Jumaat, 22 Ogos 2014

Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim

Voices: How has the Islamic State been able to expand and what can stop it?

Posted: 22 Aug 2014 12:01 AM PDT

Middle East Eye

As the Islamic State – and the response from western governments – appears to gain momentum, MEE asks three experts how the group has been able to expand and what will stop it

JOHN ESPOSITO, Director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for Muslim Christian Understanding at Georgetown University 
The Islamic State’s expansion has been made possible by political conditions in Syria and Iraq, ethic-religious/sectarian divisions and conflicts as well as in the region, and the failures of the US and international community. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's unprincipled and disproportionate military response to the "threat" of the democratisation wave, the Arab Spring, with the slaughter of Syrian opposition groups, both radicalised the situation and heightened sectarian (Sunni-Shia or Alawi) divisions. Outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki's policies – installing a Shia-dominated government, marginalising Sunnis and taking control of parts of Anbar province – increased an already polarised situation and sectarian violence that have resulted in alienated Sunnis welcoming IS. IS’s expansion so far has been mostly in areas of Iraq that are either primarily Sunni or have important Sunni populations in them. The situation was compounded by Gulf funding of militant Salafi jihadists, including IS, to fight a proxy war in Syria against Assad. At the same time, the failure early on in Syria of the US and EU, to become significantly engaged and work closely with regional allies like Turkey, and Saudi Arabia to support moderate anti-Assad forces had a ripple effect. The US and EU underestimated the threat from Syria in 2011 and, more recently, in Iraq.

Like al-Qaeda and other militants, IS offers a militant Salafi ideology/religious rationale to justify, recruit, legitimate and motivate many of its fighters. While there is a similar ideological world view and shared tactics between IS and other terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, there are also distinctive differences. IS seeks to occupy and control areas, to govern, not just to dream of or speak of, but to create and impose their version of a transnational caliphate, with its harsh version of law and order and provision of security and social services. At the same time, they are far more aggressive in driving out, suppressing and killing other Muslims (Shia, Sunni imams who disagree with them and Yazidis, for example) and Christians, or demanding conversion to their brand of Islam.

IS will continue for some years to be a threat. Its capabilities will be enhanced by its alliance with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It will also be very difficult for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to recapture most of the lost territory from IS, especially in areas where Iraqi Shia-dominated government and the Kurds are viewed as enemies rather than allies. Thus, it will be important for the new Iraqi government to form a significantly more inclusive representative government and policy. Given the current momentum of IS and its stated intentions to expand its caliphate, the group may well increase its activity in northwest Syria, southern Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and southern Turkey.

Although not a game changer, a coordinated regional and global response by Muslim religious leaders and Islamic organisations that denounces and discredits IS’s religious claims and actions in the name of Islam could be useful. While some have spoken out, globalised communications enables a far more massive and effective response. It might be possible to make gains in responding to IS if there were a real US and international commitment. Having disengaged from Iraq and Afghanistan, and having taken a minimalist approach in Syria and underestimating the threat from the deteriorating situations in Syria and Iraq, there is no reason or significant indication thus far that US President Barack Obama will move in that direction.

JULIEN BARNES-DACEY, Senior Policy Fellow in the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Middle East and North Africa Programme

The rise of the Islamic State has been fuelled by the perceived exclusion and helplessness of Sunnis in both Syria and Iraq, and enabled in particular by the brutal conflict in Syria which has acted as a mobilising space for the jihadist group. The material gains and momentum of its recent surge into Iraq is now helping to consolidate its position and draw in wider support.

Given its ideology, it's clear that IS will ultimately need to be stopped militarily. But that can only happen on the basis of two pre-requisites: First, drawing away some Sunni support from IS in Iraq that empowers local push-back against the group (as opposed to depending on problematic Western military intervention).

But secondly, a strategy focused solely on Iraq won't be enough. IS's recent gains are based on its presence in Syria, and any meaningful attempt to stop the group will have to also go after it there. Given that the threat posed by Islamic State has created an unprecedented convergence of regional interests, there may be an opportunity to revisit the potential for regional deal making on Syria, drawing in the Saudis and the Iranians towards some kind of power sharing agreement based around the need to push back against the Islamic State. It's a long shot, and clearly actors on the ground aren't moving there yet, but the provision of arms and direct military attacks are fraught with uncertainty and the prospects of success are so slim that an opportunity to explore regional convergence – as is already happening in surprising ways in Lebanon and Iraq – may represent the best way forward.

AHMED MEILOUD, doctoral candidate at the University of Arizona’s School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies

The rise of the Islamic State from the Syrian fratricide caught many by surprise. However, most keen observers knew that Iranian and Lebanese support would slow, but not prevent Assad's demise. This recognition led global players to intervene. After attempts to form a secular opposition failed, the focus shifted to sowing discord between the Islamists to buy time and to stem the support pouring from the Sunni world. The plan worked, but its engineering failed. It eventually led to a dramatic – although in hindsight predictable – consequence: The cohesive and war-hardened men of IS won. In the process of crashing others, IS abandoned its guarded stance, declared its supra-national agenda and proceeded to vigorously pursue it on the ground.

Access to weakly defended weapons warehouses in Syria, extended experience with asymmetric combat, and fresh boosts of morale and volunteers allowed IS to use raids on Assad forces as a regular weapon-procurement scheme and its clashes with Iraqi forces as a recruitment tool within its Sunni constituents.

As a fighting force, IS possesses four strengths that make it the most lethal ground force in the region: 1. Brutality: It seldom takes prisoners; 2. Dedication: Its soldiers came to die for a cause. Despite its near annihilation in 2010, the movement never had a shortage of suicide bombers; 3. Mobility: most of IS's attacks are marked by speed and surprise; and 4. Wide expertise in warfare: No regional army had fought in the past decade as many battles as IS core fighters have, using all means to bleed its often better-armed adversaries.

Despite these strengths, IS has some weaknesses. One of these is its image. The further its image is disfigured before Sunni Muslims, the more its recruitment line suffers. IS's opponents are quite conscious of this and have sought to spread many tales of horror about its mistreatment of civilians. While most of the accounts of mass rape, forced marriages and sexual slavery have proved to be fabrications, IS's display of mass execution of war prisoners united its foes and alienated its friends. Another flaw is the lack of aerial force or air defence systems. Further, IS's flaws lie in its inability to win over key Iraqi nationalist groups. These are silent for now but could switch sides or wait it all out. The latter option is the best that IS could hope for. The signs of new sahawat [anti al-Qaeda Iraqi Sunni groups] are already looming on the horizon.

Although IS has managed to quickly overrun the US-trained and funded Iraqi army, the Kurdish Peshmerga and many divisions of the Syrian army – and would have done as well pushing the Kuwaitis or Jordanians – it is not invincible. The Iraqi terrain makes it extremely vulnerable to American airstrikes and its rapid expansion has left it thinly stretched. In the case of extensive air campaigns, IS's mobility and access supply roads might be severely limited. This would give the weakened Peshmerga and other Iraqi militias some edge over IS.

But IS's raison d’être is not territorial gains or established institutions, but rather its ideological commitment and the grievances it claims to respond to. If the sectarian problems in Iraq are not addressed, and if the general grievances against Western meddling in Muslim affairs are not properly resolved, Muslim youth, especially Sunnis, will continue to seek military methods to pursue their dreams. Battling already with a sense of injured pride and a sense of limited options, Sunni militants are unlikely to crash in the long term. The official Sunni world – except for perhaps Turkey and Qatar – has mostly been discredited and is, at its current state, incapable of providing an acceptable alternative to a caliphate dream. In the long term, a unified Sunni state, in Syria, Iraq and perhaps beyond, is inevitable.


‘BN hanya boleh ditewaskan melalui Pakatan’

Posted: 21 Aug 2014 11:57 PM PDT


Timbalan Presiden PKR, Azmin Ali menyeru pada anggota Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) agar terus mempertahankan Pakatan Rakyat dari sebarang provokasi dan usaha untuk menggugat perpaduan gabungan parti itu.

MP Gombak itu meminta anggota AMK mencontohi pakar strategi Zhuge Liang dalam sejarah purba tamadun Cina untuk membina semula Dinasti Han.

“Mengambil ilham dari strategi Zhuge Liang, PKR hanya boleh menewaskan BN dan menegakkan Kerajaan Rakyat melalui muafakat bersama PAS dan DAP.

“Apa cara sekalipun, apa jua daya kita, Pakatan Rakyat perlu dipertahankan. Kita tidak membenarkan sesiapapun untuk melakukan provokasi dan cuba menggugat perpaduan Pakatan Rakyat.

“Kita bersama-sama membidankan kelahiran Pakatan Rakyat pasca (pilihan raya umum ke-12) pada 2008. Sememangnya, tahaluf siyasi ini berdepan dengan pelbagai cabaran,” katanya.

Dalam ucapannya juga, Azmin berkata walaupun Pakatan hanya dibentuk pada 2008, kerjasama politik dalam gabungan itu tetap utuh kerana pembentukannya tidak dibuat atas keadaan “terburu-buru”.

Kekuatan Pakatan Rakyat

Katanya lagi, permuafakatan Pakatan diikat dengan pelbagai dasar dan prinsip antaranya mempertahankan prinsip keadilan sosial dan kesaksamaan serta komitmen dalam membentuk kerajaan yang berteraskan tata kelola.

Pakatan juga sama-sama menentang keras amalan dan budaya rasuah serta kapitalisme kroni.

“Iltizam politik menerusi tahaluf siyasi ini menuntut AMK meneruskan kerjasama dengan Pemuda PAS dan DAPSY ke arah memperkukuhkan muafakat ini yang dibina atas kerangka perjuangan yang jelas.

“Keutamaan hari ini mestilah ditumpukan untuk mengembalikan kepercayaan rakyat kepada Pakatan Rakyat,” katanya.

Di samping itu, MP Gombak itu turut menyeru anggota AMK mencontohi pemimpin China Deng Xiaoping yang meletakkan asas kemunculan China sebagai kuasa besar ekonomi.

“Kerajaan Negeri Pakatan Rakyat mestilah melaksanakan kebijakan yang digarap bersama oleh komponen Pakatan Rakyat,” katanya.


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Wanita yakin Wan Azizah mampu tadbir Selangor lebih baik

Posted: 21 Aug 2014 11:19 PM PDT

SHAH ALAM 22 OGOS: Wanita KEADILAN yakin pencalonan Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail sebagai Menteri Besar (MB) Selangor merupakan pilihan tepat dan beliau layak serta mampu menggalas jawatan itu demi pentadbiran Selangor yang lebih baik.
Ketua Wanita KEADILAN, Zuraida Kamaruddin berkata, tiada isu yang perlu dibangkitkan dan dipersoal untuk menolak Wan Azizah sebagai MB yang baharu bagi menggantikan Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
"Presiden kita Datuk Seri Wan Azizah layak memegang jawatan MB, beliau sudah 19 tahun memimpin dalam parti.
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"Jangan pula kita lupa bahawa beliau adalah wanita pertama di  Dewan Rakyat dalam membahaskan isu-isu semasa dan beliau juga seorang yang tabah mempertahankan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berdepan kesnya itu," kata Zuraida yang juga Ahli Parlimen Ampang.

Beliau berkata demikian pada sidang media sempena Kongres Nasional KEADILAN Wanita di Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam, hari ini.
Menurut Zuraida, tiada faktor yang boleh menolak Wan Azizah sebagai MB, malah kebolehan Wan Azizah diyakini mampu meneraju pentadbiran Selangor.
"Jangan persoalkan kebolehan beliau kerana saya yakin kami barisan wanita akan turut membantu beliau bersama-sama dan memastikan bahawa Selangor ini terus mara dengan agenda-agenda terbaru yang kita akan bawa supaya ia lebih baik dengan pentadbiran yang ada sekarang," katanya.
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Azmin: Pakatan perlu dipertahan dengan apa cara sekalipun

Posted: 21 Aug 2014 11:17 PM PDT

SHAH ALAM 22 OGOS: Pakatan Rakyat harus dipertahankan dengan apa cara sekalipun demi kepentingan rakyat dan keharmonian sejagat, tegas Timbalan Presiden KEADILAN, Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Katanya, KEADILAN hanya boleh menewaskan Barisan Nasional (BN) dan menegakkan 'Kerajaan Rakyat' melalui muafakat bersama PAS dan DAP.
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"Kita tidak membenarkan sesiapapun untuk melakukan provokasi dan cuba menggugat perpaduan Pakatan Rakyat kerana kita bersama-sama membidankan kelahiran Pakatan Rakyat pasca PRU ke-12 pada 2008.

"Walaupun berdepan cabaran, namun Pakatan Rakyat tetap unggul malah semakin utuh," kata Azmin pada ucapan perasmian Kongres Nasional Angkatan Muda KEADILAN (AMK) di Dewan Bankuet, Wisma MBSA, Shah Alam hari ini.
Beliau berkata, Pakatan Rakyat bukan dibentuk dalam keadaan terburu-buru tanpa membuat pertimbangan yang teliti, tetapi gabungan ini diwujudkan dengan hala tuju dan matlamat yang meletakkan rakyat sebagai asas kepentingan utama.
"Permuafakatan ini diikat kuat dengan dasar Pakatan Rakyat yang menghormati kepelbagaian agama dan budaya dalam masyarakat yang rencam, tuntas memacu pertumbuhan ekonomi dan menjamin keadilan pengagihan mempertahankan prinsip keadilan sosial dan kesamarataan.
"Pakatan Rakyat juga komited dalam membentuk kerajaan yang berteraskan tatakelola yang baik, menentang dengan keras amalan dan budaya rasuah serta kroni kapitalisme dan menuntut pilihan raya yang bersih dan adil ke arah memperkukuh sistem politik dua parti," jelas Azmin lagi.
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Sekitar Kongres Wanita 2014

Posted: 21 Aug 2014 11:16 PM PDT

gambar dipetik daripada facebook. Kredit untuk Pak Malek Baretta.

Sekitar Perasmian Kongres AMK

Posted: 21 Aug 2014 11:14 PM PDT

Gambar dipetik daripada facebook


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Posted: 21 Aug 2014 08:41 PM PDT

Kepulangan yang telah lama dinantikan. Sebaik sahaja dua pegawai Kedutaan Malaysia dan wakil Malaysia Airlines (MAS) membuat proses pemeriksaan akhir, 20 jenazah mangsa nahas MH17 akhirnya diterbangkan pulang ke tanah air pada 3.40 petang Khamis (9.40 malam waktu Malaysia).
Mereka sepatutnya pulang pada 17 Julai lepas dan tiba pada 18 Julai ke Malaysia, namun tiada siapa menyangka pesawat MH17 itu akan ditembak jatuh.
Penerbangan membawa 298 penumpang dan anak kapal yang dalam perjalanan dari Amsterdam ke Kuala Lumpur itu ditembak jatuh di timur Ukraine pada 17 Julai.
Selain 43 warga Malaysia, penumpang pesawat itu turut terdiri daripada warga Belanda, Australia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Jerman, Belgium, Filipina, Kanada dan New Zealand.

Di Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Schiphol, petugas media Malaysia dan tempatan tiba di sebuah bangunan untuk dibawa menaiki sebuah bas ke terminal kargo yang menempatkan pesawat khas membawa balik 20 jenazah.
Petugas media tiba kira-kira pukul 2 petang dan dibawa menghampiri pesawat khas MAS Boeing 747 itu sebelum pintu pesawat dibuka.
Kelihatan beberapa keranda telah disusun dan difahamkan kesemua 20 jenazah dalam 17 keranda dan tiga bekas abu itu telah mula diangkut satu per satu sejak awal pagi Khamis.

Proses pemeriksaan akhir jenazah bermula sejurus selepas 2 petang dilakukan Naib Presiden Operasi MAS Datuk Baharom Mohd Yatim, Setiausaha Kedua Pejabat Kedutaan Malaysia di Belanda, Halmah Hassan dan Kaunselor Kedutaan Malaysia di Finland, Devrin Jeck untuk tujuan formaliti proses.
Media Malaysia dan tempatan tidak dibenarkan mendekati pintu masuk pesawat khas itu dan hanya dapat melihat dari jarak 50 meter sahaja.

Kelihatan keranda yang dibalut dengan Jalur Gemilang itu disusun satu per satu, tidak bertindih dalam tiga barisan dengan sedikit jarak antara antara satu sama lain.
Cuaca sejuk mencecah 16 darjah Celcius dengan angin kuat tidak menghalang petugas media merakamkan detik bersejarah itu walaupun cuma dibenarkan berada di kawasan itu kira-kira 10 minit sahaja.
Terdapat kira-kira 20 petugas keselamatan yang dibantu pegawai lapangan terbang yang sangat mesra ketika proses rakaman pemeriksaan akhir pesawat itu dilakukan.
Sebaik sahaja selesai pemeriksaan, kelihatan wakil MAS dan pegawai kedutaan diserahkan beberapa kertas untuk tujuan formaliti proses sebelum mereka beredar dan keluar dari pesawat itu.
Tidak lama selepas itu, kumpulan anak kapal pesawat itu dilihat tiba dengan sebuah van sebelum menaiki pesawat itu.

Petugas media kemudian diarah meninggalkan kawasan itu memandangkan proses persediaan teknikal pelepasan pesawat akan bermula.
Pesawat itu dikendalikan Kapten Misman Leham bersama dua pembantu juruterbang iaitu Kapten Bakri Othman dan Kapten Zaim Khalid selain pegawai penerbangan Yap Yoon Kong.
Kira-kira pukul 3.40 petang Khamis (9.40 malam di Malaysia),  pesawat akhirnya berlepas meninggalkan lapangan terbang yang dipenuhi ratusan pesawat antarabangsa itu ke Malaysia.
Seorang wakil MAS yang enggan dikenali memberitahu pesawat khas itu tidak akan menggunakan laluan seperti pesawat MH17 sebelum ini dan dijangka akan menggunakan laluan lain namun enggan mendedahkannya demi tujuan keselamatan.
Perjalanan terus tanpa henti itu akan mengambil masa kira-kira 12 jam menuju ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur (KLIA).


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Posted: 21 Aug 2014 08:39 PM PDT


Angkatan Muda