This piece written in summer of 2017 is a backgrounder for Kingdom at a crossroad. This will help in understanding the background to my upcoming piece about challenges faced by the Kingdom in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi murder. Stay tuned.
Royal Rumble – Dynamics of Saudi Royal Family
‘In a western democracy, you lose touch with your people, you lose elections; in a monarchy, you lose your head’. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, Former Saudi ambassador to Washington.
In the last two years, Saudi Arabia has gone through many changes. Absolute monarchies are not easy to decipher. There are many opacities and it is very difficult for any outside observer to have a real sense of events. Two main factors are very limited expression by Saudis in their own country and opaque decision making process in the form of decrees with flavor of palace intrigue. A Saudi will not express his honest view in the presence of another Saudi due to fear factor. In view of these limitations, the perspective of an outsider has severe limitations.
Current system of governance of the country is based on accession to throne of one of the sons of the founder of the country Abdul Aziz bin Abdur Rahman al-Saud (d. 1953). He works with other family members especially senior princes, Council of Ministers (most of whom are also royal family members) and Council of Senior Clerics in running day to day affairs of the country. There is a fair amount of competition among all these groups about various issues and King carefully balances his act to avoid open conflict.
In January 2015, Salman bin Abdul Aziz ascended to Saudi throne after the death of his brother Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. He came quite late into the complex inner power circle of the al Saudi royal family. He was appointed Governor of Riyadh province in 1962; a post he held until 2011 when he was appointed Defence Minister. For five decades, his main influence was in business and media through his sons and a half-brother (Sattam bin Abdul Aziz). His sons controlled different business and media interests. Abdul Aziz was Assistant & Deputy Minister of Oil and now Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Faisal owned Sharq-al-Awst newspaper and appointed Governor of Medina in 2013. Sultan is a pilot and worked at Saudi Ministry of Information. He now heads tourism commission with the rank of a minister. Khalid is also a fighter pilot and in April 2017 appointed ambassador to Washington. Turki, Saud, Rakan and Nayef are little known and involved in various business ventures. Fahad; a business tycoon and Ahmad with media interests died in their 40s from heart disease. Continue reading “Dynamics of the Saudi Royal Family”
Someone asked my two cent worth opinion on ongoing saga of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. More informed people have commented on the subject and many details are still murky. Based on my own work on the Kingdom’s power dynamics in the past, following is may take;
Thanks. With time, we change and our thoughts also evolve. This may be the case with Mr. Jamal Khashoggi and he may have been genuinely convinced that some kind of people’s participation in government is the way forward. However, we need to keep in mind the broader context as this incident is related to struggle inside the royal family. Khashoggi held some progressive views by Saudi Arabian standards related to extreme austere code of Wahabbism. However, he never questioned the legitimacy of the rule of al Saud family. He advocated increased consultation with population on important issues. He was employed by many government newspapers and any significant alternative view no matter how mild is simply a career ending move. He was not a dissident but mild critic of some policies of Prince Muhammad Bin Salman such as blockade of Qatar, Yemen war etc.
There are many Saudis in exile who are much harsher critics of royal family but why Khashoggi? More important to remember is his links with members of royal family who have been sidelined by the meteoric rise of the mercurial Prince Muhmmad Bin Salman (MBS) in 2015. Government’s view is published by a number of influential newspapers (Arab News, Sharq-ul-Awst etc) run by Saudi Research and Marketing Group. Owner of this group is Prince Turki Bin Salman. Khashoggi worked for some of these newspapers in the past. He also worked with former intelligence chief Prince Turki al Faisal and billionaire Waleed Bin Talal. He served in some advisor capacity to Turki projecting his softer image to the outside world. In 2015, Waleed opened a satellite channel Al Arab in Bahrain and in this venture partnered with Bloomberg News. Khashoggi was to be the star kid of Al Arab. This channel lasted mere eleven hours on air before it was shut down by Bahrain; a close Saudi ally and dependent on Saudi forces on its soil to protect its royal family from the restless Shia majority population.
MSB started grand purge on two fronts. One front was to sideline powerful brokers in royal family such as Crown Prince designate Prince Muhammad Bin Nayef; former interior minister, Prince Mitib Bin Abdullah; former head of Saudi National Guard (SNG). Head of SNG is a powerful position as SNG is royal family’s insurance policy against army coup. SNG recruits on tribal basis and head inserts his loyalists at various levels of positions. The second front was to weaken the financial muscle of some princes. This resulted in famous/notorious Ritz Carlton saga of billionaire princes hauled up there until they coughed up billions to get their limited freedom. Waleed was the prized prisoner of Ritz Carlton; the world’s only five star jail. Members of both groups cannot leave the country. On the other hand, other family members who have kept their heads down in the tent like Prince Turki are allowed to travel. With this in background, alleged rumor of an assassination attempt on MBS by his guards raised the fear factor by several degrees. Some reports suggest that most of his inner circle of security is now manned by foreigners.
Where Khashoggi fits into this picture? He was the window of these disgruntled royal family members to the outside world. Everybody in Washington who wanted to know what was happening in the Kingdom would knock at Khashoggi’s door. This was the main threat that MBS feared that angry royal family members may attempt to make some kind of deal with Washington to pull the royal rug from under his feet. A close study of MBS personality suggests that he acts rashly without thinking through and no one around him would even suggest an alternative thought. Hence, a very sloppy operation which is not even an intelligence operation. A rag tag team of guards, special forces people and a forensic doctor was to emulate a Mossad style overseas hit a la 2010 Dubai saga of assassination of a Palestinian operative.
Looking at the fall out of the operation, Khashoggi’s own words seem prophetic that ‘Saudi brand has been severely damaged’. What will be MBS likely response? The old Arab bedouine tradition is that when a big dust storm come down furiously (haboob), the Arab ducks down in his tent covering his head and wait until it passes away. For the next few weeks, MBS will be spending more time in his $500 million yatch parked in red sea than in his palaces. The only suggestion one can give to MBS is the words of one his own elders late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz; “a friend is someone who tells you the truth; not someone who believes in you’.
“Man’s history is waiting in patience for the triumph of the insulted man.” Rabindranath Tagore
Follow up intelligent questions from well informed people were inevitable thus a follow up. I wandered a little bit further as my personal quest of learning about military and conflict is to paint the horrible picture of the killing fields so that we can all avoid filling more graves.
Thanks Sir. You are correct. Trump will give him cover in view of personal/business relationship. However, there is a little bit shift in other power centers. In senate, recent vote to approve munitions to KSA was 53-47; a significant shift against KSA. If in mid-term, democrats take house of representatives, then there will be little more heat. In the long run, KSA is important and MBS cannot be pushed aside without arrangement with alternative leadership from royal family. This usually takes time. However in short term, single point agenda of getting Iran is making things complicated and they don’t want to quarantine MBS/KSA at this stage.
Anti-Iran camp of current administration coupled with almost messianic change in Bibi Netanyahu personality where he thinks his historic role is to strike nuclear assets of Iran is the possible ‘escape hatch’ for MBS. If Bibi wins in elections called early then watch for who he picks for IDF chief; who is retiring by the end of the year. In 2009-15, IDF COS, heads of all three intelligence agencies (Mossad, MI & Shin Bet) pushed Bibi back on military strike against Iran. This was complemented by Obama administration warning to Israelis that they will be alone in the mission with no military or diplomatic cover. Bibi wants a security team that will not second guess his mission. Bibi has covered a lot of ground by appointing his former national security advisor Yossi Cohen as head of Mossad, a more mellow head for Shin Bet and a new director of MI. The only chip left is COS. Two top contenders (Yair Golan & Aviv Kochavi) are their own men especially Kochavi is considered a ‘prince’; very well respected and highly professional man who cannot be bullied. Bibi may go for one of the two juniors ones for the post. If two conditions are met; first Bibi wins elections and still PM and then he picks one of the juniors as IDF COS, then I’ll put chance of Israeli strike on Iran around 50%. To hold the Arab bag, they will need MBS with General Sisi playing the second fiddle. Water is too muddy in the middle east to read tea leaves.
MBS is following the footsteps of all autocrats; thinking that they are invincible and normal rules don’t apply to them even if they see things like Saddam caught like a rat and Qaddafi dragged on the streets. This they watched with their own eyes and not something read in history books of decades or centuries old events. Power has its own logic not comprehended by commoners like us.
I can only think about words of Voltaire when I closely review personalities of three main actors on the stage for coming production; Trump, MBS & Bibi Netanyahu. “If you are desirous of obtaining a great name, of becoming the founder of a sect or establishment, be completely mad; but be sure that your madness corresponds with the turn and temper of your age. Have in your madness reason enough to guide your extravagances, and to not forget to be excessively opinionated and obstinate. It is certainly possible that you may get hanged; but if you escape hanging, you will have altars erected to you”.
As far as bankrupt leadership is concerned, Arab poet and philosopher Nizar Qabani has summed up nicely;
Every twenty years
Comes to us a gambling man
To stake our country and culture
And resources and rivers
And trees and fruits
And men and women
And the waves and the sea
At the gambling table
We die; broken, hated
Cursed like dogs
While our philosopher in his shelter cogitates destruction into victory
In the post-world war II period, in mad search for security, humanity has invented modern and more lethal killing machines to find itself less secure and living in fear. A whole new model of peaceful co-existence emerging from the wretched of the earth is needed. War mongers are busy 24/7 while those who wish peace are sleeping. They need to wake up, shake dust of their clothes and reach to the ‘other’ over the head of their leaders. The question for present generation is whether they will continue to fight the wars of their grandfathers and fathers on the altars of religion, nation etc. or choose a new path.
Please watch this short excerpt from a conversation between my main man in the house Veedu Vidz and Shaykh Shabbir Ally.
Veedu Vidz is one of Hindustan’s brightest sons, hottest heart throbs, most talented thesbians, funniest comedians, most enlightened leaders, wisest Islamic theologians and Brown Pundit favorites. He now lives in the UK with his beautiful wife and youtube sensation Mimzy Vidz. Shaykh Shabbir Ally is also one of Hindustan’s greatest lights. He is one of the world’s leading Murdhids or Islamic scholars.
This post is aimed at not so bright nonmuslims who back Islamist extremists against reasonable muslims (such as Shaykh Shabbir Ally) and muslimish leaders (such as Veedu Vidz and the ever elegant Mimzy Vidz). Let me summarize the wise Shaykh Shabbir Ally for you:
Blasphemy and apostasy laws (such as those that require the recitation of pbuh after the name of the holy prophet, or don’t allow visual depictions of the holy prophet pbuh) are unislamic and should be ended.
The holy Koran is consistent with freedom of religion, art, thought and speech.
Mohammed pbuh use to follow Jewish law in absence of specific divine guidance since Mohammed pbuh considered Jewish law to be divinely ordained and better than nothing. Many of the Hadiths show Mohammed pbuh following Jewish law and can be discarded.
Mohammed pbuh probably stopped stoning adulterers when the Koran revealed that the punishment for adulterers should be different [and in AnAn’s opinion lighter].
Many Islamist interpretations of the Islamic Shariah jurisprudence are not based on the holy Koran and can be discarded.
I 100% agree with the wise Shaykh about all of this. All global hate speech laws, demonetization of videos, or removal of videos regarding Islam should be ended immediately. All discussion of Islam and criticism of Islam should be allowed. The nonsensical phrase “Islamaphobia” needs to be retired. Muslims are mature enough not to be offended and engage in respectful dialogue. Muslims don’t need to be condescendingly pretentiously patronizingly infantalized or “protected”.
Every muslim in the world is entitled to freedom of art, thought, intuition and feeling. Once this happens Muslims and spiritual nonmuslims will automatically engage in dialogue with Islamist jihadi extremists and melt their hearts with the sweetness of love. The fourteen century Islamic civil war will end and the world will sing with joy.
Nonmuslims; first understand . . . then adjust. Please be slightly curious about Islam and learn the slightest bit about Islam before trying to “help” muslims. Please try to transform and improve yourself so that you have the ability to help others. Now you might ask, how can I learn about Islam and muslims? Good question. Right question. Please watch this discussion between six of the world’s leading Islamic theologians (I would rather our very own Brown Pundit resident Murshid Razib Khan was included too but it was not to be):
“In Turkey, we have marriage of Islam and democracy. The child of this marriage is secularism. This child gets sick from time to time. The Turkish armed forces are the doctor which saves the child. Depending on how sick the child is, we administer the necessary medicine to make sure the child recuperates”. General Cevik Bir; former Deputy Chief of General Staff of Turkish army
Turkish Armed Forces (known by the Turkish initials TSK – Turk Silahli Kuvvetleri) have gone through a dramatic change in the last two years. In July 2016, a faction of TSK tried and failed to bring back TSK on the center stage of Turkey. This failed coup attempt was the result of rapidly deteriorating relations between ruling Justice and Development Party (known by its Turkish initials AKP – Adalat ve Kalkinma Partisi) and TSK spanning over fifteen years.
TSK assigned itself the role of the guardian of the state and Kemalist tradition. TSK had a key role in making decisions about national security, economy and foreign relations. Supreme Military Council (known by its Turkish initials YAS – Yuksek Askari Shura) was the instrument used for military’s dominance. Civilian bureaucracy and judiciary dominated by secular elite were junior partners of TSK
In 1997, TSK forced removal of Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan what was later called ‘post-modern coup’. In 2000, AKP came to power and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan gradually increased his power while avoiding direct conflict with powerful army. There was now conflict between two power centers. AKP didn’t have qualified cadres to control state bureaucracy. Erdogan made an alliance with cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen’s organization Hizmet has been focused on excellence in education for three decades. Gulenist sympathizers joined state bureaucracy especially police and judiciary. Repeated electoral successes of AKP with control of legislature combined with penetration of state structure by Gulenist sympathizers strengthened the civilian hand. They now felt confident to confront TSK and snatch back some powers.
Gulenist sympathizers in police and judiciary embarked on an ambitious plan of state restructuring by clipping the wings of TSK. Several former and later serving officers were accused of plotting coups. Hundreds of officers were charged, arrested and prosecuted in two notorious alleged conspiracies; Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer). Later, hundreds of officers including high ranking officers were convicted and sentenced to long prison sentences. TSK was gradually losing its internal cohesion due to emergence of various factions. Senior officers lost the confidence of junior officers for failing to protect officer corps from real and imagined conspiracies propagated by pro AKP and pro Gulenist media houses and large-scale arrests of officers.
A group of second and third tier TSK officers decided to strike before Erdogan further clipped TSK wings in upcoming August 2016 YAS meeting. Elements from major army formations, special forces, army headquarters, air force and helicopter pilots and naval officers were involved in the coup attempt. TSK senior brass was not in the loop. Headquarter of coup plotters was at Akinci air force base.
On 15 July afternoon, a helicopter pilot Osman Karaca went to MIT headquarters to warn about impending coup. MIT chief Hakan Fidan informed head of military police and later army chief General Hulusi Akar. General Akar issued orders banning military flights over Turkish air space and prohibited movement of armored vehicles. This upset the original coup launch time of 3 am July 16. Coup plotters moved the time to 8:30 pm July 15. This proved to be a fatal error as streets were bustling and Erdogan was able to rally his supporters. Major General Mehmet Disli of strategic planning branch at General headquarters went to Akar’s office informing him that coup was in motion and asking him to take charge. When angry Akar refused, he was arrested and flown to Akinci air base.
Coup plotters bombed Turkish parliament building and police headquarters. Erdogan made the courageous move of flying back to Istanbul and asking his supporters to come out in streets. Protestors confronted soldiers on the streets. Coup attempt failed in few hours and government forces quickly restored order. Erdogan on landing at Istanbul airport declared that ‘if we accept that everything happens for a reason, then this uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be the reason to cleanse our army’. He truly cleansed the armed forces by sacking and arresting thousands of officers and Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs). Almost half of flag rank officers of Turkish army, air force and navy were sacked.
Deeply suspicious of the army, Erdogan closed all military colleges and academies and transferred several military institutions including hospitals and business interests of TSK to civilian control. To counter military’s coercive power, he has strengthened police special forces, paramilitary forces and civilian intelligence. In Syria, during recent operations against Syrian Kurds, army was used only initially especially tanks but later police special forces and Gendarmerie were deployed on Syrian territory. Erdogan has also expanded the role of private security contractors to fill the security gap. He hired retired Brigadier Adnan Tanriverdi as his military advisor. Adnan was retired in 1997 on suspicion of having Islamist leanings. In 2012, he started a private security firm SADAT.
In the aftermath of the coup, Erdogan had two choices. A transparent trial of accused officers and strict punishments or using failed coup attempt to silence all opposition. Unfortunately, he embarked on the later course with large scale sacking and arrest of not only army personnel but civilian bureaucracy, police and judiciary. In addition, all opposition including Gulenist sympathizers and Kurds are on the receiving end. Hundreds of academics were sacked and many journalists have been arrested and large media houses taken over by the government. This has divided Turkey right in the middle. Half of Turkey hates and other half loves Erdogan. This is a recipe for long term instability. In this environment, it is inevitable that this polarization will affect TSK. It will take more than a decade to restructure TSK on professional grounds while at the same time keep it under civilian control.
This article is based on author’s talk at The Democracy Forum in London on 19 March 2018.
This is just a short note from Irfan Muzammil. I hope to have Irfan writing blog posts directly on Brownpundits, but he is a busy man (and a real scholar), so this may take a while. Until then, I will be copying and pasting some of his musings..
Medieval Muslim scholars and courts seem to have been obsessed with the question of superiority of races: Arabs, Persians, Greeks, Indians, Franks, etc. (a debate that still rages). Abū Ḥayyān al-Tawḥīdi’s al-Imtāʿ wal-muʾānasah (Enjoyment and Geniality), a classic of Arab literature, presents discussions conducted in Baghdad at the court of the vizier Ibn Saʿdān al-ʿĀriḍ, who was executed in 984 AD after a short period in office. It illustrates the debates regarding a movement called Shuʿūbiyyah, which claimed cultural equality or superiority for the Persians over the Arabs. But the most surprising part, at least for me, is at the end.
First he quotes Ibn al-Muqaffa’, a prominent 8th century Persian philosopher, and seemingly a massive racist:
We said, ‘The Byzantines!’
“But he replied, ‘Not them either. They have strong bodies, they are good at building and at geometry but know nothing besides these two things and are good at nothing else.’
“we said, ‘The Chinese then!’
“He said, ‘They are good at handicraft and making artefacts; they have no deep thought or reflection.’
“we said, ‘well then, the Turks!’
“He said, ‘They are wild animals that can be made to fight.’
“we said, ‘The Indians?’
“He said, ‘People of delusion, humbug, and conjurer’s tricks.’
“we said, ‘The Africans!’
“He said, ‘Dumb beasts to be left alone.’
“Then we left the matter to him, and he said, ‘The Arabs!’ Continue reading “Race Stereotypes in Medieval Islam (and some lines on cousin marriage)”
Notice how Israelis are very respectful of and affectionate toward Bharat and Sanathana Dharma. No post modernist slander about right wing Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism being associated with Nazism. Israelis love to visit India and Indians love to visit Israel:
India is probably the most pro Jewish and least anti Jewish country on earth. As the Brown Pundit Slapstik wrote,
as per Tarek Fatah. Tarek Fatah in these two videos explains why India and Israel are such natural and good friends.
My hope is that PM Modi and the Lokh Sabha pass legislation that allows any Jewish person in the world–provided they can pass vetting related to crime–a pathway to Indian permanent residency and over the long run Indian citizenship. This would do a lot to reduce the fear most Jewish people feel about intense global anti Jewish bigotry.
India has no more reliable friends and allies than the Jewish people and the Israeli people.
Of course Israelis need to do right by the Palestinians. India can best help the Palestinians by being Israel’s best friend. India should simultaneously be best friends forever or BFF of both Israelis and Palestinians.
In my life time, I have seen more bigotry against people of Jewish heritage than I have against any other group of people. The reasons for the intensity of this bigotry around the world has always puzzled me.
Perhaps the most courageous thing to do it to address it head on. Here goes my attempt. Below, a Buddhist Canadian Nazi leader, Brian, attacks Jews in an interview with the always authentic, honest and perceptive Armin Navabi:
Armin means protector of the Aryan peoples. I think Armin is a protector of all people, not just Aryans.
One aspect of this interview that might be troubling to Hindus and Buddhists is that it reminds them of how Hindus and Buddhists were blamed for Nazis and the Holocaust in the 1940s by post modernists, marxists, socialists and the global left. Nazism is the convergence of nationalism, socialism, autocracy and German Indology. German Indology is the study of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sanskrit derived linguistics.
Number 1, I don’t think Hitler understood German Indology and it is unfair to blame German Indologists for much of what Hitler did, including Hitler’s rabid anger at Jews, homosexuals, gypsies and Slavs. I believe that Hitler came up with these ideas on his own rather than from German Indology.
Number 2, I don’t think German Indologists understood Buddhist, Hinduism and Sanskrit scriptures very well and it is unfair to blame Buddhism and Hinduism for German Indology. This said, Germans had the right to visit South Asia in the 1800s, 1900s, learn from Buddhists and Hindus, interpret Hindu/Buddhist scriptures any way they chose, and formally convert to Buddhism and Hinduism–which many did.
Brian, the Canadian Buddhist Nazi, is a meditator and chaneler of subtle “heavens”. Another way of understanding this is that Brian practices transcending gross thoughts to experience more subtle thoughts, feelings and emotions by using parts of the subconscious and unconscious brain. This is a common practice by the Eastern faiths and use to be practiced by many Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The Nazis tried to in conjunction of modern science use consciousness, meditation, sound power and the technologies of visual machines (Yantras) to increase competence, capability, intelligence and power. This explains part of the conversation between Brian and Armin.
Brian frequently mentions how Hitler praised Iranians, Arabs, Palestinians and Indians. Brian also emphasizes how Hitler allied with Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians. How should this issue be handled? I think Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians need to be fully open and honest about the past and the large numbers of Iranians, Arabs and Palestinians who fought shoulder to shoulder alongside the Nazis in WW 2. And at the same time carefully analyze Hitler’s critique of Jews in great detail; sharing their nuanced thoughts on each aspect of Hitler’s critique.
Brian mentions that different groups have different statistically measurable life outcomes and different measured IQ. Jewish people have far higher life outcomes and IQ scores than other people, including other caucasian people. Doesn’t this suggest that Nazis should greatly admire and learn from Jewish people? Is it possible that everyone else, Nazis included, should carefully study what Jewish people do right (whether that is breathing, stretching, exercise, dance, art, music, song, poetry, study, contemplation, meditation, religion, networking, collaborating, team spirit, family) and adopt the best aspects of Jewish culture?
Brian says that Jewish people dominate global entertainment, global finance, global business, global culture. Number 1, Brian overstates the degree to which this is true. Number 2, isn’t Jewish success a great and good thing? For Jews and for everyone else? Don’t we have a single global consciousness and super-mind and benefit from the success of others? In economics the greatest driver of global material living standards is total factor productivity, or product development and process innovation. Therefore if Jews who live in Israel invent something, the whole world benefits from it. This is why the world should celebrate the success of Jews. The success of Jews derives from competence, capacity and intuition (or intelligence) rather than hierarchies of oppression, exploitation, imperialism, colonialism, hegemony.
Brian also claims that Jewish people use their power and abilities with negative intentions to harm others. I think it is exactly the opposite. Jewish people benefit from the rise and success of others much the way others benefit from the rise and success of Jews. This is why Jewish global citizens (our heroes) have lead NGOs, civil society, human rights, and development.
Brian also sides with the Khamenei regime against Israel and Jews. Brian completely misses the point. Shouldn’t the whole world side with the great and good Iranian people against Khamenei? Hasn’t the 26 century alliance between Persians and Jews been very good for the world? Shouldn’t we try to breathe new life into it? Can’t an Iran that is a close and trusted ally of the great and good Israeli and Jewish people do more to help the Palestinians? Iranians are justifiably very proud of their Aryan heritage. I applaud and welcome this. The Aryans are the traditional friends and allies of the Jewish people. There are many close similarities between the Jewish faith and Aryan faiths [Zorastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, atheistic Hinduism (Charvaka and Ajivika)] that might be a topic for a future article.
Brian also emphasizes how Hitler was pro Palestinian. Here is a possible response. Anne Franks reminded us everyone has at least some good in their heart. Lucifer, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal and Hitler included. Lucifer, Al-Masih ad-Dajjal and Hitler do bad things; but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t good in them and that they don’t also do good things. In practice the most evil beings that have ever existed are partly good and do a combination of good and bad things. In this spirit, sometimes Hitler also said things that happened to be true. They don’t stop being true because Hitler said and believed in them. Palestinian rights included.
Honestly I couldn’t understand much of Brian’s attack against Jews? Why does Brian think Jewish people don’t desire the welfare of non Jews? Can the many wise commentators on Brown Pundits explain this to me?
Perhaps the reason that nonmuslims mistreat muslims so much is because the vast majority of nonmuslims (and for that matter many muslims) don’t understand Islam or muslims. If carefully watching this video many times was a requirement for every nonmuslim in the world; and if nonmuslims were required to write articles on it to demonstrate their understanding; would this help nonmuslims treat muslims better? I think yes. What does everyone else think?
This video is funny like heck. Tarek Fatah should do stand up comedy. It is hard to watch this video without laughing hysterically for large chunks of it. One funny part is when Tarek Fatah said that Mohammed, may peace be upon him, was confused when he said muslims should not make friends with Jews and Christians because they are friends with each other. Didn’t Mohammed, may peace be upon him, know that Christians hated Jews?
Tarek Fatah would like for substantially reorganized Korans to be published. However he says that South Asian scholarship is not respected.
One important take away is how spot on similar older cultured educated Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are too each other. Tarek Fatah could easily be a Deshi Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Sikh or Jain and talk the exact same way. When I was a young child, this was much more obvious than it is now. I hope that future generations don’t forget this.
Note, the post was heavily edited with feedback from Kabir. Thanks Kabir 🙂
This was a long rolling rant I wrote 5 years ago while reading Pankaj Mishra’s book “From The Ruins of Empire; The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia“. The format is that I commented as I read the book. So early parts are comments on early chapters and so on. Quotes from Pankaj are in bolded italics. I am reposting today after editing it a little because the topic came up once again.
Spoiler Alert. since the “review” is really a very long rolling rant, written as I read the book, some people may just want to know this one fact: this books is NOT about the intellectuals who remade Asia. That book would have to start with people like Aizawa in Japan, the first Asian nation to be “remade”, but that is one nation and one set of thinkers you will not find in this book. Why? because this book is not about Asia, its history or its renaissance, it is about post-liberal virtue signaling. For details, read on..
Introduction: After being told that everyone from Orhan Pamuk to Pakistani Ambassador (and liberal feminist Jinnahist icon) Sherry Rahman is in love with Pankaj Mishra’s new book I have finally started reading it.
I have only read 50 pages so far but it is beginning to set a certain tone. And its not a very encouraging one. I am not impressed. At all. So Far.
On page 18 he says:the word Islam, describing the range of Muslim beliefs and practices, was not used before the 19th century.
This is then negated on the very next page by Mishra himself. The only explanation for this little nugget is that Pankaj knows his audience and will miss no opportunity to slide in some politically correct red meat for his audience. There is a vague sense “out there” in liberal academia that Islam is unfairly maligned as monolithic and even that the label itself may be “Islamophobic”. Pankaj wants to let people know that he has no such incorrect beliefs. It is a noble impulse and it recurs. A lot. Continue reading “Review: From the Ruins of Empire; The Intellectuals Who Remade Asia”
“A tree won’t fall with a single blow”. Turkish proverb
A failed coup attempt by some members of Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in July 2016 made international headlines for few days. The news quickly faded away and firm clamp down and a purge inside Turkey prevented any detailed information about the dramatic changes in Turkish Armed Forces in the last two decades.
Events of July 2016 were the final phase of the demise of the first republic established by the country’s founder Kamal Ataturk and emergence of second republic. Turkish Armed Forces assigned themselves the role of guardian of the republic and were a dominant force for almost a century. TAF directly intervened several times while at other times removed civilian governments by orchestrating events behind the scene if they perceived any deviation from the Kamalist secular vision. Turkish Armed Forces have finally met their tragic end and moved out of the power center. Continue reading “Turkish Turbulence – Shock Therapy for Turkish Armed Forces”