Monday, 19 January 2015

Arab exceptionalism in the 21st century

good read.


"
Today in East and South Asia the humiliation is over. One can be proud to be Chinese or Indian, not simply because of the glories of the past, but because of the accomplishments of today and the expectations of further progress tomorrow. The Arab, in contrast, can bask in the glories of the past, but can draw no sense of pride from the conditions of the present; and prospects for the future, as things stand in 2015, seem bleak.
Sources of terrorism arise in significant part from frustration. This sense of frustration has spread from the Arab world to other parts of the Ummah, notably in Central Asia and Africa: the recent terrorist attacks in Paris were perpetrated by French Arab Islamists, the London bombings ten years ago were the work of British Islamists of Pakistani origin."


More here




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I have been seeing a lot of graphs and other evidence of how much the Indian / Harappan civvy was in terms of world GDP and it was almost 35+%.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Good days for test cricket!

Finally, he got the hint, the idea, the subtlety and everything.


Dhoni has retired. From Tests. A pretty non-brilliant affair and good that he moved.


Now on the cricket. Tests, that is. Hopeful of more close fights and good tests. Both @home and @away



Pashtuns

Nice article from WOTR about whats what.


Truly worth reading if one wants to get an understanding of what really AILS Pakistan by thinking about Islamism the way they do.


BTW, I did see another article by Rakesh Sood a few days back which was pretty much incisive and cutting too.


Link here


Salient points:


- A lot of it has to do with the framework that the British Raj used
- Rae Bareilly is also mentioned. Mmh. I do wonder what if anything has to do with the Congress family repeatedly standing for elections from that constituency.
- So we have a pure Islamist and a Pashtun Islamist now. Now for more variants - Baloch Islamist, Pakjabi Islamist, Sindh Islamist and so on and so forth.


Pakistan is at a cross road and I don't know if the powers that be know it.



Monday, 29 December 2014

How did the IS form and evolve

Brilliant piece, IMO, courtesy the guardian.


I learnt a few things myself! Wow, that's life and opinion all about. You think you have learnt enough and know a bit yourself till there is more compelling evidence about a totally new aspect that you haven't considered or thought of... or learnt.


If this isn't a lesson to keep learning and reading, well, perhaps nothing is.


Excerpts:


"The other prisoners did not take long to warm to him, Abu Ahmed recalled. They had also been terrified of Bucca, but quickly realised that far from their worst fears, the US-run prison provided an extraordinary opportunity. “We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else,” he told me. “It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire al-Qaida leadership.”


"
“Baghdadi was a quiet person,” said Abu Ahmed. “He has a charisma. You could feel that he was someone important. But there were others who were more important. I honestly did not think he would get this far.”
Baghdadi also seemed to have a way with his captors. According to Abu Ahmed, and two other men who were jailed at Bucca in 2004, the Americans saw him as a fixer who could solve fractious disputes between competing factions and keep the camp quiet.
“But as time went on, every time there was a problem in the camp, he was at the centre of it,” Abu Ahmed recalled. “He wanted to be the head of the prison – and when I look back now, he was using a policy of conquer and divide to get what he wanted, which was status. And it worked.” By December 2004, Baghdadi was deemed by his jailers to pose no further risk and his release was authorised.
“He was respected very much by the US army,” Abu Ahmed said. “If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t. And all the while, a new strategy, which he was leading, was rising under their noses, and that was to build the Islamic State. If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.”"


"The first thing he did when he was safe in west Baghdad was to undress, then carefully take a pair of scissors to his underwear. “I cut the fabric from my boxers and all the numbers were there. We reconnected. And we got to work.” Across Iraq, other ex-inmates were doing the same. “It really was that simple,” Abu Ahmed said, smiling for the first time in our conversation as he recalled how his captors had been outwitted. “Boxers helped us win the war.”


Link here