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Showing posts from 2014

Zionism- The new imperialism

After reaching its zenith, classical imperialism may have declined but its institutions and traditions have remained for historians to study and understand. After evolving through different stages, its objectives were accomplished by justifying the process on moral, religious, political and economic grounds. When the Europeans discovered the three continents — North America, Africa, and Australasia — they propagated that these were lands without people. It meant that the land was no one’s property and, therefore, could be occupied and used by the imperial powers. In North America, the settlers occupied land by depriving native tribes of their property. This argument is advanced in the The Frontier Thesis by historian Turner. On the other hand, Australia became the dumping ground for convicts and criminals, who were transported from Britain to work as cheap labour. It was the government’s policy to shift its excess population to the newly discovered continents. It is another histori

Counterterrorism consensus

AS Pakistan grieves the loss of its children in Peshawar, a national consensus has emerged to fight and destroy the TTP terrorists responsible for this latest atrocity. The Pakistan Army will no doubt intensify its ongoing campaign against these terrorists and should be extended all possible support. Hopefully, Pakistan’s political leaders will suspend their power games to address this clear and present danger to the country’s security and progress. This massacre is another reminder that over the past 30 years, Pakistan has been the principal victim of terrorism. It experienced the Indian-sponsored bomb blasts in the 1970s; the Soviet-Najibullah attacks during the 1980s; Shia-Sunni violence during the 1990s; and Al Qaeda and TTP terrorism over the last decade. Until the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan, terrorism was an ‘external’ threat for Pakistan; it was ‘internalised’ due to two strategic mistakes: Pakistan’s sponsorship of Islamic extremists against the Soviets, in collaboration


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Let’s be honest, Islam has a problem right now by Fareed Zakaria

When television host Bill Maher declares on his weekly show that “the Muslim world . . . has too much in common with ISIS ” and guest Sam Harris says that Islam is “the mother lode of bad ideas,” I understand why people are upset. Maher and Harris, an author, made crude simplifications and exaggerations. And yet, they were also talking about something real. I know the arguments against speaking of Islam as violent and reactionary. It has a following of 1.6 billion people. Places such as Indonesia and India have hundreds of millions of Muslims who don’t fit these caricatures. That’s why Maher and Harris are guilty of gross generalizations. But let’s be honest. Islam has a problem today. The places that have trouble accommodating themselves to the modern world are disproportionately Muslim. In 2013, of the top 10 groups that perpetrated terrorist attacks, seven were Muslim. Of the top 10 countries where terrorist attacks took place, seven were Muslim-majority. The Pew Research Center r

Pakistan’s Lessons for Turkey NY Times

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, declared that Turkey is ready “for any cooperation in the fight against terrorism.” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu argued that Islamic State militants pose a greater threat to Turkey and the Muslim world than to the West. But Turkey’s dilemma is far more grave than its leaders realize. Indeed, Turkey’s current situation resembles the early years of Pakistan’s sponsorship of the Taliban. The Islamic State is recruiting militants in Turkey. And failure to clean its own house now could lead Turkey down the path of “Pakistanization,” whereby a resident jihadist infrastructure causes Sunni extremism to ingrain itself deeply within the fabric of society. Although Turkey now recognizes the threat — the Turkish government voted to authorize military force in Iraq and Syria on Thursday — it has yet to come to terms with its own responsibility for helping to create it. Turkey claims that radical groups grew stronger because moderates seeking the overt

The social contract debate in Muslim Countries

CAN the prevalent political unrest and discontent in Muslim societies be regarded as a desire for change? In other words, are Muslim societies in search of new social contracts? The militant struggle is all about a complete repla­cement of existing social contracts with an Islamic code of life. Both non-violent radicals and traditional religio-political forces are pursuing varying agendas ranging from Islamisation of their respective societies to reformation of and adjustments in constitutions in line with their perceived Islamic ideals. Interestingly, these Islamist forces are not satisfied with the systems of democracy, controlled democracy or monarchies in their respective countries. Does the problem really lie with Muslim societies’ social contracts with their states, or is it the outcome of other pressures Muslim societies are subjected to? Various religious agendas are competing with the state’s social contract with its people. While identifying the underlying unrest in under

Only One Thing Will Make Israel Change Course by Noam Chomsky

Hi On August 26, Israel and the Palestinian Authority both accepted a cease-fire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by Israel and Hamas as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years. This is, however, just the most recent of a series of cease-fire agreements reached after each of Israel's periodic escalations of its unremitting assault on Gaza. Since November 2005 the terms of these agreements have remained essentially the same. The regular pattern is for Israel to disregard whatever agreement is in place, while Hamas observes it—as Israel has conceded—until a sharp increase in Israeli violence elicits a Hamas response, followed by even fiercer brutality. These escalations are called “mowing the lawn” in Israeli parlance. The most recent was more accurately described as “removing the topsoil” by a senior

Kissinger's lessons for today's policymakers

Kissinger is not wicked, but a realist par excellence, writes Oskanian As US President Barack Obama was outlining his strategy to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), I was finishing reading Henry Kissinger's new book "World Order". It's a Kissinger book. It's insightful and to the point. He takes a grand view of how we got here. He is dispassionate about understanding and explaining the foreign policy decisions that have been taken and that continue to miss the mark of the all-important equilibrium among great powers. This has been the focus of his writings and speeches for four decades, beginning with his first book, "A World Restored", describing such efforts in the 19th century. The bear knows seven songs and they are all about honey - I don't know if that's an Armenian saying or a Russian one, but it's true for Kissinger as well. All of his songs are about understanding Europe's path to a balance of power and th

Confronting the IS — preventing more Frankensteins

The forces of revenge, phobia and senseless bloodletting unleashed by the preposterous invasion of Iraq in 2003 continue to ravage the region and its people. An equilibrium, howsoever unjust, once knocked out, produces a whirlpool of cycles of violence that are not amenable to any quick resolution. This is especially true in a situation where the rationale for military intervention was a fabricated lie — a deception. The alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was the sole basis for launching the attack on a sovereign country and that too without any UN authorisation. Paradoxically, both George W Bush and Tony Blair, having said lies about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in the ‘deadly’ arsenal of Saddam, not only survived but were re-elected by supposedly the most ‘enlightened’ electorates of the world. The US occupation of Iraq although camouflaged under the perceived existence of WMDs was intended to destroy the biggest military machine in the Mi

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,” “

Fighting the Islamic State

Fighting the Islamic State by  Munir Akram , 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 communi

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 A

A new challenge to Muslim world

The challenge to the Muslim world’s stability presented by the Islamic State, earlier known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), has become quite serious over the past few days. Baghdadi’s organisation comprising the breakaway extremist faction of Al Qaeda has made significant gains in Iraq. Following its capture of minor oil fields and demolition of quite a few heritage monuments it has seized control of the large dam on the Tigris and the international media is now warning of the possibility of a catastrophic flood. These fears may appear exaggerated but the conflict in Syria continues, an incident has been reported on the border of Lebanon and according to an agency report, Saudi Arabia is strengthening its defences along the border with Iraq. The Arab fratricide is obviously taking a heavier toll than expected earlier. The people of Pakistan should be concerned that the slogan of caliphate has spread to India. NewAgeIslam, a well-known online forum for debate on Musl

Gaza blockade must end by Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson

‘There is no humane or legal justification for how the Israeli Defence Force is conducting this war, pulverising with bombs, missiles and artillery large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools and hospitals.’ Photograph: UPI /Landov / Barcroft Media Israelis and Palestinians are still burying loved ones killed during Gaza’s third war in six years. Since 8 July, more than 1,800 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed. Many in the world are heart-broken in the powerless certainty that and despite the latest ceasefire, it seems that more willcould die yet; that more are being killed every hour.This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move towards peace, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, opening Gaza to joint control under a consensus government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic pri