These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 27, 2011.
Sunday, 27 March 2011
Nouri al-Maliki states the obvious
While some try to convince us that the Saudi intervention in Bahrain is really no big deal, that it's just families helping families (and how bad could that be?), Nouri al-Maliki offers another point of view. The Shi'ite point of view. From Gulf Times in Qatar:
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has warned that the “intervention” in Bahrain by the kingdom’s neighbours risked a sectarian war in the region.
In an interview with the BBC television’s Arabic service aired late Friday, Maliki said a Shia-led revolt in Bahrain was different from other uprisings in the Arab world.
“The issue in Bahrain is different from Libya and Egypt, where there is no religious issue. In Bahrain, it has become a Shia-Sunni issue with the entrance of forces from Sunni Arab countries,” Maliki said.
"...where there is no religious issue..." translates to "Sunnis are fighting and killing Sunnis". Shi'ites are not being killed, therefore Libya and Egypt do not generate the same level of concern for al-Maliki. We know that the Coptics in Egypt would disagree that there is "no religious issue" in Egypt's uprising, but that also of little concern to al-Maliki.
Earlier this month Bahrain, backed by forces from GCC states, cracked down on weeks of Shia-led protests in the kingdom.
“In addition to there being a Sunni government in Bahrain, this has become like a Sunni mobilisation against the Shias,” said Maliki, who earlier this month criticised the crackdown and military intervention.
“Supporting one party against another may have a snowball effect,” Maliki warned. “The region could be drawn into a sectarian war and we do not want to inflame sectarianism in the region,” he said.
As Hugh said almost a month ago, and as Maliki confirms, what is happening in Bahrain is more important than what is happening in Libya. And what is happening in Lebanon is more important than what is happening in Egypt. A jasmine spring revolution is not dawning, something far more ominous is dawning.
Libyan woman is brutally silenced after accusing Gaddafi's forces of rape
Although not as important geo-Islamically as Bahrain, Libya still has some instructive lessons for the kuffar. By Ian Black for the Guardian:
It was just another breakfast time at Tripoli's smart Rixos Al Nasr hotel, sleepy foreign journalists helping themselves to cereals, rolls and terrible coffee in the restaurant, looking out over a neat garden unusual in the dour capital city.
But the Groundhog Day conversations – more overnight coalition air strikes against Muammar Gaddafi's forces, rebel advances in the east, how to escape the minders – were suddenly interrupted when a distraught woman burst in to describe how she had been repeatedly raped by government militiamen.
Iman al-Obeidi was quickly manhandled and arrested by security officials – an extraordinary spectacle for the journalists staying in the luxurious hotel-cum-media centre, hemmed in by severe restrictions on their movements and fed barely credible information.
The scene – filmed by several of those present – unfolded when Obeidi entered the Ocaliptus dining room and lifted up her abaya (dress) to show a slash and bruises on her right leg. "Look what Gaddafi's men have done to me," she screamed. "Look what they did, they violated my honour."
Distraught and weeping, she was surrounded by reporters and cameramen. Libyan minders pushed and lashed out at the journalists, one of them drawing a gun, another smashing a CNN camera. Two waitresses grabbed knives and threatened Obeidi, calling her "a traitor to Gaddafi".
Obeidi said she had been arrested at a checkpoint in the capital because she is from Benghazi, stronghold of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion in the east. "They swore at me and they filmed me. I was alone. There was whisky. I was tied up. They peed on me." She said she had been raped by 15 men and held for two days.
Charles Clover of the Financial Times, who tried to protect her, was pushed, thrown to the floor and kicked, and Channel 4 correspondent Jonathan Miller was punched.
Obeidi was frogmarched, struggling, into the lobby and driven away, shouting: "They say they are taking me to hospital but they are taking me to jail." Minders again tried to stop journalists taking pictures. It was impossible to verify her account. Musa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said he had been told Obeidi, apparently in her 30s, was drunk and suffered from "mental problems".
The incident made a powerful impression on journalists who have heard of, and occasionally seen, brutality but are subject to stringent controls to prevent them reporting independently and have a frustrating sense of being manipulated for crude propaganda purposes by the authorities.
"There was a desperate sense of our failure to prevent the thugs taking her away," C4's Miller said afterwards. "There was nothing more that we could have done as we were overtly threatened by considerable physical force."
An American TV cameraman said: "I think she probably was raped, otherwise I can't see her having the courage to put herself at such risk to let us know what the regime is doing. We see the fear in people all the time. But this is the most blatant example of the vicious way the regime treats the Libyan people."
Here are two videos showing different portions of the incident:
After having their comfortable breakfast interrupted by this woman's horrible plight, and after the assault on CBS reporter Lara Logan in Egypt's Tahrir Square, how many of these journalists will continue to endeavour to paint Islamic societies as peaceful and tolerant? How many of these reporters and how many of their audience members will begin to question their assumptions about Islam and its teachings? (Was it "poverty" that made these men drag away the rape victim? Was it "lack of education"? Was it the "Israeli 'occupation' of 'Palestine'"?) As we watch the bag being forced over Iman al-Obeidi's head to try to force her to shut up, will those claims that the hijab "empowers" Muslim women ring quite so true?
Brigitte Gabriel at the Taylor County Expo Center, Abilene.
"The Obama adminstration is focused on how to run and manage our lives. They are refusing to protect us from Al-Qaeda and radical Islam. . . They (the Muslim Brotherhood ) have a 100-year plan for Islam to dominate the United States and take over the rest of the world,"
Brigitte Gabriel spoke to the Abilene 912 Project yesterday afternoon. I recommend the report of what she said in the Abilene Reporter here.
As He Did For Qaddafy, Chavez Of Arabia Sticks Up For Assad
Chavez throws support to Assad, calling him a 'humanist' and 'brother'
Venezuelan President defends his Syrian counterpart, claiming the U.S. has exaggerated the scope of security forces' crackdowns, and accusing U.S. of colonial aspirations in Mideast.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has decried recent reports condemning Syria's violent crackdowns on protests, offering Syrian President Bashar Assad his support and calling him a "humanist" and a "brother", according to a report by the Press Association.
This is not the first time the Venezuelan leader has defended an allegedly autocratic leader since the start of protests that have swept the Middle East in recent months. Anti-government protests are currently underway in Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan, in what has been dubbed the "Arab Spring."
Chavez came to the defense of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, who has come under harsh criticism for his brutal attacks on protesters, prompting an internationally backed no-fly zone operation that is currently underway. The Venezuelan leader has developed close ties with both Gadhafi and Assad over the years.
Chavez reportedly accused the United States of exaggerating the protests in Syria to justify future military intervention, similar to the air strikes currently being carried out in Libya.
"Now some supposed political protest movements have begun [in Syria], a few deaths ... and now they are accusing the president of killing his people and later the Yankees will come to bomb the people to save them," the Press Association reported Chavez saying in a televised speech.
Protests in Syria have intensified over the past week, and the human rights organization Amnesty International reported Friday that 55 Syrians have been killed since protests began.
Further deaths have been reported since, with demonstrations spreading throughout the country over the weekend. Syrian security forces reportedly conducted a midnight raid in Damascus on Friday night, arresting 200.
"How cynical is the new format the empire has invented, to generate violent conflict, generate blood in a country, to later bombard it, intervene and take over its natural resources and convert it into a colony," Chavez is quoted as saying.
Syria's administration has attempted to mollify the protesters, reportedly releasing 260 prisoners over the weekend and promising increased freedoms and better pay and benefits for state workers. But the protests have persisted, as have the brutal crackdowns.
In Bahrain, As In Egypt, Libya, Syria, The "Pro-Democracy" Protesters Always Hold Up Signs In English
Kuwait to mediate Bahrain talks
Opposition says it will set no conditions for talks but the presence of foreign troops would be a thorny issue.
The deadly crackdown against pro-democracy protesters has stunned Bahrain's majority Shias and angered Iran [AFP]
Bahrain's main Shia opposition group, Wefaq, has welcomed Kuwait's offer to mediate in talks with the Sunni al-Khalifa family-run government to end a political crisis gripping the Gulf Island kingdom, a Wefaq member has said.
Jasim Husain said on Sunday Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah had offered to mediate between the al-Khalifa ruling family and Shia opposition groups.
"We welcome the idea of bringing in an outside element," Husain told the Reuters news agency.
He said that Wefaq had no conditions for entering mediation talks but the presence of foreign troops in Bahrain would be a thorny matter in the discussions.
Wefaq and other six allies had said last week they would not enter talks offered by the crown prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa unless the government pulled troops off the streets and freed prisoners.
Husain said talks must be based on issues outlined by the crown prince before Saudi-led Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) troops entered Bahrain to quell weeks of unrest.
These include an elected government and reform of electoral districts that the opposition says were cut to ensure a Sunni majority in parliament.
Kuwait, which unlike Bahrain has a Shia minority, has sent navy vessels to Bahrain under the aegis of GCC to patrol its northern coast line.
The acceptance of talks comes more than a week after Bahrain imposed a state of emergency and drove protesters from the Pearl Roundabout, the focal point of the protests in Manama, the capital.
Dr. Abdulmonem Hresha knows first hand how Moammar Gadhafi's regime works. He says the seeds of his opposition were sown when he was age 10.
He and classmates were taken to witness the public execution of a political opponent of Gadhafi.
"They hung him up in front of thousands of small kids," Hresha said. "He did that to scare people."
Hresha, who taught physics at Tripoli University, later fled to Canada.
The prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood now lives in London, and anticipates the group could become an important player in a post-Gadhafi environment.
As in Egypt and Tunisia, the Brotherhood in Libya has been energized by the sudden upheaval sweeping the Arab world.
It says it has no organizational links with the Brotherhood elsewhere, but shares the philosophy of the pan-Arab Islamist movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s.
Largely drawn from the devout educated middle classes and university campuses in Tripoli and Benghazi, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood was founded in the mid-1950s.
Islamist opposition to the Libyan regime gathered force in the late 1980s, as part of a wider Islamic awakening or "Sahwa" in the region and in reaction to what many saw as an attempt by Gadhafi to hijack and interpret Islam for his own purposes.
While jihadists launched a brief but unsuccessful campaign to overthrow Gadhafi in the 1990s, the Brotherhood focused much of its efforts on clandestine preaching and social welfare efforts in Libya.0
In 1998, Gadhafi's security services launched a crackdown against the group that saw more than 200 members imprisoned and hundreds more forced into exile, including Hresha.
Despite years of repression, Hresha claims the Brotherhood still has thousands of members scattered across Libya, with chapters in almost every single town, including Sirte, Gadhafi's birthplace on the coast west of Tripoli.
The Islamic Association in Sweden (Islamiska Förbundet) engaged lecturers with anti-Semitic opinions at a conference in Stockholm in December, with one known for spreading myths about Jewish conspiracies and ritual killings, reported the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily.
The newspaper names, among others, Salah Sultan, an Egyptian professor who has expressed anti-Semitism in several film clips on Youtube. In one particular film, he quoted a myth which circulated in the Middle Ages of Jewish ritual murder, DN reported. Sultan has also gone on the record with claims that Jews are part of an international conspiracy trying to control the world.
After being shown the YouTube clips of the Egyptian speaking, Abdirizak Waberi, a member of parliament and former chairperson of the Islamic Association, expressed surprise. "We have invited him in good faith," he said. Waberi stressed that had the association known of the film clips, the lecturer would probably not have been invited. Yeah, right.