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Grasping the currency true to our time

"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"










August 24th
6:22 PM
Patrick Cockburn  |  Independent.co.uk

…for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence…   >continue<

Patrick Cockburn  |  Independent.co.uk

…for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence…   >continue<

July 27th
12:54 PM

Pakistan's Iran overtures test Saudi faith

…more than a dozen Wahhabis (hardline Sunni Muslims) from Pakistan were recently sent to Iran to meet with Shi’ite clerics, the majority faith in Iran. Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia, is predominantly Sunni. Efforts to keep the religious dialogue secret were exerted at the government level…

High-placed sources say the main objective of the religious delegation sent to Iran was to illustrate to Sunni and Shi’ite sects that “non-Muslim actors” are responsible for sectarian tensions between the two schools of thought in recent years. >continue<

June 15th
11:11 AM

Syria's Ruling Alawite Sect

While many non-Muslims are now aware that there is a sectarian divide in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites, it is less commonly known that Syria is ruled largely by members of an esoteric Islamic sect, the Alawites, whose belief in the divinity of Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law, is just one of the reasons that they were oppressed as infidels for centuries by other Muslims. >continue<

June 1st
8:13 AM

Armed residents fight off Syrian government troops

BEIRUT — Residents used automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades to repel advancing government troops in central Syria yesterday, putting up a fierce fight for the first time in their 2-month-old revolt against President Bashar Assad’s autocratic regime.

The escalation raised fears the popular uprising may be moving toward a Libya-style armed conflict.  >continue<

See also an excellent post in Syria Comment: “Syria in Fragments: Divided Minds, Divided Lives,” by an American in Syria

May 9th
8:50 AM
While Bahrain Destroys Shia Mosques, U.S. Remains Quiet

 
In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000&#160;B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.
Today, only bulldozer tracks remain.
[&#8230;] Authorities have held secret trials where protesters have been sentenced to death, arrested prominent mainstream opposition politicians, jailed nurses and doctors who treated injured protesters, seized the health care system that had been run primarily by Shiites, fired 1,000 Shiite professionals and canceled their pensions, detained students and teachers who took part in the protests, beat and arrested journalists, and forced the closure of the only opposition newspaper.

Nothing, however, has struck harder at the fabric of this nation, where Shiites outnumber Sunnis nearly 4 to 1, than the destruction of Shiite worship centers.

 
See also: Bahrain charges medics for aiding protesters

While Bahrain Destroys Shia Mosques, U.S. Remains Quiet

In the ancient Bahraini village of Aali, where some graves date to 2000 B.C., the Amir Mohammed Braighi mosque had stood for more than 400 years — one of the handsomest Shiite Muslim mosques in this small island nation in the Persian Gulf.

Today, only bulldozer tracks remain.

[…] Authorities have held secret trials where protesters have been sentenced to death, arrested prominent mainstream opposition politicians, jailed nurses and doctors who treated injured protesters, seized the health care system that had been run primarily by Shiites, fired 1,000 Shiite professionals and canceled their pensions, detained students and teachers who took part in the protests, beat and arrested journalists, and forced the closure of the only opposition newspaper.

Nothing, however, has struck harder at the fabric of this nation, where Shiites outnumber Sunnis nearly 4 to 1, than the destruction of Shiite worship centers.

See also: Bahrain charges medics for aiding protesters

April 22nd
1:05 PM
Via
"We are calling to the US, the United Nations, the EU. Where are they? Where is the world? Why are they silent?"
—  An unnamed man at the funeral of 15-year-old Sayed Ahmed Said Shems in the Shiite village of Saar, Bahrain late last month. Monitor reporter Kristen Chick explores Why US silence on Bahrain’s crackdown could backfire. (via csmonitor)
April 14th
3:15 PM
Via

Bahrain government moves to disband Shia opposition

The government of Bahrain has gone to court seeking to disband two Shia opposition groups.

State media said the ministry of justice and Islamic affairs had “filed a lawsuit to dissolve the Islamic Action Association and al-Wefaq”.

The two groups were accused of violating the constitution and “harming social peace and national unity”.

The government has used force to put down protests calling for reform of the Gulf state’s Sunni monarchy.

Bahrain imposed emergency rule last month after weeks of anti-government protests in the kingdom, where many Shias accuse the monarchy of discrimination.

More than 25 people have been killed in the unrest.

Read More

March 22nd
12:02 PM
Via

The New York Times: Great On-The-Ground Reporting, But Understanding Of Islam? Not So Much....

negevrockcity:

Just noticed this graf in an article by David Kirkpatrick that was published yesterday entitled A Libyan Fight for Democracy, or a Civil War?:

Even one religious leader associated with Sufism — a traditionally pacifist sect something like the Islamic equivalent of the Quakers — lamented his own tribe’s lack of guns for the fight.Here’s the thing: Sufis, both individually and in their collective lodges, have had a long history of being involved with military and direct action. Especially in Libya, where the Sanusi Sufi order played a key part in the war against the Italians. Sufis were also involved in historical military conflicts in the Balkans, South Asia, Anatolia and elsewhere.

The NYT is the newspaper of record here in the States; their readers deserve to be given a decent understanding of the historical context of important news stories.

Daunting complexities within Islam.  Sufism another multi-faceted interlacing. Perhaps Kirkpatrick simply had not acquired a state sufficient for learning to begin:

To the Sufi, perhaps the greatest absurdity in life is the way in which people strive for things — such as knowledge — without the basic equipment for acquiring them. They have assumed that all they need is “two eyes and a mouth,” as Nasrudin says. In Sufism, a person cannot learn until he is in a state in which he can perceive what he is learning… (source)

March 15th
4:24 PM
Via
negevrockcity:

Nick Kristof’s Facebook wall is covered in minute-by-minute Bahrain updates; scaring the hell out of me right now. Not good.

negevrockcity:

Nick Kristof’s Facebook wall is covered in minute-by-minute Bahrain updates; scaring the hell out of me right now. Not good.

10:09 AM
Via
nickturse:

Iran Calls Saudi Troops in Bahrain ‘Unacceptable’ - NYTimes.com
From an article in today’s New York Times by ETHAN BRONNER and MICHAEL SLACKMAN:
“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Jassim Hussein Ali, a member of  the opposition Wefaq party and a former member of Parliament, said in a  phone interview. “Bahrain is heading toward major problems, anarchy.  This is an occupation, and this is not welcome.”

Things may get worse in the Gulf, where tectonic political frictions increase. Bahrain&#8217;s 70% Shia population is effectively marginalized from politics in the kingdom.  Collateral effects in Shia majority Iraq could also further complicate matters for U.S.  
See the recent realclearworld.com piece, The Battle Between Iran and Saudi Arabia

nickturse:

Iran Calls Saudi Troops in Bahrain ‘Unacceptable’ - NYTimes.com

From an article in today’s New York Times by ETHAN BRONNER and MICHAEL SLACKMAN:

“We don’t know what is going to happen,” Jassim Hussein Ali, a member of the opposition Wefaq party and a former member of Parliament, said in a phone interview. “Bahrain is heading toward major problems, anarchy. This is an occupation, and this is not welcome.”

Things may get worse in the Gulf, where tectonic political frictions increase. Bahrain’s 70% Shia population is effectively marginalized from politics in the kingdom.  Collateral effects in Shia majority Iraq could also further complicate matters for U.S.  

See the recent realclearworld.com piece, The Battle Between Iran and Saudi Arabia

March 14th
8:22 AM
Via

protests4democracy:

Scenes of police brutality against protesters in Bahrain in some of the worst unrest for weeks as the country asks for help from neighbouring Gulf Arab countries

Police killed seven protesters last month at the height of the unrest, but since then, clashes with the security forces have been rare.

But on Sunday - which is a normal working day in many countries in the region - clashes broke out in three areas of Manama. […]

Bahrain - home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet - is the first Gulf country to be thrown into turmoil by the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world. […]

Mainly Shia protesters, inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, want the reform of the Sunni monarchy. […]

Shia account for about 70% of the country’s 525,000 people, but the country has been ruled by a Sunni monarchy for hundreds of years.

(full BBC article)

Both parts of the video were recorded today, on Mar 14, from the Aljazeera news block starting at 10:00 GMT. 

February 16th
11:34 AM
Via

What the Bahrain crisis means for Iran

theweekmagazine:

Of all the Arab nations swept up in the post-Tunisia domino wave of anti-government protests, Bahrain may pose the biggest threat to the U.S. The tiny Persian Gulf island kingdom houses the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet and an Air Force base, a toehold the U.S. relies on to contain neighboring Iran. The Bahrain base also allows the U.S. to keep tabs on the 40 percent of the world’s oil that passes through the Strait of Hormuz. Bahrain’s protesters are mostly Shiite Muslims, as in Iran. If they overthrow the Sunni royal family and force the U.S. out, will Iran gain the upper hand in the region? Some opinion: 

  • This is about Bahrain, not Iran: The U.S. media is framing this as a Sunni-Shiite battle, and we all know, at least vaguely, by now that “Shiites have something to do with Iran,” says Aaron Bady in Zunguzungu. But a closer look suggests this is class warfare — the haves, mostly Sunni, versus the largely Shiite have-nots — not a “sectarian conflict.” Besides, these protests have been going on for “quite some time.” We’re just finally noticing them now.

More opinion within.

February 15th
12:19 PM

Protests Boil Over In Bahrain After Violence

Bahrain’s majority Shiites, who make up about 70 percent of the population, have long complained of systemic discrimination by the Sunni rulers. A crackdown on perceived dissent last year touched off weeks of riots and clashes in Shiite villages.

See also: Bahrain’s Strategic Importance

Iran, Bahrain Crack down on Protesters, as Rallies Held in Yemen