic symptoms.

But it is also clear why so many of us  love the colonial paradigm, despite it being flawed: the followers of the colonial paradigm accept that Israelis are not different from the British, French or Dutch; they just happen to celebrate their ‘colonial’ expansionist symptoms ‘100 years after everyone else’.  Also the colonial paradigm promises a ‘solution’ at the end of the road — a post colonial reconciliation is just a matter of time, they stress.

Again, I am sorry to disappoint so many people I really care about, but I have to say it: Zionism is original and unique of its kind, and it has no precedent in history. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fit into any materialist model, for the aspiration behind Zionism was, and still is, spiritually driven.

So why do we continue to make this crude mistake, and always refer to Zionism as colonialism? Why don’t we refer to Zionism as what it is; a totally unique Jewish ideological project?  Simple, because we do not want to offend some of the very few Jews who are kind enough to support Palestine.  We accept their sensitivities, and voluntarily remain quiet about it all. We would do whatever it takes to keep everybody happy. After all, we are a peace movement.

Apartheid

And what about apartheid? Is Israel an apartheid State? In Israel we clearly witness   racial separation and

legal discrimination. However, I would argue that Israel is not an apartheid system for apartheid was set in place to exploit the indigenous peoples, yet, to keep them living on the land.  Israel, on the other hand,  is there to destroy the indigenous population – the Israelis would be relieved if they woke up one morning to find out that the Palestinians had simply left the region.

Those who are Naïve enough to buy into the apartheid narrative probably believe that Israel  may collapse soon, because this is what history teaches us about apartheid. Again, we like the apartheid model because it makes Israel look (relatively)  ‘ordinary’. We do not want to offend anyone, especially the few Jews who support us.

But here is a question that I must address to righteous Jews and fellow Palestinian supporters around the world: do you really believe that the discourse of the struggle against the Jewish State should be shaped by ‘Jewish sensitivities’? Was the fight against Nazism shaped by German sensitivities? Did we take on board the Afrikaners’ touchy spots when campaigning against the apartheid? Isn’t the time ripe to call a spade a spade?  I do accept the crucial importance of Jews in this movement and I try to work with as many Jews as possible. Yet, I wonder, isn’t it time for Jews to overcome their sensitivities and look into  the subject with open eyes? Isn’t the time ripe for all of us to do the same?  Shouldn’t we question the supporters of the  Jewish State, and ask exactly what Jewishness stands for?

I believe that this is exactly what we have to do-for the sake of a better future  in Palestine, we must openly engage in these crucial questions. I also believe that more than anyone else, it is Jews who must confront these questions. I would expect Jewish activists within our movement to lead this move rather than trying to silence it.

[1] Zionism may be a useful term when referring  to Jewish lobbying around the world. It may throw light on the activity of  Sayanim around the world, and it may explain the inclination of some Brooklyn Jews to make Aliya. It may also explain why some Jewish Leftists join forces with rabid Zionist institutions as soon as someone questions what Jewishness stands for.

[2] It can be reasonably argued that the relationships between Israel West Bank Settlers and the indigenous peoples could be understood in colonial terms.

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Our dear Mawlvi

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Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal

“Ma as-salam,” she said as she handed me my room key after completing the check in. She was efficient, well-dressed and polite.

“Is the meat halal?” I asked. “Yes,” she said, with a smile, “it is all halal.” I was relieved. This was my first visit to Kazakhstan and having experienced the destruction of even the most basic Islamic norms in Uzbekistan three years ago, I needed to be cautious. In Uzbekistan, I had seen pig farms all the way from Samarqand to Bukhara, both being the mysterious and romantic cities of my childhood, both being associated with personalities noble in my memory: Bukhara with Imam Bukhari and Samarqand with Abu al-Layth Samarqandi, the renowned exegete of the Qur’an. I had then seen drunk men on the streets of Tashkent who would appear as early as 10 am, having barely recovered from their night orgy, but they were not shocking. What was shocking was the unending line of pig farms which on both sides of the road as I went to Bukhara from Samarqand. But Kazakhstan turned out to be a totally different story.

Despite what the lady at the front desk said, the first time I walked into the hotel restaurant I found out that there was no distinction between beef and pork on the buffet table; everything was next to each other. There was a terrible smell in food; even cheese and vegetables had the same smell. When I asked the cook about how they separate halal from non-halal meat, the young man stared at me; he did not know what I was talking about. I had already asked him if he was a Muslim and he had very proudly said, yes. When I came downstairs without eating anything, there was the same lady at the counter. I asked her if she was a Muslima, she said al-hamdu Lillah in broken Arabic and smiled. But when I asked her again about halal and non-halal, she repeated the same answer which she had given me yesterday; after a few more questions, I realized that what she meant pork was this: their hotel has halal pork!

After a few more minutes of conversation, I realized that she has no idea of halal and haram mean. This was, however, only the beginning of the shock. Within the next four days, I was to find out the true extent of destruction of Islam in this ninth largest country in the world—the world’s largest landlocked country with an area greater than entire Western Europe. This destruction happened during the Russians occupation which began in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century, all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire.

Most of the terrible crimes against Kazakh people were committed following the 1917 Russian Revolution and the entire religious infrastructure and educational institutes were destroyed between 1917 and 1991. Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, becoming the last Soviet republic to do so. But just like the other Republics of the former USSR, the communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country’s new president and the euphoria of Islamic resurgence in Central Asia died out. Officially, more than half of 16.2 million people are Muslim, but there are only a few remains of Islam in reality.

This destruction is fundamental; that is, it was systematic, organized, and brutal. It plucked out hundreds of years of history of these people from their consciousness by removing the basic building blocks of an Islamic polity. Russians were thorough in their ruthlessness; they destroyed mosques, madrasas, slaughtered religious scholars, and killed everyone who publically professed Islam. Compared to the Russian colonization of Central Asia, the British seem benign. In India, Egypt, and all other lands of Islam where British occupiers ruled during the 19th and 20th centuries, there remains a strong fundamental presence of Islam in the lives of people. This is less so in the case of the Muslim lands where French were the occupiers and it is critically absent in lands which were under Russian occupation.

The difference in benign nature of the colonizers notwithstanding, behind this fundamental reconfiguration of Muslim lands stands a one-man institution, that of the Mawlvi, which is ultimately responsible for the survival of basic knowledge of Islam during the last three centuries which have been the most devastating for Muslims in their entire history. It is the Mawlvi who has kept the low flame of Islam flickering in the darkness of the colonial era and even now. He was degraded, devalued, kept in contempt, in a state of perpetual poverty, but nothing severed his ties to the religion he was hoping to keep alive in a polity going the other way; his was a lonely calling.

Even in lands where one would not expect this destruction, it is the mawlvi who has been instrumental in keeping this flame alive. A few years ago, I was in a small hillside town of Morocco, where the sound of adhan was an enchanting experience. But when I went to the mosque, I found out that the mawlvi and myself constituted the entire congregation. The mawlvi had dutifully called out the adhan, but no one had come. Then he called out the iqama and no one came; then he led the prayer and before we departed, he said, this is what he experiences every day, but he that does not deter him from his calling.

The Mawlvis of the Indian subcontinent are far more than mere keepers of faith; they have also kept alive Islamic scholarship in a few places across the subcontinent. While it is true that most mosque-mawlvis have little knowledge of religion, they are at least able to lead congregational prayers and perform the rites of birth, marriage, and death in a polity where most educated people have no idea what to do in these situations. Imagine the state of a society from where even these fundamental rites of one’s passage through life have disappeared! But is there something else the society needs to do, rather than keeping them perpetually on the subsistence level, hurting their self-dignity, and keep insulting them. Can our educated men and women, who even call adhan in the ears of their newly born babies, show some more dignity and self-respect by respecting the mawlvi of their masjid?

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Ofergate: The Latest Zionist Propaganda Blitz Against Iran-Part 1

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By: Mask of Zion

“He who is most noble is he who raises his voice for those silenced by oppression.” ~ Jonathan Azaziahby
Jonathan Azaziah

 

From the moment that the Islamic Revolution of Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Khomeini and tens of millions of Iranians toppled the Israeli-US-UK-backed Shah and defeated the CIA’s counterrevolution, there has been a sustained campaign of violence, propaganda and subversion against the Islamic Republic of Iran. This campaign, naturally, has been led by the Zionist entity with crucial support being provided by America, Britain and a handful of strategically installed Arab dictators.

It began on September 22, 1980 when Saddam Hussein invaded Iran at the behest of the Zionist Power Configuration in Washington, initiating the genocidal Iran-Iraq War. Over one million Iranians were slaughtered and more than 400,000 Iraqis were murdered in the Western-backed war of aggression on the revolutionary Iranian nation. The war was designed by an Israeli-American-Saudi-Kuwaiti axis, in an attempt to depict Persian Iran as the enemy of the Arabs, protect US-Zionist oil interests (1), crush the Islamic Revolution and of course, to replant a Shah-like dictator friendly to Zionism and the West. Saddam was bankrolled by the House of Saud to the tune of half a billion dollars during the war and received critical intelligence support as well as assistance in piloting missiles against Iranian targets from the usurping Israeli entity’s Mossad (2).

As the war dragged on and the civilian body count continued to rise, the Zionist media introduced its most prolific lie: the story of Israel providing advisors for and selling weapons to Iran during its war with Iraq in the amount of $500 million. The Islamic Revolution repeatedly and vehemently denied the story as Zionist propaganda aimed at distorting Iran’s image in the Arab world and misdirecting Arabs from absorbing the inspiration of the Revolution (3).

The only sources for this ridiculous, slanderous, concocted $500 million figure: the UK newspaper ‘The Observer,’ a subsidiary of the Zionist-owned Guardian, TIME Magazine, an infamous, long-standing asset of the Zionist Power Configuration’s propaganda machine, Ronen Bergman, a prominent Israeli journalist with deep ties to the Zionist intelligence establishment and who composed an entire book labeling Iran as the ‘world’s most dangerous terrorist power,’ bashing its people, its Revolution and its peaceful nuclear program (4) and the Jaffe Center For Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, an institute that has been run by Aman, Israel’s military intelligence agency, since its opening (5). Zionist fingerprints everywhere; the evidence of falsehood regarding this weapons deal is thoroughly overwhelming.

In reality, the Israeli (and American) weapons used by the Islamic Revolution in its struggle against Saudi-US-Mossad-backed Iraq had been delivered to the Shah in his multiple arms purchases from the West long before 1979 (6). In reality, the Zionist entity continued its clandestine support for Saddam Hussein after the war that devastated Iran and Iraq both and conducted multiple attempts to assassinate Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Khomeini (7).

In reality, the Ayatollah had been the only Muslim leader in his time (excluding the martyred revolutionary Iraqi leader Abdul Karim Qassem) to speak against the Zionist colonization project in Palestine and the only Muslim leader to stand up to the Zionist-occupied American government’s hegemony in the region. It was Ayatollah Sayyed Ruhollah Khomeini who supported Resistance throughout the region and it was the Ayatollah, who started the tradition of ‘Al-Quds Day,’ to raise global awareness for the Palestinian struggle and demand the unequivocal liberation of the holy land from Zionism, something that he considered a top priority (8).

Immediately following the triumph in 1979, throughout the Iran-Iraq war and after its end, all the way until now in the present day, the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) organization that once fought alongside the Islamic Revolution has waged bloody war against it after Ayatollah Khomeini expelled its leadership for sedition. It fought with Saddam Hussein from its Camp Ashraf base in northern Iraq, which it set up under American and Israeli protection. And since 2002, it has worked intimately with Mossad and the Zionist Project for a New American Century to destabilize Iran’s peaceful nuclear energy program (9). Meanwhile, its terrorism against the Islamic Republic’s civilian infrastructure has been brutal. Since the fall of the Shah, MEK has murdered at least 16,043 Iranians (10).

The most notorious selection of Zionism’s propaganda against Iran in recent years is the 2009 Iranian presidential elections, without question. Despite massively-adored nationalist-populist incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad winning by landslide proportions (63.3% or 24.5 million votes) over his Western-backed opponent Hossein Mousavi, the Zionist media unleashed an onslaught of reports that the elections were stolen, with absolutely, positively no evidence. The entire leadership of the vastly powerful Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish American Organizations, the Zionist entity’s Foreign Ministry and the Zionist-owned pro-Israel institutions of CNN and the New York Times demanded even harsher sanctions against the Islamic Republic in the wake of the elections (11).

Meanwhile, the streets of Tehran were on fire as Mousavi and his ‘Green Movement’ followers staged violent,

destructive demonstrations in protest of Ahmadinejad’s victory,

much to the delight of the neo-conservative, Israel-firster cabal that controls America’s foreign policy. However, it didn’t take long for the truth to emerge from the shadows. The Green Movement was part of a Bush-era destabilization plot against the Islamic Revolution worth $400 million (12), and it was being fully directed by the CIA and the Zionist-founded, Zionist-run National Endowment for Democracy (13).

There of course, are the ever-present criminal sanctions that have been escalated year after year since the fall of the Shah. The most detrimental piece of sanctioning legislation to hit the Islamic Republic is the AIPAC-backed ‘Iran-Libya Sanctions Act’ of 1996. It has utterly crippled Iran’s aviation industry and due to the Persian nation’s inability to import the proper parts for its airplanes, thousands have died in plane crashes since the 1996 act’s implementation in the geopolitical arena. The sanctions have turned Iran’s commercial airliner fleet into the pinnacle of insecurity (14).

But the Zionist’s entity’s wars, assassination attempts and sanctions have not broken the will of the Revolution. The aggression has not brought the Revolution to its knees, the Revolution has rejected the concept of groveling to Zionism as the Shah did so faithfully. Though mass murdering war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu has disturbingly labeled Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the successor of Ayatollah Khomeini, the ‘greatest threat to world peace (15),’ the Zionist entity has changed its tactics over the last 18 months, reverting to espionage and the hasbara blitzkrieg of the 1980s to smear Iran in the eyes of the Muslim/Arab world.

The Stuxnet Virus, the Israeli-created malicious program that is now wreaking havoc all over the world (16), was first unleashed on Iran in an American-Israeli plot that has significantly damaged Iran’s industrial sectors in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars and brought its peaceful nuclear energy program, which it was developing as an alternative to the oil-dominated energy market, to a screeching halt (17).

 

Iran was heavily targeted by the ‘whistleblower’ group known as Wikileaks, which stunk of COINTELPRO from the moment that it emerged in the Zionist media and has now been fully debunked as a CIA-Mossad intelligence operation (18). Wikileaks released scores of ‘secret documents’ that absolved Israel of any malice in occupied Iraq, instead blaming everything on Iran (19), a lie of epic dimensions repeated often by every Zionist think tank in the US and UK. Wikileaks, led by Julian Assange, an asset of Zionist media giant and warmonger Rupert Murdoch and a darling of the godfathers of the illegitimate Israeli state, the Rothschilds (20), has been lambasted by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a ‘psychological warfare operation (21).’

Recent endeavors of the Zionist media include ‘revelations’ about Ahmadinejad’s Jewish roots and ‘shocking discoveries’ of the six-pointed Israeli star engraved in a building in the main square of Tehran. Needless to say, both stories are pathetically false, with the latter being the work of Zionist-owned Orwellian internet behemoth, Google, and were released to sow discord, unrest and chaos within the Islamic Republic (22).

None of Zionism’s manipulations and falsehoods however, could even remotely compare to what its media released to the detriment of Iran on May 24th, 2011.

Sources:

(1) Emperor Obama Vs. The Arab People by Joseph Massad, Al-Jazeera English

(2) The Other Side Of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes Mossad’s Secret Agenda by Victor Ostrovsky

(3) Iranian Embassy Says Iran Never Benefitted From Israeli Weapons by Ya Libnan

(4) The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist Power by Ronen Bergman

(5) Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies by Source Watch

(6) Lockerbie Was Mossad “False Flag” Operation by Rehmat’s World

(7) Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings Of Israel, Iran And The United States by Trita Parsi

(8) The Life Of Imam Ruhollah Khomeini: Ruhollah ‘The Spirit Of God’ (Documentary) by Ahlul-Bayt Islamic Mission

(9) The Mujahedin-e-Khalq: The Peril Of Paradox In American Middle East Policy by Mark Dankof, Mark Dankof’s America

(10) Neo-Cons Call For Delisting Of MEK Terrorist Group by YOU.S. Desk, Press TV

(11) Iranian Elections: The ‘Stolen Elections’ Hoax by Professor James Petras, Global Research

(12) George W Bush ‘Raised $400 Million For Action Against Iran’ by Toby Harnden, The Telegraph

(13) Are the Iranian Election Protests Another US Orchestrated ‘Color Revolution’? by Paul Craig Roberts, Information Clearing House

(14) Who Pays For The Loss Of Life In Iran? by Kourosh Ziabari, Opinion Maker

(15) Netanyahu: Ayatollah Khamenei Greatest Threat To World Peace by Gavriel Queenann, Arutz Sheva

(16) Israel: Smart Enough To Create Stuxnet And Stupid Enough To Use It by Paul Woodward, War In Context

(17) Israeli Test On Worm Called Crucial In Iran Nuclear Delay by William J. Broad, John Markoff and David E. Sanger, The New York Times

(18) Wikileaks Is Zionist Poison II: Deconstruction Of The Myth by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(19) Wikileaks Is Zionist Poison by Jonathan Azaziah, Mask of Zion

(20) Wikileaks: A Very Short Coincidence Theory by Maidhc Ó Cathail, Dissident Voice

(21) Wikileaks Claims Are ‘Psychological Warfare’ Says Ahmadinejad by Ian Black, Harriet Sherwood and Saeed Kamali, The Guardian

(22) Iran And The ‘Zionist Pranks’ by Rehmat’s World

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Afghanistan: Cross-border Terrorism Proved

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By Sajjad Shaukat


 

In the last few years, US-led NATO powers have continuously been insisting upon Pakistan to ‘do more’ against the militancy in the tribal regions in order to stop cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan. While ignoring the responsibilities of the US, ISAF and Karzai-led troops in Afghanistan, especially US civil and military high officials have unilaterally blaming Islamabad that level of militancy increased in Afghanistan owing to the militants who entered Afghanistan from Pakistan, and increased pressure on the NATO troops.

In the recent past, US Defence Secretary Robert Gates and some high officials, while repeating the false allegations had indicated that Pakistan’s “failure to stop insurgents from Pakistani side of the border” has resulted into “40 per cent rise in the militant’s attacks in east Afghanistan…infiltration of insurgents in Afghanistan takes place from the safe-havens of FATA.” They have also been accusing Pak Army and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI of close contact with the Afghan Taliban. Their media have also left no stone unturned for blaming Pakistan for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan, also involving ISI.

During his trip to Islamabad on April 20 this year, in an interview with a private TV channel, US Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen has also alleged that ISI has been supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners in Afghanistan.

However, in one or the other way, American baseless blame game against Islamabad in connection with cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan continues. In this regard, we need to prove, whether Pakistan is responsible for cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan or the latter in Pakistan.

It is mentionable that on June 1, more than 500 heavily armed militants who entered Pakistan’s Upper Dir area from Afghanistan killed more than 30 police and paramilitary soldiers. Police said that well-trained terrorists who targetted a chekpost, also destroyed two schools and several houses with rocket and gunfire attacks, while killing a number of innocent people. The exact location where militants carried out an armed assault, lies about 20 kilometers inside the Pakistani territory which shares a common border with Afghan province of Kunar.

On June 2, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani conveyed to US State Department Pakistan’s reaction on the terrorist assault in Dir from Afghanistan. In this regard, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir showed strong concern with the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad on the cross-border attack launched from Afghanistan, calling for a ‘stern action’ by Afghan and US-led NATO troops to crackdown on militants in the area and their hideouts in Afghanistan.” He further indicated, “Pakistan’s apprehensions are also being brought to the attention of the US and NATO.”

Despite the stern reaction of Islamabad, on June 3, hundreds of militants crossed over from Afghanistan and again besieged the Pakistani area. Sources suggest that after a three-day operation and gun battle, Pakistani security forces killed 71 Afghan Taliban.

Here question arises as to why US-led NATO forces did not stop the Taliban-related insurgents when they entered Pakistani territory? Even then, they failed in this respect; second question is as to why these foreign forces based in Afghanistan did not attack the Al Qaeda or Afghan Taliban, while fighting with Pak security forces continued for three days? The fact of the matter is that especially America had itself encouraged and supported this cross-border terrorism in Pakistan. In this connection, American CIA, Indian intelligence agency, RAW and Israeli secret agency, Mossad which have well-established their network in Afghanistan, have been destabilising Pakistan because it is the lonely ‘nuclearsed’ country in the Islamic World. In this context, Indian secret consulates and foreign training camps are present in Afghanistan from where highly trained militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons including motivated suicide bombers are being sent to Pakistan’s various places so as to commit subversive acts regularly. In this regard, in the aftermath of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a US military raid in Pakistan on May 2, terrorists’ attack on Pakistan Navy’s airbase, PNS Mehran on May 23 might be cited as major instance.

According to some sources, modern weapons of Indian, American and Israeli origin are available in the markets of Afghanistan. Smuggling of latest arms from west to Afghanistan is also being supported by the drug mafia of Afghanistan. In this connection, Afghan President Karzai’s brother and high officials have been found involved in drug smuggling for raising funds to support insurgency in Pakistan with the support of RAW.

It is notable that during the Swat and Malakand military operations, ISPR spokesman, Maj-Gen Athar Abbas had revealedin various press briefings that a number of foreigners from Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and India including Afghans, having connections with the enemy countries were arrested. In one of briefings, he had disclosed that 400 foreign fighters were captured along with huge caches of sophisticated weapons, made of India and America—Afghan fighters had been infiltrated into Pakistan with the help of some external agencies bordering Afghanistan.

Besides, in a religious Madrassa of Wakhan, located in Afghanistan is functioning under the patronage of Indian officials—with the consent of CIA. It is being used for brainwashing of very young boys who are Afghans, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Caucasians. They have also been made to learn Pashto and traditions of Pathans. Posing as volunteers, they join the Taliban activists to fight against Pakistan’s security forces.

It is worth-mentioning that on July 17, 2008, USA Today wrote, “Afghanistan has been drawing a fresh influx of jihadi fighters from Turkey, Central Asia, Chechnya and the Middle East, one more sign that al-Qaeda is becoming the most active front of the war on terror”.

Nevertheless, Afghanistan shares a common border with the Central Asian Republics. And all the foreign insurgents are entering Pakistan through Afghanistan which has become a gateway. So as to why US-led NATO forces doe not capture these foreign terrorists when they enter Afghanistan from where they infiltrate in Pakistan.

It is of particular attention that when in 2009, Pakistan’s armed forces started the military operation in South Waziristan, scores of security check posts in Afghanistan side of Pak-Afghan border had been removed by the US commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal who was leading NATO forces in Afghanistan. Our security analysts had opined that it “is part of a plot by the US and Afghan commanders to remove the strategic security posts in South Waziristan Agency…an intriguing move aimed at different ends.”

Nonetheless, the most dangerous aim of the US by removing Afghan border check posts from the side of Pakistan was to give clear way and free hand to the Afghanistan-based Taliban commanders to send large-scale reinforcements in South Waziristan. Thus especially, America wanted to sabotage the South Waziristan operation by putting Pakistan’s more soldiers’ lives at risk in the fight against militants in this difficult terrain of the area.

It is noteworthy that US which is likely to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan along with NATO forces, has already made Pakistan volatile to the different war. And it wants to ensure that Pakistan must be the main target of Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda after the US-led NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

Returning to our main discussion, besides already mentioned developments, recent attack by the Afghan-based militants in the Upper Dir region clearly proves that the US and its allies are responsible for cross-border terrorism in Pakistan, while they have been blaming Islamabad in this respect because of their double game with the latter.

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Saudi Arabia: Woman held for walking without abaya

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Defiant Saudi wife tells police head cover is symbol of backwardness

 

Saudi Arabia’s feared Islamic police briefly arrested a national woman for defying local rules by walking in a public place without the traditional Saudi gown and head cover. The arrest made her even more defiant, when she branded the head cover a symbol of backwardness.

The 27-year-old Saudi wife was strolling at dawn on the sidewalk in the western town of Makkah when members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice seized her and took her to their centre.

Sabq newspaper said a Saudi man had phoned the Commission and told them about a woman walking in tight pants and white tops without her gown or head cover. The man said he was worried the woman might be kidnapped by men.

The paper said the unnamed woman told Commission members at the centre that she went to stay at her family’s house after an argument with her husband but that they refused to receive her and told her to return home.

“The woman said she then decided to go for a walk at dawn to have some fresh air and release her pent-up feelings and deprivation,” the paper said.

“She said what she had done is normal and that the gown and head cover are symbols of backwardness….she also told the Commission members that man had reached the moon and ‘you come and tell me don’t drive….don’t go out shopping…cover you face…be careful…etc..”

Sabq said the woman was later handed over to her family after she was made to write a statement not to repeat what she had done.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Saudi Arabia: Woman held for walking without abaya

Saudi Arabia: Choose Your Battles Carefully

NOVANEWS

by American Bedu


Saudi women are becoming more outspoken and visual for rights they seek.  But a country, such as Saudi Arabia with its steep pride and entrenched in its tribal roots knows how to manipulate and rule.  Anyone with a place or a desire for a new reform has to be equally cunning and thinking ahead. Sadly the example of a young distraught Saudi woman walking down a Makkah street without an ayaba or headcover did not think through her reactions.  Makkah is not the place where any woman should try and test such boundaries.  After all, Makkah is the location of the Haram and the Haram boundaries are clearly marked with the expectation that respect will be shown.

 

I realize that I was pushing boundaries during my time in Saudi Arabia but I like to believe I chose my battles carefully.  My boundaries were more oriented at preserving “me” as an individual rather than trying to dare change anything about a society in which I was a guest.  Yes; I took calculated risks which included some risks with the abaya.

 

A woman can have more “leeway” whether she wears or modifies a look of her abaya in the larger cosmopolitan cities of Saudi such as Jeddah or Damman.  Seaport cities have more an influx of people and cultures whereas a conservative capital such as Riyadh or holy cities like Makkah and Medina have their own rules of conformity and expectations.

Yet back to the forthcoming article, it is clear that the rash decision of a Saudi woman to go out without an abaya was based more on raw emotions.  It’s too bad she had to go through an ordeal of an arrest with what was already going on in her life though.  But…that’s part of Saudi Arabia.

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Iran urges world community to pressure IsraHell into joining Non-Proliferation Treaty

NOVANEWS

 

 

Tehran says Israel should subject its nuclear programs to international oversight and that the U.S. as Israel’s main sponsor has the responsibility to halt its nuclear threat to the region.

Iran called on the world community Sunday to pressure Israel to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and subject its nuclear programs to international oversight.

“The world community should put pressure on the Zionist regime (Israel) to join the NPT and allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi said.

Speaking at a conference on nuclear disarmament in Tehran, Salehi called the Israeli nuclear bomb arsenal as the main threat to the Middle East.

Salehi also said the United States as Israel’s main sponsor has the responsibility to halt its nuclear threat to the region.

The two-day Tehran conference was mainly focused on Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity and its refusal to neither confirm nor deny the possession of nuclear weapons.

Iran argues that instead of depriving Iran from civil nuclear use, the world powers should focus their attention on Israel, which it says operates in secret.

Tehran insists that its nuclear programs are peaceful, but world powers fear it is using the same technology to develop weapons.

Iran has constantly denied the accusations and says it has the legitimate right to pursue nuclear development, including uranium enrichment, as a NPT signatory and IAEA member.

Iran: Israel nuclear threat to Mideast

Tehran convenes NPT summit, urges international community to pressure Israel into joining Non-Proliferation Treaty

Iran convened its second nuclear summit Sunday and urged the international community to pressure Israel into subjecting its nuclear program to international oversight, as well as join the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The convention was held under the banner of “Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for None.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who was first to address the conference, blamed Israel and the United States for being an obstacle en route to a nuclear weapon-free Middle East.

Salehi called the Israeli nuclear arsenal “the main threat to the Middle East,” and rebuked the United States: “Being Israel’s main sponsor… It has the responsibility to halt its nuclear threat to the region.”

The two-day Tehran conference is set to focus mainly on Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity and its refusal to neither confirm nor deny its possession of nuclear weapons.

Salehi assured those in attendance that Iran “is always ready for nuclear talks with the UN Security Council.”

He also argued that instead of depriving Iran from civil nuclear energy, world powers should focus on Israel’s “underhanded secrecy.”

 

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Patrick Cockburn: Hopes for democracy fade as civil wars grip the Arab world

NOVANEWS

 

World View: The anti-regime demonstrations that worked so rapidly and unexpectedly in Tunisia and Egypt are faltering elsewhere as rulers fight to hold on to power

The Arab awakening is turning into the Arab nightmare. Instead of ushering in democracy, the uprisings in at least three Arab states are fast becoming vicious civil wars. In the past 10 days, crucial developments in Syria, Libya and Yemen have set these countries spiralling into violent and intractable struggles for power.

In Syria, thousands of troops are assaulting the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour where the government claims 120 of its soldiers and police were killed last week. Leaving aside exactly how they died, the government in Damascus is making it lethally clear that in future its opponents, peaceful opponents or not, will be treated as if they were armed gunmen. An extraordinary aspect of the Syrian uprisings is that people go on demonstrating in their tens of thousands despite so many being shot down. But some are evidently coming to believe that their only alternative is to fight back.

A week ago in Yemen, the demonstrators, who have been marching and rallying in the streets of Sanaa since the start of the year, celebrated jubilantly on hearing the news that President Ali Abdullah Saleh had left the country for hospital in Saudi Arabia after being injured in a bomb attack. “The people, at last, have defeated the regime,” the protesters chanted. But it is ludicrous to portray this as a triumph for peaceful protest, since the reason Saleh went to Riyadh was injuries inflicted by a bomb planted in the presidential compound. It is becoming depressingly clear that the Saleh regime is not as dependent on the presence of the president himself as many imagined. Other members of the Saleh clan are in command of well-armed and well-trained military units that remain in control of most of Yemen.

Even before what was clearly a well-planned assassination attempt against Saleh, the street protesters were looking marginalised. They were able to stay in “Change Square” only because traditional players, including powerful tribal and military leaders, had switched sides and were defending them.

Is Yemen on the way to permanent confrontation of the type that reduced Somalia to ruinous anarchy? In the past, Yemenis often argued that, while Yemeni politics was very divisive and violent, the ruling elite had a remarkable capacity to reach last-minute compromises. Maybe this was true, but the failure to evict the Saleh clan, even when its leader is out of the country, bodes ill and opens the way for a collapse of state authority.

Libya has also moved a long way from the democratic hopes of February. An important signal since the start of June has been the intervention of Nato attack helicopters, making the rebels more an auxiliary force in a foreign-run campaign. The deployment of the rebels is now largely decided by Nato, without whose air power the local anti-Gaddafi forces would long ago have been defeated. Most Libyans probably want Gaddafi to go, but the Transitional National Council in Benghazi may not have the legitimacy or the support to replace him. He is very likely to be displaced before the end of the year, but this will be a victory primarily won by Nato and not popular revolution.

A fourth country where the Arab awakening seemed to be on the verge of success is Bahrain. But since the Saudi-led intervention, and the assault on pro-democracy protesters and the Shia population as a whole since 15 March, this tiny kingdom has been convulsed by a civil war that rages just beneath the surface. The decision by Bahraini al-Khalifa royals to play the sectarian card and pretend the demand for democratic reform was a revolutionary plot orchestrated by Iran has won many believers among the Sunni. Quite why the family should have decided to declare war on most of the Arab population of Bahrain remains something of a mystery since this will make it permanently reliant on Saudi Arabia. Probably a sense of panic, at its height in March and induced by the fall of the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, explains the intensity of the repression in Bahrain. A price for this will be permanently to deepen the bitter hostility between Shia and Sunni.

Probably one should not be so surprised by the faltering of the mass movements associated with the Arab Spring. The surprise is rather that they should have succeeded so easily in Tunisia and Egypt. After all, so-called “velvet revolutions” do not have a high success rate. They may have worked in Eastern Europe when communism was displaced 20 years ago, but the communist leadership was not prepared to fight it out, was divided, massively unpopular and hoped to be part of the new order. A better parallel to the Arab Spring is the Green movement’s attempt to stage a velvet revolution in Iran in 2009, which signally failed. Even if the election of that year was fixed by the Iranian government, it still had a core of committed supporters in the Revolutionary Guards. The urban poor never joined the protests en masse as they did in Tunisia and Egypt.

The lesson of the past six months in the Arab world is that unless the street protesters can split or guarantee the neutrality of the armed forces, their chance of success is limited. Their only option is to get full-scale foreign military intervention, as has happened in Libya. In practice, this means obtaining support from the US, even if the military action is carried out by the UK and France. It was the fear in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies this year that they no longer had a guarantee of support from Washington that panicked them into their violent onslaught on protesters in Bahrain.

The foreign media – notably al-Jazeera and satellite channels – played a central part in opening the way for the Arab Spring. Censorship, control of information and communications played an important role in the establishment of the police states that monopolised power in the Arab world from the 1970s. But this control has been weakened by the internet, satellite television and mobile phone.

At the same time, not all the instruments of power have changed. Security forces remained. The spontaneous nature of the Arab uprising was at first an advantage because the police did not know who to arrest, but this lack of leadership became a disadvantage when the revolution faced opposition. The moderation of the early protesters is turning out to be a crippling weakness as rulers fight for power.

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U.N.–Egypt “long way” from democracy

NOVANEWS

 


Reuters

 

GENEVA: Egypt has a long way to go to achieve real democracy despite the popular uprising that toppled authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak four months ago, a United Nations human rights team said Friday.

The four-member group, which went to Egypt in late March but has followed later events closely from Geneva, also called on the interim military authorities to move quickly to lift the long-standing state of emergency.

“Most legitimate aspirations of the Egyptian people for change remain to be translated into concrete democratic institutional forms,” said the four, all experts from the office of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

While there was relief in the country that a huge hurdle had been overcome with the departure of Mubarak after 30 years and the dismantling of his ruling NDP party, “there is still a very long way to achieve democracy and respect for all human rights”.

Full freedom of expression and of demonstration should be ensured and all detained protesters and political prisoners released, while those suspected of committing serious rights violations like torture should be investigated and tried.

The authorities should publicly declare that torture would no longer be tolerated, trials of civilians before military courts should be stopped, and all sectors of the population be involved in preparation for free and fair elections, they said.

The long-awaited U.N. report noted what it called “very important achievements” since the uprising — part of an “Arab Spring” that has swept from Tunisia across North Africa and the Middle East.

Among these were the registration of political parties and independent trade unions, moves to bring human rights violators to justice and preparations for elections for a new parliament and president later this year.

But, the report said, “the reversal of decades of abusive policies cannot easily be achieved and if Egyptians are to trust the state and its institutions, authorities must remain vigilant and ensure full respect for human rights.

“It will be important for the authorities to ensure that tangible results are attained in the effort to combat past abuses and impunity and to ensure accountability at all levels, so that justice is both done and perceived to be done.”      The report, in terms similar to one issued by another Pillay team that went to Tunisia after the ouster of its long-ruling president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, was in tune with comments this week by Egyptian democracy campaigners.

At demonstrations in Cairo and Alexandria on Monday to mark the first anniversary of the police killing of an activist, campaigners said they were reminding the authorities they would not allow a return to the old system.

At least 846 people died in the January and February events and more than 6,000 were injured, mainly at the hands of security forces and thugs believed to have been hired by Mubarak officials. Many others disappeared into jail.

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