Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Egypt's Dangerous Second Transition

1/2

 Cairo/Brussels   |   7 Aug 2013

Nearly two-and-half years after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, Egypt is embarking on a transition in many ways disturbingly like the one it just experienced, only with different actors at the helm and far more fraught and violent.

Egypt “The most likely path today is heightened confrontation amid political paralysis. It will take a herculean effort to break out of this cycle; most of all, it will require all parties to go against type and act against their natural instincts”.
Peter Harling, Crisis Group’s Senior Middle East Adviser
In its latest briefing, Marching in Circles: Egypt’s Dangerous Second Transition, the International Crisis Group examines the current crisis. Polarisation between supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi is such that one can only fear more bloodshed; the military appears convinced it has a popular mandate to turn the page on Islamist rule; the Muslim Brotherhood, aggrieved by what it sees as the unlawful overturn of its democratic mandate, seems persuaded it can recover by holding firm. Urgent, simultaneous measures are needed to end the violence, reintegrate the Brotherhood in the political arena and define a more consensual roadmap.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
  • Morsi’s administration treated a fragile, emerging political order as if it were long established and electoral results as dispositive in a country where public sentiment is fickle and trust in the ballot box scant. This approach, it thought, would allow it to impose its agenda without need for cross-partisan support. This turned out to be a monumental misreading. But as their opponents revel in the Brothers’ demise, they court the same mistake.
  •  As a first step, Morsi and other Brotherhood figures detained for political reasons since 3 July should be released. Their continued imprisonment is not only a rallying cry for demonstrators; it also deprives any putative dialogue of key representative interlocutors.
  • Politicians and security forces should agree on immediate de-escalation by restricting (not banning) protests; ending politicised arrests and security crackdowns; and curbing incendiary rhetoric.
  • If a national dialogue is to have any chance of restoring a more normal climate, it will have to be broadly inclusive and empowered; optimally, it should be facilitated by a credible third party, such as the European Union. The purpose would be to agree both on a process for amending the constitution and on a political pact guaranteeing civilian, majority rule while protecting minority rights.
  • Washington and Brussels should seek to make full use of their diplomatic clout to rally regional allies behind what is the international community’s recurrently stated goal: ending the violence on Egypt’s streets and restoring an inclusive political process as soon as possible.
“The temptation to score a decisive victory, yesterday contemplated by the Islamists, today by their foes, is understandable”, says Yasser El-Shimy, Crisis Group’s Egypt Analyst. “Only this time, the cost of failure could well include political violence at a level not experienced by Egypt since the 1990s”.

“No political actor is powerful or popular enough to unilaterally dominate the post-2011 system,” says Peter Harling, Crisis Group’s Senior Middle East Adviser. “The most likely path today is heightened confrontation amid political paralysis. It will take a herculean effort to break out of this cycle; most of all, it will require all parties to go against type and act against their natural instincts”. (ICG)

2/2

OVERVIEW

Nearly two-and-half years after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow, Egypt is embarking on a transition in many ways disturbingly like the one it just experienced – only with different actors at the helm and far more fraught and violent. Polarisation between supporters and opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi is such that one can only fear more bloodshed; the military appears convinced it has a mandate to suppress demonstrators; the Muslim Brotherhood, aggrieved by what it sees as the unlawful overturn of its democratic mandate, seems persuaded it can recover by holding firm. A priority is to lower flames by releasing political prisoners – beginning with Morsi; respect speech and assembly rights; independently investigate killings; and for, all sides, avoid violence and provocation. This could pave the way for what has been missing since 2011: negotiating basic rules first, not rushing through divisive transition plans. An inclusive reconciliation process – notably of the Brotherhood and other Islamists – needs more than lip-service. It is a necessity for which the international community should press. 

There are many reasons for the current crisis: the Morsi administration’s dismissive attitude toward its critics; its inability to mobilise the machinery of state to address basic concerns of an impatient citizenry; the opposition’s reliance on extra-institutional means to reverse unfavourable electoral outcomes; state institutions’ disruptive foray into partisan politics; and collective resort to street action to resolve differences. All these served as backdrop to the 30 June popular uprising and Morsi’s overthrow by the military three days later and have left prospects for a successful democratic transition far dimmer than in February 2011. Social and ideological divisions are more pronounced, violence more normalised, a seemingly revanchist security apparatus more emboldened and a winner-takes-all approach more alluring than ever. And all this takes place in a deteriorating fiscal, social and economic environment.

Duelling legitimacies were on display on 30 June. The first was based on popular outcry against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, viewed as incompetent, arrogant, domineering and increasingly out of touch. The second was rooted in the ballot box. Both have been superseded in effect by the legitimacy the military bestowed upon itself as ultimate arbiter of politics. In so doing, the armed forces unquestionably are relying on deep popular backing among Brotherhood opponents. But this hardly is a stable formula. Their support base consists of an eclectic and awkward alliance of liberals, leftists, businessmen, Mubarak-era conservatives and members of the establishment. The contradictions will be evident before long; some already have surfaced. Many Brotherhood critics remain ambivalent about the role of the army, which simultaneously has turned a sizeable portion of the Islamist camp into its foe. In short, and unlike 2011 when it could paint itself as above the fray, the military has sided with one camp against another. 

The fate of the Muslim Brotherhood is at the centre of the equation. Reeling from its dramatic loss of power and persecuted in ways unseen since the 1960s, it is reviving its traditional narratives of victimhood and injustice. It is depicting the struggle as a battle between defenders and opponents of both democracy and Islam. It is closing ranks, banking on a war of attrition to expose the new rulers over time as a more repressive version of Mubarak’s old regime; exacerbate divisions among their current backers; and discredit them with domestic and international public opinion. In mirror image, the new authorities believe that, by preventing a return to normalcy, the Islamists will continue to lose popular support and – if they refuse to retreat – justify a more forceful crackdown. 

Averting a more violent confrontation and finding a pathway back to a legitimate political process is a huge challenge, one that, by the nature of current dynamics, domestic actors are in no position to meet alone. The European Union (EU) has emerged as an important potential mediator, a fact that reflects the intense anti-Americanism that has enveloped both sides of the Egyptian divide. Others (including, behind the scenes, Washington) should work in unison. The goal, easier said than done, must be to propose a middle ground between the Islamists’ insistence that Morsi be reinstated and the constitution restored, and the resolve of the military and its allies that there will be no turning back. Some ideas have been floated, such as allowing Morsi to return with dignity in order to quickly resign, thereby transferring power to a different interim president or prime minister acceptable to all; and, through an inclusive process, establishing new institutional rules (to amend the constitution and organise new elections). 

The current rulers, of course, are strongly tempted to press forward forcefully in order to establish facts on the ground: an effective government; economic progress thanks in part to massive Gulf Arab financial assistance; constitutional revisions; and elections. But this would come at a very steep price, as the bloody confrontations on 8 and 27 July readily attest.

Indeed, it is a price the army and the coalition that supports it should know well, for it is one Morsi and his allies just paid: by taking advantage of a favourable balance of power and rushing to create a new political order that essentially marginalised losers, they put the country’s stability at risk and hope of a return to normalcy out of reach. Only this time around, the cost of failure could well include political violence at a level not experienced by Egypt since the early 1990s. (ICG)

Read Full pdf 20 pages report from here>>>

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Egypt & Removal of Morsi


Muhammad Morsi, the now disgraced and overthrown President of Egypt, received a rude awakening on the first anniversary of his rule, as the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, General Sisi orchestrated the removal of Morsi from power; effectively a coup. Widespread protests rocked Egypt as many took to the streets to vent their frustrations at the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) dominated government. The MB swept to power under the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), winning the parliamentary elections in early 2012 and then subsequently winning the presidential run-off.  A year on, however, the political career of both Morsi and the MB has been brought to an abrupt end. The MB struggled to solve the myriad of problems that faced Egypt, while simultaneously battling thugs in the street, a seditious opposition, corruption in the judiciary, and a state that is in shambles at many levels. As Morsi and the MB determine their futures, RO reviews the four fundamental reasons why the MB find themselves no longer in power.
Firstly, the MB-dominated government inherited an economy which was already on the verge of collapse. The lack of a clear economic roadmap made the economical situation worse. The problem with the Egyptian economy is that an elite few are in control of it. When large parts of the economy were privatized, the country’s assets went right into the hands of Mubarak's friends. These business tycoons still maintain control over the Egyptian economy,[1] something Morsi never attempted to change. This maldistribution led to a situation where 40% of Egyptian population live below the poverty line.[2] These big business elites moved much of their wealth out of the country when Mubarak fell, leading to a big fall of the Egyptian pound, drastically raising the cost of imports.[3] Since Egypt is reliant upon agricultural and energy imports, this created a massive trade imbalance and lead to MB's decision to turn to the IMF. As inflation spiraled out of control and unemployment rose many have taken to the streets in protest.
 
Secondly, Morsi failed to placate much of the opposition, who took every opportunity to undermine his rule. The secular opposition, Mubarak-era officials, and the business elite never accepted the MB electoral victory, and never will – their key demand has always been  that Morsi must step down.[4] The MB have had to contend with persistent insurrection since coming to power, and Morsi attempted to deal with this by sacking the prosecutor general Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud and assigning himself powers over the legislative and executive branches as well as immunity from the courts. This backfired, leading to mass riots and stand-off in the streets of Cairo. Morsi failed to integrate the opposition, divide them, or weaken them. As a result, opposition figures carried out regular, often violent, demonstrations to undermine Morsi’s rule, bringing the country to a standstill.
Thirdly, the Morsi regime has been plagued with indecisiveness and the inability to deal with pressing problems as it lacks a grand vision. After an 80 year struggle against tyranny, MB’s rise to power has made it patently clear that the MB had no clear policy positions. Since the election victory, the MB has gone to great lengths to demonstrate its moderation to the West. Indeed in its rush to placate so-called international opinion, they abandoned all commitment to Islamic governance. When it came to applying Islamic principles they cited constitutional barriers and the need to keep minorities onside. When it came to applying Islamic economics, they cited the need to avoid scaring international investors and tourists. When it came to applying the Islamic foreign policy, they cited the need to show a moderate image and to appease the West. Slogans such as ‘Islam is the solution,’ were very quickly replaced with a call for a civil state. Morsi immediately sent a communiqué confirming Egypt's commitment to peaceful ties with Israel.[5] The initial calls for Islam were completely removed from Morsi's statements as he settled into power.
Fourthly, the MB have shown they lack political awareness by entering a political process which was established by Gamal Abdul Nasser and which the army maintains. The army’s interference in the running of the country and disproportionate influence weakens the President. The army, since the ouster of Mubarak, has allowed the day-to-day running of the country in the hands of the government, but has kept foreign policy firmly within its own hands. The minister of defence is always the head of the army in Egypt. Any policy, such as the defence budget that could affect the army’s position were always overruled. As a result, the MB has had to toe the army’s line, giving up whatever plans it had on its own agenda. Rather than attempting to challenge the political system in Egypt with the mandate it received in the elections, the MB abandoned whatever it stood for.
Despite compromising on everything the MB stood for, this was never enough for the secular elements, who wished to emerge victorious from the latest demonstrations. On the economic front it was evident that both Morsi and MB had no clear vision. Dealing with the region, Morsi did nothing to change the status quo, but maintained what his predecessors constructed.  Despite over 80 years touting ‘Islam is the solution,’ when the opportunity presented itself the MB failed to meet the challenge governance posed. As a result, despite winning the elections, they were always on the backfoot defending their rule. The demonstrations against their rule grew in scope as the MB failed to placate the opposition, eventually bringing the country to a standstill, which was when the army moved in. The irony of the turmoil in Egypt is: despite the MB never implementing Islam to appease the West and the secularists, on the anniversary of their rule they were thrown out of government. (By; Adnan Khan)

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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

3rd March 1924: The day State founded by Rasoolallah (saw) was abolished!

Bani Israel were ruled by their Prophets. When one died, there would follow another. There will be no Prophet after me, only Khulafaa’.’ They asked Rasoolallah, ‘What should we do?’ He said ‘Give them bay’ah, one after the other.’ [Sahīh Muslim]

The Madinah State of the Prophet (saw) was the highest model of governance that has ever existed – succeeded by the Khilafah Rashidah, on the model of Prophethood.

The Khulafaa’ that succeed the Khulafaa’ al Rashidun were of varying quality. The best – like Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Muhammad al Fatih, Suleiman al Qaanooni and Abdul Hameed II – were great rulers. The worst were better than the criminal rulers that rule the Muslim world today. Even until the Ottoman era, when it was indebted and weakened, the Khilafah was still a significant power on the world stage; not only because they adopted the Islamic system alone, but also because they struggled hard to preserve the unity of the state and Ummah.

Yet 89 years ago, on the 3rd March 1924, some years after it had been dismembered (after World War One) and after a long period of intellectual decline – the Khilafah state, the model of government established by Allah’s beloved Messenger (saw), was abolished by the criminal Mustafa Kemal in Ankara. The Muslim world reacted with shock. It was described as a ‘disaster to both Islam and civilization’. It was predicted the Muslim world would be thrown into ‘the ranks of revolution and disorder’. Sadly, these predictions proved true. The Ummah has been divided, oppressed, colonized, exploited and occupied ever since.  Till now, Muslims are looking for a way to overcome this misery.

For decades Muslims have been looking at the Western capitalist system and nation state model – alternating between the oppression of dictators and the corruption of democratic politicians. Since the destruction of the Khilafah State, Islam has been confined to personal belief, Salah, Zakat, Fasting in Ramadhan and Hajj. We follow the Prophet’s (saw) Sunnah in these individual ibadat, yet we have abandoned his Sunnah in politics and government! It is through this great institution that the Prophet (saw) taught this Ummah how to do politics and run a society and state for Muslims and non-Muslims.

The Khilafah State represents the unity of the Ummah. The Khalifah is the Ameer of this Ummah. Allah (swt) said…’Hold fast to the rope of Allah and be not divided amongst yourselves’ [Surah Aal-‘Imran 3:103]. The Khilafah is the practical method by which the Shari’ah secured this unity. The tie that links people in the Khilafah is their citizenship. All of those who hold the citizenship of the Islamic State – Muslim and non-Muslim – have the full right to enjoy guardianship without fear of discrimination, just as they all obey the law, in line with the divine principle that states: “They have the same fairness enjoyed by Muslims; and they are also accountable like Muslims.” The Khilafah looks after the affairs of all citizens regardless of tribe or ethnicity – abiding by the Quranic order: “The best among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you”. [Surah Hujurat 49:13].

Without the Islamic system of unity the Ummah has been divided into nation states and the menace of nationalism and sectarianism has brought nothing but war, conflict, division and fitnah in our countries amongst our own people.

The Khilafah State is a political system where the Ummah holds the authority and has a duty to account the Khalīfah according to Islam. On assuming his position as Khalīfah, Sayidina Abu Bakr As Siddīq (ra) said: ‘O People! I have been put in authority over you and I am not the best of you. So if I do the right thing then help me and if I do wrong then put me straight… Obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger, and if I do not obey Allah and His Messenger then obedience to me is not incumbent upon you.’ 

The Khilafah enshrines the accountability of the government because Allah (swt) ordered the Muslim Ummah to enjoin ma’roof and forbid munkar on the ruler. The Messenger (saw) said: “By He Who owns my soul, you must enjoin the Ma’roof and forbid the Munkar, or Allah may inflict upon you a punishment from Him, you would then supplicate Him and your supplication would go unanswered [Sunan Abu Dawud #4336]. So, there is a branch of the judiciary to judge between the ruler and the people, the Qadhi Madhalim – with the power to remove the Khalīfah if he breaks his contractual conditions of ruling. Islam encourages political parties to hold the ruler to account; a Majlis of elected representatives to account the ruler and be consulted by him; and an independent media to hold the government to account and scrutinise its actions. While democracy is claimed as the only way to ensure accountable government, the reality is that this so called democratic system in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq and Afghanistan have produced politicians who are corrupt to the core, siphoning millions and billions of the Ummah’s wealth and have opened our countries to the ugly plans of the colonialists.

On the economic front our countries are submerged in a quagmire of debt, poverty, inequality and economic colonialism. This goes on, whilst our Ummah is blessed with some of the largest natural resources, vast fertile agricultural lands and abundant human resources. This state of affairs is because the secular politicians who are in charge of this ummah today are there to steal this wealth and help the colonial powers implement their IMF/World Bank policies to ensure our resources continue to be in Western hands. Only a sincere Islamic leadership implementing the clear economic rules from Islam can break this status quo. One of the roles of the Khalīfah is the collection of Zakat. Imam Tahawi narrated from Muslim bin Yasser that the Prophet (saw) said, The (collection of) the Zakat, (implementation of) Hudood, (distribution of) the spoils and (the organising) of the Jumu’ah are for the Sultan.” The Khalifah’s role is to collect any revenues that Islam permits – Zakat, Ushr, Kharaaj, Jizya, as well as the revenues from state and public properties – and spend them on the things that are mandatory. For example, every citizen needs to have food clothing and shelter; every male and female child must be educated; and the state has a due to spend on health and the military. 

The Muslim world is crying under the weight of its problems and needs an alternative – and that alternative is the Islamic Khilafah state. Following the Arab revolutions, Egypt and Tunisia are still engulfed in political crisis and mismanagement because, fundamentally, the secular man made system is still in place. It is the Khilafah system that can bring a government that is based upon our Aqeeda, agrees with our identity, history and culture and has the practical solutions for our various political, economic and social problems. And, more importantly, it is through this that we will attain the good pleasure of Allah (swt).

Today the Western capitalist system that has ruled the world for decades is not admired as it once was. It has created another global economic crisis. Western powers have overreached themselves in imperial warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their societies are filled with family breakdown and social problems. People view their politicians as increasingly corrupt, bowing down to banks and big business.

In desperation, Western politicians and their corporate-backed media slander the Prophet of Islam (saw) and portray the Khilafah system of governance as backward and as the aspiration of extremists. This is because they know it challenges their political, economic and military dominance of the Muslim world.
Brothers and Sisters: We as Muslims living in Britain have a duty to challenge these lies about Islam, about Allah’s Messenger (saw), about his system of governance, and about the Shari’ah of Islam. Indeed, we have a duty to offer people – who question the way the world is today – an alternative, by giving our neighbours, colleagues and others the da’wah to Islam, to show them how the Islamic Aqeedah convinces the mind, agrees with man’s nature and has the capacity to solve humanity’s problems.

It is the promise of Allah’s Messenger that the Khilafah on the way of Prophethood will return – after it had been abolished. He (saw) said after a period of biting oppressionthere will be a Khilafah Rashida according to the ways of the Prophethood.’ Then he kept silent.” [Musnad Imam Ahmad]
And in anticipation of that return, isn’t it right that we redress the shameful misrepresentation of the Prophetic system of governance that we see today. It is our duty as Muslims to know this model of governance and to tell others about its reality – and not the media’s scaremongering.

Dear Brothers and Sisters: It is the Promise from your Lord, the glad tidings from your Prophet and the highest of obligations. (HTB)

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How should we view the Mali conflict?

1/2 France will never allow a Muslim state in Mali where 90 percent are Muslims
West Africa’s poverty stricken but mineral rich former French colony of Mali has been in the limelight since early last month.

Political crisis in Mali was triggered since January 2012 when the people in the north, Tuaregs, staged an armed conflict and declared a separate state .It was purely an internal affair .Many political leaders in the
region, especially from neighboring Mauritania, suggested that this crisis could and should be sorted out peacefully rather than military intervention which could destabilize the region.

Instead France entered Mali under the guise of fighting Islamists and started raining death and destruction as it had done in Libya. However people warned that Mali will be worse than Afghanistan for French led invaders.
Mali is a land locked country surrounded by Algeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Coted’Ivoire, Guinea, Senegal and Mauritania .It has a population of 14.5 million of which more than 90 percent are Muslims .Its   land area  is  1,240,000 square kilometers.

The north of Mali stretches to Sahara desert while the south, blessed with Niger and Senegal rivers, remains fertile .It is in the south that bulk of the people live on agriculture and fisheries. Though rich in gold and uranium and third largest producer of gold in Africa     half of Mali’s population live below the poverty line of US dollar 1.25 per day.

Mali has been a one party rule for long until the 1991 coup which brought a new constitution. Since then Mali has been one of very fewmali041 functioning democracies in Africa.
However people in the north,Tuaregs, were a neglected and ethnically marginalized lot. They tried to establish a separate independent state of their own, but   failed. During the time of ousted dictator Mohammed Gaddafi Tuaregs were employed in the armed forces of Libya. The remittance from them played a crucial in keeping the body and soul together for thousands of  Tuareg families.

The problem started   with the peoples uprising in Libya during which France played a decisive role in ousting Libyan’s Dictator Muammar Gaddafi and toppled his regime. Former French President Nicola Sarkozy wanted his secret service to eliminate Muammar Gaddafi at any cost to ensure his shady deals do not come to limelight.

Tuaregs in the Libyan armed forces started leaving the country as rebel forces considered them mercenaries and started killing them. They returned home with their arms and training. It was this group which staged an armed conflict in January 2012   and established their separate state in the North of Mali called Azawad.

Three months later chaos broke out  after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. In the wake of the coup the Ansar Dine fighters fought back, pushed Tuaregs aside and took control of the region. The swiftness of the military success of Ansar Dine alarmed the west specially France which wanted to crush them at any cost and maintain its influence in the region.

Thus France launched war on Mali on 11 January 2013 to prevent the risen of Islam and plunder Mali’s natural resources.

The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark declared their support to the French war in Mali. Russia also provided assistance to France. In the midst France also dragged in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar changing the entire dimension of this conflict.

The US controlled United Nations Security Council which has become licensing authority for US-European invasion of Muslim countries voted unanimously on 12 October 2012 in favor of a French-drafted resolution asking Mali’s government to draw up plans for a military mission to re-establish control over the northern part of Mali.

British columnist Owen Jones wrote that “When the UN Security Council unanimously paved the way for military force to be used, experts made clear warnings that must still be listened to. The International Crisis Group urged for diplomatic solution to restore stability, arguing that intervention could exacerbate a growing inter-ethnic conflict.

Amnesty warned that “an international armed intervention is likely to increase the scale of human-rights violations we are already seeing in this conflict”. Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, argued that past wars show that “once started, they can take alarming directions, have very destructive results, and often enhance the very movements they are designed to counter”.

However all these warnings were dismissed by France and its partners in their drive to implement their well-planned military designs on resource rich Muslim countries in the region.

mali042As usual the Western media failed to provide a clear picture of the unfolding events. However   columnist David S. J. Borelli,  said this is one of the lesser-known but most crucial conspiracies being hatched to plunder   resources in the heart of Africa.

There is a wide consensus among neighboring Mauritanians, regardless of political leanings, against French involvement in Mali, which many view as a return to colonialism. This sentiment found expression in a fatwa, or religious edict, issued by 39 clerics and imams forbidding the Mauritanian government and people from cooperating with the invading countries.

Most of the country’s political parties agree with the clergy’s position and one of ruling party’s leading members, Mohammad Ould Mham, denounced the French war, saying that it would have been better for Paris “to gather all the Malian parties around the negotiating table – only dialogue can avert a war in Mali and the region.”

The Mauritanian Party of Union and Change claimed that it was French colonialism that created the problem in northern Mali in the first place and now it has returned to ignite a war, the consequences of which no one can predict.

Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi warned that the military intervention could “fuel conflict in the region”   and would lead to a new humanitarian tragedy.”

However oil rich Gulf states were dragged into the military conflict.

During a visit to Abu Dhabi  this month French  President Francois Hollande said   that  United Arab Emirates  are fully behind the French military intervention in Mali, and pledged ''their full support, including humanitarian, material and financial aid.

However in Kuwait demonstrators gathered outside the embassy, carried banners calling on France to end its war against the people of Mali. They condemned "the bloodshed of Muslims" in the West African country and urged Gulf rulers not to support the French offensive.

A report in the website Khalifah .com stated that from the very start of this military campaign there were reports of killing civilians and children by the French war machine which includes air bombardment and ground invasion. The French President Francois Hollande has stated clearly during his visit to Gulf States that he will not permit the establishment of an Islamic State in Mali. What is most disgusting is the support that Muslim rulers in the Gulf have given to France and its allies to help destroy Mali and its people.

Dealing with the unfolding humanitarian crisis the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stated that it has received reports of horrific human rights abuses. UNHCR staff members are relaying stories of "witnessed executions and amputations and it anticipates up to 700,000   people will be forced to flee their homes.    

On January 18, UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming warned that “there could be up to 300,000 people additionally displaced inside Mali, and over 400,000 additionally displaced in the neighboring countries. ”The figures do not include the existing 229,000 people already displaced inside the country and 147,000 refugees who have fled to neighboring nations, Fleming told reporters in Geneva.  

In another report   Mahboob Khawaja said  “ The hurriedly enforced allied adventure in West Africa - Mali- tells clearly that the US led bogus “War on Terror” is endless and unprovoked aggression is part of the planned Western crusade against Islam and Muslims   If American politicians are not irrational and war addicted what else is the reasoning for their utter madness and animosity against Islam and Muslims?

Columnist Glenn Greenwald   attempts to synthesize the end game: There’s no question that this "war" will continue indefinitely. There is no question that US actions are the cause of that, the gasoline that fuels the fire. The only question - and it's becoming less of a question for me all the time - is whether this endless war is the intended result of US actions or just an unwanted miscalculation.

Divided, scattered like seeds are Muslims and leaderless Arab people and their long due awakening to the prevalent realities of the emerging New World manipulated by the US war industries. There are lessons that other authoritarian Arab leaders should learn from the fate of Saddam, Gaddafi, Ben Ali and Bashar al-Assad. 

Writer Colin Wilson (A Criminal History of Mankind) captions the perpetuated animosity and degenerating viciousness of the US led War on Terror and illustrates how it is a replica of the failed Roman Empire:

Would the Muslim in general and the oil-enriched Arab rulers in particular, ever THINK intelligently to stop the American incursions into their hearts and minds and to challenge the US continued unprovoked belligerency against Islam and the unjustifiable bogus War on Terror against the Muslim people worldwide? (By; Latheef Farook)

2/2;
Most people in the UK trying to figure out what is happening in Mali are almost entirely dependent on mainstream media outlets. But they all carry the same simplistic narrative.

The Western media tell us there are ‘good guys’ in the South, who adore the French for intervening.
They tell us there are ‘bad guys’ in the North. Some are ‘fairly bad guys’ – Tuaregs who were alienated for a long time, who have been manipulated by ‘Islamists’ but who could be part of a long-term solution.
Others are ‘really bad guys’ – variously described as‘Islamists’, ‘Jihadists’, ‘Rebels’ or ‘Extremists’. We are told they do nothing good and everything bad.

A Muslim viewing these events can apply certain principles, which avoid simply following the ‘good guys’ versus ‘bad guys’ narrative presented by a politicised and biased media machine in the West.

How should the Muslim view the recent events?

1. Muslims fighting Muslims is terrible in any circumstance.

The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) said: Abusing a Muslim is Fusuq (evil doing) and fighting against him is Kufr (disbelief). [Bukhari & Muslim]

So, whatever the root cause, when it comes to bloodshed on either side, it is a painful and tragic sight, and potentially disastrous for the participants in the akhira (afterlife).

2. Western colonial states intervening in Muslim lands is an unwelcome sight and unacceptable. 

Some people may try to justify the invitation of states like France on one side or the other saying the people need the protection of an external force, as a matter of life and death.

This is dangerous in political terms and unacceptable from a Shari’ah legal perspective.
From Shari’ah: Allah (swt) says: And never will Allah give the disbelievers a way over the believers (Quran 4:141).

Politically: This conflict is not the first such intervention by Western colonial powers in Muslim lands – where they maintained a presence of troops or Western installed proxy-rulers in order to secure a way over the politics and wealth of those regions.

Moreover, we can recall the lies, deceit and abuses committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere – as well as the huge death count.

Allah (swt) says: O Believers, do not take My enemies and your enemies as allies (Quran 60:1).
France’s history in North Africa includes the systematic killing of hundred of thousands of Muslims and uncountable cases of torture. The French claim the numbers of dead under their policies in Algeria were around 350,000 – but other estimates put the figures as well over 1 million Muslims. It is therefore inconceivable that France’s intervention is purely for humanitarian reasons – and Allah sets a clear limit, so avoiding a Muslim being duped by someone with enmity.

The Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice. (Bukhari & Muslim)

3. Keep a healthy scepticism about news reports from a politically biased Western media.
Allah (swt) says: Believers! If a faasiq (wrongdoer) comes to you with news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done. (Quran 49:6)

Much of the media carrying the events of Mali to us are not virtuous trustworthy organisations.

They show images of Malians celebrating as the ‘Jihadists’ are expelled from cities – just as they once showed images of celebrating Afghans when the Taleban were expelled from Kabul, and celebrating Iraqis when Saddam fled Baghdad.

They present casualties of the conflict just as they present information about deaths from drone attacks in Pakistan – that those killed are without doubt ‘terrorist suspects or insurgents’ – even though there is ample evidence that thousands of innocent civilians are killed. One respected news journalist showed the dead bodies of three teenage Malian boys – and described them as recruits who fought with the Jihadists. How she came to know this with certainty, she did not say – but the information was presented with certainty, and without evidence.

We are told the rebels are violent, oppressive and barbaric. The most recent crimes laid at their door are the destruction of graves and an ancient library in Timbuktu. But we were once told that Iraqi troops had killed babies in incubators in Kuwait – which was untrue.

4. Beware the negative caricature of the‘Islamic’ behaviour 

The trick of the Western media is to conflate wrong-doing, accusations of wrong-doing and Islamic laws in such a way as to discredit the Islamic laws.

In Mali, we are told ‘Islamist’rebels enforce strict ‘Shariah’ law and oppressed and abused the people.
We have no idea if this is true or not.

If the either side committed wrong-doings or oppressed others, we should view it as wrong and not defend it.

But we should be wary to come out and condemn it, without being sure if it really did happen – in particular as the aim is to discredit Islamic laws and systems to the audience.

The same media carry very few criticisms of the criminal Saudi regime’s system or practices because the Saudi regime is a loyal ally of the West.

A Muslim does not need to defend any wrongdoings of any side (for which we have few reliable verifying sources) in order to oppose the intervention by France and its allies.

5. The problems exist due to the absence of a legitimate unifying power in the Muslim world – the Islamic Khilafah

Mali is an artificial construct of a colonial era. It was once a great centre of civilisation where the various tribes lived without conflict like that of today.

The Khilafah is the legitimate political authority – respected and recognised by Muslims – that arbitrated disputes between people. It rises above tribe, race and political faction.

In 1916, the French along with the British, dismembered the Khilafah in the Sykes-Picot accord – before fatally wounding it after World War I, leading to its demise in 1924.

The anarchy and chaos that has existed in the Muslim world post-Khilafah can be directly linked to the absence of a legitimate authority in the Muslim world. THe Khilafah is based on their beliefs, consistent with their values and rooted in their history.

Writing in the Times on 5thMarch 1924, Ameer Ali said of the removal of the Khilafah that “I fear the removal of this ideal [will] drive the peoples included in the vast Sunni following into the ranks of revolution and disorder.”

Sadly, his prediction has proved true. (HTB)


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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Syria’s Kurds: A Struggle Within a Struggle


Syria’s conflict gives its Kurdish population an opening to rectify historic wrongs and push for more autonomy, but facing internal divisions, poor ties with the non-Kurdish opposition and regional rivalries, its challenge is to articulate clear, unified and achievable demands.

Syria’s Kurds: A Struggle Within a Struggle, the latest International Crisis Group report, examines the growing influence of Kurdish factions in Syria while warning against entanglement in the broader regional battle over Kurdish independence.


“For the foreseeable future, the fate of Syria’s Kurds lies in Syria and rests on their ability to manage relations with the surrounding society and an emerging, pluralistic political scene”, says Peter Harling, Crisis Group’s Syria, Egypt and Lebanon Project Director. “They express specific fears and general demands, but need to engage broader society and define a platform to serve as a basis for negotiations”.


Syria’s conflict has given its Kurds an opportunity to escape from a long period of systemic discrimination. Hoping to avoid a new battlefront and banking on Arab-Kurdish divisions to further muddy the picture, the regime largely left Kurds alone. In turn, Syrian Kurdish factions, many with ties to Kurdish groups based in Turkey or northern Iraq, took advantage of the regime’s preoccupation. This is the case in particular of the Democratic Union Party (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, PYD), the Syrian offshoot of Turkey’s PKK insurgency, whose military wing has ousted government officials and security forces from many majority-Kurd areas.


Yet, several factors should give Kurdish leaders pause. Kurdish factions are deeply divided over goals and tactics, as well as more petty rivalries. Some accuse the PYD, the largest and most influential group, of being overly dependent on the PKK. Other Kurdish groups are a motley collection of smaller parties that, unlike the PYD, lack an effective military presence within Syria.


Kurdish factions compete not only with each other but also with the non-Kurdish opposition, whose predominantly Arab nationalist and Islamist narratives alienate many Kurds. In turn, Kurds have raised suspicions about their ultimate goals and notably their willingness to remain part of Syria. The more the conflict drags on, the more ethnic tensions build. Already, there are turf battles between PYD fighters and opposition armed groups. Worse clashes may come.


Finally, the Syrian conflict has exacerbated the undeclared fight for the heart and soul of the Kurdish national movement in the four countries (Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran) across which it is divided. Syrian Kurdish parties, like their regional patrons, have different views on tactics: whether to extract concessions by force or engagement and compromise.


“By and large, Syria’s Kurds already have made strides in their quest for greater rights by being masters of their own areas for the first time in the history of modern Syria”, says Maria Fantappie, Crisis Group’s Middle East Analyst. “They plan to parlay new freedoms into constitutional guarantees in the new order that eventually will emerge. But that will only be possible if their parties and youth groups coordinate, reach out to broader Syrian society and make their struggle for Kurdish national rights part of the larger struggle for citizenship in Syria”.


As Syria’s conflict has expanded, the population in majority-Kurd areas has remained relatively insulated. Keeping a lower profile, it has been spared the brunt of regime attacks; over time, security forces withdrew to concentrate elsewhere. Kurdish groups stepped in to replace them: to stake out zones of influence, protect their respective areas, provide essential services and ensure an improved status for the community in a post-Assad Syria. Big gains could be reaped, yet cannot be taken for granted. Kurdish aspirations remain at the mercy of internal feuds, hostility with Arabs (evidenced by recent clashes) and regional rivalries over the Kurdish question. For Syria’s Kurds, long-suppressed and denied basic rights, prudence dictates overcoming internal divisions, clarifying their demands and – even at the cost of hard compromises – agreement with any successor Syrian power structure to define and enshrine their rights. And it is time for their non-Kurdish counterparts to devise a credible strategy to reassure all Syrians that the new-order vision of the state, minority rights, justice and accountability is both tolerant and inclusive.

Ethnically and linguistically a distinct group, Syria’s Kurds inhabit lands close to the Turkish and Iraqi borders, though several cities in other parts of the country, in particular Damascus and Aleppo, also have large Kurdish constituencies. Strictly speaking, theirs is not a region, whether politically – unlike their Iraqi counterparts, they have not gained autonomy under the Baathist regime – or geographically: even majority-Kurdish areas in the north east are interspersed with mixed areas also comprising Sunni Arabs, Assyrians, Armenians, Turkomans and Yazidis. As things stand, one cannot speak of a contiguous territory. Moreover, and unlike their brethren in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, they do not have the benefit of mountains in which to safely organise an armed insurgency against central rule.

Partly co-opted by the regime, which developed its own Kurdish clients by tolerating some political and paramilitary activism (as long as it was directed against Turkey) and criminal activity (mostly smuggling), Syria’s Kurds also have seethed under systemic discrimination and repression. Among the more egregious forms of inequity, some 300,000 of them – roughly 15 per cent of the estimated two million total – remain stateless, living in a legal vacuum and deprived of fundamental rights. Although revolts occasionally erupted, these quickly were crushed. The result has been a largely quiescent population.

This is changing. As occurred in Iraq in 1991 and again in 2003, the current acute crisis presents Kurds with an opportunity to rectify – or at least start rectifying – what they consider an historic wrong: the decision by the French and British Mandatory powers to divide the Near East in a way that left them as the largest non-state nation in the region. They appear determined to seize it, though hobbled by competing visions about how best to do so.

If, when Syrians rose up in 2011, many young Kurds joined in, echoing calls for the downfall of the regime, traditional Kurdish political parties took a somewhat different view. They feared fierce reprisal against their people if they decisively joined the opposition; nursed resentment at Arab indifference during their own protests – and subsequent regime crackdown – in 2004; saw more to gain by remaining on the sidelines; and worried that newly empowered activists would challenge their role. Meanwhile, hoping to avoid a new battlefront and banking on Arab-Kurdish divisions to further muddy the picture, the regime for the most part left Kurds alone. As a result, most Kurdish parties opted to remain in the shadows of Syria’s broader conflict, neither fighting nor supporting the regime, while assuming a sceptical approach toward the (non-Kurdish) opposition, viewed as overly Arab nationalist and Islamist.

What is currently (and largely as a result of the ongoing conflict) the most influential of these parties, the Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat (Democratic Union Party, PYD), also has been the most reluctant to confront the regime, prompting charges of collusion. Well-organised, trained and armed, it is a Syrian Kurdish offshoot of the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party), the main Kurdish rebel group in Turkey. Shortly after the uprising broke out, the PYD, which had been encamped with the PKK in northern Iraq’s mountains, returned to Syria, bringing along a contingent of fighters. In July 2012, it took advantage of the regime security forces’ partial withdrawal from Kurdish areas to firmly establish its political and security presence, ousting government officials from municipal buildings in at least five of its strongholds and replacing Syrian flags with its own. In so doing, it openly asserted itself as the authority in charge of state institutions in most predominantly Kurdish towns.

The PYD’s main competitors are a motley group of small Kurdish parties, several of which have close ties with Iraqi Kurdish groups. Under the patronage of Masoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq and head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), over a dozen of these parties coalesced in the Kurdistan National Council (KNC) in October 2011. This alliance has been the only effective Kurdish political rival to the PYD, even as internal divisions and the absence of a fighting force inside Syria have reduced its potential as an effective counterweight. Still, by creating a security and political vacuum in Kurdish areas, Syria’s conflict has prompted intensifying competition between these two main trends.

Kurdish factions compete not only with each other but also with non-Kurdish opposition groups, all of which vie for space as they struggle to accrue resources and expand their areas of influence. Many Kurds, especially but not only PYD supporters, are alienated by the predominantly Arab nationalist and Islamist narratives put forth by the non-Kurdish opposition, as well as by its perceived dependence on Turkey and Gulf-based conservative sponsors. As the conflict endures and threatens to turn into an all-out civil war, sectarian as well as ethnic tensions are building up; already, the country has witnessed clashes between PYD fighters and opposition armed groups (often referred to under the loose and rather deceptive denomination of the Free Syrian Army, FSA). So far these essentially have been turf battles, but they could escalate into a broader conflict over the Kurds’ future status.

Finally, the Syrian conflict has exacerbated the undeclared fight for the heart and soul of the Kurdish national movement in the four countries (Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran) across which it is divided. The PYD’s and KNC’s respective regional patrons, the PKK and Barzani’s KDP, represent the two predominant models of Kurdish nationalism today as well as two competing paradigms for dealing with Turkey, whose territory encompasses much of what Kurds see as their historic homeland. The PKK has used an episodic armed struggle to try to force Ankara to extend greater cultural and political rights to Kurds in Turkey; in contrast, the KDP, using its dominance of the Kurdistan Regional Government, has laboured hard in recent years to develop economic interdependence and political ties to coax Turkey into a more constructive posture and simultaneously reduce the KRG’s dependence on Baghdad.

Turkey itself must be added to the mix. How much autonomy the PYD enjoys vis-à-vis the PKK is a matter of some controversy, though for Ankara the question has long been settled. In its view, the Syrian Kurdish movement is little more than a branch or carbon copy of the PKK, whose attempts to establish a foothold in Syria risk fuelling separatist sentiment in Turkey. A PYD stronghold at its doorstep, potentially exploited by the PKK as a springboard in its fight in Turkey, is something Ankara will not tolerate.

Seeking simultaneously to contain internal rivalries, reassure Ankara and assert his own dominance, Barzani has tried to broker an agreement between the PYD and KNC. Both have something to gain: whereas the KNC enjoys international partners and legitimacy, it increasingly is divided internally and lacks a genuine presence on the ground; conversely, the PYD’s strong domestic support is not matched by its international standing. But this Barzani-brokered marriage, the Supreme Kurdish Committee (SKC), at best is one of convenience. Neither side trusts the other; the two maintain (strained) relations with conflicting Syrian opposition groups; skirmishes have occurred between them in sensitive areas; and both are biding their time until the situation in the country clarifies.

Likewise, although for the time being Turkey has opted not to intervene directly against the PYD – for fear of being sucked into a quagmire and for lack of a clear casus belli involving the PKK – and although it has given Barzani a leading role in containing the PYD, this approach may not last. Over time, Erbil’s and Ankara’s interests are likely to diverge. Whereas the former aims to consolidate a broad, Kurdish-dominated area straddling the Iraqi-Syrian border, the latter almost certainly fears the implications of such an outcome on its own Kurdish population, and in particular its impact on the PKK’s overall posture.

Syria’s Kurds should do their best to avoid both over-entanglement in this broader regional battle and overreach in their quest for greater autonomy. Their fate at present rests in Syria, and thus it is with Syrians that they must negotiate their role in the coming order and ensure, at long last, respect for their basic rights.

RECOMMENDATIONS

To the PYD, KNC and representatives of independent youth groups:

01.  Improve coordination of political and administrative activity, and work toward a joint strategy to provide security and basic services to Kurdish areas.
02.  Reach out to broader Syrian society without necessarily entering into conflict with the regime, including by offering humanitarian aid, establishing field hospitals for wounded civilians regardless of ethnicity or political affiliation and expressing solidarity with the plight of civilians throughout Syria.
03.  Refrain from actions stoking fears of Kurdish secessionism, such as replacing national symbols with Kurdish ones.     

To the Supreme Kurdish Committee (SKC):

04.  Formulate a clear, unified position on what it expects from any successor power structure regarding respect for Kurdish rights, and negotiate on that basis with its non-Kurdish Syrian counterparts.

To the PYD and its YPG armed forces:

05.  Maintain a low military profile, limiting their role to internal policing duties in majority-Kurd areas, in coordination and cooperation with the KNC and independent youth groups.
06.  Refrain from any acts of force or intimidation in areas under their control.
07.  Refrain from provocative acts that could prompt Turkish military intervention, for example by using Syrian territory as a staging ground for PKK-backed Kurdish militancy in Turkey.

To KDP-trained Kurdish fighters operating under KNC control:

08.  Enter Syria only based on an explicit agreement with the PYD that delineates zones of operation, stipulates how disputes between the two armed groups will be resolved and creates a transparent system for identifying fighters in each force, their leaderships and activities.

To the non-Kurdish Syrian opposition, including its armed elements:

09.  Engage in or support negotiations with the Supreme Kurdish Committee over what the establishment of a democratic political system in which citizens enjoy equal rights would entail with respect to the Kurds.
10.  Support publicly prompt repeal of all legislation removing citizenship from or denying it to certain groups of Kurds.
11.  Seek coordination with the Supreme Kurdish Committee when operating in and around areas patrolled by Kurdish armed groups.

To the Turkish government:

12.  Continue to refrain from direct intervention in Kurdish areas of Syria, while redoubling efforts to peacefully resolve the Kurdish question in Turkey.
13.  Consider talks with the PYD, possibly under the auspices of the Supreme Kurdish Committee, aiming in particular at creating a mechanism for communication and coordination regarding border security.
14.  Encourage the non-Kurdish Syrian opposition to bring in Kurdish opposition groups on the basis of a vision for a democratic political system in which all citizens enjoy equal rights.

To the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq:

15.  Refrain from playing Kurdish factions one against another, and pursue instead a policy of consolidating unity and bolstering the representativeness and legitimacy of the Supreme Kurdish Committee.
16.  Encourage in particular the KNC and PYD to work together more closely in bringing peace and stability to majority-Kurd areas of Syria, in coordination with independent youth groups. (ICG)

Download full report from here>>>


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