Showing posts with label Politics and Government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics and Government. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Jordanian Parliament decided to dismiss Representative Muhammad Al-Fayez, following a letter he addressed to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman

    Wednesday, January 18, 2023   No comments

The Jordanian Parliament decided to dismiss Representative Muhammad Al-Fayez, following a letter he addressed to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman, in which he appealed to him not to send aid to Jordan, so that it would not reach “pockets of corruption and the corrupt,” after he had submitted his resignation from Parliament last month. Past.

And the official Jordanian News Agency, Petra, stated that the House of Representatives decided to dismiss Al-Fayez, noting that “92 out of 110 deputies who attended the session voted on the Legal Committee’s decision related to the dismissal of Representative Al-Fayez.”


The reasons for the decision stated that the representative violated “parliamentary and diplomatic norms, with regard to the manner of addressing and insulting issued by him in a letter addressed to a sister Arab country, and discrediting the Kingdom through it.”


Al-Fayez had sent, in mid-December, a message to Ibn Salman through the ambassador of Riyadh to Jordan, in which he said: “We do not want aid and we do not want donations.


He added, “All your goods reach the pockets of corruption and the corrupt, and the notion that your donations go to pay the bills of all Jordanians, including innocent people, is a lie.” He added, “We hear about aid to the state, but it only goes to a corrupt class that gets richer at the expense of the dignity of the proud Jordanian.”


Al-Fayez, who belongs to the Bani Sakher tribe, one of the largest tribes in Jordan, and many of its members hold leadership positions in the state, submitted his resignation from the House of Representatives on December 22, justifying that by "the parliament's inability to achieve anything."


This comes at a time when Jordan is suffering from difficult economic conditions, which were exacerbated by the “Covid” pandemic. Unemployment rates rose in 2021 to about 25%, according to official figures, while it rose among the youth category to 50%.


The poverty rate rose to 24%, and the public debt exceeded $47 billion, or more than 106% of the GDP.


The Kingdom's economy, which suffers from a scarcity of natural resources, relies heavily on aid, especially from the United States, the European Union and the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia.


According to the Jordanian constitution, the parliament has the power to decide whether to accept or reject a request for the resignation of deputies. If it rejects it, the deputy’s membership continues to complete the legal term of the parliament, which is set at four years, even if he does not attend any of the parliament’s sessions. But if it is accepted by the majority of its members, the seat is filled.


Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The mayor of Istanbul was imprisoned for two years and 7 months for "insulting officials"

    Wednesday, December 14, 2022   No comments

On Wednesday, a Turkish court sentenced the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, to more than two years in prison on charges of insulting members of the Supreme Electoral Commission, which effectively prevents him from practicing politics.

Turkish media said that the judiciary sentenced Oglu to two years and 7 months in prison for insulting members of the Supreme Electoral Commission.

And imposed a political ban on him for insulting public officials, in a ruling that is expected to be appealed.

Ekrem Imamoglu, a popular rival of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was prosecuted from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) for a speech he gave in 2019 in which he said those who canceled Istanbul's local elections at the time were "foolish".

It should be noted that the maximum penalty for this charge is four years imprisonment.


For his part, Oglu's lawyer confirmed that he would appeal the ruling, which means that he will remain in the position of mayor, but he is now excluded from the presidential elections scheduled for next year.


The case dates back to a statement issued by Imamoglu, after he defeated the candidate of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist party in the controversial 2019 municipal elections.


Persons sentenced to less than four years' imprisonment are rarely sent to prison in Turkey.


"This is an unfortunate approach to democracy and the rule of law," his lawyer, Kemal Polat, told AFP.


Imamoglu (52 years old) defeated Erdogan's party in March 2019, by winning the mayoralty of Istanbul, which was led by the ruling Justice and Development Party for 25 years.


The government canceled Imamoglu's election, but he returned and won by a large margin in the run-off elections after about three months.


A few months later, Ekrem Imamoglu considered those who canceled his election victory "stupid," echoing a phrase that Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had used against him a few hours earlier.


This description exposed the mayor of Istanbul to prosecution for "insulting" members of the Supreme Electoral Council.



Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Demonstrations in Bangladesh calling for the resignation of the Prime Minister and the dissolution of Parliament

    Tuesday, December 13, 2022   No comments

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, demanding the dissolution of parliament in order to make room for new elections, and also the resignation of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajid.

The mass protest in the capital on Saturday was organized by the opposition Bangladesh National Party, which accuses Hasina of failing to tackle soaring fuel prices and the cost of living.

The demonstration comes amid a wave of protests calling for Hasina to step down and calling for new elections.

Hasina responded by calling the opposition leaders "terrorists" and warning people not to allow the largest opposition party, the Bangladesh National Party, to return to power.

Several people were arrested in the run-up to Saturday's protest.


Police arrested two senior BNP leaders, including the party's general secretary, Mirza Alamgir, last Friday.


Authorities said Alamgir faces charges, without giving further information. At least one man was killed during clashes between protesters and police last Wednesday, when security forces fired tear gas to disperse people gathered in front of the National Party office in the capital.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Report: Half of the world's democracies are in decline, and Washington is in peril

    Wednesday, November 30, 2022   No comments

A report published by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance revealed today, Wednesday, that half of the democracies in the world are witnessing a decline in their political system.

"We are now seeing factors that are very unfavorable to democracy, exacerbated by the consequences of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic and the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine," Kevin Casas-Zamora, secretary general of the Sweden-based institute, told AFP.


He explained that this regression could appear through a review of the credibility of elections, violations of the rule of law, or the imposition of restrictions in civic space.


The number of democracies facing serious undermining, which the report classified as countries "in decline" increased from 6 to 7 in 2022, with El Salvador added to it along with the United States since last year, and Brazil, Hungary, Poland, India and the island of Mauritius.

Kevin Casas-Zamora saw the US situation as "particularly dangerous". The report warned that this country suffers from problems of political polarization, disruption in the work of institutions, and threats to civil liberties.

"It is now clear that this fever has not subsided with the election of a new administration," said the Secretary-General.


This appears especially in the levels of polarization out of control, and attempts to "undermine the credibility of election results without any evidence of fraud," according to Casas-Zamora.


The rise of authoritarianism

Of the 173 countries included in the report, 52 of the democracies included in it are in decline.


On the other hand, 27 countries moved to an authoritarian regime, which is more than double the countries that moved to democracy.


Likewise, almost half of the authoritarian regimes tightened their repression during 2022, while Afghanistan, Belarus, Cambodia, the Comoros and Nicaragua recorded a "regression", according to the report.


In Asia, where only 54% of the population lives in a democracy, authoritarianism intensifies, while the African continent remains "resilient" in the face of instability despite the many challenges it faces.


In Europe, about half of the democracies, or 17 countries, have suffered a decline over the past five years.

The report stressed that "democracies are striving to find an effective balance in an environment of instability and anxiety, and populism continues to spread in the world, while innovation and growth are stagnant or regressing."



He noted "worrying trends" even in countries with medium or high democratic standards.

Casas-Zamora explained that "democratic regimes have recorded a real deterioration in the last two decades, and this raises a hot issue," but on the other hand, there are "signs of progress."

_________


Sources: 

https://www.idea.int/news-media/news/global-democracy-weakens-2022


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Mahathir Mohamad loses his seat in the Malaysian parliament

    Saturday, November 19, 2022   No comments

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, 97, lost his seat in parliament following the legislative elections that took place on Saturday, which threatens to put an end to the long career of this veteran politician who was hoping to return to the political scene.

Mahathir, who served as Malaysia's prime minister for more than two decades in two terms, failed to retain his parliamentary seat and came fourth in a competition contested by five candidates in the Langkawi island constituency.

The seat was won by a candidate from the National Alliance, which is led by another former prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin.

Mahathir leads a coalition that pledged to overthrow the current National Front coalition government on the grounds of accusations of corruption, but his alliance is not a major competitor, as the Front faces two other major coalitions, the Muhyiddin bloc and another led by Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir's arch-rival for a long time.


Mahathir said in an interview with Reuters this month that he would retire from politics if he lost.


Millions of voters went to the polls to participate in the national elections, which were called early, in an attempt to end the political instability.


The election is the first since the historic vote in 2018, when the party, which has ruled the Southeast Asian country since its independence in 1957, was defeated in the wake of a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal.


A single party is unlikely to win an outright majority in the 222-seat House of Representatives, and the majority of the major parties have campaigned under one banner, in a race between three major alliances.


Three successive prime ministers in the country within 3 years, including Mahathir Mohamad, 97, who ruled Malaysia for more than two decades during two terms in power.


The economic issue emerges as a priority for parties and voters alike. According to a survey prepared by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, it was found that 74% of respondents consider the economy a priority, followed by political stability and corruption.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Punjab province election results show that Imran Khan, forced out prime minister of Pakistan, is not going anywhere

    Wednesday, July 27, 2022   No comments


Punjab province election results was bad enough news for those who wanted Imran Khan out of politics. To make matters worse for them, yesterday, the Pakistani Supreme Court issued a decision in the case raised a few days ago regarding the vote on the presidency of the Punjab provincial government, which invalidated the victory of Hamza Shahbaz Sharif as the head of the provincial government, in favor of Pervez Elahi Chaudhry, the candidate of the PTI party that he leads.

In this way, the Insaf Party was able to invest its victory in the elections in Punjab, which is the largest and most influential province in Pakistan on the political scene. This region owns more than half of the seats in the country's parliament, and the winner of his local elections will have the opportunity to form the federal government later.


This prompted Imran Khan to demand again new national elections after his party's landslide victory. "Any other path will only lead to more political uncertainty and economic chaos," he said on Twitter.


There are a number of reasons for Imran Khan's success in this election. Between 30 to 45 thousand new voters were added to the voter register, who usually vote for parties and not individuals.


Al-Insaf Party's nomination of popular members or influential families and clans, in addition to obtaining the support of religious groups (Sunni and Shiite) in some electoral districts.


The effective campaign of the leadership of the Insaf Party, especially after the 10th of April (the date of the overthrow of the Khan government), and the focus on the external role in this overthrow, despite the repeated denials of this by his opponents.


Imran Khan's performance in the electoral rallies, which observers and followers described as admirable, as his personality was a decisive factor by urging voters to "jihad" and defeat "traitors" and achieve the real independence of the country and prevent any external interference, and this is popular with the Pakistani people.


Outside these matters, there is alos the state of other political parties. Internal disagreements over the nomination of members within Sharif's Muslim League party, which led to the division of the popular base for them, in addition to their lack of a clear plan or a strong electoral campaign. So what might happen in the near future?


A. Federal Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif is supposed to announce early elections in the country.

B. If Sharif does not do so, then there is a high probability that Punjab Chief Minister Pervez Elahi will resort to dissolving the provincial parliament, and this may force Sharif to dissolve the federal parliament. It is also possible that the Chief Minister of the PTI-controlled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province will do a similar scenario, and this will certainly destabilize the federal government.

 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Some Lebanese politicians and their outside backers may have celebrated too soon

    Monday, May 16, 2022   No comments

Maysem Rizq Reviews News coverage of Elections in Lebenon
 
It remains for the Lebanese to preserve their fresh memory to review the winners or losers in everything they said and made during the past two months.

24 hours was enough to turn the picture of the results that the opponents of Hezbollah and the Free Patriotic Movement wanted to circulate on Sunday evening. If Hezbollah (along with its ally, President Nabih Berri) has firmly seized the entire Shiite parliamentary bloc over the whole of Lebanon, what emergped from the developments in the Christian community ended in the absence of the image of victory that the Lebanese forces spread on Sunday evening, and official and unofficial results showed that the current The Free Patriotic Movement won a parliamentary bloc that outperforms the forces bloc. And if the loss of the current in the Jezzine district represented a major blow, the forces’ loss of one of the two seats of Bcharre was a major and unprecedented blow, bearing in mind that scrutiny of vote percentages remains linked to reviewing the full results. A quick reading of the names of the winners from the members of the two teams or those allied with them shows the movement's progress over the forces by at least a seat.

What was remarkable on the day following the count was not only the loss of some Hezbollah allies, including all the Syrian Social Nationalist Party candidates and candidates Talal Arslan, Wiam Wahhab and Marwan Khair al-Din, but rather the ability of youth groups that emerged from the October 17 uprising to achieve serious violations in several circles. It can be said that these groups succeeded in challenging the traditional forces in the south, the Bekaa, the mountains and the north, in addition to Beirut.

Detailed political readings will occupy the scene over the next few days. But what must be confirmed until now is not promising, especially since the voting in most constituencies was based on a sharp sectarian and sectarian background, and even the boycott in many constituencies reflected the frustration of a large part of the Sunnis who represent the base of the Future Movement.

In practice, the official results announced by the Minister of Interior Bassam al-Mawlawi until midnight last night presented the final figures in 12 constituencies, and the official results remained limited to the districts of Tripoli - Minieh - Denniye, Akkar and Beirut II, where it is assumed that the real repercussions of the reluctance of President Saad Hariri's audience in these Sunni-majority districts.

There are many titles related to the main forces that ran in the elections. But the media scene, with its political background, focused on two things. The first relates to the results of voting in the Christian street and the nature of voting among Sunnis in most of Lebanon's districts. In this context, the following can be mentioned:

Tayyar (Current) and Quwat (Forces)

From Sunday evening until sunset yesterday, time was heavy on the audience and leaders of the Free Patriotic Movement. Despite Gibran Bassil winning his seat in Batroun, and declaring his victory over all the political forces and financial machines that had gathered to topple him, the announced results indicated that the movement had lost in front of the forces. This was reflected in frustration among the Aoun public, especially since the forces did not provide a television or radio program or a page on social media to announce their landslide victory and the formation of the largest parliamentary bloc from north to south. It is not just numbers for the movement, but its loss of a set of political privileges that begin with the government and do not end with appointments and key Christian positions in the state as well as sitting at the decision table. The privileges he has been accustomed to since 2005 as a result of his victory in the largest parliamentary bloc, and which mainly led to the arrival of President Michel Aoun to his position. The crash looked strong after 17 years.

In the evening, however, the scene changed. The picture began to fade since it became clear that the movement won four seats in Akkar, followed by the announcement of the victory of MP George Atallah in Koura, and then the forces' loss of the minority seat in Beirut I. This coincided with the struggle of candidate Gad Ghosn with the forces on the Matn seat, and news of the loss of George Adwan in the Chouf in favor of Ghada Eid.


On paper and pen, the Aounists could enumerate 19 deputies, in addition to 3 allied deputies from the Tashnaq Party, so that the bloc would have 22 deputies. While the forces were retreating from 23 to 18, MP Raji Al-Saad was added to them as an ally after MP Camille Chamoun announced that he did not intend to join the bloc of forces, bringing the result to 22 for the current and 19 for the forces. Soon, it became possible to talk about a completely changed picture between the two republics; The Quwatists seemed more anxious, and the Aounists more comfortable, especially with the "violation" of George Atallah in Koura.

However, the biggest blow that the Forces received came after the official result of the third northern district was announced, and the announcement of the fall of the troop candidate Joseph Ishak in exchange for the victory of the candidate William Tawq in the troop den in Bcharre. It is a loss equal to 18 deputies or more. This news sparked a wave of countless comments and publications, the majority of which belong to the Free Patriotic Movement. MP Strida Geagea, prior to the election day, addressed Basil by saying: “Let him stop his neighbors in Batroun on May 15th.” You shook and you became a human being, a rewarder.” Thus, it flared up again between the forces and the current, and it was now possible to talk about the Aounists regaining their breath. In fact, the Free Patriotic Movement will organize a "victory festival" to announce its victory next Saturday. For him, “Exiting this many representatives after all the war that was waged against him, both foreign and internal, and by all available means, including Gulf ambassadors, pressure on candidates, money, propaganda, media, media professionals, and funded programs, is a crushing victory, stronger and stronger than all past victories.”


















Results of the Lebanese Parliamentary Elections (partial)

    Monday, May 16, 2022   No comments

 

The Lebanese Parliamentary Elections.. Announcing the winning candidates in 12 constituencies

The representatives were distributed among their parties so far, according to the following:

Hezbollah and Amal Movement: 32 deputies

Free Patriotic Movement: 20 deputies

Lebanese Forces Party: 18 deputies

The Kataeb Party: 5 MPs

Tashnak Party: 2

Marada party: 2

Independents: 14 deputies

Civil society: 11 deputies



The Minister of Interior and Municipalities of Lebanon held a press conference at eleven at night in which he announced the preliminary and non-final percentages of the parliamentary elections that took place in the 15 constituencies on all Lebanese territories. And the Lebanese National News Agency reported that the minister said, in an on-screen explanation, that "the percentages are estimates and are not final, and they are issued by the operations room in the General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces after the officers communicated with the heads of the regions in all regions. There are 60 unfinished positions remaining. Some have been handed over. The heads of the centers, the registration committees, the records of the pens, according to what we received from the directorate, and he said: "They are discretionary percentages, and they become final after looking into all the objections submitted by the candidates or the candidates' representatives, and we will follow up on the final result little by little."

Minister Mawlawi read out the estimated voting percentages after closing the polls, with the exception of 60 polling stations, which are as follows:
Beirut First District: 28.50%
Beirut Second District: 38.33%
Mount Lebanon First District (Byblos - Kesrouane): 55.93%
Mount Lebanon Second District (Matn): 42.70%
Mount Lebanon Third District (Baabda): 43.44%
Mount Lebanon Fourth District (Chouf - Aley): 44.49%
South District One (Sidon - Jezzine): 42.30%
Second South District (Sidon Villages - Tyre): 42.77%
South District Three: (Hasbaya - Marjeyoun - Nabatiyeh - Bint Jbeil): 41.76%
North District One (Akkar): 40.73%
Second North District (Minya - Denniye - Tripoli): 30.60%
North Third District (Zgharta - Bcharre - Koura - Batroun): 38.45%
Bekaa District One (Zahle): 43.02%
Second Bekaa Constituency (Rashaya - West Bekaa): 34.20%
Bekaa Third District (Baalbek-Hermel): 48.90%
Total in all of Lebanon: 41.04%

Parliamentary elections are held in Lebanon every 4 years, according to the distribution adopted since the Taif Agreement in 1989, with 128 seats divided equally between Muslims and Christians throughout the country.

The 128 seats are distributed as follows: 28 for Sunnis, 28 for Shiites, 8 for Druze, 34 for Maronites, 14 for Orthodox, 8 for Catholics, 5 for Armenians, two seats for Alawites, and one seat for minorities within the Christian community.

Some details:

According to Mawlawi, the voter turnout in the second district of Mount Lebanon (Northern Matn) reached 49.43%, and the winners are:

Two seats for the Free Patriotic Movement: Ibrahim Kanaan and Elias Bou Saab.
Two seats for the Lebanese Forces party: Melhem Riachy and Razi al-Hajj.
Two seats for the Lebanese Kataeb Party: Sami Gemayel and Elias Hankash.
A seat for the Tashnaq party: Hagop Pakradounian.
Independent seat: Michel Murr.

As for the fourth district of Mount Lebanon (Chouf - Aley), the voter turnout reached 48.6%, and the winners are:

5 seats for the Progressive Socialist Party: Taymour Jumblatt, Marwan Hamadeh, Akram Chehayeb, Bilal Abdullah and Raji Al-Saad.
3 seats for the Free Patriotic Movement: Farid Al-Bustani, Cesar Abi Khalil and Ghassan Atallah.
3 independent seats: Najat Khattar Aoun, Halima Kaqour and Mark Daou.
Two seats for the Lebanese Forces party: George Adwan and Nazih Matta.


In the third district of the North (Bcharre - Batroun - Zgharta - Koura), the voter turnout was 44.20%. The winners are:

Two seats for the Lebanese Forces party: Sethrida Geagea and Ghiath Yazbek.
Two seats for the Free Patriotic Movement: Gebran Bassil and George Atallah.
Two seats for the Marada Movement: Tony Franjieh and William Tawk.
3 seats for independents: Michel Moawad, Adib Abdel Massih and Michel Douaihy.


As for the third district of the South (Bint Jbeil - Nabatiyeh - Marjayoun and Hasbaya), the winners are:
3 seats for Hezbollah: Muhammad Raad, Hassan Fadlallah and Ali Fayyad.
6 seats for the Amal Movement: Hani Qubaisi, Ali Hassan Khalil, Ayoub Hamid, Ashraf Baydoun, Nasser Jaber and Qassem Hashem.
Two seats for independents: Elias Jarada and Firas Hamdan.


Molloy had announced, earlier, the results of the following departments:

- South District One (Sidon - Jezzine), the voter turnout was 46.6%, and the winners are:

3 seats for independents: Abdel Rahman Al-Bizri, Osama Saad and Charbel Massad.
Two seats for the Lebanese Forces party: Ghada Ayoub and Saeed Al-Asmar.

In the second district of the South (Tyre - Sidon villages), the voter turnout was 48.8%, and the winners are:

5 seats for the Amal Movement: Nabih Berri, Ali Khreis, Inayat Ezzedine, Ali Oseiran and Michel Musa.
Two seats for Hezbollah: Hussein Jashi and Hassan Ezzedine.

Bekaa District One (Zahle), the voter turnout was 49.5%, and the winners are:

Two seats for the Lebanese Forces party: George Akis and Elias Stephan.
Seat of the Free Patriotic Movement: Salim Aoun.
A seat for the Tashnaq Party: George Bushekian.
A seat for Hezbollah: Rami Abu Hamdan.
Independent seat: Michel Daher.

The Second Bekaa Constituency (West Bekaa - Rashaya), the voter turnout was 42.47%, and the winners are:

A seat for the Amal movement: Qabalan Qabalan.
Seat of the Progressive Socialist Party: Wael Abu Faour.
Seat of the Free Patriotic Movement: Charbel Maroun.
3 independent seats: Hassan Murad, Yassin Yassin and Ghassan Skaf.

In the third Bekaa constituency (Baalbek-Hermel), the winners are:

Six seats for Hezbollah: Hussein Al-Hajj Hassan, Ihab Hamadeh, Ali Al-Miqdad, Ibrahim Al-Mousawi, Yall Al-Solh, and Melhem Al-Hujairi.
Seat for the Amal Movement: Ghazi Zuaiter.
Seat of the Free Patriotic Movement: Samer Al-Tom.
Seat of the Lebanese Forces: Antoine Habashi.
Seat for Independents: Jamil El-Sayed.

- Mount Lebanon First Constituency (Byblos - Kesrouan), the voter turnout was 63.4%, and the winners are:

Two seats for the Lebanese Forces party: Ziad Al-Hawat and Shawki Daccache.
Two seats for the Free Patriotic Movement: Simon Abi Ramia and Nada Al-Bustani.
Two seats for independents: Nima'a Afram and Farid Haikal El-Khazen.
Seat of the Lebanese Kataeb Party: Salim Al-Sayegh.
A seat for Hezbollah: Raed Berro.

- Mount Lebanon Third District (Baabda), the voter turnout was 47.39%, and the winners are:

Seat of the Lebanese Forces Party: Pierre Bou Assi.
Seat of the Free Patriotic Movement: Alain Aoun.
Seat of the Progressive Socialist Party: Hadi Abul-Hassan.
Seat of the National Liberal Party: Camille Chamoun.
A seat for Hezbollah: Ali Ammar.
A seat for the Amal movement: Fadi Alama.

Thus, the Ministry of Interior has announced the results of 11 constituencies, provided that the results of the remaining four constituencies (Beirut's first and second districts and the first and second districts of the North) will be announced, respectively. The voter turnout in all of Lebanon reached about 41%, noting that the voter turnout in the 2018 session was 49.68%.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Like many new American veterans, I owe my life to Muslims: Trump’s executive order is un-American, dishonorable and severely harmful to U.S. national security

    Monday, February 20, 2017   No comments
Like many new American veterans, I owe my life to Muslims — the Iraqi and Afghan comrades who fought alongside me during my multiple combat tours as a Green Beret.

I join fellow veterans in Seattle and nationwide in denouncing President Trump’s decision to temporarily ban people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States. Trump’s executive order is un-American, dishonorable and severely harmful to U.S. national security.

This sweeping and ill-conceived order will further damage U.S. credibility in the Muslim world, and will fuel recruiting by insurgent and terrorist groups claiming that America is at war with Islam.

Moreover, this shortsighted move will backfire by curbing the immigration of people from the Middle East and Africa whose language skills and cultural knowledge are in short supply in the United States. From a national-security perspective, turning our backs on them undermines our long-term interests.

 This indiscriminate ban threatens to make it harder to recruit native-born translators to support operations in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen, as well as in future conflicts, jeopardizing the lives of U.S. troops.

Throughout my military career, loyal Iraqis and Afghans displayed incredible bravery under fire to protect me and my men. These linguists have proved their trustworthiness on the field of battle and undergone extreme vetting. Our nation pledged to resettle in America interpreters who put themselves and their families at risk by working for the U.S. government.

But Trump’s ban even temporarily blocked Iraqi interpreters and their families from the United States — exposing them to unnecessary danger. It took an outcry from veterans and concern inside the Pentagon to push the Trump administration to amend the ban on Thursday and allow these heroes to immigrate as promised.

The damage caused by a stroke of Trump’s pen is already being felt, disrupting thousands of lives — from the most vulnerable refugees to talented immigrant employees of major U.S. companies. Fear is spreading.  source

Friday, February 10, 2017

POTUS loses again: Appeals court maintains the freeze on Muslim Ban

    Friday, February 10, 2017   No comments
ISR Comment: For the thirst time, the White House lost in court.  
 Learn about the process
 Learn about the process
It failed to convince three judges that the freeze of POTUS' Muslim ban should be lifted.The White House insists that it will pursue the defense of the ban in courts still. Trump is not stranger to using the court system. Before moving into the White House, he stood as the most litigious person ever to be nominated by a major party to run for the U.S presidency. In June 2016, USA TODAY analyzed legal filings across the United States found that the then "presumptive Republican presidential nominee and his businesses have been involved in at least 3,500 legal actions in federal and state courts during the past three decades."

Now that lawyers will be paid by tax payers, not from his personal or business accounts, it is likely that he will continue to take every challenged decision to courts.
  ______________

The 9th Circuit’s Opinion on the Muslim Ban:




Saturday, February 04, 2017

German international magazine, der spiegel, publishes a dossier about Trump's presidency, the illustrative image is astounding

    Saturday, February 04, 2017   No comments
 ISR comment: The image illustrating the cover dossier of “Der Spiegel,” a leading magazine out of Germany, a country that knows firsthand the consequences of being ruled by populist authoritarians, is astounding. It speaks to the power of art in capturing the moment. Its selection for the cover of the magazine underscores the role of the media and journalism in society during challenging times.
__________________

Donald Trump has now been president of the United States for two weeks. It literally pains me to write about all that has happened in these first days. The president of the U.S. is a racist. He is attempting a coup from the top; he wants to establish an illiberal democracy, or worse; he wants to undermine the balance of power.

With his style of rule -- his decrees, his appointments and his firings -- he is dividing Washington and the rest of the country. Our cover story this week, which will be published in English on Monday, describes how Trump's inner circle works and how insecurity has grown among government officials. It sheds light on the role of Stephen Bannon, the former head of the right-wing news portal Breitbart News, who has become Trump's Faust, his chief ideologue and the man pulling the strings in the White House. Bannon is also a man who loves wars -- he sees them as being thoroughly advantageous.


During the course of his reporting on the cover story, SPIEGEL Washington correspondent Gordon Repinski met with government officials who spoke of their worries and their pangs of guilt. "They are considering whether the right thing to do would be to leave the government or to put up resistance from within," says Repinski. In London, my colleague Peter Müller spoke with Ted Malloch, who is considered Trump's favorite for the post of ambassador to the European Union -- a man who has praised Brexit and predicted the collapse of the euro.

  
The problem will not resolve itself. German business is the opponent of American trade policy, the German democracy is the ideological opponent of Donald Trump, but even here, in the middle of Germany, right-wing extremists are trying to give him a helping hand. It is high time that we stand up for what is important: democracy, freedom, the West and its alliances. Germany, of all countries, the economically and politically dominant democracy in Europe, will have to form the alliance against Trump, because it won't otherwise take shape. It is, however, absolutely necessary.


  
The image for this week's cover was created by the artist Edel Rodriguez. Edel was nine years old when, in 1980, he came to the U.S. with his mother -- two refugees, like so many others. "I remember it well, and I remember the feelings and how little kids feel when they are leaving their country," he told the Washington Post on Friday night.

The newspaper wrote: "This DER SPIEGEL Trump cover is stunning." It wasn't the first time Edel has drawn Trump. He usually portrays him without eyes -- you just see his angry, gaping mouth and, of course, the hair. "I don't want to live in a dictatorship," he says. "If I wanted to live in a dictatorship, I'd live in Cuba, where it's much warmer."

In other vital coverage this week, New York correspondent Philipp Oehmke met up with Dave Eggers and Wolfgang Höbel interviewed T.C. Boyle. Both American authors spoke about the issue gripping the entire world right now: Trump's America. "The world must be shaking," says Boyle.

Finally, in a SPIEGEL interview, my colleagues Horand Knaup, Markus Feldenkirchen and I asked Martin Schulz, the center-left Social Democratic Party's candidate challenging Angela Merkel in this year's chancellor race, what he thought of Trump. "Contemptible. He crosses the boundaries of every basic consensus that a democracy needs! It's staggering."

 A selection of stories from the issue will be published in English this week at
Spiegel.de/international.

 



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Joint statement on Syria by Iran, Russia, Turkey's Foreign Ministers

    Tuesday, December 20, 2016   No comments
At the end of their trilateral meeting, the foreign ministers of Iran, Russia and Turkey issued a joint statement on agreed steps to revitalize the political process to end the Syria crisis.

Zarif, Lavrov and Cavusoglu agreed on the following topics:

1. Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their full respect for the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic as a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, non-sectarian, democratic and secular state.

2. Iran, Russia and Turkey are convinced that there is no military solution to the Syrian conflict. They recognize the essential role of the United Nations in the efforts to resolve this crisis in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2254.

The ministers also take note of the decisions made by the International Syria Support Croup (ISSG) and urge all members of the international community to cooperate in good faith in order to remove the obstacles on the way to implement the agreements contained in these documents.

3. Iran, Russia and Turkey welcome joint efforts in eastern Aleppo allowing for voluntary evacuation of civilians and organized departure of the armed opposition.

The ministers also welcome the partial evacuation of civilians from Foua, Kefraya, Zabadani and Madaya and commit to ensure the completion of the process without any interruption and in a safe and secure manner.

They express their gratitude to the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for their assistance in the conduction of the evacuation.

4. The Iranian, Russian and Turkish ministers agree on the importance of expanding ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian assistance and free movement of civilians throughout the country.

5. Iran, Russia and Turkey express their readiness to facilitate and become the guarantors of the prospective agreement being negotiated between the Syrian government and the opposition. They invite all other countries with the influence on the situation on the ground to do the same.

6. They strongly believe that this agreement will be instrumental to create the necessary momentum for the resumption of the political process in Syria in accordance with the Security Council resolution 2254.

7. Zarif, Lavrov and Cavusoglu take note of the kind offer of the president of Kazakhstan to host relevant meetings in Astana.

8. Iran, Russia and Turkey reiterate their determination to fight jointly against Daesh and al-Nusra terrorists and to separate them from armed opposition groups.

______________________

The News Conference:
________________


Monday, April 11, 2016

If U.S. Intervention in Libya is Obama's "Worst Mistake", allowing U.S. allies, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, to intervene in Syria ought to be his second "worst mistake

    Monday, April 11, 2016   No comments
Qatar's Hands in the Destruction of Syria
ISR comment: If U.S. Intervention in Libya is Obama's "Worst Mistake", allowing U.S. allies, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, to intervene in Syria ought to be his second "worst mistake.
...
In his first interview on Fox News Sunday since becoming president, Barack Obama admitted that "failing to plan for, the day after" the U.S. intervention in Libya was the worst mistake of his presidency.

Obama mentioned the same failure two weeks ago in a BBC interview. "That's a lesson I now apply when we're asked to intervene militarily," Obama said. "Do we have a plan for the day after?"

That ought to be a shocking statement. After all, U.S. history is littered with interventions that failed in their aftermath.
The lootings in post-invasion Iraq, the bloody campaign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the large-scale humanitarian disaster that remains North Korea are just a handful of examples of the consequences of U.S. interventions that any U.S. policy maker ought to be expected to know, let alone the U.S. president.

Obama, of course, is likely wrong. It was not just a lack of adequate post-intervention planning that turned Libya into a failing state and hotbed for radical Islamist terrorist groups—the U.S.-led intervention itself did that. It's hard to imagine what kind of planning, short of installing a dictatorial puppet regime, would've prevented the power vacuum in which subsequent instability has thrived.

The lesson of Iraq should have been sufficient. Although the U.S. failed to plan for the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, even when the U.S. started getting serious about "nation building" in Iraq that couldn't be a guarantee of success. The perceived intelligence, or lack thereof, of George W. Bush and members of his administration could not alone account for the failure in Iraq. After all, the Obama administration's military "surge" in Afghanistan, which was coupled with a "political" surge of State Department bureaucrats, did not have better results in that country. source...


Sunday, April 03, 2016

#IslamicsocietiesReview: #Erdogan Says Obama Lied and claims that the press is free in Turkey

    Sunday, April 03, 2016   No comments
 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said he took offence at US President Barack Obama slamming eroding press freedoms in Turkey, expressing sadness that the comments were made behind his back.

"I am saddened that these kinds of comments have been made in my absence," Erdogan told Turkish reporters in Washington as he rounded off a trip to the United States. "These issues did not come onto the agenda in our talks with Mr Obama."

"He did not talk to me about this kind of thing. In our previous telephone conversations we talked about other more useful things than press freedom," the Hurriyet daily and other newspapers quoted him as saying. source

Saturday, April 02, 2016

While Obama calls Erdogan's treatment of journalists 'very troubling', his body guards attacked journalists calling one "PKK whore"

    Saturday, April 02, 2016   No comments
  Obama: Erdogan treatment of journalists 'very troubling'
President Obama on Friday called out Turkish President Recep Erdogan, saying his policies toward journalists have been "troubling."

During a press conference following the Nuclear Security Summit, Obama was asked if he believed Erdogan is an authoritarian.

“I have expressed this to him directly so it’s no secret, that there are some trends within Turkey that I have been troubled with,” Obama said.

“I am a strong believer in freedom of the press. I’m a strong believer in freedom of religion. I’m a strong believer in rule of law and democracy," he continued. "There is no doubt that President Erdogan has been repeatedly elected through a democratic process, but I think the approach that they’ve been taking towards the press is one that could lead Turkey down a path that would be very troubling.”

On Thursday, a policy discussion featuring the Turkish president at the Brookings Institute was overshadowed by clashes between his security detail and protesters. His bodyguards also reportedly kicked out a Turkish journalist who has been critical of him.  source


The absence of a presidential meeting on Erdogan's trip to the US capital had been glaring. Although there was a statement that the two leaders met, still the lack of media coverage of such meeting and Obama's refusal to schedule a meeting ahead of time spoke loudly about how troubled Obama is with Erdogan's behavior. 

Erdogan's violence against journalists and and regression of the media was on display in DC as well. Erdogan's body guard "aimed a chest-high kick at an American reporter attempting to film the harassment of a Turkish opposition reporter, and another called a female foreign policy scholar a "PKK whore."  Source

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Jordan's king accuses Turkey of sending terrorists to Europe; Turkey is deliberately 'unleashing' Isis terrorists into Europe, says Jordan's King Abdullah

    Sunday, March 27, 2016   No comments
Turkey is exporting Isis-linked terrorists to Europe, according to King Abdullah of Jordan.

The monarch's remarks came in a meeting with members of the US Congress, in which he said that Islamist militants were being "manufactured in Turkey" and "unleashed" into Europe.

He also used the debriefing, held after a cancelled rendezvous with US President Barack Obama, to remind the US politicians of Turkey's alleged complicity in buying Isis oil....

King Abdullah of Jordan accused Turkey of exporting terrorists to Europe at a top level meeting with senior US politicians in January.

The king said Europe’s biggest refugee crisis was not an accident, and neither was the presence of terrorists among them: “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”

Asked by one of the congressmen present whether the Islamic State group was exporting oil to Turkey, Abdullah replied: ”Absolutely.”

Abdullah made his remarks during a wide-ranging debriefing to Congress on 11 January, the day a meeting with the US president, Barack Obama, was cancelled.

The White House was forced to deny that Obama snubbed one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East, attributing the cancellation to "scheduling conflicts," although Obama and Abdullah met briefly at Andrews Air Force Base a day later.

Present at the meeting in Congress were the chairmen and members of the Senate Intelligence, Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, including Senators John McCain and Bob Corker, and Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, the Senate Majority and Minority leaders respectively.  ...

Friday, March 11, 2016

#IslamicSocietiesReview: Obama: "Saudis heavily funded Wahhabist madrassas, seminaries that teach the fundamentalist version of Islam favored by the Saudi ruling family"

    Friday, March 11, 2016   No comments
...
In private encounters with other world leaders, Obama has argued that there will be no comprehensive solution to Islamist terrorism until Islam reconciles itself to modernity and undergoes some of the reforms that have changed Christianity.

Though he has argued, controversially, that the Middle East’s conflicts “date back millennia,” he also believes that the intensified Muslim fury of recent years was encouraged by countries considered friends of the U.S. In a meeting during apec with Malcolm Turnbull, the new prime minister of Australia, Obama described how he has watched Indonesia gradually move from a relaxed, syncretistic Islam to a more fundamentalist, unforgiving interpretation; large numbers of Indonesian women, he observed, have now adopted the hijab, the Muslim head covering.

Why, Turnbull asked, was this happening?

Because, Obama answered, the Saudis and other Gulf Arabs have funneled money, and large numbers of imams and teachers, into the country. In the 1990s, the Saudis heavily funded Wahhabist madrassas, seminaries that teach the fundamentalist version of Islam favored by the Saudi ruling family, Obama told Turnbull. Today, Islam in Indonesia is much more Arab in orientation than it was when he lived there, he said.

“Aren’t the Saudis your friends?,” Turnbull asked.


Obama smiled. “It’s complicated,” he said.

Obama’s patience with Saudi Arabia has always been limited. In his first foreign-policy commentary of note, that 2002 speech at the antiwar rally in Chicago, he said, “You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East—the Saudis and the Egyptians—stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality.” In the White House these days, one occasionally hears Obama’s National Security Council officials pointedly reminding visitors that the large majority of 9/11 hijackers were not Iranian, but Saudi—and Obama himself rails against Saudi Arabia’s state-sanctioned misogyny, arguing in private that “a country cannot function in the modern world when it is repressing half of its population.” In meetings with foreign leaders, Obama has said, “You can gauge the success of a society by how it treats its women.”

His frustration with the Saudis informs his analysis of Middle Eastern power politics. At one point I observed to him that he is less likely than previous presidents to axiomatically side with Saudi Arabia in its dispute with its archrival, Iran. He didn’t disagree.

“Iran, since 1979, has been an enemy of the United States, and has engaged in state-sponsored terrorism, is a genuine threat to Israel and many of our allies, and engages in all kinds of destructive behavior,” the president said. “And my view has never been that we should throw our traditional allies”—the Saudis—“overboard in favor of Iran.”

But he went on to say that the Saudis need to “share” the Middle East with their Iranian foes. “The competition between the Saudis and the Iranians—which has helped to feed proxy wars and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Yemen—requires us to say to our friends as well as to the Iranians that they need to find an effective way to share the neighborhood and institute some sort of cold peace,” he said. “An approach that said to our friends ‘You are right, Iran is the source of all problems, and we will support you in dealing with Iran’ would essentially mean that as these sectarian conflicts continue to rage and our Gulf partners, our traditional friends, do not have the ability to put out the flames on their own or decisively win on their own, and would mean that we have to start coming in and using our military power to settle scores. And that would be in the interest neither of the United States nor of the Middle East.”

One of the most destructive forces in the Middle East, Obama believes, is tribalism—a force no president can neutralize. Tribalism, made manifest in the reversion to sect, creed, clan, and village by the desperate citizens of failing states, is the source of much of the Muslim Middle East’s problems, and it is another source of his fatalism. Obama has deep respect for the destructive resilience of tribalism—part of his memoir, Dreams From My Father, concerns the way in which tribalism in post-colonial Kenya helped ruin his father’s life—which goes some distance in explaining why he is so fastidious about avoiding entanglements in tribal conflicts.

“It is literally in my DNA to be suspicious of tribalism,” he told me. “I understand the tribal impulse, and acknowledge the power of tribal division. I’ve been navigating tribal divisions my whole life. In the end, it’s the source of a lot of destructive acts.”

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Majoritarianism-driven democracy and the rise of authoritarianism in Turkey

    Sunday, March 06, 2016   No comments
Turkey has become a rogue state - and even Erdogan must face up to the fact

Under the AKP government, in power since 2002, Turkey risks not only being regarded as a rogue state but its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also risks being branded as a rogue president. Erdogan -  who is already known to meddle with the rule of law, the size of families, young people’s sex lives, smoking, drinking alcohol, art and architecture - has this time excelled himself.

The Turkish Constitutional Court ruled that to hold two journalists in pre-trial detention for 92 days because of their coverage of a covert shipment of weapons to Syrian insurgents was a violation of their rights, and also of their freedom of expression and of the freedom of the press.

When the Turkish secular daily Cumhuriyet last May published video footage of trucks belonging to the Turkish intelligence organisation MIT and their contents, Erdogan vowed that those responsible for the story would “pay a heavy price” and filed a lawsuit against them.The two journalists were released (they will still stand trial for charges that include espionage and seeking to overthrow the government), but Erdogan stated he would neither abide by, nor respect, the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Saudi Arabia is no state at all: Preparing for its Collapse

    Thursday, February 18, 2016   No comments
The Saudi ruling elite is operating something like a sophisticated criminal enterprise
For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally “moderate.” So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable.

But is it?

In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or as an entity so corrupt as to resemble a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization. Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S. decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom... read more, see

source: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/02/saudi-arabia-collapse/463212/

#IslamicSocietiesReview : Turkey blames Kurdish militants for Ankara bombing

    Thursday, February 18, 2016   No comments
As it has done in the past, whenever terrorists attack civilians inside Turkey, the Turkish government used the Ankara bombing to launch fresh strikes against Kurds. It has done so in the past even after instances when ISIL (Daesh) has carried out (and took credit for) the attacks. This time, too, AKP leaders were quick to blame the Kurds of Syria. Even before the investigation concluded, the Turkish government accused "Syrians" to justify its campaign against Kurds in Iraq and Syria. This practice could undercut support for their cause since the Turkish government could be perceived as leveraging terrorism for geopolitical aims. Turkey's reluctance to fight ISIL and shut down the flow of fighters and weapons into Syria adds to the volatility of the region and will add risks to Turkey's security.
...
Turkey blames Kurdish militants for Ankara bomb, vows response in Syria and Iraq

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed a Syrian Kurdish militia fighter working with Kurdish militants inside Turkey for a suicide car bombing that killed 28 people in the capital Ankara, and he vowed retaliation in both Syria and Iraq.

A car laden with explosives detonated next to military buses as they waited at traffic lights near Turkey's armed forces' headquarters, parliament and government buildings in the administrative heart of Ankara late on Wednesday.

Davutoglu said the attack was clear evidence that the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia that has been supported by the United States in the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, was a terrorist organization and that Turkey, a NATO member, expected cooperation from its allies in combating the group. 
Source

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