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Total number of comments: 365 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:52)

Saf

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  • After Trump lets hundreds of ISIL Leave Raqqa, Turkey Enraged
    • People in the region have the right to be angry, including Turkey, despite their own hypocrisy of letting ISIL terrorists get through and gain power in the first place.

      Decent folks would want most of these monsters to be caught and held accountable or be put down (I read a CTV News special feature on one young Yazidi woman who was an ISIS victim but made it to Canada as a refugee. It was just sickening, wished I hadn't read it even though the article had a warning that it would be distressing to most readers). Unfortunately justice is unlikely going to happen for the majority of the victims who'll have to witness many of these sick criminals getting away and integrating into different populations, either planning for the next attack or living their full lives freely.

      However, can't fault those who are on the ground to cut deals to reduce as much bloodshed as possible, which included lives of children as well (could care less about some ISIL women, considering their own roles in the heinous crimes), though the intent was mostly on saving soldiers and manpower.

  • The Civil War inside Buddhism caused Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims
    • Agree on the whole. However, I do feel these feelings of hate and irrational fears amongst Buddhist fundamentalists and nationalists didn't totally develop in a vacuum.

      I always believed the Taliban in Afghanistan may have in a sense contributed to the rise of extreme Buddhist fundamentalism and nationalism as well. In a sense, what they did lead to bad karma for other Muslim populations.

      When they deliberately attacked and bombed the historic Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan in 2001, months before 9/11, which were really remarkably untouched during all those years of civil war, but then destroyed based on extreme Sunni Deoband Muslim fundamentalism, I think it kind of raised the sense of threat of most Buddhist populations across the globe of how their civilization was wiped out (and unfortunately this act was received with mixed reactions amongst Muslims, most indifferent, some condemning, and some supporting, whether Islamic or not).

      You kind of hear some anti-Muslim folks everywhere, including some local right-wing Asian Buddhists propagating about the 'Muslim scourge' that destroyed past civilizations in Afghanistan and Pakistan, not a bit different than how some Hindu nationalists frame all Muslim migrations as invasion of India.

      But regardless. The ethnic/religious cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims is a real crisis, with worse and worse news coming out like the mass rapes reported recently. Probably should never have pinned hopes on Suu Kyi who probably always was an illiberal religious and ethnic supremacist that folks didn't seem to realize and confused her want for human democratic rights for the majority against militarism with liberalism and minority rights. Not a surprise there are more democracies now...which are illiberal.

  • Protests as Trump promotes Coal at Climate Summit in Berlin
    • Senator Jim Inhofe used to be the lone despicable nut, trying to represent the dissenting view from the US, at these type of conferences.

      Now they are the ones in power and criminally doing everything they can to undermine progress and screwing everyone.

  • Lebanon's Big Crisis, and What Saudi Arabia could Lose
    • Sorry, I should be clear. I'm no expert on Lebanon, I just have casual knowledge on some Shiite history there. I just think you didn't factor the effect of the Israeli invasion.

      The Professor made the concise accurate point and obviously the historic authority here. (I didn't realize there was Iraqi influence on Hezbollah. Always assumed it stayed with Amal).

      Amal was that group for Shias against other sectarian Lebanese groups initially. Israel was invested in the civil war, but that latest invasion was the turning point in Hezbollah's rise.

      Shiites were disenfranchised, Israelis correctly noted. They claimed they were welcomed by the Shiites (I doubt this for all factions), but the nature of military occupation, militias and war, with bloodshed and displacement, that mood would change and meant more conflict. Hope this helps.

    • It's not just that simplistic of what was a very messy civil war with changing alliances and splits. It also seems to side-step what this 'falling out' was. The many casualties and displacement by Israel, including of the Shiite populations that lead to the splits, like Hezbollah from Amal (Amal who were initially fighting Paelstinian PLO, some with Israel's support), and the turn in the aftermath of Israeli support of groups like the marauding Phalangists and subsequent invasion of South Lebanon, that made the surviving residents fear that they were going to be the new Palestinians. Israel miscalculated and probably should not have banked on the ideologues in Iran.

  • Saudi Arabia pulls Citizens from Lebanon as Beirut charges Hariri Jailed
    • I think the advisory isn't just functioning as a precautionary measure for Saudi citizens, for their supposed protection.

      I think it's meant to hurt Lebanese tourism, and possibly set the stage for attacks on the Lebanese soon.

  • Can we survive Trump's Rage-Based Iran Policy?
    • In truth, yes, many US citizens will survive it. This was even true for the Iraq war regardless of unnecessary US military deaths. Except for the thousands in 9/11 and a few other massacres and attempts here and there in the US since then, nothing really will be addressed. Unfortunately many more civilian folks like in Yemen, Syria and Iraq, and other nations like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Israel, etc, don't get to survive such terrible hostile and violent foreign policies.

      There is no priority to fix this, even so called moderate Obama colluded with the Saudis on their war of aggression on Yemen, besides his other continued Bush era practices and further high-handedness. This thinking and these actions are outright accepted and supported by the masses. I guess some credit to Obama in rethinking some things and working for better solutions despite the naysayers, but it still seems too little and too few, like some of Trump's 'adults in the room' being outnumbered and outpowered by other Trump yes men.

      With the recent release on information gathered on OBL by the CIA, they seemed to be trying hard to push the Iran as a major state sponsor of terrorism narrative, with the latest being supporting Sunni extremists in Al Qaeda (despite OBL being found in Pakistan and surprisingly no proof of any Pakistan state or even group collusion is uncovered, but Shia Iran is somehow most complicit), along with the Taliban support accusations (ignoring of course that this is allowed with Pakistan's cautious consent, though the Afghan government has complained about Iran getting too involved).

  • Robots & Autocrats: Saudi Arabia's Brave New World
    • Besides the irony and hypocrisy for Saudi women, for an uncovered female looking humanoid AI robot to have more rights than them, or them or their children losing their citizenship if married to a non-Saudi, it was also ironic for the many Asian and African migrants who lived decades toiling in Saudi Arabia or their children born there and assimilated but never recognized as full citizens.

      Good catch on the 1979 reference. While there's an acknowledgement that there was extremism in Saudi society by MbS, he still downplays it by not taking full responsibility on it's origins and blames it on the Iranian revolution and Shia fundamentalism from 1979 rather than their destructive and intolerant Wahhabism that was exported that gave rise to overall Sunni extremism globally.

      All in all, it's doubtful that they will do away with most of their autocratic, misogynist and bigoted tendencies for any real reforms any time soon.

  • Saudi Official views Lebanon as "at war with us"
    • The head of Pak's army just recently visited Iran.

      I am legit worried that the Saudis may consider strong arming and punishing Pakistan as well (that is what it seems like with Lebanon, by plunging it into political crisis, and they did briefly to Pakistan when Pakistan responded that it wouldn't send troops to Yemen earlier, but the Saudis were eventually soothed when they bagged former army chief Raheel Sharif as leading their 'anti-terrorism' Sunni coalition, i.e. anti-Iran, war efforts), besides trying to stoke anti-Shia sectarian tensions, which in the past has included sectarian cleansing violence by Sunni Islamist extremists, in their proxy war against Iran in the region once again.

      Looking at their strangulation and slaughter of Yemen, erratic comments of asking the Lebanese to choose 'Islam' over 'Hezbollah' besides the paranoid hyping of Iranian threats, and the recent political crackdown of their own royal members, I think the MbS regime are going to take everyone down a dark path.

  • Dear Sean Hannity: Allahu Akbar is in the Catholic Catechism
    • It doesn't even have to be a major event. It's like said literally every day, at least 5 times, by most practicing orthodox Muslims in the Azan, the call to prayers, and the actual prayers themselves. The few radical religious extremists defame Muslims and Islam, but unfortunately useful bigoted idiots like Hannity take the bait to hate on all.

      I am just surprised with how blatantly extreme right-wing Faux network can get away with such deliberate misinformation and propaganda attacks. Their non-reporting and blame deflection of the Trump Russian investigation was incredibly telling on how they operate as an incredibly biased ideological and political machine for one party.

      There really needs to be anti-defamation and libel lawsuits against them besides a progressive change in laws on corporate media reporting (unfortunately, any attempt in change by the Trump administration will be far more regressive and draconian).

      A couple of links to Alternet, which is now under threat in being demoted in Google searches for being 'fake news' i.e. liberal and independent, rather than the factual merit of their content. This would also affect the Professor's articles not getting as much exposure too which time to time get posted there.

      What the Corporate News Industry Won't Ever Tell Its Audience
      link to alternet.org

      Editorial: Google's Threat to Democracy Hits AlterNet Hard
      link to alternet.org

  • Dear John Kelly: Yes, Slavery was wrong in 1860s & Muslims helped Convince Americans to end It
    • That's great history to know. It's true, they were very radical and progressive thoughts and reforms in the Quran on slaves' current status and future emancipation for their time.

      However, the institution of slavery, which was inherited, was still left in place and not dismantled, justified and practiced, even by the Prophet's actions (like accepting an Egyptian Copt slave girl as a gift himself), whether people like to admit it or not.

      It survived for centuries in Muslim populations because expecting humane selfless practice was a problem and naive. There was no strong legal recourse or action implemented against slaveholding abusers except for appealing to their fear of the 'hereafter'.

      Everything depended on a slave master's piety and being a practicing Muslim or a community's pressure and protection in vouching for a slave, which was weak to non-existent. If Quranic laws on freeing slaves were faithfully put in practice by everyone, perhaps eventually they could have led to having slave free nations earlier. Unfortunately, people are not all religious, or they are flawed, or they are hypocritical or cruel or capitalistic, etc. Most opportunistic Muslim rulers and governments and powerful people had always supported the institution and found an excuse in their expansions, except for the good men like Ahmad Bey above.

      Anyways, we are here in 2017 now. John Kelly needs to be schooled on his racist ignorance (thanks and well done, Professor) and we must thrive to fight all forms of slavery throughout the world.

  • Upshot of Mueller Probe: Putin did to US what we did to Iran and Iraq
    • Jundullah, besides being ethnic Baloch also leaned on Sunni Islamist extremist groups for their activities, so also targeted civilian populations in Pakistan, particularly the Shia minorities there.

      It's not surprising to find some Shia Pakistanis who, besides based on the optics of Syria and Iraq and about the Russian and US roles across decades, as well as the Saudi-US alliance and how sectarianism affects them in Pakistan, are somewhat glad that Russia messed with the US and undermined what they see as an unaccountable superpower, even if it meant it would be detrimental to most US Muslims and other Pakistani Americans with having a bigoted Trump administration elected.

  • Top 7 ways Saudi could learn from Qatar about Moderate Islam
    • Found this quote from him interesting from the BBC story:
      link to bbc.com
      "The prince stressed that Saudi Arabia "was not like this before 1979", when there was an Islamic revolution in Iran and militants occupied Mecca's Grand Mosque."

      Probably the article should have cleared up that the militants were from a Salafi like cult and not directly related to Iranian revolutionaries, though that is one of the propaganda angles the Saudis have put out and has been picked up all the way among some of the Sunni masses in Pakistan.

      I guess he even recognizes the country took an extreme turn after the Iranian revolution, though it was hardly a bastion of human rights or religious tolerance or freedom pre-1979. But I doubt there's much self-introspection on their actions where he would conclude to take a step back from promoting anti-Iranian or anti-Shia bigotry and violence.

      He earlier made his prejudiced religious views publicly known of his rationale of why he wouldn't talk to the Iranians on assumptions he made based on the Iranian regime's religious beliefs as their political ideology and goal.

      link to reuters.com

      However, they have pragmatically talked to Iraqi Shiites and even had dialogue with Iraq's Al Sadr, this despite the Saudi Shia cleric Al Nimr's execution and ongoing military operations against Saudi Shia opposition. But considering they still continue acting out irrationally like their tantrum and hissy fit against Qatar, I don't expect the sectarianism, if not overall extreme religious doctrine that the government and the clerics finance globally amongst amongst mainstream Sunnis, to slow down significantly or him to admitting to the follies of military aggression and abuses in Yemen (which they launched against the Houthis, either knowingly lying about the Iranian bogeyman to put back the government they backed or actually being that paranoid) or supporting Wahhabi/Salafist extremist militants (which is detrimental to non-Sunnis and some Sunnis) in Syria.

  • Tillerson tells Iraqi Shiite Militias to "go home." Sad.
    • Unfortunately this line of thinking is widespread in American policy making circles and the media. They literally cannot differentiate between what they perceive as a 'nefarious' Iran (everything from mistranslating what Khamenei says, like mistranslating that he'd rip the accord if the US did-when he meant the Europeans, to casually repeating a lie about Iran having a nuclear weapons programme, which it does not) and other Shiites in the region akin to how some prejudiced Sunni commentators do. Literally adopting a sort of demonizing conspiracy narrative. Even Obama kind of did it, to a lesser extent, when calling out for 'our Sunni allies' to fight Sunni extremists in ISIL without acknowledging an existence of having any 'Shia allies' in Iraq or other non-Sunni allies in these troubled areas. And of course Trump wholeheartedly made his sectarian preferences known in his speech when he last visited the gleeful Saudis, an example Tillerson seems to be following in Riyadh.

      For example, the article by Steven A. Cook in Salon.
      link to salon.com
      While admirable that he's acknowledging his mistakes in analysis, he still comes off with a lot of wrong assumptions, some of which is Iranian centric and can't seem to recognize the local Iraqi Arab Shiites own independent nationalist/political/economic motivations, besides the other Iraqis that make up some of the opposition to Kurdish opposition, like the Yazdis and Turkmen.

      Also a great, though disturbing read is the 3 part Alternet series by Rania Khalek about the Yazdis situation and the cleansing they faced. It details the claims many Yazdis made being betrayed by the Iraqi Kurds and Sunni Arabs around them and their other allegiances like forming their armed group part of the Shiite led militias. Was meaning to share this earlier elsewhere.
      link to alternet.org

    • A New York Times piece from a week ago on Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department
      link to nytimes.com

      When outgoing Republican Senator Bob Corker claims there are adults like WH Chief of Staff John Kelly (so much for this guy's grace with his suck up to Trump and disingenuous low class attack on his Democratic critic), Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis that are keeping the country from chaos....he is of course wrong. Not only are their own views and qualifications questionable and standards low, they are enablers of all things deplorable and keep going lower with this presidential moron.

  • George W. Bush & GOP lack standing to bash Trump for Racism
    • What would have been had Canada arrested him on his post-presidency visit for crimes against international law when Amnesty International requested it so? Of course that was never going to happen under Harper and the conservatives and really it wouldn't have happened with the liberals or any other Canadian government either and would have been certainly a diplomatic crisis, but no one would ever think of coming close to that fantasy ever. Sadly, hasn't been any sort of accountability since Nixon which has led to now.

  • Why is Saudi Arabia suddenly so paranoid?
    • I think the decades preceding the Arab Spring is also key in explaining the paranoia. They were always paranoid ever since the 1979 Iranian revolution and the threatening rhetoric of regime change from the Ayatollahs, but the Arab Spring was shocking and changed reality around them (so did the Iraq war) and just made them realize they were complacent, vulnerable and had to renew their urgency.

      After the Iranian revolution (which was a shock and danger, that included putting down their own local Shia revolt in Qatif, which they had to do again present day turning Shiite areas into ruin) they stepped up by propagating their ideology globally to counteract any of the Iranian Shia revolutionary export. Pakistan (which neighbours Iran, though majority Sunni, has a sizeable minority Shia population who started to initiate their own activism) was one of it's beneficiaries as a sphere of influence. They didn't just fund the Afghan fighters against Russia in the 80's, but other sorts of different local Sunni Islamist groups, that included sectarian militants that targeted Shiite Pakistanis in what was considered a sectarian proxy war with Iran, though really it was a sectarian cleansing program. To me this paranoia...isn't really all that sudden. They just have taken a more aggressive hands on initiation and approach now due to the reasons listed in the article above.

      There was also the support given to Iraq, under Saddam - by virtually most Sunni Arab states - except, no surprise, Syria - to initiate a bloody war of aggression against Iran which lasted less than a decade.

  • ISIL was ended not by Trump or Obama but by Muslims
    • This isn't just simplistic but unfounded. OBL certainly did not limit his 9/11 attack to the house of Islam, and neither did these radical variants like in France or elsewhere. The non-Muslim Iraqi Yazdis, unfortunately were focused on and even betrayed by people who they thought were their friendly neighbours. Religious and sectarian minorities have many times been easy targets in places like Pakistan.

      Why do we assume extremists didn't have enablers that allowed them space to operate in some nations? Look at our politics and how religion is exploited in different nations in the East. Groups get discriminated by law and people are bullied to appease religious sentiments.

      Look at the similarities between Saudi Wahhabi state doctrine and many global Salafist groups. They have common threads and themes, like their prejudices and bigotries of other religious and sectarian groups. Do we call these states out for the propagation of their ideology or financing? No, we do business with them (which in truth is unavoidable considering they control the holy sites).

      How do you think the Afghan Taliban has survived for so long? Maybe the other Afghan Muslims, be they of other Pashtun tribes, Tajiks or Hazaras should probably ask their Pakistani Muslim brothers about that, who'll probably then claim being victims themselves and call it all a foreign conspiracy, or everything else, rather admit a serious rethink of their own religious fundamentalism and state.

      I find it illogical and embarrassing that we even need help from other mostly non-Muslim nations for something that is being suggested as an attack on the house of Islam only, which it is not. Not against international cooperation or allies...just find the comment not based on facts on the ground and a sad commentary of the 'decent' Muslims' situation in not being able to do their own house cleaning. It's like we've never considered perhaps the Iranians or the Arab Gulf states and Turkey could have considered working things out together for the sake of Syria and Iraq or help each other out instead of being bailed out from elsewhere. It's frustrating not to be represented well by such states.

    • Jim Muir of the BBC also made a similar argument in the middle of his article, citing 2 Muslim experts (though unclear if Sunni or Shia), that Graeme Wood did about Daish being Islamic.

      link to bbc.com

      I guess it is the narrative that one believes or interprets which needs to be challenged, which I think is an issue. The same way Western white folks can't be complacent against white supremacist extremists and what they spout and do, this holds true for Muslims too. I honestly would give credit to only a certain set of local Muslims (spearheaded by Shiites, who are probably now going to be renewed as the Islamist threat to initiate the war against Iran) and local non-Muslims, or maybe just most Iraqi or Syrians, rather than the global Muslim community or the Americans-the guys who initiated aggression and created instability in Iraq.

      I honestly believe ISIL, which were being seen as 'winners' amongst some global religio-political leaning Sunni Muslims early on, and saviours amongst many local Sunni Arab Iraqis (and unfortunately tormentors to non-Sunni Iraqis as Yazidis and Turkmen can attest in being betrayed by their fellow countrymen), unfortunately could have had more global approval and recruits had Baghdadi not named himself Caliph. Honestly what was the difference between them or the Salafist groups that Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the other Gulf Sunni states backed in Syria, except for the fact that they were willing to be a bit more PR conscious and pragmatic in their totalitarian and violent methods? But still that romantic, delusional and mythical notion persists, appealed to thousands of foreign non-Iraqi/non-Syrian men and fewer women from mainstream Sunni populations who probably weren't necessarily practising Muslims in the first place or part of the Salafi cult, except that they identified with the suffering of Sunni Muslims of the region, faced off against what they perceived as the all evil Shias allied with the hated Israelis and the West, true or not. Be it actual humanitarianism, religious conviction, adventurism, the violence or the slave sex fantasy/reality that they were selling to those who were already prone to criminality (many didn't have criminal records though), the conflicts in Syria and Iraq with it's religious or sectarian tones resonated with them, while not large, but considerable problematic size, in the mainstream populations.

  • 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

      link to juancole.com

  • 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.

      link to theguardian.com

      "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.

      link to aljazeera.com

      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.

      link to bbc.com
      UAE princesses guilty of servant abuse in Belgium

      link to thestar.com
      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.

      link to youtube.com

      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.

      link to bbc.com

      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.
      link to theatlantic.com

  • 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.

      link to salon.com

      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.
      link to bbc.com
      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.
      link to alternet.org

  • 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
      link to cnn.com

      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.

      link to bbc.com

      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.
      link to cnn.com

  • 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
    • link to bbc.com
      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
    • link to cbc.ca
      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
      link to yahoo.com

      Trump asks 'why we can't use nukes?'
      link to cnbc.com

  • How Twitter robots spam critics of Saudi Arabia & Shiite Muslims
    • "...is 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.

      link to dawn.com

  • 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.

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