Washington Okays Attack on Unarmed U.S. Ship
By Stephen Zunes: The Obama administration appears to have given a green light to an Israeli attack on an unarmed flotilla carrying peace and human rights activists — including a vessel with 50 Americans on board — bound for the besieged Gaza Strip. At a press conference on June 24, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized the flotilla organized by the Free Gaza Campaign by saying it would "provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves." Read More
Progressive defense of Weiner overlooks his right-wing foreign policy
By Stephen Zunes: A surprising number of progressives have been expressing regret at the resignation of Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York) over the "sexting" scandal, correctly noting how the grossly inflated media coverage has distracted from far more pressing issues, as well as the far worse sins (mostly not involving sex) committed by Republican lawmakers. What is disturbing, however, is the way Weiner is being treated as if he was a leading progressive voice on Capitol Hill despite his decidedly right-wing political agenda, particularly on foreign policy. Read More
Politics is to blame for Islamophobia rise in US says UCB/ CAIR Report
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali: The University of California Berkeley's Center for Race and Gender (CRG) along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has released a report outlining the exponential growth of Islamaphobia in the United States. The report argues that politics is to blame for much of the problem. The UCB/CAIR Berkeley report - called Same Hate, New Target - says Muslim-bashing factored into the 2010 midterm elections. Read More
I know Geronimo, but who is this guy?
By Abdulateef Al-Mulhim: The US always criticizes this region for its lack of transparency. OK, please America show us some transparency. Who advised President George W. Bush to invade Iraq and who advised President Barack Obama to name the hunt for Bin Laden “Operation Geronimo” and whose decision was it to burry Bin Laden at sea? Read More
Extra-judicial killings in Pakistan
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali: Disappearance of innocent citizens, extra-judicial and target killings are not uncommon in Pakistan but last Wednesday’s brutal killing of young Sarfraz Shah by para-military Rangers in Karachi has shocked the nation. The trigger-happy Rangers mercilessly sprayed the unarmed young man with bullets point blank as a result he sustained injuries and fell down crying for his life. He was begging that he should be moved to hospital but was left to bleed to death. Initially security forces claimed that Sarfraz Shah opened fire at the Rangers and he was killed in the encounter. However, the horrific killing was captured on video camera by a local TV crew. The video clip shown on TV networks belied the encounter claim. The execution-style killing of Sarfraz Shah is not an isolated incident. Read More
Pakistan army’s commercial ventures slammed
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali: The Awami National Party (ANP), an important ruling coalition party has asked the finance minister not only to provide details of the defense budget, but also give details of income of the commercial institutions being run by armed forces. The ANP said that today the armed forces were involved in construction of plazas, cement and pharmaceutical businesses and even running petrol pumps, CNG stations and marriage halls. It argued that following in the footsteps of the army, now police and other institutions had also started doing businesses. Read More
Why Arabs fail to influence Americans?
By Abdulateef Al-Mulhim: In early 1975, I had a seven-minute chat with former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson. In the US, talking to people is very important public relations for foreign countries and this is something the Arabs never understood. The Israelis took full advantage of it, but the Arabs didn't. Arabs are very suspicious or have no confidence. Maybe we are not used to speaking freely. Read More
Netanyahu's speech and Congressional Democrats' embrace of extremism
By Stephen Zunes: As Israeli opposition parties, peace and human rights activists, and editorialists denounced their prime minister's intransigence in the face of President Barack Obama's peace initiative, Congressional Democrats here in the United States have instead joined their Republican counterparts in lining up to support the right-wing Israeli leader's defiance. As Benyamin Netanyahu arrogantly rejected Obama's modest parameters for a peace settlement in a May 20 speech before a joint session of Congress - a rare honor for a foreign leader - Democrats joined Republicans in giving him no less than 29 standing ovations, more than were given to Obama during his State of the Union Speech earlier this year. Read More
Ilyas Kashmiri reportedly killed in US drone attack
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali: Mohammad Ilyas Kashmiri, the commander of Harkat-ul Jihad al Islami (HuJI), was killed in a US drone attack near Wana, South Waziristan, on Friday night, Pakistani officials said Saturday. Shoaib Khan, a political agent, confirmed that Kashmiri had died in the strike at a militant compound in Ghwa Khwa area. “Kashmiri was killed in the late night attack,” Mr Khan told journalists. A hand-written brief statement in Urdu-language from a purported spokesman of the HuJI, distributed in Wana Bazaar on Saturday afternoon, confirmed that Kashmiri was killed. “Harkatul Jihad al-Islami’s 313 Brigade confirms that in Friday’s drone attack at 11:15pm our commander-in-chief, Muhammad Ilyas Kashmiri, was martyred,” the spokesman, Abu Hamzullah Kasher, said in the statement. No one has heard of Kasher before and there is no independent confirmation of his claim. However, A spokesman for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) said Kashmiri was “alive and safe”, and had not been present at the time of the strike. Kashmiri was mistakenly pronounced dead in a US drone strike in North Waziristan on September 7, 2009, but just one month later his interview was conducted by Asia Times Correspondent Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was abducted from Islamabad on May 29 and his tortured body was found two days later in a canal. Read More
Who is behind the abduction and killing of Saleem Shahzad?
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali: Pakistan, where disappearance and torture of people is not uncommon, Saleem Shahzad, a prominent journalist was tortured and killed after abduction by unidentified men from the capital, Islamabad, on Sunday, May 29. His tortured body was found two days later in a canal on Tuesday. Who is behind his abduction and killing? Since his disappearance, it was speculated that Shahzad was picked up by intelligence agencies for his article suggesting that the attack on the naval airbase, PNS Mehran, was in retaliation to the Navy’s crackdown on al-Qaeda operatives and sympathizers within the service, and its refusal to release some of these elements who had been arrested. The first of his two-part article appeared on May 27 in Asia Times Online of which he was the Pakistan bureau chief. Read More