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THINKING ALOUD: Into space in a time warp

 Razi Azmi

 There can be no competition between a Muslim culture which is frozen in time and the West which has moved light-years ahead thanks to its uninhibited pursuit of scientific knowledge. The clash of civilisations often cited in editorial comments since the appearance of Samuel Huntington’s famous book by that name is just that — a clash, not a competition

When the Soviet Union launched the world’s first satellite into space in 1957, the United States scrambled to catch up and created the National Aeronautical and Space Agency (NASA). Four years later, Yuri Gagarin of Russia became the first man to go into space.

American Alan Shepard followed him after 23 days, on May 5, 1961. The huge American investment in space research paid off and, eight years later, the US became the first country to land man on the moon.

The stiff competition between the two superpowers had crossed the frontiers of this earth as we knew it and entered space, the forbidden zone traditionally known as high heaven. The world viewed it as the contest between two systems vying for global superiority, the capitalist and communist systems.

For their part, many Muslim countries of the world continued to be client states of either the United States or the Soviet Union, seeking the economic and military support of one or the other superpower, sometimes switching sides from political, military or economic expediency, or threatening to do so to increase their bargaining power.

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Is the U.S. better off with the Middle East as it is now than as it was before 2001?

For Better or Worse?
By Victor Davis Hanson

After September 11, there were only seven sovereign countries in the Middle East that posed a real danger to the policies and, in some cases, the security of the United States—Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Ignoring the hysteria about the Sunni Triangle in Iraq, if we look at these states empirically, have they become more or less a threat in the last five years?

The Taliban in Afghanistan was actively harboring bin Laden and al Qaeda. Without their support, the mass murder on September 11 would have been difficult to pull off.

Iran was the chief sponsor of Hezbollah, which had killed more Americans than any other Islamist terror organization and was rumored to be at work on obtaining nuclear weapons.

Sudanese governrment and rebel groups agree to end war

Anna Badkhen, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, May 5, 2006

 The Sudanese government and a major rebel group signed a peace deal today to end three years of war in Darfur, which has killed at least 180,000 civilians and displaced more than 2 million in western Sudan.

Under the agreement, Khartoum agreed to demands from the Sudanese Liberation Army’s demands for power-sharing, disarming the government’s proxy militia — the notorious Janjaweed — integrating rebels into the national security force, and compensating war victims.

"The deal is peace," said government spokesman Abdulrahman Zuma before the 85-page accord was signed. "I think that the victory today is for Sudan."

However, two other rebel groups have refused to accept the agreement, and analysts warned that peace may still be far off in settling what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the United States has labeled genocide.

"One shouldn’t get overly optimistic that (the end of genocide) is the result," Roberta Cohen, an expert on Sudan and humanitarian issues at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank told The Chronicle. "It doesn’t necessarily mean (the two sides) would adhere to their word."

State Sponsors Religious Teaching

RABAT, Morocco — Fifty women have graduated as Muslim preachers, part of a concerted effort by authorities in Morocco to promote moderate Islam in a country grappling with extremism.

Another 150 men graduated Wednesday as imams, or prayer leaders. The 50 female religious guides, or morchidat, won’t lead prayers in mosques, which is reserved for men, but will be sent around the country to teach women – and, occasionally, men – about Islam.

While Moroccan officials said the appointment of female state preachers was a rare experiment in the Muslim world, others said it was unprecedented in Morocco and the majority of other Arab countries.

"Your duty … is to prevent intrusion by foreign agents trying to violate our values and traditions," Ahmed Taoufiq, minister of Islamic Affairs, told the graduates Wednesday.

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Out of Desert Poverty, a Caldron of Rage in the Sinai

MICHAEL SLACKMAN
EL ARISH, Egypt, May 6 — The Melahy tribe of northern Sinai is the poorest in the region, its members herding other people’s cattle, farming other people’s land, its very name used as a slur among local Bedouins. And so Nasser Khamis al-Melahy held great promise for his family when he left his sun-baked home here for law school in the Nile Delta.

But he never did practice law. Instead, he returned to this city on the banks of the Mediterranean and, the authorities say, helped set up an Islamist terrorist cell that has staged five suicide attacks in the Sinai, including a triple bombing in the resort town of Dahab last month.

Mr. Melahy’s turn to terrorism is one aspect of the strong undercurrent of anger and tension roiling the Middle East, where disillusionment and hostility toward national governments move many young people to adopt Islam as an identity, supplanting nationality or ethnicity. It also underscores a challenge facing many Arab countries where local customs and heritage are being abandoned by young people who instead adopt the dress, customs and behavior of conservative Islam.

Iranians aspire to overthrow mullahs

Iran NuclearFalling into the hands of the United Nations Security Council, Iranian mullahs are now trying any possibility to slowdown the decision making process to somehow pass this crisis.

On one hand the mullahs are threatening that they are now a “nuclear power” and incase of any measure by the Security Council “Iran will change its behavior.”

The mullahs’ regime tried to misuse the International May Day to divert the worker demonstrators’ aims to display support for its nuclear weapons program; a plan that the brave Iranian workers, by denouncing regimes policies, did not let succeed.

The dictator mullahs ruling in Iran had planed for some time to stage a demonstration in front of the old US embassy for a crowd to chant slogans saying, “Having nuclear energy is our right.  But the workers started playing a different tune: “staging strikes is our right.” 

Iran’s Ahmadinejad named predator of press freedom.

Agh Mahmoud

Uncle Mahmoud wants YOU to be the next
Nuclear Suicide Bomber


May 4, 2006 (Stop Fundamentalism) – Reporters without boarders named Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the new president of Iran who took office in 2005, as a predator of press freedom. 

This exclusive club maintained by the organization expanded in 2005 to include Ahmadinejad, due to making inflammatory remarks as soon as he took office, forcing many newspapers to closedown.

According to this International Watch Organization for press freedom, predators are those people in powerful positions who are attacking journalists and media outlets.

Just two weeks ago Ahmadinejad welcomed himself to the World Nuclear Club in a special ceremony.  As it seems he is busy joining clubs around the world.

Iran, charging ahead with war

Nima Sharif

Ahmadinejad hitlerApril 30, 1945 Hitler committed suicide.  One week later, May 7 and 8, Nazi Germany’s army surrendered.  And that was the final scene of the biggest war in written human history that claimed the lives of 55 million people.

Those days the Fascist state considered any discontent and opposition to the war as a betrayal.  Hitler called his expansionism, extending German’s motherland and he depicted his war as a National war aiming to get back what was taken away from Germany.  With no shame, he considered the war a defensive one. 

Ironically at the same time when German tanks were maneuvering around in Belgium getting ready to overtake France, Hitler’s party staged an anti-war demonstration in Saarbrucken.  The Nazi peace advocates chanted, “Why fight? Let’s be friends” or, “We condemn war.”

And peace demonstration was the name for the charade the mullahs’ put together in Paris just last week.  Iran’s official and unofficial embassy cadres in Paris took to the streets (about a hundred of them) to “cry for peace.” 

The demonstration was a disaster because no one showed up and those passing by left as soon as they found out what the true nature of the organizers were.

Mullahs’ double talk

Bassij

Show of force by Paramilitary Bassij Force


May 1, 2006 (Stop Fundamentalism) – According to our sources in Iran, shortly after the announcement about direct takes between Iran and the U.S. on Mullahs’ meddling in Iraqi affairs, Tehran rulers, fearful about the effect the news would have in the ranks of their Security Forces and in a desperate attempt to minimize its’ disappointing setbacks among regime allies in the Middle East, Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a classified directive to its’ embassies in Islamic nations "briefing everyone to curb misinterpretation of the concept".

Cleary this is a sharp U-turn on the part of the mullahs’ since for years they advertised against U.S "imperialism" for internal consumption. Hardly anyone has forgotten slogans at Friday prayers opposing the United States and providing ideological pretence to recruit "suicide bombers" for terrorist actions.

Iran, is waging war the only way?

Nima Sharif

MissileThere is a lot of talk and concern expressed recently in the news media about a possible war against Iran.  While the concerns are real, and I share in those concerns; there is one important aspect that should not be ignored.  It is important that in avoiding war we be careful not to fall for the ploys of an Islamic fascist dictator in Iran who is trying to use our peaceful aspirations to buy time to proceed with his own evil plans.

We live at a critical period in history.  What we choose to do can on the one hand bring peace and freedom to the whole world, including the Middle East or it can give way to the likes of another Hitler left free to do the unthinkable. Very soon we – the supporters of peace — will be forced into another war similar to World War II or even worse.

Today a fine hairline separates the realistic pursuit for peace and what would practically be a surrender to fundamentalist terrorists in Iran.

For the past 27 years, the policy of the West toward the mullahs ruling Iran has been a policy of appeasement.  It has been called a “carrot and stick” policy, which during Khatami’s reign, the former president of the theocracy in Iran, was called “Critical Dialog” by the Europeans. Of course Khatami himself used to call it the “Dialog of Civilizations.”

The policy was designed to use economical and political incentives to encourage the Iranians to come to the negotiating table where reason would hopefully prevail.