Friday, April 30, 2010

Belgium Veil Ban is a Step Backwards


Belgium which prides itself on being culturally advanced, looks to take a significant step backwards by banning veils in public spaces. The Belgian Senate just needs to approve the ban for it to become Belgian law.

Though the veil is linked to discrimination against women, it is part of Muslim culture.

Moreover, the Belgium ban represents an infringement on freedom of expression and religious belief, making Belgium a less free, tolerant society.

Unfortunately, as is the case with Belgium, basic individual/group survival when threatened takes precedence over basic democratic values, which demonstrates that democratic values are not really the core of Belgium society.

Belgium Veil Ban

Obama's Halt on New Offshore Drilling Too Late and Too Weak


In March 2010, Obama was warned about the environmental consequences of US offshore drilling, but he proceeded with allowing an extension of offshore drilling of oil and gas off the US southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico coastlines. Today along the Louisianna coastline (in the Gulf of Mexico), we are seeing the consequences of his shortsighted policy. Ironically, under a Nader administration, American coastline areas would have been closed to offshore drilling.

In 2008, Obama campaigned on maintaining the current moratoriums on new offshore oil and natural gas drilling. As mentioned, in March 2010, Obama removed the moratoriums on new offshore oil and natural gas drilling (except for Alaska).

In 2008, Nader was adamently opposed to US offshore drilling. To quote from his 2008 policy statements:

"Offshore Drilling is fool’s black gold

Ralph Nader criticizes Obama and McCain for not standing strong against offshore drilling 15 Sep 2008

As we begin to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Ike, which forced the shutdown of this country’s oil industry and sent adrift two oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, our members of Congress are poised to vote on legislation this week that would undermine a decadesold ban on offshore oil drilling.

Offshore drilling is severely damaging to the environment, and dangerously vulnerable to turbulent weather and hurricanes. For 27 years, beginning under an initiative signed by Ronald Reagan, our country has managed to protect sensitive parts of our ocean coastlines from the ravages of offshore drilling — a commendable feat considering the many pristine areas of our public lands and ecosystems that have been violated by extractive activities. After initially indicating his intent to uphold the 1981 ban on offshore drilling, Barack Obama, following the example of his Republican rival John McCain, flipped on the issue. This reversal by Obama and McCain could open the door for one of the last remaining vestiges of our country’s natural beauty to be trampled upon by commercial forces.

The case against offshore drilling has been made time and time again, illustrated by the numerous incidents in which oil rigs have led to ecological destruction and severe contamination of waters. In 2001, for example, an explosion on board the world’s largest oil rig helped sink it to the ocean floor off the coast of Brazil, killing 11 workers and spewing 316,000 gallons of diesel into the Atlantic. These types of spills will no doubt escalate with the increased frequency of violent hurricanes, fueled by global warming.

As for rigs that do manage to stay afloat, the Rainforest Action Network estimates that a single oil rig, in its lifetime, dumps more than 90,000 metric tons of drilling fluid and metal cuttings into the ocean, and may drill up to 100 wells, each dumping 25,000 pounds of toxic metals including lead, chromium, and mercury.

Our country’s coastal wetlands, bays, and beaches — and the many creatures that live in them — are not just in danger from potential big spills, but under threat from the business-as-usual streams of pollution flowing from offshore rigs. If the ban on offshore drilling were reversed, the potential for harm would soon increase significantly.

The biggest strike against offshore drilling this election year is that, contrary to what some candidates would have you believe, it will not reduce gas prices anytime soon, or at all.

If we are really serious about bringing down gas prices, we should implement longoverdue increases to fuel-efficiency requirements. The Nader/Gonzalez campaign calls for increasing the average efficiency of our gas guzzlers from about 20 miles per gallon to more than 40 mpg over the next five years. That would save us 5 million barrels of oil a day — barrels that do not have to be produced or imported.

On offshore drilling, McCain and Obama differ in a most peculiar way. Obama acknowledges the futility of drilling to reduce gas prices but supports it anyway out of political expediency, in part as a bargaining chip if needed to get a comprehensive energy deal, and in part to take a populist arrow out of McCain’s quiver. McCain, who also once opposed offshore drilling and acknowledged its futility in reducing gas prices, now
chooses to ignore what most analysts say concerning offshore drilling: that because of the time it would take oil companies to secure permits, obtain and set up equipment, and conduct research required to extract oil, we won’t start to receive oil shipments or feel the relief of lower gas prices for 10 years. Nor does McCain mention a widely cited report from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration that predicts peak production of offshore drilling would not be reached until 2030, and would still produce too little oil to affect world oil prices.

The House Committee on Natural Resources released a telling report in June appropriately titled The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits. In it, the committee points out that there has been a sharp increase in the number of drilling permits issued to oil companies starting in the 1990s and concludes that "there is simply no correlation" between the number of drilling permits issued and
the price of gas. Moreover, the report shows that of the 91.5 million acres of federal land being leased to oil companies, nearly 68 million acres are not being worked.

Rather than exposing McCain’s categorical falsehoods and misrepresentations about the issue, Obama — who has thus far in his presidential campaign accepted more than $450,000 from executives and other employees of oil and gas companies (McCain has taken $1.6 million) — instead chooses to ride along with the Republicans and the oil companies. By capitulating to the Republicans, as he has on other matters, he surrenders moral authority on struggles concerning the health, safety, and well-being of individuals and the environment. Obama is not only selling out our environment, but displaying political behavior that does not stand its ground."

Louisiana Oil Spill Reaches US Coastline

Obama Allows Expanded US Offshore Drilling for Oil and Gas

Obama Halts New Offshore Drilling and Allows Existing Drilling

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Disunity Plagues Sudan


The application of democracy, and even the first multi-party Sudan election in twenty-four years, failed to unite the country.

The 2010 Sudan election resulted in the re-election of President Omar Hassan al-Bashir admist withdrawal of some opposition parties from the election and claims widespread election fraud.

The reality is that democracy like any other system is dependent on those who implement the system and participate in the system. So democracy itself is not entirely at fault for the disunity in Sudan. Yet at the same time, democracy itself has failed to be a realiable political system, being susceptible to non-participation and fraud.

The upcoming referendum on the independence of southern Sudan in 2011, as promised by al-Bashir, will likely continue the process of disunity by dividing Sudan into two distinct economic and political entities.

Video of Aftermath of Sudan Election

View on the Upcoming Sudan Referendum

Monday, April 26, 2010

Arizona Stricter Immigration Law is a Troubling Sign


The new Arizona immigration law is similar to western governments, such France, Belgium, and Quebec, Canada, attempts to ban the burqa and niqab.

Western governments are facing population and culture threats from legal Muslim immigrants. Instead of upholding freedom of expression and religious belief, some of these governments are imposing stricter immigration laws and attempting to ban certain cultural features such as the Muslim burqa. The end result is a less free, tolerant society.

Arizona is facing threats from Mexican illegal immigrants in the form of crime, thereby increased policing and the costs associated with it including financial and quality of life of Arizona citizens. Moreover, the US federal government has failed to deal effectively with the illegal immigration issue. In response, Arizona's new immigration law would allow police to arrest anyone in Arizona on grounds of reasonable suspicion that he or she is an illegal immigrant.

The problem with this approach is that it will encourage racial profiling, because Mexicans are the primary source of illegal immigrants in Arizona. Moreover, people are deemed guilty until proven innocent, rather than innocent until proven guilty. The end result as above is that Arizona will be a less free, tolerant state.

Yet, Arizona needs some way to combat illegal immigrants.

Without compromising basic liberties, Arizona would be better off trying to stop illegal immigrants at the source: Arizona borders, and arrest illegal immigrants on grounds of reasonable guilt (rather than reasonable suspicion.)

Overall, it is troubling that some western governments are not willing to uphold basic liberties such as freedom of expression and religious belief, and freedom of movement when it pertains to particular ethnic issues. In these cases, democracy and its core values are shed in favor of individualistic/group survival.

Arizona Immigration Law Signed

Friday, April 23, 2010

Afghan Scholar and Academic Speaks Out on Afghanistan


THE ANATOMY OF AMERICA’S DEFEAT IN AFGHANISTAN
By Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD

With the long awaited decision by the Obama Administration in regards to the new strategy for Afghanistan, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated to the point that the US commanders started using the word ‘defeat’ in their report to Washington. The word defeat has rarely been uttered by military; however, Afghanistan is the exception, where defeat is a realistic outcome. There, defeat is a reality that all invaders have faced since the beginning when Pashtuns have inhabited this region. The Pashtuns’ resistance is one of multiple factors characterizing the Anatomy of US’s Defeat in Afghanistan, where the inevitability of defeat for the US and NATO appears to be a certainty.

FACTORS OF DEFEAT

American Military underestimated the Afghans (Pashtuns)

When the American troops landed in Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, they were confident that the defeat of the Taliban and take over of Afghanistan was inevitable. Their behavior was typically American characterized with excessive over confidence totally oblivious of Afghan history. Characteristically, they did not expect to suffer significant casualties either; however, much to their dismay, American causality has become quite apparent The overconfidence of American military was detailed by a reporter of IWPR:

“…in October when the Americans began deploying at the airport,

they were gung-ho, telling their Uzbek counterparts that it would take no more than a month and a half to defeat the Taleban…”

The report continues:

“Uzbek army personnel working at the air base said scores of US casualties have been arriving there. From November 25 to Decemeber [sic] 2, an Uzbek orderly working with American medical staff said he had witnessed the arrival of four to five US helicopters - carrying between them 10-15 American casualties - each day.”

The wounded soldiers that had returned from Afghanistan were frustrated by the sudden change in their self-perceived invincibility. The frustrations of the wounded soldiers on the base played out in daily occurrences of shouting and name-callings. These were the same soldiers that had heroic mentality before entering Afghanistan.

Similar experiences were reported in other parts of Afghanistan. For example, during operation Anaconda in 2002, America had used massive firepower to subdue a Taliban Commander Saifu-r-Rahman Mansoor in Shah-e-Kot in Southeastern Afghanistan. The Americans thought they could destroy the Afghan resistance by having superior airpower. They learned this to be more a wishful thinking. In the days of the fighting, Pentagon made various extravagant claims of having destroyed Mansoor’s defenses and killing more than a thousand (1000) Taliban fighters. The facts were otherwise. The US forces went to the battle with a heroic mind set, but they were bitterly surprised when they sustained heavy losses and had lost 16 helicopters ranging from apaches to Chinooks. The escalation reached a point of no return when 22 American Special Forces were caught alive. The heavy losses coupled with the captured soldiers started to take its toll on the US forces until March 10, 2002 when General Tommy Frank decided to pull back 400 troops to Bagram. The official explanation was that the conflict had ended for the most part while media reported that the troops suffered from battle fatigue. The truth was that the pull back was an attempt at building confidence aimed at convincing Taliban that American military is serious in seeking the release of the 22 Special Forces Commandos. The Taliban Commander, Maulana Mansoor demanded the release of all captives held at Guantanamo Bay in exchange for the 22 Special Forces soldiers.

Meanwhile, as the US forces encountered stiff resistance, it claimed to be fighting against a force of 1000 fighters when in reality there were 100 Afghan fighters, 120 Uzbek, and 30 Arab fighters. The US claimed to have killed 700 of 1000 Taliban/Al-Qaida fighters:

“U.S. military spokesmen estimate 700 out of roughly 1,000 Islamic extremists have been killed in the past nine days of fighting, which has cost the lives of eight Americans and three allied Afghans.”

The number of Taliban and foreign fighters killed stood at 88 (mostly Uzbek including 8 Arabs) while the number of US, British and others were much higher. Different media sources reported different numbers in regards to US losses. For example, the Russian online newspaper Strana.Ru on April 8, 2002, reported that the US lost 100 Special Forces and four Apache helicopters. However, data obtained from the battlefield put the casualty figure at 228 killed. From this figure 186 Americans killed in the battle, 22 prisoners executed when the US refused to release Guantanamo prisoners and 20 British SAS were killed when their vehicles were ambushed. The 186 killed Americans included those that were onboard helicopters. The total number of helicopters shot was 16 out of which two Chinook and 6 Apaches were totally destroyed and the remaining crash landed. The Canadians and Australians killed were reported as victims of friendly fire.

This is what happens when armed forces exhibit patronizing mentality and underestimate the enemy.
American Brutality-Excessive Use of Force and Racist View

The sheer use of excessive force coupled with individual cases of callous murder and torture could be viewed in the dichotomy of intention and reaction. The aspect of intentionality points to the way the military views the targeted population. The US military as an institution and their personnel must consider the people they bomb or murder perhaps less human, otherwise, the excessive use of force, committing murder and tortures would not be wide spread in their ranks. For example, by October 2002, the first anniversary of US invasion of Afghanistan, more than 10000 tons of bombs dropped on Afghan soil. (Socialist Worker Online, October 11, 2002) Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by such massacre. While another report by Kate Randall on December 2001, put the number of US bombed dropped at 12000:

"Since the US launched the war on Afghanistan October 7, more than 12,000 US bombs have been dropped on the country. According to the Pentagon, about 60 percent of these bombs have been precision-guided by satellite or laser technology. However, many of these bombs—dropped by B-52s and other aircraft from tens of thousands of feet in the air—have strayed off course, hitting civilian targets." (WSWS, December 29, 2001)

In another report, a year after September 11, 2001, Matt Kelley of the Associated Press put the US munitions statistics as follows:

"U.S. and coalition airplanes have conducted more than 21,000 flights over Afghanistan, dropping more than 20,000 munitions. About 60 percent of the ordnance dropped on Afghanistan has been precision guided, the highest percentage in any conflict."

Similarly the Guardian reported on April 10, 2002:

"More than 22,000 weapons - ranging from cruise missiles to heavy fuel-air bombs - have been dropped on the country over the past six months…. US pilots dropped more than 6,600 joint direct attack munitions (J-dams), the satellite-guided bombs… One in four bombs and missiles dropped by the US on Afghanistan may have missed its target"

The new generations of hard target weapons whose warheads are made of uranium have contributed to the heavy contamination of land, water and general population. The carnage brought upon by the usage of these Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) would remain essentially forever. Depleted Uranium has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years. This means Afghans would be dying from cancers and other diseases for generations. For the past several years, the rate of various cancers have risen all over Afghanistan, however, the rate of this menace has been highest among the Pashtun people since they are on the receiving end of bombing raids. Imagine the magnitude of carnage and contamination caused by such barbarism.

The individual cases of slaughter are too many to list. However, I need to point out that American military shoots first and asks questions later. Many Afghans are shot on mere suspicion. In many cases, the person would be either going to work or coming from work.

The most serious of all the behaviors of the US military is their disregard for the privacy, dignity and lives of the Pashtun People. The behavior of the US military is similar to the South African police of the apartheid era entering Black African and Indian homes with no regard to their privacy. Similarly, American Soldiers enter Pashtun homes without any regard for their privacy and dignity. Moreover, they behave like thieves in the way they attack a residence at night when families are deep asleep. The entrances to peoples’ houses are blown with explosives and then men and boys are dragged from bed in full view of their children and wives. More often, before they could drag anyone from bed, they order their attack dogs to attack these families before they could leave their bedrooms. Consequently, many children are bitten to death. In many instances, after the inhabitants are bitten, the soldiers have shot indiscriminately. In Laghman Province, a man recalled the following event:

“At night, the Americans entered our homes, commandeered their attack dogs and then shot my son and my brother. I was asleep; when I woke up; a dog was standing next to me and bit me. Subsequent to that, the dogs pulled the corpse of my brother and son to the ally. We were terrified and abandoned our village.”

In another case in Khost, in mid-December of 2008, the home of Dr. Bilal was raided by the US forces. The US forces mistaken believed he was linked to Al-Qaida network while he worked for the province public health department. The AFP reported the following:

"The Americans entered without warning. They first killed one of my nephews, Amin, who was 14 years old, who was sleeping next to a rifle," says Bilal Hassan, who works for the provincial department of health.

"My brother went out with a gun. He was shot down, like his wife who followed him," he says.

A sister-in-law was hit in the spinal cord and paralysed [sic].

"Then they released their dogs," the doctor remembers. The dogs attacked the bodies and bit off some of the fingers, he says. Then they bit the wounded woman and a child of five. "They took our savings, all our guns, used for self-defence [sic], and even papers for some of our properties.... Why did they do all that?"

The question is why are Pashtuns specifically targeted? One of the answers could be the racist mentality of the American military. However, the most likely explanation is that Pashtuns are the custodians of Afghanistan and they have defended Afghan independence throughout history. As long as the Pashtuns remain a potent force, US-NATO alliance would not only succeed but also face a realistic prospect of utter defeat.

In all fairness, other militaries exhibit dreadful behaviors as well. However, the US military appears to be one of the worst violators among the so-called democratic societies.

American over Reliance on Tajiks and Other Minorities

In the aftermath of 911, the Afghan Tajiks who were affiliated with the brutal and rapist organization of Northern Alliance or were supporters of these criminals stepped forward to the Bush Administration to accomplish two things. First, it was an opportunity for them to undermine the Pashtun (Afghan) majority of the country. These Northern Alliance elements were toppled by Taliban in 1996 after they carried out some of the most gruesome atrocities ever committed in Afghan history. The Northern Alliance was formed from war criminals, rapist and human rights violators. Thousands of women disappeared during the reign of the Northern Alliance. Second, by offering their services as mercenaries, the Northern Alliance wanted to take advantage of the situation to control the post-Taliban regime. Despite the massive air power and indiscriminate usage of wide array of bombs, the Northern Alliance failed to break through Taliban defenses situated 90 miles north of the Capital Kabul. After 45 days of bombing, Taliban decided to retreat to the countryside.

With the Taliban’s retreat, the Northern Alliance forces entered Kabul. The first task on their agenda was the firing of most civil servants that spoke Pashto. The imposition of minorities that constitute roughly 37% of the population on 63% Pashtun created resentment among the Pashtuns. It is worth mentioning that the CIA World Facts Book is grossly inaccurate when it comes to the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan. Dr Zirakyar has traced the pattern of false statistics in this book and presented his analysis as follows:

“Until 1991, this type of “finished intelligence” registered Pashtuns as majority of the Afghan population (50% as ethnic group and as language group). Almost a year later in April 1992, the Northern Alliance (Masood-Rabani group) took over the power in Kabul. The World Factbook 1992, considerably lowered the statistical significance of the Pashtun ethnic group and their language (Pashto): 38% as ethnic group, and 35% as language group. In World Factbook 2009, statistical data for Pashtuns shows improvement as ethnic group (42%) but remained the same as language group (35%).”

He established the true number representing the percentage of Pashtuns in Afghanistan by tapping into the research of Wak Foundation:

“For the record, a six-year survey and research project (1991-1996) was conducted by WAK-Foundation for Afghanistan, the results of which was published in 1998 (1377 A.H.). According to this source, from the total population of Afghanistan, Pashtuns make up 62.73 percent as ethnic group and 55 percent as language group.”

Based on the pattern of falsehood illustrated in the CIA World Facts Book and consistently presenting false information about the Pashtuns, it would not be far fetched to state that there is an international conspiracy against the Pashtuns. That is why; Pashtuns are killed in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

In the post US invasion, Pashtuns were cleansed from many areas in Northern Afghanistan, where majority of the minority Tajik population is living. Pashtun lands were confiscated, forcing more than 300,000 Pashtuns to become refugees to neighboring Pakistan. This group of people formed the backbone of Taliban insurgency against the US and their mercenaries of the Northern Alliance.

Incidentally, the Afghan Tajiks and other minorities were lining up to become translators and falsely claiming to speak Pashto. These individuals intentionally while others due to ignorance of Pashto language labeled every Pashtun the Americans arrested as member of Taliban and Al Qaida. That is why; the youngest inmate in Guantanamo Bay was 11 years old. The unfair mentality of the American military and the animosity of the Tajiks and other minorities toward the Pashtuns resulted in many tragedies. Many innocent Pashtun men were tortured and killed in Bagram.

The reader might ask as to why Tajiks have this type of animosity toward the Pashtuns. The answer is Tajiks were mostly artisans, musicians-entertainers and refugees from Central Asia ungrateful for the life they had in Afghanistan. Similar to most minorities in different parts of the world, they also wanted to occupy the power in the country. However, they desired power at the expense of Pashtun majority.

Consequently, Pashtuns whether they agreed with Taliban or not joined Taliban led insurgency to secure their rights. To this end, both Americans and their mercenaries have become their targets. Meanwhile, the Afghan National Army (ANA), which hardly has a national character, is dominated by Tajiks. Majority of the commanders of the ANA are Tajiks. Equally, the current President, who is from Kandahar, is more than eager to please these criminal elements of the Northern Alliance by instituting their language as the administrative language ignoring Pashto and Pashtuns. It is speculated that Karzai is half-Pashtun, hence, the influence of his maternal uncles, who are qazelbash, on him drew him away from his own language. At this point it is purely speculative; however, Pashtuns are trying to rationalize the indifference of Karzai by presenting various explanations.

This unnatural arrangement and oppression of the Pashtuns inspired Pashtuns to fight against Americans and their installed regime in Kabul.

Americans Lack of knowledge of the Pashtun Culture

Lack of knowledge of Pashtun culture is another important factor ensuring US’s defeat in Afghanistan. There are two sources wherein this lack contributes to the permanence of hostility of Pashtuns toward the US and her allies. The first issue is the tribal structure and the cohesion within the tribes in matters of self-defense. When a member of the tribe or sub-tribe is killed, the killer is not only the enemy of the family whose member he has killed, but rather he has gained the enmity of the tribe whose member he has murdered. Thus, the US forces have turned tribes, sub-tribes and villages against them by slaughtering their members in the hundreds and thousands. The second source is a tenet of the Pashtunwali—the Pashtun Code of Honor. This tenet is that of revenge, which goes hand in hand with tribal cohesion. A Pashtun father, brother, and son and tribesmen have to avenge the death of their relative. There is an old saying that after a Pashtun took his revenge after100 years, he said, “I think I rushed it.” This points to the permanence of hostility.

Surge or the Final Nails in the Coffin of US’s Defeat

With the hoopla of surge and new strategy, the US politicians and military leaders lack complete awareness of the Afghan society, especially the Pashtun culture. To the Pashtun people surge means continuation of the indignity imposed on them by the US and her allies. This means more Afghan civilians would die. This also means the continuation of the same pattern of disregard to the privacy of Pashtuns’ homes. In essence, Pashtuns view this as affirmation by the part of the political and military leaders that the crimes they have committed for the past 8 years are not crimes, but rather righteousness which adds insult to injury.

Furthermore, this would increase the resolve of the Afghan insurgency and their supporters. Meanwhile, the insurgents are working on obtaining modern Russian Rocket Propelled Grenade launchers. In the past, Afghan Mujahideen used RPG7; however, RPG7 is not effective against NATO armor. Hence, the most effective weapon would be RPG32, which penetrates all NATO and US armor vehicles and tanks. Furthermore, insurgents are also working on obtaining modern version of SAM7 anti aircraft shoulder-held missiles. This would be the final nails in the coffin of US’s defeat in Afghanistan.

I have tried in vain to get the attention of the US political and military leaders with my peace proposal to institute permanent peace in Afghanistan. But unfortunately, they showed no interest for the most part. My proposal ‘White Paper for Permanent Peace in Afghanistan’ is a comprehensive approach to a long lasting peace for Afghanistan.

After receiving cold shoulders from political and military leadership, I came to hypothesize that they must be gaining financial benefits in the form of contracts or perhaps even kickbacks. Otherwise, it would be natural to seek peace than war especially when the insurgency has gained a lot of momentum.

Conclusion

The above-mentioned factors outline a pattern of hatred and killing. This pattern contributed to the permanence of hatred and enmity of Americans and their allies. The violations outlined depict acts of righteousness on the part of the American forces and points to strong conviction on the part of the US-NATO forces to continue committing atrocities.

Finally, President Obama’s speech in Norway by referring to the genocide in Afghanistan as a ‘just war’ is adding insult to injury. The award of the Nobel Prize to the President of a country that is actively murdering Afghans and turning their environment uninhabitable with the continued usage of uranium munitions is a travesty of justice and an abomination that should be condemned worldwide. Moreover, the award of the Nobel Prize is affirmation of support on the part of the Western establishment that the murder and genocide of the Pashtun people is acceptable, and it strengthens the hypothesis that the war on terror is in part an international conspiracy against the Pashtun Nation.


ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2010
Mohammed Daud Miraki, MA, MA, PhD
mdmiraki@ameritech.net
maidan11@yahoo.com
http://www.afghanistanafterdemocracy.com/

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

French President Weakens Freedom of Expression


French President Nicolas Sarkozy support for a veil ban in French public spaces, infringes on the freedom of expression of French citizens. It is not the French government's right or place to tell French citizens what to wear and/or how to cloth themselves.

President Sarkovy argues that the Muslim veil hurts the dignity of women, and is a symbol of society closing in on itself and rejection of French values.

What President Sarkovy did not say is that veil ban infringes on freedom of expression and religious belief. And ironically, Sarkovy's rigid standpoint is counter to French liberty constitutional values, and hurts the dignity of its citizens (to deny them the right to make their own choices without undue influence).

Instead of banning the veil in French public spaces, the French government could create a law in which no person should be forced to wear a veil, and no person shall force another person to wear a veil, and the French government could fund public education about the veil and its link to the suppression of women.

French Veil Ban

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Quebecors Show Intolerance and Hyprocrisy

The proposed ban of the niqab in Quebec, Canada for anyone who wants to receive public services, is nothing short of hyprocrisy.

French Canadian Quebecors are the first to cry about threats to their culture, and yet they are the first to deny other minorities their culture. It is pathetic, and a sad extension of the pandering English speaking Canada does to French speaking Canada, for the sole purpose of keeping Canada united.

Freedom of expression and religious belief, basic tenants of a people's democracy, would be impacted if the Quebec ban on the niqab becomes Quebec law.

Why should taxpaying Quebecors have to succumb to specific culture requirement in order to receive public services? Why is it necessary for a student's face be fully seen in schools or other public places? What harm does a person wearing a niqab do to anyone else?

Video of Division over Niqab Debate

Beliguim Committte Discriminates

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Taliban Article Raises Questions Regarding the Legitimacy of the Afghan War on Terror



Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as a country-wide Resistance Movement

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 17:15 - Author: Administrator for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan

After the passage of nine years since the American invasion of Afghanistan, the public of the world have reached the conclusion that the usage of the word of terrorism was an unjustified pretext and the attacks were an illegitimate aggression. Being so, it was part and parcel of a colonialist strategy of Washington drawn up by Pentagon strategists after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. By using this pretext, they wanted to bring the world under their belly. Washington needed some slogans to make the invasion appear justified and the execution of the colonialist plan feasible. So they adroitly and cunningly coined the War on Terror cliché. However, the ground realities in Afghanistan indicate that the invading forces in Afghanistan are not fighting against a few armed opposition but they are facing the Afghan nation in an armed confrontation. Had it not been the case, they would not have needed 150,000 soldiers to maintain the status quo.

On 13, last February , 15,000 foreign troops supported by 20,000 Afghan hireling police and army soldiers launched massive offensive against Marja, a town in Helmand province., But now after the passage of two months, the American and their puppets see a certain defeat there. If there are a few terrorists as they prefer to call them, then why their highly-trained soldiers and sophisticated weapons could not achieve victory. Vice versa. Army may fight against an armed group but they could not withstand a people’s upheaval.

Nine years back, Bush claimed, Taliban were not more than 1000-2000 and promised to eliminate them soon. But today one of their prominent generals, general McKiernan, says America needs 400,000 soldiers to contain Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Likely, in the past nine years, never a day has passed without the invaders claiming that they have killed tens of armed Taliban. By now, they should have finished all those 2,000 Taliban. But the ground realities of today show that the resistance movement grows day by day. According to a survey conducted by Western institutes, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has influence in 80% of the Afghan territory. Is it possible for 2,000 or even 10,000 armed men to do this? The fact is that the current Jihad movement is a nationalist, Islamic and country-wide movement. Torture, detention, air strikes and brutal raids would never eliminate it.

The Red Army of the former Soviet Union killed about two million Afghans but they could not put a stop to the resistance. The more the invading Americans and their allies martyr the Afghans, the more they would bounce back stronger, rather than being silenced; the flames of revenge will become more wide-spread and burgeoning.

The bottom-line is when the White House rulers and the Pentagon generals stop, not throwing dust into the eyes of the public of the world under the fake name of fighting terrorism and when they will abandon their ambitious colonialist goals and dreams of dominating the world?

We deem it necessary to a remind these rulers who are intoxicated by the craze of capturing the world, if you do not look at the realities as they are , you will certainly end up facing the fate of the former Soviet Union. Then surely, you will not only lose control of the world but face disintegration back home. Now the choice is yours.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Iraq facing Political Instability


The insertion of secularism, no doubt from Western governments, has created significant division in Iraq between those individuals who support religion as part of the state versus those individuals who support religion as separate from the state.

The 2010 Iraq election produced a hung parliament, in which no party has majority control of the country.

The US, a long time secular state, has demonstrated that the secular governments are not only suceptible to corruption and abuse of power, but it is the norm. The GW Bush era is a case in point, whereby Bush lied to the American people about Saddam and Iraq, and the Obama era is producing reckless governance such as the escalation of the Afghan conflict, unwillingness to control Israel, perpetuated harms to wildlife and the environment, and lack of concrete measures on climate change. This reality should not be surprising as secular governments tend to lack a moral foundation from which to govern.

Iraqis should think very carefully about the future of Iraq goverance, whether secularism or theocracy, and come to a majority decision. Only then can Iraq move forward with unity in a people's democracy

Coup Successful in Kyrgyzstan


President Bakiyev flees country, admist claims by the interim government officials that the president will be prosecuted for crimes on the day of the coup.

This declaration does not make sense. The president was protecting himself and government against a violent takeover.

Why didn't the opposition defeat President Bakiyev and his government in the next general election?

Why are democratic governments like the US and Canada relatively silent over the violent takeover of power, and even supporting the opposition and its interim government?

Kyrgyzstan is heading down a path which rewards coups. Not a good sign for a people's democracy.

Bakiyev Leaves Kyrgyzstan

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Obama's Nuclear Security Summit Belies Weak Policies

Obama's Nuclear Security Summit is premised on safeguarding nuclear weapons and materials from terrorists. This approach accepts terrorism or the status quo. A more constructive summit would be to deal with the causes of terrorism, and thereby eliminate the threat to nuclear weapons and assets from terrorists by eliminating terrorism.

As it stands, Obama is accepting the status quo (and growth of terrorism), which puts the world in a regressive cycle of aggression and prevention (e.g. safeguarding nuclear assets) against terrorism, rather than dealing with the source of terrorism.

In his closing remarks to the Summit, Obama says his Administration is doing more to safeguard nuclear weapons and assets, such as dealing with the causes of conflict. However, ironically, Obama has escalated the Afghanistan conflict, not withdrawn US troops from Iraq, and not made progress in resolving the Israeli Palestinian conflict.

Obama Relies on Fear

Monday, April 12, 2010

More Chaos in Afghanistan


Today American soldiers open fired on a bus of Afghans in the Zhari district of Kandahar province before killing four civilians and injuring 18. A protest by Afghans followed with "death to America" chants. Meanwhile the Taliban attacked an Afghan intelligence services compound in Kandahar.

US President and 2009 Noble Peace Prize winner, Obama's military escalation in Afghanistan appears to be a failed policy, which is only bringing more suffering to the Afghan people and costing the American taxpayers' billions. And there is no end in sight, unless the American forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

In recent article by the Taliban, they are asking for:

"The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan has put forward its objective before the entire world in unambiguous words, i.e. that we want:

1. Complete withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

2. Liberation of the country.

3. Establishment of an Islamic system in the country based on the aspirations of the people.

4. Rehabilitation, development and prosperity of the people.

5. Participation of all pious and talented Mujahid Afghans in the government from all racial groups.

Members of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have decided to achieve these goals- be them through peaceful means or through jihadic options."

The Taliban say that the Americans are in Afghanistan for geo-political strategic reasons and are colonial aspirations on Afghanistan.

In the backdrop, Karzai and the Northern Alliance, dependent on the US government, are in control of the Afghan government. There is no democracy in Afghanistan; there is only a foreign implanted structure of democracy.

For a people's democracy to advance in Afghanistan, the foreign occupation must end. Moreover, there is no necessity that Afghanistan be democratic. It is up to the people of Afghanistan. If they want, for instance, Sharia Law, then that is their right.

A people's democracy is not about foreign imposition or coercion of the people. It is about government of, by, for the people.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Turmoil and Anarchy in Kyrgyzstan


In a violent protest in which about seventy people were killed,  the Kyrgyz opposition party took control of the government of Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled to the south of the country. The opposition party set up an interim government and demands the resignation of Bakiyev, which he refuses to do.

The opposition party says that the interim government will be in place for six months, after which normal elections will ensue. Morever, the opposition party justified its action based on outstanding corruption by the Bakiyev government which has become "unbearable" and detoriating conditions in the country.

The FDA is concerned about the coup by the opposition party. Interestingly, western governments such as the US have not taken sides nor have they criticized the violent takeover of power. The US is leasing a military base in the country, which it is using to help supply its troops in Afghanistan.

The FDA wants to know why the opposition did not take power through the ballot box or the voice of the people? As it stands, the Kyrgz opposition does not represent the people of Kyrgyzstan.

In six months, the self-proclaimed interim government may cement its grip on power, which may further descend the country along a path away from a people's democracy. In 2001, the pro-US Afghanistan government was formed in a similar manner.


Video of Ousted President Bakiyev

Global Politics of Kyrgystan

Video of Opposition Leader, Roza Otunbayeva

Kyrgyz President Asked to Step Down

Turks and Caicos Online Petition

Online Petition in support of the self-determination of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands


TCI Petition

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pakistan Moves Forward From Past


In a movement away from the days of the US backed Musharraf military dictator, the Pakistan parliament unanimously approved the Constitutional 18th Ammendment, which would restrict the powers of the Pakistan president. The Presidential powers, such as ability to absolve parliament and select the prime minister and supreme court judges, were created by Musharraf and Zia ul Haq dictators.

Though the 18th Ammendment was brought forth by current President Zardari, he should take little credit, as the excessive Presidential powers were an outstanding national issue.

In the days ahead, the Pakistan's people democracy should advance through a stronger parliament.

As an afterthought, it is a sad, pathetic reality that Pakistan military dictators were supported by foreign democratic countries, which in turn strengthened the Pakistan dictatorships. The people of Pakistan have suffered.


Pakistan Parliament Approves 18th Amendment

American Citizen On American Hit List


US President and Noble Peace Prize winner Obama authorizes the assassination of a US citizen, Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

Barring a national security review, the US president apparently has the right to authorize the assassination of whoever he wants.

What does peace have to do with assassinations?

Does Obama represent the American people in authorizing the assassination of one of its own citizens?

Isn't Anwar al-Awlaki innocent until proven guilty in a court of law like any other American citizen? How is a cleric, religious scholar an imminent national security threat to the US?

How is authorized assassinations of a country's own citizens consistent with a people's democracy?


Cleric on Hit List

International Law and Assassination

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Britian's Fastfood Democracy


Prime Minister Brown gave British voters one month to determine the next British government on May 6th.

Should the British PM have the right to determine the election date? Why should his party have an unfair advantage by determining the best date for them to hold an election?

In the interests of democracy and fairness of competition, election dates should be determined by set dates. Moreover, voters should be given adequate time to evaluate the candidates, and the candidates should be given adequate time to campaign. A minimum standard of three months??

Friday, April 2, 2010

British Actor Voices Concern Over Lack of Western Democratic Accountablity

British Actor Evan McGregor voices concern over the lack of accountablity for Western politicians. The actor referred specifically to Blair and Bush for their roles in the Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and occupations, whereby thousands of innocent people have suffered.

McGregor's point appears to be that politicians are not above the law, and yet as in the case of Blair and Bush they are. Moreover, McGregor apparently alludes that the ballot box is not a sufficient form of accountability for politicians who wage illegal wars and lie/deceive to the people.

Obama has continued in Bush's footsteps, with a noted escalation of the Afghanistan war and continued occupancy of Iraq. Ironically, Obama was awarded the 2009 noble peace prize, and in an Orwellian twist, he used the award cermony to justify war.


British Actor Speaks Out

Pakistan Democracy Continues to Address the Past


Pakistan is still dealing with the aftermath of the US supported Musharraf military dictatorship.

In a movement in a postive direction for a people's democracy, the Zardari government submitted a constitutional  reform package to parliament which would not allow the Pakistan president to dismiss the prime minister, dissolve parliament — as enacted multiple times in the past — or appoint the head of the country’s armed forces." Moreover, the Ammendment would put no restrictions on the terms while in office for prime ministers.

Tabled Pakistan 18th Constitutional Ammendment

Karzai's Double Speak?


Are Karzai's recent comments which accuse the UN of massive Afghan electoral fraud in 2009 is reality or a means for Karzai to establish his independence from foreigners?

Interestingly, Obama had just visited Karzai, and then Karzai's comments.

The Karzai regime is on shaky grounds with links to significant fraud and systematic corruptions, heavy reliance on foreign powers, only represents about 10% of the Afghan population, and facing a growing, resilient insurgents against his regime and the foreign occupancy.

It is likely foreign powers concluded that they need to establish Karzai's independence, if there is any hope of his regime winning the trust of the Afghan people.

In either case, it is a dismal, pathetic reality of the imposition of democracy in Afghanistan.

Karzai's Accusations