Stories about ISIS

Where did Obama go wrong?

He’s a people’s man, a nice guy, a great ambassador, an honest, straight talking individual who means well and, of course, a committed family man. These are admirable personality traits and virtues but only if one is not the president of the United States of America. Politics is a nasty business and President Obama is no stranger to it. His party was routed in the most devastating manner in the November 4 midterm elections – a clear show of no confidence in the president’s policies that essentially have taken the country one step forward and two steps backward. While the decisive Republican tsunami is a reiteration ...

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Drones, Pakistan’s worst kept secret

The current surge in drone strikes in FATA has reignited the infamous ‘drone debate’ and ‘Pakistan’s tacit agreement’ on intelligence sharing with the United States. Only a few months ago, Peter Bergen, a US expert on drones, had revealed that the CIA drone campaign in Pakistan may have finally come to an end. Not only Bergen, but even the current Nawaz-led PML-N government boasted of lobbying against drones and convincing the Obama administration to cease the strikes. Till June this year, one could believe these reports and revelations as there was a long hiatus in predator strikes. However, it was on June 11 when, negating such ...

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Is the New Silk Road really an economic corridor for China and Pakistan?

While the world is busy tackling the ISIS and its look-alikes in the Middle East, China, on the other hand, has other plans to chase. One such plan is reviving the centuries old Silk Route, or the New Silk Road – a series of routes that were important in the past for cultural interactions and trade between the East and the West. As part of this revival, China recently announced working on a high speed train from Lanzhou to Urumqi, capital of the troubled Xinjiang province. It is also rumoured that the train may, in future, reach out to regional states including Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey, along with ...

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Muslim is the new black

This past Monday I watched CNN’s Don Lemon question Sam Harris sympathetically, almost apologetically, about Ben Affleck’s defence of the Muslims of the world. Lemon asked Harris loaded questions, encouraging him to spew his ignorant half-true rhetoric about Islam. And this claim I do not make condescendingly, rather Harris’ knowledge appeared lacking because of its biased subjectivity rather than studied objectivity on the subject of Islam, his simplistic rambling sounded amateurish and very myopic. A discussion on religion within the same religion is fundamentally complicated, let alone in comparison to other religions, hence to make the dialogue intellectual and fair, the media must play a responsible role and have ...

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I disagree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

I read a fellow blogger’s post on why she agrees with Sam Harris and Bill Maher. I am sure the writer has her heart in the right place and I completely agree with her principal argument – that the Muslim world needs serious introspection and reform. Except this is not the argument Maher and Harris put forth. They believe that the Islamic faith, not just extremist Muslims, needs reform. Academically speaking, Islam is defined by the Quran and the Sunnah, the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). It is not defined by what the ISIS or some ‘Muslim government’ endorses. Nor is it defined by what 64% of Egyptian Muslims ...

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I agree with Sam Harris and Bill Maher

A few days ago, social media went rife with people praising Ben Affleck. “Batman comes to the rescue” was the general sentiment tweeted by everyone and my friends happily posted the link to the clip from Bill Maher’s show. People were ecstatic that an American, a prominent actor at that, finally stood up for Islam on a highly rated TV show. The clip did not just cause a sensation in Pakistan; it opened a debate online with prominent analysts like Reza Aslan and Fareed Zakaria taking up sides and expressing their opinions. As I thought over what Maher and Sam Harris had said, I found myself ...

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Does Pakistan realise that TTP has joined hands with the ISIS?

Hardly four months ago, I blogged about whether Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would be forming an allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). My assumptions became a reality when Shahidullah Shahid, now a former TTP leader, proclaimed his allegiance along with five other TTP leaders to the ISIS.  At the time that I wrote the piece, I was tremendously lashed out by various people on social media, who probably just read the main heading of the article or simply commented after reading other comments without having their own perspective on the topic at hand. Apart from the numerous comments that my memory conveniently ...

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A Muslim’s open letter to Bill Maher

Dear Bill (I hope you don’t mind if I call you Bill because it’s the nicest word I can use to describe you at this point), We get it. You are an aggressive atheist, you abhor religions. For you, it is fashionable to be controversial. Being edgy is part of your job description. Congratulations, you are now so edgy that Bill O’Reilly of Fox News agrees with your views. ‘Bill the Liberal’ and ‘Bill the Conservative’ have now found common ground – Islamophobic bigotry. Let me ask you, Bill, are you back-paddling out of the muddy creek you created on your HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, last weekend with ...

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“I will be selling chai on Mars soon!”

Chinese authorities, on Friday, sent a letter to the UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs), condemning the unashamedly cheerful celebration by the Indian authorities on the success of the recent Indian Mars mission ‘Mangalyaan’. It accused the country of ‘highly inappropriate’ interference in its outer space affairs. The letter from the Beijing foreign affairs committee said that, under its ‘eight planet chain’ convention, China has the exclusive rights to any space territory that was charted by its ancient astronomers. This is not the first time the emerging Asian superpower has asserted its growing authority on disputed territories. It has previously ...

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Why US is leading the war against ISIS

One of the ironies of geopolitics today is that, after spending the last decades complaining about US interference or the various interventions in the Middle East, everyone is now waiting for the US to lead in the conflict against ISIS. In ISIS we have a phenomenon that, for once, is uniting in a common cause every other state in the region, whether Sunni, Shia or secular. We also have regional players that, in principle, should be able to lead from the front on this issue, like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, even Iran – if it comes to it. A coalition of ...

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