but we are actually all winds
ever more than before
even ever more than before 
gaining 
speeding 
booming
towards future 
speeding
and redeeming laughters
and happiest laughters
Start page JUMO | Code for America | good.is |
“If you want to free a society, just give them internet access. Because people, the young guys, you know, are all going to go out and see biased media, see the truth about other nations and their own nation and they’re going to be able to contribute and collaborate together.”
September 09, 2013, 9:16pm   0 notes
▸ It may be curtains for Bashar Assad, Michael Young, Daily Star

[…] Indeed, there has been considerable speculation that Assad’s resort to chemical weapons came in the aftermath of a rebel advance into the northeastern quarters of the capital. And even then, pro-Syrian sources in Beirut are admitting that the Syrian army’s effort to reconquer the lost neighborhoods was exceptionally difficult.

Perhaps the Americans are gambling that the Free Syrian Army units with whom they are in contact can take Damascus, or at least make inroads that force Assad to step down or accept a political transition. This would give the FSA a decisive advantage over Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups concentrated in the north. Moreover, American officials may have realized that a U.S. bombing campaign will persuade many military units to defect, making Assad’s downfall all but inevitable.

Henri Barkey of Lehigh University perceptively tweeted: “I’ve always had sneaking suspicion that the delay had to do with the [aircraft carrier] Nimitz. It cannot launch aircraft from current location.” Indeed, there is now open talk about using aircraft, which was not the case last week. The value of aircraft in Syria would mainly be tactical, providing support to those fighting on the ground.

The mood is changing in Moscow as well. On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin said Russia “doesn’t exclude” supporting a U.N. resolution on punitive military strikes if it were proven that Damascus had used chemical weapons against its own people. He also announced that he had stopped shipment of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, which Assad would need to defend against Western aircraft.

The U.S. had sought Russian help in preventing Assad from using chemical weapons, and the Russians may have been embarrassed when he did not listen. With international outrage rising, Putin has no choice but to alter his position, knowing that if he doesn’t he will be isolated if Assad is pushed out. He may prefer to position himself as a mediator in a transitional solution. Some have speculated that this may be discussed at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg this week.

Iran and Hezbollah will be watching carefully to see what happens. The options are limited. If their plan is to target Israel with rockets, this will do little good. Hezbollah would invite a devastating Israeli response if it fires from Lebanon, at a moment when its Syrian policy is unpopular at home and thousands of its combatants are in Syria. A war would also create hundreds of thousands of Shiite refugees, who would angrily wonder why they have to suffer to defend Assad.

Moreover, Hezbollah and Iran’s ability to absorb Shiite discontent is restricted. There will be no Arab money this time to rebuild; and Iran is too financially pressed – even as it is paying a hefty financial bill to prop up Assad rule in Syria – to rescue Lebanon’s Shiites.

If, as some have speculated, Hezbollah targets Israel from Syria, this may precipitate the very outcome that Iran and the party seek to avoid. It makes no sense to respond to an American attack against Syria through a mechanism that invites an Israeli attack against Syria, one bound to undermine Assad’s position further.

Obama’s last-minute decision to postpone an attack against Syria confused everybody. But Assad’s satisfaction with the delay was premature. The bully’s bluff has been called, an American attack is coming, and it will hit very hard – unless Russia can devise a political resolution before then that would force Assad from office. It’s not yet the end of the Assad regime, but it could well be the beginning of the end. And when nightmares end, there is only relief.

bit long but definitely worth checking out. 

It’s saying = USA is ready to bring political settlement - it can calibrate strike plan and diplomacy to be able to achieve that goal - there is a chance for this - now. 



Sep 05, 2013, 9:08am  0 notes      

September 04, 2013, 8:32pm   0 notes

tho the current Egypt’s political upheaval is

Really like something Japan went through in latter part of 1860s. 

What happened to Japan (and this is probably different from what’s actually going on in Egypt I guess but nonetheless) was it really killed and erased all the best minds Japan had for maintaining its political unity, cohesion, atmosphere - 

  • talented people with capacity of real listening to different views/opinions, 
  • people who had sense about domestic cohesion is necessary for minimizing the malicious interference and interventions by foreign powers 
  • people who had ideas about what Japan has to carry on into the Westernizing process - from tradition, from previous period’s wisdoms 
  • Open to learning from foreign powers 

Crazy madness, insanity of political upheaval created the atmosphere in which all these brilliant people were all targeted - and massively assassinated (from ‘crazies’ on either side, any side, all sides.) 

That turmoil lasted like 10 years, and when ‘the Revolution’ ended, some people lamented that Japan lost all the necessary human talents which was necessary for shaping, facing and planning the most challenging period - facing Westernization and surviving in the modern international world. 

There was a lament about Japanese temper - ‘Why Japanese people got so into rivalry, killing, murdering each other’ - and erased brilliant leader class minds from the list one by one. 

(And then that ‘toxic’ temper - now formed as ‘ideology’ ‘school of thought’ (became established and disseminated among population) - remained and lasted, and prepared another round of madness Japan faced in 1930s - towards participating, blindly descending into World War 2.)

August 20, 2013, 1:50pm   1 note
▸ [Syria, Chemical Weapon] British scientists 'find evidence of Syrian chemical attack', Telegraph UK

Traces of sarin nerve agent - Times say. 

A secret British operation has smuggled out a soil sample which provides the first forensic evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, it was reported last night.

Government scientists working at the Ministry of Defence’s research facility at Porton Down, Wiltshere, found traces of “some kind of chemical weapon” after performing tests, according to The Times.

The tests at Porton Down reportedly concluded that the chemical traces were from a weapon rather than gas sometimes used by the Syrian security forces to put down protests.

"There have been some reports that it was just a strong riot-control agent but that is not the case - it’s something else although it can’t definitively be said to be sarin nerve agent," one source told the newspaper.

The sample was reportedly smuggled out of Syria in a mission involving MI6 last month.

It was not clear whether the sample was from Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, where more than 20 people were alleged to have been killed in a chemical attack last month.

Both the Syrian regime and rebel groups accused the other side of using chemical weapons but definitive evidence has not yet emerged to support either claim, or even to prove that chemical weapons were used at all.

The Ministry of Defence declined to comment on the reported tests at Porton Down.



Apr 12, 2013, 7:29pm  0 notes      

▸ [Egypt Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie] Ahram Online, Egypt

On Saturday, two passengers on Cairo’s underground metro in their early 20s looked jaded, but they still shouted at the top of their voices, demanding an end to the “rule of the Supreme Guide.”

Calling him names, the two men went on a foul-mouthed outburst against Mohamed Badie, the man they believe had overruled Egypt’s elected President Mohamed Morsi and assumed effective control of the country.

The passengers, it transpired, were angry because they had been involved in a confrontation with Brotherhood members in front of the Islamist group’s headquarters in the Cairo district of Mokattam, a fortress that has long been spared street violence and attacks.

The presidential palace was a protest hotspot for several months, but it has now made way for the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters, a building that lies on a hill which overlooks many parts of Cairo, in a reflection of the opposition’s belief that Morsi is largely subordinate to Brotherhood leader Badie, who keeps a low profile despite being the subject of constant speculation about his actual role in Egypt.

[…]

Perhaps Badie has something to prove to some disgruntled political activists, who seem to have almost forgotten Morsi in their chants, preferring to hurl a barrage of insults at a man they believe is more influential in the unofficial ruling hierarchy.



Source: english.ahram.org.eg

Mar 18, 2013, 3:53pm  0 notes      

 
“And, on the bigger-picture issues, they make many of the same crucial points. Islamism is not Islam. Most Muslims are not and do not wish to be Islamists and do not wish to be ruled by them. There are crucial pre-Islamist and pre-colonial Islamic traditions that can and should inform a more generous, tolerant and globally engaged Muslim worldview. And recent developments in the Arab world and elsewhere demonstrate that a fledgling and nascent, yet profound and deeply rooted, backlash against Islamists and obscurantism is unmistakably beginning to coalesce in very significant constituencies among the world’s Muslims.”

February 27, 2013, 7:20pm  2 notes

▸ The West and the fundamentalists (An Appeal to West, Sahar Khalifeh )

The West and the fundamentalists

Nasser’s defeat in the 1967 war and the progressives’ Mifailure to implement real achievements, both at the organisational level and in terms of their capacity to win over the Arab masses, created an atmosphere of receptivity to demands and projects opposed to progressive, emancipatory thinking. That situation was exploited by the reactionary wing represented by Arab states which faithfully followed the American agenda and set about supporting groupings of rigorously Islamic believers – as happened in Afghanistan, where America backed bin Laden and others like him in order to contain Communist influence.

From the start of the Seventies the Arab world was exposed to a disastrous attack by fanatical Islamist organisations which drove women back into the age of the harem and made the veil obligatory. At the beginning of the new century they went even further, promoting heretical innovations: the niqab and the burqa. Even today we aware and educated women are subjected to daily pressure and provocation which increase our fears and worries, making advancement towards a time of greater freedom and development even more complicated and difficult.

Money for Islamic clothing

At the start of the Seventies dictatorial Arab regimes, backed by America, allied themselves with Salafist groupings, making millions available for supporting and strengthening this movement. For instance, all those who wore so-called Islamic clothing received a monthly payment (fifteen dinars for a man, ten for a woman). For a man this clothing consists of a short galabaya and leather sandals together with a long untrimmed beard, and for a woman a headcovering and a long dark-coloured coat. Recipients were also given – free of charge – prayer-beads plus a splendid edition of the Koran and a prayer-mat.

To begin with these Islamic organisations concentrated on young people who had demonstrated the capacity for leadership and were in a position to exert influence on others. They also wanted to reach women at home. Meetings were arranged and cells formed in the houses of women from the lower middle class. Then attention turned to mosques, schools, and universities. All that happened thanks to financial and other assistance from Arab regimes loyal to the US, in the hope that this Islamic input would keep Arab society free of socialist ideas and progressive projects that called for emancipation in all spheres, beginning with liberation from Western influence and extending to the unleashing of the creative energies in society.

The intention was to enable society to prove itself in the arena of modern life and to become an independent, developed, and effective force, defending itself against both the West and its covetousness, and against Israel’s expanding racist demands.

Islamist training

However, the support from Salafist Islamists wasn’t limited to the provision of free clothing, monthly payments and meeting-places. Fertile ground was also prepared in primary and secondary schools. Islamists, both male and female, were given preference in the appointment of teachers, charged with influencing young pupils and students so that Salafist thinking and ideology became part of the children’s psyche and intellect. In addition youngsters received training in military discipline and the martial arts at special camps established in Arab states and in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Thanks to the organisational and financial possibilities open to them, and to great support among the population, from the early Seventies up to the present day these groups have succeeded in eclipsing progressive and emancipatory ideas, and in forcing liberals and socialists onto the periphery of society. They have also managed to repress the women’s movement, setting it back several decades.

The political contradictions that became apparent some time ago included the transformation of close links between America and its Islamist allies into a competitive and bloody conflict. The Islamists America had once called ‘Mujahedeen’ and supplied with money and arms for combating the Soviet camp now became ‘terrorists’. However, once their fighting spirit had been strengthened and support gained among both the general public and élites, Islamists, headed by al-Qaida, turned against America and its allies, setting about threatening Western interests and deploying violence against everything Western and Israeli.

Absurdly, though, the US and its allies only became aware of how dangerous this about-turn or trap was after the magic had been deployed against the magician and Salafist organisations began threatening to establish a strict Islamist regime, one that distances itself from the West and its adherents, opposes them, and shuts itself off from them in the same way as it acted against emancipatory and liberal thinking.

Long. But worth reading in full. I really need to gather different takes and compare. Arab Left’s genuine context and ‘better’ sides - really represented - not just consumed in just keep critiquing. But narrating its own history and perspectives. Might be important. 

So before doing comparison/check - I’m posting it. 



Source: en.qantara.de

Feb 16, 2013, 4:11pm  0 notes      

UPDATE 1-Egyptian pound falls on devaluation talk (Reuters) [*confusing about whether Egypt’s central bank has recourses or not.]
* Pound falls to 6.175/dlr, a near 8-year low
* Trading volume heavy; signs central bank selling dollars
* Analyst see rush for dollars lowering Dec FX reserve figure
* Analysts say c.bank’s policy options limited




“Definitely there is pressure on the pound,” said a dealer at a second bank. “If foreign reserves are much lower at the end of the month the central bank will have to lower the pound.”
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/12/27/257349.html
  • UPDATE 1-Egyptian pound falls on devaluation talk (Reuters) [*confusing about whether Egypt’s central bank has recourses or not.]
  • * Pound falls to 6.175/dlr, a near 8-year low
  • * Trading volume heavy; signs central bank selling dollars
  • * Analyst see rush for dollars lowering Dec FX reserve figure
  • * Analysts say c.bank’s policy options limited

“Definitely there is pressure on the pound,” said a dealer at a second bank. “If foreign reserves are much lower at the end of the month the central bank will have to lower the pound.”

http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/12/27/257349.html

▸ [Syrian rebels descending into disunity, targeting each other's looted items] Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, Guardian

"In the first month and a half the rebels were really a united revolutionary group," Abu Ismael said. "But now they are different. There are those who are here only to loot and make money, and some still fight." Did Abu Ismael’s unit loot? "Of course. How do you think we feed the men? Where do you think we get all our sugar, for example?"

In the chaotic economics of the war, everything has become a commodity. Abu Ismael’s unit, for example, took a supply of diesel from a school compound, and every day his unit exchanges a few jerrycans of the precious liquid for bread.

Because Abu Ismael has a supply of food and fuel his battalion is more desirable than others in the sector. Commanders who are unable to feed their men tend to lose them; they desert and join other groups.

Bullets are equally important. When military installations and warehouses are looted the battalion that captures ammunition grows by cannibalising smaller, less well-equipped units that have no bullets to hand.

In a dark apartment in the Salahuddin neighbourhood of Aleppo we sat with a group of commanders who were discussing the formation of a new brigade that would bring their various battalions together. They soon turned to the topic of loot.

One of the commanders present had led an operation into the predominantly Kurdish neighbourhood of Ashrafiya in Aleppo, but according to several fighters who were there the action failed when the army counterattacked because the rebel support units that were supposed to reinforce the front instead turned their attention to looting.

"I want to know exactly what you took that day," the commander of a small unit told the leader of the assault. The commander opened a notebook to write, while another man held a flashlight above his head. "As long as one fights while the others are busy collecting loot we can’t advance," he said. "The loot has to be divided equally."

The leader started to list the luxury cars and the weapons his units had found and taken, while the other commander wrote them down in the notebook. Some of the cars would be sold back to the owners – if they paid out a hefty ransom.

How to explain all this - is the issue to me. Though I expect the world and so called Syrian experts or Middle East experts - just really go as ‘That is the reality over there’.

Why can’t - do interviews on people - all or many people actually went through all this - and see how this ‘sectarianism’ - (or lack of ‘overall coordination capacity’) emerges and plays out - and sustains and solidifies? 

Should be doable. 



Dec 28, 2012, 2:24am  1 note      

▸ Edward Said: The Morning After, London Review of Books [Said's take on Oslo Accords]

- 21 October 1993

And this is by far, the most intense ‘thinking’ piece by Edward Said I read - encountered. It’s really intense.

And that means - I say - readers have to think and seek way forward as intense - and expansive as the author did.

At some points, I do feel it sounds like he is really writing to his fellow Palestinians.

Bu then reality is - I really just don’t witness anyone actually thinking this intensely and expansively. 

But that’s always the case about humans. Unfortunately.  

One big name. 

It arrives among us just to be quoted and tossed around. Always impossible to find real successors.

(I’m so genuinely sick of this pattern, but that’s always the case.) 

[…] one can already see in Palestine’s potential statehood the lineaments of a marriage between the chaos of Lebanon and the tyranny of Iraq.

If this isn’t to happen, a number of quite specific issues need to be addressed. One is the diaspora Palestinians, who originally brought Arafat and the PLO to power, kept them there, and are now relegated to permanent exile or refugee status. Since they comprise at least half of the total Palestinian population their needs and aspirations are not negligible. A small segment of the exile community is represented by the various political organisations ‘hosted’ by Syria. A significant number of independents (some of whom, like Shafik al-Hout and Mahmoud Darwish, resigned in protest from the PLO) still have an important role to play, not simply by applauding or condemning from the sidelines, but by advocating specific alterations in the PLO’s structure, trying to change the triumphalist ambience of the moment into something more appropriate, mobilising support and building an organisation from within the various Palestinian communities all over the world to continue the march towards self-determination. These communities have been singularly disaffected, leaderlees and indifferent since the Madrid process began.

One of the first tasks is a Palestinian census, which has to be regarded not just as a bureaucratic exercise but as the enfranchisement of Palestinians wherever they are. Israel, the US and the Arab states – all of them – have always opposed a census: it would give the Palestinians too high a profile in countries where they are supposed to be invisible, and before the Gulf War, it would have made it clear to varions Gulf governments how dependent they were on an inappropriately large, usually exploited ‘guest’ community. Above all, opposition to the census stemmed from the realisation that, were Palestinians to be counted all together, despite dispersion and dispossession, they would by that very exercise come close to constituting a nation rather than a mere collection of people.

[…]



Dec 21, 2012, 6:20pm  1 note      

 
“Islamists in the region await the outcome in Syria. They do not wish to bite off more than they can chew. If patience is the Islamist first principle, consolidation of gains is the second. Should Syria fall, Jordan could be next.”

This Is Not A Revolution, Hussein Agha and Robert Malley

I do hate, detest - the tone this piece is written with.

But - well, I just should find the paper handling the same content with much more regular IR expressions. 

Gotta be around already. 

December 10, 2012, 6:11pm  0 notes



"According to the FSA commander, Abu Hilal was an infamous member of the shabiha in Aleppo — ghosts in Arabic, the term given to Assad’s paramilitary forces. The rebels claimed that Hilal was notorious in Aleppo, claiming he’d murdered or assisted in the killing of six people and raping a female student at Aleppo’s university. I wanted to ask Hilal about this at the time, but he was so mentally damaged from torture that you could have told him the sky was yellow and he would have agreed. I made this picture as he began to cower when more rebels piled into the room to view their prize: a member of the regime’s hated shabiha. Later in the night, I was kicked awake and told to come outside. In the back of the dark compound, I saw a large flatbed truck. As I looked closer, I realized it was a massive truck bomb — maybe 400 kg or more, covered with recently clipped pine branches. I pondered the operation and couldn’t figure out how they were going to get the truck to their target, one of the last Syrian army checkpoints north of Aleppo. I suddenly realized the rebels’ plan — to make Hilal drive the truck to the checkpoint after convincing him he was going to be traded in a prisoner exchange. I have seen numerous people die in battle, in hospitals from wounds in combat. It can be sad and traumatic, but there is a certain contract that fighters understand in battle — you kill or be killed. For me, though, this was different. I was watching a premeditated murder by rebels I shared food with and laughed with. They were not Islamist boogeymen. They were real estate agents, accountants, students, defected soldiers and nurses. And now they were deceiving and murdering a man who had already surrendered. The rebels later returned to the compound with downcast eyes. The bomb had failed to detonate remotely and Assad’s forces had captured Hilal. I have never heard any accounts of what happened to him, though I imagine showing up to a regime checkpoint with a giant bomb is probably a surefire way to get executed. I am reminded by this about the nature of war — it’s ability to make decent people with a noble and just cause capable of absolutely terrible things, mutating them through pain and desperation.”
— Bryan Denton


But then, actual pushers, planners, architects of this war - is seeing further away.
In a way, beyond Syria.  
Thing is - the current world has no intellect or thought corresponding to that. 
I am kind of doubting it will. (I know few or some got it. Thinking about further from further away. As ‘Strategist’ - and few some others - as peacemaker.) 
But will see. 

"According to the FSA commander, Abu Hilal was an infamous member of the shabiha in Aleppo — ghosts in Arabic, the term given to Assad’s paramilitary forces. The rebels claimed that Hilal was notorious in Aleppo, claiming he’d murdered or assisted in the killing of six people and raping a female student at Aleppo’s university. I wanted to ask Hilal about this at the time, but he was so mentally damaged from torture that you could have told him the sky was yellow and he would have agreed. I made this picture as he began to cower when more rebels piled into the room to view their prize: a member of the regime’s hated shabiha

Later in the night, I was kicked awake and told to come outside. In the back of the dark compound, I saw a large flatbed truck. As I looked closer, I realized it was a massive truck bomb — maybe 400 kg or more, covered with recently clipped pine branches. I pondered the operation and couldn’t figure out how they were going to get the truck to their target, one of the last Syrian army checkpoints north of Aleppo. I suddenly realized the rebels’ plan — to make Hilal drive the truck to the checkpoint after convincing him he was going to be traded in a prisoner exchange. 

I have seen numerous people die in battle, in hospitals from wounds in combat. It can be sad and traumatic, but there is a certain contract that fighters understand in battle — you kill or be killed. For me, though, this was different. I was watching a premeditated murder by rebels I shared food with and laughed with. They were not Islamist boogeymen. They were real estate agents, accountants, students, defected soldiers and nurses. And now they were deceiving and murdering a man who had already surrendered. 

The rebels later returned to the compound with downcast eyes. The bomb had failed to detonate remotely and Assad’s forces had captured Hilal. I have never heard any accounts of what happened to him, though I imagine showing up to a regime checkpoint with a giant bomb is probably a surefire way to get executed. I am reminded by this about the nature of war — it’s ability to make decent people with a noble and just cause capable of absolutely terrible things, mutating them through pain and desperation.”

— Bryan Denton

But then, actual pushers, planners, architects of this war - is seeing further away.

In a way, beyond Syria.  

Thing is - the current world has no intellect or thought corresponding to that. 

I am kind of doubting it will. (I know few or some got it. Thinking about further from further away. As ‘Strategist’ - and few some others - as peacemaker.) 

But will see. 

 
“If someone from the U.S. government with expertise could go there and help guide the newly voted cabinet, Morsy would understand that a democracy is reliant upon that face that there is no “i” in “team.” Basically, a democracy runs by the voice and needs of the crowd not the pockets and selfishness of those standing at the podium.”
A Discussion on Political Issues in Modern Egypt, Ranna Abedal Raheem (glitter-maharani.tumblr.com)

December 09, 2012, 2:21pm  1 note