Dec 27, 2011

The realm of God

Hasan Al-Banna’s ascendancy in the region is about to become equal to Turkey’s Atatürk or beyond.

Abdulla Hawez
When a 22 young preacher found the society of Muslim brothers, just four  years after the end of Islamic Ottoman empire, he never thought his legacy will spread all over the Muslim world such as numerous as today; look across the Arab world today and political Islam has jumped to the fore.  Hasan AlBanna, lived for 42 years, is the Godfather of all political Islamic movements in the world. Al-Banna's Brotherhood founded in 1928, hounded by all governments despite professing a fairly moderate version of Islam; this relatively mild-mannered movement is known for its political savvy that bases its message on the texts of Islam as well as its pliability and discipline. A question rises regarding Al-Banna’s legacy and whether it’s a nasty one that threatens democracy? Also, are the skeptics who said that Arabs would inevitably elect malicious people, and could not handle democracy being proven unpleasantly right?
Let’s first take a glance on how brotherhood and other parties of a similar stripe are performing, according to the come outs so far; brothers are the first winners of the Arab Spring. In Egypt’s first and second round of voting, Brotherhood is winning the three-stage election to parliament by a wider margin than analysts predicted, with more than 40% of the seats. In North Africa Islamists of a similar school to the Brotherhood wins elections by a landslide in their countries, Tunisia’s Al-Nahda and Morocco’s Justice and Development party are just live-fresh examples, while Libya and Mauritania highly expected to do so too, in the elections in the upcoming year.
Similarly, in the other part of the Arab world, same scene expected to happen. In Syria, with every day that passes, President Bashar Al-Assad's grip on power seems to weaken; while Brotherhood is prominent in the strong opposition front that may displace Bashar Al-Assad eventually. In chaotic Yemen, Brotherhood’s political wing, AlIslah party already has a strong position in the interim government, as the party is pacing straightforward to come out a winner in the next elections according to pundits and questionnaires. Furthermore, Nobel peace prize winner, Tawakel Karman, is one of the leaders of AlIslah. That’s despite Palestine’s Hamas, which is a branch of Brotherhood. Moreover, in Sudan, Hassan Al-Basher is ideologically based on Brotherhood school, while in Jordan Muslim brothers have a strong voice, and Qatar is a Brotherhood friendly state. Whereas the other countries in the Middle East are under the sway of governments with an Islamist label as well, even though they have different hues.
Al-Banna tried to have new interpretations for the Islamic concepts which were controversial, hence he faced strong opponent from the local religious élite. He always claimed to uphold the call to Islam, not to impose it on people. He preached in coffeehouses, which were then a novelty and were generally viewed as morally suspect. Al-Banna, compared to religious views at his era, was a religious reformist, who was seeking the renewal of religion to fit with the current needs. Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh, former member of the executive bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood who was expelled from the long-banned party for choosing to join Egypt’s presidency race, once said that if Al-Banna was still a life, he will never allow Brotherhood to engage in politics such as today, because he hadn’t intended to develop the movement to become a political party, rather following the fail of the Ottoman Islamic empire, he wanted to relive the Islamic norms in the society. That augments doubts that succeeds have had veered his message and become more radical instead.
Some months ago, I talked with Dr. Essam Al-Arian, the spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood after the fail of Mubarak, he never gave a positive sign to adopt a model close to Turkey’s AKP one. Furthermore, half of Brotherhood’s members are women, yet they failed to arrive in the higher positions inside the movement, which raises questions on the women’s role in Egypt’s Brotherhood. However, Al-Arian said that they will uphold the rights of women and religious minorities in the next government which will be dominated by Brothers and other more radical Islamists.
Some western observers and internal liberal rivals see the Brotherhood as a mysterious society, pretending moderation and democracy in public while in private embracing a radical, authoritarian, anti-western agenda. Nevertheless, it widely believed that they will not enforce the veil or immediately ban alcohol, because they understand that people don’t vote for them because they seek Saudi or Iranian style of religious repression. Rather because of their hatred of corruption, the curse of secular dictatorships all through the region, and their promotion of justice and dignity.
Consequently, it can’t be proved instantly, whether Islamists will overturn the democratic process of election to entrenchment their power and impose their ideological beliefs or will protect the individual rights. The only incontrovertible thing, apparently, is the emergence of a realm in the Arab world that leads by the legacy of Hassan Al-Banna.

*Iraqi Kurdish freelance journalist writes about current Political issues in the Middle East.

Dec 22, 2011

What’s really going on in Iraq?

This week’s coordinated bombings in Baghdad are only the latest instance of growing sectarian tension in Iraq. The tone has been set by competition at the very heart of government, between Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki on the one hand and, on the other, Maliki’s deputy Salih Mutlaq and Vice-President Tariq Al-Hashimi, who are both Sunni. Their competition increasingly refracts regional tensions between Iran and Turkey on how to deal with the Syrian conflict.
Maliki is closely connected to the Iranian leaders, a fact that is increasingly relevant considering Iraq’s stated desire to mediate between the Syrian government and anti-Assad forces. An Iraqi delegation visited Damascus recently, ostensibly for this purpose. On the other hand, Iraqi Sunnis have strong ties with Turkey. Tariq Al-Hashimi particularly has a special relation with the leaders of Turkey’s AKP government – this year alone he has conducted several meetings with representatives of Erdogan’s government from Ankara.
Recent tensions between Iran and Turkey, on the Syrian issue and Nato missile defense, are affecting co-operation between Iraqi leaders, and Iran’s efforts to shift attention from Syria to Iraq is likely to exacerbate those challenges further.
The aspiration of the predominantly Sunni provinces of Salahadeen, Anbar and, more recently, Dyala to become more autonomous, if not independent of the central Iraqi governing authority, reportedly with Saudi-Turkish support, is another source of sectarian tension. Shi’ites accuse Sunnis of trying to divide Iraq, accusations that led Muqtada Al-Sadr’s Mahdi militia to intervene in Diyala, a province with a 20 per cent Shi’ite population.
All these developments are accelerating a situation of intense speculation. For example, following a recent trip to London by Jordan’s King Abdullah, rumors began circulating of a scenario in which closer ties are being forged between Jordan and Iraq’s restive Sunni regions in the west.
It’s also on the rumor mill that Mosul province, currently dominated by Iraq’s Sunni speaker of parliament Osama al-Nujeifi, will become a federal region under Turkish supervision. Arabs will leave Kirkuk, only Kurds and Turkmen will remain, and both Kurdistan and Turkey will share the oil revenues. Far-fetched as these ideas may be, they are exacerbating simmering sectarianism.
Paul Bremer once refered to Al-Maliki as the Saddam of Shiites, his autocratic approach to Iraqi politics is fueling the tensions of recent days. With meagre success in reducing violence during his early years as Prime Minister, Al-Maliki has in recent years strengthened his control over the government and security forces.
Now Al-Maliki is expanding his reach. Only one day after the United States’ official withdrawal from Iraq, he accused Tariq Al-Hashimi of being behind terrorist attacks in Iraq and officially dismissed Salih Mutlaq from his position as deputy Prime Minister following an interview with CNN in which Mutlaq described Al-Maliki as a new bad dictator while Saddam was a good dictator.
A source close to Tariq Al-Hashimi told me that he claims to have proof that Al-Maliki is the one who has used terrorism to strengthen his political hold, but that is holding on to that evidence for now.
Anxieties are surfacing among politicians in Iraq that Al-Maliki is trying to erase his rivals, including his Shiite allies. Al-Maliki denies the rumors saying that he supports a diverse Iraq with a wide range of parties in parliament. Time will tell if his strong hand in politics will advance a stable state or threaten it.
Kurds for now are trying to show themselves as a neutral party but, in reality, they are not. Historically, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan has strong ties with Iran, including frequent visits to Iran. After the accusations against Al-Hashimi surfaced, he tried to meet with Talabani, but according to a source close to the president, Talabani refused.
Paradoxically, the other Kurdish leader, Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan region, met with Al-Hashimi and refused to surrender him to the Iraqi authorities in Baghdad. Barzani has strong ties with Turkey, including hosting Recep Tayyip in Barzani’s stronghold, the Kurdistan region’s de facto capital Erbil last year. Erdogan is the most senior Turkish official to have ever has visited Kurdistan, creating a regional game that even divides the Kurdish leaders in Iraq.
A radical political dilemma is looming in Iraq; the recent standoff appears to be just the beginning. This political dilemma might be either the warning bell of a bloody internal war with consequences unknown, or simply political jockeying in the wake of the US departure. Let’s see!

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Sep 13, 2011

Arab spring - Kurdish Autumn; why southeastern Turkey might be next?

After Turkish military jets bombed the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan on the night of August 17 and the days followed intermittently continued, the long-standing Kurdish question in Turkey once more raises. Turkish military bombard has started after PKK’s attacks that killed about 40 Turkish soldiers. However, the horizon of Kurdish question is murky for many Kurds.
 When Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to power in 2002, he promised to solve the Kurdish question; while previous governments were unable to even mention there is such a problem. This valor gave millions of Kurds impulse of hope; thereby Kurds mostly voted for Erdogan’s AKP. However, Erdogan’s promise apparently has become faint.
The AKP started a so-called “democratization process,” which mainly was an opening process toward Kurds through raising democratic standards. During the AKP era, some steps have been taken; Nevertheless, many more steps should follow for a radical solution of the decades-long Kurdish issue. However, when some bigoted nationalists tried to provoke the process, Erdogan pushed to halt the process.
Ironically, during the last election campaign Erdogan denied Kurdish question; he said, “there is no such a problem." This hesitation gradually crumbled the ties in between AKP and many Kurds.
The new round of violence between Turkish state and PKK won’t change anything except more casualties.

Kurdish autumn
Aside from PKK’s unclear approaches, conservative AKP should be aware that long-ignored Kurds in the southeastern Turkey won’t choose silence anymore if Turkish state doesn’t approach steps to give them their universal rights. Arab spring should be a great lesson to AKP as well along with autocratic rulers in the region. Democratic Turkey should also cover Kurds’ needs. I have been in Dyarbikir, the biggest predominately Kurdish city; the city has been ignored compared to other Turkish cities, because of the ethnical population of the city. One can easily see frailty in the infrastructure, and unemployment is ubiquitous in the region. They can’t speak their language, and Kurdish is forbidden in the official places, including schools. Pro Kurdish BDP, gained 36 seats in the new parliament, more than 2500 of their members are in prison because of there political activities.If AKP doesn’t solve Kurdish question inside the new promised constitution; they should expect huge protests in the southeastern region, which is mostly inhabited by Kurds. Kurds won’t accept to live in autumn anymore while they are watching Arab spring.

Jun 21, 2011

AK Party won, now Kurds win; here’s why

The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) landslide victory by almost 50 percent of the vote once more raises the long-standing Kurdish question.
Cities in Turkey’s Southeast, which are mostly inhabited by Kurds, sent a clear message to the victorious prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, by mainly voting for the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Even though the AK Party secured around 30 seats in predominantly Kurdish cities, close to the BDP’s 36 seats, this result is still considered a weak performance by the AK Party compared to previous results, especially in the conservative city of Diyarbakır, the biggest in the Southeast. However, expectations are high for solving the Kurdish issue through a reform of the Constitution and economic benefits for the region.
The AK Party government started a so-called “democratization process,” which mainly was an opening process toward Kurds and other minorities through raising democratic standards. During the AK Party era ascendant steps have been taken; yet many more steps should follow for a radical solution of the decades-long Kurdish issue. Undoubtedly, the prime minister’s steps paved the way for Kurdish rights — reflected in liberal policies and infrastructure improvement in Kurdish cities. However, when some bigoted nationalists tried to provoke the process, Prime Minister Erdoğan pushed to halt the process.
After the AK Party’s historic victory, some real challenges face Erdoğan — especially preparing a new constitution. The Kurdish issue is expected to top the agenda, and this issue will collide with Turkish nationalists’ fierce rejection. Yet, we should be sanguine about expectations on the Kurdish question because during his nine years of rule, Erdoğan has proceeded with some resolute steps with unprecedented fortitude such as liberalizing policies and opening a round-the-clock Kurdish TV channel. The new AK Party-led government is trying to solve the most sensitive issue in modern Turkish history gradually and smoothly. Any provocation may get Turkish nationalists angry, aggravate the situation and lead to a stalemate. Additionally, despite all the challenging obstacles, there are signals for a more Kurdish-friendly constitution to end the bloody conflict in southeastern Turkey. Below, I will present short and simple but realistic reasons why I’m optimistic about the AK Party’s solution for the Kurdish question.
At the top of Erdoğan’s agenda for the next period is the new, promised civilian constitution. The most challenging matter to tackle is clearly going to be the Kurdish question — the issue Mr. Erdoğan always wanted to see addressed peacefully. Kurds will get their cultural and political rights with the new constitution. Mr. Erdoğan promised to write a more democratic and liberal constitution — and Kurds are going to be the main beneficiaries of this. Also, there will be exclusive and radical changes in the new constitution for the sake of Kurds and other minorities. The first beneficiaries of individual rights are going to be Kurds and other minorities. However, that’s not going to threaten Turkey’s unity because when Kurdish citizens feel they are equal with Turks and other citizens, they will be proud of their citizenship. Furthermore, as Turkish President Abdullah Gül has indicated on many occasions, diversity is a source of a richer Turkey and not vice versa; that’s what Turkish nationalists, if they really love Turkey, should understand — a more diverse Turkey means a richer Turkey. Moreover, Mr. Erdoğan’s plan for 2023 is very hard to achieve without Kurds because Kurds comprise at least 20 percent of Turkey’s population. So Mr. Erdoğan should consider Kurds as an important factor for his 2023 plan, and he has already done so. Mr. Erdoğan in his campaign rally in Ankara announced his plan for Diyarbakır, which will make this city a financial and tourism hub. Changing the constitution and implementing the “AK Party’s 2023 vision” will solve all political, cultural and economic issues.
These two radical reasons along with what was achieved previously through the “democratization process” and the AK Party leadership’s desire for a solution will put an end to the Kurdish issue, but the road won’t be straightforward, especially given the ultranationalists’ attempts to create problems along the way and depict the matter as grim or a taboo subject that will ruin Turkey’s national unity. However, in the end, wisdom, moderation and tolerance will win, and Mr. Erdoğan’s strong will will gently do away with the hurdles. The pro-Kurdish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-backed BDP should also avoid provocative methods that might gridlock the bleeding wound or damage all the steps that have been taken so far; if not, the BDP will only have itself to blame.

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Jun 5, 2011

Republic of Kurdistan; The first glimmer of hope that demised early

Kurds in 1920 were nearest to statehood than ever as outcome of the Treaty of Sevres. It envisaged interim autonomy for the predominantly Kurdish areas in Turkey and the British-occupied province of Mosul (current Iraqi Kurdistan area). But, the possibility for such a state never occurred, since Kemal Ataturk renounce submission at Sevres. He started a revolution against the Christian forces and drove them out. Then, Kurdistan became four parts. The dream of independent Kurdistan dramatically demised, and the inception of brutal suppression employed. One of four parts of Kurdistan consist modern Iran. Although government of Iran hasn’t implemented same level of brutality as its counterpart in Turkey, yet, it has always been opposed any suggestion of Kurdish separation. Iran has had greater reasons than Turkey to oppose such a step, because it has had more large minorities such as Arabs and Azeries. From the beginning, Iranian authorities allowed Kurds to use their own language and express their culture openly. It’s noteworthy to say, however, that Kurds are around 10 percent of Iran’s population, less than other large minorities such as Turkics and Baluchies. Unlike Turkey and Iraq, however, Kurd’s land in Iran has less demographic share. Kurds in all four parts have almost no vital activity for independence that might be because of brutal suppression of central governments. At the late of 1930s and the beginning of 1940s, affected by European antinationalism, nationalist Kurds emerged. At the beginning of 1940, nationalism beside communism became a favorable common ideology.
As a result of World War two in late August 1941, British troops occupied southern part of Iran, with the Soviets controlling the north. The aim of the occupation was to dislodge Shah of Iran who the Allies forces suspected would turn his pro-German sympathy into Military Corporation. There was no Iranian government at that time. In the absence of a Central government, the Soviets tried to attach northwestern of Iran to the Soviet Union. City of Mahabad which mostly inhabited by Kurds wasn’t occupied by any of the forces that led to vacuum of power. Soviet promoted nationalism amongst Kurds. These factors made Kurds think about self-governing for Kurds within the Iranian state. In 1942, as a result of vacuum of power, a committee supported by tribal leaders took control over the administration of the city. Later at that year, a nationalist political party formed, called the Society for the Revival of Kurdistan (its Kurdish original name was, Komalay Jiyanaway Kurdistan or JK). Qazi Muhammad, member of a respected family in Mahabad elected as the chief of the new party. The party was under Soviet influence, but not control. Then, however, before the declaration of Kurdistan republic, the party elected a committee that started administering the area. The JK’s administration was successful for over five years until the fall of the republic. In 1945, the Kurdistan Democratic Party had started; all member of JK joined the new party. The new party asked for autonomy for Kurds whining the Iranian state not an independent one, Kurdish as an official language and asked for democracy in local administration. Generally, Soviet’s attitude toward Kurdish administration was ambivalent, and they didn’t support it clearly. Kurdish successful administration under Qazi Muhammad’s rule enhanced every aspect in the people’s life in this area.

In September 1945, Qzi Muhammad and other Kurdish leaders visited Soviet’s consul in Tabrez to seek for a new Kurdish republic, and they went to Azerbaijan for the same purpose. There they found that Azerbaijan’s Democratic Party is seeking a republic in Iranian Azerbaijan. On December 10, Azerbaijan’s Democratic Party took control over the East Azerbaijan province from Iranian troops and declared a republic; likewise, Qazi Muhammad decided to take the same step. After five days, on December 15, Kurdish people’s government was found in Mahabad. On January 22, 1946, Qazi Muhammad proclaimed the republic of Kurdistan in Mahabad. According to the republic’s Manifesto, they aimed to gain autonomy from Kurds inside the Iranian state, Kurdish become an official language in the area, electing locals to all official positions and unity and fraternity with Azerbaijanis. The republic was never seeking for independence out of Iranian limits. They aimed to gain autonomy and self-governing whining Iran. Kurdish printing spread throughout the area and a lot of publication were printing in the republic. That boosted the education and printing media in the area. Economically, even though, Soviet hadn’t done much to support Kurdistan republic in Mahabad, but it had an important rule in protecting the borders of the republic from Iranian forces’ intervention. Also as a kind of encouragement for the new-born republic, Soviet was buying the whole of the tobacco that was producing from that area. But regarding the military corporation, Soviet, neither did train the Kurdish republic’s fighters nor did supply them by weapons.

On March 26, 1946, under the pressure of Western powers especially United States, the soviets pledged the Iranian government to withdraw from northern Iran. This step was the beginning of the end of both Mahabad and Azerbaijan republics. Firstly, in June, Iranian forces re-controlled the Iranian Azerbaijan. That was slow killing for Kurdistan republic of Mahabad. The republic isolated from all sides, eventually led to destruction of first and only Kurdish republic in the modern history. The main reason behind the republic’s destruction is clear, Soviet withdrawal from northern Iran, but there are some internal reasons as well. The Kurdistan republic hasn’t had a strong army. General Mustafa Barzani was the commander-in-chief in the republic’s government, but he didn’t have strong enough army to protect the republic from Iranian threats. The army was formed from voluntarily non-trained fighters. Another reason of Kurdistan republic’s collapse is tribal disagreements, a problem that all Kurdish movements suffered from throughout the history. During the republic’s governing, tribal chiefs didn’t help the republic because of their relation with the central government. Ironically, tribal leaders helped the Iranian forces to topple the Kurdistan republic in Mahabad that’s despite, they were Kurds. Tribal chiefs support for Iranian government instead of Kurdistan republic was disenchantment and fatal for the republic in the military aspect.

Diplomatically, likewise all other Kurdish movements, the Kurdistan republic’s ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party failed to gain support from superpowers. Although Soviet, one of the main powers at that time encouraged the foundation of Kurdistan republic, but when western powers pressed on it to pull out from Iran, it never thought about Kurdish and Azerbaijani republics because they never had a strategic alliance. Also, western powers especially United States did support Iranian government precisely because they didn’t have other choices. Kurds took Soviet’s side; they never attempted to gain western sympathy. There was a possibility of Western power’s support for Kurdish state if they asked their support; because of one reason which is they weren’t Iranian alliance either. Qazi Muhammad and other republic leaders’ insist of relations with Soviet led to republic’s demise. Some may say politics is like a card sometime the winds mayn’t blow in your favor, but the problem in republic’s case is they even didn’t pick a card to test their chance. The absence of accurate diplomatic skills together with tribal chiefs’ embroiled in fighting with their brothers led to Kurdistan republic’s demise.

The foundation of Kurdistan republic in Mahabad, first and only Kurdish republic in modern history, led to a crackdown aftermath. But it hasn’t finished the glimmer of hope in Kurdistan. General Mustafa Barzani after fleeing to Soviet for eleven twelve years, returned to Iraqi Kurdistan in 1958. Barzani started a new struggle for Kurdistan’s independence but this time in Iraqi part of Kurdistan. He gave another hope for Kurdish statehood. Also, in Kurdistan of Turkey the struggle started more actively in the wake of Kurdistan republic’s destruction. Iraqi Kurdistan liberated and gained self-governing with all other aims of Kurdistan republic in Mahanad. No one can deny military struggle’s role in the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan, but diplomatic struggle also had a vital role. Kurdish movement was sending representative to United States, western powerful countries, even to Israel to gain their support for Kurdish autonomy because they knew that they can’t achieved just by military struggle. The lake of diplomacy in other parts of Kurdistan halt their hope of self-governing. The quake of Kurdistan republic’s demise still affecting Kurds in Iran, they should wake and never lose hope, especially while the region live Arab nation’s uprising against their autocratic leaders. Kurds can invest this opportunity to gain more and more right to live in long awaited prosperous life. Moreover, the only reason that collapsed all Kurdish struggle toward self-governing is differences, so the unity and fraternity of all political parties is the guarantee of any future hope for Kurdish statehood.

* studying politics and International Relations at University of Kurdistan – Hawler(UKH)

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May 15, 2011

Globalization; the era of unveil-ization

The contested-concept Globalization is an old used term; first used in 1897 and later in 1952, then it became a widespread term in 1960s. “Globalization refers to a multidimensional set of social process that create, multiply, stretch, and intensify worldwide social interdependencies and exchanges while at the same time fostering in people a growing awareness of deepening connection between the local and the distant “(Steger, 2003). Some say globalization appeared with the industrialization era in United Kingdom; others say it appeared mainly after the cold war, and the raise of United States as the only superpower in the world. Globalization especially in the last ten years affected every aspect of our life. Globalization has swept all secrets; everything have revealed through media and other related tools. Because of the interconnectedness between the nations; the cultural awareness increased between nations. Yet, the era of globalization started through economy, trade and direct foreign investment. And the necessity made states to open new overland and aerial roads, so that made transportation much easier. However globalization first started and expanded through economic factors. Afterwards, others term such as political, cultural mostly through technology and media.
Globalization or as some call it globalony is a multi-side term, economy is one of the main sides of it. Economic globalization has become a phenomenon in the last 30 years; it refers to the increasing interdependence of domestic economies throughout the world in a cross-border international economy which means integration between national economies that led to emergence of a single huge global marketplace instead of tiny domestic markets. The strong interdependence of main economies in the world which lead by giant power United States has become clearer when financial crisis took place in 2009. National economy is no longer an appropriate term to use. Financial crisis revealed how the national economics linked with each other, and how pure national economy became obsolete. Some may say that’s overblown standpoint, but a quick glance over some figures makes the picture even clearer. All countries in G20 went under recession at least for one year, except China, but it became a hurdle for the huge GDP expected growth for china as well. Countries in EU and Japan which strongly linked with US until the beginning of 2011 were facing mines GDP figures. That shows how globalization overlapped the national economies in global economy.
In our current world, economy highly linked with politics; that’s why global politics emerged after global economy. Global institutions such as United Nations officially represent this new term. But some alleged, it gripped by United States and its allies. Moreover, they believe we should say neo-imperialism instead of global politics. Yet, the twin tower bombing in 11th of September, 2001 was a turning point in global politics. Rising of Al-Qaida, the international radical Jihadist network, changed the notion of international security corporation and the whole political system. United States’ Invading both Afghanistan and Iraq paraphrased the concept in more pro-American tendency. The interconnectedness of the whole states in one global system makes dictators and autocrats in a big dilemma; strengthen powerful democratic countries’ hand over the world. The aftermath of Libya dictator’s crackdown is a very clear sign how local governments can’t treat their people however they can anymore. Powerful western and international military conglomerates such as NATO are preventing massacres nowadays. A lot of pundits believe that’s strengthening western-backed democracy and human rights in the less developed countries. The military corporation between states, the intervention of global powers to halt mass crackdowns, and the active than ever diplomatic movement between states show how running even local states became an international matter.
Ostensibly, devilishly, some say globalization doesn’t exist at all; it’s Americanization and westernization. They believe, it’s just western traditions and values that hit Islamic and eastern world. These standpoints fend off overreaction from radicals to anything that comes to Islamic states even the positive ones that contributed to build new human civilization. Those can’t or don’t want to see how some Islamic values are rooting in the west; those don’t want to believe that Islam’s growing as the world’s fastest growing religion is backing to globalization and the apparatus that invented through it. Ironically, Turkish traditions and values start to replace western ones in the Middle East which yet count as globalization. The viewership of Turkish TV shows in the Arab world overpass all before records, with more than 80 million viewership. Turkish food and culture is warmly welcomed in most Arabic, Islamic and even some western countries. That’s all count under the roof of globalization. So, globalization is a combination of local and distant that may come from whatever influential and powerful country regardless its orientation.
I remember when I read an article about the global influence of American fast-food Company McDonalds and how it shaped the way we eat in one hand. In the other hand, technological companies such as Apple and Microsoft re-shaped the whole style of our life. Cultural impact mainly speared through those giant companies and technology. Social networks such as FaceBook and Twitter are contributing of set upping western-backed capitalism and democracy in the world. The revolutions in the Arab world are very clear and fit examples. Other media networks such as Al-Jazeera and CNN and Human rights NGOs also contribute significantly. A clear example of the impact of technology and NGOs are the status quo in both Libya and Syria compared to what happen in 70s and 80s. In Syria for instance, in 1980s the autocratic ba’ath government at that time killed at least 20,000 people in a crackdown of anti-government uprising. However, now even though just 800 people killed compared to 20,000 in 1980s there is a very strong pressure on Syrian government to stop killing people otherwise facing international community. They started pushing though economic siege, then political pressure; that’s all because media and human rights NGOs have revealed everything, remained nothing secret.
As a result, one can see that the reality of globalization is inevitable. Furthermore, how all dimensions of globalization interconnected; when international community wants to pressure on a country it starts with threats through press and then economic siege then later military intervention. That shows how all dimensions interdependence. Moreover all allegations which believe globalization is a new invasion from western countries to re-invade Islamic states isn’t rigorous statement because Islam has become the fastest growing religion and some Islamic values speared in the west which is part of the inclusive process of globalization. Besides, through technology, media and sophisticated transportation the world became a small village that everyone can interact with each other easily. Yet, some less developed countries in Africa and Asia have engaged in the process of globalization actively because of conflicts and other reasons that led to lack of money, and that subsequently disconnected them with the global countries and the developing that rapidly happens in the world. At the end, what we arrived in the process of globalization is yet to arrive the peak of it. Nowadays, the balance of power linked to economy which is moveable and might change the balance of power in the future, so that subsequently will change that orientation of the globalization to Chinanization maybe!
Steger, Manfred. (2003). Globalization (a very short introduction). New York: Oxford.

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Apr 15, 2011

Sheikh 'Ubad Allah Nehri's Movement

Abdulla Hawez

Kurds throughout the history struggled to gain their right as all other nations in the region and the world to have its independent state. Kurdish principalities which were the hope of establishing Kurdish state were all collapsed. One of the main problems that Kurds have never been so strong is the tribal mentality among Kurds, and because there weren't nationalism awareness in this era, all the principalities have sentiment to their tribes instead of Kurdish national sentiment. Kurdish principalities were surrounded by two major empires which they were superpowers in this period of time; all these weak principalities couldn't resist the huge power of those two empires. If the Kurdish principalities were united under Kurdish sentiment and took away their difference that could give a momentum to Kurds and might change the direction of the history. After a dozen of tribal principalities, the dream of independent Kurdistan had started for the first time ever with the rising of Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri.
Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri's father Sheikh Taha Shamzinee was a governor of a district under the Qajar or Iranian's rule. Sheikh Taha first rebels when Shah tried to take a tax from people instead of giving it to him which people of this area rejected this decision of Shah. In the 1877- 1878 Sheikh Ubad Allah lead the Ottomans army in a battle against Russians in Bayazid which they could crush the Russian army badly. That gave him a special prestige and became widely well-known in all around the region. In 1880, he supervised a conference which 220 Kurdish tribal leaders participated, there he asked for a united of Kurdish tribes and get ready to revolt against both Iranian and Ottoman empires for ending the repression and discrimination that Kurds faced from both empires. Then he asked British's consulate in Anatolia to support his movement with guarantees to protect Christians.
In the same year, in 1880, Sheikh Abidullah Nahri's battle for independence of Kurdistan started in the northern west spot of Turkish-Iranian borders. Both empires tried to speared rumors about him and create tension between Kurds and Armenians; he appointed an Armenian as his adviser for regional affair. Sheikh Abidullah's troops which overall were approximately 20,000 fighters swept to the deeper Kurdish districts in the Iranian empire. In a very short of time, they could control most Kurdish-Iranian cities. There he established Kurdish official institutions. Because of his rapid move to the deep of Iranian empire, he could sweep the wide area, and take authority from the Iranian empire. Also because he was spiritual and religious leader of Naqishbandi oder In Mahabad when they took control of it, the cleric announced Jihad against Shiite rulers in the territory which that gave a spiritual momentum to his troops.
Afterward the Shah called Sultan to send troops to curb Kurdish revolution, as they have a treaty for those conditions before. But the fighters of Sheikh Abidullah could still more forward further. As the battle became harsher, most tribes withdraw their men because they were afraid of the consequences of the battle. Sheikh remains fighting with only 2000 fighters and stand against giant coalition troops of both empires. Later, when Sheikh's troops became close to city of Tabriz, Iranian empires asked both Russian and British troops to crush the Kurdish revolution. In 1882, the triple force of Iranian, Ottoman and Russian seized the Kurdish fighters in all sides. Then, In October 1882, Sheikh Abidullah was captured in Hakkari by Sultan Muhammad II and moved to Istanbul. IN 1883, he with a hundred other Kurdish families exiled to Hijaz. After living honorable life, he passed away in 1888 in the same city of Hijaz.
Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri's revolution wasn't a normal battle in Kurdish history. He is first Kurdish leader to give priority to Kurdish sentiment over tribal sentiment. He used nationalism to collect all Kurds under a united roof to struggle for their longstanding dream of independence. He was a truing point in Kurdish history, as he raised nationalism sentiment and started continues struggle to independence. If we look at the history after him in Kurdish territories, they mostly inspired by him. For instance, in 1886, Kurds resist Sultan Abdulhamid II, or in 1898, Sultan Abdulhamid II threatens the Kurdish nationalist thinker Miqdad Medhatr Badrkhan to stop the publication of his Kurdish language paper. Those and other events show a rising of nationalism among Kurds. Sheikh Ubad Allah Nehri was a great nationalist leader that first started a long way for a united and independent Kurdish state. This dream is still continues.

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Feb 24, 2011

Bloody protests in northern Iraq's Kurdistan

Abdulla Hawez

In Silêmanî the second biggest cities of northern Iraq's Kurdistan Regional Government three protesters have been killed and more than 66 others wounded. Protesters complained lack of services, unemployment and demand better life conditions. Silêmanî which is stronghold of Kurdish opposition has always been against ruling parties throughout its modern history. On Thursday, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Silêmanî quarter ofMesûd Barzanî's Kurdistan Democratic Party or PDK (also president of Kurdistan region) and throw stones toward the office and PDK guards respond by shooting protesters. According to the officials in the first day at least 1 protester killed and more than 50 others wounded. The protests continued in the five past days which caused many victims including wounded among police men. Officials said 2 other protesters killed and around 20 others wounded.  Protesters said they will continue protests until government respond their demands.      

Feb 14, 2011

Turkey's AKP as a role model in the Arab world

Abdulla Hawez Abdulla

When Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel by killing innocent children and indignantly walked out from Davos summit, most Arabs craved Erdoğan to be their leader. Turkey during justice and development party or AKP era has altered toward democracy and human rights significantly. Besides, AKP's socially conservative but politically liberal approaches have made Arabs to admire on Turkey additionally. That's in spite of wide speared Turkish shows that are broadcasting in Arabic TV channels, which they show fantasy love stories. However, it's possible to see that Turkey indirectly has inspired Arabic nations to topple their own dictator and suppressive governments.
Egypt's size and population is so like Turkey, but ironically when it comes to economy and political system you can see the huge gaps between the two countries. The GDP of Egypt is 215 billion$ compared to 730 billion$ in Turkey which means 3.5 times bigger. If we also consider that Egypt has some natural gas but Turkey has none. The Qatari-based Al-Jazeera channel in the recent years has emphasized on Turkey a lot. Through Al-Jazeera which according to media companies has approximately 50 million viewership almost its news daily have contained some news about Turkey and most of it was positive. Also, Turkish TV shows have had a huge impact on making Turkey more beautiful and attractive to Arabs. Even Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ or fame as Muhanad in Arabic world according to CNN is Middle East's Brad Pitt. It might not be directly, but indirectly through those and other reasons Turkey has inspired and motivated Arabs to demand better political and economic situation. A recent poll which conducted by
The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation or TESEV in eight Arabic countries including Egypt has shown that 80% of the people admired by Turkish model of politics and economy, and they called Turkish model as exemplar. If we consider that a big number of populations of Egypt are christens (about 8 million) and Islamic Muslim brotherhood, the country's most formidable political force, and the flagship of Islamism in the whole Sunni world is most likely in a free elections will win by a landslide, so adopting AKP model will thrive their opportunity devilishly to take power (If they don't want to be isolated like Iran).
You can't imagine Turkey's clout in the Arabic world until you take a close glance. In Tunisia, Islamic Nahza movement which has a big popularity has already announced that in there next conference in the upcoming months they will reform their party to be like AKP. That's clear sign for how much Turkey's Islamic moderate AKP is become ruling model among moderate Islamic movements in the Arabic world. Moreover, AKP contribute to success moderate Islamic parties that were about to fail and there supports alter to radical Islamic movements. Supreme leader of Iran said Middle East turning to Islamic region, it might be true, but he should not be happy about it because he has no grace in this turning, but Turkey's so far successful conservative AKP has made Islamic conservatism to be attractive

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Jan 21, 2011

Hold on print, digital is coming to erase you

By Abdulla Hawez Abdulla

In the first half of 2010, the sale of e-books increased 207 percent compared to the first half of 2009

Last week, Google unveiled its digital bookstore, pitting itself squarely against and Apple in the lucrative and fast-growing market for e-books. Google has converted 15 million books to digital since 2004, including books from a 100 countries in 40 languages. For thousands of years, we have evolved to read and savor our world through five senses, but the way we read is changing. This year, for the first time, the number of e-book sales exceeded print books on; 180 e-books sold for every 100 print books. This brings up two questions: Is the era of print publications over and is digital growing at the expense of print?

Some think print media will be gone within a few decades, while others are skeptical of this expectation. In the first half of 2010, the sale of e-books increased 207 percent compared to the first half of 2009; e-books made up 8.5 percent of all book sales in the first half of this year compared to 3 percent in the same period of last year. Pundits believe what has made the e-books more desirable is that they have features and capabilities print books don't have. You can read e-books in all kinds of light, and you can adjust the font size, look up a word in the reader's digital dictionary, bookmark or highlight a passage and have books read to you through an audio function. Libraries also offer e-books, especially in developed countries. A recent survey of 552 libraries around the world showed more than 88 percent of respondents subscribed to e-books, with 45 percent of them saying they have access to more than 10,000 e-books. «Our physical collection has not gone down because of digital media, but we are collecting digital media as a format because our customers are asking for it,» said Diane Lapierre, a Denver, Colorado, public library spokeswoman, in an interview with The Denver Post.

Apple's iPad, and other tablets and e-book readers, contributed vastly to the rapid-growing market of e-books and digital media. In recent years, the revenues of print publications have dropped, while revenues of digital have risen. Production costs are lower for e-books. A quick glance over some figures makes the picture clear. Last year, the e-book device audience reached 3.7 million in the U.S. The number of adults using e-book devices is expected to climb. This year, the number is expected to reach 10.3 million; in 2015 it expected to climb up to 59.6 million. More than 3 million iPads were sold in the first 80 days after its release, and 1.5 million e-books were downloaded from Apple's website to those devices. According to a recent tally from Foster Company, only 9 percent of respondents were using the iPad. Printed copies of newspapers have dropped, while digital copies have risen. The New York Times, the most widely read newspaper in the U.S., announced that its print advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2010 dropped 5.8 percent, while digital advertising revenues rose about 10 percent. Furthermore, print circulation revenues are expected to fall 4 to 5 percent in the fourth quarter. That's roughly in line with a 14.6 percent increase in digital revenues.

Business is highly related to the environment, and publishing is one of the world's most polluting sectors. E-readers could have a major impact on improving the sustainability and environmental impact of the publishing industry. In 2008, the U.S. book and newspaper industries combined resulted in cutting more than 125 million trees for paper, in addition to huge amounts of water and a massive carbon footprint. Additionally, in the U.S., sales of e-books were up 154.8 percent by the end of April 2009, while overall book sales were down 4.1 percent. According to a study by Cleantech Group, as reported by The New York Times, purchasing three printed books per month for four years produces 1,074 kilograms of CO2 in overall the printed books' life-cycle compared to 168 kilograms of CO2 by the same number of e-books. The figures show the huge impact of printed books on the environment, compared to a lower impact for e-books.

In both the economic and environmental arenas, digital is battling print. If we compare print and e-books without factoring in the financial aspect, all figures point to digital. You can buy a book online, at a third of the cost of a print book, search for specific pages, adjust the font size and bookmark or highlight a passage. Furthermore, with climate change and increased awareness, more consumers demand environmentally friendly products. All of these factors push publishing companies to go digital. The e-book is most likely here to stay.

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