That Mecca Photo-Op
Talk about all roads lead to Mecca. This is BIG. Everyone and his neighbor is there. The Emir of Qatar, Morsi from Egypt, Gul from Turkey, Mahmoud Abbas, Hamid Karzai, Zardari from Pakistan, Marzouki from Tunisia, King Abdullah from Jordan, Ahmadinejad himself. All of the 57 member-states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – representing no less than 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide.
Arab News couldn't resist waxing poetically.http://www.arabnews.com/makkah-summit-spreads-message-global-peace What about…
"In Makkah, last night the Holy Kaaba and the Grand Mosque was bathed in bright lights. The giant Clock Tower glowed in green lights on a clear, moonless night. As the muezzin's heart-warming voice reverberated in the mountainous city at Isha, the world's leaders, sitting in the Al-Safa Palace next to the Grand Mosque, repeated Allah-o-Akbar after him."
Right. And then they got to what they do best; squabble among themselves, and suspend Syria from the OIC. Is this the idea of "the Islamic world's respected leader, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah" of how to "unify and strengthen the crisis-riven Muslim world"?
What the "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" seems to have perpetrated is a savvy, DC-style PR coup. He seated Ahmadinejad to his left and the Emir of Qatar to his right. The graphic message; this triumvirate – two Sunni powers, one Shi'ite - is deciding the future of the Middle East.
Not really. My colleague Kaveh Afrasiabi argues http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NH16Ak03.html that Tehran may have fallen into a trap; they were expecting a real effort of mediation and political dialogue instead of the meeting's priority – to suspend and even expel Syria.
Behind all the syrupy shenanigans, the fact is the House of Saud and Tehran didn't – and couldn't – possibly agree on anything; this is more like a "let's keep talking" – the Mecca version of the US-USSR red telephone. King Abdullah called for "solidarity, tolerance and moderation"; hard to see any of this in the House of Saud – and Qatar - arming runaway gangs and an array of Salafi-jihadis in Syria.
Then the OIC as a whole defends Syria's "unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity" – exactly as the House of Saud and Qatar are doing all they can to undermine all of the above. Here's the OIC as an extension of the GCC. I'm getting echoes that quite a few countries – certainly Indonesia and Malaysia, plus a few Africans – are very unhappy with the whole thing.
The Custodian also wants to set up a "center for dialogue" in Riyadh. The verdict is open whether this center will examine who's really responsible for what is now practically all-out war between Sunnis and Shi'ites. Imagine the center coming to the conclusion that the protests in Bahrain were legitimate; as legitimate as the protests in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. And as legitimate as what happened in Tahrir Square (remember Saudi horror at the time?)
OK; so at least Iran and the GCC are talking – even if practically at each other's throats. But the House of Saud agenda remains extremely tricky; it may not dream of a smashed Iran, but certainly a weakened Iran, either by years of sanctions or by a potential Israeli attack.
This show is far from over. Up next; Tehran invited King Abdullah for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit later this month. Let's see whether The House of Saud, the GCC and Iran are really interested in serious talk way beyond a photo-op. There's still no evidence the "leaders" of 1.5 billion Muslims will EVER get their act together
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by Burak Bekdil
So in the EU-candidate Turkey, a pianist should be punished for his re-tweets, but a pop-singer should be congratulated for her first-class racist hate-speech. This is contagious.
No reporter present at Mr. Ihsanoglu's campaign launch speech thought about asking him if his commitment to the "Palestinian cause" included any affirmation of the Hamas Charter, in particular a section that says, "…The stones and trees will say, 'O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.'"
Turkey is also the country where a few years earlier, a group of school teachers (yes, school teachers!) gathered in a demonstration to commemorate Hitler.
by Debalina Ghoshal
Despite Chapter VII of the UN Charter and UNSC Resolutions, it seems that North Korea will continue developing its missiles -- and eventually weaponize them with nuclear warheads.
"North Korea's ballistic and nuclear threat is very much a near-term threat. ... Steady progression in their program is not harmless." — Victor Cha, Centre for Strategic and International Studies.
On March 26, 2014, North Korea reportedly test-fired medium-range ballistic Rodong missiles -- capable of reaching Japan and U.S. military bases in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since February, South Korean officials claim that North Korea has confirmed at least 90 test-firings, among which ten were ballistic missiles.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
It is important to note that these cease-fire demands are not part of Hamas's or Islamic Jihad's overall strategy, namely to have Israel wiped off the face of the earth.
Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in the Gaza trip were under the false impression that it was all about improving living conditions for the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
To understand the true intention of Hamas and its allies, it is sufficient to follow the statements made by their leaders after the cease-fire announcement this week. To his credit, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas's leader, has never concealed Hamas's desire to destroy Israel.
Hamas and its allies see the war in the Gaza Strip as part of there strategy to destroy Israel. What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."
by Burak Bekdil
A front-page headline was particularly revealing: They (Israel) bombed a mosque in Gaza! Including the exclamation mark!
A quick internet search, if you typed "mosque bombing Shiite-Sunni," would give you 782,000 results on July 16.
Why did we not hear one single Turkish voice protest the death of 300,000 Muslims in Darfur?
Hamas's Charter is must-read fun.
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.