Author: Ahmad Alkhuzam

QATAR: Father Doesn’t Know Best

AHMAD ALKHUZAM WRITES – Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qardawi recently finagled his way onto Qatar state television to blast the United Arab Emirates for opposing Islamic influence in the region. (Yes, it’s complicated. Something like a Canadian getting on Mexican TV to blast the U.S.) What’s not complicated is the threat that the UAE and other regional monarchies see in the Brotherhood, with its relatively egalitarian and civil society messages. These countries have been cracking down on the Brotherhood for many years, and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE recently pledged $12 billion to the Egyptian government as...

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ISRAEL: 21st Century Ethnic Segregation

AHMAD ALKHUZAM WRITES – One would assume that civilization has come a long way since the injustices of apartheid. But Negev Bedouins face the reality of being forced to pack up and leave. The Israeli government will finalize the parliamentary bill for the Prawer plan, which will forcibly relocate up to 70,000 Negev Bedouins at the end of this year. The Negev Bedouins are nomadic Arab tribes that have resided in rural towns unrecognized by the state. After 1948, the state awarded them citizenship, but the unrecognized towns they live in have no legal documents of private ownership. Negev Bedouins have lived in these areas under the Ottoman rule and the British Mandate for decades before the Israel state emerged. Today, most of the Negev Bedouins reside in an area called Siyag, as they were concentrated by military rule up until the 1960’s. Approximately half of these Bedouins have already moved willingly and forcibly since the 1950’s to state-planned towns. According to The Guardian, between 40,000 and 70,000 of the remaining Bedouins that have not already relocated will forcibly be moved to seven “over-crowded, impoverished, crime-ridden state-planned towns.” Moreover, a Human Rights Watch report, “Off the Map,” states that Israel has ratified a number of international human rights treaties that include protecting against forced evictions. The treaties also include choice in place of residence, but the government disregards these ratified treaties when...

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BAHRAIN: 31 Activists Stripped of their Citizenships

AHMED ALKHUZAM WRITES – This time last year, the Bahraini government decided to strip 31 opposition members of their citizenship. This time last week, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and Bahith Research Center jointly held a meeting in Beirut to help keep the issue of their fates alive. “The excuse is that they committed a crime against national security, but again there is no basis for that claim,” noted Mohammad Issa AlTajer, a human rights lawyer. Further, the forum emphasized that what happened was a violation of international law. All 31 victims are Shi’as, and two are former members of parliament who ran under the main opposition party, AlWefaq. The organizers are urging the Bahrain government to reinstate the revoked citizenships, an act that was originally intended by the government to crush opposition demands. How can the revocations of these citizenship be justified? What makes any member of the Bahrain government more of a citizen than anyone in the opposition? The latter is showing an active role in fixing the country’s problems, while the former is making crushing those efforts its priority. There’s a huge difference between building a nation and immortalizing a regime. The political structure will evolve and the extreme measures taken to stifle this inevitable change, may instead, speed up the process. Extreme measures, such as what is seen in this instance, show this regime’s insecurity in regards to its...

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BAHRAIN: The Pen Is Mightier than a Kalashnikov

AHMAD ALKHUZAM WRITES – Justice may be served, but at a smaller price to the criminals than anticipated. The Associated Press reported October 27 that a Bahraini court had cut the sentences — from seven years down to three — of two police officers convicted of killing journalist Abdul Karim Fakhrawi. Fakhrawi was a co-founder of AlWasat, Bahrian’s leading opposition newspaper. According to AlWasat, Fakhrawi went to a police station on April 3, 2011 to question cops about the raiding of his home. He then went missing for 9 days and was reported dead on April 12. The government-funded Bahraini Independent Commission for Inquiry (BICI) confirmed in its November 2011 report that the police officers had tortured Fakrawi, resulting in his death. AlWasat, established in late 2002, is the first newspaper containing opposition viewpoints. It was ranked in 2010 by Forbes Middle East as number 15 in the top online newspapers in the Middle East. Further, the Committee to Protect Journalists presented the newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief its annual International Press Freedom Award in 2011. The newspaper began to peak in popularity during the beginning of the uprising, and the government has tried to shut it down completely on the basis of providing “false information.” The current King introduced reforms permitting AlWasat to continue operating, only for it to become the most popular newspaper with 60,000 daily readers. As the regime soon discovered that the pen is truly...

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BAHRAIN: The Bahraini Spring

AHMAD ALKHUZAM WRITES – Protests continue in Bahrain as the authorities prepared for the Muslim holiday on October 15. The recent unrest has caused several serious injuries to civilians. One such case is Abdullah Yassin, who was hospitalized after suffering a shotgun wound from the authorities.  The recent demonstrations, which started on October 12th, were sparked by the funeral of Bahraini prisoner Yousef AlNashmi who was arrested mid-August. These are just a couple examples of the rampant injuries and arrests witnessed since the start of this Bahraini spring. The uprising in Bahrain started on February 14, 2011 after the Arab Spring, triggered by the sectarian based social inequality faced by the Shi’a majority. The Sunni monarch comes from a dynasty that has ruled the country for over two centuries. Consequently, the Sunni minority are the only ones that can hold positions of power. It works as a glass ceiling that is solely based on ethnicity. Religion simply stands in the middle as a litmus between Persian and Arab cultures. The Shi’a primarily descend from Persian ancestors, while the Sunnis are Arab descended. This sectarian conflict has brought the Middle East down for centuries, and modernized tribal regimes are inflating them. Illustrating this circumstance of propelling ancient tension is the old Arab proverb of “adding water to the mud puddle.” These uprisings first started as demands for a constitutional monarchy, but were crushed with the help of other gulf monarchs...

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Asia Media International Staff

ASIA MEDIA INTERNATIONAL is a student-driven publication of Loyola Marymount University’s Asia Media Center – a vital part of LMU’s Department of Asian and Asian American Studies (AAAS), in an alliance with the university's award-winning Dept.of Political Science, and with the influential Pacific Century Institute.

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