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Showing posts from March, 2013

Egypt and the Palestinians: The Sadat legacy lives

The incitement and demonization of Palestinians in the Egyptian media is a continuation of a policy that began with Sadat. It is obvious that the Islamists in Egypt number in the millions and they have no need of Hamas or other Palestinians to carry out any of their agenda goals- whatever they are. Still the ongoing struggle in Egypt between the Islamists and the motley crew others somehow has the Palestinians injected in this quintessentially Egyptian struggle.
Despite the catastrophe/nakba of 1967 (1948 is a naksa in comparison- there was still strong hope of return up to June 4, 1967 ) and the other mistakes and disasters of the Nasser regime Palestinians remain overwhelming supportive of Nasser and his legacy. Many Egyptians find this Palestinian loyalty to Nasser aggravating. 
In Palestinians in the Arab World: Institution Building and the Search for State, Laurie A. Brand summarizes the punitive measures, the collective punishment of the Palestinians, that the Sadat regime took in…

Shaykh al Aseer and the Future Movement

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The Future Movement is obsessed with the need to appear modern and secular that is nonsectarian.
They seem to operate under the logic of the Arab Sunnis being the umma and as the umma it is unseemly to speak in the name of their sect and not the larger umma. 
The late PM Rafiq Hariri was like that too.
He aspired to be a Lebanese leader and was able to be one. He was secure and comfortable in being an Arab Sunni. The Arab Sunnis are the majority of the Arabs. He did not have to explain himself to anyone.
This is deceptive logic.
Lebanon is not the Arab world. The Sunnis are not the umma in Lebanon- they are just another sect in a country of 18 sects that jealously defend their sectarian prerogatives. To paraphrase Hezbollah leader Sayed Hassan Nasrallah: This is Lebanon and its political reality (Ya ammi hayda libnan).
The Future Movement leadership refuse to think of themselves as members of a sect, a large sect, maybe the largest numerically, but still a sect- one of many in a sectarian…

Between Shaykh Naim Qassim and Shaykh Al Assir

Shaykh Al Aseer has a message.

The message is that the "Iran party" or Hezbollah, in the name of resistance, has dominated the politics of Lebanon thereby upsetting the delicate sectarian balance that the Lebanese sectarian power sharing system, consociationalism, is built on. The hegemonic response to his message was to call him a sectarian fanatic who wants to create communal conflict between Sunnis and Shia. That was the end of the discussion. So thought his detractors and the objects of his verbal assaults.

He did not go away,

His message had resonance with Lebanese Sunnis and he was able to deliver it directly to the target audience. He bypassed the mainstream media by using Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. The man became a political movement on the cheap thanks to the ingenuity of America's silicone valley geeks.

The message has been consistent and the messenger has been stubbornly persistent. Many Lebanese agree with him but, for a number of reasons, are not willing…

Interview with Muslim Legal Fund of America’s John Janney

The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) recently opened a Michigan office headed by longtime community leader and activist Muthanna Al-hanooti. There is no doubt that MLFA has done a lot of great work defending the rights of American Muslims- rights that have been unjustly diminished under the pretext of the “war on terror.” MLFA is not as widely known in the community as other organizations long established in Michigan. In an effort to better inform the community about the importance and work of this great organization, the Forum and Link approached the MLFA’s Communications and Operations Director, John Janney with a number of questions:
-Tell me a little about yourself. What is your background and why did you choose to work for the Muslim Legal Fund (MLFA)? My name is John Janney. I am the Communications and Operations Director for the Muslim Legal Fund of America. I choose to work for MLFA because the direction the American justice system is taking goes against the principles of j…

Review and Excerpts: The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism

The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism is a controversial book. The author, who is a journalist, Trevor Aaronson, raises important questions about the underlying philosophy of the war on terror inside the United States. I read this book after I was done reading The Black Banners by former FBI agent Ali Soufan. Ali Soufan wrote a book that is critical of the CIA interrogation methods. The argument of Mr. Soufan is that traditional interrogation techniques are effective in getting information while so- called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT), torture, are not effective at getting cooperation and information from suspects no matter how bad of human beings the suspects are. The issue of the use of EIT is coming up again with the congressional report questioning the usefulness of EITs and concluding that they do not work- that is restating the point made by Ali Soufan in Black Banners.

While The Black Banners is more than five hundred pages, the Terror Fac…