Our suffering will continue unless Extremism is uprooted

Our suffering will continue unless Extremism is uprooted   Hamid Alkifaey Extremists, with their religious ranting, are accustomed to confrontation with whomever they disagree with. The nature and degree of this disagreement are of secondary importance to them. The confrontation with their foes has not come out of nowhere. They firmly believe that they are able to defeat their enemies because they think they are on the right side while their enemies are on the wrong side. They also believe that they would win in either case. If they get killed, they will go to eternal heaven, and if they kill their enemies, they will send them to eternal torture in hell! This is their logic and rarely do they find it necessary to resort to diplomatic means to resolve matters with their foes, even if they feel the foe is stronger The other issue that they all agree on is that they hate the moderates more than the extremists among their foes, even though...  المزيد

Yes, there is discrimination in Britain

Open Democracy, 5th Nov 2016  I came to Britain from Iraq 36 years ago. I was running away for my life, so it didn’t really matter which country I go to, most important for me then was to leave Iraq before I meet the same fate as many of my relatives, friends and colleagues who were murdered by the regime. I remember I visited almost every foreign embassy in Baghdad to get a visa, including the embassy of the Republic of Afghanistan which was at war with itself then, perhaps worse than it is now, but I knew there was less chance of me getting killed there. But if I stayed in Iraq, I would either be killed by the regime for being critical of the ‘leader necessity,’ his Excellency the President of the Republic of Iraq, Secretary General of the Ba’ath Party, Chairman of the Revolution Command Council and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Field Marshal Saddam Hussein, or get killed in the war with Iran which had just started....  المزيد

The Islamic State that isn’t – Hamid Alkifaey

The Islamic State that isn’t OPenDemocracy 11/12/2015 ‘The Islamic State has taken the Iraqi city of Ramadi’. ‘The Islamic State beheaded British aid worker Alan Henning’. ‘The Islamic State beheaded American Journalist Steven Sotlof’. ‘The US discusses with its allies how to respond to the Islamic State’. ‘Russia is taking a tough stance against the Islamic State’. These are not made up phrases of any one’s imagination. They are headlines in news bulletins in the British and Western media. While other terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram and Al Qaeda, were referred to by their foreign names, this notorious group was given the honour of becoming both ‘Islamic’ and a ‘state’. The question is why have the Western media decided to brand a barbaric terrorist group first and foremost as ‘Islamic State’ when it is neither Islamic nor a state? I do not subscribe to any conspiracy theory. Nor am I one of those...  المزيد

Timing is Crucial for Iraqi Sunnis – Raya Barazanji

As the city of Tikrit and more territories in Salahuddin province are being liberated from ISIS, reality presents a golden opportunity for collaborative relationship between Iraq’s Sunni and Shiite communities that can play a major role in a future reconciliation effort. Provided that the feuding leaders of both communities view this opportunity with a sober mind and pragmatic eyes, it is once in a lifetime opportunity to settle differences and move ahead towards reconciliation. Should the summer of 2015 witness the elimination of ISIS from Iraqi lands with a clear Sunni-Shiite collaboration (despite violations committed by both sides but mainly by the popular mobilization forces), there is a realistic opportunity for an actual national reconciliation process to begin. While some of the Iraqi Sunni leaders insist that the real problem is Iran not ISIS, some Shiite leaderswish that the Sunni counterparts continue with this rhetoric in order...  المزيد

Sectarianism in Iraq-Interview with Dr Khalil Osman

Please briefly describe your book for us – what are the key points covered? The book deals with an issue that is becoming more and more important in Iraq and the wider Middle East – that is the issue of sectarianism. The sectarian problem in Iraq, which had largely lain dormant since the establishment of the modern Iraqi state following World War I, forced its way onto the political scene, with a vengeance, so to speak, after the US-led war in 2003. The book seeks to fill a gaping hole in the scholarship and scholarly literature on Iraq by addressing the issue of sectarianism and its relationship to the making of state and nation in modern Iraq. That is not to say that the issue of sectarianism in Iraq was not dealed with at all before. One finds scattered references to sectarian issues, and sometimes tensions, dotting some writings on Iraq before, but the issue did not get any serious scholarly attention until after the post-Gulf...  المزيد

Arab Americans Seek A Palestinian State Because It’s ‘In The US Interests’ Hamid Alkifaey

Al Hayat Wednesday 13 November 2013 For the last half century, Arab politicians and intellectuals have often talked about the need to create an Arab lobby in the United States to advocate for Arab issues. Often, they attributed the weakness of the Arab diplomatic position to the absence of Arab advocacy groups that explain and clarify the Arabs’ legitimate concerns and interests in the West, particularly in the United States. Often, they attributed the strength of Israel and the unwavering support it enjoys in the US to the strength of the American pro-Israel lobby and its ability to serve the Jewish state.   There is no doubt that this is all true. It is only recently that the Arabs have realized the importance of advocacy organizations in the West, and the influence they have on politicians, particularly in the United States. There are large numbers of Arabs living in Western countries, but they lack organizational capacity. They...  المزيد

Nightmare scenario: change in Syria may be detrimental to Iraq-Hamid Alkifaey

March 21, 2012 Edition 12 Bitterlemons International Syria and Iraq have been at odds for the last 50 years. Since the early 1960s, both countries have been ruled by two rival wings of the Baath Party. Both wings seized power in their respective countries via a military coup. This inter-party rivalry caused the two countries to be at each other’s throats for most of this period. Both countries nurtured opposition to the other’s regime. Bashar Assad’s Syria hosted the Iraqi opposition in all its political and religious colors in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, while Saddam Hussein’s Iraq hosted and supported the Syrian opposition, be they members of the rival Syrian Baath Party, pan-Arab nationalists or Sunni Islamists (usually members of the banned fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood). After the fall of the regime in Iraq in 2003 and the coming to power of Syrian and Iranian-backed, and later American-supported, Iraqi opposition...  المزيد

US may be withdrawing its military, but it is staying on – Hamid Alkifaey

December 15, 2011 Edition 37 Bitterlemons International After almost nine years in Iraq, the United States military is leaving. Not because it wants to, but because it has to. All Iraqi political groups–friends and foes–were united in demanding troop departure by the end of 2011. The Obama administration is not totally happy at this turn of events, since it wanted to keep 20,000 soldiers in the country to make sure its interests are not undermined. But it had to accept the Iraqi decision, since it promised American citizens it would withdraw from Iraq. Obama has a tough re-election battle next year and he doesn’t want Iraq to deprive him of a second term that he seeks in order to leave some imprint on American politics, apart from being the first black US president.  Do Iraqis still need Americans? Certainly. Not least because of distrust of one another. Fear is the order of the day in Iraq. Fear of uncertainty, violence,...  المزيد

US and Iran: working together in Iraq- Hamid Alkifaey

August 04, 2011 Edition 24 Bitterlemons International It may sound strange to some, but theUnited StatesandIranhave been “working together” ever since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 and the subsequentUSinvasions ofAfghanistanandIraq. This “cooperation”, albeit behind the scenes, can be seen clearly inIraq. The two countries are officially and actually enemies and no doubt monitor each other’s activities and work against each other, especially in theMiddle East. But the fact remains that they have been cooperating inIraq, and not always clandestinely–they entered into direct negotiations inBaghdadin 2008, with the Iraqis as intermediaries.  Iranstands to be the biggest beneficiary of the American invasions of Afghanistanand Iraqin 2001 and 2003, respectively. Americadid Iranthe favor of a lifetime by removing the two bitterest enemies of the Islamic Republic–Saddam Hussein to the west and...  المزيد

Democratic Arab world to embrace peace with Israel – Hamid Alkifaey

May 05, 2011 Edition 12 Bitterlemons International One could reasonably argue that the golden opportunity for peace in the Middle Eastwas blown away when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995. He was the only Israeli leader capable of making peace with the Palestinians, and was about to do so had it not been for the bullets of Yigal Amir, the rightwing religious zealot who believed in the “winner takes all” principle.  One could also claim that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its world-wide ramifications are responsible for agitating religious extremism in the Muslim world as a whole, and among Palestinians in particular. Prior to 1987, there was hardly any Islamic factor in Palestinian resistance. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups were established after the 1987 intifada. From this we deduce that extremism on the Israeli side led to the same on the Palestinian side, and consequently...  المزيد
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