Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Islamophobia at Home at San Francisco State University

09/24/2017 07:48 pm ET Updated 2 days ago

The bigots are at it again. New posters have been popping up on college campuses in a smear campaign aimed at vilifying academics and students who are vocal on the Israeli Colonialism Project in Palestine. The most recent wave of defamatory posters appeared at San Francisco State University, U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Irvine; they are the product of David Horowitz’s “Freedom Center,” a far-right organization focused on anti-Muslim activism. Horowitz, as described in a report by the Center for American Progress is a prominent figure instrumental in demonizing Islam and spreading fear about an Islamic takeover of Western society.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Making of a Virtual Palestinian State

Friday, September 24, 2010

Somalia: The Next Afghanistan?

Somalia has not had an effective government for almost 20 years. The Somali government has struggled to gain relevancy, but it has been plagued by corruption and has been battling warlords and militant groups such as the al-Qaeda- linked al-Shabab.

Recently, al-Shabab fighters disguised in Somali military uniforms stormed a hotel favored by lawmakers in the capital Mogadishu, firing indiscriminately and killing 32 people, including six parliamentarians. The attack came after a warning was issued by al-Shabab that a new "massive war" is about to be launched against the government. The militant group wants to establish a Taliban-style Islamic Sharia law in the country.

In a similar attack in December 2009, a suicide bomber detonated himself at a university graduation ceremony about 1.5 miles from the recent hotel attack, killing 24 people, including three government ministers, medical students and doctors.

These attacks show that al-Shabab, which controls wide areas of Somalia, can penetrate even the few blocks of the capital under the control of the government and African Union troops. The situation is reminiscent of Afghanistan before the entire country was overrun by the Taliban.

Is Somalia the next Afghanistan?

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole Eid

Today, 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe celebrate Eid al-Fiter, a three-day holiday marking the end of Ramadan, however; one renegade pastor of a church, Rev. Terry Jones, with fewer than 50 members has cast a shadow on their festivities. For the past several weeks, the media has treated us to live theater of the absurd by amplifying a statement made by an unknown preacher from Gainesville, Florida proposing to burn Qurans on the ninth anniversary of 9/11.

Jones has garnered worldwide news media attention these past few days and become an overnight influence on American foreign policy and public image abroad, even receiving a call from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and many pleas from world leaders and celebrities asking him not to go ahead with his plans. The President of the United States urged him to listen to "those better angels," and military leaders warned that his actions would endanger U.S. troops and give Islamic terrorists a recruiting tool.

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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Direct Talks: Five Myths

Direct talks between Palestinians and Israelis are scheduled to commence in Washington on September 2, a decade after the last real final-status talks, and nearly two years after the last direct talks. Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu will come face to face for dinner and talks in Washington as guests of President Obama after 18 months of shuttle diplomacy and indirect "proximity talks" headed by Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell.

President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan, along with Tony Blair, the special representative of the Middle East Quartet are also due to join the inaugural session in Washington.

While much hope has been placed on these talks culminating in an agreement within a year, most Palestinians and Israelis remain skeptical of their success. More importantly, hopes and expectations have been inflated in some media reports, adding confusion and creating myths about what might turn up only to be yet another photo op in DC.

Read More on the Huffington Post

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pakistan: A Slow-Motion Tsunami

2010 could go down in history as the year of natural and environmental disasters. We’ve witnessed earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, wildfires and a drought in Russia, a devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and now one fifth of Pakistan is submerged under water due to floods leaving more than 20 million people without potable water, food, shelter and medicine.

The United Nations general secretary, Ban Ki-moon, called this latest disaster a "slow-motion tsunami," and appealed for swift aid.

"Make no mistake, this is a global disaster," Ban said at the UN general assembly. "Pakistan is facing a slow-motion tsunami. Its destructive powers will accumulate and grow with time," he warned.

Relief agencies say the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Pakistan is greater than this year's earthquake in Haiti; however, relief for Pakistan may be a long time coming.

According to a CBS news report, sixteen days after the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, aid commitments totaled $1.4 billion. Sixteen days after Pakistan's floods began, promises added up to just $200 million.

Yet despite the heart-wrenching television images

broadcast across the globe showing massive destruction and enormous human suffering, the world has been slow to react to calls for aid. Why has Pakistan been forsaken?

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Iraq: Invading Is Easier Than Leaving

There are remarkably few positive things to say about Iraq today. The country seems to be in perpetual upheaval since the U.S. invasion in 2003. Dozens of people were killed across Iraq just days ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan, and more will probably lose their lives in the coming few days when insurgents typically step up their attacks. Yet the Obama administration has recently announced that the U.S. is "on target to end the combat mission." The U.S. government plans to withdraw its combat troops by the end of August and to remove all troops by the end of 2011.

But Iraq's most senior military officer, Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari, said that his forces, particularly the air force, were not ready to take over, cautioning that his security forces will not be able to secure the country until 2020.

The country has been facing many domestic challenges, such as a period of Sunni Arab insurgency, bloody attacks by al-Qaeda, confrontations with al-Sadr militias, and the ongoing tensions between various political factions; however, it's Iraq's vulnerability to neighboring countries that Zebari was alluding to.

"If America withdraws its forces and one of the neighboring countries causes problems, then we're going to have a problem," Zebari said.


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Obama Must Bring Back That Magic to the Middle East

Will it be a strike against Iran by the U.S. and or Israel? Will there be political upheaval in Egypt after Mubarak's reign? And will Israel invade Lebanon or Gaza? These are some of the questions that can be heard on the streets of Cairo, Amman, and Beirut.

2010 is far from over, yet we have witnessed a series of close encounters in the Middle East that created major tensions and pushed everyone to the edge: a war on the Yemeni Saudi border, rapid deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey over the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, skirmishes between Israel and Lebanon over the cutting of a tree, and the looming prospect of an attack on Iran to mention a few. But what's really troubling is how fast attitudes have changed towards President Obama from a year ago; specifically in the period after newly-elected Barack Obama delivered his "New Beginning" speech to the Arab and Muslim worlds from a podium at the University of Cairo in Egypt.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

How Gilad Shalit Will Save Netanyahu

Mark my words, Gilad Shalit is coming home. He will soon be set free but not because of German mediations or the thousands of appeals made by his parents and their supporters. He's coming home because Bibi needs Gilad more than Gilad needs him.

In a television address aimed at countering public pressure for the government to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu, said that "Israel is willing to pay a heavy price for the release of Shalit, but not at any price."

The man with the "three no(s) : no withdrawal from the Golan Heights, no discussion of the case of Jerusalem, no negotiations under any preconditions," finds himself in a position to reluctantly say yes to negotiations with Hamas, a "terrorist' organization in his book, an entity he was keen to topple from day one.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

Why Turkey Is Looking East

First came the clash at Davos in January 2009, when Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked off the stage after an angry exchange with the Israeli president, Shimon Peres during a panel discussion on Gaza at the World Economic Forum.

Then came the surprise uranium deal with Tehran, undermining Western pressure on Iran to come clean about its nuclear program, followed by the Israeli assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which sailed under Turkish flags, sending shockwaves throughout the world. Most recently, Turkey and Brazil have become the only countries that voted against UN sanctions to impede Iran's progress toward nuclear weapons capabilities.

More on the Huffington Post

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Israel: Hasbara, Lies, and Videotape

As thousands of outraged demonstrators poured into the streets of Ankara and several capitals across the globe in the aftermath of Israel's bloody attack on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip early Monday, an Israeli sergeant stood in front of reporters claiming that the activists on board "were armed with knives, scissors, pepper spray and guns." He said he was armed only with a paintball rifle.

"It was a civilian paintball gun that any 12-year-old can play with," he said; yet, at least nine activists were killed, including a 19-year-old American who was shot in the head four times, and scores were injured.


Friday, May 28, 2010

The War on Islam Is Over, But...

In a clear break from former president George Bush's two national security strategies issued in 2002 and 2006 which endorsed unilateral military action and spoke of the threat posed by "Islamic extremism," President Obama has unveiled a new national security strategy which calls for more global engagement and aims to downplay fears that the US is "at war" with Islam.

President Obama also expressed his desire to break away from the unilateral military approach of "either you are with us or against us" established in the wake of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks.

Read more on the Huffington Post

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Russians Are Coming

Israel expressed "deep disappointment" Thursday over a meeting the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held this week in Syria with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, saying the organization must play a role in peace efforts.

Calling Hamas "a terror organization in every way," Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it expected Russia to stand by Israel in its struggle against Hamas.

"Hamas is a terror organization whose declared goal is the destruction of the state of Israel...Hamas is responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians, among them immigrants from the Soviet Union and also Russian citizens."

Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations, make up a quartet of Middle East mediators. The U.S., EU and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group. Russia insists that Hamas should not be isolated.

Read more on the Huffington Post

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mubarak's War on Islamists

On Wednesday, an Egyptian court convicted 26 men of spying for Hezbollah and plotting attacks on Egyptian soil on behalf of the Lebanese militant group.

The men, including Lebanese, Egyptians, Palestinians, and one Sudanese, received sentences ranging from six months to life in prison.

Hezbollah’s leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, has strongly criticized the Egyptian courts for jailing the men accused of working for his organization. He said the judgment by the Security Court in Cairo was "unjust and politicized."

Amnesty International on Thursday called for a retrial of 26 defendants, criticizing the use of an emergency court.

"These men should be retried by an ordinary court which gives them a chance of getting a fair trial," said the London-based rights watchdog.

Hezbollah’s differences with Egypt hit a pinnacle during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Egypt’s decision to keep the Rafah exits from Gaza sealed infuriated Nasrallah, who, on December 28, 2008, called for the Egyptian people to help the besieged Gazans and called on the Egyptian government to open the Rafah border crossing.

"Oh Egyptian official, unless you open the Rafah border crossing, unless you help your brethren in Gaza, you will be accomplices to the crime, accomplices to the killing, accomplices to the siege, and accomplices in generating the Palestinian catastrophe," he said in a televised speech.

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