Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Relatives protest Saudi tortures

by Ridwan Max Sijabat from The Jakarta Post

Siti Tarwiyah of Ngawi in East Java and Susmiyati from Pati in Central Java were tortured to death in Alfaj, Saudi Arabia, on August 3. It has been alleged the men's employer, along with his relatives, was responsible for the two deaths. Ruminih from Pandeglang in Banten and Tari from Karawang in West Java sustained serious injuries from the alleged tortures and were still receiving intensive medical treatment ... Family members said they would not forgive those involved in the alleged tortures and demanded they be put on trial. "The Saudi Arabian royal government must investigate (all incidents) thoroughly and the employer and his relatives involved in the incident must be brought to justice," Migrant Care's Wahyu Susilo said while addressing a free speech forum held in front of the embassy's entrance gate.

New faces but policies set to stay at OPEC

by Janet McBride from Reuters

Saudi Arabia oils the machinery of OPEC and the kingdom's energy portfolio is secure in the hands of Ali Al-Naimi, oil minister of the world's top exporter since 1995. "My take on it is that Ali Al-Naimi is running the show and I don't think any of these changes will alter that," said Paul Tossetti, director of market analysis at consultants PFC Energy. When OPEC meets on September 11 in Vienna, Naimi will need all his acumen to balance consumer calls for more oil against the very real concern problems with U.S. sub-prime loans are poisoning other markets and asset classes. Manouchehr Takin, senior petroleum upstream analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies in London, said modern OPEC policy was solidly founded on market economics. The days of political grandstanding were consigned to the past ... Geoff Pyne, energy consultant at enerpyltd.com, said the absence of some permanent ministers may play into the hands of those who favor leaving output unchanged for now. "It makes it more likely that they will do nothing," he said. "The global economy provides them with an excuse not to increase. They don't want an increase in production that might collapse prices.

Suicidal sympathy for terrorists

by Prakash Nanda from The Organiser

By pampering Muslim terrorists, the UPA itself is guilty of the same charge, though in reverse. It has not served itself, and India well by communalising the very approach to the fight against terrorism ... At a recent seminar on national security, a former senior official of the Government of India revealed something that deserves to be quoted: “A Pakistani friend once told me that India is such a soft state that it could never combat terrorism. There are 90% chances that anybody committing terrorist acts will not be caught in India. If he is caught, then the human rights activists will make such a hue and cry that that he will be released from the police station ... Wahabism is totally opposed to the Sufism, the main guiding force for ages of the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent that talked of peaceful and harmonious co-existence with other religions. It is high time the UPA government did a service to this glorious Sufi tradition by encouraging and supporting those Indian Muslims who raise their voice against the xenophobiac Wahabism that is dividing not only the Indians but also the other “world citizens”.

Pentagon reveals reasons for holding 'the Professor' after five years

from The Associated Press

The Bush administration, which has been urging other nations to accept Guantanamo prisoners amid international pressure to close the military jail, warned that the five detainees — and particularly Shaker Aamer — are dangerous. A senior U.S. official said that Aamer (a Saudi nicknamed “the Professor” at Guantanamo Bay) shared an apartment in London in the late 1990s with Zacarias Moussaoui, a confessed al-Qaida conspirator and the only person in the United States charged in the attacks, and met with Richard Reid, imprisoned in the United States for trying to blow up a U.S. passenger jet with explosives hidden in his shoes. Aamer also trained in the use of explosives and surface-to-air missiles and lived on stipends in Afghanistan paid by bin Laden, the official, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Sandra Hodgkinson, said. “He has been involved in a lot of significant terrorist plots,” Hodgkinson said Wednesday ... Aamer helped organize a hunger strike that at one point involved more than 100 detainees. According to his attorney, Clive Stafford Smith, the Pentagon doesn't like him “because they think he has got a lot of influence over the prisoners,” Stafford Smith said, adding that Aamer has been kept in isolation for nearly two years. Aamer, who denies any connection to terrorism, has not been charged.

Saudi Divorce Rate on the Rise

by Sawsan Homeidan from Asharq Al-Awsat

Generally speaking, Saudi society is a private one. Most women guard their privacy very well, even during therapy. The majority of women prefer to discuss their issues in private, despite the fact that the problems they face are common ones shared by many, such as disobedience from children towards their parents. "There are no more than five such centers in all of Saudi Arabia;" Dr. al Hilali said, "three of which are nonprofit. This is a meager number considering the size of the population ... In response to the question of domestic abuse, Dr. al Hilali said that it has been an enduring predicament , but that it has come to occupy center stage due to the increased media attention and various prominent figures addressing the matter. It is her belief that domestic violence is a result of women's submissiveness and their apathy towards abuse. This is furthermore intensified, she said, by their upbringing in which they are taught to blindly obey their husbands. Dr. al Hilali called for the collaboration of various institutions to put an end to this phenomenon which, if left untreated, will destroy the country's social infrastructure, of which family is a main constituent.

Feared former strongman, now Chechen President Kadyrov on Mecca pilgrimage, will meet Abdullah

from The Associated Press

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov told the Russian Interfax news agency that he had brought a personal message from President Vladimir Putin to the Saudi king. He did not elaborate. Abdullah regularly meets with foreign Muslim leaders who do pilgrimages and other visits to Mecca. Chechnya was seen as a major front line by Islamic militants waging the jihad, or holy war, against Russian forces. Consequently, the militants fought the Russia-backed troops. The Interfax also said, citing Russian consul in Jedda Mirpasha Zeinalov, that Kadyrov will be the first Russian to take part in the traditional ceremony of the washing of the Kaaba. Kadyrov took over as Chechnya's leader after the assassination of his father in 2004 and formally became president after turning 30 last October. Under his father's rule, he ran his own security force that was accused of all sorts of atrocities - abductions, torture, killings - but has tried to improve his image since assuming the country's helm.

Pakistan: A journey from hope to uncertainity

by Dil Nawaz from Merinews

In 1979, the elected Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was executed. It was largely seen as politically motivated act by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who afterwads went for Islamization of democratic institutions of the country—all under the watchful eyes of the US and its imperial viceroy, the then ambassador in Pakistan. In his pursuit to prevent communism in the country, he would decide the fate of the common man and government functionaries. Lynching, cutting of hands, rapes, laws penalising only women victims had become a part of ‘Islamic Shariat’, which was introduced by dictatorial brand of Saudi Arabian Wahabi jurisprudence. Restriction on cinema, TV and freedom of speech had become the norm. All political activities were banned, while religious clerics were encouraged in all spheres of life ... After the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the ‘freedom fighters’ for Amerian Republican Ronald Reagan and Tory Margaret Thatcher, transformed into Taliban to fill in the power vacuum and give stability to a ‘lawless State’.