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Total number of comments: 27 (since 2013-11-28 15:54:49)


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  • Saudi King seeks Recognition for letting Women Drive, a basic right
    • The problem is the tendency of giving social and religious concessions to the West in order to deflect more meaningful demands for accountability and representation,

      Take Egypt and Syria as examples, socially/religiously quiet liberal for many decades, still corrupt dictatorships.

  • Is Kerry Right? Are Freemen of Syria and Army of Islam Radical Terrorists?
    • The reason Turkey and Saudi Arabia and co. back these groups is because they are, among others, the dominant rebel groups on the ground, and have popular support in the areas they hold. They are also of the Sunni majority and are against the Assad regime and the expansion of Iranian influence, and are not hostile toward other countries in the region.

      They have also shown a relatively moderate tone and a willingness to cooperate with local and international powers.

      Hence, although their ideology is not what the US and yourself would prefer, these groups are in such a position that any practical or meaningful stance against the Assad regime requires supporting, or at least, not alienating them, let alone dehumanizing them and branding them as terrorists as the Assad regime does.

      I think you should be less harsh on US policy: it has tried to create alternative secular Sunni Arab groups that could rival these groups but has so far failed. It is stuck in an icky position that has prolonged the war and cost thousands of lives.

  • How ISIL's attacks on Saudi Arabia aimed at Undermining the Monarchy's Legitimacy
    • Your source for the percentage of Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia?

      As a trend within Sunnism (not quite as distinct to be considered a "branch" within "Islam") and as other Sunni trends in Saudi Arabia do not have visible distinct rituals or popularly distinct opinions = I am quite interested in knowing how this estimation was reached and based on what criteria?

      Sufism I could understand, but hardly all Sunnis are Sufis.

  • Turkey-Russia Tensions Spike as Russia moves into Northern Syria
    • It seems that you are keen to stress whenever possible that al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front is a part of the rebel Army of Conquest coalition.

      However, I find the way you cast such an allegiance as if al-Nusra is the de facto leader of such a coalition or as if the rest of the rebel groups of the coalition are in conformity with al-Qaeda strategically or ideologically = misleading.

      Such a presentation downplays the clear ideological and practical differences of the member rebel groups as well as the tactical and pragmatic nature of such a coalition (prioritizing the short term goal of defeating a criminal and inhumane regime over long term ideological differences) as indicated by the disagreements between the coalition and al-Nusra which led al-Nusra in one instance to threaten to withdraw from the coalition.

      I find it unfair and impractical to impose our ideological differences in absolute terms on groups' alliances in such war settings. I.e. You cannot ally with al-Qaeda in any setting and for any purpose, tactical or otherwise, or else you are terrorists like them. :/

  • The Fall of Mosul and the False Promises of Modern History
    • I am not too comfortable about the claim that those who took Mosul consist primarily of the ISIL. I have seen different groups issuing statements taking credit and responsibility for the seizure including some sort of Military Council. It is clear that local tribes are involved as well, as there is genuine dissent towards the sectarian policies of the government in Baghdad.
      Also, I find blaming terrorists in general and the ISIL in particular too convenient for the sectarian president Al-Maliki, his Iranian backers, and US interests as well.

  • Pot and Partying: Top Ten Signs the Tsarnaev Brothers Weren't Pious Muslims
    • All probably true, but unfortunately what remains in public conscience is the fact that they are Muslim.
      It is very vexing when individuals make stupid moves that serve nothing but mar a fifth of the world's population and make their lives harder, especially where they are minorities.

  • Jesus and Muhammad and the Question of the State
    • @Taalay Just a small comment:
      Stoning adulterers (i.e. married people who have sex outside of marriage) is not a disputed matter among acknowledged Sunni scholars. It is in fact a matter of consensus (ijma') which is, as I hope you know, considered the most compelling means of establishing a ruling in Islamic jurisprudence. It is not a novelty of "those terrible fundamentalists", its not even a majority opinion, it is a consensus.

      And as is required of an Ijma' it is, based on authentic revelation (Quran or Hadith -the authenticity of which you were defending), in this case a Hadith in Bukhari and Muslim (the strongest type of authenticity). It does not contradict the Quran as the Quran refers a general ruling encompassing both married and unmarried individuals. The Hadith provides a specific ruling for married individuals, and as is well established in Islamic principles of jurisprudence, a specific statement specifies a general statement.

  • Top Ten Threats to the Legitimacy of Egypt's new Constitution
    • You seem to have managed to sum the main arguments of Egyptian seculars and liberals, but do allow to follow up on a number of points.

      1. The specific composition and precise dominance Islamists had in the constituent assembly remains vague, and is mysteriously often avoided being mentioned.
      The liberals, leftists, Christians and centrists who did withdraw near the end (i.e. not all of them did) had participated until then in making the constitution, and as far as can be seen their contribution remains included.
      Hence I do not believe one can call it the "Brotherhood's" constitution.

      5. That people from outside the judiciary participated in the supervision of the referendum remains an unfounded claim. And as far as I heard it has been denied by the judiciary (said they had 4000 judges on reserve). Here's the judge in charge answering to such claims link to

      8. And one really should make sure about these attacks, who they are (often off-handedly) attributed to, and how genuine they are. Those accused Salafis have officially denied being involved in Saturday's attacks.
      Now it is being said the Wafd itself was involved (see link to
      Point is, off-hand claims are easy to make, and in this politically charged climate one has to confirm.

      10. That remains a subjective matter doesn't it? Didn't France's 1946 constitution pass with a 53% margin?

  • Egyptian Left/Liberals Confront Pres. Morsi with Rallies, Demos in 8 Provinces
    • "You are tragically mistaken, there is no such thing as temporary authoritarianism in a state with no democratic infrastructure or traditions."

      Ideally, yes. But the ideal cannot always be applied in the immediate reality. And when reality shows a regime-leftover Constitutional Court actively dissolving any of those democratic institutions and engaging in blatant politics then one might have to consider a temporary lesser-evil.

      "Your insinuation that the election produced a mandate for any sort of Islamic State is not supportable. Many people voted for the MB as the lesser of two evils. The MB overwhelmed fragmented, disorganized political opposition."

      Actually it is, if you've been following opinion polls on Egypt, the overwhelming Islamist victory in the parliamentarian elections (who weren't exactly hiding their advocacy of a more Islamic state) and the virtual consensus in Egypt on the necessity of applying Islamic Law/Sharia (including liberals and leftists. It is that pervasive in Egyptian society that claiming otherwise means political suicide, even though they might hide it when addressing Western media).

      And you forget that there are Islamists other than the MB as well. If you remember, while the MB had some 45 percent in the last parliament, Islamists collectively had near 75 percent.

      So yes, I do believe that such a claim is supportable.

      And yes, one cannot assert with 100% definiteness that a majority supports Morsi's decrees, but one can make a good guess based on the numerous polls I have mentioned, ranging from 90% support to 50 something.
      One could also allude to the relatively limited number of protestors when compared to the masses that Tahrir bulged with on Friday two weeks ago on a pressure for more Sharia in the constitution, and that was without the participation of the MB and Nour party (who comprised together some 70% of the previous parliament).

      And yes, respecting -and protecting- nascent democratic institutions is important. That is why we have the immunity from dissolution given by the decrees to the indirectly-elected Constitutional Assembly and the elected upper house of parliament, as well as the elected presidential institution from an imminent and highly expected dissolution ruling from the unelected Mubarak-appointed Constitutional Court, which is on a role when it comes to "trashing nascent democratic institutions".

    • On the other hand however, polls continue to show large support for the presidential decrees, even in leftist and liberal pages (e.g. Kulluna Khaled Said, Alyoum Alsabi', etc.).

      What I'm trying to say is that you are not presenting an accurate picture on the scope of support/opposition these decrees have.

      People are fed up with the constant obstruction the Mubarak-appointed Supreme Constitutional Court has become to the transition process and its blatant bias against any form of Islamist dominance, even if it came through transparent elections (see Constitutional Judge Tahani Aljabali's interview with the New York Times before the dissolution of the lower house of the Parliament in which she stated Islamist dominance as the reason behind its dissolution).

      People are fed up with the liberal and leftist politician's constant patronizing attitude and their threatning of the majority by insisting on things going their way (in the constitution or otherwise) or else seeking to obsruct and bring down the whole transitional process.

      It is for these such reasons that the majority of the people are supportive of such decrees: they've had enough and they want to see the end if it.

      That the state might have an Islamist tinge is not something that worries them, sir, it is actually for that very reason that the majority had elected them!

      Egyptian liberal politicians must re-learn democracy, must learn to respect the will of the majority, and must learn to compromise so that the country can move forward.

      Again it is for such reasons that the majority of the people are willing to accept these temporary decrees until the state's constitution and institutions are reinstated.

      Please let this other point of view be heard.

  • Islamic Shariah & Todd Akin/ Paul Ryan on Abortion & Legitimate Rape
    • Actually, I find that Salafis do not necessarily opt for the stricter interpretation, but rather on the methodology through which an interpretation is reached.

      Hence one finds that they vary in the tolerence or strictness of their interpretations, and are not necessarily always less tolerant than other Muslim traditions.

  • Top Ten Catholic Teachings Santorum Rejects while Obsessing about Birth Control
    • You know, i'm not trying to be with or against anybody here, but I don't know if it is right to consider all catholic church stances on policies as "teachings of the catholic faith" that catholics are necessarily obliged to adhere to.

  • Béji: "We are all Tunisian Jews"
    • I cannot help thinking that they meant israelies, not Tunisian Jews. "Jews" and "israelis" might often be used interchangebly in the Arab world.

      However, calling for death to Jews rarely is ever intended or percieved as a literal call for a mass killing of every Jew anywhere; but rather calling to fight -not mass kill- Israelis in Palestine. Such a stance has always been popular in the Middle East. Their hostility towards Israel is well heard of.

  • Elbaradei Quits Egyptian Presidential Race
    • Or maybe he realized that that a population that elected such a majority of Islamists would unlikely elect him for president?

      Just a thought.

  • Theocratic Dominance of the New Egypt may be Exaggerated
    • Told you not to underestimate the Salafis' influence didn't I?

      And if their influence is larger in rural areas, as I recall you have mentioned, then maybe you shouldn't bet too hard on their votes decreasing in the coming rounds.

      And please, while lefitists might have stimulated it, all colors of egyptians joined in under the common goal of ousting Mubarak. It does not give them a "right" to shape the regime alone afterwards, even if their efforts in the revolution no doubt deserve gratitude.

  • Muslim Brotherhood and Liberals Confront Military Rule in Egypt
    • What's the problem with refusing imposed constitutional guidelines, whatever it is the reason for those refusing it, and disregarding whether it champions secularism or not?

      This reflects a clear distrust in the choice of the people -the essence of democracy- and confiscating their right to express their will in the constitution through their chosen representatives, whoever they may choose.

      This is in no way a healthy foundation for a new state. This brews a new revolution.

  • Muslim Brotherhood Rebukes Erdogan for Advocacy of Secularism
  • Iraq declines to Cut Syria Off
    • I think the US basically handed over Iraq to Iran.

      It shouldn't be expecting the Iraqi government to be much complying with its policies or ideals, and I think the US knows quite well this mess it has created.

  • Top Developments in the Arab Spring this Weekend
    • Hmmm...
      Dr. Safwat Hijazi says that the only party that entered into an agreement regarding common goals was the Muslim Brotherhood, which largely abided, as you have mentioned...

  • US Should Move Navy Base from Bahrain
    • You know, the Hanbali school is actually one of the four Sunni schools; you know: Hanahfi, Shafiee, Maliki, Hanbali?

      Wahhabism, I believe, is not actually, in the strict sense, a "school", but more of a methodology, and can be associated with/exist in the other sunni schools as well.

  • Egypt: I ask Myself Why
    • Simple my friend,

      It is that the US does not -and does not appear to ever have- truly viewed a democratic, or more accurately, a truly represented Middle East as in its interest; nor have Britain and France before them apparently.

      To the US, de facto dictatorships have proven to be the best tools to best exploit its interest in that region. Pro-US dictatorships of course. If not, do your best to install one (see Iraq).

  • Zewail's 4 point Plan for Egypt
    • That would mean risking immediate loss of popular Egyptian support to himself. Egyptians are quite religious.

  • Ala. Governor Apologizes to Muslims, Hindus, Jews
    • You know, I don't think you really have to define everyone in your country as your brothers and sisters.

      That they are citizens equal under the law suffices. To reach the degree of "brotherhood" that is between people of the same faith is, I believe, quite unnecessary, and might spark unnecessary "tensions".

  • New Wikileaks: US Knew Tunisian Gov. Rotten Corrupt, Supported Ben Ali Anyway
    • You just noticed, professor, that the US supports Arab dictatorships fully knowing their despotism and corruption?

      It doesn't matter to them, as long as they keep the "fundamentalist", "extremist", "terrorist", "radical" Islamists at bay. Notice how the US often worries democracy would bring Islamists; is that not an acknowledgment of their popularity? Isn't that what democracy is all about? The choice of the people? The rule of the people?

      Let them choose then; or shut the spreading democracy shit.

  • Cardinal Ratzinger Moderated Opposition to Turkey Joining Europe on Becoming Pope: Wikileaks
    • Concentrate Juan!
      I think you're letting your 'predispositions' get the best of you.

      I should think Pope Benedict does not wish to compromise the image of neutrality he is seeking to promote for the Church, so as to gain greater freedom in maneuvering to revive the Church's influence world wide.

      Opinions of people of his character do not change dramatically like that.
      I have no doubt he is no less opposed to Turkey joining EU now as he was before becoming a Pope; but he probably sees sufficient opposition in the EU to take the gamble.

  • Can 'Desperate Housewives' Defeat al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia? Wikileaks
    • You, my friend, are a shrewd man.

      Though "moderating influences" do have an effect -to an extent.

  • 149 Alleged Terrorists arrested in Saudi Arabia
    • In my opinion, understanding the Saudi government's actions as "Wahhabi" actions is a grave mistake.
      "Wahhabism" is a religious movement that mainly emphasizes the return to the roots of Islam, and, as far as I know, do not criticize except what they deem as deviation from what Islamic sources indicate. They do not consider other Muslims as non-Muslims at all, they simply disagree with what they see as mistakes. Such a claim (ahmad) needs sufficient backing.

      The Saudi government, although allied with the "Wahhabi" movement, does not represent changes in "Wahhabi" ideology, it represents government politics; though they do often take them into consideration.

      Other sects "concentrated in Iran", it would be interesting to note, actually do "excommunicate" all other Muslims who do not believe in the infidelity of 99% of the Prophet Mohammad's companions (which includes around 90% of Muslims). Isn't that right ahmad?

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