Daily Archives: December 6, 2005

Madeleine Albright interesting theory


Madeleine Albright on Newsweek

NEWSWEEK: Is there a conflict between key democratic rights—particularly in the area of women’s rights—and the cultural dictates of Islam?
Madeleine Albright: Islam itself and the Qur’an are not actually antiwoman. [The Prophet] Mohammed was married to a businesswoman. It is more the culture of particular Arab countries and not Islam. And I think that what we all have to do is make clear that women’s rights do not undermine anybody’s system. It’s a matter of empowering women, so that societies are actually more stable, not less stable.

Hmm, yes of course. That is why, even in democratic societies, there are imams that have condemned women who use parfum, that says that women who do not use hijab are asking to be raped, or have written books telling husbands thow to hit a women without leaving sings., (that was condemned to prison but afterwards conmutted to ¡¡¡taking lessons on Spanish Constitution!!!). People who says this thing, for example. This article is also useful. And of course this is to see what are the women’s due rights in Koram verses (note: it does not says “the equal rights)..

How does the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, as well as recent allegations that top military leadership sanctioned the use of torture in interrogations, affect the United States’ credibility on human rights issues in Arab countries?
It’s hurt U.S. credibility beyond measure. It has lost us the moral high ground, and I am very troubled by it. The only way to restore our credibility is for there to be accountability of those who had something to do with it—not just lower-level military. I was at an event recently where somebody said, “Isn’t it great that the Senate voted 99-0 against torture?” and I said, “Isn’t it amazing that we actually have to have a vote like that?”

Mmm, the difference is that in Saddam’s regime the torture was so normal and not illegal. And in USA is not normal and illegal really.

The report states that “democracy cannot be imposed from the outside,” and that “sudden, traumatic change is neither necessary nor desirable.” How does this apply to Iraq?
Imposing democracy is an oxymoron. You have to be there in order to assist the process, but not at the point of a gun. I think it has misrepresented to a lot of people about how democracy comes about. I’m chairman of the board of the National Democratic Institute, and we work very hard on what I call the nuts and bolts of helping people with democracy. That’s very different from invading a country. And I think it has hurt the process immeasurably, because it’s now equating democracy with occupation.

What will it take for Iraq to make the next step from holding basic elections to a full-fledged independent democratic state?
It’s very hard for people to exercise their democratic rights anywhere when they are terrified and there are suicide bombings and a general sense of chaos. Also, when the economic situation is so dire. So everything goes together. There has to be an improvement in the security situation, the reconstruction efforts have to be such that they provide people with jobs and [a] sense of the future and then democracy can flourish. While people did turn out to vote, which I think is quite remarkable, it’s very difficult when the situation in the security arena is so tenuous.

Hmm, amazing. My fellow readers: if you read this study, one of the things that Spaniards do not forget about USA (and in which they base their antiamericanism) is the support that USA gave Franco. Afterwards the so-called peaceful guys, just critizise America for doing in Iraq what they think USA should have make in Spain. The question is: Will some people be at least, coherent for once?

One of the key components of a democracy is a free press, but some Arabic-language media outlets have spread corrosive propaganda against the United States. What can be done here without limiting the free press?
It’s hard for us to censor them if we’re talking about the need for free press. There has to be the development of other avenues that would allow the people in those countries to get alternative views. Also, Al-Jazeera is opening up in the United States, and I think it doesn’t hurt if Americans go on Al-Jazeera so that we can tell our story. We have to make clear that a great deal of it is distortion.

Of course, they are going to hear it and are going to say “What do the Koram says? puaggg, this is just “World of Arrogance’s propaganda”. I hope they will, but really I can not believe it. If a country like Turkey that has being for over one century a laic country, nowadays does not respect even the press (i.e.: this and this and this), it is going to be something difficult for people in countries like Yemen to be pro-American.

Democracy seems impossible if the majority of a given population does not possess at least basic literacy. What did the task force recommend to improve education in Arab countries?
We have said that the Arab educational systems have generally done an inadequate job of preparing students for life in a global economy. Washington can’t all of a sudden start teaching Arabs. On the other hand, the U.S. government could have partnerships with Arab, American, European and Asian educational institutions and foundations and help in terms of expanding English-language instruction and promoting scholarships.
Yes, of course. But what about the benefits from the oil industry? How are they used? Why Muslim millionaires, instead of focusing in giving their citizens culture, education and a good life quality are more interested in jihad (this i.e or this) or in a luxurious way of life (this or this) ? And what to say about the fundings and the way they are invested? Now, we can let them alone with their own fundings to invest in jihad, also.

The report indicated that democracy can “diminish the appeal of extremism and terrorism.” But isn’t it possible that many Arab voters would choose a theocracy with strict limits on what we would classify as “personal freedoms.”
We don’t know, that’s part of the issue. If you believe that people want to choose the government that will represent them the best, you have to give them that opportunity. But that’s the red herring that’s put out there. We do not think the status quo in the Arab world is working. So do we think that democracy is worth supporting? Clearly there are issues, and potentially short-term dislocations, but the way that the situation has evolved now, it’s not stable at all. Therefore, we came out with the idea that being in support of democracy was something that was in our interest, and obviously in theirs.

MMM, what about Turkey?

The report says that “the U.S. has done a poor job of explaining its policies in the region and spreading its message about democracy and reform.” In September, President Bush sent Karen Hughes, the recently appointed under secretary of State for public diplomacy, on a listening tour of several Muslim countries. What was she able to accomplish, and what do you think should be the next step?
It was clearly a very first voyage of hers into this arena, but it didn’t strike me as a particularly great success. I think it’s very important that this post has been filled with somebody of such high rank and visibility, but it’s a hard job, and you have to go into societies and have some sensitivity for the various issues.

No, Clinton and your Administration did it better, did you? (i.e. this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this, to name some of your really good manners treating the “islamic-peaceful-guys”.

What steps can Washington take toward establishing a peace in the region that both the Israelis and Palestinians can live with?
First of all, the Israeli-Palestinian issue cannot be blamed for everything. What can be done is exactly what Secretary [of State Condoleezza] Rice has finally done, which is to be in the region and spend time with both sides in order to hammer out agreements. The U.S. has to be actively involved in this. But I think it is wrong for anybody to blame everything on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. It’s not at the base of every problem throughout the whole region.

Well, that is true. I admit that.

What is the task force recommendation for U.S. policy regarding Arab states—such as Dubai in the United Arab Emirates or Morocco—that are not democracies but are nonetheless, politically stable and relatively free.
Even in those countries, we spoke about the importance of a rule of law, the importance of having political, economic and social change and to keep moving the process forward. Education in those countries is very important, as well as the ability to recognize different views and to have a freer press.

Relatively free? I do not know about Duabi or UAE but Morocco “Relatively free”? Who is this interviewer? Mohamed VIth? Just see here or here for freedom of expression, here for freedomof reunion, here or here or here for tortures.

Certain Islamist groups such as Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon are in fact political parties and do provide important services to the people such as food assistance and education. Can these groups be integrated into the legitimate political arena even though they have been involved in terrorist acts in the past and are currently classified by the United States as terrorist organizations?

We can’t have terrorist organizations participating, but if there are some Islamist organizations that can give up the use of force and follow the rules, then I think that it’s useful to include them in the political process. We should not allow Middle Eastern leaders to use national security as an excuse to suppress nonviolent organizations. And we should support the political participation of any group or party that is committed to abide by the rules and norms of the democratic process.

How sweet. Hizbollah: mm, yeah very peaceful. Hamas, just the same. Like Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, eih? Their project can be read here.

What can the international community do to stimulate economic development in Arab nations given that corruption and isolation have been deterrents to foreign investment in the past?
This is where the whole issue of rule of law is so important. If countries can meet certain criteria then they can be a part of the World Trade Organization, which then provides a set of rules around which everybody has to operate. Nobody is saying any of this is easy, but I think it is important that many of these Arab nations become part of this global economy. We depend on some of them for oil, and these are potential markets, as well, if there is proper investment that then creates jobs, which takes care of the problem of people being disaffected or unemployed.

Hmm, now I make a question: depending on oil is not the real cause of it? Arab multibillionaires think they can rule the world with it. And some fool and dangerous “believers-in-the-religion-of-peace” too.

Is democracy in conflict with the United States’ best interests in Arab countries? What stance should the U.S. take toward supporting opposition leaders such as Ayman Nour in Egypt?
If we think that stability is in America’s best interest and so we are afraid to think about changes in government, then in the long run, there is no stability. There is nothing less stable then a long[-serving] authoritarian government. That doesn’t mean that the U.S. should go out and support particular political figures. Some of the political figures might not even want it given our reputation at the moment, but I think that it is important to support a political process. I don’t think Americans—either as NGOs or even in the government—should be afraid to meet with opposition figures. It doesn’t mean that they are supporting them—they are supporting a process. I’ve been in discussions about what is it that really is the essence of democracy, and frankly it isn’t elections. It is the existence of an opposition party, which means that there is accountability by the ruling party, and always the possibility of the opposition party getting in.

Oh yeah, you have been even with fellows of Al-Qaeda, as the photos of one link above this post shows. I mean, it’s true that understanding comes from listening to other people’s views. But I do not think that people that killed themselves by killing others, just intending to cause the most harmful consequences and their hooligangs-supporters, are good people to deal with.

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An study about Jordan bombings

Summary:The hotel bombings in Jordan on 9 November underlined the pro-Western kingdom’s vulnerability to terrorist attack. But the bombers miscalculated if they hoped that the atrocity would undermine King Abdullah’s regime. United in revulsion at the carnage, Jordanians rallied around their king. The terrorist threat to Jordan is not new, and such attacks will not divert King Abdullah from his underlying policies. He has given priority to an IMF-directed economic reform programme, placing in abeyance progress towards democratisation. As yet, few tangible results have been achieved, other than a widening gulf between the rich and the poor. A failure to bridge this wealth gap could prove a much greater threat to Jordan’s stability than terrorism.

Analysis: The terrorist bombings of three hotels in Amman in November 2005, in which some 60 people died, came as no great surprise to the Jordanian authorities. The question had always been when, not if. ‘I’ll be quite honest with you. We’re in a state of war’, King Abdullah warned in mid-2004. ‘I hate to say it, but we’re picking up terrorist groups [at a rate of] one every two weeks’. The threat, he predicted, would ‘probably be with us at least for the next couple of years’.[1]

As a US- and UK-allied state that has made peace with Israel and has supported, albeit discretely, the Western interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Jordan is a tempting target for the militants. The problem dates back to the early 1990s when an estimated one thousand Jordanians who had fought against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan returned home. They included Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of the al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq, which claimed responsibility for the Amman bombings. The years since have been punctuated by actual or attempted terrorist attacks. Prior to the Amman bombings, the latest incident had been in August this year, when Islamist militants thought to be linked to al-Zarqawi fired three Katyusha rockets from the outskirts of the southern port town of Aqaba. One narrowly missed a US warship but killed a Jordanian soldier on the quayside. The second landed near a military hospital while the third was fired into the nearly Israeli town of Eilat, causing minimal damage.

Devastating though the Amman bombings were, however, they posed no threat to the regime’s stability. In the following days Jordanians took to the streets in their thousands to express their revulsion at the atrocity and to declare their support for the monarchy. If the terrorists’ intention was to destabilise Jordan, they manifestly failed: politically, the attack backfired spectacularly, prompting a closing of ranks between Jordanians and their king.

To read the rest click here.

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Is this Islamic feminism?

The women blew themselves up in a classroom filled with students, the statement from Task Force Baghdad said. No U.S. forces were killed or wounded in the attack, it added.

U.S. forces rushed to the scene to provide assistance, the statement said.

Iraqi police said one bomb exploded in a cafeteria, while the other detonated during roll call. Police Lt. Ali Mi’tab said the women were probably students at the academy, which is why they were not searched.

Five other female police officers were among the dead, he added.

Iraqi insurgents have concentrated their attacks against Iraqi security forces. Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest against Iraqi forces since Feb. 28, when a suicide car bomber attacked mostly Shiite police and National Guard recruits in Hillah, killing 125.

On Monday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged that the insurgency has been stronger than anticipated, but he also said the news media have focused on the war’s growing body count rather than progress that has been achieved.

“To be responsible, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks,” Rumsfeld said in remarks at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Also Monday, masked gunmen grabbed a French engineer off the streets of Baghdad, the latest in a spate of kidnappings of Westerners that coincides with Saddam Hussein‘s trial and the run-up to parliamentary elections.

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IS INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM WHAT WE THOUGHT IT WAS? AN EMPIRICAL STUDY OF THE GLOBAL NEOSALAFIST JIHAD IN 2004 (WP)

Current international terrorism is often characterised as a particularly new phenomenon. This is mainly because of the highly lethal and indiscriminate nature of its bombings, the routine involvement of suicide terrorists indoctrinated by Islamic fundamentalism and its tendency to focus on Western targets, especially US citizens and interests. It is true that a certain combination of the features considered typical of international terrorism, and even proclaimed by its instigators and militants, is usual in the most notorious attacks to have taken place in recent years. However, the fact is that this global and religiously-inspired violence, more specifically neosalafist in its ideological orientation, has resulted in a lower-than-expected mortality rate, far more conventional procedures than commonly believed and victimisation patterns that are also different from those hitherto taken for granted. An empirical study of its main actors, scenarios, consequences and targets during the year 2004 indicates that international terrorism is to a greater extent a paradigm of conflicts inside the Islamic world than an expression of a clash between civilisations.

Table 1. Acts of international terrorism in 2004, according to groups and organisations

Groups and organizations

Frequency

Percentage

Taliban

73

35.1

Tawhid wal Jihad

30

14.4

Islamic Army in Iraq

12

5.8

Ansar al Sunna

11

5.3

Al Qaeda

10

4.8

Lashkar e Tayiba

10

4.8

Tanzim Qa’idat al Jihad fi Bilad al Rafidayn

10

4.8

Riyadus Salikhin Battalion of Chechen Martyrs

9

4.3

Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat

6

2.9

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Penninsula

5

2.4

Abu Sayyaf

4

1.9

Jaish e Mohammed

4

1.9

Harakat ul Mudjaheedin

3

1.4

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan

3

1.4

Lashkar e Jangvi

3

1.4

Abu Hafs al Masri Brigades

2

1.0

Yemaa Islamiya

2

1.0

Al Haramain Brigades

1

0.5

Other groups and organizations

10

4.9

Total

208

(100)

Table 2. Acts of international terrorism in 2004, according to countries and geopolitical regions

Countries

Frequency

Percentage

Afghanistan

75

36.1

Iraq

64

30.7

India

15

7.2

Saudi Arabia

13

6.3

Pakistan

10

4.8

Russia

9

4.3

Algeria

6

2.9

The Philippines

5

2.4

Spain

3

1.4

Uzbekistan

3

1.4

Turkey

2

1.0

Egypt

1

0.5

Indonesia

1

0.5

Syria

1

0.5

Total

208

(100)

Geopolitical regions

Central and Southern Asia

103

49.5

Middle East and Gulf

81

38.9

Eastern Europe

9

4.3

Maghreb

6

2.9

South-East Asia

6

2.9

Western Europe

3

1.5

Total

208

(100)

Current international terrorism is often presented as a particularly novel phenomenon: first of all, due to its high degree of deadliness and the indiscrimination with which attacks are conducted. Secondly, because of the routine involvement of suicide bombers in terrorist attacks. Finally, because of its focus on Western targets, especially US citizens and interests. Actually, the rhetoric of the leaders and followers of this international terrorism based on the global jihadist movement underlines the deadly potential of their threats, appeals for activists to carry out what they consider to be martyrdom operations and insists on an anti-Western discourse that is particularly hostile towards Jews and Christians. However, although a certain combination of these features considered to be typical of international terrorism, and also proclaimed by its instigators, is usual in the most spectacular attacks that have taken place over the last few years, such globalised violence has been evolving, as revealed by the data collected for 2004, with lower mortality rates and far more conventional procedures than expected, also with victimisation patterns that are different from those often taken for granted.

Table 3. Acts of international terrorism in 2004, according to dead and injured

Dead

Frequency

Percentage

None

56

28.6

Between 1 and 10

107

54.6

Between 11 and 40

19

9.7

Between 41 and 99

9

4.6

Between 100 and 199

4

2.0

200 and over

1

0.5

Total

Missing data: 12

196

(100)

Injured

None

76

42.9

Between 1 and 10

64

36.2

Between 11 and 40

20

11.3

Between 41 and 99

5

2.8

Between 100 and 199

7

4.0

200 and over

5

2.8

Total

Missing data: 31

177

(100)

Table 4. Acts of international terrorism in 2004, according to procedures and modalities

Procedure

Frequency

Percentage

Bombs and explosive devices

92

45.5

Terrorist attacks with firearms

48

23.8

Kidnapping and hostage taking

41

20.3

Other procedures

21

10.4

Total

Missing data: 6

202

(100)

Modality

Without suicide terrorists

158

83.6

With suicide terrorists

31

16.4

Total

Missing data: 19

189

(100)

Table 5. Acts of international terrorism in 2004, according to target type and adscription

Type

Frequency

Percentage

Law enforcement and military

43

21.6

Government institutions and personnel

38

19.1

Economic and tourist interests

31

15.6

Private citizens and property

24

12.1

Public transports and services

16

8.0

Diplomatic targets

11

5.5

Religious bodies and figures

6

3.0

Other types of targets

30

15.1

Total

Missing data: 9

199

(100)

Adscription

Non-Western

107

60.8

Western (American)

18

10.2

Western (other nationalities)

26

14.8

Western (mixed)

4

2.3

Western and non-Western

15

8.5

Others (United Nations)

6

3.4

Total

Missing data: 32

176

(100)

Both the high frequency and the variable intensity of the attacks perpetrated during 2004 are a good example of the violent potential retained by the groups and organisations which form part of the current network of international terrorism. It is plausible to assert that al-Qaeda, the foundational nucleus and acting vanguard for the multinational and multiethnic entities involved in such globalised violence, might have been progressively weakened over the last three years, after losing its sanctuary and suffering from the consequences of a world-wide persecution. But it can also be argued that this terrorist structure appears to have adapted more easily than expected to an adverse environment. Moreover, the global neosalafist jihad it promoted has become widely extended. Acts of international terrorism are mainly perpetrated by groups and organisations having a local or regional focus but affiliated with al-Qaeda. As the data for 2004 reflect, the danger is now one of a diffuse and diversified violence executed by al-Qaeda itself, its numerous associated entities and even small self-established cells which operate in line with the former’s goals and methods.

Within Western societies, this diffuse jihadist violence manifested itself last year through deadly attacks against soft targets and there is no reason to believe the trend will change, combined perhaps with individual assassinations, as in the case of a well-known Dutch film-maker in November 2004. International terrorist activities in 2004 were congruent with the strategy designed years ago by the leaders of al-Qaeda and which consists in deploying its violence both in the Islamic world, allegedly against rulers considered by neosalafists to be apostates and tyrants, and beyond. However, despite the anti-Western rhetoric so characteristic of groups and organisations related to the global jihadist movement, the data offered in this study make it clear that international terrorism poses risks and threats to societies pertaining to different civilisations.

This article appeared in Real Instituto Elcano. I have only reproduced some of its content. The rest is here.

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