Tag Archives: sunni

Yemen’s Houthi rebels take over government in coup

Rebels announce five-member presidential council tasked with forming technocrat government and dissolve parliament.

Yemen’s Shia Houthi rebels have announced that they have dissolved parliament and installed a five-member “presidential council” which will form a transitional government to govern for two years.

In a televised statement on Friday from the Republican Palace in the capital, Sanaa, the rebel group said that it would set up a transitional national council of 551 members to replace the dissolved legislature.

Read more » Aljazeera
Learn more » http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2015/02/yemen-houthi-rebels-announce-presidential-council-150206122736448.html

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The Islamic State Is Right About Some Things

BY

I’ve talked about the Yezidis many times over the years. The main reason is that I find the obscure marginal sects in the Middle East interesting, because this is a region of the world where religious pluralism existed under very precise and strict conditions, and these groups deviated from those conditions and lived to tell the tale. The Muslim rulers, and more specifically in historical memory the Ottomans, tolerated a specific set of enumerated dhimmi, generally traditional Christian and Jewish groups. Though subject to persecution and oppression, in principle these groups had rights to exist within the Islamic framework. Heretics and pagans on the other hand were not tolerated. For example I have read the account of from the 17th century of an Ottoman official who was making a progress from Baghdad to Istanbul which is an excellent piece of ethnography. His entourage stopped in an isolated mountain valley in what is today Kurdistan. The local population were not Muslims, and when the official inquired as to their religion they told of how they worshipped the sun. Whatever the details of their origin this group obviously would be classed as pagans, and the official was faced with what to do with these people. The choices were conversion to Islam or death, the implementation of which would have been difficult at that moment. As a solution the local Jacobite Orthodox Christian bishop agreed to accept the people as his own, with nominal baptism. Presumably these people eventually became Christians in fact as well as name. But it goes to show that in the pre-modern world of the Middle East religious diversity persisted in the isolated places of the world. Groups such as the Druze offend Sunni Muslims because they are clearly derived from Islam itself, and Islam is the capstone religion in its own conception. Alawites seem to have emerged from the same milieu as the Druze, but they have retained a tenuous Muslim identity, which has accelerated under the Assad family. The Sunni Muslim stance toward these groups is that they are viewed as illegitimate heresies, not protected religions. The extent of Salafi* influence in one’s orientation also conditions how Sunnis view Shia (and there is variation within the Shia group, the Ismailis in particular viewed as heretical because their practice and theology differs more in obvious ways from Sunni orthodoxy; the Zaydi Shia are at the opposite extreme, being very similar to Sunni norms).

All this leads up to why the Islamic State, and Muslims generally to a lesser extent, tend to be extremely harsh in their attitude toward the Yezidi sect. The details of the Yezidi belief system are somewhat obscure, like that of the Druze, but they are clearly not Muslim. The media reports that the Yezidi are an ancient religion, with some relationship to Zoroastrianism. Many Kurds will also agree with this statement, assuming that something like Yezidism was the primal faith of their ethnic group. This may or may not be true. The origins of the Yezidi may actually be more like the Druze, if somewhat more ancient and obscure. Part of the lack of clarity I think goes back to the fact that there is some opaqueness overall in the first century or so of Islam. The social-religious world of the Middle East was a product of those years, but it is very different from them. For example Zoroastrianism and Zoroastrian influenced syncretistic Muslim sects were powerful anti-establishment forces across the Iranian cultural zone down to the 9th century. Quite a few extremist Shia sects (ghulat) seem to have made the transition to post-Islam, often imbibing Zoroastrianism of a Mazdakite flavor. Such a transition though was usually a cultural death sentence. Survival usually depended upon attaching oneself to a Shia identity, however tenuous (the Alawite strategy), or, fleeing to a geographically isolated region (in some cases these sectarians fled to the Byzantine Empire, and converted to Orthodox Christianity rather than revert to normative Islam!). Flight from the world is what the Druze and Yezidi have done in their fastness.

The current capture of Sinjar has been a humanitarian catastrophe for the Yezidi because it has been one of their traditional redoubts. The kidnapping of women, and the summary beheading or crucifixion of men, can be comprehensible in light of the Salafi Muslim vision of groups such as the Yezidi, which literally should not exist. Their obliteration would bring balance back into the Salafi world. While Christians and Jews may persist with the barest of sufferance, the existence of the Yezidi is an abomination to Salafi Muslims. What is occurring is a ethnic cleansing and genocide in straightforward terms. In fact Salafi Muslims would probably agree with the appellation cleansing, because the Yezidi to them are an offence to Being itself. Their existence is a matter is a matter of ritual purity in a metaphysical sense. I am wary of ever making analogies to Nazi Germany and the way it viewed the Jews, but this one clearly is a close fit. There is no path toward accommodation of Yezidi existence for the Islamic State, it is now down to an animal battle of survival for them, as they flee into the mountains as they have done so many times in the past.

Read more » http://www.unz.com/gnxp/the-islamic-state-is-right-about-some-things/

A must watch documentary – Losing Iraq & the rise of ISIS

Losing Iraq

The last American troops left Iraq In December 2011, their mission accomplished. Yet the sound of the car bomb remains a frequent visitor to the streets of Baghdad. So what sort of legacy did the allied forces leave behind and how did things go so badly wrong?

This special report examines the unfolding chaos in Iraq and how the US is in danger of being pulled back into the conflict. Drawing on interviews with policy makers and military leaders, Michael Kirk’s film traces the events of the last decade in this deeply troubled land. What has become apparent since the 2003 invasion is that there was no coherent plan for the future of the country after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The elections of 2005 led to the establishment of a democratically elected government, but sectarian divisions within the country remained as Sunni and Shiite
groups battled for supremacy – indeed, 2006 saw Iraq teetering on the brink of civil war. Matters came to a head this year as ISIS militants seized control of huge swathes of territory, their declared aim being to establish an Islamic caliphate stretching across parts of Iraq and Syria. Government forces seem powerless to resist their advance, which threatens to redraw the political map of the Middle East. As the country continues to fragment, the film asks what the future holds for this former cradle of civilisation.

Courtesy: PBS America
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/losing-iraq/

Syria President Bashar al-Assad sworn in for third term

Bashar al-Assad has been sworn in for a third seven-year term as president of Syria, after an election last month that opponents dismissed as a “farce”.

State television broadcast what it said was a live ceremony from the presidential palace in Damascus.

Mr Assad vowed to fight “terrorism” until security was restored to all of the country, but also promised to offer “national reconciliation” to opponents.

He has defied calls to step down since an uprising began in March 2011.

The conflict that erupted after the authorities launched a brutal crackdown on protests has left at least 170,000 people dead and driven more than nine million others from their homes.

‘Monstrous faces’

Mr Assad won 88.7% of the votes cast in the first multi-candidate election in decades, which took place only in areas of Syria that were under government control.

After taking the oath of office on Wednesday, Mr Assad told his supporters: “Syrians, three years and four months… have passed since some cried ‘freedom’.”

“They wanted a revolution, but you have been the real revolutionaries. I congratulate you for your revolution and for your victory,” he added.

“Those who lost their way can now see clearly… the monstrous faces have been unveiled, the mask of freedom and the revolution has fallen.”

Mr Assad also promised that Arab, regional and Western countries who are helping the rebels trying to topple him would soon “pay a high price for supporting terrorism.

Over the past year, Mr Assad’s forces – backed by Iran and the Lebanese Shia Islamist movement Hezbollah – have consolidated their control over a corridor of territory stretching north from the capital to the city of Homs and then into Hama and Latakia provinces.

However, large swathes of the north and east remain under the control of rebel forces, including the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis).

The powerful al-Qaeda breakaway declared the creation of a “caliphate” in its territories last month after launching an offensive that saw it capture parts of northern and western Iraq.

Western-backed and more moderate Islamist rebels in Syria, who have been engaged in deadly battles with the group’s fighters since the start of the year, rejected the announcement.

Courtesy: BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28328138

More » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/world/2014/07/140716_syria_president_assad_rwa.shtml

Iraq rebels ‘seize nuclear materials’

Iraq has warned the UN that Sunni militants have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the city of Mosul. In a letter seen by Reuters, Iraq’s envoy to the UN said nearly 40kg (88lb) of uranium compounds were seized. The letter appealed for international help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28240140

“Neo-Terrorism”: The mutation of Al-Qaeda into the Islamic State

By Roy Murray

One of the suboptimal habits of humans is to compare different things, expect them to behave similarly, and treat them the way we are ‘used to’. So, when the “Islamic State” (IS) debacle began, the world’s intelligences agencies did what they were used to – tracking jihadists back home. Since Al-Qaeda attacked the western home front, IS must have similar ambitions. They attempted to identify the jihadists, tracked their footsteps to the conflict, then they waited back home, ready to pounce on them with decades of counter terrorism experience. The hysteria grew, with ever more resources ploughed into it, augmented by vast media accounts of the threat the “Islamic State” (IS) of Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi poses to our ‘home front’.

It became a dangerous addiction which distracted us from the real “neo-terrorism” threat. By tracking Baghdadi’s returning jihadists, the west is effectively acting as his military police, locking up his deserters – after all, jihad is a lifelong adventure. He couldn’t care less.  In fact, our actions morphed into a powerful propaganda tool for the ‘terrorist extraordinaire’ –   feeding his propaganda narrative that Muslims were being oppressed around the world, and must rise up against their “tyrants” and establish a great Islamic State. Focusing on the home front, The West left him alone in the Middle East, free to stir chaos, establish, and expand his ‘Caliphate’. With just 10,000 of his Jihadists and other allies, he took down vast armies and militias that outnumbered his forces by factors upwards of 10 to 1. He is not some supreme being, neither are his men super human. Rather, he is a manifestation of the “neo-terrorist”. A veteran jihadist, he is also a cunning strategist, who designed his escapades with a powerful knowledge of the present, and a generous imagination of the future. He exploited the enmities between his enemies and preyed on their most damning weaknesses. Further, Baghdadi exploited almost every racial, sectarian, and political fault line in the Middle East and left all his enemies in a predicament. He wrong footed almost everyone, all the while being humble about the limits of his power, rarely embarking on battles where he doesn’t have ‘the edge’.”. Everyone played into his hand, and the current reality is that the different powers of the Middle East no longer have any ‘good’ options. Rather, they have options of varying degrees of ‘badness’, or even catastrophe. All this is at the expense of the local civilians, who are now staring down at an extended sectarian conflict that will condemn the Middle East to decades of poverty, threatening the social and political fabric of the region.

Read more » SYKES PICOT
http://sykespicot.net/2014/07/06/neo-terrorism-the-mutation-of-al-qaeda-into-the-islamic-state/

Anger boils over in the ‘Fallujah of Jordan’

Al-Qaeda flags have been raised in Maan, where residents say they are tired of police brutality and a lack of services.

By 

Maan, Jordan – This southern city – known for violence, riots, and clashes – received worldwide attention last week when new chants and flags were raised, alarming Jordanian authorities.

Dozens of men carried a banner calling the southern city the “Fallujah of Jordan”. Waving al-Qaeda flags as they chanted sectarian-inspired slogans, they celebrated the military gains of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) – the group that has since re-named itself the Islamic State – in neighbouring Iraq.

Security officials immediately summoned the protest’s organiser, Issam Abu Darwish, a 38-year-old engineer working for Maan’s municipality, for investigation; his family said they have not heard from him since. Abu Darwish’s brother, Ahed, said his brother organised the march in support of Sunni Muslims that are oppressed in Iraq.

Read more » Aljazeera
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/anger-boils-over-fallujah-jordan-20147575130478577.html#.U7fYJpioZCY.facebook

Mass beheadings reported in Iraq as al-Qaeda forces take Mosul and Tikrit

Iraq crisis: ISIS militants push towards Baghdad – live

Group claims mass killings of Iraqi troops, as militants battle security forces 50 miles from Baghdad – follow latest developments – follow latest developments

By 

It is impossible to confirm at present whether the ISIS claim on Twitter to have executed 1,700 Shia soldiers in Iraq is accurate, or an exaggeration intended to create fear among the Shia populace. But earlier, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, expressed “extreme alarm” at the situation and spoke of verified reports of “summary executions and extrajudicial killings”. Some of the reports cited suggest that Iraqi security forces are being purged, though it is unclear whether there is an ethnic dimension to all of the killings.

According to the UN mission in Iraq, “the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching one thousand,” Rupert Colville, Ms Pillay’s spokesman, said in Geneva.

He said UN had received reports of horrific abuses after the capture of Iraq’s second city Mosul, one such case involving the “summary executions of Iraqi soldiers (and) of 17 civilians” thought to have been working for the police, in one particular street in Mosul on 11 June.

Read more » The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10892299/Iraq-crisis-ISIS-militants-push-towards-Baghdad-live.html

Americans Being Evacuated from Iraq Air Base

Officials say three planeloads of Americans are being evacuated from a major Iraqi air base in Sunni territory north of Baghdad to escape potential threats from a fast-moving insurgency.

A current U.S. official and a former senior Obama administration official say that means the American training mission at the air field in Balad has been grounded indefinitely.

Twelve U.S. personnel who were stationed at Balad were the first to be evacuated. Several hundred American contractors are still waiting to leave.

They have been training Iraqi forces to use fighter jets and surveillance drones.

Other U.S. contractors at a tank training ground in the city of Taji (TAH’-jee) is still ongoing for now.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they refused to be named in discussing the sensitive situation.

©2014 by The Associated Press.

– See more at: http://pamelageller.com/2014/06/americans-evacuated-iraq-air-base.html/#sthash.nyj0VAfy.dpuf

The Nanga Parbat Massacre

Night on Bald Mountain; The Nanga Parbat Massacre

by Omar

PS: contrary to what my friend had heard from Sher Khan (see below), Ali Hussain, the poor cook who got shot alongside our foreign guests in Diamir base camp, really was a Shia. So the Taliban guessed right when they looked at his name and shot him thinking “hey, this looks like a SHIA name”. Details here (in Urdu) http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/06/130626_pakistani_porter_murder_sh.shtml

Thousands like him will lose their livelihood now.

Bastards.

btw, as noted below by various commentators, the local Sunni fanatic faction in Kohistan is hostile to climbers and tourists in general. They are not the ones losing their livelihood. In fact, since the finest intel agency in the world trained them in Alpine warfare, THEIR livelihood is more dependent on a different kind of foreigner (the sort willing to pay protection money, employ “non-state actors” or otherwise contribute to the cause, willingly or unwillingly).

btw, contrary to all Paknationalist conspiracy bullcrap, the local police chief claims to know the terrorists and none are foreigners. 

On June 23rd some 15-20 men dressed in the uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts climbed up to the base camp at the foot of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. There, at the height of 13000 feet above sea level, they pulled climbers, guides, porters and cooks out of their tents, smashed their phones, laptops and solar panels and put them in two groups. The locals were in one group, the foreigners were lined up on the other side. Then they shot all the foreign climbers in the back of the head. Since exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and exit wounds were in the face, some of the foreigners are said to be hard to recognize. Looking at ID cards, they also shot a local cook whose name was Ali Hassan. If they had asked him, he might have told them that he was a Sunni, just happened to have a “Shia-sounding” name. But unfortunately the resistance-fighters (thank you Tariq Ali) didnt bother to ask. Another local who told this story to a friend survived because his name is Sher Khan. He is Ismaili. Luckily for him, they just looked at ID cards. He survived because his name doesnt sound Shia.

It takes a day to climb to the base camp. The area is fairly remote. Adventurous tourists and climbers do go there, but its still the kind of place where everyone knows who has just passed by and why. Yet 15-20 killers made the climb, carried out a massacre and disappeared. And have not been seen since.

Its not THAT remote thought. The valleys to the west are the region of Kohistan. Its a Sunni majority region that abuts the significant Shia and Ismaili population of Gilgit-Baltistan. In the 1980s General Zia, perhaps not fully confident of the Jihad bonafides of the Shias, had the Kohistanis massacre some local Shias and started a sectarian feud that is still ongoing.

A year ago there was a massacre of Shia passengers travelling to Gilgit through the nearby town of Chilas.

Note that passengers are being identified by the scars on their back. The people who are carrying out the massacre are NOT masked. The whole affair is happening on the main highway. It went on for a long time. But nobody came to stop them. Nobody has been arrested or punished. There have also been episodes where climbers or tourists have been looted by armed men in the area. So violence is not new to this region. But previously only locals were being killed, now the terrorists have struck a more prominent target.

Continue reading The Nanga Parbat Massacre

Outrage at Syrian rebel shown ‘eating soldier’s heart’

A video which appears to show a Syrian rebel taking a bite from the heart of a dead soldier has been widely condemned.

US-based Human Rights Watch identified the rebel as Abu Sakkar, a well-known insurgent from the city of Homs, and said his actions were a war crime.

The main Syrian opposition coalition said he would be put on trial.

The video, which cannot be independently authenticated, seems to show him cutting out the heart.

“I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,” the man says referring to President Bashar al-Assad as he stands over the soldier’s corpse.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Abu Sakkar is the leader of a group called the Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade.

“The mutilation of the bodies of enemies is a war crime. But the even more serious issue is the very rapid descent into sectarian rhetoric and violence,” HRW’s Peter Bouckaert told Reuters news agency.

HRW said those committing war crimes on either side had to know that there was no impunity and that they would be brought to account.

The human rights group said Abu Sakkar had been filmed before, firing rockets into Shia areas of Lebanon and posing with the bodies of guerrillas from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement killed fighting alongside Syrian government forces.

The video, posted on Sunday, is one of the most gruesome to emerge among the many thrown up by more than two years of carnage in Syria, says the BBC’s Jim Muir in Beirut.

Continue reading Outrage at Syrian rebel shown ‘eating soldier’s heart’

Day of Remembrance for Sindhi Martyrs in Los Angeles Commemorated

Tributes paid to all the Martyrs of Sindh on the Anniversary of Bashir Qureshi

Los Angeles, CA  [Press Release] April 7th, 2013**,* Several activists from different parts of Southern California gathered on Sunday the April 7th in local restaurant to commemorate the anniversary of *Bashir Qureshi*, a Sindh leader

who was poisoned to death on the same day a year ago. In last few years Sindh political and civil society leaders have been targeted by the security establishment and by the fascists groups in Karachi.

This event was organized by World Sindhi Congress, a human rights advocacy, based in UK and USA. Participants paid tribute to *Muzafar Bhutto*, *Ghazala Siddiqui, Rooplo Choliyani, Sirai Qurban Khawar, Parveen Rehman, Noorullah Tunio, *and *Samiullah Kalhoro.*

“While world is reading about the terrorism inflicted by Islamic militants upon Shias and other civilian population, the Indigenous people of Sindh and Balochistan are facing terrorism from other parties, the targeted killings of our leaders and workers by the security agencies and fascist groups in Karachi,” said Dr. Saghir Shaikh, the member executive committee World Sindhi Congress. “Fascists groups even did not spare our women leaders, Ghazala Siddiqui and Parveen Rehman,” further said Shaikh.

Amongst others who attended include Malik Dino Shaikh of WSC, Rahman Kakepoto of WSC and also a President of G M Syed Memorial Committee, Sani Panwhar and Bashir Mahar of Sindhi Association of North America, Sobhya Agha, an activist from Sindh Pakistan, Venus Shaikh, Suniti Kakepoto, Susanna Shaikh, Jaffar Shah and Benazir Shaikh of International Sindhi Women’s Organization (ISWO). Sobhya Agha conducted the program, Mr Kakepoto

introduced the activities and mission of World Sindhi Congress, Mr. Malik Shaikh offered the vote of thanks to all the participants.

On platform of the WSC we shall continue to inform the international community about the on-going atrocities on Sindhi people and to raise the issue of targeted killings and forced disappearances at the UN forums, said Mr. Kakepoto of WSC.

Death by a thousand cuts

By Farahnaz Ispahani

After each act of violence against religious minorities, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Sipah-e-Sahaba proudly own up to it without fear of punishment

The recent mob attack on Christians in Lahore, resulting in the burning down of over one hundred Christian homes while the police stood by, is a reminder of how unsafe Pakistan has become for religious minorities. The attacks on Christians follows a rising tide of attacks on Pakistan’s Shia Muslims, sometimes mischaracterised in the media as the product of sectarian conflict. In reality, these increasingly ferocious attacks reflect the ambitious project of Islamists to purify Pakistan, making it a bastion of a narrow version of Islam Sunni. Pakistan literally translates as “the land of the pure”. But, what started in an imperceptible way as early as the 1940s, picking up momentum in the 1990s, is a drive to transform Pakistan into a land of religious purification.

Muslim groups such as the Shias that account for possibly 20-25% of Pakistan’s Muslim population and Non-Muslim minorities such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have been target-killed, forcibly converted, kidnapped and had their religious places bombed and vandalised with alarming regularity. At the time of partition in 1947, Pakistan had a healthy 23% of its population comprise non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately three per cent. The distinctions among Muslim denominations have also become far more accentuated over the years.

Continue reading Death by a thousand cuts

Explosion rocks Pakistan’s Karachi; 37 dead, over 60 injured

By Manzoor Shaikh

At least 37 people were killed in two explosions in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi on Sunday. Eye witnesses and medics say over 60 people have been injured, many of them are in critical condition.

The explosions took place near a mosque in Abbas Town on Karachi’s Abul Hassan Isphahani Road in the evening.

The locality is inhibited by Shiite Muslims and is located on Pakistan’s one of major highways –Super Highway, connecting Karachi’s port with rest of the country.

The area is flanked by Sohrab Goth, yet another locality inhibited by ethnic Afghans, of them most are Afghan refugees who have made Karachi their permanent home and are one of major players in Pakistan’s sectarian tensions. They are now considered to be illegal immigrants in the city by locals.

Pakistan’s apex court has recently ruled to take action against the illegal immigrants but to no anvil as the civilian government is said to be impotent to take action on the issues that Pakistan’s strong military establishment believes are connected to the country’s national security.

The military is adamant not to take action against the outfits it made and trained to play games in the region especially in Indian- held J&K and Afghanistan.

Now, the military is in war against its local Taliban in north of the country believably on the pressure of the US. Hundreds of soldiers have lost their lives but it still stands far from taking a final action against such groups.

Most of the political parties including the religious political parties of the country support opening talks with the Pakistani Taliban and some are in alliance with them especially in Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab.

Pakistan’s most popular party at the moment—the PML – N—is in electoral alliance with the extremist militant groups which it released huge funds to establish religious seminaries in the province.

Pakistan’s ruling coalition believed to be secular is marred by its bad governance and most of its leaders are facing allegations of taking kickbacks and commissions. It has succeeded to complete its tenure in power through dirty political games. It is facing credibility crisis in its home province of Sindh where its opponents have announced to forge a huge alliance to challenge its support in the upcoming elections due this year.

Continue reading Explosion rocks Pakistan’s Karachi; 37 dead, over 60 injured

The Taliban’s New, More Terrifying Cousin

How a virulent Pakistani terrorist group is trying to annihilate an ethnic rival–and why we should be worried

Abdul Amir (as we’ll call him), a chemistry teacher in Quetta, Pakistan, was taking an afternoon nap on Feb. 16 when his house began to shake and the earth let out an almighty roar. His mother and sisters started screaming and ran out of the house, but by the time they gathered in the street, the noise had already stopped. He climbed to the roof to get a better view of what happened and saw a thick cloud of bright white smoke, a mile south, suspended above the market place where his students would be buying snacks after their weekend English classes. He rushed back down to the ground, started his motorcycle and took off toward ground zero, knowing all the while that this was foolish – during a bombing five weeks before, the people who came to help were killed by a second explosion.

Still he raced through the streets, swerving around people running away from the bomb, finally arriving at a scene even worse even than he’d feared. The blast had been so powerful that the market hadn’t been destroyed so much as it had been deleted, as had the people shopping there and those in buildings nearby. Everything within 100 meters was simply flattened, and all that remained were the metal skeletons of a few flaming vehicles and the chemical smell of synthetic materials burning. Abdul would find more than fifty of his students were injured. One of his favorite students would die from her wounds six days later.

Continue reading The Taliban’s New, More Terrifying Cousin

We are at war

By: Asad Munir

Until the late 1970s Shias and Sunnis lived in complete harmony in this country. There were sporadic, minor incidents of Shia-Sunni violence but generally there was no hostility between the two sects. Muharram was sacred for Sunnis as well. Many attended Shia majalis, and on the tenth of Muharram cooked special foods, participated in Shia processions and revered the Zuljinah.

These good times were changed by three major events that took place in the late 1970s: Zia’s martial law, Khomeini’s revolution and the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviets. Pakistan was no more the same moderate and tolerant country. Zia, after hanging an elected prime minister, wanted to use religion as a tool to prolong his rule. He tried to introduce Islamic laws as per the concept of the Islamic state envisioned by Maulana Maudoodi.

Continue reading We are at war

If a Shia, you are on your own

By Ejaz Haider

Let me make it simple: if you are a Shia in Pakistan, you are on your own. This fact I state for the benefit of all those citizens of this country, Shia and Sunni, who are grieving the slow demise of Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan and expecting that the tide could be reversed through state action.

Now for the longer answer.

There is no doubt about who is killing the Shia. The Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) has repeatedly taken responsibility for it. Its captured terrorists have often stated before courts that they have killed Shias and, given the opportunity, will do it again. The identity of the killers is a settled issue.

Nota Bene: The issue of the proxy war between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Iran, the funding to Sunni extremist groups and whatever is left of Shia extremists, and circumstantial evidence of indirect involvement of hostile agencies is important but peripheral to the main issue, i.e., the terrorists are Pakistanis and killing on the basis of centuries-old denominational differences. The current murderous spree, of course, has a modern political and geopolitical context.

A more relevant question is: if the group that is involved in these killings has not only been ID-ed but IDs itself, what is stopping the state from acting against it, and effectively?

This is where the problem begins.

The LeJ was begotten from the dark womb of the Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). The SSP, banned by Pervez Musharraf, has reincarnated itself as the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. It has a certain political presence. It is technically not the LeJ, even as de facto it is. LeJ terrorists, along with the hardline splinter group of Jaish-e Mohammad (JeM), have over the last five years, come to form the backbone of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) conglomerate. The TTP is an entity that political parties now — the ANP included (in desperation) — want to talk to, even as the state considers the LeJ a terrorist entity.

So while the LeJ is a terrorist organisation providing manpower to the TTP, the state is being pressured to talk to the latter and give it the legitimacy of an insurgent group.

But this is not all. In Punjab, the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is in talks over seat adjustment with the ASWJ, the Dr Jekyll to its Edward Hyde, the LeJ. Leaving aside the PML-N’s petty lying about the issue, it is a fact that it wants to placate the LeJ through a dangerous liaison with the ASWJ. The general impression is that this is being done to win votes. That’s only partially true. The primary reason is that the PML-N doesn’t want mayhem in Punjab, its central vote bank, where it wants to win and win big through a lot of development work (even if lopsided) by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Continue reading If a Shia, you are on your own

When a state is dysfunctional

By: Abbas Nasir

WHO knows what a failed state is? Such definitions are for the academics and experts. But what one can easily ascertain is a state that is dysfunctional.

For what would you call a state that has neither the power to generate resources and tax those who need to be taxed, nor the system or even the need to ensure that it accounts for what it spends? It can keep piling up a huge deficit without question and have nothing to show for it.

What would you call a state that cannot deliver the very least: the safety of life and limb to its citizens? Where if you particularly happened to be in the smaller provinces the only thing you could get by on is your faith. Yes, God remains the only recourse.

Continue reading When a state is dysfunctional

Insight: Spiral of Karachi killings widens Pakistan’s sectarian divide

By Matthew Green, KARACHI

(Reuters) – When Aurangzeb Farooqi survived an attempt on his life that left six of his bodyguards dead and a six-inch bullet wound in his thigh, the Pakistani cleric lost little time in turning the narrow escape to his advantage.

Recovering in hospital after the ambush on his convoy in Karachi, Pakistan’s commercial capital, the radical Sunni Muslim ideologue was composed enough to exhort his followers to close ranks against the city’s Shi’ites.

“Enemies should listen to this: my task now is Sunni awakening,” Farooqi said in remarks captured on video shortly after a dozen gunmen opened fire on his double-cabin pick-up truck on December 25.

“I will make Sunnis so powerful against Shi’ites that no Sunni will even want to shake hands with a Shi’ite,” he said, propped up in bed on emergency-room pillows. “They will die their own deaths, we won’t have to kill them.”

Such is the kind of speech that chills members of Pakistan’s Shi’ite minority, braced for a new chapter of persecution following a series of bombings that have killed almost 200 people in the city of Quetta since the beginning of the year.

Continue reading Insight: Spiral of Karachi killings widens Pakistan’s sectarian divide

Shia Genocide: connect the dots

Omar AliBy: Omar

…… Pakistan has to become secularized to survive as a multi-religious state. Otherwise, the plan is clear. It is to become a Sunni Jihadi state. And everyone else has to live under those rules, or will face their wrath.

The army and the police cannot control these people while supporting and using their ideology. They cannot give up that ideology until they suppress/forget/ignore the dream of a pure Islamic state and its international jihadi armies.

They lack the will and the ability. The will more than the ability.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Link – http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/02/16/shia-genocide-connect-the-dots/

2000 Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus march together in New York

Souls March: Thousands of Shia and Sunni Muslims march in New York against Shia genocide in Pakistan

NEW YORK — More than 2,000 Shiite and Sunni Muslims along with Christians, Jews and other communities marched in the streets of New York to voice their anger at the Pakistani government and the military for what they called a “genocide” of Shia Muslims in Pakistan. The demonstration was named “Souls March” to pay homage to an estimated 20,000 Shia Muslims killed in Pakistan …..

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Why Arab States align themselves with Israel against Shias?

By Shabana Syed

On tenth day of Ashura Muslims and in particular Shias commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Mohammed’s grandson about whom he said “Hussein is from me and I am from Hussein”.

Pictures of Shias beating themselves with hands and chains will be beamed around the world by western media, happy to perpetuate the myth that Muslims are violent.

And this year Americans in particular will be paying a closer attention, after the Oscar winning Jewish Director Oliver Stone’s son Sean Stone astonished America by articulating his conversion to being a Shia and accused Piers Morgan who tried to portray him as some nutter, ‘a warmonger’ while defending Iran.

Continue reading Why Arab States align themselves with Israel against Shias?

Punjab government guilty of blasphemy: says MNA Fazle Karim

Youm-i-Ishq-i-Rasool: ‘Don’t vote them into government again’

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: MNA Fazle Karim of the Sunni Ittehad Council condemned the mainstream political parties on Friday for not joining the protests against the anti-Islam movie and urged the public to not vote for them in the next elections.

He was speaking to an Ishq-i-Rasool Day rally on The Mall.

Karim said the ruling parties could not be trusted with representing the sentiments or interests of the people. He said the parties were silent on the issue because they were afraid of losing the United States’ support for their governments.

He demanded a joint session of the parliament to evolve a strategy for dealing with any insult to Islam.

The SIC chief said the provincial [- -Punjab – -] government was guilty of blasphemy when it demolished six shrines that fell in the route of the Bus Rapid Transit System in Lahore.

Continue reading Punjab government guilty of blasphemy: says MNA Fazle Karim

Malik Ishaq and the state

Malik Ishaq is today the symbol of the state’s surrender to terrorists.

The scourge of Pakistan’s Shia community, Malik Ishaq of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) — an offshoot of  ‘renamed’ Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), which is in a legal penumbra of state ban — has been arrested upon his return from Saudi Arabia, where he could have gone to perform a religious ritual but could also have touched base there with the ‘donors’ who finance the massacre of the Shia in Pakistan. The charges against him of hate speech followed by sectarian killings are quite serious. He was acquitted of the same category last year and let out of jail after remaining there for 14 years.

Continue reading Malik Ishaq and the state

“Pakistan Army, ISI must shut up shop if they can’t protect people”: Altaf Hussain’s bold stance on Shia genocide

Minorities under attack: Altaf lines up police, agencies, clerics, judges, army and… fires

By Saba Imtiaz

Karachi: In an impassioned speech that included critiques of clerics and the judiciary, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain asked the Pakistan Army, Inter-Services Intelligence and other agencies to shut up shop if they could not “protect people”.

“Leave them,” Hussain said before turning to his audience, “You have a right to defend yourself by any means.”

Altaf’s speech at an interfaith conference organised by his party in Karachi came after a series of statements by him and other party leaders on the increase in the number of attacks on Shias throughout Pakistan. Several clerics from Karachi as well as other cities of Pakistan such as Quetta, Lahore and Chakwal, were in attendance.

Continue reading “Pakistan Army, ISI must shut up shop if they can’t protect people”: Altaf Hussain’s bold stance on Shia genocide

A country lost

By: Cyril Almeida

IT began with the flag. A strip of white slapped on, but separate and away from the sea of green — the problem was there from the very outset: one group cast aside from the rest.

A more prescient mind would have thought to put the white in the middle, enscon-ced in a sea of green, a symbolic embrace of the other.

But why blame the flag?

It began with the founding theory.

A country created for Muslims but not in the name of Islam. Try selling that distinction to your average Pakistani in 2012. 1947 was another country and it still found few takers.

Pakistan’s dirty little secret isn’t its treatment of non-Muslims or Shias or the sundry other groups who find themselves in the cross-hairs of the rabid and the religious. Pakistan’s dirty little secret is that everyone is a minority.

It begins with Muslim and non-Muslim: 97 per cent and the hapless and helpless three. But soon enough, the sectarian divide kicks in: Shia and Sunni. There’s another 20 per cent erased from the majority.

Next, the intra-Sunni divisions: Hanafi and the Ahl-e-Hadith. Seventy per cent of Pakistan may be Hanafi, five per cent Ahl-e-Hadith.

Then the intra-intra-Sunni divisions: Hanafis split between the growing Deobandis and the more static Barelvis.

And finally, within the 40 per cent or so that comprise Barelvis in Pakistan, there’s the different orders: the numerous Chishtis, the more conservative Naqshbandis and the microscopic Qadris.

In Pakistan, there is no majority.

There’s the terror that every minority lives in: non-Muslim from Muslim, Shia from Sunni, Barelvi from Wahabi, secular Sunni from rabid Barelvi — the future is now and it is bleak.

Some mourn the passing of Jinnah’s vision and seek solace in his Aug 11 speech. But there never was an Aug 11 version of Pakistan: it was stillborn, killed off by the religious right as soon as it was articulated.

Continue reading A country lost

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Balochistan) publishes beheading video of two Shia Muslims

By Bill Roggio

The al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) published a gruesome video on jihadist internet forums that shows the beheading of two Shiites. In a statement that accompanied the video on one of the forums, a jihadist said the Pakistani terror group is part of al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The video, titled “Revenge,” was released today, first on the Jamia Hafsa Urdu forum and then distributed on other jihadist forums, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained the video.

In the video, two Shia men are filmed for nearly half an hour before they are brought outside and seated on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs. Standing behind them are four masked Lashkar-e-Jhangvi fighters; two are holding a red banner with crossed swords.

Two of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi fighters then pull out knives, and proceed to behead the two Shia men. The victims’ heads are then placed on their laps. The jihadists then wipe their knives on the clothes of the slain men.

A jihadist on the Hanein forum, who posted in Arabic, said the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi “is allied to Taliban-Pakistan and has a close relationship with it,” according to SITE, which translated the message.

Continue reading Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (Balochistan) publishes beheading video of two Shia Muslims

The war for Syria, Jihadists on the way

Home-grown Islamists and foreign jihadists are becoming more prominent

FROM a bare house in the small Turkish town of Reyhanli, half an hour’s drive from the border with Syria, a bearded 30-year-old with glasses claims to command a fighting force of 1,820 men who have infiltrated north-western Syria. His group, which goes by the name “Strangers for a Greater Syria”, wants the country, once it is shorn of President Bashar Assad, to become an Islamic state under Sunni rule. On a table in front of him sit pots of ammonium, potassium carbonate and phosphate, bomb-making ingredients. “We won’t impose anything,” he says. “But I think most Syrians want Islamic law.”

Continue reading The war for Syria, Jihadists on the way

Hell and al-Qaida descend on Syria

By: Tarek Fatah

Who would have thought a Canadian mother of two would leave her children behind and join the international jihad unfolding in Syria?

Meet Thwaiba Kanafani. She left the comforts of her apartment in downtown Toronto, soon to appear in a YouTube video dressed in camouflaged battle gear, holding an automatic assault rifle, to declare: “I came from Canada to answer the call of my homeland” as the men surrounding her chanted “Allah O Akbar.”

Kanafani is not alone. A Dutch journalist who was kidnapped by rebels inside Syria, along with his British colleague, reports some of his abductors had “Birmingham accents,” while others were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with no Syrians present.

Reports of non-Syrian jihadis have been confirmed by correspondents of both the Guardian and the New York Times who say foreign fighters under the banner of al-Qaida’s black flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but God,” are taking a bigger role.

The jihadis are the best-funded and well-equipped of the groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.

While the American-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) had its own share of U.S.-based Islamists pulling the strings, it is now clear these jihadis-in-suits will not be the ones determining the future of Syria when the doctor dictator is gone. Very soon, Damascus will get a taste of al-Qaida’s hatred of life and their yearning for death as they have demonstrated in the last couple of months.

In one attack by the al-Qaida fighters on the historic Damascus district of Zainabiya, the fighters made no effort to hide the al- Qaida flag. Some wore the black head bands while others wore the flags of Pakistan, Somalia, and other Muslim countries. They killed Shia residents and pilgrims as they tried to destroy the shrines of Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter Hazrat Zainab and Ruqaiya. At least one Afghan family was slaughtered inside their home.

One al-Qaida commander inside Syria, Abu Khuder, had this to say about foreign jihadis: “In the beginning there were very few. Now, mashallah, there are immigrants joining us and bringing their experience … Men from Yemen, Saudi, Iraq and Jordan … (al-Qaida’s) goal is establishing an Islamic state and not a Syrian state.”

The role of America in Syria seems at best incompetent and disastrous.

However, evidence suggests there is a method in the madness of the Obama Administration. Instead of helping the democratic forces of Syria it has dilly-dallied on the sidelines until the Islamists managed to get an upper hand. The same cowardice was demonstrated when Iran’s democrats rose up in 2009.

One of the leaders of the Syrian al-Qaida is Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan accomplice of Osama bin Laden who, according to former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

Belhadj was arrested by the CIA, but then released under mysterious circumstances and returned to Libya where he facilitated the U.S.-NATO overthrowing of Col. Moammar Gahdafi.

Now the same Libyan ally of NATO has been parachuted inside Syria with the help of the Turkish government.

Reportedly, 15,000 Syrians have given their lives to fight a dictator, and Belhadj’s presence in the war-torn country could make it a hell on earth.

Courtesy: Toronto Sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/07/31/hell-and-al-qaida-descend-on-syria

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