We are all the same (really)

While Muslim’s leaders demand apologies and the Muslim street breaks out in protest against the Pope’s use of an anti-Islamic quote from a 14th century Byzantine leader, many bloggers look at the reaction wondering why?.

Keefy from Adventures in Dubai posted the entire text of the pope’s speech and bet most of the protesters had not read it. Ramrumple wonders why it’s not OK to portray Hassan Nasrallah (Hizballah Leader) in a comical sketch, but it’s OK for al-Jazeera TV to do the same by portraying the pope as shooting down peace (in the form of doves)? Iraq Pundit gives an almost comical commentary of how the situation has unfolded, pointing out the irony in these violent reactions. He also wonders why there is no reaction from the Muslim street when hundreds of Muslims are killed each day in Iraq in the name of Islam.

Iraq The Model, one of the most popular blogs in the Middle East, tries to look at things from a different perspective, using an academic approach by quoting respected Arabic books on Islamic History. However a few days later Omar posts his anger about what he calls a “War on Peace” by Islamic extremists.

In the comments section of this post there was an interesting conversation about the role of militant islam’s role in global terrorism. Two interesting comments were posted by “bg” on the 25th of September the first was the introduction to an excellent “weekly roundup” of radical islamic activity around the globe written by by Charles Bird from Obsidian Wings. Thesecond comment sampled and linked this article, which discusses true role of Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network (literally, The Base network) in organising and perpetuating militancy among Islamic extremists around the globe.

There were over 150 comments from people all-over the globe on that particular post, and the same or more on most other recent posts at Iraq The Model; this blog is a very successful forum for discussion about Iraq and the Middle East in general. There was much other discussion in the Middle Eastern blogosphere aside from the Pope issue. As usual there are always some stories of hope such as the post “Iraqi Muslim Amongst Jewish People! Felt Welcomed!” from 24 Steps To Liberty, an Iraqi blogger who moved to America very recently.
Truth Teller, the Iraqi doctor who blogs at “A Citizen of Mosul” briefly tells the story of having to move his clinic somewhere safer due to poor the security situation. Discussion about the Middle East outside of the blogosphere tends to be limited to professional opinions, journalistic reporting or discussion about western policy and wars in the area.

Just search Google for “Online Discussion” + “Middle East” and see for yourself. However in the Middle Eastern blogosphere, especially for those who delve deep into the comments sections, there is a wealth of practical analysis and discussion about moving forwards. What’s most impressive is how some people like the Tel Aviv university lecturer Ze’ev Maoz can breach cultural boundaries and discuss the situation realistically.

I have recently been asked the question “is the blogosphere going to bring a solution to the problems in the Middle East?”. To this I must say no, it is not the solution itself, it will definitely be part of the solution. But to end this post here is something from Hala_S to remind us that we all come from the same place.

Ramadan and Warfare in Iraq and Lebanon

Life goes on as norm in the Middle Eastern blogosphere with much discussion about politics, politicians and their many promises and failures. However one clear distinction can be noticed in the Lebanese blogosphere, the argument of who won the recent war in Lebanon. The question however is not who gained from this conflict, rather it appears to be who can shout we won the most//loudest.

The findings from the Brammertz Report, a study into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri in 2005, was cause for discussion. BOB, from Bob’s Blog found several interesting points in this report and highlighted them in his post on the Lebanon Bloggers Forum entitled My take on Brameretz report.

This report and the many protests organized by political powers in Lebanon have brought back memories of theCedar Revolution, the series of protests in response to Hariri’s assassination, leaving many wondering what has changed since March 14, 2005? For those who have never seen nor heard of the Cedar Revolution, I will add some protest-photos at the bottom of this post. Continue reading Ramadan and Warfare in Iraq and Lebanon

CENSORSHIP ALERT: Moqowama.net suspended

Go look for yourself! http://www.moqawama.net has been “suspended”!

So it didn’t take long for the USA to get involved in this did it. I bet there has been government actions in the USA to block Moqawama.net – the Hezbollah website. So much for democracy and free speech and equality of ideas and opinion.

In the modern world if you don’t fall in-line with the demands of Israel the USA pulls some strings until you do, like any good puppet regime would. Here is half of the world believing the USA is working through it’s puppet Israel, well I’m sorry to say this is more of a case of the bigger brother being too stubborn to admit the little brother did something wrong. Continue reading CENSORSHIP ALERT: Moqowama.net suspended

Religious extremism in post-Saddam Iraq

As a result of the US-lead invasion of 2003, religious extremism has become prominent in Iraq. Under Saddam Hussein religions were oppressed and all voices of opposition silenced. Religious extremism did not have a chance to receive the popular support it claims today (2006). Under the Coalition occupation much of Baghdad has fallen under the control of religious extremists, as has much of the Shiite-dominated south.

In other parts of Baghdad “neighbourhood watch” groups and resistance fighters’ man checkpoints to deter militiamen and “government forces” (23) from entering the area. Some of Islam’s worst extremist groups including “Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia” managed to infiltrate the resistance under the guise of fighting the occupation. However their strategy of targeting Iraqi civilians made them extremely unpopular.

It was only by standing against the occupation that these religious extremist groups managed to establish themselves in Iraq. Given Iraq’s complex multi-cultural history, it is likely that had the occupation brought progress or not occurred at all these groups would never have risen to the level of prominence they hold in Iraq today.
Continue reading Religious extremism in post-Saddam Iraq

Lebanon – why don’t people care?

So Lebanon is being invaded by Israel, or should I say bombed? Or should I say “turned backward by 20 years”? Yet who really seems to give a rats ass? Who here in Perth, Western Australia even gives 1/10th of a shit? Other than our large Lebanese population, or someone whose’ relatives are stuck there on a holiday- it seems like no one.

The news here concentrates on the evacuation of Australian citizens who are terrified by bombs falling all around them. Oh poor them. They are in a protected international zone where Israel would never dare drop a bomb, and Hezbollah are not that stupid; while they have some international attention and even limited support they will make the most of it. They will try their best to impress.

They will turn people against Israel by both inflicting damage on the Israeli Defence Force, and by showing the world the damage Israel is inflicting upon the Lebanese civilian populations and infrastructure. Continue reading Lebanon – why don’t people care?