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looking beyond borders

foreign policy and global economy

Archive for the tag “Islam”

The Mullah-Military Takeover Of Pakistan

It might still be premature to read too much into former military dictator Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf talking about a political alliance with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its offshoot Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Not because these groups are officially banned in Pakistan, but because Musharraf is a largely irrelevant political entity these days. However, events of recent weeks suggest that the unlikely merger of the Musharraf-led “grand alliance of 23 political parties” with the Hafiz Saeed-led proscribed groups would perfectly symbolize the mullah-military takeover of Pakistan.

Read Here – The Diplomat

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Tehran Is Winning The War For Control Of The Middle East

Saudi Arabia appears to be on a warpath across the Middle East. The Saudi-orchestrated resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and Saudi officials’ bellicose rhetoric after the launch of a ballistic missile targeting Riyadh from Yemen, appear to herald a new period of assertiveness against Iranian interests across the Middle East.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

New Winds In Saudi Arabia

It is true that Saudi Arabia stoked the Sunni-Shia conflict in the region after the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but the jurisprudence of the intra-Islam war of the sects was dug up from the Saudi past and its embrace of Wahhabism in the 18th century. If it gives up extremism in 2017, it will have to say goodbye to all that Wahhabism has entailed.

Read Here – The Indian Express

Keeping Iran And Saudi Arabia From War

Conflicts in the Middle East, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, or Yemen, share a common factor: the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. For years, this rivalry has inflamed violence in areas already torn by war and created new battlefields where there had been relative peace before.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

The Islamic World Doesn’t Need A Reformation

Various Western intellectuals, ranging from Thomas Friedman to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, have argued over the past decades that Muslims need their own Martin Luther to save themselves from intolerance and dogmatism. The Protestant Reformation that Luther triggered exactly 500 years ago, these intellectuals suggest, can serve as a model for a potential Muslim Reformation. But is there such a connection between the Reformation in Christendom and the “reform” that is arguably needed in Islam?

Read Here – The Atlantic

Saudi Arabia’s Security Alliances

The role of a dominant actor in an informal security alliance is to offer leadership and security aid to junior parties. To fulfill its role, Saudi Arabia needs financial resources and a committed group of leaders at home who are willing to build the alliance’s security architecture and provide additional benefits—including aid and military hardware—to those who volunteer to join. And on those terms, Saudi Arabia has yet to demonstrate to its partners that it is up to the task.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

‘Arab Affairs Are Iran’s Business’

Iranians live in a troubled and unstable region. We cannot change geography, but our neighborhood was not always so stormy. Without delving too far back into history—although as an ancient peoples our memories are measured in millennia, not decades or even centuries—it’s safe to say that our region began to experience insecurity and instability when foreign, indeed completely alien powers, arrived and began interfering, argues Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Many Countries Favour Specific Religions, Officially Or Unofficially

 

More than 80 countries favour a specific religion, either as an official, government-endorsed religion or by affording one religion preferential treatment over other faiths. Islam is the most common government-endorsed faith, with 27 countries (including most in the Middle East-North Africa region) officially enshrining Islam as their state religion. By comparison, just 13 countries (including nine European nations) designate Christianity or a particular Christian denomination as their state religion. But an additional 40 governments around the globe unofficially favour a particular religion, and in most cases the preferred faith is a branch of Christianity. Indeed, Christian churches receive preferential treatment in more countries – 28 – than any other unofficial but favoured faith.

Read Here – Pew Research

Saudi Arabia Must Prepare For The Post-Petroleum Order

What’s the larger picture of Mohammed bin Salman as a reformer? The prince is trying to prepare Saudi Arabia for a post-petroleum order, in theory by unlocking competitiveness and creativity. His plan is detailed in Vision 2030. It includes reducing the number of royal family members on the government payroll. It also increases domestic tourism—based on the premises that the under-thirty generation has fewer resources to travel abroad for entertainment and tourism, and a desire to keep Saudi money within the kingdom.

Read Here – The National Interest

Iran’s ‘City Of Mullahs’ Has A Surprising Side

Before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, this city was pious and sedate… Qom became the bedrock of Iran’s theocracy and remains one of the country’s holiest places — home to 200,000 religious scholars, a destination for Shiite Muslim pilgrims and a center of Islamic thought in a country whose political system is controlled by the clerical establishment. But the city of about 1 million is no longer single-mindedly religious, and its clerics are not immune to the anxieties bubbling beneath the surface of modern Iran.

Read Here – The Los Angeles Times

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