Shariah in the World

Iran Banks on East to Evade Sanctions

Avi Jorisch
April 27, 2011
By Avi Jorisch

As the United States and its allies continue to pressure Iran through targeted economic sanctions in an effort to force the Islamic Republic to abandon what is suspected to be a nuclear weapons program, Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Malaysia are aiding and abetting Iran's nuclear program by providing it with access to international financial markets and the ability to purchase dual-use nuclear materiel.

As a high-ranking Iranian customs official pointed out this month, Iran is increasingly dependent on Asian imports for the health of its economy. If the international sanctions regime is to have a chance of succeeding, Asian countries will have to close Iranian banks openly operating in their jurisdictions to curb the Islamic Republic's ability to obtain illicit commodities; otherwise, the sanctions will ultimately fail.

The United Nations, the European Union and the United States have taken steps to isolate Iranian banks that are suspected of financially facilitating the purchase of illegal goods via the international financial system. The United Nations, for example, has blacklisted four Iranian financial institutions for their role in proliferating weapons of mass destruction - the Sepah, Melli and Mellat banks, and the First East Export Bank of Iran. Three of the four operate in Asia: Bank Melli is in Hong Kong, First East Export Bank in Labuan, Malaysia, and Bank Mellat in Seoul, South Korea.


WikiLeaks Reveals Al Qaeda Thug Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Vowed 'Nuclear Hellstorm' Tied to Bin Laden
April 25, 2011
By Bill Hutchinson

Secret government documents leaked to the media last night reveal a top Gitmo detainee vowed to unleash a "nuclear hellstorm" if Osama Bin Laden was ever captured or assassinated.

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, claimed Al Qaeda had hidden a nuclear bomb in Europe that was tied to Bin Laden's fate, according to a dump of classified documents released by the WikiLeaks website.

The frightening information was in thousands of pages of dossiers of detainees being held at the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.


Indonesia's Rash of 'Do-It-Yourself Jihad'

April 18, 2011
West Java, Indonesia

As police investigate the motive behind the latest suicide bombing in Indonesia, the country is once again facing the specter of another wave of attacks by extremists. While recent bombings have targeted individuals rather than large groups, the trend has some analysts worried that the current threat could be harder to stamp out. "This is part of a pattern of do-it-yourself jihad," explains Sidney Jones, a terrorism expert at the International Crisis Group. "It falls under the ideological precept of jihad fardiya or individual jihad, and I'm afraid we will see more of them."

It is unclear if Muhammad Syarief, 31, made the bomb himself or had help from outside — police are still investigating his links to other radical groups in the country. Small-scale attacks took place on March 15, with bombs concealed in books sent to four people, including a liberal Muslim activist, the former head of the country's antiterrorism police unit and a musician. There were no fatalities. The last suicide bombings struck two hotels in Jakarta in July 2009, killing nine people. Observers are concerned that intelligence efforts are failing to keep up with shifting trends and tactics employed by radicals pushing an agenda antagonistic to the country's secular policies.


Suicide Bomber Kills 36 at Pakistan Funeral

The Washington Times
March 9, 2011
Peshawar, Pakistan

A suicide bomber struck a funeral attended by anti-Taliban militiamen in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 36 mourners and wounding more than 100 in the deadliest militant attack in the country this year. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility.

The blast near the city of Peshawar was not far from the tribally administered regions bordering Afghanistan where militants are at their strongest. The area struck is home to several tribal armies that battle the Taliban with the government’s encouragement.

Police officer Zahid Khan said about 300 people were attending the funeral for the wife of a militiaman in the Matani area when the bomber struck. TV footage showed men picking up bloodied sandals and caps from a dusty, open space where mourners had gathered.

Witnesses said the bomber, who appeared to be in his late teens, showed up at the funeral just as it was about to begin.


Anwar at Georgetown: A Case Study in the Shaping of Expert Opinion

Anwar's affection for and ties to the most influential Muslim Brotherhood cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, are also extremely well-known to those paying any attention at all--that would be "Hitler didn't finish the job" Qaradawi; that would be "I encourage the mutilation of women's genitals" Qaradawi; that would be "Rape victims should be flogged" Qaradawi... Wouldn't you think Georgetown would be wary of inviting such a speaker to present the views of "moderate Muslims" about the Muslim Brotherhood?

February 17, 2011
Washington, D.C.

Prompted by Harlech's question, I want to offer some thoughts about why we're having a serious debate in America now about the Muslim Brotherhood's aptitude for "moderation."

I should say that his comment seems to have annoyed quite some number of Ricochet members, but I appreciated it. I have a better sense now of what many outside of the small community of American Ikhwan-watchers must be thinking: "Surely the people who are calling the Muslim Brotherhood moderate, or otherwise benign, couldn't be that wrong? They are, after all, experts, no?"

Those of us who follow the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood closely keep smacking our foreheads in bewilderment at these blithe pronouncements, unable to comprehend how this could be a matter of debate at all. There are serious debates to be had about the Ikhwan, but they're not debates about whether they're moderate. They are debates about how powerful they really are--in Egypt, for example--and what their strategy is apt to be at a moment like this, which appears to have caught them by surprise as much as it has everyone else. These are questions worthy of debate and difficult to answer.

That we're having a serious discussion, however, at high levels of our foreign policy establishment, about whether the Muslim Brotherhood is moderate should be seen not as a sign that those who say they are might be right, but as a symptom of a pathology in our foreign policy apparatus. It's important to recognize just what has happened to our intelligentsia--our experts, in other words--and to evaluate what they're saying in this light.

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