CIP February 11, 2013
Old High Court Building, Dhaka, 2010 -- Photograph Via Wikimedia Commons
The Bangladesh International Crimes Tribunal has announced one of the first major judgments at trial of individuals alleged to have committed war crimes in 1971, when the Pakistan Army waged a near-genocidal war in the former East Pakistan. As the judges note in this document, some three million people were killed, some quarter million women were raped, and an estimated ten million people became refugees in neighbouring India. The Tribunal decision is posted here.
This judgment is history-making. Finally, the people of Bangladesh are obtaining some relief from the trials and tribulations of that period in the country’s history, which some of us lived through and witnessed at first hand.
Continue reading Guilty Verdict of Bangladesh War Crimes Tribunal on 1971 Atrocities by Salim Mansur
Gatestone Institute December 10, 2012
Our brave Iranian sister Nasrin Soutoudeh.
Nasrin Soutoudeh, a human rights lawyer in theocratic Iran, announced on December 4th that she would end a hunger strike she had carried out for 49 days from her cell in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison. Her offenses had been to act as a court defender of opposition political figures and activists, as well as for juveniles condemned to death for crimes committed when they were under age 18.
Soutoudeh, now nearly fifty, was sentenced last year to 11 years’ imprisonment, and barred from work in the field of law. On appeal, her term was reduced to six years. During her sustained act of defiance, Nasrin Soutoudeh consumed only water mixed with sugar and salts. Her weight fell to 95 pounds; her health became fragile.
She concluded her starvation protest after the Iranian dictatorship acceded to her main demand: that a travel ban be lifted from her 12-year old daughter Mehraveh. Soutoudeh also initiated the fast to dramatize the bad conditions under which she is held. Her husband, Reza Khandan, remains restricted in his movements by order of the regime.
Continue reading Iran: “The Supporting Pole of the Regime’s Tent is Bent” by Stephen Schwartz
Folksmagazine [India] October 16, 2011
Legal charges were entered in the U.S. last week against an Iranian-American dual citizen, Mansour Arbabsiar, 56, who had resided in Texas, and an Iranian living in his native country and thus beyond American judicial apprehension, Ali Gholam Shakuri. The two men are accused of conspiring to murder Adel Al-Jubeir, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States, after first scheming to kidnap the diplomat. According to the legal filing provided by the U.S. federal authorities, Shakuri is a member of the Qods Force, a special-operations component of the Tehran clerical regime’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The indictment, along with American media reportage, discloses that the plan to kill Al-Jubeir was a “sting” by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Arbabsiar believed that he was dealing with a representative of a fearsome Mexican drug cartel, the “Zetas,” in attempting to procure the abduction or slaying of Al-Jubeir in Washington, DC. The interlocutor for the murder contract, ostensibly hiring Mexican gangsters, was a paid U.S. confidential source previously arrested for narcotics offenses and control\led by the DEA. U.S. agents monitored Arbabsiar’s travel to Mexico, and transcribed conversations, between him and the purported gang representative, that were recorded by the U.S. government’s agent in June and July 2011.
Continue reading Iranian Regime’s Trail of Terror by Stephen Schwartz
The Weekly Standard Blog
March 22, 2011
Last week, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), composed of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain, sent Saudi soldiers and UAE police across the causeway from Saudi territory into Bahrain, as supporters of a Sunni Muslim monarchy, against massive protests by the Shia Muslim majority on the island.
Simultaneously, the Arab League drew back from its previous endorsement of international action against the murderous regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. Nevertheless, within three days the Western-led bombing of the Libyan dictator’s captive territory had begun.
Now, two GCC members, Qatar and the UAE, have joined the coalition against Qaddafi. Qatar was the first among them to send aircraft to bolster the no-fly zone.
On Monday, March 21, Bahraini king Hamad Isa bin Al Khalifa thanked the Saudis and the rest of the GCC for rescuing his country from an “external plot” – language widely interpreted as a reference to expansionist intentions by Iran. Bahrain and Iran had already mutually expelled each other’s diplomats. And according to the Washington Post, Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa has switched back to solidarity with the campaign against Qaddafi.
Continue reading Gulf Cooperation Council Between Two Fires in Bahrain and Libya by Stephen Schwartz
The Weekly Standard Blog, March 14, 2011
March 11, which social-networking Saudi dissidents had chosen for a “Day of Rage,” has come and gone without the emergence—so far—of a massive and turbulent reform movement like those seen in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. Demonstrations by members of the Saudi Shia community in the Eastern Province, where oil is plentiful and Shias are a majority, took place on March 10, in the Shia center at Qatif. They did not feature the sweeping demands for change seen in the North African “Arab Spring,” but called for release of nine Shia activists who have been imprisoned by Saudi authorities for 14 years. Police fired on the Qatif marchers, and three people were injured. But the next day, as dissidents assembled in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, a second round of Shia protests took place in the Qatif area without violence apart from some arrests.
The “Day of Rage” in Riyadh was also subdued, with massed police in the streets of the Saudi capital as one among other deterrents. Demonstrators in the Riyadh event were few. On Sunday, a smaller group gathered in Riyadh to call for release of Saudis held on terrorism charges. This illustrated one factor in the dampening of a Saudi democratization movement. That is, in addition to those discontented with the regime’s lack of parliamentary and other constitutional institutions, as noted in a blog item by James Phillips of the Heritage Foundation, Islamist radicals have mounted their own effort against the state.
Continue reading Saudi Protests So Far Subdued [UPDATED RE: BAHRAIN] by Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz
NewsGram [India], March 5, 2011
The tragedy of the Libyan Revolution continues, and the mass protesters in the Arab countries appear distracted temporarily by the spectacle of atrocities committed by the defenders and mercenaries of Mu’ammar al-Qadhdhafi. In Iran, the opposition Green movement maintains its tenacious resistance to the clerical dictatorship of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Yet parallel with these deadlocked, heart-rending struggles for a new future, Islamist ideology perpetuates terrorism. Perhaps the brutalities committed by Muslim radicals will halt the Arab and Islamic freedom movement. Al-Qadhdhafi claims to fight against al-Qaida while imitating its massacres, but the two are indistinguishable enemies of the ordinary Libyan.
In following the trail of terror, rather than the path of protest, one observes a curious series of coincidences during the past year: horrific crimes in the Muslim countries have been matched in time by similar attempts in Europe. For example, in August 2010, when the Data Durbar Sufi shrine in Lahore was struck by suicide bombers, an unsuccessful plot was underway aimed at the local Sufi celebration of Ajvatovica, in Bosnia-Hercegovina, on the western edge of the Muslim lands. In December last year, a suicide bombing in Sweden came simultaneously with an arson attack on the Harabati Baba Tekiya in western Macedonia, one of the most distinguished Sufi monuments in the Balkans.
Continue reading From Pakistan to Germany by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
NewsGram [India], February 12, 2011
Egypt has undergone two major revolutions since the withering of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th Century; it’s already amidst third. Unfortunately both revolutions have failed to realize dreams of combining – what could be aptly termed – one of the world’s most ancient cultures with ingenuity, entrepreneurship and prosperity to foster a stable democracy.
The first revolution was led by Mehmet Ali Pasha (1769-1849). He took to power in Egypt in 1805. An Albanian by origin, he was born in the Balkan town of Kavala and, therefore, was known in Turkish as Kavalali Mehmet Alipasha. His ascent to the governorship (wilayat) of Egypt came in the aftermath of the Napoleonic invasions of 1798-1801. Although the modernizing, rationalist French departed Egypt, they left behind the inspiration to change its society, which Mehmet Ali Pasha justly adopted. While he is credited by its citizens today as the “father of modern Egypt,” Mehmet Ali Pasha’s vision of social transformation is – unfortunately – yet to be achieved.
Nevertheless, Mehmet Ali Pasha performed one unforgettably worthwhile service for the Muslim ummah when he commanded armies to sweep the blight of Wahhabi fundamentalists and the corruption of the Saud family out of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. For over a generation, the Wahhabi radicals and their Saudi accomplices were subdued.
Continue reading Egypt’s Revolutions in History by Stephen Suleyman Schwartz
The Weekly Standard Blog, January 5, 2011
Like other tyrannies before it, the Iranian clerical dictatorship, headed by “supreme leader” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the venomous demagogue Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seeks to frighten [...]