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Islamic Societies News

April 24, 2016

Saudi Arabia is a not great American ally; it is a liability

    Sunday, April 24, 2016   No comments
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

At the same time President Obama was meeting with the rulers of the GCC member states, Foreign Policy magazine published an article by Michael Pregent arguing that “Saudi Arabia is a great American ally.” Responding to the increased number of critics of Saudi Arabia, the author ignored all the facts and relied instead on two logically flawed arguments: (1) Iran is worse than Saudi Arabia, and, (2) Saudi Arabia has long been at war with al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, too, used these two specious arguments to cajole its Western economic partners into ignoring its appalling human rights record, its role in the perversion of Islam, its bulling of poor Arab and Muslim countries, and its support for brutal authoritarian regimes in Islamic societies.

Great allies are not default allies. Yet, that is exactly the author’s argument: Saudi Arabia is great ally because Iran will make a very bad one, as if Iran and the U.S. are actually wanting to be allies. Given the U.S.’s publicly stated commitment to human rights norms, representative governance, and rule of law, it is in the interest of the American people and their administrations to distance themselves from all regimes that do not share a commitment to these principles.

The author repeated Saudi Arabia’s claim that it has its own war on “al-Qaeda and its extremist affiliates” and therefore, it is a reliable ally. All evidence point to the fact that Saudi Arabia has used al-Qaeda and its derivatives as strategic tools abroad. The Saudi rulers had targeted al-Qaeda members only when they threatened the rulers' hold on power at home. The origins and ideology of al-Qaeda and its derivatives also show the undeniable connection to Saudi Arabia.

February 25, 2016

Saudi Arabia’s Impracticable Alliances

    Thursday, February 25, 2016   No comments


Saudi Wahhabism at home and abroad and the arrogation of Islam

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia *




Abstract: Before WikiLeaks released the Saudi diplomatic cables in 2010, the rulers of Saudi Arabia had cultivated the image of being deliberate, moderate, and averse to confrontation. Since the start of 2011, the Saudi rulers have behaved in ways that annulled that perception. The Saudi rulers hosted the Tunisian dictator and refused to extradite him to face criminal and corruption charges, criticized the U.S. for not standing by Hosni Mubarak, turned down a coveted seat on the UNSC, sent its armed forces to crush a peaceful protest in Bahrain, armed Salafists to overthrow the Syrian government, engineered a political coup that displaced the democratically elected prime minister of Iraq--Nuri al-Maliki, and launched a brutal war on Yemen committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the process. Days before beheading a religious leader who spoke against the oppression of Shias, the deputy crown prince and minister of war of the kingdom announced the creation of an “Islamic military coalition,” consisting of 34 countries to combat terrorism. These are not the actions and temperament of deliberate, moderate leaders. These are the actions of impetuous, nervous, and paranoid autocrats who seem to be running out of options as their internal, regional, and global allies abandon them.

January 31, 2016

Geneva -3: Syria Talks

    Sunday, January 31, 2016   No comments
Staffan de Mistura



Since the start of the proxy-war in Syria, the United Nations tried to end the violence. However, because of the geopolitical nature of the conflict, which made a Syrian-Syrian solution all but impossible, all attempts have failed and two UN envoys resigned. However, the rise of ISIL, the refugee crisis that threatened the EU, and the spread of terrorism beyond Syria and Iraq forced key states, especially the U.S. administration and the Russia government, to work together to bring an end to this devastating conflict. Previously, Russia and China have vetoed UNSC resolutions that absolved the rebels of any wrongdoing and targeted the Syrian government. However, after the successful Vienna meeting that brought together for the first time all key regional and global powers, the UNSC unanimously adopted resolution 2254. That step was built on other diplomatic initiatives and statements culminating in Geneva-3 Syria Talks now underway. To assist our audience in contextualizing these talks, we provide below key resolutions, statements, and documents that are to guide the #SyriaTalks. 

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See:


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January 8, 2016

Journalism and media in Islamic societies in conflict zones

    Friday, January 08, 2016   No comments


al-Sharq al-Awasat coverage
Journalism in Arab countries: With the increased violence and potential for sectarian war in the Middle East, one would think that the media and journalists would pay more attention to details, facts, and the language they use to report about the death and destruction in that part of the world. Instead, journalist and the media in general sided with their benefactors or religious/ethnic community, betraying the profession and their duty to objectively inform the public.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat, which wanted to be the New York Times of the Arab world showed its true identity: the mouth piece of the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Aljazeera, whose funders wanted it to be the BBC of the Arab world, resigned to its limited true function: serving the Qatari ruling family and its political allies—the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey. Alarabiya has become the Fox News of the GCC ruling families. Alahram serves Sisi… and the list goes on. 

Here is an example of the kind of headlines the “professional” journalists at al-Sharq al-Awsat ran recently:

December 28, 2015

The legacy of the illegal war on Iraq and the burden of befriending the Wahhabi rulers

    Monday, December 28, 2015   No comments



ISIL war crimes
A day after the couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people in San Bernardino, CNN reported that Malik had made “a pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” Subsequently, it was reported that Malik attended al-Huda, a religious institute whose funding and curriculum were decided by Saudi benefactors, and Farook visited Saudi Arabia and married his wife in that country. The connection between terrorists and Saudi sponsored religious institutions is well documented. The connection between ISIL and its derivatives, terrorism, and the civil war in Syria and Iraq must be properly understood and factored into any global strategy to combat terrorism and reduce violence around the world. Law enforcement officials’ reaction to the San Bernardino shooting--suggesting that the attack “may have been inspired by ISIS” but “not directed or ordered” by the group--shows that the connection between Saudi political/religious systems and terrorism is not properly made and understood.

November 16, 2015

The Genealogy, Ideology, and Future of ISIL and its Derivatives

    Monday, November 16, 2015   No comments


Abstract: The organization known today simply as the “Islamic State,” or by its Arabic acronym, Daesh (English, ISIL), has historical and ideological roots that go beyond the territories it now controls. These deep roots give Daesh confidence that it will succeed in dominating the world, but give others reasons to believe that it will fail in controlling even a single nation. Mixing puritan religious and political discourses, ISIL managed to dominate all other armed opposition groups in conflict zones (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya) and has inspired individuals in many other countries (Egypt, Pakistan, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) to carry out brutal attacks in its name.
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Dogmatic Origins: Traditionism

November 3, 2015

Turkey’s elections results prioritize stability, continuity, and inclusion

    Tuesday, November 03, 2015   No comments
 
Source: aa.com.tr
Turkey’s elections, despite the difficult circumstances and some of the intimidating practices against Kurdish voters and the media, are  victory for those who believe in an empowered citizenship and peaceful transition of power. This is especially important because, in Islamic societies, fostering shared governance and strengthening democratic institutions are urgent needed. Participation in elections is powerful rebuke to those who believe in changing political order through violence and military coups. I do not speak the Turkish language, therefore, I cannot claim that I know the motives of the Turkish voters. However, statistics and persistent trends suggest that the winners of these elections should not use it to continue ignoring voices of dissent.

First, Turkish nationalism is retreating before religious conservatism. During these redo elections, the AKP siphoned more public support from the Nationalist Movement party (MHP) than from any other party. Voters' support for MHP dropped to 11.96% from 16.5% (June’s results).

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