Tag Archives: United States

ARAB AWAKENING BISHARA ASSAD COUNTERTERRORISM IRAQ JIHADISTS LEVANT MIDDLE EAST SYRIA UNITED STATES

Bin Laden’s Avatar: Get Real ODNI!

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 11, 2014, 1 Comment

The US government's intelligence services are either getting too imaginative or simply too paranoid about the "revival" of Usama Bin Laden, who, they know, is dead.  Now they are imagining him coming back to life as a "virtual" Bin Laden or as a new "avatar" of Jihadism.  In this ostensible flight of imagination, the American intelligence "experts on Islam appear eager to show their sheer ignorance and stupidity about the religion itself.  Consider the following statement from the study that was commission by no less than the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the highest intelligence agency of the United States.  It states:   Imagine that jihadist supporters create a detailed avatar of Usama bin Laden and use his many voice recordings to animate the avatar for up-close virtual reality experiences that could be used to preach, convert, recruit, and propagate dogma to the media. The Bin Laden avatar could preach and issue new fatwas for hundreds of years
ISLAM PAKISTAN

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…)
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Afghanistan: The Enduring Battlefield of the ‘Weak’ and the ‘Strong’

by Ehsan Ahrari on October 9, 2011, 1 Comment

India and Pakistan are two strange countries in a number of ways.  I will mention only one such trait here, to get the discussion going.  Despite India's denial to the contrary, Pakistan is its chief obsession.  Pakistan feels similarly toward India, but it has many reasons to feel that way.  First, on the scale of economic development, these two countries are really a world apart.  Despite India's intricacy as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state, it is relatively trouble free, while Pakistan is a simmering cauldron of sectarian and ethnic hatred.  The Takfiri extremism – which was prevalent in Egypt, post-Saddam Iraq, and Saudi Arabia – has found a home in Pakistan throughout the first decade of the 21st Century.  India is envisaged worldwide as a secular democracy and an up-and-coming cradle of modern education and technological development, while Pakistan is a place where Islamist-driven obscurantism is running rampant.  In view of these contrasting featur
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The Arab Awakening: An Antidote Against the Relevance of Al-Qaida

by Ehsan Ahrari on March 23, 2011, No Comments

 When al-Qaida was ranting against the corrupt and inept Arab and Muslim dictators as "slaves" of America, it had captured the sympathy of quite a few people in the Arab world, who agreed with that organization's criticism of their rulers, but not with its brutal ways.  The Arab awakening is bringing about the kind of change that al-Qaida dreamed about, but with at least one major difference.  The falling dictators are likely to be replaced by democratic and transparent governments, which will also learn to govern well. It is aiming to create pluralistic governments in such countries as Egypt and Bahrain, where more than one religion and Islamic sect prevail.  It also aims to make discrimination against women a thing of the past.  If hopes related to these aspirations are dashed, then al-Qaida will have another opportunity to be back with a vengeance.  At least for now, it is watching history fly right by it.  That is just one of the most significant reasons to celebrate the Ara
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Is Religious Moderation Dying in Pakistan?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 6, 2011, No Comments

The recent assassination of the Governor Salman Taseer of Punjab, the most populous state of Pakistan and the state that formulates a large chunk of its Army, raises that perennial question:  Is religious moderation dying in Pakistan?  Assassin's bullets are notorious about leading to major cataclysmic events, and one should be careful about reading too much into such events.  However, in Pakistan's case no amount of broad sweep of analytical thinking may be regarded as exaggeration.  (more…)
AFGHANISTAN INDIA IRAQ PAKISTAN UNITED STATES

Replacing the Current AfPak Strategy with a New One

by Ehsan Ahrari on July 4, 2010, No Comments

With the firing of General Stanley McChrystal, President Barack Obama appears to be writing his own edition of "lessons in disaster," a book of the same title that he so publicly read and supposedly drew lessons from before committing 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. One wonders whether he knows it, but Afghanistan is increasingly looking like a disastrous place for his administration as long as he sticks to the current AfPak strategy. (more…)
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Political Legitimacy: Key to Victory in Afghanistan

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 10, 2010, No Comments

As new idiosyncrasies of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan are becoming pronounced, one wonders how many of them are pushing it toward a potential disaster, which President Barack Obama is as determined to avoid as his three predecessors – Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and George W. Bush – did in Vietnam and Iraq, respectively. Every new president's approach to major unresolved issues is entirely different from those of his immediate predecessor, simply because the predecessor's approach is regarded as inept or even wrong-headed. So, the successor proceeds to 'reinvent the wheel' on those issues by approaching it entirely differently. Since Barack Obama entered office criticizing Bush's involvement in and his handling of the Iraq war, his own war – the one in Afghanistan – was going to have his 'superior' mark on it. (more…)
AFGHANISTAN INDIA IRAQ PAKISTAN UNITED STATES

Al-Qaida’s Long Reach and the Need for a “Smart” American Approach Toward Terrorism

by Ehsan Ahrari on May 4, 2010, No Comments

In my lectures and speeches all over the world on the issue of transnational terrorism, I used to proudly point out that American Muslims are immune to any contagious influence by al-Qaida or any other terrorist group. I had many reasons for saying so, but the foremost of which was the fact that American Muslims were much more integrated in the American achievement-oriented culture than their counterparts anywhere in the West. But in my heart, I had uneasy feelings about my own claim, because I have not seen the kind of cultural integration among the Muslim community that I think is a precondition of emerging as an American. The recent incidents involving Major Hasan Nidal, Colleen LaRose ("Jihad Jane), Najibullah Zazi, Faisal Shahzad and other American-born Muslims proved that my unease was not unfounded. As much as I have been emphasizing the propaganda power of the Internet in my lectures and writings, I was caught off guard about its deleterious role in radicalizing American Mu
CHINA RUSSIA UNITED STATES

How Does A Great Power Become a Superpower?

by Ehsan Ahrari on April 26, 2010, No Comments

Most China-watchers are of the view that it is fast becoming a superpower. I do not disagree with that proposition; however, I believe it has a long way to go in that direction. In the meantime, it must ensure that its economic growth is not affected by any domestic or international negative trend. An interesting conceptual exercise would be to figure out how a great power becomes a superpower? Almost all great powers have the reasonable potential of becoming a superpower. Some stay as great powers for a long time; some may retrench, as was the case with Great Britain; some may lose its status as a superpower when it implodes and its successor does not fill its superpower role, as happened with the USSR and Russia. Why don't all great powers end up as superpowers? Is there a template that each great power must follow to become a superpower, or must each potential superpower develop a sui generis path of becoming one? My sense is that the latter statement is true. (more&hell
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Sayonara, Yoshida Doctrine; Hello, Hatoyama Doctrine; Whither U.S.-Japan Ties?

by Ehsan Ahrari on January 31, 2010, No Comments

When the global dialogue about an ostensible power shift to Asia from the West was heating up, no one was imagining that Japan would be reassessing its historical ties with the United States. The Yoshida Doctrine – named after Japan's post-World War II Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida – was expected to be the cornerstone of that country's foreign policy. Toward the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, a new Hatoyama Doctrine – named after its current Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama – seems to be emerging, while Japan might be bidding sayonara to the Yoshida doctrine. (http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713704248&db=all) (more…)