Daily News Roundup

Posted by Chris van Avery on 31Mar11.
 

Security
Gadhafi Push Tests Allies
Libya: Illusions and Delusions of War
Power-Sharing Not the Answer for Libya
Libyan opposition set to launch TV channel from Qatar
The myth of tribal Libya
Rebels’ ‘Vision Statement’ Has Familiar Ring
Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis press demand for president’s ouster, condemn factory blast
Saleh makes new offer to protesters
Syrian President blames unrest on ‘conspiracy’
Protests in Syrian city Latakia after Assad speech
Turkey sees Kurdish threat in Syria unrest
Analysis: Sound of a dictator preparing for a long battle
Bahraini FM accuses Hezbollah of training Shi’ite protester
Bahrain’s Shiite opposition leader demands Saudi-led troops leave Gulf island
Bahrain detains leading blogger
Egypt adopts interim constitution
Egypt’s transitional constitution keeps references to Sharia
Egypt’s military will hold presidential elections at the latest in November
Egyptian FM: We’ll Turn Over A New Leaf With Iran, Hizbullah
Muslim Brotherhood In Egypt Invites Copts To Join Its New Political Party
Egypt Opposition Divided over New Political Parties Law
Egypt likely to face more difficult relations with Israel, U.S.
Iraq blames al-Qaeda for attack
Turkey Balances Its Ties With West and Islamic World in Libya Operation
Turkish PM Erdogan Visits Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sistani, KRG
Gaza’s Islamic Jihad militant group says Israeli airstrike kills 1 fighter
Palestinians to Arab leaders: Stop blaming us for unrest
Israeli PM warns of Arab unrest resulting in theocratic regimes
UN chief chastises Israel at ‘crucial time’ in peace process
Understanding the third terror war
Al Qaida: Arab revolts herald ‘great leap forward’
Al-Qaeda Mag: We Heart The Mideast Revolts
Overriding desire for democracy tops agenda in Arab youth survey
Pro-Ouattara forces seize Ivory Coast capital
Pope sends envoy to Ivory Coast to encourage peaceful solution to violence
Nigeria to increase police and army presence ahead of elections which begin Saturday
Namibia declares floods emergency
Ethiopia to defy Egypt and build huge dam
South African counterterrorism police arrest white supremacist, seize weapons, ammunition
Pakistan bike bombing kills seven
Japan mulls covering Fukushima reactors to prevent fallout
Leadership vacuum at Japanese utility as radiation levels rise outside leaking nuclear plant
China Builds Higher Fences Over Fears Of Instability In North Korea
Arab revolt keeps China on its toes
China has a blueprint for social order
North Koreans wrap up talks with former US officials in Germany on nuclear issues
Assessment of Burma’s earthquake slow to emerge
3 al-Qaida-linked militants killed in clash with troops in southern Philippines
Islamist Website Threatens Britain’s Royal Wedding, Promising ‘Nightmare’ If Demands Are Not Met
UK authorities are investigating how fake bomb was smuggled aboard cargo flight to Turkey
Medvedev in ‘blow to Putin ally’
Germany’s Dangerous Foreign Policy Course
Dutch court rules hate speech case against anti-Islam lawmaker should continue
Kosovo court orders president to step down, says his election violated the constitution
Guatemala ‘drug lord’ captured
Canadian police arrest man linked to Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab
Top State Department official Steinberg leaves, replaced by Middle East expert
U.S. to seek new term on U.N. human rights panel
Critics: U.S. lacks overall strategy at Mexico border

Military
CIA Director Leon Panetta To Be The Next Secretary Of Defense?
Marine dead, 3 hurt in Hawaii helo crash
UK Government Denies Pilot Shortage for Libya No-Fly Zone
Philippines seen as model for counterinsurgency

Environment
At least 300,000 people killed in disasters in 2010

Politics
Lawmakers Near Deal on Spending
Many experts agree: Government shutdown likely
Some House Republicans seek DoD budget boost
Senate vote may end Obama’s climate change ambitions
Amid rising gas prices, Obama to outline plans to make US less dependent on foreign oil
Is it Time to Use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?
Agency to continue rejecting green-card applications from same-sex couples
States Rely Too Much on High Earners
Arizona governor signs law to ban on abortions based on race or sex of fetus or race of parent

Religion
80 Ethiopian Jews reported wounded, 80 arrested at demonstration over lack of citizenship
Third Church Attacked as Pakistani Extremists Declare War Over Florida Koran Burning
Pakistan Fails To Protect Its Muslim Reformers and Christians From Radical Muslims
Iran: A House Church is invaded by plain clothes security agents and 10 members are arrested
Police In India Arrest 14 For Illegal Conversion To Christianity
Ultraconservative Muslim sect clashes with villagers in Egypt
Muslims in Egypt Demand Release of Alleged Convert to Islam
Christians reject Malaysia gov’t offer to resolve dispute over seized Bibles
Malaysia nixes serial numbers
Prospects Dim for Religious Freedom in Nepal
Hindu temple attacked in Australia
Transgendered clergy gaining greater acceptance in UK

  The Growing Mythology of Islamophobia in the US

Posted by Chris van Avery on 29Mar11.
 

Here’s the narrative activists in and out of government are trying to construct, in a nutshell:

Thomas Perez, the assistant U.S. attorney general for civil rights, told the panel that anti-Muslim sentiment has brought a surge last May in the number of federal discrimination cases involving zoning boards and other local authorities that have acted to prevent mosques from opening in their communities.

That comes on top of more than 800 incidents of violence, vandalism and arson against people believed to be Muslim, Arab or South Asian, that the Justice Department has investigated since the September 11 attacks.

Perez said there has been a 150 percent jump in workplace discrimination against Muslims, often over religious dress and worship schedules, while Muslim youth can often become the victims of school yard bullying.

“In each city and town where I have met with (Muslim) leaders, I have been struck by the fear that pervades their lives,” Perez told the panel

And here’s a snapshot of what some of  the data actually says :

The Center for Security Policy today released a revised edition of their groundbreaking longitudinal study, Religious Bias Crimes 2000-2009: Muslim, Jewish and Christian Victims – Debunking the Myth of a Growing Trend in Muslim Victimization, based on FBI statistics reported annually in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The Center’s study contradicts the assertions that religious bias crimes against Muslims have increased, and that the alleged cause is widespread “Islamophobia” in America. In fact, the study shows that religious bias crimes – also known as hate crimes – against Muslim Americans, measured by the categories of incidents, offenses or victims, have remained relatively low with a downward trend since 2001, and are significantly less than the numbers of bias crimes against Jewish victims.

Granted, the study only looks at “hate crimes”, but it’s hard to see how the numbers of hate crimes went down if “bias” and “discrimination” were trending upward.

  Turkey Now More Democratic than America?

Posted by Chris van Avery on 24Mar11.
 

Turkish PM Erodogan received narrow legislative approval to join NATO enforcement of the UN arms embargo on Libya.

Turkey’s parliament approved sending a naval force off the coast of Libya as the Islamist-rooted government reluctantly moved to join military action in the conflict-torn country, despite anger at Western-led air raids.

Following harsh criticism of the strikes, the government asked parliament to approve the dispatch of military forces, pledging a submarine, four frigates and an auxiliary ship to a NATO patrol mission to enforce a UN arms embargo against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.

The vote was held in a closed session by a show of hands, with some opposition deputies also lending support to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), parliamentary sources said.

Turkish participation in the enforcement of the no-fly zone and attacks against Ghaddafi’s forces are neither planned nor expected.

As for America, our executive branch seems to have been, you know, too busy to even consult with the legislature. The White House plans to get around to briefing Congress next week and has made no mention of seeking approval for the operation.

  Turkey, Iran Jockeying to Fill US Power Vacuum

Posted by Chris van Avery on 23Mar11.
 

As the United States appears to waver on its approach to the forces surging forth in the Middle East, both Turkey and Iran are actively working behind the scenes to come out ahead in the region. Here’s a quick summary of what the competitors have been up to in the region:

Iran

Arming opponents of the Yemeni government to undermine Saudi Arabia.
– Claiming it owns Bahrain and supporting opponents of the Saudi-friendly monarchy.
Funding and militarizing Hamas in Gaza.
Funding and militarizing Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Supporting protests in Saudi Arabia.
Building a proxy in Iraq.

Turkey

– Building ties and attempting form and lead a regional block .
– Making big friends in China and Russia .
Blocking NATO out of a Libya role.
– Keeping a measured approach to unrest in Libya, criticizing the warfighting , but helping with the arms embargo .
– Distancing itself from Israel and the West .
– Publicly slapping Tehran for taking its strategy too far.

In the end, Washington (and Beijing and Moscow) appears more and more hesitant to try and reassert influence in the Middle East, and the region appears more and more hesitant to accept such an influence. Given that, I expect Turkey will come out the big winner, as Ankara seems to be positioned to be viewed as the most powerful state in the region on a good footing with the most major external powers.


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