Skip to main content

Home/ Ed Webb Religion & Politics Seminars/ Group items tagged politics

Rss Feed Group items tagged

Ed Webb

Iran strengthens political, economic hold over Iraq - Al-Monitor: Independent, trusted ... - 0 views

  • Sanctions-hit Iran is consolidating its hold over neighbouring Iraq, an economic lifeline where pro-Tehran parties dominate politics
  • During a visit to Tehran late last month, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and Iranian officials urged greater bilateral cooperation in all fields.He thanked Iran which provides gas and electricity -- around one-third of Iraq's needs -- and added this would continue until Iraq was self-sufficient.His country is already the number one importer of Iranian goods.
  • "Iraq is contested by the United States and Iran, with Turkey in third place in the north,"
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • Iran's influence can also be seen through its links with Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi, a former paramilitary force made up mainly of pro-Iran militias that have since been integrated into the regular forces.
  • Last month, Iraq's government handed the Hashed control of a new public company, endowed with around $68 million in capital.The Al-Muhandis firm's mission in oil-rich but war-ravaged Iraq is "provincial rehabilitation and development: infrastructure, housing, hospitals, factories",
  • In November, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein said it was "not fair" to consider his coalition government "an attachment" to Iran's.The Iraqi Kurdish diplomat pointed to its multi-party and multi-confessional make-up as showing "balance" between the different forces.But pro-Iran parties appear to now have free rein, after rival Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr tried for months to name a prime minister and prevent Sudani's appointment.
  • the United States still remains present, with around 2,500 US troops stationed in Iraq as part of ongoing efforts to combat the Islamic State group.
  • Washington monitors Iraq's banking system to ensure Iran is not using it to evade existing restrictions, and US influence is present via "the threat of financial sanctions"."The United States is staying in Iraq so as not to totally abandon the country to Iran,"
Ed Webb

The Perils of the Past | The Point Magazine - 0 views

  • hough the Centre des Archives Nationales possesses the administrative prerogative to house and archive all state documents, it lacks the power to enforce its interests. It’s not just cultural institutions that are jousting over Lebanon’s archival legacy, however. The country is riddled with small bookshops run by collectors, each of which has a basement or closet where the owner hides a personal stash of archival documents, collected over decades, to be sold on the private market. Bookshops in small alleys of Ashrafiyeh and Basta dominate this trade, where everything is priced by the dollar. At a time when the national currency has lost 95 percent of its pre-crisis value, private markets have become a lucrative source of profit.
  • According to Shehab, future sectarian violence could be avoided if socioeconomic parity could be established between sects and regions. Development planning in Lebanon—directed both by outsider experts and Shehab himself—began as a response to the deep divisions in Lebanese society and politics laid bare by the civil war. To this day, political power and resources continue to be allocated along confessional lines.
  • During the 1960s, the state intervened on behalf of many: establishing a social security system modeled after America’s own Social Security Act of 1935, building hundreds of miles of roads connecting rural villages with the country’s main highway system, and rehabilitating thousands of acres of farmland while also undertaking massive affordable public housing projects. Many Lebanese people, from various confessions, still characterize the Sixties as the country’s golden period.
  • ...11 more annotations...
  • this was not a uniquely Lebanese story, but one that rippled out across the postcolonial world. The head of the French think tank that Shehab hired to draw up Lebanese development plans was a Dominican priest and former naval officer named Louis-Joseph Lebret, who had earned his developmentalist pedigree designing similar schemes in Senegal and Brazil. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) sent a statistician to help reorganize the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture’s statistics department in 1959, who not long after left for a similar mission in Peru. The FAO then chose Lebanon as their Near East headquarters, where agricultural experts from around the region would gather for training. For a brief period in the mid-twentieth century, Beirut had become a crucible and testing ground of global development.
  • I became politically active during the early days of the Arab Spring, radicalized by fellow—predominantly leftist—anti-sectarian activists and organizers. These people, many of whom I call my colleagues today, strongly believed that the system of political sectarianism in Lebanon could be dismantled if we could only somehow reach the levers of power and enforce some form of social democracy—a vision of political life where state resources and services would be allocated equitably across the country, regardless of any confessional affiliation
  • the rationale of many vocal opponents of sectarianism eerily mimics the basic idea that took hold within Shehab’s administration—that fixing the country’s problems was a matter of having the right competent people manning rehabilitated state institutions.
  • for the year I’ve spent back home, I’ve been witnessing things cease to exist, fully aware that the worst is still to come. I find myself mourning something that isn’t quite dead yet, but that was never actually alive either.
  • The reality is that we—the anti-sectarian, broadly progressive political activists—have been consistently losing battles for more than a decade. In 2013 and 2014 we failed to prevent parliament from unconstitutionally extending its mandate. In 2015, when Beirut sank in trash, our protests shook the government’s resolve but ultimately stopped short of achieving any concrete long-term solutions. The Syrian revolution next door, which many of us saw as our own, escalated into a bloody civil conflict where Lebanese, Iranian and Russian forces killed thousands of Syrians to help keep Bashar al-Assad in power. The defeat of the Arab Spring nearby reverberated negatively in Beirut as spaces of protest, contention and civil liberties shrank, particularly as political elites and the Lebanese police state went after journalists and activists. In 2018, despite a somewhat more organized presence, opposition groups failed to break through in the parliamentary elections. And finally, our own uprising, which erupted in October of 2019, hastily hailed by many as the “end of the civil war,” was crushed only a few months later under the weight of state repression and sectarian militia violence. These disappointments were then followed by a global pandemic that crippled any form of organizing, the Beirut port explosion of August 2020 and an economic collapse that wiped out most people’s savings.
  • Many of the state’s institutions and agencies remain barely staffed today, which has driven governmental function—already crippled by negligence and rampant corruption—to a halt.
  • Everyday urban life has turned into a struggle to provide for basic needs. Informal strategies have proliferated to meet those needs, and all across the country regional markets for goods and services—not just gas but also food, medicine and other essentials—have sprouted and disseminated through word of mouth, social media websites, texting services and local gatekeepers. In the vacuum left by a state no longer capable of guaranteeing security for its citizens or regulating the distribution of necessities, a space has opened up for reconfiguring social and political ties, particularly among city-dwellers, away from the established sectarian status quo
  • I was living in a place and a moment where everything seemed ad hoc, where a travesty lurked at every corner and the existing social contract was lit aflame. A country? More like a set of elements somehow still stitched together, decaying into oblivion.
  • A network of decentralized activist groups and NGOs provided food, medicine and care for the victims of the blast. These were the same people who provided mutual aid during the pandemic and economic collapse and formed the nucleus for various legal and advocacy cooperatives that challenged the state’s austerity measures and defended protesters in court. A nascent, decentralized movement of self-governance quietly emerged from the cracks of the decaying sectarian state. Yet even this failed to mature into an ambitious political project. When it came to national politics, many activists retreated into the Shehabist default position of expecting the state to serve as guarantor of national unity, the only viable safeguard against sectarian disintegration. 
  • On May 15, 2022, Lebanon held its most recent round of parliamentary elections. Just 49 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to the Ministry of Interior. Buoyed by diaspora voters seeking to punish Lebanon’s rulers, low voter turnout and a political class reviled for causing the worst economic crisis since the country’s founding, thirteen anti-sectarian candidates won, unseating established sectarian politicians and household names. Though their success was a bright spot in a dark time, it remains to be seen what this heterogeneous opposition bloc can achieve in a deadlocked parliament.
  • Any oppositional political incursion in Lebanon will have to be resoundingly inclusive, democratic and respectful of the agency of everyone involved, not solely because this is the most morally correct approach but, more importantly, because this might be the only way for us to start imagining a political movement robust enough to challenge sectarianism.
Ed Webb

Leading Iran cleric calls on authorities to 'listen to people' - World - DAWN.COM - 0 views

  • A leading Iranian cleric has urged authorities “to listen to the people”, as protests ignited by a young woman’s death in morality police custody show no sign of letting up.
  • “The leaders must listen to the demands of the people, resolve their problems and show sensitivity to their rights,” said Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani in a statement posted on his website Sunday.
  • The powerful 97-year-old cleric has long been aligned with the country’s ultra-conservative establishment and strongly backed supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on several occasions — notably during the 2009 protests against the reelection of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • At least 41 people have been killed since the protests began on September 16, mostly protesters but including security forces, according to an official toll.
  • More than 1,200 demonstrators, reformist activists and journalists have been arrested
Ed Webb

British Muslims reduced to 'second class' citizens: report - 0 views

  • British Muslims have been reduced to ‘second-class’ citizens in the United Kingdom, according to a report published by the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) on Sunday. 
  • Recently extended powers have given successive UK governments the power to remove citizenship from those who have access to another nationality. They “almost exclusively” target Muslims with South Asian heritage
  • “The message sent by the legislation on deprivation of citizenship since 2002 and its implementation largely against British Muslims of South Asian heritage is that, despite their passports, these people are not and can never be ‘true’ citizens, in the same way that ‘natives’ are,”
  • ...2 more annotations...
  • the report also said that the reasons for losing one's citizenship have become more ‘nebulous and undefined’, thereby increasing the likelihood of the arbitrary action
  • No citizenship had been revoked in the thirty years prior to Abu Hamza, a Muslim preacher who was stripped of his nationality in 2003. Since then, the citizenship of at least 217 people has been removed
Ed Webb

Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim cleric al-sadr announces hunger strike - state media | Re... - 0 views

  • Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is said to have announced a hunger strike until the violence and use of weapons stops, Iraq's state news agency INA and state TV reported late on Monday.
  • At least 10 Iraqis were killed on Monday after powerful Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr said he would quit politics, prompting his loyalists to storm a palatial government complex in Baghdad and leading to clashes with rival Shi'ite groups.
1 - 20 of 375 Next › Last »
Showing 20 items per page