Posts Tagged ‘Islam’

On Monday,Barack Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Their main point of discussion was Iran’s nuclear program. Obama, while still pushing for a diplomatic solution to the problem, expressed a growing impatience with Iran’s recalcitrance.  Erdogan, however, maintained his view that the world could only coerce Iran through diplomatic efforts, and called criticism that his country’s close relationship with Iran isolating it away from the West “ridiculous.”

The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee passed a same-sex marriage bill Tuesday night. Heading to the floor tomorrow, the bill is not likely to pass. Regardless, this is the first time the NJ legislature passed an equal-marriage bill out of committee.

A Chicago man has been charged with “conspiracy to murder and maim in a foreign country” because of his involvement in last year’s terrorist attack on Mumbai. David Coleman Headley, from Chicago, went to India to do recon for Laskkar-e-Taiba He, along with former military man Abdur Rehman, are also connected to a plot to bomb the Danish newspaper that ran controversial cartoons negatively depicting Islam. Headley has, fortunately, begun to cooperate with the FBI in their investigation. Chicago business man Tahawwur Rana has also been charged.

It is getting harder and harder to separate truth from hype on the border of Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Iranian news source Alalam claims that Houthi rebels have pushed Saudi away from the Sa’ada, the Yemeni province where Saudi and Yemeni forced are carrying out“Operation Scorched Earth.” The BBC, however, reports that Yemeni commanders have announced that they will have the city of Sa’ada under their control by the end of today. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate has passed a non-binding resolution on the conflict, calling for the global community “to use all appropriate measures to assist the people of Yemen to prevent Yemen from becoming a failed state.”

In an address to an audience of families of those killed during the 1980’s war against Iraq, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahjmadinejad claimed to have documented proof that the U.S. is trying to stop the coming of the Mahdi, the Imam that Muslims believe will save man-kind. “They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule.”  He also said that the West was caught in a quagmire in Afghanistan and asked – “Is there not one sane person in your country to tell you these things?”

Russia and India have agreed to work more closely on nuclear power in a round of discussions to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Of the total number of crimes with filed complaints, 15% to 20% are committed by police officers, particularly those involving most violence such as homicide and kidnapping” said the Interior minister during the program “Aló, Presidente” anchored by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

In a renewed effort to revive nuclear disarmament talks, President Barack Obama has sent veteran diplomat Stephen Bosworth to North Korea to meet with high level North Korean officials.  “The main question is whether Bosworth will meet with Chairman Kim Jong Il,” said Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Seoul’s Dongguk University. “Such a meeting would demonstrate that both the U.S. and North Korea intend to resolve the nuclear issue.”

Through French President Nikolas Sarkozy, Syria has informed Israel that it is ready to return to peace talks without the precondition that Israel pull completely out of the Golan Heights. Talks may resume with a mediator, the question is who. Israel would like to continue discussion through Sarkozy, but Syrians prefer Turkey. To that, Netanyahu responded that an “honest broker” is needed, and he is “not certain” the Turks fit the bill given their behavior since Israel’s war in Gaza nearly a year ago.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said Monday “the time has come” for the government to make a decision on the fate of the Futenma military facility in Okinawa Prefecture and convey it to the United States, but he wouldn’t say what it will be or precisely when it will be.

Google on Tuesday unveiled a new approach to presenting news online by topic, developed with The New York Times and The Washington Post, and said that if the experiment was successful, it would be made available to all publishers.

Also on Tuesday, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson declared greenhouse gas a threat to human health. This “endangerment finding” could lead to the modification of power plants, factories, refineries, and automobiles with new technologies, and caused an almost immediate jump in solar energy holdings & drop in crude oil.

Carbon dioxide output from the U.S. energy sector has already fallen half as much as needed to meet the 2020 emissions reduction target the Obama administration took to the Copenhagen climate-change summit.  Falling U.S. emissions are the result of the “weak economy,” which grew at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the third quarter after shrinking for a year, and a cleaner fuel mix in the electricity sector, according to a new report.

Many have come to see the conflict between the Iranian financed Houthis of northwest Yemen and a combination of Yemeni and Saudi forces as a proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran. This week, major Iranian news network Al-Alam blacked out, as its satellites — Saudi-based Arabsat and Cairo-based Nilsat — dropped it without prior notice. If the proxy war analysis is true, the battle in Yemen is part of a greater pan-Islamic conflict and we are seeing the fall-out in frosty relations. Some, however, don’t buy the hype, arguing that the situation is more complex than that.

Yemen’s government has been fighting the Houthis, a Shia minority in Sunni Yemen, since 2004, with an escalation of the conflict taking place this summer in an engagement known as “Operation Scorched Earth.” Recently, Saudi forces have joined the battle because of alleged Houthi incursions across the border into their territory. Now the world is watching the conflict. Reports from the battlefield indicate that the Saudis are creating a six-mile buffer zone around their border, despite heavy Houthi fire power. “They have secret power, some kind of magic,” said one refugee. “I mean, those guys are very strong. God knows what they have. They scared even the Saudi soldiers.” Reports have also revealed that the Houthis have Pakistanis fighting in their ranks.

Meanwhile, in Iran and Saudi Arabia accusations and condemnations abound.Iranian cooperation with Huthi rebels in Yemen is a collusion for sin and aggression, “ said Saudi Cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh. 40 more clerics signed a statement saying that Iran “destabilizes Muslim nations by implanting, financing and arming its agents to spread” Shiism. In Iran, 250 legislators signed a statement condemning the killing of Muslims in Yemen by Saudi forces. Dialogue to normalize relations looks like an impossibility, as Yemeni government officials have refused to meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

Foreign Policy magazine, however, argues that the issue is more complex than simple Sunni vs. Shia. The Houthis are of the Zaidi sect of Shia Islam and do not ascribe to the believes of traditional Twelver Iranian Shia Islam. Thus, the Houthi uprising is a local affair, a domestic Yemeni conflict blown out of proportion by meddling, self-interested outside forces.

Saudi intellectual and expert on Islamic movements Mashari Al-Zaydi disagrees. He argues that the Houthis have, in fact, hijacked the Zaidi sect. He sites manuscripts written by Hussein Badreddin al-Huthi, a radical Houthi leader killed in 2004, as proof. Al-Huthi believed that Zaidi relations with Sunni Muslims were foolish, as their sect had been defeated throughout history for their false beliefs. He goes on to praise Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini as a great leader who could build a great nation.

Yemen is a partner in the United States’ “War on Terror,” and Saudi Arabia is a major producer of oil. Those facts alone are enough to solidify the world’s interest in this struggle as it is. Once explanations on the Houthi fight are clearer — perhaps at the conflict’s end — the world will be better informed on where Islam will be as a whole.