Britain poised for Syria air strikes after Labour revolt against Jeremy Corbyn

Britain poised for Syria air strikes after Labour revolt against Jeremy Corbyn
Labour insiders said that the resolution, reinforced by Friday night's vote, is likely to be enough to convince as many as 60 Labour MPs of the need to extend RAF air strikes to Syria – something which would boost David Cameron's chances of passing a …

Dozens dead in heaviest east Syria strikes
Russia pounded the jihadist group in Syria on Friday, firing cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea after President Vladimir Putin vowed retaliation for a bombing that brought down a Russian aircraft in Egypt last month. At the United Nations …
Read more on Sky News Australia

Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Syria hit by airstrikes, organisation says
Humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says one of its hospitals in Syria has been hit by airstrikes. MSF said two people were killed and six injured when the makeshift facility was hit while several wounded were arriving for treatment.
Read more on ABC Online

Obama über den IS: “Wir werden sie zerstören!”

Wen die USA als schlimmsten Feind betrachten, ist klar: die Terrormiliz IS. Präsident Obama appelliert an Russlands Präsidenten Putin.

Nach ESC-Wirbel um Naidoo: ARD kritisiert NDR

Xavier Naidoo sollte beim ESC für Deutschland singen – eine Entscheidung, die im Netz heftig kritisiert und letztlich vom NDR zurückgenommen wurde. Nun wirft die ARD dem NDR eine vorschnelle Nominierung vor.
SPIEGEL ONLINE – Schlagzeilen

Preisgekrönte Cartoons: Einmal Nazi-Goreng, bitte

Dresden ist nicht nur für Stollen, Pegida und Pflaumentoffel bekannt, sondern auch die Hauptstadt des deutschsprachigen Cartoons. Hier sind die Preisträger des Deutschen Karikaturenpreises 2015.

Zurück in der Normalität: Labbadia erlebt einen rundum gelungenen Abend

Die Anspannung war spürbar. Am Ende erlebten die Zuschauer im ausverkauften Volksparkstadion einen tollen Fußballabend. Mit einem überraschenden Ausgang. Der HSV besiegte Dortmund verdient 3:1.

Afghanistan–The Central Asian Tar Ba

Afghanistan–The Central Asian Tar Ba

Article by Gregory K. Taylor

The recent covert operation of 2 May, 2011, that resulted in the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan drew America’s attention back to the war in Afghanistan. The longest war in America’s history, unlike other shooting wars, flies well below the conscious radar of most Americans. This is quite understandable considering that we occasionally hear about it when we are watching the news or when we see the death count at the end of a related program. Otherwise, we are required to make no visible, conscious, sacrificial effort that would remind us of the war; and honestly we’re just too damn busy struggling to survive.

When I heard about the assassination, I went searching for a paper I wrote a few years ago on Afghanistan and its history. A fairly comprehensive explanation of how Afghanistan came to be, its struggle with foreign powers, and its religious fervor.

Lamenting the last year of floods, famine, and earthquakes which have bedeviled Afghanistan, a woman asks about the most recent earthquake of 31 May 1998, “What kind of curse has God put on our country?” (Oakland Tribune) And to illustrate the geopolitical concerns of bay area Afghans regarding human suffering as it relates to regional nuclear weapons testing. Tufa Ahmad of Fremont, California stated, “The earthquake is a disaster we can’t do anything about. We’re prone to disasters. But people in the world should know that Afghanistan is more dangerous than any atomic bomb. People there have suffered so much, they’re going to explode.” (Oakland Tribune)

What this Afghan (presumed) refugee/expatriate alludes to is the historical calamities that have beleaguered Afghanistan almost from its inception. Afghanistan has been manipulated, exploited, and militarily occupied by expansionist and colonial powers. During the past two decades Afghanistan has suffered from a precipitous drop in population due to death and disease caused by warfare. Between April 1978, when a violent coup d’etat brought to power a radical pro-Soviet political party, and early 1986 perhaps one-third of the populace fled the country. According to the United Nations, this constituted the largest refugee population in the world.” (Nyrop and Seeking xxi)

Afghanistan, historically, has been a heterogeneous society, and like the rest of Central Asia the majority of people belong to the Sunnis Islamic sect (approximately two-thirds) and the remaining one-third is affiliated with the Imani Shiism faith–all are Muslims. These contentious groups were nationalized into one nation in 1747 by Ahmad Shah. “His success in war, piety, justice, wise political leadership, and conformity to the traditions of the Pushtuns won him a great deal of popular support, and his name became revered in Afghan history as the father of his country, Ahmad Shah Baba.” (Magnus, Naby 30) Ahmad Shah conducted many military forays against non-Muslims acquiring an empire the distance to present-day Iran and India. Subsequent hereditary rulers over the years became more and more litigious. As a result, the empire fractured into sundry principalities, the precursor to the demise of Afghanistan’s Golden Age Empire.

Geopolitically, the major players were the empires of Britain and Czarist Russia with the chess game being played out in Central Asia–and the various pieces being strategically positioned in opposition. “As in earlier times, two great empires confronted each other, with Central Asia lying between them. The Russians feared permanent British encroachment into Central Asia as the British moved northward taking control of the Punjab, Sind, and Kashmir. Equally suspicious, the British viewed Russian absorption of the Caucasus and Georgia, Kirghiz and Turkmen lands, and Khiva and Bu khara as a threat to British interest in the Indian subcontinent.” (Nyrop and Seeking 24)

Subsequent wars like the first Anglo-Afghan war, euphemistically named, Auckland’s folly, resulted in Russia’s absorption of territories that once belonged to Ahmad Shah Durran’s empire left Britain totally befuddled. Russia’s hegemony over Central Asia in general and Afghanistan in particular was not to be easy–and it was thwarted in the final analysis by societal tradition.

These indivisible traditions related strongly to community land and its concomitant state irrigation system. “Land cannot be separated from the irrigation system and therefore from any community as a collective user of the irrigation system.” (Malik 98) Czarist Russia at first maintained community coherence by preserving traditional structures, but later, in apparent contradiction, precipitated a revolt in both Central Asia and Kazakhstan by attempting to alter the norms of traditional society. Traditions are so deeply embedded in the psyche of Central Asia that land reforms instituted by the government of Afghanistan was the genesis of the Afghan resistance. Central Asia’s over-all decline of its intellectual base, as it relates to tradition, is directly proportional to societal standards. For one, the study of technology is not encouraged–to do so would deprive the rural community of expert assistance, and without the requisite technical skills the infrastructure of a country will be forever wanting.

“Totalitarianism” of any sort, be it religious or otherwise, engenders a national brain-drain. Consequently, a student of non-Central Asian extraction is more likely to enroll in technical school and upon graduation will leave the country if prevailing government interest in his skills are lacking. So, the Central Asian student is grounded in subjects that perpetuate–if you will—Traditional Values. “Students of Central Asian nationalities prefer to study history, especially history of their own people or that of bordering Muslims countries. They concentrate mostly on studying ancient and medieval history, ethnography, and archaeology. The central Asian intellectuals believe that all that is theirs is ‘good.’ The source of this perception lies in the denial of everything that contradicts tradition. There own national values are given preference.” (Malik 103)

Into this mix comes the liquidation of the Soviet Union with an increasing Islamic fundamentalism epicentrally in Tajikistan. “Independence came to the Central Asian republics not as a result of a victory of the national-liberation forces; it came as a ‘present’ after the liquidation of the Soviet union by the three leaders of the Slavic republics: Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia (AKA: White Russian Soviet socialist Republic). The main theater of instability in Central Asia is Tajikistan. It is not an accident, in this republic all negative peculiarities typical of Central Asian republics reached their apex; deformed and weak economy, overpopulation, unemployment, low level of mass culture, religious fanaticism, and arrogance of local intellectuals.” (Malik 111)

In close proximity to one another, Afghanistan and Tajikistan helped to propagate fundamentalism into Central Asia. Russia was unable to stop the flow of arms from neighboring Pakistan into Afghanistan. The border apparently leaked like a sieve with the porosity of Swiss cheese and all attempts at interdiction failed.

“Weapons and ammunition continue to cross the border from Afghanistan. According to the deputy chief of the Russian border troops stationed in Tajikistan, groups of fighters from Tajikistan, including not only Tajikis but Uzbeks as well, receive military training in the Afghan province of Kunduz. Hekmatyar’s commanders head the forays into Tajikistan. The power-grab process by the Afghan fundamentalists that was predicted is apparently under way.” (Malik 112)

From the day Iran seized American embassy personnel and paraded them on the world stage as hostages for over a year, Islamic fundamentalism and its far-reaching tentacles have been feared and talked about, much like the domino theory of the Viet Nam war. “In 1972, Habib ur-Rahman, one of the founders of the Islamic party of Afghanistan, said: ‘We do not recognize borders. The day will come when Muslims of all the world will live under a common flag with the same coat of arms. If we attain power we shall struggle for Islam in Afghanistan and in the whole world, where our brothers live under the yoke of communism. Are the inhabitants of Bukhara, Samarkand and Tajikistan not Muslims? What about the Tatars? Are they not our brother?'” (Malik 113)

Afghanistan’s history is replete with territorial land grabs. “At first the Afghans were a dynamic and expansionist empire, the last successors to the Central Asian imperial tradition of the Kushans, Huns, Ghaznavids, Seljuks, Mongols, Timurids, and Uzbeks.” (Magnus, Naby 60) Only the rise of Europe as an expansionist power brought to an end such domination.

Afghanistan’s religious zeal, and the concept of borderless Islam, meets with some success in Central Asia. “Of all the states in the region, Afghanistan is the only one that continues to press for the adoption of universal Islamic practice” (Magnus, Naby 172) It appears that even the Iranians no longer hold such a world view. Perception of Islam as a unified power must be reckoned with as a serious threat to the geopolitical status-quo. The superpower bipolarity of the past has given way to the existence of one superpower, the United States, which sees itself under threat by Muslims. Hence a future unified Muslim region, such as Central Asia, can potentially come to be regarded as a threat not only in the eyes of some U.S. policy makers but also from the perspective of a Russia embroiled in proxy and direct war with Muslim radicals (Tajikistan).

To be sure, there are a few die-hard Islamic states and the move toward sectarian governance is on the rise, however, in general what has resulted in the fallout of such religious ferocity is a hybrid of the two; that is, a combination of secular and sectarianism. The Central Asian countries that employ such a combination are Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan–with Afghanistan being the lone Islamic state.

It is unclear to what extent Afghanistan will continue to influence its neighbors. It has cracked down on its population to such a degree even most Islamic nations muse with incredulity. The wholesale firing of women from their jobs cuts off Afghanistan’s metaphoric nose to spite its face. The veil and all it entails is back in vogue and the men are required to don beards under threat of punishment. Refugees who once had dreams of returning home remain abroad. Tufa Ahmad’s prognostication of impending disaster from Afghanistan appears to be inevitable. As to whether it will garner world attention remains to be seen.

Works Cited

1.) “Quake Adds to Woes of Afghans.” The Oakland Tribune 31 May 1998: News 1

2.) Richard F. Nyrop and Donald M. Seeking, ed. Afghanistan, a country study. Washington DC: American University, 1986

3.) Ralph H. Magnus and Eden Naby. Afghanistan. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1988

4.) Malik, Hafeez, ed. Central Asia. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994

About the Author

Gregory K. Taylor was an Oakland Police Officer. He has a BA degree in Chinese and a BA degree in International Studies with a minor in Asian Studies. Gregory teaches Chinese to inner-city kids in Oakland, California.

Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines
whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

Gregory K. Taylor was an Oakland Police Officer. He has a BA degree in Chinese and a BA degree in International Studies with a minor in Asian Studies. Gregory teaches Chinese to inner-city kids in Oakland, California.

Use and distribution of this article is subject to our Publisher Guidelines

whereby the original author’s information and copyright must be included.

Nach Attentat: Kölner Oberbürgermeisterin Reker tritt Dienst an

Vor rund einem Monat wurde Henriette Reker Opfer einer Messerattacke – jetzt hat sie die Amtsgeschäfte als Kölner Oberbürgermeisterin übernommen. Es war ihr erster öffentlicher Auftritt nach dem Attentat.

Asylanten potenzieren Kriminalität

Asylanten potenzieren Kriminalität
Gleichzeitig haben sich aber auch kriminelle Banden und Netzwerke aus Osteuropa, Georgien und dem Balkan der Asylanten-Karawane angeschlossen. Diese Konzentration von zusätzlichen Straftätern aus aller Welt unter dem Deckmantel des Asylwesens …

Vertrauensverlust zu befürchten – Mehr Asylanten in die Wenderfeldschule
„So schafft bzw. erhält man kein Vertrauen“, meint der parteilose Stadtverordnete Jochen Hartmann zu einem Bericht in den Lokalzeitungen und einer Antwort auf seine Anfrage durch die Verwaltung in Sachen „ Asylantenunterkunft Wenderfeldschule“

Cousine von Anschlagsplaner Abaaoud: Im Viertel der “Cowboy-Frau”

SPIEGEL TV über Hasna Ait Boulahcen. Spezialkräfte haben die Mutter der Selbstmordattentäterin im Pariser Quartier “Cité des 3000” zur Befragung abgeholt. Jungs im Viertel erinnern die mutmaßliche Cousine des Terror-Drahtziehers von Paris als “leichtes Mädchen”, offen für Alkohol. Mehr bei SPIEGEL-TV (Sonntag, 22.10 Uhr, RTL).

Mali: Geiselnahme beendet – mehrere Tote

Die Geiselnahme im Radisson-Hotel der malischen Hauptstadt Bamako ist offenbar beendet. Das teilte ein Regierungsvertreter mit. Augenzeugen berichteten von mehreren Toten.
SPIEGEL ONLINE – Schlagzeilen

Powered by WP Robot