Category Archives: Middle Eastern Politics

Ignorant Oversimplifications in the Theresa May-Obama Characterization of ISIS

Damian Whitworth, in The Times and The Australian, 17 January 2017, with the title in the latter being “The Man who knows Islamic State’s Mindset” … with highlighing being additions by the Editor, Thuppahi

British Prime Minister Theresa May once exposed what she believed to be the basic flaws at the murderous heart of Islamic State. “I will tell you the truth,” she told the Conservative Party conference in 2014, the year that the militant group gained worldwide notoriety. “They are not Islamic and they are not a state.”

aaisia-11-times Pic from Times

Her words echoed sentiments expressed by US President Barack Obama. Today, with Islamic State under pressure from Western-backed forces in Mosul, the debate about whether it has actually succeeded in establishing a caliphate continues. However, on the question of Islamic State’s ­Islamic credentials, May is plain wrong. Continue reading

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An Egyptian Journalist’s Introduction to Jailhouse Jihadism and Al Jazeera’s Partisan Activities

Robert Fisk, in The Island, 2 January 2017, where the title is “Living among Jihadis in an Egyptian prison” … with emphasis in highlights being The Editor, Thuppahi’s imposition

mohamed-fahmy-22

To interview a jihadi is one thing, to live among jihadis quite another. To share their prison cells and their jail trucks on the way to a dictatorship’s trials is both a journalist’s dream and a journalist’s nightmare. Which makes Mohamed Fahmy a unique figure: in a prison bus, he hears his fellow inmates rejoicing at the beheading of a captured journalist in Syria. “They won’t let us out,” a voice shouts at Fahmy in Egypt’s ghastly Tora prison complex. “We haven’t seen the sun for weeks.” And he hears the rhythmic voices of prisoners reciting the Koran.

Fahmy, who is an Egyptian with Canadian citizenship, is the Al Jazeera English channel reporter who spent almost two years in his native country’s ferocious prison system, as a guest of President al-Sisi, locked up with two colleagues for being a pro-Muslim Brotherhood “terrorist”, fabricating news and endangering the “security” of the state. Continue reading

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HRW in Syria and Sri Lanka: Moral Fervour generating Political Blindness and Partisanship

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of Colombo Telegraph where the title is different and reads as “The Political Bankruptcy of the Western Human Rights Lobby: Their Stance in Syria & Sri Lanka in Juxtaposition.” I anticipate lively blog-comments therein –with the usual quota of disparaging ‘assassinations’.  Highlighted emphasis in RED in the version below is my work.

 A friend in Adelaide recently directed me towards an article in a prestigious world media outlet by Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch. In this essay entitled “What Trump Should Do in Syria,” Roth contends that Donald Trump needs to pursue “a much tougher approach toward Moscow than he so far envisions” because the Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been “targeting and indiscriminately firing upon civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition-held areas” with Russian backing. In his reading the enormous civilian death-toll is the product of the regime’s deliberate strategy, Besides generating an outflow of refugees, he says that the consequence will also produce an escalation of Islamist extremism. 

As an outsider with a limited knowledge of the extremely complex Syrian and Middle-Eastern ground situation, what strikes me about Roth’s declamation is its one-sidedness and its simplifications. It slides over the impact of US and NATO bombing runs. It implies that the extremism of ISIS, Al Qaida and other forces who are challenging the Syrian dictator is an outcome of the latter’s policies and says little about (a) the Sunni-Shia rivalries that are one aspect of the complex politics in Syria and the Middle East and (b) the repercussions flowing from the American dethronement of Saddam via invasion.

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Lacking Pragmatism and Oozing Mediocrity –That is US Secretary-of-State Kerry

Greg Sheridan , in The Australian, 30 December 2016, where the title reads”Undergraduate ramble lacking context, reality” … see http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/columnists/greg-sheridan/undergraduate-ramble-lacking-context-reality/news-story/a4af14f12e1f30a35c0e800a28d77f37 for BLOG Comments

John Kerry’s imitation of Fidel Castro, with a speech as long and as mournful and as useless as those the Cuban dictator frequently delivered, helps explain why he was such a dismal failure as US Secretary of State. Kerry’s meandering speech blamed Israel for the failure so far to achieve a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. The problem is, it read like the speech of an earnest undergraduate who has just come to the issue through the reporting of al-Jazeera and CNN and has no background in historic reality.  The Kerry speech lacked all context, proportion, balance, history and any sense of reality. kerry-planet-ark Pic from Planet Ark

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