Greater Middle East

Islamic feminists call for "gender jihad"

Organizers of the First International Congress on Islamic Feminism, now underway in Barcelona, are calling for a "gender jihad." Organizer Abdennur Prado Pavon of the Catalan Islamic board says the struggle for gender equality in Islamic countries involves refuting chauvinist interpretations of Muslim teachings. Prado says the conference hopes to refute the common conception in the West is that women's liberation is not possible in Muslim societies.

Stand-off in Bekaa Valley

The Lebanese army has besieged military positions run by the People's Front for Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), including a network of tunnels dug in the mountains in Sultan Yaqoub (Jacob) area in the eastern Bekaa Valley. Lebanese authorities are demanding the PFLP-GC hand over persons who allegedly opened fire on a government survey team in the valley Oct. 25, killing one. The PFLP-GC denies involvement. (Arabic News, Oct. 27) There are also reports that the Bekaa compound of the group Palestinian Fatah-Intifada has also been surrounded. (Arab Monitor, Oct. 26)

The left's "al-Qaeda problem"

Heavens to Murgatroid! Nuance in the pages of a contemporary left publication! Sasha Abramsky shows in the October issue of The Progressive that it is still, at least, possible. We at WW4 Report do have misgivings about some of what is stated here—for instance, his call for increasing emergency preparedness at nuclear and chemical plants, even with greater public participation, could become just another brick in the fast-consolidating wall of the new security state. But we thoroughly share his sense of alienation from the current self-deluded consensus on the left—while also recognizing the danger of following Christopher Hitchens into the pro-war camp in reaction. This one is worth a read.

Turkish women blast US envoy

The Washington Post reports Sept. 29 that a group of Turkish women's rights activists confronted Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes with harsh criticisms of the US-led invasion of Iraq, turning a session designed to highlight the empowering of women into a raw display of the anger at Washington's policy in the region.

Next: Free Zazaistan?

A reference in a recent post on ethnic politics in eastern Anatolia to "the two Kurdish dialects of zaza and kurmanci" prompted the following letter from a reader, which we produce verbatim:

Zaza(Sassaniden)'s are not Kurds and not Turks

We fight for our liberty !
We fight against Turkish and Kurdish Fascism !
We fight against Turkish and Kurdish SS !

thes artickle is not correckt:

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.

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