Tag Archives: Islam


Move On Pakistan, Let the Old General Go!

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 22, 2013, No Comments

Watching General Pervez Musharraf's humiliating treatment in Pakistan is a painful experience.  The vibrant Pakistani press is full of all sorts of stories.  Al Jazeera had an interesting discussion with a number of prominent Pakistanis on the subject.  I have been a long-time watcher of General Musharraf from Washington.  I find him interesting but more paradoxical than that Islamist General Zia ul-Haq.  My personal preference is that, if Pakistan were to really mature into a democracy, it needs to let the old General leave the country, with a promise not to return anytime soon.  This is a crucial time for Pakistan to move on with its business of conducting its next general election. (more…)

Another Season of Silliness Is on Again

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 20, 2010, No Comments

The United States went through a near-miss terrorist attack during the Christmas holidays. A Muslim, this time a Nigerian Muslim, was involved. Consequently, the country is going through another silly season whereby a number of "experts" with diarrhea of the mouth are eagerly expressing their idiotic views. At the government level, there is an outcry for finding who (which bureaucrat or which bureaucracy) was sleeping on the job, or who failed to "connect the dots." The process of condemning Muslims is on with a vengeance. One suggestion is that the United States should abandon the attitude of political correctness and racially profile every Muslim traveler. After all, they say, Israel is doing that as a matter of course. However, no one stopped to think that Israel is an island, a small and insignificant nation, compared to the lone superpower, which claims not to be at war with Islam and Muslims. Sarah Palin, who desperately tries to sound intelligent and coherent in order to

The Making of a New Global Strategy

by Ehsan Ahrari on June 8, 2009, No Comments

.!.  The administration of President Barack H. Obama has started the highly intricate process of developing its own strategy with a bang in different regions of the world.  Here are the ingredients of that strategy: multilateralism, looking for a fresh start–which promises to be substantially different from the preceding administration–search for common ground involving Russia, invitation of negotiations with America's traditional adversaries like Iran and North Korea, and at least the initial hope that approaches toward Palestine, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are likely to be radically different than the one the Bush administration pursued unsuccessfully.  This is a huge agenda.  But Obama's administration has the enormous characteristic of freshness, metaphorically as well as substantively, in the sense that it is not carrying any baggage that had so infamously bogged down George W. Bush in an ostensibly endless inertia.   (more…)

Slaying the Beast Called the “Clash of Civilizations”

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 12, 2009, No Comments

President Barack H. Obama's campaign slogans of "a time for a change" and "yes we can" are filtering into his speeches and his actions toward the world of Islam.  He is serious about bringing an end to the poisonous frame of reference that the concept of "the clash of civilizations" presents for Muslims.  In this sense, he is busy slaying the beast that that idea has become in the past fifteen or more years.  President Obama's interview with al-Arabiyya soon after he entered the White House, his message to the Iranian people on the day of the Nowroze (Iranian New Year), and his trip to Turkey were the most credible examples of that reality.  However, Obama's battle with the beast is challenging and does not guarantee a victory at this point.   (more…)

Tidibits and Morsels (3)

by Ehsan Ahrari on December 31, 2008, No Comments

ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, RESTART THE BARMY ARMS RACE!   The Cold War in its old form disappeared when the Soviet Union imploded.  But the U.S.-Russian competition did not.  The United States continued a strange policy of expanding the NATO membership and bringing that Alliance all the way to the Russian borders, despite strong and continued protestations from Mosow.  It was highly irrational on the part of the United States to think that Russia should only listen to its rhetoric–which went along the lines that "we are no longer adversaries"–and totally ignore its near obsession with the NATO enlargement.   (more…)

Looking at Indonesia from Abroad and Within

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 23, 2008, No Comments

Reading about Indonesia from the United States in the post-9/11 era creates a picture of that country that has little to do with realities inside its borders.  One of the reasons is the obsession of the American media and even OpEd writing intellectuals with Jemah Islamiya (JI) at the expense of everything else.  As much as the "informed public" (defined as people who are interested in substantive news coverage in the print and electronic media) wants to know about Southeast Asia, somehow their interest in and about Indonesia has been reduced to reading or hearing reports that discuss how dynamic the JI still is, and about how many Indonesians are sympathetic to that entity.   (more…)

What the Asians See in Obama and McCain

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 7, 2008, No Comments

While Barack Obama is fully focused on winning the hearts and minds of Americans overwhelmingly enough to become the next U.S. President, Asians are focused on him and are rooting for his success.  Obama carries ample charm, goodwill, and positive feelings among Asians.  In a recent public discussion, a former Singaporean diplomat and a prominent strategic thinker, Kishore Mahbubani, underscored that fact.   (more…)

A Case for Optimism for Indonesia

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 20, 2008, 1 Comment

As extremist forces are intensifying their endeavors to make Pakistan an obscurantist Muslim country, the example of Indonesia is both inspiring and heartening.  The country is well on its way to democracy, something that is quite rare in the world of Islam.  To be sure, Indonesia has problems of its own.  Extemist forces have shown their ugly faces in the past and terrorist attacks have taken place.  Even today, when democracy is thriving in Indonesia, the global economic crisis gives one great concern that Indonesia might suffer from its deleterious spillover effect.  However, considering the significance of Indonesia as the largest Muslim country, in all likelihood, forces of regional stability and global order are likely to come to its rescue.  In the meantime, one has to watch with rapt attention that there is no resurgence of religious extremism, since the forces of extremism are weak, but are  very much on the mend.   Kishore Mahbubani's essay makes the case for optimis

From “Mr. Ten Percent” to Mr. President: Zardari’s Shifting Fortunes

by Ehsan Ahrari on September 6, 2008, No Comments

It is hard to decide whether the news of the victory of Asif Ali Zardari for the presidency of Pakistan should be celebrated as a victory for democracy, or be viewed as a cause for concern.  Better known as "Mr. Ten Percent" for allegedly receiving his cut from contractors doing business with the Pakistani government during the administration of his wife, Benazir Bhutto, his sudden prominence is only an historical accident.  Otherwise, he has been known as Benazir Bhutto's "insignificant other."  Zardari spent many years in jail, while his wife was in exile.  Throughout the stormy career of his wife, he largely stayed in the background.  As daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, she was supposed to be the "daughter of destiny," and was to become the Prime Minister of Pakistan.  However, her life was cut short when she was assassinated on December 29, 2007.   (more…)