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Total number of comments: 347 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:52)


Showing comments 347 - 301

  • Saudi King seeks Recognition for letting Women Drive, a basic right
    • My positivity on this news about some Saudi Arabian progress was short lived when I read the other recent article from HRW on the website.

      Saudi Arabia: Official Hate Speech Targets Minorities

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  • Saudi Arabia: Official Hate Speech Targets Minorities
    • Unfortunately, this report will get buried under the story of lifting the ban against women driving in Saudi Arabia.

      Whether folks like to admit it or not about Saudi Arabia - be it it's government or people or the Wahhabi ideology it patronizes - this sort of hate and extremism gets exported to and mainstreamed amongst major Sunni populations, spawning even hardline groups and places like Pakistan become victims of it, particularly their minorities, mostly Shiites in sectarian killings and other acts of terrorism, which has been happening for decades well before 9/11.

  • Have we Won yet? Was ISIL a flash in the Pan?
    • There's been a lot of expat Pakistani Shiites, some of whom been around for decades, being systematically phased out and deported, particularly from Abu Dhabi (but I know a lot from Dubai and Sharjah as well) though there are exceptions. It's a sort of silent sectarian weeding out program that's run by the security agencies, though they did also target very conservative Pakistani Sunnis in their anti-extremist crackdown. However, there have been many non-active, non-religious Shia expats who've been removed simply because of their background. Some folks, who are lucky not to have overtly sectarian names, don't declare their true religious background, which you have to fill out in some employment forms and security clearances, because of these fears. I cannot speak of the other Shia expat communities with Iraqi, Lebanese or Iranian backgrounds (or other passport backgrounds), though I wouldn't be surprised if their numbers were reduced as well.

      Even with the numbers (like being half or more of the population in Bahrain) Shia grievances, generally did not give rise to ISIL/Al Qaeda/TTP/Al Shabab,etc level types of very extreme fundamentalists (as compared to Iranian theocrats and Hezbollah) that popped up among Sunni populations.

    • "Sunni Arab nationalism in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon is not going away any time soon, and their powerful sense of grievance will drive further tragedies in the region, and abroad."

      It's not just a Sunni Arab thing. There's the non-Arabs that flocked to Daesh, as well as the non-Arab Sunni extremists in other parts of the world, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan or parts of Africa. A good number of the Western radicals aren't of Arab origin themselves either.

  • As Trump probes move against Iran, IAEA certifies its Compliance with Nuclear Deal
    • Not sure why Haley's Indian heritage matters.

      Regardless either as a Sikh or a Methodist, the latter which helps her fit in as a Republican representative, the same way it did for Bobby Jindal, also a convert, she's not really going to care much for Iran or it's Islamic views for her politics.

      She's ideologically as American mainstream as most Republicans as far as hating on Iran and other US policies are concerned.

  • Is Israel's Netanyahu preparing for War on Iranian Special Ops in Syria?
    • Not surprisingly, the current US Trump admin is also looking for an excuse to initiate some sort of new aggression against Iran.

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      "White House 'pressuring' intelligence officials to find Iran in violation of nuclear deal"

      Not even Obama's deal, North Korea or memories of Iraq are holding them back.

  • Trump flip-flops on Afghanistan, opts for Years-long Quagmire
    • Pakistani generals consider Afghanistan their “strategic depth” with regard to India. (I don’t think they understand the concept properly; you want your strategic depth between you and the enemy, not behind you.)

      The concept actually still applies. Pakistan is genuinely paranoid of any Indian influence or action coming from behind through Afghanistan, which is basically an encirclement of sorts. They do not want to be caught fighting two fronts. And Pakistan is spiteful enough to see Afghanistan burn rather than prosper if it meant that India would benefit. It's why Pakistan liked the Taliban. They were anti-India too, sympathetic to Kashmir jihad, besides seemingly the right type of 'pious Muslims' from a familiar ethnicity, who were winners and better to work with compared to other despicable Afghan warlords. Their treatment of women or violence against other religious or ethnic minority groups were non-issues.

      Not going to judge whether it was right or wrong for any US official to condemn Pakistan, which is really more a frenemy than an ally, for harbouring Afghan and other pro-Pak Sunni Islamist militants or having an insane double-game policy all these years (though the US really should've known who they were dealing with in Pakistan and their anti-India world view and interests). Pakistan, especially it's army, really does need to be called out for it's extremist friendly policies that literally prolonged this and other conflicts, and was the cause for blowback on Pakistan's people.

      However, giving a nod to India in public to help you out with Afghanistan was a bad mistake. Not only would this signal a threat to Pakistan and justify their fears and paranoia (that includes everything like the US wants to steal our nukes), but even China would take issue, who seem to be on a collision course with both India and the US for dominance in the region.

  • Iraqi Gov't declares "mighty Triumph" over ISIL in Mosul, as Sunni Press decries Casualties
    • Not surprised by the sectarian coverage. It's probably emotionally easier to pin the crisis on abusive Shiite authorities than it is on Sunni extremists for Sunni media, and vice versa for Shia media.

      Kind of reminds me of how many Pakistanis were more focused and outraged on news about drone strikes by Western powers as compared to terrorist attacks by extremists.

  • Turkey abandons High Tech Future by Banning Teaching of Evolution
    • My brother had asked his Pakistani colleagues at a party, most of whom are doctors by profession and in the US, whether they believed in evolution. Almost all did not. Considering some of their positions included research he wondered how they could dismiss it when their profession was built on and depended on that knowledge.

      Not surprisingly a lot of Pakistanis seem to support this anti-science initiative by Turkey, besides their support for Erdogan, whose like their new Islamic Sultan that's going to bring back glory to the Muslim world for them somehow.

      I remember the Turkish Harun Yahya (otherwise known as Adnan Oktar) character who seemed to gain popularity amongst Muslim groups years earlier, including in the West, propagating anti-evolution (anti-science) beliefs and promoting an Islamic creationist narrative. Not surprisingly he was picked up by Pakistani TV personality Shahid Masood, which just mainstreamed more religious pseudo-science misinformation. The topic on evolution is now harder to teach or just skipped altogether by some teachers.

  • 4 Nations twist Qatar's arm, to close down Aljazeera
    • I'd say even if you did put the Gulf based Al-Arabiya and Al Jazeera together, you'd still wouldn't get the right news in regards to Iraq, Syria and Iran, particularly about their host countries roles with those nations. Still, despite what I thought were issues of sectarian bias, Al Jazeera is much better than most media outlets on global news, including Western outlets and you have to respect their journalists who put their lives on the line, be it in Algeria, Yemen, Iraq, even being deliberately targeted and killed by US military.

      After the Shouting in the Dark documentary by Al Jazeera about Bahrain's crackdown on the protesters there, Al Jazeera got curtailed quite a good deal by the Qatari govt.

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      Considering the recent bad press the other countries are getting, like the UAE has, I'm not surprised that censorship is one of their top demands.

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      UAE princesses guilty of servant abuse in Belgium

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      In Yemen’s secret prisons, the UAE tortures suspects — and the U.S. interrogates them

  • The Millennial's Palace Coup in Saudi Arabia: How Dangerous?
    • Given his history, I can see how most may assume an escalation through conventional military war, like he did in Yemen, however I believe if he were to indulge in aggression against Iran, it would be mostly through certain Sunni Islamist extremist militant proxies, like how Pakistan used to employ against Indian interests (which Pakistan eventually suffered blowback but learnt little from it), and how Saudi Arabia did in Afghanistan back in the 80's and does now in Syria.

      So basically continuing to tie down Iran in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, targeting respective Shia populations, while attacking Iran across borders such as Pakistan, and may include supporting other type of insurgencies like the Iranian Kurds and Sunnis in the Sistan and Baloch province.

      I'm pretty sure when they saw Daesh attack in Tehran, just like Rohrbacher, their hopes went up believing it was possible to hurt Tehran through terrorist attacks and could possibly encourage it.

      Even after 9/11, they probably will just continue to make the whole global Sunni extremist militant problem worse.

  • Habitual Labor abuser Saudi Arabia elected to UN body Promoting Workers
    • Oh wow. Labour unions are like outlawed in Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf States. And they went ahead and gave it a seat on on an international labour organization? They're like Republicans on steroids when it comes to labour rights, at least for non-citizens, and might as well promoting a form of slavery, which there is in the region. Not good for the international labour movement.

      Brings back some memory of a 2010 BBC Doha Debate on whether Dubai was a good idea. They touched on migrant workers and their treatment and you came away thinking some of the guest debaters thought it was simply business issues.

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      I'm hoping the Belgian trial of the 8 UAE princesses abusing their servants leads to some sort of reform in the Gulf, though I doubt it.

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      Thought I'd link to Alex Tizon's incredible article about his family's slave, who was with them in the Philippines and the US. Slavery must still be tackled today.
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  • Mattis overrules Trump on Qatari "terrorism," sells it $12 bn in F-15s
    • There was some resistance against the arms sale to Saudi Arabia in the senate. I wonder what they make of the Qatar deal. US arming these states seems like more trouble for the region.

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      Bipartisan Senate deal to halt $500 million arms sale to Saudi Arabia fails

      "With the war in Yemen raging, the Senate votes to approve President Trump's massive arms deal to Saudis"

  • Why Saudi Extremism, Instability is an Argument for EVs, Wind and Solar Energy
    • "Riyadh has virtually waged war on Sufism in Pakistan and Indonesia, both of which had been much more open and tolerant before they started coming under Saudi influence."

      They waged war on the Shia minorities in those respective countries as well, literally running sectarian hate programs, that not only just perpetuated bigoted propaganda but extremist violence as well. In Pakistan's case it was in the form of target killings and terrorist gun and bomb attacks, and in Indonesia it was in the form of mob violence and implementing policy in some regions to ban Shia Islam.

  • Iranian Women push back against Cleric who likened Loosely Veiled Women To Prostitutes
    • These religious hardliners sure like to fantasize about prostitutes a lot. So much for good morals.

      Some more info about the social campaign, which is an uphill battle, considering the hate and threats it attracts.
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      Why Iranian women are wearing white on Wednesdays

      "A new social media campaign against a law which forces women to wear a headscarf is gaining momentum in Iran.

      Using the hashtag #whitewednesdays, citizens have been posting pictures and videos of themselves wearing white headscarves or pieces of white clothing as symbols of protest.

      The idea is the brainchild of Masih Alinejad, founder of My Stealthy Freedom, an online movement opposed to the mandatory dress code."

  • Execution-Crazy Saudi Gov't railroads 14 Shiite Dissidents with unfair Death Penalty
    • I remember when the Saudi foreign minister claimed Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, the Shia cleric who protested against the government and asked help from the US to intervene and save him later on when he was in jail, was like Sunni Islamist terrorist Osama Bin Laden to them. Just warped.

      I guess Saudi Arabia need not worry. The US has it's back. Unfortunately it'll just create greater sectarianism in places like Iraq.

      Just read about Alternet's interesting story on exposed emails on how Saudi Arabia and UAE work the U.S. Media to push for war. The UAE’s man in Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba's relationship with Washington Post's David Ignatius (who apparently defends all things Saudi, including the beheading of dissidents like Sheikh al-Nimr), as well as state officials, such as Hilary Clinton and the Sentate Intelligence Chairman.
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  • GOP Rep. urges US Terror alliance with ISIL against Iranian civilians
    • I'm not really surprised to tell you the truth that some Republican US senator said this (though Rohrabacher is all over the place, with pro-Russian ties while hating on Iran or to wanting to see Pakistan punished and broken up, etc). I remember Rick Santorum claiming Shia Islam as a death cult not too long ago, despite the fact 9/11 and most other terrorist plots of the foreign religo-political kind in the US were carried out by Sunni radicals. It's like the entire foreign policy revolves around Israel and Saudi Arabia and the anti-Iran paradigm.

      A lot of Muslims, particularly Shia Muslims, are going to look at this and come away with the US indeed indulging in sectarianism in the region, going beyond just backing Sunni fundamentalist or sectarian states and right into so far as backing Sunni Islamist terrorism.

  • Trump's Ally: Saudi Arabia's drive for Aristocratic Hegemony in the Middle East
    • How credible do you think the story is about Qatar's media agency being hacked by Russia? That would be quite a successful conspiracy, if true...

      CNN Exclusive: US suspects Russian hackers planted fake news behind Qatar crisis
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      UAE has gone off the deep end almost. They're threatening to lock up anyone who sympathizes with Qatar for up to 15 years. They could literally disrupt Qatar's gas supplies if they want...though aren't going there yet.

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      Is this also the end of Al Jazeera? I was always aware of their biased slants and self-censorship, but still they were relatively 'independent' despite being state controlled. This might mean a more restrictive media and silencing throughout the region I think.

      And now the attack in Tehran. The Revolutionary Guards are implying it's Saudi Arabia being behind it.
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  • Qatar in the Cross-Hairs – How Bad can it Get?
    • I think media independence in those countries as a whole is going to suffer.

      Didn't realize UAE and KSA were having issues too. Incredibly hypocritical how they accuse Qatar for supporting extremist terrorism, when they've done the same.

  • London Mayor Sadiq Khan uninvites Trump as opposed to Humane British Values
    • Trump's like the biggest online troll around. And he's the president. Extremely unhelpful and clearly exploiting the attack in London. Even his remarks on not having a gun debate was blood boiling. He clearly has it in for Sadiq Khan. Too bad the UK, whether May or someone else, is still going to welcome him.

      And now Trump is taking credit for the Qatar isolation. Don't think that's going to go down well with many Arab or Muslim citizens across the region when he acknowledges US interference. Surprised there's no latest article on the current feud anywhere on the website. It's been a couple of days now.

  • US faces risks as Trump misreads the Middle East
    • "Tehran has used Shia Arab proxies to build a power base in Iraq and Lebanon but Saudi Arabia spends billions every year exporting its brand of Wahhabi Islam and bigotry towards Shias and all other religious minorities. The kingdom has, for decades, done all in its power to destroy Sufi traditions. In Europe, it funds mosques in France, Belgium and the United Kingdom where bigotry is the daily fare of preachers. The terrorists who strike European cities regularly hail from a Sunni background. The hand of Iran is nowhere to be found."

      Unfortunately, that's why I expect Sunni Islamist extremism to continue to grow globally, like in places like in Pakistan. No one is stopping it.

  • Trump's Visa Ban is about anti-Muslim Bigotry, not Security
    • Besides Saudi Arabia not included, which isn't a surprise, I'm surprised that he didn't include Afghanistan and Pakistan (not that I'm complaining), considering the San Bernardino attackers were of Pakistani origin and the Florida nightclub attacker (regardless of the fact that it wasn't a religious-political terrorist attack) was of Afghan origin, both events noted by Trump politically during his campaign.

      Maybe that would have been a too long a list of Muslim countries to ban or just a continuation of poor US foreign policy thinking, like including Iran, because of the reasons listed above by the professor.

  • Obama: End terrorism like that in New York by Destroying ISIL in Mosul, Iraq
    • International terrorism won't get snuffed out even if ISIL falls in Iraq. Perhaps there might be a decrease in recruitment and coordinated attacks instructed from there and by them, but the ideology and new hardcore militants will be around to menace populations around the globe.

      The recent New York bomber had visited Afghanistan and Pakistan, not Iraq and Syria, and may have got instructions from different organizations such as the Pak/Afghan Taliban and/or Al Qaeda, though this is speculation, as he may have very well met a relatively newly formed ISIL group there instead, though I find it unlikely.

  • In Massive Intel Error, US Kills 80 Syrian Troops, Helps ISIL Advance
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      Air strikes hit rebel-held areas of Aleppo, monitors say

      Truce maybe over.

      Also found the remark by a spokesman for the US administration expressing "regret" for the "unintentional loss of life" a bit surprising since it's Assad's Syrian Arab Army they hit, who they're opposed to.

  • The Green Current: A Superhero
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      As solar installations multiply, U.S. utility companies fight back

      Fan fantasy twist...the Green Current in his battle will find out some politicians in government are in cahoots with the evil corporation, including a trusted friend! ;-)

  • "Pigs! Crusaders!": US-Backed Fundamentalist Militias drive US Commandos out of al-Ray, Syria
    • The US does have interests. Assad is opposed to Israel (in extension against the US as well) and allied with Iran and Hezbollah. Removing him would break the Iran-Hezbollah link and threat to Israel. The US simultaneously hopes to replace him with a somewhat pro-US and Israel neutral government (how this is possible with Saudi and Turkey backed fundamentalists or not so moderate 'moderates', is anyone's guess).

  • Trump: Disarm Sec. Clinton's bodyguards: & "let's see what happens to her."
    • What a hypocritical idiot. Trump was himself targeted recently. Wonder what would have happened to him without his security being there.

  • Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Must End, Says UK Parliament Report
  • Saudi Bigot-in-Chief Declares Iranian Shiites "Not Muslim"
    • The comment starts off about both sects but then puts the onus on the Shias repeating common Sunni grievances, which is sometimes used to justify bigotry, if not violence.

      The Shia leadership do ask their followers to be respectful but at the same time do condemn personalities based on historical accounts who they don't consider as saints as Sunnis do, who tend to put all on a pedestal and praise them despite conflict and opposition amongst these characters (I would recommend reading Lesley Hazelton's 'After the Prophet' on the details).

      Asking Shias to change their views on infallibility of their Imams (which really shouldn't matter to Sunnis) is like asking Sunnis, or all Muslims, to contemplate changing their views on religious miracles with the Prophets which is part of Muslims' core beliefs. Instead of inclusiveness it sounds like as if one sect is to change their beliefs to appease the other sect.

    • While deplorable, in honesty, and this might sound like a 'they started it' comment, but Ayatollah Khamenei initiated strong language and called the Saudis 'murderous' in his complaint about the last Hajj's tragedy (yes, the Saudi investigation was shady), if the interpretation is correct.

      It's the last thing you want to do as a Shiite and bad timing when there's such great sectarian tensions now with the global Sunni population, thanks to Syria and Iraq. There was bound to be a natural strong reaction from a Saudi official, and unfortunately a lot of Sunnis will agree with what the Mufti said, Wahhabi or not.

      In regards to the the Iranian foreign minister use of 'Saudi terror masters', I think it's somewhat fair, as it's targeting the Saudi government and top officials ('masters') and their export of Wahhabism ('preach') that spawned a lot of intolerant, if not extremist, groups globally in the past. There's also the Syrian Islamist militants that the Saudis support which the Iranians consider terrorists.

  • Does this Change Everything? Russia's first strikes on Syria from Iran Airbases
    • As long as the US is allied with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel, removing Assad and cutting off Iran's link to Lebanon and Palestine will be in the US's interests, even if it means to support Al Qaeda type Islamist extremists.

  • Dear Trumpists: Khizr Khan is not 'Muslim Brotherhood' and it wouldn't matter if he Were
    • Pakistan and the Gulf states are allies and not state sponsors of terrorism...alright...don't be complaining about no Taliban or other anti-US Sunni Islamist militant extremists then.

      Anyways they're unhinged. The Birther candidate surrounded by Michelle Bachmann level of Muslim Brotherhood obsessed intellectuals are the face of the Republican party, one of two major parties of the US. What does it say about the Republican leadership and Republican supporters?

      'Is he crazy?' the media asks
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      Trump asks 'why we can't use nukes?'
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  • How Twitter robots spam critics of Saudi Arabia & Shiite Muslims
    • " that the robotic accounts are also tweeting hate speech, using derogatory and abusive language to associate Shia Muslims with violence and terrorism. This can only inflame sectarian tensions in an aleady tense region."

      This hateful sectarian propaganda by the Saudis has been running for decades and gave rise to sectarian Sunni Islamist extremists and anti-Shia bigotry in mainstream Sunni populations. Twitter just happens to be the latest tool for their broadcast.

  • Are the Muslim Khans better Americans than Donald Trump?
  • Arab Street Shocked as Saudi Delegation Visits Israel
    • Backfire how? Virtually all Arab govts will fall behind KSA. The Arab people don't matter, already preoccupied with their own Israel-Iran-US conspiracy theory due to the Syrian and Iraqi conflict.

  • Is Iran winning their Mideast Cold War with Saudi Arabia?
    • Iran is not 'winning'. Bogged down at 2 war fronts against Sunni Islamist militants, still diplomatically isolated from the West, facing economic assault from Saudi Arabia despite lifting of Western sanctions, losing Eastern influence amongst Sunni majority nations and even African nations due to Saudi maneuvering as well as watching Shiite populations in the ME losing out, and possible future internal conflict if there's anything to go by the latest news of a Saudi prince addressing Iranian rebels in France.

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  • Turkey's six foreign policy sins and the Istanbul Bombing
    • Not exactly the same, but reminds me of how Pakistan use to (perhaps still) handle extremists and militants in their backyard and the blowback that came with it.

  • Top 5 things that Make Bangladesh a natural Target for Extremists
    • Salafi, or at least, conservative religious influence had been growing in Bangladeshi society though for a while over the years. For whatever reason the govt were slow to act on attacks by Sunni extremists on minorities, such as Hindus, Ahmedis, Christians, Shias, etc.

      The govt also tried to deny, recently, that ISIL didn't have a presence and that it was local fundamentalist groups only acting out, which isn't untrue but missing context. For some reason it didn't occur to them that some of these radicals would give allegiance to ISIL and may stage a spectacular terrorist attack on their behalf.

      The trials of the Islamist leaders who were charged with war crimes during the 1971 struggle were said to be flawed by human rights groups (some which urged reconciliation, though I think it was necessary for accountability) and politically motivated (it was) which made things worse.

  • Putin's Winning Hand in Syria, as Turkey Apologizes and Obama Deals
    • Is it a stretch to suggest the thousands of deaths by sectarian and extremist militants in countries like Pakistan the Saudis helped produce since the 80's maybe?

      But yes, Al Assad is ahead and has committed genocide. While non-interventionists make some decent arguments, its unfortunate they don't recognize this reality and overlook it.

  • $206 Mn. to Hate Groups to Promote anti-Muslim Sentiment
    • The report probably should have named the mainstream Republican party as one of the hate groups. Only difference between them and the others are that they are in govt.

  • Pyrrhic Victory? As Iraq rolls back Daesh, can it stay together as a Country?
    • There are a few, if not some, Shiites, who have felt as hopeless with this corrupt Iraqi government and lack of security, who aren't militantly nationalistic and instead have separatist views due to their experience with Sunni extremist violence.

      Unfortunately things are not likely to improve even after the fall of Daesh, and see more political turmoil and sectarianism.

  • The end of the Beginning: The Fall of ISIL in Fallujah
    • Wonder what the progress is on the supposed political reforms that al-Abadi had promised.

      With the latest events in Bahrain, where the Shia opposition party has been suspended by the Sunni minority govt and activists have been arrested, I fear some of the Iraqi militias might not heed al-Abadi.

  • Al-Qaeda Speaks The Language Of Syrian Sectarianism
    • With the makeup of the population being majority Sunni and the regime being dominated by minority Alawites, and then the Shia Iranian intervention, followed by neighbouring Sunni states, the sectarian overtones were just inevitable.

      However, its not just Al Nusra peddling religious sectarianism. The Salafist allies in the opposition, who make up a large chunk and are backed by KSA and Turkey with support from the US, share the same sectarian ideological beliefs as well.

  • Iraq's Fallujah: Grand Ayatollah Sistani Calls on Shiite Forces to protect Civilians
    • "....and of a growing Salafi fundamentalism, inspired in part by the brutality of the Israeli regime toward Gaza and in part by Jordanian truckers and smugglers who had come under Saudi, Wahhabi influence."

      Probably should add, in the 90's, that it was also inspired in part by animosity against Iran since it's Shia Islamist revolution and the Iraq-Iran war, which also extended to animosity against local Iraqi Shiites.

  • Baghdad gov't paralysis made capital vulnerable to massive ISIL bombings
    • In honesty, ISIL's not only appealing to puritanical Salafists. They're hoping to appeal to as many disgruntled or already troubled radical Sunnis affected by sectarianism or view the world through a sectarian or extremist lens as possible.

  • What GOP New Yorkers just voted for: Torture, Syria Intervention, murder of innocents
    • For a second there missed the 'GOP' in the headline and thought this criticism included all New Yorkers, including the Democratic ones voting for torture, Syria intervention and killing of innocents.
      Maybe unfair, however, I actually wouldn't find that same criticism surprising against Clinton's foreign policies either (Note: torture and collective punishment has happened under Obama). But yea...nothing close to being as blunt or outrageous as Trump and says a lot about the Republican base.

  • 6 Policies Obama wants Saudi Arabia to Change
    • "But it should also be noted that there is no statistical relationship between Wahhabism and extremism (most Wahhabis are not extremists andy more than most Shiites or Sunnis are)."

      Maybe there's no stats, but every observer has pretty much concluded the relationship. Pakistan is a case in point with its Wahhabification and rise of extremism or sectarianism. Your chances are higher that you'd have an extremist condoning view following a Wahhabi or Salafi (or Pakistan's local but similar flavours) group than another. Unfortunately they've been mainstreamed and adopted amongst Pak's conservative Sunnis who may not realize it.

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  • The Bernie Sanders Miracle: American Crowd in Brooklyn Cheers Palestinian Dignity
    • Missed the debate but caught a bit of the CNN post-anlysis. Even Van Jones noted how incredibly unique Sanders was from all the other candidates on that huge point on Palestinians. Overall though the CNN analysts thought Sanders was just ok in the debate but got killed by the gun violence issue. No pun intended.

  • Michigan faculty Support Muslim Students on Campus in face of Trumpian Hate-Chalking
    • Trump pretty much made it okay to be uncivil and hate, giving a green light to the intolerant to come out.

      Good to see the community stand up against it.

  • Why Are there no Iranian Suicide Bombers? Evolving Islamic Democracy Matters!
    • Maybe its also a different sect interpretation or belief, where Iranians are mostly Shiite, with comparatively narrow clerical following, which forms a barrier to this specific kind of extremist violence. This would also be true for non-Iranian Shiites too who don't get to enjoy an 'evolving Islamic democracy'. Sunnis are more diverse, and have many strains, therefore the extremist fringes can attract radicals from the mainstream.

      Shia militants or radicals, which are fewer globally and despite their rationalization of some illegal or extremist violence (like retribution in Iraq), have not wholeheartedly made or adopted the current ideological justifications of deliberate yet senseless blowing up of random (and not so random) civilians for their goals like some of today's extreme Sunni Islamist individuals and groups have.

  • Turkey's Erdogan exports Press crackdown to US as his guards manhandle Journalists in DC
    • This was an article from FP (who don't look at Erdogan kindly) reporting on a private event before the Brookings Institution event. Overall relations do not look good.

      "Erdogan Uses Closed-Door Meeting to Blast Obama Administration"

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  • Will Western powers Respond to HRW's demand for arms embargo on Saudi Arabia?
    • Unfortunately Western (and possibly Eastern too) media cares little about Yemen, despite possible consequences of growing extremist threat from the war and the humanitarian crisis.

      Compare the coverage on KSA and its coalition with Israel and Syria, where the latter two had major coverage on their bombardments on civil populations. All of these states ought to be tried for war crimes including their suppliers.

  • How not to talk about Muslims after a Fringe Terrorist Group attacks
    • Ted Cruz annoys me the most with his deliberate bigoted language in demonizing Islam and Muslims choosing words such as 'Islamic terrorism' or 'radical Islam', claiming its being 'PC' saying otherwise. Not surprisingly he tapped a nut like Frank Gaffney as one of his foreign policy advisors. Being 'PC' is not calling these guys out for their hate and insane views.

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  • Is Saudi Arabia's 'Islamic' Coalition against Terrorism a Paper Tiger?
    • Saudi Arabia had charged Al-Nimr, the Shia cleric who was executed and pleaded with the US for help, as a terrorist like OBL for his role in the Eastern province protests. They recently labelled the Lebanese Shia party-militant group Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

      While KSA has executed Al Qaeda type militants for terrorism, their formed coalition's agenda maybe more focused against Shia backed groups, like the Yemeni Houthis, rather than Sunni Islamist extremists (some of whom certain groups they'll probably target time to time) that make up the majority of global jihadist terrorism.

  • Hillary Clinton goes full Neocon at AIPAC, Demonizes Iran, Palestinians
    • And do you know the reason why such a proposal was rejected, and with good reason? Hint: something to do with an unfair deal in the distribution of land to population, particularly one that was heavily unfavorable to the natives who would be displaced i.e. Palestinians. Is there suppose to be an expectation on the Palestinians of accepting terrible deals?

      At least your comment got posted. Thanks for bringing great points and examples on this site labeling criticism against Israel as 'Jew-hatred'.

    • And I thought Marco Rubio's comments on being not neutral and against Palestinians publicly were surprising. Should've realized none of these open declarations bashing Trump's 'neutral' comment by these candidates should be surprising at all.

      The anti-BDS sentiments or actions isn't just a Clinton thing.
      Obama took action that undermined it and Sanders feels there's some anti-semitism driving it. That's your Democrats. At least Sanders has criticized Netanyahu and does suggest to being fair with Palestinians.

      The whole pandering to AIPAC thing reminds me of Saturday Night Live's skit on Chuck Hagel's nomination.
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  • How Bush-Cheneyism made Mideast in its Image: Wars, WOT, With us or Against Us
    • Egypt's part of the Saudi coalition in the Yemen war too, no?

      But another difference Egypt has is their view on Islamist militants in Syria (and overall), whom they don't play with like Turkey and Saudi Arabia do. A difference Turkey has with Egypt and Saudi Arabia is on their approach to the Muslim Brotherhood as well.

      Stating the obvious, Egypt, Turkey, KSA are all US allies as well.

  • 9/11: Clueless US Judge doesn't Know Shiites from al-Qaeda, finds against Iran for $10 Bn.
    • Same judge also managed to somehow find Saudi Arabia not to be responsible according to the video report.

      Years after the Iraq being state sponsors of terror blunder and not knowing the differences between Shia and Sunni, still...

  • Syria: More US Weaponry goes to al-Qaeda
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      A link to another article that was posted here about how an Albanian fighter, who now left the theater of war, saw the rebel movements' leaders as nothing more than war lords interested in territorial grabs and booty, with Al Nusra being the worst of the bunch. This explains the fight being triggered off by the mere raising of another rival's flag.

      Also it's being reported that Russia is withdrawing some or large parts of its military from Syria. Will have to see if Al Qaeda feels further emboldened.
      link to

  • Winners and Losers in 5 Years of Syrian Civil War
    • Not everyone wants Islamists in power and they've been part of the problem in the East. Iraq and Afghanistan were not revolutionary people's movements, and the new democratic Tunisia, with the help of protests, sacrifice and compromise, is a success story despite some challenges. People don't need to settle for a false choice of security under oppressive regimes. Praying alone will not bring about any change from tyranny.

    • What about Saudi Arabia? Not sure if they're winners, but for some reason I don't believe they're losers either...

  • GOP Candidates up ante, Promise 4 Major Ground Wars, murder of Innocents, Large Genitalia
    • "Rubio’s notion of a Sunni alliance against Daesh shows ignorance of the region. No Sunni state sees Daesh or ISIL as the primary threat, the way Washington does. Turkey obsesses about the Kurds. Saudi Arabia is focused on Iran and Shiites. The most effective fighters against Daesh so far have been Shiites and leftist or secular Kurds.

      Rubio can’t admit he needs the Shiites, including Iran, because his backers forbid him to make nice with Iran."

      Wasn't Obama and the Democrats also talking about a need for a Sunni coalition to tackle ISIL not too long ago? I think Sanders made the same suggestion in one of his previous debates.

      The current Obama admin can't admit, at least publicly, that they need Iran and the Shiites, including the Iraqi ones (or at least the Shia volunteer militias) either - due to US relations with KSA and Turkey or other regional/local Sunni populations, not because of just Israel.

  • Rubio's 7 Fallacies on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
    • Didn't watch the debate. This explains Rubio's earlier comment this morning, when he went after Trump in his rally, where he accused Trump of 'not being on Israel's side AGAINST the Palestinians'. Even knowing who his donor was and the overall conservative movement's beliefs, was mildly surprised he made that anti-Palestinian sentiment clear. This is supposedly the Republican establishment's choice.

  • Iraqi Shiites up in Arms, claim Saudi "Spying on behalf of ISIL/Daesh"
    • Saudi's foreign minister pretty much was quoted telling the BBC that al-Nimr, who had sought help from the US, was like Bin Laden.

  • Top 5 Ways Saudi Arabia really could fight Terrorism, & not by a Vague Coalition
    • Pakistan, at least its civilian arm, was caught off guard by the announcement that included them as part of this coalition.
      link to

      Not included in the alliance is Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Its unclear how far their definition of 'terrorism' goes. It may include against non-violent protesting groups that oppose the monarchy, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and may not include the Taliban.

      While there was the political rise of Shia Islamism and Zia sitting in power, Saudi Arabia's funding of Wahhabism (and the Mujahideen) contributed greatly to the sectarian disharmony, violence and terrorism committed by Sunni Islamist (there were local brands such as Deobandis as well) militants in Pakistan since the 80's (there was always certain bit of sectarianism in its history, but it went overdrive from then).

      On point 4, I'd include in the human rights talk along with the Muslim Brotherhood, all peaceful protesters against the state, that includes the Shiites in the north, and others such as dissenting bloggers or those accused of alleged apostasy who are whipped or about to be put under the sword in an ISIL-like way. Though don't think the latter groups' oppression is going to drive them towards terrorism.

  • Poll: Muslims actually HATE ISIL/ Daesh
    • Pakistan is the only odd one out. While those who view ISIL as favourable are comparatively small in Pakistan compared to other countries, most people there don't know what to make of ISIL.

  • Dear Saudi Arabia: Executing People for Atheism is in fact ISIL-Like; #Sosuemesaudi
    • Suing a twitter user for his apt description is not going to stop folks from criticizing the Saudi govt. This is just one unjust case. There's 50 more imminent crude executions of those convicted of terrorism in the pipeline. Some of the accused maybe innocent.
      link to

  • Saudi Arabia: Poet Sentenced to Death for Apostasy
  • Against Trump: 9/11 Muslim Candlelight vigils Sympathizing with US
    • Trump's not a mere delusional birther but an outright racist liar. Unfortunately he has a large far right-wing, not merely at the fringes, following which is scary. The hostile atmosphere is more intense since the Paris attacks, with even a few incidents showing up here in the North.

  • Did Daesh/ ISIL's Paris attacks bolster al-Assad? Spain calls him 'lesser of evils'
    • While the strikes on ISIL will increase by the new Western coalition, I think the US is still going to cooperate with the Gulf nations and Turkey to support 'moderate' (non-ISIL extremists) rebels despite Russian strikes (and don't think the Europeans are going to strike the non-ISIL extremist rebels even with the new Russian alliance. They may consider Assad the lesser of 2 evils, but that would mean butting heads with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US). Hard to see them change course...

  • What’s Wrong with Asking Muslims to Condemn Terrorism?
    • Well said about the negative stereotypes and prejudice. Its like we're expected to be perpetual condemnation machines when we've suffered from terrorism too. Its like going around asking average British folks to apologize for colonialism, or Americans to apologize for Iraq, etc...

  • Are 2,000 Gulf fighters in Syria a terrorist threat to . . . the Gulf?
    • No it's not wise. Glad somebody in Saudi Arabia has the good sense to call out and warn about the threat. Wonder what the Saudi authorities make of this preacher and press conference.

      Not sure about the Kuwaitis, but the Saudis are willing to risk it as the attacks were still concentrated on a disliked minority and not really affecting the mainstream majority's lives despite a slight embarrassment of sovereignty being violated. Apparently blowback does not figure in their and the US rationale.

  • Bush Sr. Blames Neocons for Ruining W.'s Presidency: Is he Warning Jeb?
    • Not sure if Bush Sr. is going that deep against all the Neo-cons as the Professor. Jeb! apparently still keeping in touch with a few of them, like Paul Wolfowitz, to be his national advisers.

      While absolving Bush jr., Bush Sr. makes hims sound not too bright...still a war criminal though and chose to be a Neo-con by surrounding himself with them and supporting their ways. I mean a character like John Bolton made an ambassador to the UN, showed the entire Bush regime's contempt for the UN.

  • Al-Zawahiri Calls for al-Qaeda- ISIL Axis against Russia & US
    • Al Zawahiri is appealing to a cannibalistic group for unity that demands that its leader is recognized and obeyed as a so called Caliph, who earlier took issue with the Al Qaeda leader when Al Zawahiri rebuffed al-Baghdadi's attempt of a merger (or total control) and caused the split, and have then been competing for allegiances from different global extremist groups and individuals. Can't see the reconciliation happening, no matter how desperate Daesh gets. Can only hope they stay divided and are both taken out one way or another. Unfortunately don't see that happening any time soon.

  • Senior National Security Advisers urge Obama to put Spec Ops Troops close to ISIL Front
    • Don't think Syrian Arab Sunnis will be as upset with the US as their Iraqi Sunni counterparts if the Kurds roll in Raqqa as compared to Shiites rolling into Mosul. Greater religious animosity in Iraq than there is ethnic animosity in Syria, I think at least from what I read in regards to their attitudes to different groups like Kurds compared to Shiites...

  • Syria: Is Bashar al-Assad winning the Diplomatic War? Rebels Fret
    • The West's Israel-centric reasoning as well for being against Assad also factored in.

  • Has Iran cut off Hamas? Is Hamas turning to Saudi Arabia?
    • The whole resistance against Israel thing. Iran had already a natural interest in supporting Shia Hezbollah's resistance, and wanted further to champion and take the lead as revolutionary religious guardians in the region. So they extended their support from Southern Lebanon. There's nothing bigger than the Palestinian cause next door, which they latched on to via brotherly non-sectarian (it wasn't politically as bad as it is today) Muslim ties, at the time, with Sunni Hamas, who both believed in armed struggle.

  • Turkish Tanks Shell Syrian Kurds who expelled ISIL from Zur Maghar
    • Its like Turkey and Saudi Arabia are more interested and motivated in bombing their armed and unarmed religious or ethnic opposites and populations, who seem less threatening, than in tackling militant religious extremists, who are much worse.

  • Lone Wolves and Soft Targets: Or how our Press, Politicians are being Played by ISIL
    • The French suspect has been questioned before for alleged links to Islamist extremists apparently.

      While independent, I wouldn't dismiss the global religo-political pattern, be it Western jihadists to Boko Haram to the Taliban, etc. At least these 3 countries are shook, with 2 of them, France and Tunisia, battling militancy or religious-political radicalism.

      It shouldn't matter if the Shia mosque was political or not, its another sectarian attack by Sunni extremists, this one aligned with ISIL, who are looking to cleanse rather than anything else. This supposed blowback isn't hurting the GCC as bad as their Shiite citizens.

  • Pres. Erdogan sees Syrian Kurds' advance against ISIL as "danger" to Turkey
    • "Erdogan has been mysteriously unconcerned by the rise of Daesh, and hasn’t given the US much help in rolling it back."

      Its not a mystery. Besides that Kurdish animosity, his religo-political ideological leanings makes him have affinity with even the most extremist Sunni Islamist militants in ISIL, seeing them as assets to achieve a singular objective in removing Assad from power, ignoring crimes they commit on others. Not exactly the same, but something similar to Pakistan's Afghan Taliban rationale.

  • US Air Force Absent as Daesh/ ISIL advances on North Aleppo against Sunni Rebels
    • ISIL and the regime did avoid fighting earlier but with the recent loses of Palmyra and one of the border crossings, ISIL is now confronting the regime.

  • Did the US DIA see ISIL as a strategic Ally against al-Assad in 2012?
    • Surprised at the assumption that the regime will survive.

      The Gulf states and Turkey got their nightmarish Salafist principality in ISIL.

  • Israel, fearing EU Sanctions over Apartheid, backpedals on Segregated Buses for Palestinians
    • Yariv Oppenheimer, from the campaign group Peace Now, said: "When something looks like apartheid and smells like apartheid, then it's apartheid."

      link to

  • Daesh/ ISIL blows up Shiite Mosque in Saudi Arabia, seeking Sectarian Civil War
    • The date of the attack was also deliberately chosen. It wasn't just a Friday prayer gathering but also suppose to be the day of celebrating Imam Hussain's birthday.

      I think ISIL's simply thinking to cleanse Saudi Shias, (like other Sunni extremist groups frequently do in sectarian attacks in Pakistan) while undermining Saudi govt's authority. This is new to KSA, but not unexpected given ISIL's earlier threats that they would attack Shiites. Elsewhere its been a normal occurrence like in Iraq, way before ISIL, targeting a Shiite majority by AQI who earlier instigated the sectarian war.

      With a small Shiite minority population that's already oppressed, it'll hardly be a civil war and there's no way the Saudi kingdom will pardon al-Nimr, to maintain an image that they still religiously adhere to their hardline Wahhabi beliefs and not soft on the Shias despite the recent attack in which they are condemning.

      link to

  • ISIL beheaded Dozens in Palmyra, but how Strategic is the City?
    • That maybe more of a symbolic victory, however, BBC is reporting that ISIL has seized a key Syria-Iraq border crossing too which sounds like a strategic victory.

      "Islamic State militants have seized the last Syrian government-controlled border crossing between Syria and Iraq, a Syria monitoring group says."

      "Government forces withdrew from al-Tanf - known as al-Waleed in Iraq - crossing as IS advanced, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said..."

      "The seizure of al-Tanf, in Syria's Homs province, enables IS to link up its positions in east-central Syria more directly with the ground they hold in Iraq's western Anbar province..."

      link to

  • As Palmyra Falls, Who Supports Bashar al-Assad in Syria? (Charles Glass)
    • Yes, pretty much the same way, as there were mass beheadings of Shia residents in Iraq too.

  • Obama: No Mideast NATO, but US committed to Security of Arab Gulf States
    • Great observations and report on the forum in The Nation article, Professor. One thing...were Iraqi voices, either Sunni or Shia Arab, not there?

  • Palestinians welcome Pope's Recognition of their State
  • Over 40 Ismaili Shiites shot down by Sunni Extremists in Pakistan
    • There was a guest named Shahid Qureshi on BBC World News' Global program with Matthew Amroliwala, who was from the London Post and spouted nonsense about whose behind such sectarian or terrorist attacks.

      He claimed an Iran-India nexus and the local ethnic political party MQM behind the attacks. Some of the Pakistanis in the majority still are in denial, prejudicial, delusional and hypocritical about whose behind the attacks.

  • Are the Houthis in Yemen really Iranian "Proxies"? What does that even Mean?
    • Proxy war between Saudia Arabia and Iran was how the 80's 90's sectarianism in Pakistan was described, which was true during a time of Islamist transformation in the region (Iran revolution, the Afghan mujahideen, Zia-ul-Haq, KSA, etc), with the rise of Wahhabism winning out. It has long since stopped being that and now the sectarianism is self-perpetual, emanating mostly from Sunni extremists.
      Some majority Pakistanis still hold on to that 'proxy' excuse to deny the local reality of sectarianism and rather pass the blame of the social ill and violence to higher powers who have since exited the scene.

  • Saudi Arabia as the Incredible Hulk: King Salman snubs Obama's Gulf Summit
    • Abu Dhabi is just as paranoid as Riyadh is about Iran. On the whole Gulf military expenditures have been substantial that they're emboldened enough to start ventures such as Libyan air bombings or the attack on Yemen. Still its peanuts to what the States can offer.

  • Palestinians: ""The face of a new form of racist, discriminatory Israel has been revealed"
    • Israel just gets worse and worse for the Palestinians...

      The other article that touched on Indian colonialism was a good example.

  • How Muslim-Americans can avoid being Trolled by Israel-Firsters: Look again at the Prophet's example
    • Well said with great historical examples to practice which goes hand in hand with a lecture I listened to recently that addressed this in regards to Charlie Hebdo and had the similar historical points and meaning. The Prophet endured it and showed us how to just move on. Unfortunately the gunmen made things worse by giving them undeserved attention.

      They had Robert Spencer on CNN but barely a difficult question about how they're deliberately offensive to Muslims or being hateful though did mention baiting.

  • Tom Cotton's 'Chickenhawk' Taunt at Iran FM Demeans Jeb Bush, GOP Field
    • Guy has the gall to mention the Iraq Iran war and disregard the US tyranny, treachery and terror behind a certain monster that helped kill peasants and kids.

  • Fatal Triangle: Saudi, Iran, US Tensions spike over continued Yemen Airstrikes
    • Western news in general has been lazy in describing the conflict. The Saudis not keeping their word is not surprising, neither is their ideological hate being root and exported everywhere. But to be fair, the Houthi rebels overstepped with trying to control the capital and expand.

      The US didn't get dragged in, its a choice made in supporting such allies. After everything in Egypt, Libya and Syria, the Gulf states are likely to ignore US pressure and flex their muscles. There's no winning in this for Iran who can do nothing for Yemen. There's literally a coalition of Sunni states with US backing involved in hammering the Zaidis with more enthusiasm than against extremists in ISIL.

  • Don’t Be Fooled by Saudi’s Reshuffle
    • Don't think anyone is really being fooled, even the allies, who'll cover it up with praise.

  • Iran's Khamenei weighs in on Baltimore: 'Hollywood-style Policing'
    • Where's the statistics and how many security men in Iran get convicted for wrong-doing, when there's been cases against them, only to end up blaming the victim or making up the death as an 'accident', or for committing brutality during the elections protesters and then go into propaganda and intimidation mode against the deceased or their families?

      The moral values in censorship, suppression of the general public or abuses against minorities like the Bahai? Must be Iranian movie style policing.

  • Syria: Al-Qaeda takes Jisr al-Shughur, threatening Key Port
    • Turkey's behaviour and willingness to have links with, or support, religious-political extremist militants to remove Assad, kind of highlights the ideological mindset of the current govt, no different than the sectarian sided Gulf Arab states support of the same or similar fundamentalist militants.

  • 115 Children Killed: Saudi Arabia's War on Yemen by the Numbers
    • Since the Saudis are considered 'allies' to the US they won't be questioned or scrutinized by the mainstream media, and of course, outright supported by the US govt and politicians.

  • US admits it has no Idea who it is Assassinating by Drone
    • Just to add and note, except for some of the population and views of specific targets, overall the US drone program is more unpopular with the masses in Pakistan.

    • But it was the militant kidnappers' compound, which included 2 Al Qaeda leaders. That was the intelligence and they don't take into account surrounding civilians to get to them. The only other solutions would have been boots on the ground, like done for OBL, which too is/was controversial and had its difficulty and risks, or continuous negotiations with militants who constantly threatened an Al Qaeda/ISIL spectacle if no ransom.

      It reminds me of the ethics in targeting Baitullah Mehsud. Intelligence knew his wife and child were in the vicinity, but killed them anyways. He was wanted so badly by the Pak govt and public for his atrocious bombings against civilians in Pakistan that they were willing to cross that line to kill him, and he was killed. Unfortunately the terrible Hakimullah Mehsud took over briefly, but too also got killed by US drone to most of the Pak public's glee, except for some sympathizers.

  • Blood Money? After Bombing Yemen, Saudis offer $274 mn. in Humanitarian Aid
    • The indiscriminate bombing, and then throwing of money, shouldn't come as any surprise...none of these countries are champions of human rights, the US included...

  • Pakistan as Hong Kong West: China's New Silk Road & US Failure
    • Great insight. The US with its 'aid' never understood the 'trade' part. The Gwadar port dream is almost being realized now. China is now Pak's saviour...or master...brings hope for the future than it is now. Not without risks though...

  • Should Formula 1 be held in Major Human Rights Violator Bahrain?
    • Glad at least VICE remembers...its virtually forgotten and out of the news with all the conflicts in the region.

  • How Iran won Bush's Iraq War
    • Don't think its winning when you're bogged down in messes in Iraq and Syria. Everyone seems to mistake it as 'flexing their muscles', when its about survival from threats. There is no win in Yemen. Giving too much credit and making Iran out to be too opportunistic or nefarious compared to the US and its regional allies, regardless of all the consequences.

  • ‘It’s like a war here’: Saudi police raid defiant Eastern Province amid wider conflict with Shia
    • I mentioned it in an earlier comment, that things would get worse for other (non-Iranian) Shia populations in the region, and am not surprised by the Saudi authorities supposed pre-emptive attack on their Saudi Shia citizens. I worry about even wider attacks elsewhere, like in Pakistan, by extremists taking cue from the Saudis, though they're already in full swing in Pak and don't need the extra motivation from elsewhere.

  • The War in Yemen is Political, Ecological: Forget Sunnis and Shiites
    • "Over the years, the Shi’as (nearly 35% of the 26 million people) had to conceal their religious identity and redefine their individual ties with the Sunni dominated state institutions."

      Honestly can't dismiss and say 'forget' the Shia Sunni angle in all of this. Its like saying one has to ignore the racial divide and attitudes between white and black in regards to marginalization. You simply can't. Maybe it may have started out as purely a political thing, but with the current intervention and past Saudi involvement, its definitely taken a more sectarian tone.

  • Lebanon's Shiite Hizbullah slams Saudi attack on Yemen
    • If it wasn't sectarian before, it is now. Regardless of the little support given to the Houthis, Shia Iran has become isolated. The US, if not international community, are siding with the majority Sunni states who hold the narrative that even accuses Iran for the uprisings of Shia populations in their own states, glossing over their own rule and Sunni extremism or militancy elsewhere for the conflicts.
      The anti-ISIL alignment is a short one, while in the long-term consider Shiite populations to be at the losing end of the conflicts in the region either politically or violently one way or another.

  • What's Religion Got to do with it? German Co-Pilot as Terrorist
  • Washington's 2 Air Wars: alongside Iran in Iraq, Saudis in Yemen
    • Houthis shot themselves in the foot by choosing to go with a full coup and extending themselves forcefully to the South.

      The US doing the bombings in principle for supporting the national unity govt is one thing, but taking out the anti-Al Qaeda Houthis will not stop Al Qaeda and would rather end up helping them.

      Pakistan and Sudan's roles shouldn't be surprising. Pak has always worked for the Gulf or non-Gulf Arabs militarily regardless of whatever relations with Iran, who matter less when it comes to petro-dollars and slight edge in sectarian affinity since Pak is mostly a Sunni nation. Sudan was being strong-armed by Saudi Arabia for quite a while with pulling out needed investments and freezing Sudan out politically for their relationship with Iran.

  • Yemen Bombing: It's not ISIL and it's not Sunni-Shiite Conflict
    • I find that statement not quite right too. Shiism was hated well before the Houthi takeover by Sunni fundamentalist groups. The Houthis taking over inflamed and added religo-political motivation to these already existing certain groups, but not necessarily all other Sunni populations who do view it in political ethnic terms mostly.

    • Sorry, but that's not a solid answer about it being 'revenge' by 'Pakistanis' (who are actually certain militants that attack other Pakistanis) for the drone bombings. There's been bombing and gunmen attacks on Christians and Churches or other groups well before the drones or even pre-9/11 in Pakistan.

  • Iraq: Shiite Militia atrocities During Fight Against ISIL & Iraq's Response
    • The Iraqi govt are just shooting themselves in the foot, sabotaging long-term security and continuing on the sectarianism with these possible war crimes by Shiite militias, failing to rein them in, relying on them instead of strengthening the national army by integrating them. What does it say of the Iraqi govt when Muqtada Al Sadr seems more accountable.

  • Tom Friedman & funding ISIL: Israel/Iran Derangement Syndrome
    • Always considered him as a right-wing hawk than a liberal. Not surprisingly he blames Hamas for the last war and the Palestinians for rejecting terrible bad faith deals from past Israeli leaders.

      His prejudiced thinking is just twisted and dangerous. Unfortunately the threat of violence from the US and Israel, given their history and backers, is very real, and reminds me of the song by David Bowie 'I'm afraid of Americans'.

  • Ghosts of Saladin, Saddam & Khomeini: Tikrit Campaign's Historical Meaning
    • Its just Saf. If not all Shias? I'm sorry, but that's less unlikely as compared as their Sunni counterparts in terms of bigotry, and yes, one population is more likely to be steeped in prejudice than the other way, even well before these wars. I'm not being sectarian here, or the one wearing my sect on my sleeve. Its like comparing Democrats and Republicans and the false equivalence. All bad, only one is depressingly more so partisan, or in this case, sectarian. For all the things that Shia radicals have done, there's nothing like global Sunni extremism.

      Even when PEW did a survey of global Muslims, Arab and non-Arab, their narrative of the question asked was whether Sunnis saw their Shia counterparts as Muslim. Not the other way round.

      Your point on Shias seeing ideological Wahhabis (note: not Sunnis) as that is true. But there's a major difference and the origin of that belief isn't from the Shias. Wahhabis are less likely to be called out as infidels to be cleansed by Shias (at least mainstream), which is actually a hallmark in Wahhabi fundamentalism that sees Shias as heretics, infidels, and liable to be killed, which is an ideology adopted in every global Sunni extremist group, who do indeed see Shias as vermin to exterminate.

      And I'll mention it again. Canada, despite being right-wing, did accurately name its top foreign and domestic terrorist threat as being Sunni Islamist terrorists, particularly radicals of the ideological Wahhabi/Salafi kind. You can take it up with them why they specifically named those ideological strands negatively too.

    • He's been continuously been calling for unity and praised the residents for fighting against ISIL recently. He's condemned attacks by Iraqi forces on civilians and stealing their properties not too long ago.

    • "He feels the symbolic insult to the Sunni Arab world."

      A Sunni Arab world that backed Iraqi psycho Saddam in the past against the Shiites, and now created the monsters that has made it a need for the Shiites to oust them, which they lack the motivation to do so themselves against ISIL which shows a lack of seriousness against extremism, regardless if the militants are a rationale for them for Syria or just against the Iranians, what it comes down to is the overt sectarianism where they find it an insult that Shiites have influence or a role or even exist.

  • Bombing Iran: What would Happen if the Hawks got their Way?
    • Doubt Saudi Arabia, despite their recent tantrum or financing to fundamentalists, would risk their ties with the US by pointing nukes at Israel (even the thought that KSA or Iran would is ridiculous considering that the Palestinians, besides Jerusalem, still exist there).

      There's that mutual destruction, since Israel is a nuclear state, which isn't the case with Iran that can be attacked with no nuclear retaliation, and who KSA immensely hate. The animosity against Israel isn't even close to that level. They probably have better understanding and civil relations than most think, such as suspected intelligence sharing.

      KSA's even supporting Netanyahu's crazy war mongering speech against Iran, delivered to Congress earlier. So KSA's hardly an opponent that Israel needs to worry about compared relative to other surrounding Arab states and especially Iran (who support militant resistance to Israel), hence why they don't publicly harp much on KSA's deal with Pakistan, though still a worrisome development to Israeli hegemony.

  • Syria: As al-Qaeda defeats 'moderate' US allies, will US ally with al-Qaeda?
    • What is the US end goal? Removing Assad from power and replacing it with a pro-US regime is unlikely to succeed now. Its probably Turkish, Israeli and Arab states' insistence that the US support ANY militant resistance to Assad, which helped feed ISIL and other Sunni fundamentalist groups in the first place. While difficult to accept Assad's cruel rule, the status quo (at least for now) maybe more sound than further instability, as seen as how it spread to Iraq and even attacks overseas.

  • US Gen.: Iran's Role In Iraq's Fight Against Islamic State Might be Positive
    • A good deal of Sunni Iraqis and other Sunnis globally just won't see it that way and see it all in a sectarian lens, regardless if it were restricted to what they see or don't see as tackling Sunni extremists in ISIL. An outside Shia intervention is simply deemed as unacceptable, particularly with what has unfolded in Syria.

      The narrative isn't an ISIL thing, as the earlier Sunni Iraqi insurgents were already overtly sectarian with many in the populace sharing the same sentiments. Unfortunately there are indeed revenge attacks by some Shia Iraqi militias, besides the previous sectarian state abuses, that feeds it.

  • Yemen: Saudi backs Sunni revolution against Shiite Houthi Rebels linked to Iran
    • Not just the ME alone. Many believe half the mess in Pakistan of Sunni fundamentalists and extremists for decades is thanks to KSA, besides the Pak govt/military's geo-political attacks, religious sect leanings and prejudicial apathy for minorities.

      The Pak Shia minority face a program of sectarian cleansing since the 80's. It became a proxy war with Iran, like in the 90's, but Iran has since left the theatre where sectarian violence is dominated by Sunni militants and now self-perpetual. Some attack the state and majority Sunni too, seen as blowback. Still Shiites, and other minorities, take the brunt of it as seen with the recent bombing, gunmen and target killings.

      Wahhabi/Salafi influence spread far and wide like Indonesia, and Canada named it being responsible for most militant's ideology. Yemen is KSA's backyard, but meddling may cause more harm than good like how they helped ruin the Syrian revolution. Calling it a Sunni revolution sounds problematic.

    • Not to defend KSA's paranoia and animosity, but an Iranian official also exaggerated their support for the Houthis and arrogantly declared that Yemen was theirs too. You can bet such statements raised alarm bells for KSA.

      The Houthis overplayed this and could have been more pragmatic, and frankly still can considering that they still negotiate with the UN and the West at least. Can't say the same for the other groups.

  • 'Lone Wolf,' 'Self-Radicalized': Islamophobic Buzzwords never applied to White Terrorists
    • For what's it worth, according to the father of the female victims, when the male victim (his son-in-law) moved in the neighbourhood, there wasn't a problem. When the female victims with their head scarves came by, the animosity started. The daughter said she believed he didn't like them because of that, being visible Muslims.

      It can be a fine line sometimes in hating an ideology and the 'ideologues', and yes, some atheists can get nasty towards the practitioners, no different than the religious far right.

    • It really was horrific and has sent chills in the community. For some reason it sounds like the authorities are hesitant to call it a hate crime too...

  • Syria: Dear Bashar al-Assad: Barrel Bombs Are No Laughing Matter
    • Always been a monster...I can see how the moderate opposition find it difficult to even consider a political settlement with him.

  • 2nd Iranian Commander killed in Iraq defending Samarra Golden Dome
    • They can't get over that the shrines or holy places as being targets by Sunni fundamentalists, which have been targeted, besides being targeted themselves in other bombings. The comment is unfortunately justifying further sectarian violence and generalizing. Surprised it got through.

      While its wrong generalizing about all Sunnis being terrorists wanting to kill Shias, unfortunately this comment does the same and considers all Shias killing Sunnis. So lets put a mirror and ask the same questions. Do Sunnis consider Shias as anything than legit targets always (which Shias should get over and understand apparently)? Should Sunnis expect flowers too when there are attacks by Sunni extremists (or lets also generalize them as Sunnis who threw their lot with ISIL, which some did) against Shia neighbourhoods in this violent cycle?

      Is it just Shias (which is really some Shia militias or extremists) that are involved in slaughters or have we forgotten earlier Sunni insurgents (or should we say all Sunnis), particularly the extremist kind locally and globally, targeting Shias (or lets not forget other non-Sunni denominations, like from Mosul, who should probably also 'get over it' and 'understand') that put the whole initial sectarian civil war in full swing there that lead to a sectarian cleansing, which too is not justified, but in your own reasoning, Maybe Sunnis should get over this and understand....but that would be wrong, wouldn't it?

      That comment did not mention killing Sunnis, an unfortunate hyped up sectarian narrative that sees what it wants to, and the article noted that they've been blaming IS. Maybe not Tehran, but a takeover of Baghdad to have sole rule again and maybe belligerent against its neighbour...that is in swing.

  • Ironies of Empire: US now Allied with Shiites Trained by Assassinated HIzbullah Leader
    • I think US security or intelligence circles, whether right or left, still hold to past beliefs and consider Shiites as radicals and not allies, like Sunni govt counterparts. The alliance based on aligned interests in Iraq or global terrorism due to the situation of the extremists is temporary. There's still conflict of interests such as on Syria.

  • Attn. Tea Party: 'How Immigrants (yes, Muslims and Latinos) can save Detroit & other Cities'
    • While large, they're not a majority in Detroit and as the article concluded, there's way too much to fix, such as law and order, which still makes it difficult for even past and new Muslim Americans to revive, like any other American group.

      Regardless Muslim groups have alleviated some of Detroit's miseries, such as the water crisis donation and economically overall, where the city hasn't sunk completely, despite the flight of other residents.

      They're dispersed across different parts of Detroit and surrounding areas or suburbs, such as Dearborn, which function well, and other affluent areas. They are doing well.

  • Twitter mirth after Steve Emerson's Fox Nonsense re: Birmingham as Muslim 'no-go' Zone
    • Must be Rupert Murdoch's advisor. Hilarious responses though. Unfortunately these are the 'experts' the US govt and security are listening to and tells you the alarming level of ignorance and how that could affect ordinary citizens.

  • Hezbollah's Surprising Denunciation of Paris Attacks: is it Courting the West?
    • Well put. However, I do believe there's been some permanent change in thinking dictated by the Syrian war. Sunni Islamist militants became their top dangerous threat, realizing their Shia identity and population vulnerability (though still appealing to Sunnis, and still tied with Palestinian Hamas Islamists, at some point they probably realized their partnership with rare geo-political and sectarian ally Assad was detrimental despite their desperation and calculation against a Saudi backed rebellion and Israel on the other side).

      Instead of the West being an enemy, even though they participated in the Syrian end game, the West now seems possibly 'approachable' via Iran and situation with ISIL in Iraq, but Israel is still considered a threat by virtue of borders.

      Pretty much repeated most of what was said

  • After Paris attacks, could David Duke style Racist Parties Sweep to Power in Europe?
    • Don't know if 'sweep' into power, but growing in power, yes. It really is going to get difficult for European Muslims. The political right in the US were/are quite active in their anti-Muslim measures too.

  • Saudis torture jailed Liberal Blogger w/ 1000 lashes for... Blogging
    • "sentenced to two years in prison and 200 lashes for, in part, visiting prominent Shia figures in the eastern province as a good-will gesture"

      Apart from the other political or religo abuses and suppression (which another article around here noted that ISIL seemed like only an extension to Saudi doctrine) didn't realize relations with the Shia minority's leaders were this bad.

      Still, a valuable US, or overall Western, ally, who'll stay mute.

  • What Black & White thinking misses about ISIS/Daesh & why it Matters to us All
    • Rejecting tattoos is a sign of radicalism...that's new. But true. A lot of radical mothers out there...

      It was Caliph Ali, and not Prophet Ali, the Kharajites rebelled against. They were under his camp initially during the wars against his rival Muawiya, who claimed or sought the caliph title himself. But they got disillusioned with the fight over the legitimacy of the leader of the Ummah, and instead believed it was God alone, not men, who'd decide who the caliph would be - so they decided to do their puritanical extremist thing...

      The real, not real Muslim inquisition of others has been a rather divisive problem for quite sometime in the mainstream, highlighting everyday prejudices and intolerances.

  • Gaza's 6-yros Struggle with Nightmares of the 3 Israeli Wars they've Already Experienced
    • We don't really realize how traumatized the population is there. The injustice affects them deeply.

  • Turkey again goes down Path of the One-Party State
    • Pls read the 'About' section of this site.
      link to

      If you sincerely look through the blog, you'll note the Professor regularly posts about minorities in the US, such as Muslims and black Americans, apart from other US and global issues. So there is quite a good deal of concern there.

      So, pls give this informed article by the author who researches in this field, its due, rather than dismissing or evading it, and show concern to the issues in Turkey which isn't as rosy as you like to believe in.

  • Not the Onion: Pakistanis Demand arrest of Cleric for not Condemning "Jihadis"
    • link to

      The brave Laal Masjid protesters receive threats from the new TTP faction.

      This is not just any Taliban apologist. He's the notorious cleric of Laal Masjid. If anyone remembers, they defied the state, holding the area around hostage for over a year and eventually were put down after military operation under Musharraf. However he was eventually released by the courts and been untouched since.

      Despite the recent death penalty and hangings, the military, govt and civilian courts are still unable or unwilling to convict or bring down some big name extremists and terrorists such as Lashkar e Jhangvi's Malik Ishaq who has been released again.

  • Blogging Colbert (In honor of the Finale of the Colbert Report)
    • Congrats, Professor and glad some of your insight got a wider platform and that too at the closing chapter of this great show and personality.

  • 3 Problems Pakistani Politics has to Resolve after Grisly School Attack
    • To add, the different militant groups the Pak military appealed/appeal to were/are generally religious fundamentalist or extremist groups on both sides of the border.

      Imran Khan has seriously disappointed and been detrimental...

  • Even Other Terrorists Denounce Taliban School Attacks In Pakistan
    • Its not surprising and needs to be put in context. Leader Hafiz Saeed and JuD (supposedly banned militant LeT's civil arm) have always been pro-Pak, regardless of whatever inner violent crimes, and protected by the state as militant assets. They're a terrorist group to India (and perhaps the US, considering their past Al Qaeda support/relations) and show solidarity with the Afghan Taliban (who also disowned the attack, though they have their own hypocritical history)...while not in direct conflict with TTP, they're on different sides.

  • Saudi Arabia at the G20: Is it waging Econ War on Iran, Russia and N. Dakota?
  • Daesh (ISIL) Loses Refinery City in Iraq to Iraqi Army, Shiite Militias
    • Not sure if the then Shiite militias were ever put on a terrorist list or described as such in the classical terrorist term such as the Mehdi army or Badr brigade, considering they were also tied into the government fabric and more paramilitary. The current ones are clearly not considered terrorist organizations either, though if we're going by official named terrorist groups, regardless of how they see themselves as a resistance or political entity, Shia Hezbollah could be considered quite rich....

  • Can't We all Get Along? Sunni-Shi'a Commonalities
    • Very inspiring. The political or religo-political situations didn't help though polarizing wrong views.

      However, heard one of the best poetic unity speeches by a linguistic Urdu/English speaking Sunni scholar, invited as a guest speaker in our local Shia mosque commemorating Ashur the other day...

  • Iraq: US dismayed Shiite Gov't hasn't Armed Sunni Tribes fighting ISIL
    • The dismay is surprising. The mistrust cuts both ways, and not everyone has the moral fibre that Ayatollah Sistani displays who'd go as far as helping a potential enemy against him before committing an unethical action.

      The earlier, well armed, Sunni rebellion after Al-Maliki's own govt sectarian state abuses, were lead by non-ISIL Sunni Iraqis from the restive provinces, who wanted to march all the way to Baghdad, which was seen as sectarian provocation (even if Baathists), bringing back memories of the sectarian terroristic Al Qaeda inspired Sunni insurgency post-2003 invasion, which was still ongoing with frequent bombings in Shia areas and elsewhere by Sunni extremists (Al Baghdadi's AQI) targeting Shiites, after the US left.

      An earlier article how some affected Sunni Iraqis were still unwilling to oust ISIL on anyone's behalf, as well as joining ISIL after losses doesn't help in easing the Shiites fears and bring confidence, and vice versa by Shia militia killings. There needs to be some sort of serious guarantees by the US and regional players on harbouring unity and stopping retaliations.

  • The Kobane Crisis: Where are Turkey, the PKK and the Kurds Going?
    • Didn't realize the death toll from the Kurdish protests were higher, highlighting a lack of restraint on suppressing the ethnic Kurdish minority. Guess it didn't have that Arab spring atmosphere for major networks to cover it, like the last anti-AKP protests.

      The paragraph in the middle of the story about a squandered opportunity is dead on. Instead there's been bad faith from Ankara on their international role, regardless of their historic animosity with the PKK whom they have had talks with and dishonestly equate with ISIL.

      These stubborn pre-conditions on everything by Turkey, including Syria (the demands are not unreasonable. The priority is), is costing lives and giving ISIL an advantage, which they're not immune from and will only end up hurting them too but show some sort of confusion or fear about it one way or another.

  • Why is this Man Smiling? Iranian Officials say Confidant of US Deal on Nuclear
    • Observing how the terminology and meaning is used is interesting. 'Shia crescent', a term coined by a Sunni head of state, popular amongst growing anti-Iran, if not anti-Shia, Sunni citizens, as well as hawkish 'expert' US TV pundits. Why elicit such a rejection from the US public, which even 3 years or so into the Iraq invasion couldn't tell what a Shia or Sunni is? Does the US public accept only 'Sunni allies' then? Are there any 'Shia allies'? Are Iraq and Lebanon or their populations left out in the cold? Are we going by regimes or populations, such as Bahrain?

      If the US needed to set a precedent it could have started with Israel. However, Iran is cooperating. As much as equally, if not more, fundamentalist Saudi Arabia and right-wing Israel's fears may hype it, there's better faith seen in believing the Iranians are using it for civilian purposes. They already built the infrastructures and sticking with the technology, like most other nations do. They are however also expanding to other renewable energy sources like the other Gulf or regional states are doing, but as you correctly point out, already allegedly have or seeking to have weapons, regardless of international laws.

    • Sounds hard to believe when there was such strong opposition from other embraced allies such as Saudi Arabia or Israel for any sort of reasonable nuke or peace deal.

      The US actually embraced Russia's bail out as an action. Sunni bloc unfortunately didn't provide much confidence earlier by allowing Sunni radicals (same ideological types that are a threat globally and who Iran are naturally opposed to) free hand in the area which made such military action to intervene difficult to contemplate (and US reluctance to do so again), due to wide-spread consequences and sectarian optics, possibly messier than Iraq 2003, which is still what's unfolding.

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