In his speeches at the demonstrations of the citizens’ protest movement in the Kurdish Region of northeastern Iraq, Mullah Kamaran has called for a revolution without violence—a jihad. He has urged the armed militias to put down their guns. He appealed to the demonstrators to see the soldiers as their brothers and not throw rocks or hurt them, and has twice been arrested for his stand. Peggy Gish of Christian Peacemaker Teams reports.
There are serious questions to be asked about the unity pact between the two Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas, says Harry Hagopian. But meanwhile the Israeli prime minister remains dwarfed by the real significance of the Arab Spring, and a huge block to progress towards a just peace for all. He is still a tactician at best, with precious little strategic foresight.
The Salafi-jihadist movement is losing its recruitment pool in the Arab world, says Murad Batal al-Shishani, an Islamic groups and terrorism issues analyst. Al-Qaida and others' latest strategies look elsewhere, and the death of Osama Bin Laden will not affect these plans.
No matter which way the winds blow in the weeks ahead, it is clear that the majority of Syrians desperately seek reform but they also fear sectarianism and foreign intervention, says Harry Hagopian. Much will depend upon how parties both inside and outside the country, including the power-brokers, choose to respond. An approach which feeds hope at the base rather than replicating top-down diplomacy is needed.
Osama Bin Laden may be dead, but if Americans and Europeans now think that they can begin to relax over the prospect of ‘international terror’, they are very mistaken, says Michael Marten. US policy in particular is catastrophically misaligned in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. The 'clash of civilisations' thesis is also gravely misleading, and religion (not least Islam) is not implicated in all this in the way simplistic analyses presume.
Civilian protection requires simple, straightforward dialogue and negotiation with the people who can control whether other people are safe or not. It also works, say Tim Wallis of Nonviolent Peaceforce. As soon as we bring guns, tanks and air support into the picture, we are talking about something which more often than not does not work, and often makes things worse.
The Catholic Bishop of Brentwood, in his address for the Mass for Migrants on 2 May 2011 highlights the Christian contribution to campaigns for migration justice and a Living Wage, urging all people of good will to stand in solidarity with them.
In a culture seemingly dominated by royalist propaganda, particularly around the wedding of William and Kate, here are plenty of reasons to be republican, says Phil Wood; not all of them honourable. Some may be in danger of reinforcing what they oppose. But for Christians, the case for disestablishing the kingdom and the church derives from a higher level of subversion, and a vision of equity before monarchy which people from many backgrounds are seeking.
How should one respond to decades of subjugation, oppression, marginalisation, imprisonment, brutalisation, torture, rendition, murder and unenlightenment? Harry Hagopian examines the case of Syria, and finds complexity and long-term struggle, as well as immediate rebellion and repression, in the picture.
People in the Middle East and North Africa are struggling to change the lexicon of their erstwhile realities with a series of trial and error policies, says Harry Hagopian. But whether the uprisings go the bumpy way of the 1848 European revolutions, emulate the South African path of truth and reconciliation, follow the East European fast lane of 1989, or entrench the violence we have been witnessing lately, surely freedom cannot be snuffed out forever?
Thinking about how to respond to ISIS/IS, and in view of the perilous realities of Iraq and Syria, have we tended to ignore the increasing tensions in Palestine and the relationship between all these? Regional commentator and Ekklesia associate Dr Harry Hagopian argues that ISIS cannot be dealt with by brute force and must be countered by political solutions that re-enfranchise the peoples of the region.
There is much talk from some quarters about “reconciliation” after the Scottish independence referendum, and the need for politicians to move the country forward, says Dr Michael Marten. But the way this is framed misses several important points about participatory democracy, very the real divide between the powerful and the disenfranchised, and differences between governors and governed.