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29. September 2013, 00.01 Uhr:

Mit Al Azhar gegen radikale Prediger

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Sollte die ägyptische Regierung diese neue Bestimmungen wirklich durchsetzten und fortan nur noch von der Al Azhar ausgebildete Kleriker als Freitagsprediger in Moscheen zulassen, dann gehört ihr gehörig applaudiert. Verständlich auch, dass Salafiten und Muslimbrüder dagegen auf die Barrikaden steigen. Mit Säkularismus allerdings hat dieser Schritt wenig zu tun, vielmehr handelt es sich um eine Verstaatlichung und Nationalisierung der Religion, wie sie von jenen gefordert wird, die im Westen fälschlicherweise als Säkularen bezeichnet werden.

The Minister of Awqaf (religious endowments), Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, made the more important contribution to this effort by issuing new rules for the organisation of the Friday collective prayers. Attending these prayers is an obligatory religious duty for Muslims, men in particular. And although women are encouraged to perform their prayers in their homes, female attendance at the mosque prayers has increased noticeably. The problem was that some sheikhs took the opportunity of the Friday prayers to incite violence against the state and its supporters. One sheikh (Fawzi El-Said) went so far as to say “Whoever doubts that Morsi will return, doubts the existence of God.” He is supported by others who teach that opposition to the state will ultimately bring about the victory of Islam. What these sheikhs have done is make politics part and parcel of creed.

It is because he understands the importance of preventing the spread of the kind of discourse that teaches hate and discrimination in society that the minister of awqaf issued the new regulations. According to these, all imams (responsible for leading the Friday prayers) must be graduates of Al-Azhar University, and second, Friday prayers cannot be held in zawyas (small mosques) less than 80 meters. The ultraconservative Islamists (the Salafists) greeted these decisions, effective 1 October, with dismay; and tried to convince the minister to rescind the new regulations. Their implementation will result in the prevention of about 55,000 imams from leading Friday prayers, and nearly 130,000 zawyas will be disallowed from holding these prayers on their premises.

With Al-Azhar-trained imams delivering the Friday sermons, the discourse of moderate Islam, which teaches compassion and tolerance and respect for others, will replace that of radical Islam in Egypt.

Und wie das Wall Street Journal berichtet, meint die neue ägyptische Regierung es wirklich ernst:

Egypt’s interim government stripped tens of thousands of imams, or Muslim clerics, of their preaching licenses this week in what amounts to the most aggressive assault on religious freedom since the military deposed the country’s Islamist president 10 weeks ago. Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, the minister of “awqaf” or religious endowments, announced Monday that 40,000 imams who deliver the “khotba,” or Friday sermons, would have to reapply for their licenses. (…)

“If all preachers are Azharis then any radicalism or extremism will be eliminated from mosques and Islamic thought in Egypt will be unified,” said Sheik Kahled Abdel Ghani, a public relations manager for Al Azhar.


28. September 2013, 19.25 Uhr:


von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Nicht nur in Bahrainauch im Sudan fanden und finden dieser Tage Massenptotesten gegen die Regierung statt:

Sudanese police on Saturday fired teargas to break up thousands of protesters who were calling President Omar Hassan al-Bashir a killer, witnesses said, after days of unrest in which dozens of people have died.

Daily demonstrations this week followed the government cutting fuel and cooking gas subsidies on Monday when pump prices doubled overnight. Four protesters were shot dead by unidentified gunmen on Friday, police said, bringing the official death toll to 33.

In Khartoum’s Burri district, home to a top government official, more than 1,000 people gathered for the funeral of one of the victims, Salah Mudahir Sanhuri, a doctor from a prominent merchant family with ties to the government.

28. September 2013, 14.50 Uhr:

Tunesiens Regierung zum Rücktritt bereit

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Es scheint, die von der Ennadha geführte Regierung in Tunesien steht kurz vor dem Rücktritt:

The Tunisian government has reportedly agreed to begin direct talks with opposition parties in the coming days and will announce its commitment to resign, according to reports from several media outlets.

Radio station Mosaique FM reported late Friday that several leaders of the governing Ennahdha party, including party head Rached Ghannouchi, affirmed that the talks would begin this coming week.

“The dialogue will start on Monday or Tuesday,” Ennahdha representative Lotfi Zitoun told Reuters. “Ennahdha has accepted the plan without conditions to get the country out of the political crisis.”

27. September 2013, 00.23 Uhr:

Die neue Obama Doktrin

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Tony Badran kommentiert für NOW Lebanon Barack Obamas Rede vor der UN-Generalversammlung:

President Obama’s address at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday had little if anything to allay the growing concerns of major allies about American foreign policy. Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Israel saw in Obama’s speech not only a dangerously narrow definition of US interests in the Middle East, but also a disturbing trend to dismiss their views on the key issues that concern them most today.

The most problematic points in Obama’s presentation arguably appeared in the segment on Syria. Although the president was addressing that specific conflict, his comments carried implications for US strategy toward the region more broadly.

Obama set the tone by repeating a favorite catchphrase about the need for the US not to embroil itself in “someone else’s civil war.” Consequently, as Obama had made explicit elsewhere, he implied that the US is effectively a neutral observer that does not take sides in this conflict.

However, everyone else in the region views the Syrian war as more than a parochial battle between local sects. Instead, they correctly view it as a war for the balance of power between the region’s two opposing camps. On the one side is Iran backing the Assad regime, and on the other are America’s allies and partners.

In his definition of US interests in Syria, Obama signaled that Washington had no such interest related to the balance of power or the rivalry with Iran. “There’s no Great Game to be won,” he said, “nor does America have any interest in Syria beyond the well-being of its people, the stability of its neighbors, the elimination of chemical weapons, and insuring that it does not become a safe haven for terrorists.” In other words, Obama doesn’t consider it a core US interest to alter the regional balance of power decisively against Iran by rolling back its influence in Syria and breaking a critical node in its axis.

23. September 2013, 19.03 Uhr:

Muslimbrüder verboten

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Reuters meldet:

An Egyptian court on Monday banned the Muslim Brotherhood from carrying out any activities in the country and ordered the seizure of the group’s funds, widening a campaign to debilitate the Islamist movement of deposed President Mohamed Mursi.

“The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it,” said the presiding judge Mohammed al-Sayed.

The court ordered the government to seize the Brotherhood’s funds and administer its frozen assets.

The army-backed government is waging the toughest crackdown in decades on the Islamist group, which says it has a million members. Security forces killed hundreds of its supporters and rounded up thousands more since Mursi was deposed by the army on July 3 after mass protests against his rule.

21. September 2013, 12.59 Uhr:

Sex Jihad

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Aus dem Heiligen Krieg:

Women and teenage girls from Tunisia have been going to Syria in the name of “sexual jihad” to comfort rebels there by performing sex acts with multiple fighters.

Then they come home pregnant, where they get no help, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddo told Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly.

Women and teenage girls “are swapped between 20, 30 and 100 rebels and they come back bearing the fruit of sexual contacts in the name of sexual jihad, and we are silent doing nothing and standing idle,” the minister told members of parliament on Thursday.

20. September 2013, 14.50 Uhr:

Sieger Assad?

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Der sog. arabische Frühling, man kann es nur immer wieder betonen, kennt bislang einen Haufen Verlierer, wer dagegen am Ende als Gewinner dastehen, ja ob es überhaupt einen geben wird, das weiter ist völlig unklar. Bashar al Assad jedenfalls wird nicht dazugehören, der kurzfristige Sieg, den er mit Hilfe der Russen und des Irans errungen hat, indem er zumindest vorläufig einem US-Bombardement  entgangen ist, dürfte einen hohen Preis fordern. Natürlich nicht, die syrischen Chemiewaffen nun umgehend zerstören zu müssen, wenn, dann dürfte dies Monate, vermutliche Jahre dauern. Nein, er kann sie nicht mehr so einfach einsetzen. Und damit fällt eine der wichtigsten Drohungen weg, die das Regime gegenüber den Rebellen hatte.

In Gesprächen hatten mir irakische Kurden, die in den 80er Jahren gegen Saddam Hussein gekämpft haben, erklärt, dass die Gifftgaseinsätze ab 1987 die eigentlichen Game Changer gewesen seien. Vor der irakischen Armee habe man keine wirkliche Angst gehabt, aber das Giftgas habe eine unglaublich demoralisierende Wirkung gehabt, auch weil Zivilisten ihm völlig ungeschützt ausgesetzt gewesen seien.

Und ähnlich war es in Syrien, vor dem Großeinsatz in Ghouta hatte das Regime immer wieder kleinere Mengen von Giftgas zum Einsatz gebracht, vor allem an Fronten, in denen die Rebellen auf dem Vormarsch waren. Und damit dürfte jetzt Schluss sein. Noch einen Giftgaseinsatz kann Assad sich kaum leisten. Und militärisch war das Regime in den letzten Monaten keineswegs, wie von syrischer, iranischer oder russischer Propaganda gerne behauptet, in der Offensive.

Was also tut Assad nun? Er bietet erstmalig Gespräche mit Vertretern jener bewaffneten Opposition an, die er bis vor kurzem nur als Terroristen diffamiert hatte. Kurzum das Regime muss ausgerechnet jetzt zugestehen, dass es militärisch nicht siegen kann. Bislang hieß es aus Damaskus immer, Gespräche mit den Rebellen gäbe es nur, wenn diese zuvor ihre Waffen abgeben würden, ansonsten würde man den Konflikt militärisch zu Ende bringen und den Gegner besiegen.

The Syrian conflict has reached a stalemate and President Bashar al-Assad’s government will call for a ceasefire at a long-delayed conference in Geneva on the state’s future, the country’s deputy prime minister has said in an interview with the Guardian.

Qadri Jamil said that neither side was strong enough to win the conflict, which has lasted two years and caused the death of more than 100,000 people. Jamil, who is in charge of country’s finances, also said that the Syrian economy had suffered catastrophic losses.

“Neither the armed opposition nor the regime is capable of defeating the other side,” he said. “This zero balance of forces will not change for a while.”


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