While members of the UN Security Council were preparing to meet in London on February 26 to discuss what further steps they could take against Iran after the expiry of the UN’s illegal demand for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, Western diplomats in Vienna revealed on February 22 that US intelligence about Iran’s nuclear facilities had turned out to be false.
Although US and Iraqi officials talked up the successes of the new Baghdad security plan implemented in early February, events on the ground suggest little has changed. Speaking to the media, officials said that the numbers of deaths in the capital dropped by up to 80 percent in the first five days of the plan.
Was it a coincidence that Israel suddenly started unscheduled demolition work at the Haram al-Sharif in al-Quds, launching protests across occupied Palestine, just as Fatah and Hamas leaders were on the verge of a landmark power-sharing agreement in Makkah? Probably not, for the Makkah Agreement signed on February 8 marks the failure of the US and Israel’s strategy of forcing Hamas to relinquish the mandate to lead the Palestinian people that Hamas won in Palestine’s parliamentary elections in January last year.
There is probably no government in the world that has done greater harm and damage to the Muslims of the world than the one that presents itself as the Guardians of Makkah and Madinah. Yet much that is commonplace about this regime among those familiar with the Saudi government is little known elsewhere because people hesitate to say it in public.
Muslims struggling for peace and justice will continue to face many challenges, but perhaps none more difficult than the propaganda against them in the West. Even as the lies spun by the Western media, in cooperation with their governments, about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in 2002-2003 have been exposed, more lies are churned out against Iran
Political commentators observing developments in the Muslim world have a tendency to project their own fears and prejudices onto the Ummah. This is particularly true of Westerners who like to speak about the “moderate” majority of Muslims -- ie. those who are not anti-American, and welcome the US’s civilizing and democratizing mission against “Islamic extremism”.
As the conflict in Aceh recedes into the past, another part of Muslim southeast Asia has emerged as a conflict zone, as if to replace the ‘vacuum' created by the successful peace accord between GAM and Jakarta. The Muslim-majority provinces in southern Thailand, which border with Malaysia, have been the scene of unprecedented casualties in recent months, pushing the death toll to 2,000, all killed in circumstances that have yet to be explained in a plausible manner.
One has to look to Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister of Malaysia, for a slap to the Americans once in a while. Many have dismissed him as suffering from “former president syndrome”: ex-rulers indulge in rhetoric and tell others what they themselves should do were they still in power. But in the case of Mahathir, one thing many of his enemies and friends agree on is that the man has a lot of stamina for putting up a good fight.
A revolt which had been smouldering in the rugged mountains of northern Yemen for nearly three years has flared up again in the last few weeks. Hundreds of government troops, Zaidi Shi’as and civilians have died in clashes since early January; rebels led by Abd al-Malik al-Huthi have ignored a series of ultimatums that the government issued to the effect that they should disarm and surrender or be “rooted out.”
Whenever the issue of political and civil rights in the US comes up, we should remember first and foremost the case of Sami al-Arian. The Palestinian former professor of computer science remains in a federal prison in Florida despite having completed the 57-month sentence he was given in May last year (which included time already served in prison).
Pakistan turns 60 this year, yet there are few signs of the kind of maturity one would expect of a polity of such age. Its political elites continue to behave like juvenile delinquents and the military, in power for more than seven years in its latest turn at the helm of affairs, has clearly failed in the one area that should have been its strongest point: law and order.
For some time Sudan has been under great pressure from the UN and the ‘international community’ (led by the US) to grant independence, not merely self-rule, to its constituent regions, such as Darfur. The pressure has already forced Khartoum to grant Southern Sudan self-rule and the right to choose between full independence and membership of an federal Sudanese state, and has induced the rebel groups in Darfur to abandon the peace agreements they signed with Khartoum
The weak and unrepresentative TFG (transitional federal government) – installed after the expulsion of the popular Islamic Courts Union in December – and the Ethiopian troops who helped install it and are protecting it have failed to stem the growing violence in Somalia. The clashes between them and their opponents in recent weeks show clearly that TFG and the Ethiopians have no control over events.
The zionist state of Israel has existed in Palestine for nearly 60 years - more than the lifetimes of most Muslims. It is treated as an integral and permanent part of the world map in the hegemonic discourse of the modern West, and all too often by many Muslims as well. A. K. KURTHA reminds us of the Islamic obligation to defeat zionism.
As Muslims around the world rallied in defence of the Haram in al-Quds, FAHAD ANSARI was concerned by some of the attitudes he found during a protest in London.
In the sixty years since the creation of Israel in 1947, Palestinians have repeatedly had to defend the Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem against threats to it. The latest occasion was last month, when Israeli authorities demolished a ramp leading to the Meghribi gate in the compound’s western wall. RAJNAARA AKHTAR, of Friends of Al-Aqsa, explains the reasons for the Palestinians’ fears.
Muslims in America are living under increasing pressure because of the atmosphere created by the political establishment and media since September 2001. Zionist and other interest groups have joined in, but some Muslims are fighting back. TAHIR MAHMOUD reports.
It was as long ago as 1999 that NATO launched air attacks on Serbia, ostensibly to end the ‘ethnic cleansing' of Kosovan Albanians, and the UN Security Council turned Kosova into a protectorate of the UN, with six countries – America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia – acting as the ‘contact group'. Yet the UN is still administering the province, and NATO troops (about 17,000 of them) remain in place to preserve a grudging peace between the Albanian Kosovars and the remaining Serb minority.