Have you not heard? Europe is in the throes of a refugee crisis. Hosting asylum-seekers from Syria is a “historic test of Europe,” says Germany’s Angela Merkel. “The most responsibility [for refugees] is and will continue to be placed on Europe,” adds European Council President Donald Tusk.
For President Obama, “uncontrolled migration into Europe” is a “major national security issue” for the United States. Even the Dalai Lama agrees that there are “too many” refugees inside the European Union.
Really? “Too many”? “Historic”? Consider these facts: More than 65 million people were forced from their homes by conflict or persecution in 2015, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), including 21.3 million people classified as refugees living outside the borders of their own countries.… Seguir leyendo »
As the votes in London’s mayoral election were being counted on May 5, almost every British Muslim I know seemed to have only one thought: Would Sadiq Khan pull it off?
He did. Mr. Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, was elected as the first Muslim mayor of a Western capital city, with more than 1.3 million votes, in what is being called the biggest mandate in the history of British politics. And the Labour candidate managed his landslide even after his opponent, the Conservative politician Zac Goldsmith, smeared him as a “radical” and shamelessly accused him of giving “oxygen” to extremists.… Seguir leyendo »
The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see”, wrote Ayn Rand in her novel The Fountainhead. That there is a link, a connection, between the west’s military interventions in the Middle East and terrorist attacks against the west, that violence begets violence, is “glaringly evident” to anyone with open eyes, if not open minds.
Yet over the past 14 years, too many of us have “decided not to see”. From New York to Madrid to London, any public utterance of the words “foreign” and “policy” in the aftermath of a terrorist attack has evoked paroxysms of outrage from politicians and pundits alike.… Seguir leyendo »
In recent months, cliched calls for reform of Islam, a 1,400-year-old faith, have intensified. “We need a Muslim reformation,” announced Newsweek. “Islam needs reformation from within,” said the Huffington Post. Following January’s massacre in Paris, the Financial Times nodded to those in the west who believe the secular Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, “could emerge as the Martin Luther of the Muslim world”. (That might be difficult, given Sisi, in the words of Human Rights Watch, approved “premeditated lethal attacks” on largely unarmed protesters which could amount to “crimes against humanity”.)
Then there is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Somali-born author, atheist and ex-Muslim has a new book called Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.… Seguir leyendo »
As Britain’s general election approaches, opinion polling suggests that the outcome is too close to call. But most polls in April have given the Labour Party a slender lead over its main rival, the Conservative Party, led by the incumbent prime minister, David Cameron.
If that advantage holds through May 7, Labour’s leader, the 45-year-old Ed Miliband, could claim a considerable accomplishment: The last leader to return an opposition party to power after just one term out of government was Margaret Thatcher, in 1979.
Mr. Miliband has been demonized as “Red Ed” by the right-wing press for daring to stand up to corporate interests and advocate higher taxes on the wealthy.… Seguir leyendo »
Time for a quiz question. Last week, who said Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak – Israel's prime minister and defence minister – "are misleading the public on the Iran issue" and making decisions "based on messianic feelings"? Was it (a) Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; (b) the Stop the War Coalition president, Tony Benn; or (c) the former Israeli spymaster Yuval Diskin?
It was (c). At a public meeting on Friday Diskin, former head of Shin Bet (Israel's MI5), described Netanyahu and Barak as "not fit to hold the steering wheel of power". He went on: "I have observed them from up close … They are not people who I, on a personal level, trust to lead Israel to an event on that scale and carry it off … They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won't have a nuclear bomb.… Seguir leyendo »
Not long ago Hamid Karzai was being feted in western capitals as a model leader. He was articulate, educated, westernised – even stylish. In 2004 Esquire magazine included the Afghan president in its list of "best-dressed men in the world", praising his "multicultural" outfits. "As a new player on the international scene, he must appeal at home and abroad," noted the magazine's writers. "His clothes reflect that."
Seven years and two presidential elections later, whatever appeal Karzai – and his wardrobe – may have had is fast ebbing away, both domestically and internationally. The Afghan president has been exposed as weak and unpopular, corrupt and incompetent.… Seguir leyendo »
Whisper it quietly. Contrary to popular opinion, the west has won the war in Afghanistan.
How do I know this? Because Barack Obama says the aim of the war is to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" al-Qaida in Afghanistan – a strategy endorsed by our very own Gordon Brown. If that's the case, then let me spell it out to the president and the prime minister: there are no Afghans in al-Qaida, and no al-Qaida in Afghanistan.
So why not declare victory and bring the troops home?
That's not just my humble view – that's the view of one of the world's leading counter-terrorism experts, Dr Marc Sageman, of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia:
We've won.… Seguir leyendo »