Friday, June 8, 2007

The beginning of the end?

by Lucy Fielder from Al-Ahram Weekly

Some analysts believe that despite Syrian help with crossing into Lebanon and getting established, as well as allowing militants to cross from Lebanon into Iraq and back, Damascus no longer pulls Fatah Al-Islam's puppet strings. Some observers say Saudi Arabia and Saad Al-Hariri, head of the anti-Syrian parliamentary majority, once funded Al-Qaeda-inspired groups to bolster Al-Hariri's Sunni support and counter unease at his pro-Western policies. Building an armed Sunni force to counter Shia Hizbullah, or at least increase bargaining power with the group, was another motive. However, over the past few months, most believe the groups were ditched as part of Saudi- Iranian efforts to calm Sunni-Shia tensions in the region.

Weeks of protests take toll on Pakistan regime

by Paul Wiseman from USA Today

The Bush administration has relied on Musharraf to battle al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in border regions and to prevent Pakistan from sharing its nuclear weapons technology. Tuesday, President Bush gently rebuked Pakistan — along with Saudi Arabia and Egypt — praising efforts against Islamic extremism but saying they need to move toward democracy.

The Eighth Front

by Juan Cole from the Atlantic Free Press

How many fronts are there in the Iraq War? The Sunni Arab guerrillas of the center, west and north are themselves fighting a four-front war. They are fighting US troops. They are fighting Shiites. They are fighting Kurds in the Kirkuk region and Ninevah and Diyala provinces. And they are fighting other Sunni Arab forces (Baathists fight Salafi fundamentalists, and both fight tribal levies gravitating to the Americans).

The War of the Others

by Roman Lederer from The Media Line

Jahija Kamar A-Din is still not sure if he can trust the announcement of Lebanon's Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, who 10 days ago declared that his government would crush Fatah Al-Islam. "The job is far from over," he says, pointing out that the militants are still receiving aid from nearby Syria. "The Syrian army might have left Lebanon in 2005, but members of its secret service, Mukhabarat, are still among us." And they, he claims, are supporting the conservative Salafi communities, which are also receiving money from Saudi Arabia.

Dissident voices

by Priya Abraham from WORLD Magazine

At medical school, Hamid attended mosque and joined one of Egypt's main terrorist groups: al-Gamaat al-Islamiya (GI). The first thing he learned was not to question anything. One man in GI told him, "The brain is a donkey. Once you enter [the mosque] you go walking and leave the donkey outside." Within months, Hamid said, "I became a beast." He dreamed of burning churches. Mosque teaching frightened him, with gory details of hell's torture. He learned snakes would attack one in the grave, for example. Earthly life seemed more and more insignificant; what mattered was to die a shaheed, or a martyr ... Eight months after joining GI, Hamid rejected radical Islam, which was based on Saudi Arabia's stringent and fast-spreading Wahhabi version.

3 alleged Islamic extremists arrested in southern Serbia

from the Associated Press

Police arrested three suspected Islamic extremists on Thursday in a continuing crackdown in a southern region with a sizable Muslim community. The three men - identified as Aladin Pulic, 22, Erhan Smailovic, 32 and Husein Culjak, 29 - were apprehended in the southern city of Novi Pazar, 175 kilometers (110 miles) south of Belgrade, police said. Six others were detained in the city in March, allegedly in possession illegal weapons and accused of plotting terror attacks, police said. All are believed to be followers of the extreme Wahhabi branch of Sunni Islam.

Will Muslims Fight the Islamists?

by Jonathan S. Tobin from the Jewish Exponent

Sheik Hisham Kabbani, a leader of the peace-oriented Sufi sect of Islam based in Washington, D.C., and Michigan, is also featured in the film. He discusses how Saudi Arabian funding has helped spread that country's fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, called Wahhabism. The Saudis, working through their embassies, have helped bankroll mosques throughout the country, including those run by the Nation of Islam. In exchange for this money, the Saudis have installed militant Wahabbi imams and education at religious centers around the world, including here in North America.