Sunday, 13 April 2014

Hillary Clinton's Shoe Drama

If found guilty, Ms Ernst could face a year in jail

woman accused of throwing a shoe at Former US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was questioned by the US Secret Service, before being booked and freed by at the Clark County jail.
36-year-old Alison Michella Ernst “appeared to be in an agitated state but aware of what she had just done,” according to a Las Vegas Police report.
Ms Ernst is accused of bypassing security at the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino, and walking quickly toward a rope line about six rows from the front of a conference audience where Mrs Clinton was giving a speech to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.
The Democratic senator's keynote address was part of a country-wide tour giving paid speeches to industry organizations and Democratic Party groups. 
As Mrs Clinton was speaking, Ms Ernst reached into a purse, removed an orange and black shoe and threw it overhand toward the stage – but Mrs Clinton ducked and was not struck.
Startled, Mrs Clinton joked: "Is that somebody throwing something at me? Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?"
"My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial," she quipped as the audience applauded.
As Mrs Clinton is the spouse of former President Bill Clinton, she has lifetime protection from the Secret Service.
Authorities said Ms Ernst did not have a conference pass and was not supposed to have been in the ballroom, which was filled with more than 1,000 people.
Ms Ernst was handed a misdemeanour disorderly conduct summons following the incident.
If found guilty of violating a county ordinance by throwing the shoe at the senior politician, Ms Ernst could be punished with a year-long jail sentence.
It is not yet understood if Ms Ernst had a lawyer, and she was not immediately available to comment.

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Editor's Note:

          *Political Analyst & Journalist

This incident raises important points: 
1) Reveals security lapses that the lady did not had a conference pass and managed to enter the premises and throw the shoe at Clinton.
2) Leaders in US are becoming a public resentment
3) Hmm,... how about to gain cheap publicity Hillary Clinton had hired herself to throw shoe at her. Otherwise, any sane person could read that she came up to the front row and took her shoe off - while the Secret Service was sipping coffee:-)
4) Hillary Clinton enjoys life time protection from Secret Service

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Delays in Effort to Refocus C.I.A. From Drone War

Research & Written By: KANWAL ABIDI 
                                               *Political Analyst/Journalist (Pakistan)
In the skies above Yemen, the Pentagon’s armed drones have stopped flying, a result of the ban on American military drone strikes imposed by the government there after a number of botched operations in recent years killed Yemeni civilians. But the Central Intelligence Agency’s drone war in Yemen continues.
In Pakistan, the C.I.A. remains in charge of drone operations, and may continue to be long after American troops have left Afghanistan. And in Jordan, it is the C.I.A. rather than the Pentagon that is running a program to arm and train Syrian rebels — a concession to the Jordanian government, which will not allow an overt military presence in the country.
Just over a year ago John O. Brennan, the C.I.A.’s newly nominated director, said at his confirmation hearing that it was time to refocus an agency that had become largely a paramilitary organization after the Sept. 11 attacks toward more traditional roles carrying out espionage, intelligence collection and analysis. And in a speech last May in which he sought to redefine American policy toward terrorism, President Obama expanded on that theme, announcing new procedures for drone operations, which White House officials said would gradually become the responsibility of the Pentagon.
*But change has come slowly to the C.I.A* says CIA nominated director
“Some might want to get the C.I.A. out of the killing business, but that’s not happening anytime soon,” said Michael A. Sheehan, who until last year was the senior Pentagon official in charge of special operations and now holds the distinguished chair at West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center.
A number of factors — including bureaucratic turf fights, congressional pressure and the demands of foreign governments — have contributed to this delay. At the same time, Mr. Brennan is facing a reckoning for other aspects of the C.I.A.’s role at the forefront of the secret wars the United States has waged since 2001.
The declassification of a scathing report by the Senate Intelligence Committee about the agency’s detention and interrogation program will once again cast a harsh light on a period of C.I.A. history Mr. Brennan has publicly disavowed. The Justice Department has been drawn into a dispute between the agency and the committee, and is looking into a charge by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee’s chairwoman, that the agency broke the law by monitoring computers of committee staff working on the report.
Before taking charge of the C.I.A. last March, Mr. Brennan had spent four years as Mr. Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, a job that put him in charge of the targeted killing operations that became a signature of the Obama administration’s approach to terrorism. It also made Mr. Brennan — who before working for Mr. Obama had spent 25 years at the C.I.A. — a powerful influence on a president with no experience in intelligence.
American officials said that in that role Mr. Brennan repeatedly cautioned Mr. Obama that the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism mission threatened to attenuate the agency’s other activities, most notably those of penetrating foreign governments and analyzing global trends. During his confirmation hearings, Mr. Brennan obliquely criticized the performance of American spy agencies in providing intelligence and analysis of the Arab revolutions that began in 2009, and said the C.I.A. needed to cede some of its paramilitary role to the Pentagon.
“The C.I.A. should not be doing traditional military activities and operations,” he said. But now Mr. Brennan is in charge of a counterterrorism apparatus that has steadily grown in budget, manpower and influence for more than a decade. While officials said that Mr. Brennan has pushed for more resources to counter traditional adversaries like Russia and China, as well as newer threats like cyberwarfare, the agency’s Counterterrorism Center, known as the CTC, remains a powerful force both inside the agency and on Capitol Hill.
“I think that most of the C.I.A. is behind the changes, but the CTC community has grown dramatically since 9/11 and is fighting to keep its turf,” Mr. Sheehan said. “And, they’ve been somewhat successful in that regard, especially with the drone programs.”
Influential lawmakers from both parties have fought to protect the C.I.A.’s role in the drone wars and prevent the proposed shift of the bulk of drone operations to the Pentagon.
Both Ms. Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have urged Mr. Brennan to push back against the White House policy announced last May, citing what they regard as the Pentagon’s poor performance in lethal operations outside of Iraq and Afghanistan.
A number of bungled drone strikes carried out by the Joint Special Operations Command in Yemen led the government there in recent months to temporarily ban drone strikes by the military, which are launched from an American base in Djibouti.
Officials said that the ban, not previously reported, came after a military drone strike in December killed a number of civilians who were part of a wedding procession in a desolate region south of Yemen’s capital, Sana.Meanwhile, the C.I.A. continues to wage its own drone war in Yemen, launching the unmanned planes from Saudi Arabia.
In Pakistan, where the C.I.A. also is in charge of the drone program, the pace of strikes has declined sharply, and there have been none since the government in Islamabad formally entered peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a group that tracks drone strikes.
But American officials said that the drone program there could continue for years, and Pakistan’s government has long insisted that it be run by the C.I.A., not the American military. This was one of the terms of the deal reached a decade ago between the Bush administration and Pervez Musharraf, then the president of Pakistan, who said he would allow armed drone strikes in the country’s tribal areas only if they were conducted as a C.I.A. covert action and not acknowledged by either country. For Pakistan to agree to any changes in this arrangement, the United States would most likely have to agree to integrating Pakistan’s military into the drone operations.
A White House spokeswoman said there had been “no change in policy” since President Obama’s speech last May announcing changes to the targeted killing policy. “The plan is to transition to these standards and procedures over time, in a careful, coordinated and deliberate manner,” said Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman. “I’m not going to speculate on how long the transition will take, but we’re going to ensure that it’s done right and not rushed.”

It was during the string of revolts across the Arab world several years ago that concerns first surfaced that the years of focus on targeting terrorists had undermined the C.I.A.’s ability to forecast and analyze global events. In Egypt, the agency had few sources beyond Omar Suleiman. The country’s intelligence chief and one of the agency’s closest partners in the Middle East, Mr. Suleiman was not about to give the C.I.A. an honest assessment of the fragility of President Hosni Mubarak’s government.

Editor's EPILOGUE: 

Whatever the impact of the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, the fact lies that the problems emanating from "Durand Agreement" has infiltrated in the colonization of Taliban - which poses a serious threat to Pakistan and its bordering Afghan region. 
It is in American interest both military (to curb their defence budget) and for Obama administration not to launch drone strikes - in order to win the hearts of Asians. But as soon as skies are clear - we all will see the drones flying over our heads. Its all the matter of diplomacy to overturn the tables of military forces to strike Muslim world! 
CIA shall remain and assume its stance on "Drone War" whether following the parliamentary role or kicking back Pentagon - the fact is innocent people shall keep dying as and when the "drone" shall strike back again! 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Turkey's Election Result Analysis:

Why Erdogan keeps winning?
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has managed to fuse Turkey’s center-right and Islamist-right into one major bloc accepting his explanation of recent political scandals to be conspiracies against his rule.

The March 30 elections will go down in history as yet another political victory for Turkey’s powerful Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The national average his party won at the ballots — 43% or 45% of the overall vote, based on the counting method applied — is certainly a big success. Even if all the claims of fraud are true, especially in Ankara, it is clear that Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still very popular after 11 years in power.
This might come as a surprise to those observers, especially in the West, who thought that Erdogan would lose support because of all the recent political scandals and controversies in Turkey, such as corruption, authoritarianism and the shrinking of certain liberties. Why, they might wonder, does Erdogan still triumph despite all these problems.
To find an answer, one should first look deeper into Turkish society and its political patterns. The first thing to note is that for more than 60 years, throughout which Turkey had regular free and fair elections, Turkish society has roughly been divided into two unequal parts: “The right,” which constitutes some 60%-65% of the votes, and “the left,” which constitutes the remaining 35%-40%. The right, in this context, is defined by respect for tradition — especially Sunni Islam — and a focus on economic development. The left, in return, is defined by secularism and socialist themes of “equality,” along with Alevism, an unorthodox branch of Islam. (That is why today, Alevi music halls on Istanbul’s Istiklal Street feature posters of Imam Ali, Ataturk and Che Guevara in the very same hall of fame.)
The right traditionally has three components: center-right, Islamist-right and nationalist-right. Erdogan’s big success is that he combined the first two under the AKP banner and thus created one of the largest voting blocs in Turkish history. (The nationalist-right is still alive separately, under the banner of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), which won some 15% of the national average on March 30.) Erdogan’s great achievements regarding economic development — all the highways, skyscrapers, shopping malls and hospitals built under his rule — is the hallmark of the center-right. His Islamic rhetoric and symbolism is the bliss of the Islamist-right.
Therefore, for the center-right or Islamist Turkish voter, who makes up roughly half of society, there is no reason to abandon Erdogan and opt for any of his current rivals. The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is out of the running for two main reasons: The CHP looks very incompetent when compared to the AKP with regard to the economy and government services. Also, the CHP’s ultra-secularist past, defined by the oppression and humiliation of the religious conservatives with policies such as banning the headscarf still makes the party a bete noire of the right in general.
In fact, the CHP is trying to change both images under the leadership of Kemal Kilicdaroglu, but the progress he has introduced is too little and too shallow. The CHP should change more significantly by moving closer to the center. That the party’s main boost in this election was in Ankara, thanks to its brand-new candidate Mansur Yavas, an export from the center-right, is a telltale example.
But what about all the corruption scandals that could have hurt Erdogan? Well, believe it or not, as shown by a Turkish polling company: “Corruption claims had no effect on local polls.” One reason is that the average Turkish voter recalls that every government recently has been guilty of corruption, so the AKP, at worst, is no exception. (“They steal, but at least they work hard,” is a common line one hears from Turkish taxi drivers.) Second, many religious conservatives also believe that what looks like corruption is in fact some form of informal fundraising for the “good cause” — such as sponsoring Islamic foundations and charities.
Moreover, many pro-Erdogan voters got only more attached to him precisely because of the recent scandals. That most of those allegations were based on wiretaps that were systematically exposed on the Internet only proved that there was indeed a conspiracy against the government by the “parallel state.” Similarly, Erdogan’s bans on Twitter and YouTube, which were condemned by liberals and the West as an attack on freedom, was seen by the pro-Erdogan camp as a justified measure against these “treacherous” campaigns.
This final issue also brings us to the “Gulen movement”, Turkey’s most powerful Islamic community, which Erdogan condemned as the master of the “parallel state” and the servant of “foreign powers” that want to weaken Turkey.
Whatever the reality regarding the “parallel state” is, the Gulen movement — formerly a strong Erdogan ally — certainly went out of its way to oppose Erdogan in these elections, to the level of supporting the CHP, which is a grave sin for most conservatives. In other words, the movement isolated itself from the bulk of the Islamic camp and attracted the wrath of Erdogan. How this will play out in the near future, and how extensive Erdogan’s promised crackdown on “the parallel state” will be, is an interesting question these days.
One key consequence of the election results was to raise Erdogan’s chance to win the presidential elections, which are planned for Aug. 10. In fact, it is not yet clear whether Erdogan will run for these elections, or perhaps support President Abdullah Gul for his second term and remain in power as prime minister. The latest results gave Erdogan a signal that he can win those elections in the first round by winning a simple majority: by keeping his current 45% and adding the votes of Kurdish nationalists, which have emerged lately as his political allies.
The bottom line is that Erdogan keeps winning Turkey’s ballots, and he is not likely to lose anytime soon. Yet, while these persistent victories make the pro-Erdogan camp happy and cheerful, it makes the rest — almost the other half of society — desperate, angry and resentful. 

Consequently, Turkey will be prone to more polarization, if not instability, should Erdogan not take steps to win the hearts and minds of his opponents and aim for a national reconciliation. 

This reminds me of Napoleon's words, "I want to win hearts of my fellow men before, I win their votes!"
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Re Edited By:                   KANWAL ABIDI
                                           *Political Analyst & Journalist

Information Shared By:   Mustafa Akyol
                                           *Turkish Journalist

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan

Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood maintains grassroots support

The Muslim Brotherhood has sustained its popularity in Jordan, where it continues to win elections in major professional and student unions. In the first true test of its influence and popularity following last year’s dramatic events in Egypt, Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood celebrated with its March 27 electoral victory the kingdom’s largest professional union in what observers described as a free and fair election. Islamist candidates and their allies won more than 70% of the seats in the 100,000-strong teachers union across the nation. Their opponents — nationalists and leftists — were unable to snatch this important association from the Islamists for the second time in three years.

The results stunned both the government and delighted supporters. Since Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi was toppled by the army, the Jordanian government had worked to undermine the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan. Although no punitive measures were taken against the movement, which has been active in Jordan since the 1950s, the Islamists were exposed to harsh and arguably sometimes unwarranted attacks by pro-government columnists, who accused the Brotherhood of foreign allegiance and of harboring an authoritarian agenda. The Islamists, in turn, accused the government of waging a campaign to demonize them.
But the movement was shaken by recent regional events, including Saudi Arabia’s decision to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Its fall in Egypt and banning by a number of Gulf countries, along with the Islamist-led opposition in Syria's failure to defeat the Damascus regime, have increased the Brotherhood’s isolation in Jordan. While there are no indications that Jordan was about to follow Saudi Arabia in banning the movement, the general perception by the public was that the Brotherhood’s popularity and ability to mobilize the street had been undercut. But last week’s teachers union election shattered that view.
Minister of Political Development Khaled al-Kalaldeh admitted in press interviews that there is now no “parallel to the Islamists” in the political arena. His statements underlined what many observers have always believed: that the Muslim Brotherhood remains the only organized group in Jordan that has genuine influence over the public.
But those who believed that the Islamist movement was weakening had a good argument, too. The Muslim Brotherhood had led public protests when the Arab Spring erupted in 2011. It organized weekly demonstrations and allied itself with nationalist and leftist groups and parties. But its ability to mobilize tens of thousands of Jordanians was tested many times.
In spite of the major political events that swept through Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, Jordanians remained wary of destabilizing their country. The youth movement was unable to rally Jordanians and today is politically dead. The alliances between the Islamists and others had collapsed almost a year ago, leaving the Muslim Brotherhood the only opposition in the public domain. Although hard-liners were now in control of the movement, it became apparent in the past few months that they chose to reduce their public activities and tone down their anti-government rhetoric.
The Brotherhood’s leadership did not want to antagonize the regime or give it reason to take action against the Islamist movement. When a Jordanian judge was gunned down last month by an Israeli soldier at the Allenby Bridge, thousands of angry Jordanians protested near the Israeli Embassy in west Amman. Islamist participation in that event was deliberately low profile.
It could be that the government had miscalculated in choosing not to interfere, believing that the Islamists had lost their public base and that the teachers union elections could go either way.
But a few days after the polls, the Islamists contested another important election: the contest for the council of the University of Jordan Students Union. Here, the reaction was different. The Islamists complained that their candidates had been subjected to a wave of terror and intimidation and accused "outlaws" of interfering in the voting process.
There were clashes on election day, but the Islamists prevailed there as well, winning over 45% of the votes. In a rare conciliatory message to the government, the Consultative Council of the Muslim Brotherhood issued a March 28 communique praising the state’s position in regard to the free elections of the teachers union.
Such messages between the Islamist movement and the government appear to underline the tense but steady relationship between the two sides. King Abdullah, who has been critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, has also resisted pressure from within the royal court to take action against the movement. He understands the unique historical rapport between the regime and the Brotherhood, one that has survived for decades.
The question now is whether the Islamist movement ends its boycott of legislative and municipal elections in light of its recent gains. A former moderate overseer of the movement, Abdel Majid Thneibat, had called on the Islamists to end their self-imposed political isolation. There are no upcoming parliamentary elections, but the government has promised to amend a contentious election law this year.
When it participated in past legislative elections, especially between 1990 and 1993, the Muslim Brotherhood emerged as the largest bloc in the Lower House. One of its moderate leaders, Abdel Latiff Arabiyyat, became the speaker for three consecutive terms. He told Al-Monitor in a recent interview that this feat is proof of the popularity of the Islamist movement in Jordan and its moderate course. He added that throughout its history, the movement has allied itself with the Jordanian state, which gave it a “special status” in society.

As the Islamist movement celebrates its recent victories, it is also sending conciliatory messages to the regime. Knowing that it still enjoys popular support might encourage it to contest future legislative elections. The regime, on the other hand, will be thinking hard about its next step. 
Fear of the Islamist movement has not gone away, but Jordan’s assessment of its role and contribution to the political process is different from that of its neighbors.
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                             *Political Analyst & Journalist 
Information Shared By:    Osama Al Sharif
                                             * Middle East Journalist