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Hussain Haqqani admits facilitation of CIA operatives in Pakistan With Asif Zardari’s Co-Operation

Hussain Haqqani admits facilitation of CIA operatives in Pakistan With Asif Zardari’s Co-Operation

WASHINGTON – Former Pakistani ambassador to Washington Hussain Haqqani has admitted that he helped the United States to station a large number of CIA operatives in Pakistan with the authorization of the then civilian government.

Haqqani, who had served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the US from Apr 2008 to Nov 2011 before being ousted in the purview of memo

 

gate scandal made the disclosure in his piece published in The Washington Post on Friday.

‘Among the security establishment’s grievances against me was the charge that I had facilitated the presence of large numbers of CIA operatives who helped track down bin Laden without the knowledge of Pakistan’s army — even though I had acted under the authorization of Pakistan’s elected civilian leaders’ he wrote in his article.

‘The relationships I forged with members of Obama’s campaign team led to closer cooperation between Pakistan and the United States in fighting terrorism over the 31/2 years I served as ambassador’ said Haqqani.

He expressed that these connections eventually enabled the United States to discover and eliminate bin Laden without depending on Pakistan’s intelligence service or military, which were suspected of sympathy toward Islamist militants.

“Friends I made from the Obama campaign were able to ask, three years later, as National Security Council officials, for help in stationing U.S. Special Operations and intelligence personnel on the ground in Pakistan. I brought the request directly to Pakistan’s civilian leaders, who approved,” he added.

Haqqani expressed that from Obama’s public positions and from his meetings with his aides, it was clear that a democratic, civilian government in Pakistan could join with him to help attain his objectives in Afghanistan in exchange for support of consolidation of democracy with greater U.S. economic assistance.

‘I sent this message to my bosses in Islamabad and told Obama’s campaign team that we would be willing to play ball. Once Obama took office, this is exactly what happened: Civilian aid to Pakistan was enhanced to record levels in an effort to secure greater cooperation in defeating the Taliban’ he stated in his article.

The former ambassador claimed that Pakistan was not apprised of the operation ‘Neptune Spear’ which led to the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

‘Although the United States kept us officially out of the loop about the operation, these locally stationed Americans proved invaluable when Obama decided to send in Navy SEAL Team 6 without notifying Pakistan,’ he said.

Haqqani, who is labeled as a controversial personality in Pakistan went on and expressed that unfortunately, the United States did not attain victory in Afghanistan, and the Pakistani government’s behavior toward militant Islamists did not change on a permanent basis but for the period he was in office, the two nations worked jointly toward their common goals — the essence of diplomacy.

The former Pakistani envoy said that he was forced to resign as ambassador after Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus gained the upper hand in the country’s perennial power struggle.

 

 

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Asia’s quiet superpower: Pakistan Army’s teetering balance between Saudi and Iran by Kamal Alam

Courtesy Middle East Eye

With a Pakistani general leading a Saudi-led terror-fighting force, Islamabad has the chance once again to be the region’s final guarantor

When one thinks of the Pakistan Army, one does not instinctively think of a force that is relevant to conflicts in the Middle East. Yet increasingly – and without actually being involved in any operations – it is the most influential military in the region. 

Who will lead the Islamic NATO, a new Saudi-led, terrorist-fighting military alliance? None other than Pakistan’s General Raheel Sharif

It has trained more Arab armies than any other country and has been present both in a combat role in the Arab-Israeli wars in 1967 and 1973 and also provided mentorship as the Gulf countries’ armies were founded.

This is mostly thanks to the legacy of the British Indian Army, which was one-third Muslim, and which the British relied on to pacify the hostility of Arab Muslims when it marched through Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad. After India’s partition in 1947, these troops became the founders of the Pakistan military and thus began a long relationship that exists to this day.

The British Indian Army enter Baghdad in 1917 with Lt Gen Federick Stanley Maude (Wikicommons)

After the fall of Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi army, and Iran’s rising influence across the Middle East, the Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, have looked to Pakistan as the final guarantor.

When the current Pakistan Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Bajwa recently stated that Pakistan views Saudi Arabia’s protection as its own, it was seen as an indirect warning to Iran and the terrorist groups threatening Saudi Arabia.

And who will lead the “Islamic NATO”, a new Saudi-led, terrorist-fighting military alliance? None other than Pakistan’s General Raheel Sharif.

Surprise announcements

Though it was rumoured for a good year before his retirement, when Defence Minister Khwaja Asif confirmed Sharif’s appointment to the “Muslim NATO” a few weeks ago, it came as a surprise to the Pakistani parliament in much the same way as the announcement two years ago that Pakistan was to participate in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

There was a furore in the GCC when, after the surprise announcement, the Pakistani military eventually refused the role in Yemen in 2015. The UAE even canceled visa waivers for Pakistani military officials, a process that had existed for decades, while leading Kuwait and Saudi state-owned media attacked Pakistan and how it had back-stabbed its “brothers” in the Gulf.

In June 2014, Pakistan army soldiers gather before the start of a military operation against the Taliban in the main town of Miranshah in North Waziristan (AFP)

Pakistan itself has split down the middle over Yemen. The majority of the military was apparently in favour of the army’s participation. However, given Operation Zarb e Azb, in which the army was targeting cross-border violence and domestic terrorist groups on the Afghan border in North Waziristan, the military was overstretched fighting its own war on terror.

Ultimately, Pakistan did not take part in Yemen with troops on the ground but did provide border support to guard Saudi sovereignty and offer advice during the air campaign.

However, two years down the line, with Pakistan military’s operations winding down in the northwest of its country, there is increased stability within the army and, tactically speaking, troops are now available. So the question of a more active role for Pakistan in Yemen may arise again. 

One of the main reasons Saudi Arabia is going back to Pakistan for help, despite its previous refusal in Yemen, is that Pakistan and General Raheel Sharif himself warned that ground operations in Yemen were futile given the terrain, and proximity to the sea making impractical the use of the hammer and anvil tactic – and they were proven right.

While Pakistan will definitely not put troops in Yemen (Sharif has made that clear), the army can help by mediating conflict resolution mechanisms it used with success in Waziristan and Swat Valley. 

The obvious choice

General Raheel Sharif is an obvious choice for the Muslim NATO role given his tremendous popularity in the Arab world particularly in Saudi.

For decades, the Saudis and other Gulf royals have treated the Pakistan Army and its chief as special guests

As army chief, he has made six official visits to Saudi Arabia, brought the Qataris into Pakistan’s military orbit and put the Egyptian-Pakistan relationship back on track by becoming the first Pakistani in his position to visit Cairo in over two decades. In 2014, Sharif was the only non-head of state present at the GCC military exercise, Abdullah’s Shield.

There are also close historic ties between Saudi and Pakistan that make Sharif an easy choice. For decades, the Saudis and other Gulf royals have treated the Pakistan Army and its chief as special guests; there has been a talk of Pakistan providing a nuclear umbrella against Iran, and a potential hammer if one were needed to protect the GCC.

Indeed in Bahrain, Iran and several international organisations accused Pakistan of supporting the suppression of protestors at the behest of the Saudis.

When the Saudi embassy was attacked by a mob in Tehran last year after the execution of a prominent Shia cleric, Sharif undertook a three-day diplomatic initiative that led him first to Saudi and then to Iran to mediate between the two countries and calm fears of an escalation given already fraught relations over the Syrian and Yemen conflicts.

An Iranian protester holds a sign bearing the name of Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr during a protest against his execution by Saudi authorities on 3 January 2016, outside the Saudi embassy in Tehran (AFP)

There were also unconfirmed reports bordering on fake news that Pakistan had threatened to nuke Iran if it dared to attack Saudi Arabia.  

At this moment, there are 158 Saudi military cadets in the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad, a record of any overseas force in any military academy in the world. There is also another historic first for the Pakistan Army: it has become the first Muslim country to have a permanent instructor at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. The instructor, Major Uqbah Malik, is a platoon commander with several Arab cadets under his command along with British cadets. 

For the last two years, the chief guests at the Pakistan Air Force’s Academy in Risalpur have been the heads of the Iraqi and Saudi defence forces. There were a dozen Iraqi cadets last year and more this year.

Similarly, in Damascus, Pakistan sent one of its top air force generals as ambassador to smooth tensions and act as a back-door mediator between Saudi Arabia and Syria.

Sharif’s successor, current army chief Qamar Bajwa’s first official overseas trip was a recent three-day visit to Saudi Arabia. It was no coincidence that Sharif was also in Saudi at the same time performing his Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage at the invitation of the Saudi king. There were also many videos shared over social media of Raheel Sharif being mobbed as a hero as Saudi Special Forces guarded him.

 

Iran-Saudi mediator?

Along with its vast military resources, deployed over the last decades to fight on behalf of various Arab states and its role as the largest trainer of Arab armies, Pakistan’s role as a peacemaker between several warring capitals has been crucial.

In fact, the UN Centre of Excellence on COIN and peacekeeping is in Islamabad, where the Pakistan army trains other armies from around the world on how to do conflict resolution in war time.

Sharif has made it clear he will only carry on in his current job if Iran is included in the military alliance so it does not just become a Sunni alliance

Could Pakistan play such a role in mediating between Saudi and Iran?

Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran of 1979, Pakistan has drifted away from Tehran and has been seen as too close to the Saudis to be an honest peace broker between Riyadh and Tehran.

Two decades ago, Pakistan’s army played a leading role in mediating an end to the Iraq-Iran war, something the late Iranian president Rafsanjani specifically appreciated.

While for some, Sharif’s appointment has been seen as a message to Iran that Pakistan is abandoning its neutral role between the two countries, it would seem that an opportunity has again presented the Pakistan military to take a lead. Sharif has made it clear he will only carry on in his role as head of the military alliance if Iran is included so it does not just become a Sunni front.

Then Pakistan Army Chief of Staff General Raheel Sharif arrives for a visit in Sri Lanka in June 2015 (AFP)

Notably, the Pakistan army is the only non-sectarian army in the Muslim world – it has had Shia Hazara chief of staffs, Sunnis, and several Christian generals. Given this, Pakistan is well-positioned to balance Iran and Saudi Arabia’s tensions.

There are potential opportunities and problems for Pakistan here. If it is not careful and is seen as being too close to Saudi, it could further exacerbate its fragile domestic sectarian balance and make trouble for Pakistan domestically.

But if the new alliance holds, Pakistan stands to benefit greatly, especially with the Turkish support of the country.

– Kamal Alam is a Visiting Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He specialises in the contemporary military history of the Arab world and Pakistan, he is a Fellow for Syrian Affairs at The Institute for Statecraft and is a visiting lecturer at several military staff colleges across the Middle East, Pakistan and the UK.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Photo: In January 2016, then Pakistan’s army chief General Raheel Sharif (R) meets with Deputy Crown Prince and Saudi Minister of Defence Mohammed bin Salman in Rawalpindi, Pakistan (AFP)

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Rejoinder to Dr. Subhash Kapila by Brig,(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Rejoinder to Dr. Subhash Kapila

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

Dr. Subhash Kapila has written an article in Eurasia Review the theme of which is,Afghanistan cannot be abandoned to China-Pakistan-Russia Troika. A highly melancholic and distressful picture has been painted by the writer in a bid to remind Donald Trump Administration that Afghanistan is slipping out of the hands of the US and unless urgent and immediate measures are taken to forestall the impending strategic loss, Afghanistan would be lost for good which will have grave consequences for the sole super power. A persuasive wake-up call has been given to inviting Trump to act before it is too late.

 

 

 

 

Subhash malevolently suggests that China-Pakistan axis now complemented by Russia will overturn the stability of the region. He has rung alarm bells that amidst the din of US Presidential election, Afghanistan has seemingly disappeared from the radar screen of USA and the Troika has fully exploited the vacuum to exploit it to its own advantage and to the disadvantage of Washington.

 

 

 

He sprinkles salt on the emotive feelings of USA by lamenting that the US huge investment and loss of lives of thousands of American soldiers have all gone waste owing to double dealing of Pakistan which the US has been claiming to be its strategic ally. He warned the new US policy makers that the Troika is fully poised to seize the strategic turf of Afghanistan and thus deprive the USA of its influence in Central Asia and Southwest Asia.

One may ask Subhash as to why no concern was shown by him or any Indian writer when the Troika of USA-India-Afghanistan assisted by UK and Israel was formed in 2002 to target Pakistan. The Troika that has caused excessive pain and anguish to Pakistan and its people is still active. All these years, Pakistan was maliciously maligned, ridiculed and discredited and mercilessly bled without any remorse. The objective of the Troika and its supporters was to create chaos and destabilize the whole region which was peaceful till 9/11.

India was in the lead to destabilize, de-Islamize, denuclearize and fragment Pakistan.

The US installed puppet regimes of Hamid Karzai and Ashraf Ghani wholly under the perverse influence of India played a lead role in bleeding Pakistan by allowing so many hostile agencies to use Afghan soil for the accomplishment of their ominous designs.

The vilest sin of the so-called allies of Pakistan was its pretension of friendship and continuously stabbing Pakistan in the guise of friends. Worst was that Pakistan was distrusted and asked to do more against the terrorists funded, trained and equipped by the Troika and was humiliated by saying that it was either incompetent or an accomplice.

Driven by the desire to become the unchallenged policeman of the region and a bulwark against China, India assisted by its strategic allies has been constantly weaving webs of intrigue and subversion and striving hard to encircle and isolate Pakistan.

Proxy wars were ignited in FATA, Baluchistan, and Karachi to politically destabilize Pakistan, weaken its economy and pin down a sizeable size of Army within the three conflict zones so as to create conducive conditions for launching India’s much trumped up Cold Start Doctrine and destroy Pakistan’s armed forces.

India’s national security adviser has admitted that Pakistan has been subjected to his defensive-offensive doctrine to dislocate it through covert war. India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh has vowed to break Pakistan into ten pieces. Modi has openly admitted that he has established direct links with anti-Pakistan elements in Baluchistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir. He confessed India’s central role in creating Bangladesh in 1971 and has often stated that pain will be caused to Pakistan. This is done by way of acts of terror against innocent civilians including school children, resorting to unprovoked firing across the LoC in Kashmir, and resorting to water terrorism. Pakistan has been repeatedly warned to lay its hands off Kashmir or else lose Baluchistan.

Pakistan has miraculously survived the onslaughts of the Troika and has stunned the world by controlling foreign supported terrorism after recapturing 19 administrative units from the TTP and its allied groups and up sticking all the bases in the northwest, breaking the back of separatist movement in Baluchistan and restoring order in lawless Karachi by dismantling the militant infrastructure of MQM and banned groups. Army, Rangers and Frontier Corps assisted by air force have achieved this miracle of re-establishing writ of the State in all parts of the country. Eighty-five of terrorism has been controlled.

Random terror attacks are now wholly planned and executed from Kunar and Nangarhar in Afghanistan under the patronage of RAW ad NDS and supervised by CIA.

Consequent to the new wave of terrorism last month, Operation Rad-e-Fasaad has been launched as a follow-up of Operation Zarb-e-Azb to net facilitators, handlers, and financiers of terrorists and to demolish sleeping cells in urban centres. The scope of this operation has been extended to all parts of the country, and all the three services are taking part in it to cleanse Pakistan from the presence of paid mercenaries and fifth columnists.

Implementation of 20 points of National Action Plan is being religiously expedited to eliminate the scourge of terrorism. Afghan refugees are being returned and management of western border radically improved to prevent infiltration of terrorists.

Terrorism can however not be rooted out unless root causes that heighten extremism are addressed, and the bases in Afghanistan, as well as the patrons stoking terrorism, remain operative.

Pakistan has overcome energy crisis, considerably improved its macroeconomics and its stature in the world. Operationalization of CPEC, hosting of ECO meeting and holding of PSL cricket finals in Lahore have broken the myth of isolation.

Pakistan has made its defense impregnable by raising the level of minimum nuclear deterrence to full spectrum deterrence. Robust conventional and nuclear capability together with stable political and economic conditions have thwarted India’s desire to attack Pakistan overtly.

India and its strategic allies have been stopped in their tracks and left with no choice but to contend with covert war supplemented with propaganda war and coercive tactics to give vent to their pent-up anger.

India which is the chief villain of peace is deeply perturbed and is shedding tears over its failures and loss of billions spent on proxies to detach FATA, Baluchistan, Karachi and AJK from Pakistan, or to disable Pakistan’s nuclear program. The rapid progress made by CPEC has made the deadly Troika more rancorous.

Finding that its nasty game plan has run into snags with little chance of recovery, and above all Afghanistan is slithering away because of a resurgence of Taliban and ostensible insouciance of Washington, India is once again making efforts to provoke Trump and ruffle his feathers, the way it had efficaciously prevailed upon George Bush and Obama. It is now working on a new theme of demonizing so-called Troika of China-Russia-Pakistan, which is so far not in existence and is an illusion. Subhash is among the propaganda brigade selling this illusory theme and is suggesting that the so-called Troika have hegemonic and military designs against Afghanistan.

CPEC is an economic venture aimed at promoting peace and friend socalled Troika have hegemony in the region as a whole. It promises goodwill, harmony, and mutual prosperity through connectivity. Both China and Pakistan shun war mongering, proxy wars and psy operations to disparage others. The duo is bereft of colonial or quasi-colonial designs against any country. Since its memo is altogether different from the imperialist agenda of Indo-US-Israel, it threatens to unravel the global ambitions of the trio.

Whereas Afghanistan has not accepted the British demarcated Durand Line as a border with Pakistan and has been supportive of Pakhtunistan stunt, Pakistan has no disputes with Afghanistan and has always treated it as a brotherly Muslim neighbor.

Repeated invitations to India and Afghanistan to join CPEC and reap its benefits have been turned down. Both are complacent that CPEC will be a non-starter without an inclusion of peaceful Afghanistan, ignoring the fact that they are getting isolated. Moreover, a new route from Kazakhstan via Wakhan corridor is in pipeline which will bypass Afghanistan.

While China and Pakistan have jointly embarked upon the journey of peace and friendship and are attracting many countries, Russia is still hesitant and has so far not formally joined the bandwagon of CPEC which has great potential and has grandiose plans to link South Asia with Central Asia, Middle East, and Africa and eventually Europe.

Russia’s hesitation is owing to the fear of losing defence and economic markets in India. However, seeing the bright scope of CPEC and motivated by its age-old quest for warm waters, Russia will sooner than later abandon India because of Indo-US military agreements and gravitate towards CPEC. Recent developments have given a loud message to India that Russia is tilting towards Pakistan.

One of the reasons of Russia’s tilt is worsening security situation in Afghanistan which has turned into a big mess and is beyond the capacity of USA and Ghani regime to sort it out. Growing presence of Daesh in Afghanistan has alarmed Moscow since the declared objective of this branch of Daesh is to re-establish ancient Khorasan, which comprised of parts of Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The runaway TTP leaders Fazlullah, Khalid Omar and several others have tagged their names with Khorasani and have made Kunar-Nuristan as the base camp for the making of Khorasan.

Russia knows that CIA, Mossad, and RAW are secretly aligned with Daesh and are killing two birds with one stone. The threat of Daesh has impelled Russia to evince greater interest in Afghan affairs and there are reports that it is supplying arms to the Taliban to enable them to tackle the new threat. Some are saying, that Moscow might intervene in Afghanistan the way it had intervened in Syria on the pretext of grappling with Daesh.

If so, it might trigger a proxy war between the two big powers which will prolong the agony of people of Afghanistan as well as of Pakistan because of the spillover effect. This is exactly what India wants so as to retain its nuisance value in Afghanistan.

Will Trump get enticed and blindly jump into the same inferno from which Obama had extracted 1, 30,000 troops in December 2014 with great difficulty, and lose whatever prestige the US is left with by reinforcing failure?

Or else, he will stick to his policy of curtailing defence expenditure and pull out the 12000 strong Resolute Support Group and stop paying $8.1 billion annually to the corrupt regime in Kabul and inept Afghan security forces?

Or he takes a saner decision by making USA part of Russia-China-Pakistan grouping to arrive at a political settlement in Afghanistan and also opt to join CPEC and improve the economy of USA?

Making a realistic appraisal of the ground situation, the last option seems more viable and profitable for the USA, while the second option is dicey, and the first option will spell disaster.

The writer is retired Brig, a war veteran, defence analyst, columnist, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, DG Measac Research Centre and Member Executive Council Ex-Servicemen Society. Takes part in TV programs. asifharoonraja@gmail.com       

 

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Trump -The Enigma By Peter Koenig March 05, 2017

But will the world’s fear of “Madman Trump” lead every one of the world’s 196 nations to surrender to the USA and allow its psychotic leader to don the purple robes and anoint himself World Emperor? As the British Parliament just said in response to Trump’s request to speak there: “Not bloody likely.” ~Veterans Today

Trump -The Enigma

 

He also seeks truth by telling truth; that Obama and Hillary created ISIS and the CIA created Al Qaeda, that 9/11 was not the way the Nine-Eleven Commission says it was, and that the Government lies about statistics. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation figures are much higher than those published by the various US statistical officesHe loves BREXIT, congratulating Teresa May for it, and joyfully predicts the end of the European Union and of the Euro. It would be a good thing for the world. But does he mean what he says? – As a megalo, he loves to be an Enigma.

The non- intervention policy – as candidate Trump he said he would not intervene in other countries’ affairs. Fair enough. That’s what most of the world wants; that’s what most of the Americans who voted for him want. Yet, Donald Trump, the almighty, along with his chief vassals of Europe, France, Germany and the UK, has just tried imposing new sanctions on Syria, among other deceitful allegations, because of some military commanders’ use of toxic gas attacks. By now, most of the informed world knows that this is a lie and nothing but a UN-proven lie – a lie that has been repeated since the beginning of the CIA imposed war on Syria in 2011 to justify ‘regime change’.

Both China and Russia opposed the motion. Mr. Putin went on a news conference saying that sanctions would not be helpful for the new peace negotiations in Geneva. – Of course, not. But that’s precisely what they are supposed to do- undermine the peace process. There are enough ‘outside’ negotiators in Geneva with brainwashed, preconceived ideas that Bashar Al Assad is a mass murderer, having killed ‘hundreds of thousands of his own people’. Literally.

 

President Trump may be wondering himself about the miracles and mysteries and confusions he creates. As a megalomaniac, he is the only one who knows everything. His ideas range and flash from right to left, crisscrossing the political spectrum to favor the globalized world – and yet he is largely acting against globalization – and in the ‘interest of people’. That would be great.

He also seeks truth by telling truth; that Obama and Hillary created ISIS and the CIA created Al Qaeda, that 9/11 was not the way the Nine-Eleven Commission says it was, and that the Government lies about statistics. Poverty, unemployment, and inflation figures are much higher than those published by the various US statistical officesHe loves BREXIT, congratulating Teresa May for it, and joyfully predicts the end of the European Union and of the Euro. It would be a good thing for the world. But does he mean what he says? – As a megalo, he loves to be an Enigma.

The non- intervention policy – as candidate Trump he said he would not intervene in other countries’ affairs. Fair enough. That’s what most of the world wants; that’s what most of the Americans who voted for him want. Yet, Donald Trump, the almighty, along with his chief vassals of Europe, France, Germany and the UK, has just tried imposing new sanctions on Syria, among other deceitful allegations, because of some military commanders’ use of toxic gas attacks. By now, most of the informed world knows that this is a lie and nothing but a UN-proven lie – a lie that has been repeated since the beginning of the CIA imposed war on Syria in 2011 to justify ‘regime change’.

Both China and Russia opposed the motion. Mr. Putin went on a news conference saying that sanctions would not be helpful for the new peace negotiations in Geneva. – Of course, not. But that’s precisely what they are supposed to do- undermine the peace process. There are enough ‘outside’ negotiators in Geneva with brainwashed, preconceived ideas that Bashar Al Assad is a mass murderer, having killed ‘hundreds of thousands of his own people’. Literally.

That’s the concept of some of the western negotiators. It is an outright shame that such people are allowed to help negotiate peace – even worse, they claim the right to rewrite Syria’s Constitution for a country without President Assad, who still has 80% of Syrians’ backing. Seriously? – Yes, very seriously. If it wouldn’t be a grave breach of a country’s sovereignty, it would be laughable. Who is sponsoring such nonsense anyway? The western world once again proves without impunity that they have no respect for human and civil rights, for those they consider below their boots. What would those foreigners say who are ‘negotiating’ a new Constitution for Syria, if foreigners were to decide on their own country’s Constitution? – Trump should know better. Is this the same Trump, who pledged not- intervention in foreign lands?

Trump, Netanyahu’s puppet – Or is it the ‘new’ Trump? The even more submissive Trump – submissive to Netanyahu’s Israel? Outranking by far his predecessor. – The little boy Trump we saw during the joint Press Conference with Bibi in Washington last month? – So sad and almost insulting to the American people, witnessing the President of the United States in total adulation of the Zionist-in-Chief. Surely, he may have swayed Trump’s good intentions away from staying out of other peoples’ and countries’ business. – The exceptional nation of the US of A is a sheer vassal of Israel, the Zionist-run 8-million people country in the Middle East, adamant to turn the entire zone into a huge chaos, a zone which they eventually hope to take over from the shiny Euphrates to Shiny Nile, much like the Brits did, by killing all the indigenous people in North America to eventually create an empire from Shiny Sea to Shiny Sea? – Not bad. But why would The Donald not know about it? And go along with such atrocities? Who twists his arm? How does one twist the arms of the President of the United States?

Peace with Russia – candidate, as well as President Donald Trump was pledging for a future peaceful relationship with Russia. However, when pressed, he is not a friend of Putin’s and doesn’t know whether he will get along with him. In any case, to deserve a friendly relation with the exceptional nation, Mr. Putin must return Crimea – return to whom? – to Kiev’s Nazi regime? Anybody who hears this must be thinking it’s a joke or sheer lunacy.

And withdrawing Russian troops from Ukraine? Anybody who says this and propagates it around the world is mad. People who by now haven’t gotten to the truth are insane. Because the truth is everywhere, except in the presstitute. Get away from the presstitute. Crimean people decided by a 97% majority to rejoin Russia, where they were during the past 300 years; and Ukraine – it is by now a little secret that the US Embassy in Kiev, helped by CIA, MI6, NATO and the EU vassal states, instigated the coup in February 2014 against the democratically elected – pro-Russian President Yanukovych. Rather than intervene in Kiev’s Washington and Brussels-driven Nazi war against her own people in the Donbass, Putin has explicitly refused the democratically voted demand by the Donbass people also to be reintegrated into Russia. Ukraine for hundreds of years was part of Russia.

Instead, President Putin has initiated the Minsk II Agreement of February 2015. Minsk II was a Russian initiative after Minsk I of September 2014 collapsed, mainly because the warring parties Kiev and NATO didn’t adhere to the accord. At Minsk II the leaders of Germany and France, Russia and Ukraine’s oligarch President, Poroshenko, shook hands for peace. For the west, this was mere propaganda, as they can say now, that Russia didn’t adhere to the deal. Lie after lie after miserable lie. Mr. Trump, despite his pledges to the contrary – and he said once as much as Obama was responsible for Maidan, the Kiev coup in February 2014 – is back-tracking on his own common sense. Did here too, Netanyahu’s evil wisdom prevail?

Sanctions – Trump was clear during his campaign and in the first days of his Presidency that he didn’t think sanctions were a good idea, especially not applied to Russia. Has he had a change of mind or a twist of arms? – The war industry, of course, does not like the notion of peace with Russia. The President of the United States has nothing to say. Is he a mere marionette of the war and security faction of the Deep State? Naturally, well accompanied by a bunch of stooges from Brussels. Never mind that these sanctions hurt Europe more than they hurt Russia. As Mr. Putin said repeatedly – thank god for the sanctions. They have helped Russia to become independent again, building her own agriculture and manufacturing capacity – let alone research and development which is already producing cutting edge technology, by far superior to the US-outsourced kind, coming from such low-wage countries like India.

Appointing Nikki Haley Ambassador to the UN – the new mandate for the former Governor of South Carolina is another ruse that should please Israel. Judging from her first moves in the UN body, Nikki Haley looks not much different from her predecessor, Samantha Power, especially when she flies such lies in the face of the world, like, “It is a sad day on the Security Council when members start making excuses for other member states killing their own people. The world is definitely a more dangerous place,” in response to Russia’s and China’s veto to the new western attempt to impose more sanctions on Syria.

She knows – or should know better. Trump definitely knows better. If he let her get away with this slander propaganda, it’s because he has been told to do so, or wants to bend over backwards to please his friend Bibi, and / or because he himself thinks the UN has become a useless body of blah-blah nations, devoid of any backbone; it should melt away, as it is unreformable in its current structure, like the EU. Both have been hijacked by the world’s Deep State of neocons. It’s time to wake up to this new reality.

Firing Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s first choice as National Security Advisor – was a horrible betrayal of a friend and possibly a peacemaker. Did Trump simply follow orders from non-peace-loving Pentagon masters – Deep state warriors? With that unsavvy move, the President lost all his respect from people, whose ethics weigh infinitely more than those of the Washington swamp. The no-nonsense strategist Flynn, who was about to seek harmonious relations with Russia, and would defend Trump’s non-intervention policy, is gone. The masters of the Pentagon, the military-industrial complex have won. – By firing, Flynn, did Trump hand over de facto his Presidency to neocon Vice-president, Mike Pence? Thanks to Pence who created a storm in a water glass about a private citizen talking to the Russian Ambassador, Flynn is out – and Trump has lost his worldwide standing.

NATO is outdated – superfluous – those were the wise words of candidate Trump. He repeated them, somewhat weakened after his inauguration – but not for long. The puppets in Europe were crying big Crocodile Tears; the newly appointed James “Mad Dog” Mattis, true to his name went to Brussels, telling his subjects that there was nothing to worry about; the US would continue protecting Europe with NATO against the evil Russians – but they had to pay up, sharing more of the cost of this expensive, but highly profitable enterprise, the weapons industry. He didn’t tell them the latter part. That was implicit, though. – We can assume that Mattis didn’t go to Brussels on his own initiative, but as the emissary of his boss, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States.

Increasing the Defense budget by US$ 54 billion – Trump’s recent announcement, wasn’t exactly a move towards peace. Earlier, within his first couple of weeks in the White House, Trump went to the Pentagon and told the generals to come up within a month with a plan on how to renew the war equipment, including the nuclear arsenal – sort of confirming Obama’s plan to put a trillion dollars into ‘nuclear renewal’ within the next ten years.

None of this smells of peace, or even of promoting harmonious relations with the rest of the world. It has nothing to do with wanting to become a nation of equals. And it goes way beyond simply ‘Making America Great Again’. It rather smacks of perpetuating Washington’s status of the exceptional nation – pure insanity.

Iran Bashing – calling her “The World’s Biggest State Sponsor of Terrorism”, – another outrageous lie destined to spread negative propaganda about Iran, to intimidate other countries from renewing their commercial dealings with Iran. After all, the ‘Nuclear Deal’ promised to abandon sanctions. Yet, Trump just started a new regime of sanctions. Trump also wants to ‘scrap’ or rip apart the 5+1 and Iran (Permanent Security Council Members, plus Germany and Iran) ‘Nuclear Accord’ of January 2016. This may not be easy, as there are more players involved than just the exceptional nation.

Trump and his aides, have been demonizing Iran already during his campaign and reiterated the groundless accusations after his inauguration. – Why? – He knows that there is no substance to back up his claims and that Iran is backed by Russia and China and that a direct confrontation with Iran would mean a clash – nuclear? -with Russia and possibly also with China. Is this a way of getting at Russia (and China) through the back-door? Or is it just one more goody for his Pal, Bibi? – We don’t know yet. But it is not excluded that Israel launches an attack against Iran – supported by Washington, of course. Any intervention by Russia would be considered an aggression on the US.
better is eternal chaos – leaving the arms and bankster business booming – reducing at the margin the world population by continuous merciless killing; by armed conflicts; by artificial food shortages; by clandestine sterilizations through GMOs (plus a myriad of deadly diseases potentially implanted in genetically engineered food seeds); by an out-of-bounds pharma-industry, today already responsible for one-third of annual deaths, right after cancer and heart failure – all with the goal of leaving more resources for the few. That’s ideal for the empire and those who are in command of the empire. In the meantime, saber rattling with nuclear warheads is an excellent tool for intimidation. Scared people are much more submissive.Truth be told, this appears to be sheer saber rattling. Nobody dares to attack Iran, which would mean attacking the entire axis of Middle East stability, China-Russia-Iran – and more, attacking the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Iran is now a member. Confronting SCO would be aggressing one-half of the world’s population that commands one-third of the world’s GDP. That’s heavy stuff. More than a conventional WWIII. From there, nuclear is just an emotional breath away, or a tiny misunderstanding — who wants to risk that? – Least the war industry. Because once the planet is eviscerated, there is no more need for arms. Those few elitists who may survive, have killed their milk cow. Trump should know that. He is a businessman.

And on the domestic front….

The wall on the Mexican border – a promise, Trump seems adamant to keep. Has he been told how many particularly southwestern US businesses he would kill? Agriculture, hospitality and tourism, small businesses depend on illegal workers. They all do work Americans don’t want to do. So, there is no immediate alternative. Did Trump think this over?

Forced evictions of illegal immigrants from their often longtime homes in the US, fall in the same inhuman category. The trained brutes of US police enjoy this ‘new freedom’ to use force tremendously. A more generous, more civil and more human – and for both sides more beneficiary move would be granting all illegals with no criminal records – at least 97% – amnesty, with work visas or immigration status, depending on their situations.

But The Wall has become so abjectly popular among the non-thinking US rednecks that there seems to be no crawling back. Or is there, Mr. Trump? – Like coming to reason?

Renegotiating NAFTA – or abolish this nefarious trade deal altogether – yes, but done professionally. That should, in the long run, please both Mexico and Canada, as both of these countries have lost enormously for signing on the 1992 Clinton- imposed dotted line. Mexico alone lost 1.3 million farm jobs, as the US 2002 Farm Bill subsidized US agribusiness by as much as 40% of net farm income, thereby driving countless Mexican farmers into ruin. – So, renegotiating NAFTA would be welcome by Mexico and Canada, but surely that’s not the way Trump sees it. – Or has he or some of his economic advisors told him what is really at stake?

Bringing back jobs and Making America Great Again – the Trump slogan of the year. Probably coined by some members of the Deep State, to emulate Obama’s ‘Yes we Can’ – just coming through other lips, is nothing but the same trick – but with the naked emperor wearing differently shaded clothes. If Trump can pull this through – it would be truly amazing, a true feather in his hat. Of course, it doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires thorough planning. Just giving homecoming corporations tax breaks is not the solution. Analysts say it would take at least 20 years to build up a job base, mainly in the rust belt, that could rival what was there before the big exodus to cheap labor countries in the late 80s and 90s.

Not only would it help bring back job sovereignty to the US, it would be a tremendous blow to globalization; this evil structure created by the neocons and their institutions, FED, IMF, World Bank at the Washington Consensus Conference at the end of the 1980s. Globalization has had nothing but devastating effects for the large majority of the world population. This would clearly be an unparalleled trump in Trump’s basket. He seems to be serious, as he congratulated the British PM to BREXIT and doesn’t believe in the long-term survival of the European Union and the single currency, the Euro. And he is right.

Canceling the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement – and possibly also the highly controversial TTIP (Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) deal – would be a tremendous achievement for Trump. The people of Europe and of the 11 Pacific Countries might be forever thankful to Trump for his genius move. Never mind that he believes they would have been bad for the US of A. Let him. A good deed to the world, so anathema to his other business- oriented discourse. Here’s to the enigma Trump!

A trade war with China – may it be Trump’s soft version of Obama’s South China Sea aggression? He already announced a 45% import tax for anything coming from China that could be made in the US of A. Of course, this is first meant as an incentive for all the US corporations who outsourced their manufacturing to bring them back home. But, he thinks, by the way, it would hurt China as a rising star on the world economic horizon. It hardly would. Especially not in the long-run. More hurt would be the United States if China were to retaliate.

As of the end of 2016 Chinese foreign direct investments (FDI) since 2005 in the US cumulatively amounted to 109 billion dollars, a mere10% of all of China’s FDI, worldwide. But, they are accelerating. China’s FDIs in the US in 2016 with 45.6 billion were about triple those of 2015. This compares with about 644 billion dollars of US FDI in China over the past 15 years. Punishing China with steep import taxes is about as effective as ‘sanctioning’ Russia – namely almost nil. China has huge investments in Asia, in her principal export market. This is one area where Obama wanted to interfere with his pivot to Asia. The other one, of course, is military, by stationing about two-thirds of the US Naval Fleet in the South China Sea. They won’t be twiddling thumbs for long.

Let’s see what the twittering Trump does. Will he get the license to play business with China? Or will the Deep State of the Pentagon-Security clan get the best of him – through an arm-twisting provocation in the South China Sea?
———–
Trump, the enigma. These are just a few of the bountiful contradictions and controversies of the new Trump Administration. If he manages to stop Globalization, the nefarious trade deals set up under Obama, bringing back the workforce to the US, rehabilitating his country’s decaying infrastructure and bringing back security to the common citizen, plus decent health care and education – and foremost, keeping wars at bay, then he has achieved more for the US and the rest of the world than any of his predecessors for the last 100-plus years. – To be fair, The Donald, less than 50 days in office, deserves the benefit of the doubt, as anybody would who dares oppose and attack the “fake news” lie culture of western media.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe, and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media, TeleSUR, TruePublica, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed  fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.

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Saudi Arabia Is Redefining Islam for the World’s Largest Muslim Nation by Krithika Varagur/Mar 2, 2017

King Salman’s historic visit to Indonesia is the culmination of a long campaign for influence.

When Saudi Arabia’s King Salman landed in Indonesia on Wednesday, he became the first Saudi monarch to visit the world’s largest Muslim-majority country since 1970. Officials in Jakarta had hoped the visit would help them strengthen business ties and secure $25 billion in resource investments. That’s largely been a bust—as of Thursday, the kingdom has agreed to just one new deal, for a relatively paltry $1 billion.
But Saudi Arabia has, for decades, been making investments of a different sort—those aimed at influencing Indonesian culture and religion. The king’s current visit is the apex of that methodical campaign, and “has the potential to accelerate the expansion of Saudi Arabia’s cultural resources in Indonesia,” according to Chris Chaplin, a researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asia. “In fact, given the size of his entourage, I wouldn’t be surprised if there will be a flurry of networking activity amongst Indonesian alumni of Saudi universities.”
Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse IndonesiaIt has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia. All this adds up to a deep network of Saudi influence.
“The advent of Salafism in Indonesia is part of Saudi Arabia’s global project to spread its brand of Islam throughout the Muslim world,” said Din Wahid, an expert on Indonesian Salafism at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta.
Salaf is Arabic for “forebear,” and Salafism is a Sunni movement that advocates a return to the Islamic traditions of the Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) and his contemporaries. It arose in reaction to 18th-century European colonialism in the Middle East, but it took particular root in Saudi Arabia in the hands of the influential preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. Al-Wahab’s alliance with the House of Saud in 1744 cemented Wahhabism as the spiritual backbone of the Saudi Arabian state. And in the 20th century, Saudi Arabia, which had become fabulously oil-rich, started to invest its considerable resources in propagating its ideology abroad.
The heart of Indonesian Salafism is the Institute for the Study of Islam and Arabic (LIPIA), a completely Saudi-funded university in South Jakarta whose campus was abuzz the day before the king’s visit.
“It’s really great that our two countries are becoming closer,” said one student who, like most of the other male students at LIPIA, had a wispy beard and wore cropped pants, per hadith verses stating that covering one’s ankles connotes arrogance. “I’ve been reading all the news about the royal visit. I hope to further my own studies in Saudi Arabia, God willing.”
LIPIA’s doors opened in 1980. Its ostensible purpose is to spread the Arabic language, and there’s not a word of the country’s official language, Bahasa Indonesia, on its campus—not a bathroom sign, not a library book. Tuition at LIPIA is free for all its 3,500 students. Music is considered bid’ah, an unnecessary innovation, and is prohibited, along with television and loud laughter. Men and women do not interact; classes of male students attend live lectures on one floor while female students watch the same lecture, live-streamed, on a separate floor.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs accredited LIPIA in 2015, which bodes well for the university’s push to open four more branches across the archipelago. Hammed al-Sultan, head of LIPIA’s Arabic language department, was confident that the satellite campuses would open by the fall of this year. But they will need their own green lights from the ministry, which has voiced concerns about whether they will uphold moderate Islam and Indonesia’s state philosophy of Pancasila, which enshrines religious tolerance.
When I asked whether LIPIA Jakarta already does this, al-Sultan said, “Pancasila … sorry, what is that again?” An LIPIA representative acting as our translator quickly briefed him on it. Al-Sultan said, “Yes, our integration of Pancasila is in progress since it was a requirement for our accreditation two years ago.”
Muhammad Adlin Sila of the Ministry of Religious Affairs was more frank.“We are concerned about some alumni from LIPIA who are big fans of khilafah [the caliphate of the Islamic State].”
Ulil-Abshar Abdalla, a LIPIA alumnus who now runs the Liberal Islam Network, said he found the university’s theological climate oppressive when he attended in the early 1990s. “Theology, which is a mandatory subject there, is only taught by committed Wahhabis, and I really think their ideology is antithetical to traditional Indonesian Islam, which is usually syncretic and relaxed,” he explained.
“Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi… people love to throw around this term without knowing what it means!”
BeyondLIPIA, hundreds of Indonesians receive scholarships to study at Saudi universities every year. A few decades in, alumni of these programs are becoming nationally influential in their home country. Habib Rizieq, the founder of the Islamic Defenders Front, a hardline organization associated with religion-related violence, attended both LIPIA and King Saud University in Riyadh. Jafar Umar Thalib, who founded the militant Salafi group Laskar Jihad, also graduated from LIPIA. Right-wing Islamist leaders like Hidayat Nur Wahid, a member of parliament who earned three degrees on scholarship from the University of Medina, are prominent in mainstream politics.
LIPIA alumni have also set up pesantren, or Islamic boarding schools, across Indonesia. Many of the country’s 100-odd Salafi pesantren are supplied by Saudi Arabia with teachers, especially in the Arabic language, and textbooks, according to Din Wahid. For many poor families, these pesantren are the only feasible option for their kids’ schooling, despite ideological quibbles, Wahid said.
Enterprising Saudi envoys have even made inroads in places like Aceh, the westernmost Indonesian province that’s been wracked by natural disasters like the 2005 tsunami. “We have built mosques, hospitals, and schools there,” the Saudi ambassador to Indonesia, Mohammad Abdullah Alshuaibi, told me. “And an Arabic language institute.”
One reason Indonesia has been reluctant to push back on Saudi cultural advances is the all-important hajj quota, the number of citizens who can make the pilgrimage to Mecca in a given year. Indonesia gets the largest allowance in the world:221,000 this year. But decade-long hajj waiting lists are common in many provinces, and jeopardizing the national allowance could provoke a huge backlash, said Dadi Darmadi, a UIN researcher, and hajj expert.
“That being said, the Indonesian government has to be wiser and stop considering the hajj quota as a political gambit to attract more populist support in this country,” Darmadi said.
Nearly every Indonesian leader, from the president to the foreign minister to the Speaker of the House, has cited the hajj quota as an important focus of King Salman’s trip.
The first big policy objective announced for the visit, however, addressed not the hajj, but terrorism. A “pact to combat terrorism” will be the “centerpiece” of agreements signed in Indonesia this week, the Saudi ambassador, Alshuaibitold reporterson Tuesday.
“We need King Salman to make a clear and bold statement denouncing radicalism.”
It’s ironic, then, that some of Indonesia’s leading jihadists have passed through Saudi institutions. Although Salafism is largely “quietist,” or discouraging of political activity, there is a growing faction of Salafi jihadists in Indonesia, according to Din Wahid. In 1972, Saudi money helped to found the “ivy league” of jihadist pesantren, the Al-Mukmin school in Ngruki, Central Java. The Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah received funding from Saudi charities in theearly 2000s.Salafi TV, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, and Telegram channels have become a fertile ground for female extremists and ISIS sympathizers in Indonesia in the last few years, according to a2017 reportfrom the Institute of Policy Analysis and Conflict (IPAC).
“We’ve been seeing some evidence of the transition from Salafism to extremism among female extremists of the ISIS generation,” said Nava Nuraniyah, an IPAC researcher. “On the other hand, though, Salafi ulama [scholars] in Indonesia are among the most vocal opponents of extremism,” she said, suggesting that Salafism acts as a bridge to extremism for some even as it acts as a deterrent for others.
Saudi Arabia has long pushed the notion that its rigorous, state-sanctioned version of Islam is actually a bulwark against violent extremism, and has partnered with countries like the United States to fight terrorist groups from al-Qaeda to ISIS. But as Indonesia’s recent history shows, the distinction between Salafism and jihadism is not clear-cut.
“We need King Salman to make a clear and bold statement denouncing radicalism,” said Yahya Cholil Staquf of the moderate Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama. Otherwise, he said, “His visit will be easily perceived as more support to radical Islamic movements in Indonesia, as it is already a common public understanding that those radical movements take theological reference from Saudi Wahhabism and have been enjoying various kinds of support from Saudi Arabia.”
The Saudi ambassador, for his part, thinks such fears about the ideological impact of Saudi investment are off-base. “Wahhabi, Wahhabi, Wahhabi… people love to throw around this term without knowing what it means!” Alshuaibi told me. “They make baseless accusations. It is crazy!”
And some Indonesian leaders remain cautiously optimistic about closer ties with Saudi Arabia. “The two countries face the same challenge of rising radicalism and intolerance, so cooperation in those areas will be beneficial,” Yenny Wahid, a moderate Muslim activist, toldReuters.
Indonesia may be the largest stage for Saudi Arabia’s cultural diplomacy, but it’s hardly the only one. Saudi Arabia builtsatellite campusesfor Egypt’s Al-Azhar university in the 1980s, funded Bosnianrebelsand later built themschools in the 1990s, bankrollednumerous madrassasin pre-Taliban Pakistan and Afghanistan, and sent 25,000 clerics to India between2011 and 2013. Al-Hattem, of LIPIA Jakarta, was previously stationed at Saudi outfits in Bosnia and Djibouti.
Observers have commented that the scales of power seem to be shifting in the Indonesia-Saudi relationship so that the former is now theoretically in a better position to resist unwanted expansion than it was in the early years of its republic.
“Our economic condition now is very different, almost reversed, since the last Saudi visit,” said Luthfi Assyanukie, a liberal Muslim academic. “I think we can utilize that to prudently regulate Saudi investments.” Sila, from the Ministry of Religious Affairs, said, “I think the Saudi government needs Indonesia more now than vice versa, not least in terms of the revenue from hajj pilgrims.”
As Saudi Arabia’s economy fluctuates and it enforcesausterity measuresat home, will it ramp up its global efforts or scale them back? It may not matter.
“Salafi pesantren, and Saudi-inspired religious education in general, no longer necessarily rely on Saudi donations, as followers have become incredibly adept at raising money locally,” Chaplin said.
As the rise of hardliners, the Arabic language, and Salafi jihadist cells in Indonesia show, Salafism has some undeniable, durable appeal here. In Indonesia, at least, Saudi Arabia is already seeing the fruits of its labor. This new religious ecosystem may be self-sustaining.
Reporting for this piece was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

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