A survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reveals some alarming results about religious knowledge in the US.Say Amen! Well, maybe not so much. This week the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life released a poll showing that Americans arguably know less about various world religions than they do about who won the disco ball on the last season of Dancing With the Stars. This shouldn’t be hugely surprising.
More than two dozen trucks and oil tankers carrying supplies for the US military offensive against Kandahar in Afghanistan were destroyed in two separate attacks Friday in southern Pakistan. The attacks compounded the crisis for the US and NATO occupation forces arising from the Pakistani government's closure the previous day of a key border crossing.
Pakistan shut down a pivotal US-NATO Afghan war supply route yesterday following a NATO attack on a Pakistani border post that killed three Pakistan Frontier Corps troops and injured three others. Attack helicopters from the US-NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) twice strafed positions in Kurram, one of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Thursday morning, first about 5:30 AM and again some four hours later.
Pakistan -- These attacks are, plain and simple, a naked aggression against Pakistan by the Afghanistan-based and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is to say, America. What else could they be? On Sunday, two of their helicopter gunships intruded into Pakistan and killed over thirty people, claiming they were militants. A Foreign Office spokesman said that Pakistan had protested to NATO/ISAF over the incursion, yet the very next day their gunships trespassed into Pakistani territory again and slaughtered another six people.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An Internet video showing men in Pakistani military uniforms executing six young men in civilian clothes has heightened concerns about unlawful killings by Pakistani soldiers supported by the United States, American officials said.
US diplomats lead walkout as the Iranian president tells UN General Assembly some think the US was behind 9/11 attacks. Ahmadinejad said many believed 'some segments within the US government' orchestrated the 9/11. Ahmadinejad said there was a theory that "some segments within the US government orchestrated the attack to reverse the declining American economy and its grips on the Middle East in order also to save the Zionist regime.
US pastor Terry Jones, who threatened to burn copies of the Koran, has been told he must pay $180,000 (£115,000) for security costs triggered by the controversy. The city of Gainesville, Florida said that local police agencies spent more than a month working on security plans to ensure the community close to the planned site of the burning was safe.
American ambassador appeals for calm after police fire into angry crowds protesting amid Qur'an-burning controversy in US. More than a dozen people were killed and scores injured in confrontations in Kashmir today following a report on an Iranian TV channel of the desecration of the Qur'an in New York on the anniversary of 9/11. In the worst day of violence in the Himalayan valley since young Kashmiri Muslims began agitating for independence more than three months ago, dozens of government buildings were torched as protesters battled with armed police and paramilitary soldiers.
Saudi Arabia is about to buy another $60bn worth of military hardware from the US, and even The Guardian is dutiful in parroting, without question, the accepted western narrative : The sale, under negotiation since 2007, is aimed mainly at bolstering Saudi defences against Iran, which the US suspects will achieve a nuclear weapons capability within the next few years. The transfer of advanced technology, mainly planes, is to provide Saudi Arabia with air superiority over Iran.
People often wind up believing their own cover story. Former British prime minister Tony Blair, for example, is trapped forever in the rationalizations he used in 2003 to explain why he was going along with George Bush’s invasion of Iraq. He was at it again last week, telling the BBC that “radical Islam” is the greatest threat facing the world today.
The Wall Street Journal reports the White House will officially notify Congress in the next two weeks of a $60 billion deal to sell Saudi Arabia dozens of U.S.-made fighter jets and military helicopters. If it goes ahead, the sale of some 84 new F-15 jets and dozens of helicopter will be the largest U.S. arms deal ever.
And the sky darkened as we came, like a cloud of locusts, come to eat every last shred of your town’s reputation, we journalists and producers and cameramen of the world’s media. And we lay in waiting outside the church of a man who would compare himself to Abraham (on the "Today Show," in fact): no less than the father of the three monotheistic religions. And we kneeled before him as if to worship (but really to get out of the camera shot) and mostly asked him easy questions about if and when and how he would burn Quran (a project he has abandoned, he says, forever).
Turkey is moving ever further away from US influence. Only half a century ago it was a devoted ally, willing to provide thousands of troops to promote America’s plans in Korea in exchange for NATO membership, and the only Muslim nation, which supported Israel’s actions during the Suez crisis. Not so long ago it was a backward agrarian country with an unstable political life, a hard life for the working class and a whole set of ethnic and religious contradictions. Just recently Turkey was known for its 60% yearly inflation rate, was legendary for its corruption and foreign debt, and as a bastion of US influence in the Middle East. The 21st century has arrived and leading American analysts are asking each other a question “What to do?” Turkey has slipped away from US control, became independent and refuses to toe the US line more and more.
It has been impossible to read the agenda for the Oval Office summit between Obama, Netanyahu and Abbas without laughing out loud at the absurdity of its pretensions. The American plan was that President Obama would inform Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, representing the Palestinian Authority, that this is make-or -break time for a peaceful settlement. The US wants an agreement within a year, with the stipulations in this agreement to be phased in over a decade.
CONCORD, N.H. -- Army officials said 750 soldiers from the New Hampshire Army National Guard will be heading to Kuwait as part of Operation New Dawn. Maj. Gen. William N. Reddel III announced the deployment Thursday morning. It is the largest deployment of National Guard forces from New Hampshire since World War II.
We have reached a decisive transition in the evolution of US military doctrine. The "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) directed against Al Qaeda launched in the wake of 9/11 is evolving towards a full-fledged "war of religion", a "holy crusade" directed against the Muslim World. US military dogma and war propaganda under the Bush administration, was predicated on combating Islamic fundamentalism rather than targeting Muslims. "This is not a war between the West and Islam, but .. a war against terrorism." So-called "Good Muslims" are to be distinguished from "Bad Muslims":
Islamophobia is sweeping the nation—and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Just when the American people were starting to become distracted with trivial issues like the potential stock market crash, the re-branding of the war in Iraq, and the ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf—along comes a crisis of Biblical proportions, that threatens to destroy the moral fiber of America itself, and deliver its Christian population into the diabolical hands of an Islamic dictatorship ruled under the precepts of Sharia law.
It has not been a good week for Blackberry users in the Middle East. First came the news that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would ban the devices in October, then Saudi Arabia announced it would block the Blackberry instant messenger function from Friday. Days later, Lebanon said it would be conducting its own review into use of the devices, whose encrypted data transfer services have raised fears they could be used for crime, terrorism or even espionage.
It is called Spot and Shoot. Operators sit in front of a TV monitor from which they can control the action with a PlayStation-style joystick. The aim: to kill terrorists. Played by: young women serving in the Israeli army. Spot and Shoot, as it is called by the Israeli military, may look like a video game but the figures on the screen are real people -- Palestinians in Gaza -- who can be killed with the press of a button on the joystick.
Shipments of illegal nuclear and weapons-building material have been intercepted in Dubai and other ports in the United Arab Emirates, local authorities have admitted.
Saudi Arabia's king is due to travel to Washington to meet Barack Obama, the US president, to discuss Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, the nuclear standoff with Iran, and economic co-operation.
Will the Lebanese ship attempting to break the siege imposed on Gaza be the spark that ignites the fire of war in the Middle East? Whether the vessels attempting to break the siege of Gaza or any other insignificant as preposterous and contrived reasons will be the last straw that Israel holds as a justification for a bloody war against what it calls the “new alliance” (Syria, Turkey and Iran), this new Israeli war and the flood of human blood is inevitably coming. At the national, political and military levels, Israel has made sufficient effort to convince its American, European and some Arab and Islamic allies to take part in or support this dirty war. It has also completed its training and tactical planning for this new coming war.
The Israeli Air Force recently unloaded military equipment at a Saudi Arabia base, a semi-official Iranian news agency claimed Wednesday, while a large American force has massed in Azerbaijan, which is on the northwest border of Iran.
Paul J. Balles says the reason why so many people in the Arab and Muslim worlds hate the United States is not envy of American wealth or power but injustice and greed. And the solution is simple: "Stop occupying their countries. Stop controlling others' land, populations, governments and resources." Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid tells of a polite Oklahoman who held a copy of his latest novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and examined the face on its cover, comparing it to Hamid’s.
Thirty five women and children were killed by an American cruise missile armed with cluster bombs which struck an alleged al-Qaeda training camp in Yemen, according to a study. The deaths, immediately prior to the discovery of Yemeni links to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the alleged "underpants bomber" who tried to blow up a plane over Detroit on Christmas day, caused outrage across the country. The Yemeni government, anxious not to stir anti-American feeling, denied initial claims that the attack was carried out by the US.
Six of the nine passengers killed in an Israeli raid on an aid convoy bound for Gaza were shot by a single Israeli commando, who is being considered for a medal of valour for saving his injured comrades as passengers attacked them with clubs, knives and even guns they had taken from downed Navy Seals. Fresh details of the controversial raid, which has led to accusations of “piracy” and “state terrorism” being levelled against Israel, and which wrecked its strategic partnership with Turkey, emerged yesterday. There were reports that passengers who attacked the Israeli boarding party had been dragging three captured commandos into the hold of the ship when the shooting broke out. CNN: Autopsies released for 9 activists who were killed by Israeli commandos, 5 died from head shot wounds, one shot at extremely close range.
What is US foreign policy in the Middle East all about – and for whose benefit is it being conducted? In two short paragraphs, this news story says it all:
"The U.S. confirmed that an American citizen, identified as 19-year-old Furkan Dogan, was killed by multiple gunshots during the Israeli raid on a flotilla carrying activists attempting to run a blockade of the Gaza Strip. "State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said the U.S. has made no decision on a response to Dogan’s death."
Apparently official Washington is torn between issuing a mild protest, and thanking them. "Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government," Hillary Clinton assured the media, "and one that we take very seriously" – but not seriously enough to issue an official protest. "We are in constant contact with the Israeli government attempting to obtain more information about our citizens." Do they want to know how many holes the IDF put in Furkan Dogan’s head before they make a decision on a response? In reality, the US already made a response in the form of Vice President Joe "Loose Cannon" Biden, who, when asked about the attack on the flotilla, said: "So what’s the big deal here?" Uruknet: Putting Names To Faces.
Writing about U.S. Middle East policy used to be a boring job. You'd start out with "The U.S. supports Israel's stand on..." and then just fill in the details. No longer. Many pundits claim to smell the winds of policy change blowing from the White House. Every word about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the president or his advisors is now parsed by journalists like so many soothsayers studying oracle bones.
America's main pro-Israel lobby group is mobilising members of Congress to pressure the White House over its bitter public confrontation with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.
Riots broke out in Jerusalem and the West Bank yesterday as Palestinians staged a “day of rage” in protest at Israeli plans to build 1,600 new homes in the disputed east of the city.
He blinked once and he can not afford to blink again. The most serious crisis in US-Israeli relations in 35 years was not of President Obama's making. He had already climbed down a fair way from his original demand for a total halt on settlement construction.
The United States has stepped up pressure on Israel over its plans to build more settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem, despite an apology from the Israeli prime minister over the timing of the announcement.
Joe Biden, the US vice-president, has said that Israel's decision to expand settlement activity in occupied East Jerusalem "undermines" the trust needed for peace talks.
The US vice-president has condemned Israel's move to build 1,600 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem. Joe Biden had earlier on Tuesday emphasised the close relationship between the US and Israel after meeting Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, in Jerusalem.
There are no greater supporters of democracy in Iraq than the printers: for weeks they have been working flat out to satisfy the demand for elections posters. In Baghdad alone, 150 of them expect to earn £4 million by covering the dusty streets of the capital with man-size images of the candidates, with their promises of a better future.
Israeli soldiers have used tear gas and stun grenades against stone-throwing Palestinian protesters in the West bank town of Hebron. The unrest on Monday followed a decision by the Israeli prime minister to include a shrine in the city, and another in Bethlehem, on a list of Israeli heritage sites
Imagine being a 5 year-old, like Sulaiman Jamal. In order for Jamal to get to school in the morning, hell – snow – or sunshine, he must walk around 4 kilometres to get to school because his school bus can't get anywhere close to his house. And since he doesn't have an Identification Card, little Sulaiman must always have his birth certificate handy; because a soldier at the gate to his village must verify it before allowing him out to school in the morning or back home in the afternoon. Now you can begin to imagine what life is like for Sulaiman and dozens of children like him who live in Al-Nu'man, a dwindling village on the outskirts of Bethlehem…
The U.S. military has 200 troops on the ground in Pakistan. That’s about the double the previously-disclosed number of forces there. It’s a whole lot more than the “no American troops in Pakistan” promised by special envoy Richard Holbrooke. And let’s not even get into the number of U.S. intelligence operatives and security contractors on Pakistani soil.
Suspected Sunni militants bombed a bus carrying Shiite worshippers and two hours later attacked a hospital treating the victims, killing 25 people and wounded 100 on Friday in a strike on Pakistan's largest city.
An executive summary was released today regarding the October Taliban attack on Combat Outpost Keating, a Nuristan Province base. The attack was driven back, but not before eight Americans were killed.
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