Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Monday, July 28, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Many of the former rebel brigades are on the government payroll as quasi-official security forces in a failed bid to bring them under control, but many are more faithful to political factions, tribes or even local commanders in a complex web of loyalties.Libya's oil resources have often been targeted by different armed groups since 2011 to pressure the government for financial or political gain. Last year a string of protests slashed oil output to less than half the usual 1.4 million barrels per day. In a rare success, a negotiated deal in April mostly ended a year-long blockade by a former rebel commander over four key oil ports, allowing the country to start slowly rebuilding production, shipping crude and earning vital oil revenue. Libya state oil company National Oil Corp (NOC) on Monday reached a deal with security guards to end a protest at eastern Brega oil port, which is expected to allow the terminal to reopen on Tuesday, a company spokesman said. Reopening Brega would allow the state-run Sirte Oil Company to start producing again and further boost Libya's output after the end to other port and oilfield protests. Late last week, NOC said production was around 555,000 barrels per day. (Reporting by Feras Bosalum and Ayman Al-Warfalli in Benghazi; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Louise Ireland and David Evans) =====
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Salman Khaled has already lived through Baghdad's sectarian disintegration; with Iraq now splintering into Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish regions, he says this time the survival of the country is at stake. "Things are really tense and it could get worse," said the 23-year-old Sunni Muslim student. "If the politicians continue as they are doing now, we are on the path to separation." When Khaled's father was shot dead by Shi'ite gunmen at the height of Baghdad's religious bloodshed seven years ago, his family took shelter in a Sunni neighborhood of the capital. They made their flight as violence forced apart communities that once mingled in the city. Today the family lives in the Adhamiya district, close to the Abu Hanifa mosque where one of Sunni Islam's most influential theologians is buried. At his home on an unpaved street, Khaled says he still feels secure in Adhamiya but he rarely goes to the rest of Baghdad where blast walls and security checkpoints hint at the fate of a fractured Iraq.Iraq's latest - and gravest - crisis erupted when mostly Sunni fighters swept through the north last month. Now the jihadist black flag flies over of most of the country's Sunni Arab territory. Kurdish forces, exploiting the chance to take another step towards independence, seized the city of Kirkuk and nearby oilfields, leaving the Shi'ite-led government controlling only the capital region and the mainly Shi'ite south. The government is trying to reverse this de facto, three-way split of the country, but its reliance on Shi'ite militia and volunteers rather than the ineffectual national army has deepened sectarian mistrust without pushing the rebels back.
Across Baghdad a Sunni living in the Shi'ite area of Maalef, cut off from the rest of the city by a checkpoint where non-residents are turned back, said life there had become unbearable for those who do not belong to the majority Shi'ite community. "The Sunnis all want separation now," said the 37-year-old electrician, who asked not to be named for his security. "Facts on the ground tell you this will be the final result. On both sides now you have extremists who don't want to get along".DIVIDED INTO THREE STATES Kurdish politician Hoshiyar Zebari, who still staunchly advocates Iraqi unity, described the new geography. "The country is divided literally into three states: the Kurdish state; the black state (under Sunni insurgents) and Baghdad," he said. Iraq’s political elite and world powers have concentrated on the formation of a new government as the best way to save the country, but such a push may come too late.
"It's probably the most serious crisis that Iraq has faced since its inception as a country," said Ali Allawi, a minister in two governments after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. "It's the first time that the territorial integrity of the state as a whole is in question." Sunni and Shi'ite Arabs have little to unite them, Allawi said, while for most Kurds, non-Arabs who were persecuted under Saddam, the idea of an Iraqi nation is even more fanciful.This could further destabilize an already tumultuous region. Neighboring Syria also faces disintegration, with most of its eastern areas under Islamist rebels for more than a year. Iraq's heritage stretches back to early civilization on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, but the modern state is a colonial fusion of the Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul that followed the empire's disintegration after World War One.
"Iraq is a failed state," said Masrour Barzani head of the Kurdish region's National Security Council. "It is a fabricated state. It has never been a state by choice by the people or the components of this country. They were forced to live together". Barzani blamed Baghdad for failing to keep Iraq united, and defended Kurdish aspirations for independence. "I don't think any rational person in the world would expect the Kurds to live and accept being partners in a country with a terrorist organization," he said, referring to Islamic State militants.BATTLE LINES ENTRENCHED The long delay in forming a government after parliamentary elections in April and the eclipse of army units last month by better disciplined and motivated Shi'ite militias have revealed the fragility of national institutions. In Samarra, 110 km (70 miles) from Baghdad and one of the most northerly cities under government control, a Reuters photographer saw Shi'ite militiamen on patrol rather than army troops. "We are better than the army because we are fighting for our beliefs," said lawmaker Hakim Zamili, who supervised deployment of the Mahdi Army's "Peace Brigades" militia around Samarra. The government's inability throughout the first half of 2014 to recapture the Sunni city of Falluja, just 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, from the Islamic State underlines how ill equipped it is to reverse far greater militant gains since then which have displaced more than a million people. If it is to have any chance of turning the tide, the government must lure minority Sunnis away from the radicals now threatening to encircle Baghdad. The Islamic State, a relatively small vanguard, has exploited Sunni disgruntlement with Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to assert itself in the predominantly Sunni regions. Eight years ago when the U.S. army faced a similar challenge from the Islamic State in Iraq - an al Qaeda group from which the Islamic State emerged - it persuaded Sunni tribal leaders to switch sides, offering millions of dollars as incentive. This time, that's not an option. Maliki, who distrusted the Sunni paramilitary forces, halted their payments years ago, leaving them embittered and unlikely to fight a second time for the central government. "Unless Maliki makes some very significant concessions to the Sunni Arabs it will be very difficult to peel them away from the Islamic State," said Robert Ford, a former senior U.S. diplomat and resident scholar at the Washington Institute. Ford, who served in Baghdad between 2004 and 2006, said the Islamic State's absolutist dogma would lead it eventually into confrontation with its Sunni allies. However, for the time being Sunni factions were united in their opposition to Maliki. Critics accuse Maliki of marginalizing Sunni and Kurdish factions during his eight years in power. Even some fellow Shi'ite politicians oppose granting him a third term although his State of Law emerged as the largest parliamentary list in the April election. WARRING STATELETS OR CONFEDERATION? A U.S. military official who served in Iraq predicted four "warring statelets" could emerge, based around Shi'ite power south of Samarra, Kurdish control in the northeast, and separate Sunni power centers on the Tigris and Euphrates. Many parts of central Iraq are mixed Sunni and Shi'ite regions, and any such partition would probably leave a million Sunnis in those areas stranded under Shi'ite control. "Iraq doesn’t fall apart easily. There is no such thing as soft partition, because these borders are not clearly defined," said Emma Sky, a British political adviser to the commander of the U.S.-led international forces in Iraq between 2007 and 2010. Maliki has urged Iraqis to resist moves towards separation, which he said would mark the disintegration of the nation, but many of his critics say he himself is a divisive force.
Partition of any type requires a horrible level of killing and ethnic cleansing. "This crisis is not about ancient hatreds, it is a massive failure of leadership. And it has been obviously a failure of Western, U.S. policies," Sky said by phone from northern Iraq. "With leadership they can pull this situation round."Sunni politicians have offered few solutions to the crisis, partly because their own influence is so limited in Sunni regions compared with the Islamic State and tribal fighters'.
The mainly Sunni Arab provinces in the west and north may be eyeing the same autonomy enjoyed by the three Kurdish provinces of the northeast, but even to start negotiations towards such a deal, which Baghdad would almost certainly block, requires "a new political mix" in the capital, Haddad said. It would also need the defeat of the Islamic State. "We've been hearing about Iraq breaking up and Iraq unraveling since 2003," he said. "But I never thought that Arab Iraq was breaking up. Today I think the prospects for a united Iraq, even if it's just Arab Iraq, are fading quickly." "One possibility is that these territories remain outside government control for a long period of time. That would lead to a sort of de facto partition," said Fanar Haddad, an academic and author on Iraq.(Additional reporting by Maggie Fick, Isra' al-Rubei'i and Ned Parker in Baghdad and Isabel Coles in Arbil; Editing by Ned Parker and David Stamp) ======= Iraq's top cleric sends subtle message to Maliki: step aside Fri, Jul 25 16:16 PM EDT image By Raheem Salman and Isra' al-Rubei'i BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's most influential Shi'ite cleric urged political leaders on Friday to refrain from clinging to their posts - an apparent reference to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has defied demands that he step aside. Speaking through an aide who delivered a sermon after Friday prayers in the holy city of Kerbala, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said leaders should show flexibility so that political deadlocks could be broken and Iraq could confront an insurgency. Maliki has come under mounting pressure since Sunni militants led by the hardline Islamic State swept across northern Iraq last month and seized vast swathes of territory, posing the biggest challenge to Maliki's Shi'ite-led government since U.S. forces withdrew in 2011. Critics say Maliki is a divisive figure whose alienation of Sunnis has fueled sectarian hatred and played into the hands of the insurgents, who have reached to within 70 km (45 miles) of the capital Baghdad. Sistani said it is time for politicians to think of Iraq's interests, not their own. "The sensitivity of this phase necessitates that all the parties concerned should have a spirit of national responsibility that requires the practice of the principle of sacrifice and self-denial and not to cling to positions and posts." Maliki, a Shi'ite, has ruled since an election in April in a caretaker capacity, dismissing demands from the Sunnis and Kurds that he step aside for a less polarizing figure. Even some Shi'ites oppose his bid for a third term. Despite pressure from the United States, the United Nations, Iran and Iraq's own Shi'ite clergy, politicians have been unable to quickly come up with an inclusive government to hold the fragmenting country together. Iraq's parliament took a step toward forming a new government on Thursday, when lawmakers elected senior Kurdish lawmaker Fouad Masoum as president. The next step, choosing a prime minister, may prove far more difficult as Maliki has shown no sign he will give up his post. Sistani's call for flexibility could hasten his departure. He is seen as a voice of reason in the deeply divided country, and has almost mythological stature to millions of followers, members of Iraq's Shi'ite majority. The 83-year-old cleric who hardly ever appears in public last month seized his most active role in politics in decades by calling on Iraqis to take up arms against the Sunni insurgency. The insurgents, who hold territory in Iraq and Syria and have declared a 'caliphate', aim to redraw the map of the Middle East and have put Iraq's survival as a unified state in jeopardy. The army virtually collapsed in the face of their lightning advance. Shi'ite militias and Kurdish peshmerga fighters have become a critical line of defense against Islamic State as the militants set their sights on the capital. U.S. military and Iraqi security officials estimate the Islamic State has at least 3,000 fighters in Iraq, rising towards 20,000 when new recruits since last month's advance are included. ISLAMIC STATE RULES Aside from military campaigns, Islamic State has also been purging the plains of northern Iraq of religious and ethnic minorities that have co-existed there for hundreds of years. Insurgents have also been stamping out any influences they deem non-Islamic in Mosul, a once diverse city of two million that fell to the militants on June 10. Eyewitnesses said Islamic State gunmen destroyed the tombs of two prophets on Friday. The destruction of the Jirjees and Sheet shrines came a day after militants blew up the Nabi Younes shrine, one of the city's most well-known and thought to be the burial site of a prophet referred to in the Koran as Younes and in the Bible as Jonah. Also on Friday, the group warned women in Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment. "The conditions imposed on her clothes and grooming were only to end the pretext of debauchery resulting from grooming and overdressing," Islamic State said in a statement. "This is not a restriction on her freedom but to prevent her from falling into humiliation and vulgarity or to be a theater for the eyes of those who are looking." A cleric in Mosul told Reuters that Islamic State gunmen had shown up at his mosque and ordered him to read their warning on loudspeakers when worshippers gather. "Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by glamour will be subject to accountability and severe punishment to protect society from harm and to maintain the necessities of religion and protect it from debauchery," Islamic State said. (Additional reporting by Maggie Fick; Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Susan Fenton) ========== Ya akhi be realistic , Saddam also had kurds , shias , turkmans in his government , but did they have any real power ? I'm not saying makliki is saddam , but he is certainly following his foot steps . How is abo ghraib any different from saddam's time ? How is the economy any different ? The political structure seems different , but the action of those who hold real power is no different than the one in saddam's time . The constitution is a joke and used only to antagonize the rest of minorities (sunna and kurds ) in iraq , but other than that it does not exist . There is ZERO accountability in Iraq with Hamoodi and his circle practically taking ownership of everything in Iraq while people live you know how . Every mulla and marjaiya Gets their few boxes of dollars every months and they go around telling people that Kurds harboring terrorists and stealing iraq's oil and sunnis are spreading terrorism and they are behind their the shias misery and people actually believe it . يا أخي والله خبصتونة بداعش ، هو جان اكو بداعش خلال 8 سنوات السابقة With peshmergas from the North and the iraqi army from the south along with sunni tribes in the middle , the so called Daash would not last more than few days . You see here , a true leadership quality plays a big rule , so what is our esteemed maliki is doing to make that happen ? 1-He is chasing kurdish tanker oils 2-imprisoning more sunnis 3-Killing prisoners 4-cutting kurdistan's budget 5-cutting salaries of government employees in sunni and kurdish areas 6-Using iranian planes to bomb sunnis cities and with every single bomb Daash and the insurgency gets stronger and they get more volunteers . 7-refusing to allow cargo planes to land in kurdistan ....and the list goes on . 8-In the mean time he has a perfect and valid excuse to keep shia region in the dark ages and point finger at sunna , kurds , KSA , Qatar , Jorden .........and the theft goes on . Ok , lets say we defeated daash tomorrow , then what ? Were we in a good place before daash ? are we going to be in a better place when daash is defeated ? didn't we defeat them in the past and drove them out and look where we are now . ============= UAE and Qatar compete as Saudi Arabia looks on The Gulf states have become the most stable and influential force in the Arab world, with the decline of the Egyptian role, the spread of turmoil and chaos in Syria and Iraq and Algeria's retreat on itself after the "black decade" of the 1990s. Because of political stability and increasing oil revenues, the Gulf states have accumulated financial wealth that has strengthened their political, economic and media influence in the region. Summary⎙ Print The United Arab Emirates and Qatar are pursuing opposing foreign policies in the Middle East that are fueling tension between the two Gulf states, as Saudi Arabia keeps its distance. Author Abdulmajeed al-BuluwiPosted July 28, 2014 Translator(s)Tyler Huffman In light of the protection offered by the United States, the Gulf states have not been overly interested in a unified security policy — with the exception of Saudi Arabia. This contributed to Gulf states rushing to use their financial surpluses to produce foreign policies independent of their "sisters" in the Gulf. Doha has emerged to play regional roles in support of movements for change in the Arab world, particularly concerning political Islamic movements. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi has emerged as a key player in the Middle East, but in the opposing role of confrontation with movements of political Islam. Financial surpluses and political stability — along with the reassurance of US support — were not only reasons for this variation in foreign policy among Gulf states, but they also sparked competition among them for influence in the Arab world. This is especially true since Washington, the guarantor of security in the Gulf, has many options in dealing with the phenomenon of political Islam. These options range from the war on terror — as is the case in the United States' dealings with al-Qaeda where Abu Dhabi has been a strong partner to building bridges of understanding — to the Turkish Justice and Development Party. In the case of the latter, Doha has been a strategic partner for the United States. Gulf-Gulf competition has become one of the main policy features in the Middle East. This competition is mainly between Abu Dhabi and Doha, which stand at opposite ends of the foreign policy spectrum. While Doha supports the Syrian revolution, Abu Dhabi expresses its reservations regarding support that it thinks strengthens the Islamists. And while Doha supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, Abu Dhabi stands in the opposing camp. The announcement of the establishment of the Muslim Council of Elders (MCE) in Abu Dhabi on July 19 is linked to this competition between the two capitals. Doha is home to the headquarters of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, while Abu Dhabi is now home to the headquarters of the MCE, headed by Abdullah Bin Bayyah and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayeb. Qaradawi had been a member of the Al-Azhar governing body, but he resigned from this position after the July 3 coup against President Mohammed Morsi, in protest of Al-Azhar's positions cooperating with the coup. Meanwhile, Bin Bayyah had been a member in the International Union of Muslim Scholars, but he resigned in September 2013. In his resignation speech, Bin Bayyah hinted that a reason for his departure involved his disagreement with the union's positions. It is no secret that positions on the Arab uprisings and their fluctuations had an impact on these mutual resignations. Given that religion is a key factor in struggles for influence in the region, religion has become an arena for the "soft conflict" that is going on between the two capitals. While Qatar has stood in support of Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood religious currents, Abu Dhabi choose to support the traditional Sunni Islam current, historically represented by Al-Azhar. This latter current calls for religious scholars to not directly engage in politics. In the context of this Emirati support, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed announced on April 28, 2013, at a meeting with the grand imam of Al-Azhar, his commitment to supporting Al-Azhar, so that it could once again play its role of spreading a rhetoric of moderation and countering extremism and fanaticism. In recent decades, Al-Azhar's role has declined with the rise of Salafist currents. It is likely that the United Arab Emirate's support to the institution of Al-Azhar and the current it represents will place Abu Dhabi in a soft confrontation with the Saudi Salafist religious establishment. The latter has benefited from the absence of Al-Azhar's role and its weakness, and spread its influence even inside Egypt. Early features of this soft confrontation have appeared in the lack of a scholar from the Saudi Salafist religious establishment in the MCE. The announcement of the establishment of the MCE was met with sharp criticism from two sides. First, it was criticized by those affiliated with the Salafist establishment, because the MCE was removed from them and marginalized them. Second, it was criticized by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, who viewed it as the "religious wing" of the military coup plot against Morsi. While the International Union of Muslim Scholars has enthusiastically supported the Arab revolutions and democratic procedures — including elections — the MCE seems more cautious toward them. The MCE warned against an adherence to democratic procedures in an environment that is not yet mature, saying this could lead to civil wars. This soft conflict between Doha and Abu Dhabi over the religious space in the Middle East is fueled by the decline in the central role played by Saudi Arabia in leading this space. This decline was due to several factors, including the communications revolution that redistributed religious power in the Islamic world, allowing for the emergence of multiple centers of influence. Furthermore, the conditions of the war on terror played a role in the decline of influence of the Saudi religious establishment and diminished its impact. The impact of these two factors was reinforced by the declining opportunities to reform this religious establishment to be more competitive. Doha and Abu Dhabi have come to represent two opposing poles in the Middle East, and their struggle for influence has moved from the field of politics to the field of religion, with Riyadh standing between them. Saudi Arabia is at times with Doha, while at other times with Abu Dhabi. Doha shares Saudi Arabia's affiliation with Salafism and the Wahhabi sect as well as its positions on Syria and Iraq, while Abu Dhabi shares Riyadh's position on Egypt and political Islam groups. The competition between Doha and Abu Dhabi continues to underpin the current rift in the Gulf, with Saudi Arabia keeping a distance. Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/saudi-caught-between-uae-qatar-feud.html#ixzz3912JWjax =========================
Friday, July 25, 2014
Standard Chartered is doing a passable impression of HSBC circa 2010. The UK-based emerging markets bank has told investors that it does not accept “media rumours” concerning the future of Chairman John Peace and Chief Executive Peter Sands. The parallels with HSBC’s succession planning four years ago – a crisis that culminated in the dual departures of chairman and CEO amid a boardroom power struggle – are worrying.
But the move makes the board look rattled, and adds to the pressure on everyone involved. Such stress can soon become unbearable for a leadership team. In 2010, HSBC dismissed reports that CEO Mike Geoghegan had threatened to resign as “nonsense” – only for him to leave soon after.
When HSBC got sucked into a public debate on its governance, the bank at least had a realistic alternative chairman/CEO team in Douglas Flint and Stuart Gulliver. Normally simultaneous change of both roles would be highly destabilising. The promotion of respected internal candidates actually calmed investor nerves.
It’s easy to see why StanChart felt the need to respond to a Financial Times report that Peace was preparing to find a replacement for Sands, which would be a share price-sensitive event. Moreover, a big regulated bank cannot cope for long with perceptions of boardroom division, hence StanChart’s comment that the board is fully behind the present chairman and CEO.
StanChart is less favourably placed. Non-executive Naguib Kheraj’s experience at Barclays and JPMorgan would make him a capable replacement chairman, but it is unclear whether he is ready to return to global banking’s frontline. The departure of former Finance Director Richard Meddings leaves no obvious candidate to replace Sands either.New setback raises pressure on StanChart top team
Standard Chartered is doing a passable impression of HSBC circa 2010. The UK-based emerging markets bank has told investors that it does not accept “media rumours” concerning the future of Chairman John Peace and Chief Executive Peter Sands. The parallels with HSBC’s succession planning four years ago – a crisis that culminated in the dual departures of chairman and CEO amid a boardroom power struggle – are worrying.
The status quo cannot endure. The next half-year results will be a critical moment. Peace needs to get on the phone to his investors in private and persuade them that he and Sands are agreed on a long-term leadership plan, whoever is to run the company. His own future depends on it.
Moreover, there is division between the board and the outside world. Some big investors have legitimate concerns about StanChart’s direction, given last month’s warning on 2014 earnings and a 20 percent share price fall in a year. They are unhappy with Sands for performance and with Peace over boardroom management. Endorsing the status quo in such a situation looks out of step.
Standard Chartered’s board said on July 23 that it was united in support of Chief Executive Peter Sands and Chairman John Peace, and said it rejected “media rumours” about their succession.
The emerging markets-focused bank said it wanted to make it absolutely clear it supported Sands and Peace in delivering the strategy. It said it had “robust and considered” succession plans for all its senior leaders, and discussed succession with shareholders on a regular basis.
The board said it would ensure orderly succession took place at the appropriate times, and only in a responsible manner consistent with full market transparency. It added that no succession planning was taking place as a result of recent investor pressure.
The Financial Times reported on July 23 that StanChart was working on a succession plan that could see Sands replaced as CEO.
StanChart shares fell 0.3 percent to 1,218 pence on the morning of July 24.
The concerns about the destruction of sacred places are not limited to them being historic and cultural sites; they include forgiveness and coexistence between different religions and confessions in Iraq. Such destruction harms the long history of coexistence among Iraqi religions. It targets the symbols and main sites which attracted and gathered all confessions and paved the path for communication and understanding, and thus, their coexistence. It also heightens intolerance and religious hatred and hostility between different confessions. This usually does not quickly fade away, and could create social divisions and demographic subdivisions on a large scale across Iraq. This could eliminate any sort of communication between the various elements of society and create severe conflicts between them. Iraq is heading toward total destruction of its historic and human heritage, which will turn it into a barren desert isolated from its time-honored cultural and religious history. This is taking place in light of chaotic circumstances involving terrorism that is on the offensive, Iraqi government ignorance, global silence and an international letdown — specifically from the United States, which completely abandoned its responsibilities toward the situation in Iraq.Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/iraq-is-destruction-shrines-abrahamic-religions.html##ixzz38bmhuSac ===== Join the discussion… − ⚑ Avatar Armando Logic • a day ago I don't know what reaction should one show towards these filth? there are no words, these barbarians did the same thing in Afghanistan with the Buddha statues, the same in Syria and now in Iraq, on another note when Islam spread through out this region they did a lot of the same things, they left many Christian and Jewish sites intact as they considered them "the people of the book" but they showed no mercy to the other religions, they destroyed all the other religious sites, in Kurdistan and Iran it was Zoroastrian and Ezidi sites, many other small religions and sects in Syria Iraq etc. going back many millenia disappeared, even historical sites 4 △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar The Technical Analyst • 21 hours ago These such shrines have been the centers of Polytheism, Witchcraft and voodoo practioners all across Iran and where ever Shias live. These Shias have been adept in cheating innocent people threatening them with useless witchcraft and good for nothing voodoos and managed to rob innocent people of money - even to this day. And the Islamic State in its aim to completely purge itself of 'Shias' across Syria and Levant seems to have chosen to have destroyed the real 'Shia Barracks'. Shia or no Shia - such useless, witchcraft and voodoo practicing centers have no place in Modern World - let alone in Islam. Period. △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar Terence Darby > The Technical Analyst • 15 hours ago Says the 'analyst' with a picture of a sacred site as his/her avatar 7 △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar The Technical Analyst > Terence Darby • 8 hours ago Thank you very much for helping me set a mistake of mine right. And by the way your criticism of my reply also goes to show how much 'Shias' have infiltrated 'Muslims' - that United Arab Emirate fellows have been condoning and following the Shia religion for their own benefits. No wonder than Dubai lost itself after being indebted to bankruptcy and came under the control of Abu Dhabi - changing the name of its tallest building as 'Burj Khalifa'. Allah never allow such people who relinquish Islam in favor of Grave Worship - no matter what. United Arab Emirate is famous for many things anti-Islamic and condoning Shiism and Grave Worship is one of that is sure to be opposed. Thank you very much for pointing out my blunder - I am changing the picture to an Islamic Architecture bereft of any 'graves' or 'shrines' into it right away. △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar Faux-News > The Technical Analyst • 3 hours ago lol again. The UAE follows the maliki madhab and all their official fatwa boards are maliki. You have no clue at all. 1 △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar Faux-News > The Technical Analyst • 9 hours ago This actually is a typical example of wahhabi misinformation. When they cant justify their destruction from Islam and traditional scholarship and history, they invent these totally ignorant and false stories about how these sites are places of voodoo, magic, criminals, prostitution and other excuses and use it as blanket excuse to destroy these relics, as though if someone in his own house practiced voodoo would these people take a bulldozer and destroy his own house. In any case this is much needed article. Because of Saudi Salafi funding causing their Salafi Islam to be loud, there has come a misunderstanding among many non-muslim that what these Wahhabists do are actually something that Islam teaches and something that was practiced by pious Sunni Muslims and orthodoxy for 1400 years of Islamic history and that those who say otherwise are some unorthodox sufi group, when in reality its the total opposite. Because of this misunderstanding many non-muslims are showing reluctance to condemn and take action against this massive scale historical and religious genocide being perpetrated against Islam by these cult criminals under garb of Islam. 3 △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar The Technical Analyst > Faux-News • 8 hours ago Fool the world has changed and every 'Duplicate Muslim' who condoned 'Grave Worship' in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Central Asia and Qatar are standing 'naked' with their anti-Islamic private part displayed to a world that 'spits on them'. Why is that so? Because Shia Grave Worship brought in its way Allah's curse and Shias are being punished with disgrace and loss of face in all these nations. Allah gives Satan and his follower a reprieve and when the appointed time comes - these anti-Islamic Criminals would find what they deserved for their subversion and trickery. △ ▽ • Reply • Share › Avatar Faux-News > The Technical Analyst • 7 hours ago Yea showing more that you have nothing to do with Islam and that you are some badly mutated product of a modern day changing world and you have to come up with more weird arguments that are not even factually true let alone rationally sound. Either way go on, you are proving exactly the point for us what type of twisted mentality you have. Just reminded that last time you made this drivel you said you were shafi and your mother was following shafi madhab. Well here are the fatwa of pillars of shafi scholarship permitting what you call as "grave worship". Imam Ghazzali (d.505) in al-wasit: وَلَو أوصى بعمارة قُبُور أَنْبِيَائهمْ نفذناه لِأَن كل قبر يزار فعمارته إحْيَاء زيارته وَيجوز ذَلِك فِي قُبُور مَشَايِخ الْإِسْلَام أَيْضا Imam Nawawi in Rawdah-Talibeen: يجوز للمسلم والذمي الوصية لعمارة المسجد الاقصى وغيره من المساجد، ولعمارة قبور الأنبياء، والعلماء، والصالحين، لما فيها من إحياء الزيارة، والتبرك بها Ibn Hajr al Haythami in his Tuhfa : Imam Ramli in his Nihaya: وشمل عدم المعصية القربة كعمارة المساجد ولو من كافر وقبور الأنبياء والعلماء والصالحين لما في ذلك من إحياء الزيارة والتبرك بها ، ولعل المراد به كما قاله صاحب الذخائر ، وأشعر به كلام الإحياء في أوائل كتاب الحج ، وكلامه في الوسيط في زكاة النقد يشير إليه أن تبنى على قبورهم القباب والقناطر كما يفعل في المشاهد إذا كان الدفن في مواضع مملوكة لهم أو لمن دفنهم فيها لا بناء القبور نفسها للنهي عنه ، ولا فعله في المقابر المسبلة فإن فيه تضييقا على المسلمين خلافا لما استوجهه الزركشي من كون المراد بعمارتها رد التراب فيها وملازمتها خوفا من الوحش والقراءة عندها ، وإعلام الزائرين بها لئلا تندرس . Hafiz al-Munawi (d. 1031) in Fayd al-Qadir: أما من اتخذ مسجدا بجوار صالح أو صلى في مقبرته وقصد به الاستظهار بروحه أو وصول أثر من آثار عبادته إليه لا التعظيم له والتوجه نحوه فلا حرج عليه ألا ترى أن مدفن إسماعيل في المسجد الحرام عند الحطيم؟ and tons more too long to quote here. ========= Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi's Blog Reflections on Methods by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi • Jul 22, 2014 at 3:41 pm Over the course of the past year or so, I have intensely tracked the jihadist group the Islamic State (formerly ISIS). I did this on both Twitter and in my analytical articles, such that I attracted the attention of primary sources in my role of what the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization would term a 'disseminator'. To gain the confidence of these circles, I feigned sympathy for their views and adopted a 'jihadi persona' in communications with them. While this indeed garnered some valuable information (eg it helped me first identify Moroccan ex-Gitmo detainee Muhammad Mizouz and his presence in Syria), it was also unethical, pure and simple. Not only that, but the jihadi persona and a desire to seem humourous on Twitter led to other unethical actions, such as a silly tweet in December 2013 calling for JM Berger's account to be reported, even as I quickly deleted it. Though I did not think much of it at the time and believed I had resolved the issue, it was nonetheless wrong and the tweet would not have necessarily appeared as an immature joke to those who saw it, which is why I deleted it, but it should be admitted. Accordingly, I apologize unequivocally for these mistakes. They can only come across as weird to those who do not know me, and I regret not listening earlier to those who counselled me against these approaches and the adoption of multiple personas in which I got caught up. I would like to stress nonetheless that this did not affect the quality of the final product of my work. I only analyse this subject out of personal concern for my family's country's future (Iraq). A full analysis of the insurgent dynamics- and thus have I aimed for a full analysis of all insurgent groups in Iraq for thoroughness- is essential in that regard. I stress that my personal views are solely reflected on this site in 'ارائي الخصوصية' and anything I have written not put up on this site is disowned, as made clear in 'Reflections on my writings'. Update In light of the Business Insider article, I should like to respond as follows: Much of the article is focused on the allegation that my actual analysis has been tainted and compromised by being 'played' by IS fighters. On this, I would note the following: - It is interesting to note that the authors don't cite something from the body of my articles to show this. - Contact with IS fighters and their supporters was not an integral part of my work. I made occasional reference to such contact but their testimony did not largely inform my overall anlaysis of the group: in fact my primary interest in contact with IS fighters was to illustrate their ultimately global ambitions (one may criticise me for accepting too readily the idea of a fight against the UK as a distant dream, of course) I could not have cared less what they like for breakfast or how they enjoy their spare time, unlike some who have been too eager to put a spin on IS fighters as simply ordinary guys like others- an image I have never accepted or endorsed. In any case, here I disputed their narrative of a pre-planned 'Sahwa' against them in Syria, pointing largely to IS' own expansionism, dictated by its own self-perception as a state, as the cause of this infighting, such that it largely overrode the reconciliatory tendencies of e.g. Ahrar ash-Sham. It is certainly true that I underestimated the timescale of wider infighting, but that was not because of testimony IS fighters or supporters relayed to me, but rather conservatism in my analysis (cf. in 2012 I certainly underestimated the timescale, if at all, of an unravelling in the security situation in Iraq), with heavy focus on localization, a dynamic I saw as distinguishing Syria from Iraq in terms of grand 'Sahwa' narratives. Even so, I stand by my assertion from 2013 that an international troop presence in the long-run is needed to roll back IS and bring some kind of stability, and draw attention to the Libyan experience if anyone thinks militias will simply go away and form a new strong state post-regime overthrow. A key error of mine was my presumption in autumn 2013 that Jabhat al-Nusra and IS would steer clear of wider infighting, primarily because I accepted the idea of IS and Nusra as part of al-Qaeda and therefore 'brothers' in ideology and organization who would not come to blows. As it happens, that presumption was wrong precisely because IS was de facto independent by this point, something that was not in fact widely recognized at the time. I shifted my view on that matter in January 2014, citing testimony on both sides while also accepting that one had to be careful of IS spin of "always independent" since the founding of ISI in 2006. Further, despite IS spin on jizya as a benign institution, I made it abundantly clear that it should be seen as no such thing here (i.e. it is the equivalent of a Mafia extortion racket), and that it was a sign of Baghdadi's projection of himself as a caliph, which turned out to be correct. I also stress that when IS' announcement of the caliphate came out, I emphasized that this phenomenon should be seen in terms of the wider idealization of past Caliphates but such idealization is ultimately as detached from reality as glorifying the Roman Empire and its conquests, something I affirmed on Twitter. - I again stress that contact with IS circles and the wider jihadi community also offered insights: for example it is in fact the case that Suqur al-Izz, as I noted, is an al-Qa'ida front project, despite its official claims to be independent, as illustrated by its recent joining of Jabhat al-Nusra as part of the new emirate project. Similarly I was the first to identify Moroccan ex-Gitmo detainee Muhammad al-'Alami as having fought and died in Syria. This was so before the video release from Harakat Sham al-Islam. - The article completely omits the extensive body of my work going beyond IS: that contacts with other factions turned up far more extensively in my work on Iraq and Syria than IS. Here for example on Druze militias; here on the Alawite Muqawama Suriya; here and here on Christian militias; here on the factions of Albukamal (at the time none of them including IS). In none of these cases did I let contacts 'play' me, with the possible exception of being too willing to accept brotherology claims with IS: for instance despite Qamishli Sootoro's official claim to be neutral, it is apparent they are aligned with the regime. It is of course true that I accept the pro-Assad Druze activists' claims that the community is generally aligned with the regime, but there is little ground to dispute that. I have also analyzed the non-IS insurgent groups in Iraq and have not been 'played' by any of them. - Taking articles from 2010-11 as indicative of a 'confused' outlook is misleading, especially as I disowned my 2010 writings as part of 'Reflection on my writings' in 2013. Further Update In light of controversies over my background, I affirm the following: As to now, I do not disclose a personal religious stance (whatever experiments I made with other identities), but my real background is as follows: my father's side of the family was Shi'a and my mother's side Sunni (given the latter is ultimately from Mosul, not really surprising). I do not deny my struggles with identity here (going back to my mid teens) and people are right to draw this to attention as transparency is needed at the personal level. I emphasize that none of this affected the final product of my analytical work (i.e. I did not use any claimed identities to give a certain point more credibility or to fabricate a point). Regardless, I should not have claimed different identities, which is wrong and disturbing in any circumstance. In this context, I should also stress that my family's history has played almost no role in the actual analysis, but at this stage, it is important to affirm one aspect of it that motivated me to want to look into what is now IS. The Islamic State of Iraq- ISI, a predecessor of IS- took one of my uncles hostage in Baghdad in 2007 for 3 weeks, eventually being released for a ransom of $40,000. Unless I am suffering from a curious case of Stockholm syndrome, then the logical conclusion is that I am an opponent of IS and aimed to gather intel on the group. I oppose IS, simple as that. So, once again, I apologize to everyone for my mistake of trying to extract info under my real name from IS sources by feigning sympathy for their views, and all other issues regarding multiple personae. Further Update (II) Business Insider has also put out some past tweets attempting to show I uncriticially echo IS positions. Those tweets were actually mocking IS spirations to global domination, which as I wrote previously are indeed delusional. The third tweet meanwhile is taken out of context from the thread. However, I readily admit that these were irresponsible tweets to an audience of more than 9000 followers, not all of whom will have understood what I was trying to get at. The General Military Council is arguably the main new name in the Iraqi insurgency to have emerged in 2014. Though there is an official claim to separation from the Naqshbandi Army (JRTN), the distancing, as I have outlined before, needs to be treated with the same caution as the Kurdish PYD's official distancing of the YPG militias, and the Syriac Union Party's distancing of the Syriac Military Council as "independent." I translate below a sample of their daily operations, this one from 22nd July. "The revolutionaries of the military council in Salah ad-Din undertook to strike a gathering of the Maliki army and militias aiding him in the al-Ishaqi region with a shower of 120mm mortar rounds leading to a direct and exact hit with the killing of 13 soldiers and wounding of a great number of them." "The revolutionaries of the military council in Salah ad-Din undertook an ambush set between two regions (Al-Oweinat-Al-Awja)* on a Maliki army military convoy and militias aiding him...leading to the destruction of 9 Hummer vehicles and killing of those inside it." "The revolutionaries in south Baghdad undertook an IED operation on a Hummer vehicle in the Mada'in area, leading to the destruction and killing of all inside it." "Anbar: al-Khalidiya: the revolutionaries in Ramadi hit a Maliki army point near the al-Sadiqiya bridge with three 120mm mortar rounds, leading to an exact and direct hit." *- Note that in al-Awja today, the Islamic State also claimed operations against the security forces. ========= Bound by Bridge, 2 Baghdad Enclaves Drift Far Apart By ALISSA J. RUBINJULY 26, 2014 Continue reading the main story Slide Show Slide Show|12 Photos Two Baghdad Neighborhoods, a World Apart Two Baghdad Neighborhoods, a World Apart CreditBryan Denton for The New York Times Continue reading the main story Share This Page email facebook twitter save more Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story BAGHDAD — Al Imams Bridge spans the Tigris River between two of the oldest communities in Baghdad — one Sunni, the other Shiite — and on Ramadan evenings it can seem as if the mosques near either bank are calling to each other as their muezzins sing prayers. But the two neighborhoods, the Sunni Adhamiya and the Shiite Kadhimiya, once inextricably joined in the imagination of Baghdad residents, are drifting further and further apart. To walk through each as they break the daily fast during Ramadan is to glimpse the diverging realities of Baghdad: a vibrant and expanding Shiite way of life, and a subdued and dwindling Sunni one. “Now we have two Ramadans,” said Yassin Daoud, 35, a Sunni boat operator who works at an amusement park in Adhamiya on the banks of the river. He made his living taking pleasure cruisers to Al Imams Bridge and back, but no one has asked for a ride yet this year. The two neighborhoods are each anchored by a renowned mosque and shrine nearly as old as Islam itself: Abu Hanifa on the Sunni side, which began to be built in the late 700s, and Imam Kadhim on the Shiite side. Both areas still share some of the character of old Baghdad: the crafts shops, leather workmen and cobblers, halal butchers and gold workers. Continue reading the main story Two Communities in Baghdad Tigris IMAM KADHIM MOSQUE Baghdad AL IMAMS BRIDGE Kadhimiya ABU HANIFA MOSQUE IRAQ Adhamiya Area of detail Baghdad Tigris 5 miles Although the ebb and flow between the two was once as natural as the Tigris’s tides, the past 11 years have taken a deep toll, eroding both the routes that people walked from one community to the other and the trust they once had. Ali al-Nashmi, a professor of history at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, who grew up in Adhamiya, dates the period of sectarian division to the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by the American-led coalition in 2003, with the most recent chapter coming after the fall of Mosul to Sunni militants in June. “The Shia people used to walk through Adhamiya to Imam Kadhim,” said Mr. Nashmi, thinking back to his youth. “But then the sectarian troubles started after 2003 and they were attacked in Adhamiya and they stopped coming that way.” As the Shiites vanished from Adhamiya’s streets, many young Sunnis there, and elsewhere, angered by the sudden loss of Sunni hegemony with Hussein’s exit, joined the insurgency and either were killed or imprisoned or fled. And there were fewer and smaller families to take Mr. Daoud’s boat or lay out their evening meals on the carefully tended grass of the amusement park where his small craft were tethered on the banks of the Tigris. Now almost every table is empty at the Adhamiya park, where hundreds of families every year for more than three decades had spread out their iftar dinners to break the Ramadan fast. Not a single child is on the swan ride; the Ferris wheel seats are empty; the bumper cars clatter round, but no children are in them. Mustapha al-Qaisi, a Sunni taxi driver, brought his family with trepidation to the park, and only because it was a tradition they could not quite bear to give up. “The difference between now and 2006 was that before, we were targeted by militias, but now we are targeted by militias backed by the government,” he said. Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story “I am afraid all the time now that I will be targeted because of my identity,” he said, meaning that a militia checkpoint would recognize that his tribal name was Sunni and abduct or even kill him. If he has a problem with his taxi or an altercation with a customer, he no longer dares to go to the police station to complain, because with his Sunni name, he is fearful the police might detain him. When he saw a foreigner at the park, the first thing he thought was that they might be with a refugee agency. “Are you with the International Organization for Migration?” he asked. “Is it possible to help us get out of Iraq?” Across the river lies a different world. In Kadhimiya, where nearly everyone is Shiite, Ramadan feels like a monthlong street party. Even during the hours of fasting in the heat of the day, when temperatures often reach 115 degrees, people are hard at work preparing for the meal that breaks the fast. They stir vast vats of rice in communal kitchens, shred lamb into small pieces to mix with it, chop tomatoes and cucumbers for salad and slice wheelbarrows of watermelon. At dusk on Kadhimiya’s outskirts, the main entrance is closed for safety because the neighborhood has been attacked so many times. (Just last Tuesday, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-packed car near the gate, killing 33 people and wounding more than 60.) Accordingly, the road follows a back route. It winds through urban palm groves and crosses an irrigation canal where boys are swimming, whooping as they plunge into the water and splash each other. When visitors reach the long pedestrian street that leads to the shrine, paces quicken with eagerness to get through the line of friskers who check for bombs and weapons and stroll on to the long esplanade ahead. This shimmering, glimmering main street leads to the Imam Kadhim shrine, its gates outlined in gaudy, jubilant green and white neon. “It’s very good this year,” said Shahad Hamed Harbi al Khafaji, 70, smiling broadly and showing a mostly toothless mouth as he sat on the edge of one of the many long carpets that serve as picnic mats for the iftar meal. “There are very many people; it’s very beautiful here. We are just asking the American people to come and kill ISIS, take them away from us,” he said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni militant group that has taken over large areas of northern and western Iraq. Now Shiite militias help protect the road from his family’s village in Diyala Province to the highway, and the family came to the shrine to celebrate Ramadan. “We all feel safe to come,” he said, nodding at his five daughters and their children. A few yards away, the Sadr Foundation, founded by the family of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, offered an iftar meal, and some 150 men were digging in. Nearby were families bringing their own simple picnics of homemade yogurt that they ladled into glasses to eat with a basket of dates. Groups of children ran back and forth, tugging at their mothers to buy the balloons and tufts of cotton candy that hawkers sell. Those same mothers threw on the special black abbayas used for prayers in Shiite shrines, handed their cellphones to their eldest sons, and slipped away for a few minutes at the Imam Kadhim shrine. Ruminating on all this, Mr. Nashmi sees a deepening divide that will not easily be halted, much less reversed. “It will get worse: the Sunnis will leave Baghdad and the Shias will leave the north, the Christians are almost gone and we will face really a separated country,” he said. “We cannot find any solution now, and I am very sad.” He continued: “The world lost Iraq, but we must fight, you and me and all the friends, to do something, something mysterious and very far off. We must teach history in the primary school and show our kids Iraq’s great civilization.” A version of this article appears in print on July 27, 2014, on page A5 of the New York edition with the headline: Bound by Bridge, 2 Baghdad Enclaves Drift Far Apart. Order Reprints|Today's Paper|Subscribe =