February 01, 2008
New Month Open Commentary
We passed a rather quiet December and January, but hopefully end and beginning year moments will pass.
On the Middle East and North Africa, well, what can we say? It strikes me that on economic and political fronts we are in a transitional moment. The economic balance, relatively favourable, is changing, and political - international - is somewhat frozen waiting for a new American administration. Perhaps, though, there is more movement than I feel.
Certainly the beginning of 2008 for the Mashreq feels, in terms of Iraq and Israel-Palestine like yet more of the stumbling on without any real movement.. Lebanon teeters still, giving lie to the naive and idiotic comparisons to the idealized analogies to the idealized vision of the Ukranian events.... The Gulf, ah, well that is another situ, but oil liquidity versus dollar depreciation remains a serious tension, and otherwise, petrol dollars dope otherwise uninteresting economies. Egypt, that requires another comment, the Maghreb, fragile movement, and Algeria behaving like the museum piece it is - it is sad when the Algerian regime makes Mubarek's look relatively competent and forward looking. But then hydrocarbon liquidity allowed them to get away with an utter fiasco of a privatization process whose main message was Caveat Emptor.
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I got offered a promotion the day I got back from India, which turned my life upside down for a brief period.
Posted by: Klaus at February 7, 2008 07:13 PM
Speaking of which, whatever happened to all those people who were buying up Iraqi dinars? Did The Lounsbury kill that entire movement off, or have they just stopped proselytizing?
Posted by: alle at February 8, 2008 05:23 PM
Oh, and eerie: congratulations!
Posted by: alle at February 8, 2008 05:23 PM
Congratulate me in a month if I haven't had a nervous breakdown.
Posted by: eerie at February 9, 2008 02:21 AM
The dinar fools are still around it seems. I just did a quick search and found that Board is still up. Looking at the threads I had in 2005 with them, I have the impression however many true believers have finally understood their fantasies are not going to happen.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at February 9, 2008 06:54 AM
Whole other topic, but I suddenly need to know...
Question 1: What is it called when you wear a turban wrapped around a fez, but not on top of it? Sunni religious figures in the Levant often do this. What's the history of that, and does it have a name? (Picture here, via Angry Arab.)
Question 2: is that what Yousuf al-Qaradawi is wearing? He has some sort of red cap wrapped in a very slim white turban, except his seems soft and very un-fez-like. (ill.)
Posted by: alle at February 11, 2008 02:23 AM
What does everyone think about the recent Archbishop of Canterbury sharia 'row'
I wonder when the BBC is going to stop calling everything a row.
Posted by: Ali K at February 11, 2008 10:07 AM
Everyone's favourite gal is shopping around again for a new country to pay for her security. Perhaps Sarko will be magnanimous? And how much do you want to bet Bernard-Henri Levy is part of the campaign to give her French citizenship?
Posted by: SP at February 11, 2008 11:14 AM
Why isn't she seeking American citizenship, if she's planning to stay in the US?
Posted by: alle at February 11, 2008 11:45 AM
Well, she got US permanent residency, and adapted quite nicely to Americanism, using "we" for Americans and ranting about the wrong sorts of immigrants. But then the Dutch govt (horrible, pandering, multicultural nanny state!) wouldn't pay for her security after a year in the US and after she got the green card. So now she's going back to namby-pamby nanny state-land.
Posted by: SP at February 11, 2008 11:51 AM
Hey, I'm still curious on what basis she got the green card - am willing to pay a virtual bounty to anyone who can find the details.
BTW if she remains outside the U.S. for a year, the presumption is that she has abandones her U.S. permanent residency. So wherever will she go?
P.S. There is a 5-year waiting period in most cases as a permanent resident before one iseligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, so that won't be an option for quite some time.
Posted by: Eva Luna at February 11, 2008 01:01 PM
alle: as for the imama with a fez and turban, I don't know what they term in the arab world, but I know the history belongs to the fez reform during the later Ottoman period, when Mahmud II thought that bringing in a fez would universalize an 'Ottoman' (Osmanli) identity, to supersede the seperate religious community identities. Although the reform was resisted at first, eventually the 'ulema and religious conservatives accepted the reform, and the fez became popular.
Interestingly, Ataturk banned the wearing of the fez, and the only people who can wear it now in Turkey are the imams and ulema, and only while they're in their official function. See Jeffrey Seal's "A fez of the heart"
Posted by: dawud at February 11, 2008 06:17 PM
Sigh. People are so predictable:
Posted by: SP at February 12, 2008 08:53 AM
Popcorn-philosophe BHL isn't the only one. That self-hating peasant, minister Fadela Amara, also joined the AHA grouppies bandwagon.
Dawud -- Thanks! But do you have any clue how they came up with the idea to wrap it inside a turban? They all do it the same way, too, so somewhere there must be a style manual for Levantine Sunni sheikhs where this is explained.
Eva L -- Thanks, also. But what state would be a good place to apply for citizenship in? I mean, where could she be granted one quickly, just because she wants and needs it? I suppose if she really wants to, there's always Israel, and Iceland was quick to hand citizenship to Bobby Fischer when he was on the run. But if she won't convert and can't play chess?
Posted by: alle at February 13, 2008 12:36 AM
SP: BHL is gleeful and obviously unhinged:
L’islam, pas plus que les autres religions, n’est une prison, c’est une option et, de même qu’il est possible d’y entrer, il doit être possible d’en sortir : voilà le message que, au-delà même de la France, vous enverriez à toutes les jeunes Européennes qui vivent leur incroyance dans la honte, le non-dit, le double discours, la terreur ; voilà le message d’espérance que vous adresseriez à celles qui, dans les banlieues des villes d’Europe, n’ont ni la science, ni les moyens, ni la combativité d’Ayaan Hirsi Ali et n’ont d’autre recours, parfois, que la défenestration et la mort.
Check that again: is he actually saying, or just implying, that kids from the banlieue are waiting for Ayaan Hirsi Ali to rescue them from Islam, or else they have nothing else to do but (I guess it's supposed to be religious mandated, in BHL's 'Islam') rape and murder? This is seriously warped and racist trash, coming from someone who's held to be a liberal...
makes me think of several other articles recently: Giuliani's advisor, John Deady (a former military intelligence officer, member of Veterans for Giuliani) who was quoted saying (I paraphrase): 'Only Rudy can defeat the muslims... we haven't seen this in a thousand years... we need to chase them back to their caves, or in other words, get rid of them.' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eu_79X9HTPQ
not that that's too far from what was said by other Republicans at the South Carolina debate hosted by Fox - not really interested in giving a link to their material, but the highlights have Mc Cain saying 'I don't want to travel with al-Qaeda, they only want one-way tickets. I don't want to trade with al-Qaeda, they only trade in burqas.' and other similarly enlightened comments.
On a lighter note, Jon Stewart had a funny (no, really) discussion on torture and American policy yesterday:
Posted by: dawud at February 13, 2008 12:52 AM
If I'm allowed to change the subject again, Imad Mughniyyeh was just assassinated in Damascus. He's been on most-wanted lists in the US and Israel for years, as Hizbullah's/Iran's top terrorist, responsible for the anti-Jewish bombings in Argentina, various hijackings and kidnappings etc. It's pretty big, and a huge embarrassment to the Syrian regime that he was blown up in Damascus. Both because they're denying support for Hizbullah and terrorist groups, on the one hand, and because it makes a mockery of their security.
Hizbullah's martyr note here, in Arabic. Will be very interesting to see if they try to retaliate, considering the tense situation in Lebanon, the post-2006 arrangements with Israel and the UN, and the tense situation between Israel and Syria this last year.
Posted by: alle at February 13, 2008 04:46 AM
Dawud -- I think BHL is talking about AHA saving Muslim girls who would otherwise face honor killings etc. Not that that is a whole lot better, but a little bit.
Posted by: alle at February 13, 2008 05:01 AM
Dawud, I'd translate that section as saying that AHA offers an example for those young Muslim European women (and he does explicitly focus on 'saving oppressed women') who must otherwise live their unbelief in shame and fear, hide it, live a double life or don't ask/don't tell, and who don't have the knowledge or the fight in them that AHA does, and who wouldn't otherwise have an option besides death or defenestration. Bit melodramatic, isn't he?
Posted by: SP at February 13, 2008 07:35 AM
EL, this suggests she got refugee status:
Posted by: SP at February 13, 2008 08:56 AM
this suggests she got refugee status
I think I feel nauseous.
there's always Israel...But if she won't convert...?
She might have a hard time even if she did convert - it seems that those who undergo non-Orthodox conversions to Judaism are seprate, but unequal.
Posted by: Eva Luna at February 13, 2008 11:51 AM
She wasnt here long enough to get green card via refugee status, and have on good inferential authority she probably got permanent residence as alien of exceptional or extraordinary ability (Emp-2 or whatever).
Posted by: matthew hogan at February 13, 2008 12:44 PM
Extraordinary ability in exactly what, one wonders? Manipulating reality to suit her own personal advancement?
As previously discussed here, I have no problem with people fudging facts a bit if they are geniunely fleeing persecution, but the evidence doesn't suggest that that's what's going on here.
And yeah, she would need to be granted asylum and then have lived in the U.S. after that grant for at least a year before green card eligibility, and even then the processing takes a while, so it must have been employment-based. I think it would have to have been EB-2 (extraordinary ability, or people with grad degrees and/or at least 5 years' related professional experience plus a bachelor's degree); Eb-3 (the next category down, for jobs requiring a bachelor's degree or the equivalent) is quite backlogged, and has been for quite a while now. But lucky for her, she isn't Indian or Chinese.
Posted by: Eva Luna at February 13, 2008 01:01 PM
I read somewhere that AHA boasted that Condi herself had got her the green card.
Posted by: SP at February 13, 2008 02:46 PM
I think what disgusts me most in BHL's speech is the implication that only choosing disbelief is really an act of will, the use of the phrase 'neither whores nor submissives' (and I know the feminist coalition who uses that title, people I may disagree with but who have more courage than BHL) - and the basic denial of agency to muslim women.
Time and time again, I've heard from liberals and concerned Jewish friends, this view that muslim women are being oppressed and that an Irshad Manji or Ayaan Hirsi Ali is needed to defend them. I agree with the sociological analysis of an Irshad, and am fully cognizant and concerned with the oppression and tribalism within the muslim community, but to think that muslim women are silent about this, or that they would all agree that it is their faith, culture, and family at fault - as opposed to some bigoted idiots who can't handle losing power that they had in the village and fear seeing their daughters rebel - well, why can't people just speak to muslim women and listen to what they have to say?
Groups like an-Nisaa in the UK, Shaykh Halima Krausen, or feminist speakers and writers such as Ingrid Matson or Maliha Chishti - or scholars like Shaykh Abdullah Adhami who write on the topic of men and women in Islam, as well as Shariah in the West, often... [I'd point to this lecture at the 2005 Isna convention hosted on Shaykh Adhami's webpage: http://www.sakeenah.org/lr_lectures.php?page=2& ]
Posted by: dawud at February 14, 2008 01:15 AM
the use of the phrase 'neither whores nor submissives' (and I know the feminist coalition who uses that title, people I may disagree with but who have more courage than BHL)
Right, they have the same courage AHA, Wafa Sultan and Irshad Manjis have. In fact its founder, Fadela Amara, belongs very much to this league. She's less calculating than AHA, have grosser manners, etc., but she's so much of a self-loathing worm that she capitalized on it and became a media darling before being rewarded with a ministry. There are other feminist organizations out there, big and active too, and which actually deserve the term "courage" (e.g. chiennes de garde). But they don't get the same exposure since their main job is not to capitalize on shooting indiscriminately at arab-sexist-males and submitted-veiled-women for white audiences.
I read somewhere that AHA boasted that Condi herself had got her the green card.
On further thought, she could have gotten a National Interest Waiver. A halfway decent creative writer could have made the argument that battling Islamofascism was in the national interest, and a letter ont he subject from Condi certainly wouldn't have hurt in that regard. That green card category is not usually backlogged except for natives of China and India.
Posted by: Eva Luna at February 15, 2008 01:00 PM