After months of optimism, Malaysia finally admitted last month that its negotiations over the free trade agreement (FTA) with the US are going nowhere. The Malaysian government has been shunning an infant movement which is slowly gaining momentum to oppose any FTA with Washington. With other ‘developing' countries, the Americans have listed Malaysia as their next target for an FTA, salivating at the prospect of laying hands on this economically booming southeast-Asian region.
When bands of pro-government hoodlums and thugs, armed with sticks, chains, knives and assault and sniper rifles, attacked students in and around the campus of the Beirut Arab University on January 25, Lebanon again peered into the abyss of civil war. But it backed away, mainly thanks to the rigorous exercise of self-restraint on the part of the opposition
It is not easy to resist a sense of déja vu while watching the components of the US’s new drive to curb the escalating insurgency and extreme inter-communal violence gripping Iraq fall into place. Earlier attempts to shake up the disastrous US military effort inIraq have been failures. All indications are that the new, much-touted drive, which forms the cornerstone of America’s exit strategy from Iraq, is unlikely to fare any better.
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan is to visit Pakistan this month, ostensibly to help increasing tensions between the two countries. He has his work cut out for him. Last month, Karzai had rubbished such “high profile” visits while Pakistani prime minister Shaukat Aziz was in Kabul for talks on January 6. Despite Karzai’s outburst, Aziz announced that Islamabad would increase its development aid to Afghanistan to US$350 million. He politely sidestepped Karzai’s tantrum by pointing out that both Pakistanand Afghanistan need to address their own internal problems.
Elections due to take place in Bangladesh on January 22 were cancelled abruptly on January 11. The country’s caretaker government, headed by president Iajuddin Ahmed, resigned at the same time and a new caretaker government, headed by Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, governor of the State Bank, was sworn in.w
On Friday 23 February, after the Muslim community of Britain will have prayed jumu'ah, Save Chechnya Campaign and its friends will gather at the Yalta Memorial, South Kensington, London, at 3pm to remember the quarter of a million victims of 1944 and the subsequent years spent in exile. The speakers will include Chechens, long-time activists and friends. Messages of support from around the world will be read, along with memories of the Day of Deportations of those who are now long dead.
Medical Aid & Relief for the Children of Chechnya (MARCCH) is a London-based humanitarian organisation dedicated to bringing relief to children who have been injured as a result of the conflicts in Chechnya. Their projects have included taking children to Italy to be fitted with prosthetic limbs, providing financial help to an orphanage in Chechnya, and providing syringes and vaccines to fight tuberculosis. They will shortly begin fundraising for filtration machines for hospitals in Grozny. MARCCH visit Chechnya regularly to make sure their projects are being run properly by their local contacts. HAJIRA QURESHI of Crescent International interviews Satanay Dorken, chief executive of MARCCH, who has recently returned from Chechnya.
Transforming Saddam Hussain from a monster to a martyr might seem an impossible feat; but that is what the Iraqi authorities have achieved by bungling his execution so appallingly. The haste with which the hanging was carried out on the day some Muslims were celebrating Eid al-Adha, the insulting taunts to which he was subjected, and Saddam’s composure just before his execution, captured on a cell phone and seen globally on the internet, have all turned one of the vilest creatures of the last century into a martyr for millions of people around the world.
Once again the Hajj season is back with its spiritual tidings, and again it presents a precious opportunity to the Islamic world. While many eager hearts are attracted from all over the world to attend this annual congregation, there are only a fortunate few who actually realize their dream. This is the reason for the perpetuity of this flowing spring.
Palestine: A Personal History by Karl Sabbagh. Pub: Atlantic Books, London, 2006.,Pp: 366 Hbk: £17.99 / Pbk: £9.99.
People all over the world have long been aware of the stark gap between the reality of American policy around the world, dictated by the drive to achieve “full spectrum dominance” at any cost, and the claims of its leaders to represent enlightenment and freedom for all people. One effect of the disaster in Iraq has been to make even Americans – notoriously ignorant of world affairs – aware of their leaders’ apparent disconnection from reality.
On the face of it, George W. Bush’s determination to increase the US military presence in Iraq, and his escalating political warfare against the Islamic State of Iran, despite the mounting chaos in Iraq, appear illogical to the point of madness.
A few short weeks ago, some in the Muslim world were bold enough to suggest that America’s problems in Iraq represented the beginning of the end for its hegemonic power. That may yet prove to be true; but George W. Bush’s belligerent warmongering against Iran suggests that celebrations may be premature.
It is difficult to say which is worse: nationalism or sectarianism in the Ummah. The ruling elites in the Muslim world exploit both these weaknesses to advance their own nefarious agendas. Just as nationalism is alien to the political culture of Islam, so sectarianism is the very antithesis of Muslim unity.
It is difficult to imagine the scenes on the ground in the small and remote Somali village of Hayo on January 9, when a heavily-armed American AC-130 gunship appeared in the sky and “rained gunfire” into the village.
It should have been “justice done” by Muslims but it has been turned into “the rise of sectarianism” by the zionist-imperialist masters of the world. Saddam Hussain was used by his imperialist handlers as an agent par excellence during his bloody life, exploited further in his gory death.