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5. Juli 2015, 13.35 Uhr:

Unterstützt das 'Kurdistan Secular Center'

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Ein unterstützendwerter Aufruf:

The Kurdistan Secular Centre (KSC) was formally established at a 19 April public meeting in Suleymaniya, Iraqi Kurdistan, attended by hundreds of supporters and by national media. The Centre, created to promote secularism and the separation of religion from the state and governing system, was initiated by a number of prominent intellectuals, academics, trade unionists, human rights and political activists.

The current situation
In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Islam is cited in the draft constitution as the main source of legislation. Islam has great influence in the person status law and in the penal code, both of which discriminate against women in numerous ways and form a barrier to the creation of a culture of equality and human rights.

This system of law tolerates, openly or in effect, practices such as female genital mutilation, force marriage, inequality in divorce, child custody and inheritance, punishment of women for “adultery”, denial of abortion rights and allowing a rapist to escape punishment if he agrees to marry the victim. This discrimination facilitates a massive amount of violence against women and girls. (…)

Against fear and intimidation from reactionary religious forces, we will stand up for fundamental human rights such as freedom of political thought, freedom of expression and personal freedom.

The KSC will carry out its struggle throughout Kurdistan, and collaborate with other organisations that share its aims. The centre will establish international connections in order to learn from the experience of secularists in other countries, aid their struggle and gain support and assistance for ours.

With all this in mind, we have developed “A Charter for Secularism in Kurdistan”. We call on all likeminded organisations and individuals in Kurdistan to join the Centre and add their names to the Charter.

The Charter

The Kurdistan Secular Centre will work to establish a secular system in Kurdistan region through realizing the following objectives:

– A complete separation of religion and state, and removal of religion from the constitution.
– Full equality for all people before the law regardless of their religion, beliefs, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or nationality.
– Full gender equality with regard to economic, legal and social rights.
– Freedom of speech, expression, criticism, research and thought, creativity and invention.
– The removal of religious influence from the Personal Status Law and Penal Code, and a rewriting of these Codes on secular principles,
– A secular education system, disconnected from religious institutions.
– The end of financial support for religious institutions from the state.
– The prohibition of all forms of violence, the incitement to violence, expiation, hatred or excommunication by any religious institution.

5. Juli 2015, 13.04 Uhr:

Vorher - Nachher?

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Ein Tweet: Jenan Moussa ?@jenanmoussa #Palmyra theater: Before & after ISIS.

Der Nahe Osten wäre so einfach zu verstehen, wäre alles so einfach, wie diese Bilder suggerieren.

In Palmyra aber, in dessen antikem Theater der IS diese Massenexekution öffentlichkeitswirksam durchführte, befand sich eines der übelsten Foltergefängnisse des Assad-Regimes, über das die BBC jüngst schrieb:

Westerners know Palmyra for its ancient Greco-Roman ruins, but the Arabic term for the place, Tadmur, gives most Syrians goose-bumps.

It’s synonymous with death, torture, horror, and madness.

The prison was built by the French in the 1930s, in heart of the desert, about 200km northeast of Damascus. But it was during Hafez al-Assad 30-year rule between 1971 and 2000 that it gained its current reputation. Thousands of political dissidents were reported to have been humiliated, tortured, and summarily executed there.

“It’s utterly unfair to call it a prison. In a prison you have basic rights, but in Tadmur you have nothing. You’re only left with fear and horror,” says Palestinian writer Salameh Kaileh, who spent two years there, from 1998 to 2000, accused of opposing the goals of the revolution that brought Assad’s Baath Party to power.

Es war der IS, der dieses Gefängnis stürmte, die Insassen befreite und das Gebäude dann zerstörte. Zur Ballettaufführung in Palmyra muß man sich die Schreie der Gefolterten also als Hintergrundchor dazu denken.

Dass ausgerechnet der IS der Folterei im Tadmur-Gefängnis ein Ende bereitete, nur um dann selbst zu foltern und zu exekutieren, dass ist, in a nutshell, die Realität des Nahen Ostens heute, die sich mit zwei medienwirksamen Bildern eben nicht fassen lässt.

3. Juli 2015, 11.05 Uhr:

Keine Gewinner

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

In einer Besprechung des neuen Buches von Brian Whitaker “Arabs Without God: Atheism and Freedom of Belief in the Middle East” schreibt Robin Yassin-Kassab:

Today, Iran and Assad on the one side and Sunni jihadists on the other exploit sectarian identity to rouse the cannon fodder they require to implement their respective authoritarian projects. The extremes on both sides feed off each other. Assad released hard-line Salafists from prison in 2011 (simultaneously targeting non-violent, non-sectarian activists for assassination) because he knew their acts and rhetoric would terrify minority groups into loyalty to his regime. And the Sunni jihadists love the presence of Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese Shiites on the battlefield because it reinforces their narrative that Syria is not engaged in a revolutionary war for democracy and self-determination, but in a defensive war against an international Shiite conspiracy.

No section of the people profits from this cruel game. In the Alawite community perhaps a third of fighting-age men are dead, sacrificed to a dying dictatorship. An enormous proportion of the Sunni population has been killed, injured, imprisoned or displaced. And unless Syrians can surpass the identities fashioned for them by policemen and warlords, their country faces a future of sectarian dismemberment.

30. Juni 2015, 00.49 Uhr:

Zum Stand der syrischen Chemwiewaffen

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Das nächste Kapitel über das ach so erfolgreiche Chemiewaffenabkommen mit Syrien:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe there is a strong possibility the Assad regime will use chemical weapons on a large scale as part of a last-ditch effort to protect key Syrian government strongholds if Islamist fighters and other rebels try to overrun them, U.S. officials said.

Analysts and policy makers have been poring over all available intelligence hoping to determine what types of chemical weapons the regime might be able to deploy and what event or events might trigger their use, according to officials briefed on the matter. (…)

Since then, the U.S. officials said, the Assad regime has developed and deployed a new type of chemical bomb filled with chlorine, which Mr. Assad could now decide to use on a larger scale in key areas. U.S. officials also suspect the regime may have squirreled away at least a small reserve of the chemical precursors needed to make nerve agents sarin or VX. Use of those chemicals would raise greater international concerns because they are more deadly than chlorine and were supposed to have been eliminated.

The intelligence is “being taken very seriously because he’s getting desperate” and because of doubts within the U.S. intelligence community that Mr. Assad gave up all of his deadliest chemical weapons, a senior U.S. official said.

29. Juni 2015, 16.00 Uhr:

'Erfolgreichster persischer Imperialist'

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

In wenigen Worten:

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei stands as one of the most successful Persian imperialists in the history of modern Iran. Today, Khamenei has essential control of much of the Iraqi state, he is the most important external actor in Syria, and Hizbullah provides him with not just a means of manipulating Lebanon’s politics but also shock troops who can be deployed on various war fronts. Iran has embarked on a dramatic new mission and is seeking to project its power into corners of the Middle East in ways that were never possible before. But without an arms control agreement and the financial rewards it will bring, Iran would find it difficult to subsidize this imperial surge.
The massive financial gains from the prospective deal would enable the Islamic Republic’s imperial surge while allowing a repressive regime that was on the brink of collapse in 2009 to consolidate power.

27. Juni 2015, 11.48 Uhr:

Moscheen zu

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Die tunesische Regierung zieht Konsequenzen:

Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid announced on Friday that the government will be shutting 80 mosques that are outside of state control on the grounds that they may incite violence. The plan, which will be carried out in the next week, follows an attack on a tourist resort hotel in the coastal city of Sousse, around 140 kilometers (87 miles) south of the capital Tunis.

Tunis also plans to crack down on financing for certain associations as a countermeasure against another attack.

26. Juni 2015, 23.43 Uhr:

Vergessener Krieg

von Thomas von der Osten-Sacken

Jemen? Ein Krieg, der keine Schlagzeilen mehr macht:

Talks in Geneva last week ended without a resolution to the conflict, which has claimed more than 2,800 lives, as the Iran-allied Houthi movement and Saudi-backed President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi refused to back down. (…)

Hadi’s Foreign Minister Riad Yassin Abdullah said his government had no interest in organizing a new meeting in Geneva, Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported Friday, and would instead work with all parties to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216.

The Houthis reject that resolution, which calls for them to withdraw from captured areas, return seized arms and allow Hadi to return from his Riyadh exile.

Three months after an Arab coalition began air raids in support of Hadi on March 26, the Houthis and allied military units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh remain the dominant force on the ground, and have stepped up attacks on Saudi border posts in recent weeks.

Houthi fighters fired artillery into Saudi Arabia Thursday, killing three Saudi soldiers and one from the United Arab Emirates, a member of the coalition. (…)

The United Nations has estimated that more than 21 million people, or 80 percent of the Yemeni population, are in need of humanitarian assistance.

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