Greater Middle East

Kurds clash with Turkish police, one dead

One man was killed and five officers were injured during clashes between Kurdish protesters and police in southeastern Turkish city of Batman Aug. 29. The violence flared after some 1,000 Kurds marched to demand the release of the bodies of six men accused of being Kurdish separatist guerillas killed in fighting with Turkish military last week. The fighting comes despite a unilateral ceasefire announced by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) 10 days ago.

Egyptian security forces hunt Bedouin militants in Sinai

A Reuters report Aug. 18 depicts the situation in the Sinai Peninsula escalating to a small counter-insurgency war between Egyptian security forces and Bedouin Islamic militants. A landmine damaged an Egyptian police vehicle in northern Sinai Aug. 27, injuring a police colonel and a civilian Bdouin tracker helping police hunt down the group suspected of seven bombings in the area. It was the third such blast in Sinai since police last week launched a large-scale search operation for the group, believed to be Sinai Bedouin.

PKK ceasefire in Turkey; new attacks in Iran

The Economist writes in its Aug. 18-25 issue that last week, in a landmark speech in Diyarbakir, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish leader ever to admit that Turkey had mishandled the Kurdish rebellion in the country's east. Like all great nations, declared Erdogan, Turkey needed to face up to its past. He added that more democracy, not more repression, was the answer to the Kurds' longstanding grievances.

Salman Rushdie calls for "Islamic Reformation"

In a London Times opinion piece Aug. 11, "Muslims unite! A new Reformation will bring your faith into the modern era," author Salman Rushdie begins by applauding Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain, for admitting that "our own children" had perpetrated the 7-7 London bombings. Rushdie writes "it was the first time in my memory that a British Muslim had accepted his community's responsibility for outrages committed by its members. Instead of blaming US foreign policy or 'Islamophobia', Sacranie described the bombings as a 'profound challenge' for the Muslim community." But Rushdie notes that this is the same Sacranie who, in 1989, said that "Death is perhaps too easy" for the author of The Satanic Verses (i.e. Rushdie, then facing a fatwa ordering his assassination by Iranian mullahs). Rushdie protests Tony Blair's decision to knight Sacranie and treat him as the acceptable face of "moderate" Islam, calling the move "either a sign of his Government's penchant for religious appeasement or a demonstration of how limited Mr Blair's options really are."

Turkish intolerance fuels PKK resurgence

Turkey's Kurdish separatist guerillas, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), officially ended a five-year truce in June, and eastern Turkey has since seen a series of bombings and skirmishes. Most recently, five Turkish soldiers died after a bomb blast ripped through a busy street in the town of Semdinli, Hakkari province, near the border with Iran and Iraq, on Aug. 5. (Turkish Weekly, Aug. 6)

Beirut Jane distorts her history

Jane Fonda, AKA Hanoi Jane, AKA Beirut Jane is back in the news. She has chosen a rather uncontroversial moment to oppose the Iraq war, doing a bus tour with Iraq veterans' families. According to the BBC,

Al-Qaeda: real grievances, wrong answers

An extremely insightful commentary on al-Qaeda and the new terror wave from Al-Jazeera. Soumayya Ghannoushi cuts through the propaganda that the attacks are unrelated to Iraq or any other legitimate grievances—without loaning the slightest degree of legitimacy to either criminal tactics or totalitarian ideology. However, we take issue with the comparison to 19th-century anarchists and post-1960s leftist urban guerillas—who, even in their most misguided bomb-throwing phases, never contemplated anything as grandiose as the serial acts of mass murder attributed to some entity known as "al-Qaeda."

Islam and terror: two Muslim views

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) runs a July 13 piece from the Florida Times-Union, "Muslim Leaders Condemning Terror to Deaf?" in which columnist Mark Woods speaks to CAIR's new chairman Parvez Ahmed and finds that such Muslim condemnations are in fact widespread—but never seem to be sufficient:

Syndicate content