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Showing posts from September, 2014

911 Tradegy

As Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, I happened to be in New York on that fateful day 13 years ago. I remember witnessing the ghastly disappearance of the Twin Towers from Manhattan’s skyline that was to change not only the world history, but also the global geopolitical landscape. We were in the middle of a prayer breakfast meeting at the UN Headquarters hosted by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan for the heads of diplomatic corps in New York as well as all UN agencies when all of a sudden the news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center reached us. We were asked to evacuate calmly. As we were going down, we saw on television monitors in the lower lobby another plane crashing into the second tower, putting it ablaze in an instant. It then became clear that it was not an ordinary plane crash. It was an act of a cold-blooded atrocity. No one knew what had happened, and why. All that one could see was an inferno of fire and smoke. “Bloody Tuesday,” “Act of war,” “Carnage…

Fighting the Islamic State

Fighting the Islamic Stateby Munir Akramdawn.com
September 14 05:54 AM The writer is a former Pakistan ambassador to the UN. PRESIDENT Obama announced a “strategy” to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State (formerly, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) on Sept 10. The announcement came scarcely two weeks after Obama had explained US reluctance to escalate military action against IS by admitting he did not have a strategy to deal with this challenge. He was roundly criticised by US politicians and pundits for his honest admission.The announced strategy comprises four components: first, systematic air strikes against IS in Iraq , in coordination with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, and in Syria if IS there threatens Americans; second, increased support (training, intelligence, equipment) to those fighting “these terrorists”; third, improving counterterrorism capabilities: intelligence, counter-narrative, preventing the flow of Western jihadis and mobilising the international community; and…

The New Arabs by Juan Cole

SENIOR University of Michigan academician, Juan Cole, appears to have a twofold agenda in writing this book. On the one hand, he wishes to provide a comprehensive overview of the role and function of young revolutionaries central to the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. On the other, by doing the former, he attempts to give the reader an idea of the collective identity of (what he terms) the young millennial Arabs of the 21st century.Cole’s tome is a breathtakingly detailed and comprehensive tour de force; lucidly written and extensively documented, over a tenth of the book is devoted to extensive explanatory notes and sources. He thus succeeds in achieving the first aim of his agenda, and while determining whether he creditably defines the millennials is ultimately up to the individual reader to ascertain, there is no doubt about the fact that his aspirations are valid and noble ones.It should come as no secret to anyone even remotely familiar with the machinations of the Arab…