Deja vu - Judith Apter Klinghoffer
Dr. Judith Apter Klinghoffer taught history and International relations at Rowan University, Rutgers University, the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing as well as at Aarhus University in Denmark where she was a senior Fulbright professor. She is an affiliate professor at Haifa University. Her books include Israel and the Soviet Union, Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences and , International Citizens' Tribunals: Mobilizing Public Opinion to Advance Human Rights
Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 18:15
SIX foreign Al-Qaeda suspects including a woman were killed when a bomb they were making exploded in Pakistan's restive tribal region near the Afghan border Saturday, the military said.
"It seems the explosion occurred when these people were busy making an improvised explosive device for terrorist activity," chief military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told AFP, quoting local administration officials.
Oh, the hazaards of the trade. Where have we heard about this before? Of course, Palsetinians terrorists do it.
Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 19:42
SPME Member Prof. Barry Rubin at American University Calls for Help To Defend Arab Liberal Writer Lafif Lakhdar Targeted For Murder for For Calling for Moderate Islam
A leading Islamist cleric, ironically one often portrayed as a moderate, has called for murdering of a prominent writer. But this case is even far worse in many respects than the prominent Salman Rushdie affair.
The intended victim is Lafif Lakhdar, one of the Arab worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s best-known liberal writers, especially in terms of advocating a moderate form of Islam in a secular society. Born in Tunisia and trained as a lawyer, Lakhdar has also worked in Algeria and Lebanon, before settling in Paris. Though in ill health, he has written many books, as well as helping to found Middle East Transparent, perhaps the single most important website for liberal Arab writings.
The man inciting to murder him is Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Tunisian Islamist group Harakat al-Nahdha who has been given safe haven in London. Ghannouchi likes to portray himself as a moderate, a man who opposes violence and whose battle is with the Tunisian regime and not the West. He is often cited as an example of a moderate Islamist with whom the West can cooperate.
Aside from showing the falseness of his pretensions to moderation, GhannouchiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s action raises the question of why a man who calls for murdering a liberal dissident should receive protection in Britain as a political refugee.
What makes this case even more shocking, however, is that Lakhdar is being accused of a thought crime that he did not commit.
In May 2005, a Sudanese newspaper began serializing a work entitled Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Hidden Side of the ProphetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s LifeÃ¢â‚¬Â under the name Ã¢â‚¬Å“Dr. Maqrizi.Ã¢â‚¬Â Demonstrators in Sudan demanded the authorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death. Yet there was absolutely no reason to believe that Lakhdar, who has no strong connections with the Sudan, had anything to do with the author or book, which does not fit with his earlier writings or approach to these issues.
Without a few days, without any proof or even investigation, GhannouchiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s web site, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Nahdha.netÃ¢â‚¬Â accused Lakhdar of having written a blasphemous book against the prophet of Islam and issued a decree sentencing him to death. Not only that but it attributed his long-standing physical paralysis to the punishment of God for producing such a heretical work.
Clearly, Ghannouchi, the Tunisian Islamist was using the publication of an obscure work in far-off Sudan to get rid of the leading Tunisian secularist. In the text, Ghannouchi accused Lakhdar of a crime equivalent to murdering a prophet.
But in fact one can tell from the pamphletÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s text that Lakhdar did not write it. Lakhdar believes, in his own words, Ã¢â‚¬Å“In religious matters, religious rationalism can only accept what conforms to spiritual and humanistic logic.Ã¢â‚¬Â But the pamphlet seems like a deliberate provocation written by someone remote from pragmatic thought. For example, it claims that IslamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s founder was inspired by the devil, called his wife prostitutes, and insulted Arabs.
Both Islamists and Arab dictatorships have been trying to portray Arab liberals as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim in order to discredit the idea of reform. This pamphlet seems to have been produced for this purpose, a caricature assembled to inspire hatred against moderates. In addition, given the ongoing persecution of Christians in southern Sudan, there are references in the text implying the superiority of Christianity clearly designed to inspire hatred against believers in that faith as enemies of Islam.
Lakhdar asks for action by the British justice system against a man who while protected by the United Kingdom advocates the murder of others. The irony here is that Britain formerly had to protect Salman Rushdie, a British citizen, against the death threat of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Now Ghannouchi uses his privileges of asylum in Britain to call for killing an innocent dissident intellectual.
The wider implications of this case are the uses of the most slanderous and cynical means to demonize reformers and block Muslims and Arabs from receiving their true message.
The wider implications of this case are the uses of the most slanderous and cynical means to demonize reformers and block Muslims and Arabs from receiving their true message.
Those wishing more information or to assist in the defense of Mr. Lakhdar can write Lafif Lakhdar International DÃƒÂ©fense Committee at LLIDC@hotmail.com.
Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 19:59
She makes some good points. But so does Louis Rene Beres in `Forgetting` Who We Are: The Reimagined Meanings Of Jewish Authenticity and Alan Dershowitz in Ugly iceberg of bigotry
Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 22:00
Posted on Saturday, November 5, 2005 - 23:56
But the Muhamad cartoons must be punished. Egypt cuts off human rights dialogue with Denmark.
The Dutch parliament Hirsi Ali praised the refusal of the Danish prime minister to meet with the ambassadors:
'The Danish prime minister's reply to the ambassadors should be an example for every European leader,' Hirsi Ali told Jyllands-Posten's reporter. 'The prime minister steps forward to tell Muslims loud and clear that the freedom of expression is a deciding factor for a free society, and that a prime minister in a free society neither can nor wishes to regulate what newspapers do or do not do. The fact that he makes a special point of explaining this to the ambassador from Turkey - which is seeking entrance to the EU - is an expression of true statesmanship.'
Now this is a lady deserving of a Nobel.
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 02:00
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 18:25
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 02:19
Bravo. I am sure it was not an easy decision but Musharaf's move will please the donor community. After all, it is difficult to demand more aid from the international community. Indeed, charge it with racism for not contributing enough and at the same time spend lavishly on new military toys. In fact, he should also cancel the expansive Swedish radar systems he agreed to buy a mere week after the earthquake and significantly cut de fence expenditures.
After all, his relations with India are improving and will continue to do so provided he does not follow in Arafat footsteps and try to use terror to advance his agenda in Kashmir. The Indians cannot be expected to put up with the increase in terrorism infinitely. In fact, I suspect delaying the F-16 purchase has the added benefit of pacifying the Indian anger over the recent bombings in Delhi and Srinigar.
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 18:05
This is a good day for the UN and its leader. I cannot wipe the stupid smile off my face.
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 18:36
The voice used by CNN anchor is too dramatic. Russians are too supportive of Sarkozy's zero tolerance policy, paid too much attention to the Arab origins of the rioters and had the gall to tell their citizens to avoid visiting the Paris suburbs . That is not surprising as a Russian tourist bus was torched and 40 Russian tourists remain stranded in Paris.
The French reporters also complained that Al Jazeera's coverage not only emphasizes that the rioters are Muslim but gives the impression that Muslims are discriminated against in France and brought on a government spokesperson to assure the viewer that it isn't so.
To counter the bad publicity, for the second night in a row, the TV station followed the riot story with stories about areas in previously troubled areas in which government policies turned things around. Today they showed a high school turned around by tough love and a beautiful new building.
Perspective is not a bad thing. I wish the American media (or the French media for that matter) had followed a similar policy and began to report the good news from Iraq.
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 22:21
As a French politician told the BBC, people who shoot at police are"hoodlams." I do not know what you call people who set on fire a handicapped woman sitting on a bus along with her hijab wearing daughter. I do know such actions merely convince the public (whether they dare admit it or not) that they were right all along. These are indeed barbarians. Moreover, the government may try to rush in but the business people are rushing out. The poor will be getting poorer and those who began climbing the ladder of success will be pushed back a few ranges. Just look at the time it took Los Angeles or Newark to recover and do not believe when Chirac that France is different.
Finally, when I Googled"Paris, riots, respect," a satirical essay published on Spoof website appeared. It is entitled: Jacques Chirac on Paris Riot:"Deport! Deport Them All!" As all satire, it has an element of truth. These are dangerous times and they are getting more dangerous by the hour.
Posted on Friday, November 4, 2005 - 22:20
When will heads finally roll or get evicted in that agency? It is not only incometent but it leaks worse than a sieve.
Posted on Thursday, November 3, 2005 - 21:33
Police in northeastern Iran are launching a new morality drive by confiscating alluring mannequins from boutiques and clothes stalls in the bazaar, authorities in the city of Bojnourd said Monday.
A spokesman for the city's judiciary, who asked not be named, explained the drive would tackle problems of"public chastity." He said 65 mannequins have been impounded so far.
He explained the crack-down on tailors' dummies was part of a larger offensive against anti-social behavior such as vandalism and biker gang.
Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 16:46
Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 11:40
To be honest, I think his advocacy of additional investment in education and R&D is invaluable. I believe that as long as China remains an tyranny, India will pose the real Asian challenge to the US. Freedom translates into risk taking and innovation and mathematics has always been a special Indians forte. Pratap Bhanu Mehata may be right and India may have lsot the will to reform or at least, its ideological bureaucrats may slow it down considerably. That would be a pity though I do believe the urge to compete with China will ultimately win out.
Moreover, Ram brought to my attention a fascinating Morgan Stanley Global Report entitled: Here comes the Indian consumer which begins thus:
India is on the cusp of something big. After my third trip there in 18 months, I am as enthusiastic about India as I was about China in the late 1990's. While comparisons with China are inevitable, the case for India is very different. What excites me the most is the potential for an increasingly powerful internal consumption dynamic -- an ingredient sorely missing in most other Asian development models, including China. India’s constraints -- infrastructure, saving, foreign direct investment, and politics -- are well known. Yet on this trip, I saw visible progress on most of those fronts. Moreover, the consumption story -- the organic sustenance of sustainable growth and development -- casts India in a very different light.
Read the entire thing because as a comparison between the US and Japan has demonstrated, an internal consumer market is far more resilient than an export one. I believe the Chinese bureaucrats have learned that lesson and the Chinese, unlike the Japanese, are natural consumers.
Posted on Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - 18:55
The short term benfit is Bruce Laurence's conclusion is that negotiations are NOT the answer:
Some have suggested that the war against Al Qaeda can be won if the United States takes steps to engage in serious dialogue with its enemy. That is the counsel from Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou, a Harvard policy expert on conflict resolution: "Though dismissed widely, the best strategy for the United States may well be to acknowledge and address the collective reasons in which Al Qaeda anchors its acts of force. Al Qaeda has been true to its word in announcing and implementing its strategy for over a decade. It is likely to be true to its word in the future and cease hostilities against the United States, and indeed bring an end to the war it declared in 1996 and in 1998, in return for some degree of satisfaction regarding its grievances. In 2002, bin Laden declared: 'Whether America escalates or de-escalates this conflict, we will reply in kind.'"
There are major problems with this idyllic strategy. Which American official would "acknowledge and address" the U.S. role in the current conflict? Neither President Bush nor Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice seems likely to accept that challenge, but who could represent the United States and speak for its role if not they? And how would they, or any elected official, undertake that task today, three years after bin Laden spoke his "conciliatory" words? The bin Laden declaration cited above came before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. There are now two theaters in the war on terror, Afghanistan and Iraq, and in each, asserts bin Laden, it is the "Zionist-Crusader alliance" that initiates terror and forces Al Qaeda to respond in kind. Alas, there is no "degree of satisfaction," short of complete American withdrawal from the current sites of conflict, that would lead bin Laden to "reply in kind."
More important, neither ignoring bin Laden nor trying to address his concerns will tackle the root causes of the antipathies that pit the United States and its allies against a resilient, localized network of anti-imperialist Muslim warriors. In what might have been his own epitaph, bin Laden wrote the following poem in February 2003:
Let me be a martyr,
dwelling in a high mountain pass
among a band of knights who,
united in devotion to God,
descend to face armies.
The attraction of knights will continue until such time as more-humane heroes can attract the idealism of Muslim youth. Unlike bin Laden and his Al Qaeda cohorts, future Muslim leaders, if they are to succeed, must work within the state system; their task, unlike his, must be to find a better way not only to liberate Muslim homelands but also to forge a brighter future for those liberated. In the meantime, reading the words of Osama bin Laden is a sober reminder of how hard, yet necessary, it is to wage war against Al Qaeda with the pen — through the press, the Internet, and television — and not just with the sword, whether on the plains of Iraq or in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 13:53
James Dobbin's suggest that Bush needs allies near Iraq, howerver unsavoury. In fact, he ends his FT op-ed with the famous Churchillian quote justifying his alliance with Stalin:
If Hitler had invaded hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil.
Fair enough. The problem is that Bin Laden did not invade Iran and consequently we witnessing the emergence of an Iran-al Qaeda Axis reminiscent of the old Nazi-Soviet one. This is evident from the Shia Moqtadah al Sadr militia cooperation with Sunni Zarqawi. It is evident in the hospitable treatment Al Aqaeda operatives get in Iran. It is also evident from the growing cooperation between Sunni Hammas and Shia Hizballa (that is at least in part the reason the PA rejected Ahmadinejad's call to wipe Israel off the map).
Iran, like the USSR in 1967 and Germany in 1939 is trying to redirect international attention away from her and her Syrian allies.
Once again, realism turns out to be nothing but As Condi Rice told her old mentor, an attempt to hold on to old ideas.
These old appeasement ideas refuse to die in Europe or the US while the old Hitlerian ideas about the final solution refuse to die in parts of the Middle East and it is in Iran's strategic interest to make sure they never do.
In the meantime US, UK and Iran are talking. Indeed, they never stopped. A friend remined me of something else Churchill said:
Chamberlain had a choice between war and dishonor. He chose dishonor, and got war.
Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 23:13
Forget Western Apologists, another Bahraini Journalist joins the truth chorus by giving advice to Karen Hughes who is trying to bring to the State Department the focus and discipline of a well run election campaign:
"The main means which they are using to distort the image of the U.S. are:
1. The printed and electronic media, which are for the most part subject to the control of the Arab governments (whether via funding or via influence), beginning with Al-Jazeera in Qatar and including the national papers in Egypt.
2. Educational programs, all of which are subject to control by the Arab governments and to the influence of the Islamic groups.
3. The mosques, which are also subject to the control of governments and the Islamic groups, via the Ministries of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs in the Arab countries. Exceptions are the Shi'ite mosques, because the Shi'ites are usually economically independent from the governments of their countries.
Posted on Tuesday, November 1, 2005 - 14:29