Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Growing Threat Seen In Afghan Insurgency

The director of the Defense Intelligence Agency told Congress yesterday that the insurgency in Afghanistan is growing and will increase this spring, presenting a greater threat to the central government's expansion of authority "than at any point since late 2001."

Bush Again Defends Deal on U.S. Seaports

"What kind of signal does it send throughout the world if it's okay for a British company to manage the ports, but not a company that has been . . . cleared for security purposes from the Arab world?"

Afghan Cabinet Members to Be Confirmed Individually -

'If they destroy our opium crop, how will we feed our family?'

Afghan leader confronts Pakistan over terror support

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan has handed over extensive intelligence dossiers to Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf detailing how suicide bombers who attack targets in Afghanistan are being recruited, trained and equipped in Pakistan.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Bush Reasserts Ports Deal Poses No Threat

White House Identifies Katrina Response Failures

In a report issued today on lessons learned from the hurricane, the Bush administration pointed to excessive "red tape" in an existing disaster-response plan and urged creation of a new "National Homeland Security University" to train personnel in dealing with catastrophic events.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Chance for a new start in Afghanistan

Afghanistan is not Iraq. It should not be necessary to make the point, of course.

Afghan President Warns Against Meddling

KABUL, Afghanistan - President Hamid Karzai has a pointed warning for neighboring nations: Stop meddling in Afghan affairs, or risk seeing chaos spread from a destabilized Afghanistan across the region.

Security Council endorses development compact for Afghanistan

The framework, known as the Afghan Compact, sets out a five-year agenda for sustained engagement with Afghanistan to help consolidate democratic institutions, curb insecurity, control the illegal drug trade, stimulate the economy, enforce the law, provide basic services to the Afghan people and protect their human rights.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Foreign Policy: The Clash of Caricatures

The European right and Islamist fundamentalists use the controversy to promote cartoonish depictions of each other that fuel their political agendas. Instead of deepening the divide, Europe’s leaders should reach out to moderate Muslims for practical ways to heal the wounds. Caricatures

About 1,000 Muslims Protest Cartoons at U.N.

"Our feelings are hurt," "If someone insults your father, don't you hurt?" said, Magdy Eleish

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Scholars Debate Religious Iconography -- February 14, 2006

REV. TERRENCE DEMPSEY: One of the things about freedom of speech is also a sense of responsibility. If we abuse people by coming up with stereotypes we see how divisive that is. That does tear at the fabric of our very society. We have to be aware of that.

The Islam the Riots Drowned Out

EMRAN QURESHI--Stigmatized European Muslims are often the targets of right-wing attacks and feel increasingly beleaguered.

Cheney Takes Full Responsibility for Shooting Hunter

"Ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry," he said.

House Report Cites Hurricane Failures

As GOP Focuses on Restructuring Response, Democrats Call for Further Investigation

Cheney Says Shooting Was His Fault

Breaking his silence four days after the shooting, a subdued Cheney recounted the incident in sometimes stark and personal terms, saying he was haunted by the memory of his friend, Harry Whittington, falling to the ground.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The answer is Gandhi

I quote from Section 266B of the Danish penal code: "Any person who publicly or with the intention of dissemination to a wide circle of people makes a statement or imparts other information threatening, insulting or degrading a group of persons on account of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin, belief or sexual orientation, shall be liable to a fine, simple detention or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years." Section 140 adds, "Those who publicly mock or insult the doctrines or worship of any religious community that is legal in this country, will be punished by a fine or incarceration for up to four months."

Afghanistan Hails Debt Cancellation

"After 30 years of devastation, we are starting from nothing and any move such as this helps the reconstruction of Afghanistan," said Khaleeq Ahmed, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai.

U.S. says will cancel debt owed by Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The United States will cancel all debt owed to it by Afghanistan, which amounts to about $108 million, the State Department announced on Tuesday as it urged other nations to do the same.

SPIEGEL Interview with Pakistani Scholar Ahmed Rashid: "This Is not an Issue of Free Speech"

The West must take some civic responsibility and show sensitivity to other people's cultures and traditions. Western newspapers do not print pictures of dead bodies when there are battles going on. Here, we don't publish pictures of Muhammad.

Most Danes Understand Muslim Cartoon Anger: Poll

(Reuters) - An opinion poll in a Danish Sunday newspaper showed that more than half the Danes questioned said they understood why Muslims around the world were outraged by cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad first published in Denmark.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Jyllands-Posten Rejected Jesus Satire

That line of reasoning, of course, is raising eyebrows this week. Does the newspaper responsible for launching the battle over the Muhammad caricatures, which now presents itself as a champion of free speech, apply a different standard for its Christian readers? "It does look a little like hypocrisy," said Politiken opinion page editor Jacob Fuglsand.

Europe | Chirac warns media over cartoons

French President Jacques Chirac has condemned as "overt provocation" decisions to reprint cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad.

Danish paper refused "offensive" Jesus cartoons

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The Danish newspaper that first published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad infuriating Muslims worldwide previously turned down cartoons of Jesus as too offensive, a cartoonist said on Wednesday.

Bush Urges World Leaders to Halt Violence Over Cartoons

President Bush called on governments around the world to halt the violence that has followed the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in Europe, as three more protesters were killed in Afghanistan.

Muslim Society Official Explains Mission Against Cartoons

February 8, 2006 · Protests against cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad have led to a number of deaths and damage to Danish missions in several countries. The Danish cartoons came to worldwide attention in part because of Ahmed Abu Laban, the religious director of the Muslim Society in Copenhagen. Steve Inskeep talks to Laban.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

NATO and Protesters Clash in Afghanistan Over Cartoons

Afghanistan's Council of Clerics issued a statement carried on national television saying that the publication of drawings of the Prophet Muhammad was an abuse to "the great prophet of Islam" and called for the Danish authorities to investigate the affair and take steps to make sure such publications were not repeated.

Muhammad cartoons 'global crisis'

The Danish people are not enemies of Islam," he insisted. "We're seeing ourselves characterised as an intolerant people or as enemies of Islam as a religion. That picture is false. Extremists and radicals who seek a clash of cultures and religions are spreading it," Mr Rasmussen said.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Violence Erupts over Muhammad Cartoons

"Well, I think that there is genuine offense at the cartoons which are definitely distasteful to Muslims, but I think that the cartoons in themselves can't really explain the extent of the protest and the anger that we're seeing."

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Specter Says Surveillance Program Violated the Law

The program "is in flat violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," said the chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who will open committee hearings on Monday.

Muslim Protesters in Beirut Set Danish Embassy Ablaze

Friday, February 03, 2006

World press eyes cartoon controversy

YVES THERARD IN FRANCE'S LE FIGARO--To depict the Prophet as a terrorist is an act of stupidity rather than heroism. People are praising the courage of the authors, but what sort of courage is it?....

Many dead' as Egypt ferry sinks

Hundreds of people are feared to have died after an Egyptian ferry carrying about 1,400 people sank in the Red Sea.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

US envoy warns on efforts to build Afghanistan

Afghanistan risks sliding back into chaos if western countries do not step up efforts to bolster government control outside the capital, Ronald Neumann, US ambassador to Afghanistan, said yesterday.

Cartoon Blasphemy Uproar Gathers Pace

Afghanistan said publication of the caricatures would give ammunition to those seeking to disrupt international relations.

FT.com / Home UK - Global reaction

Former US President Bill Clinton called the cartoons ``appalling,’’ according to Agence France-Presse. “So now what are we going to do? Replace the anti-Semitic prejudice with anti-Islamic prejudice?’’ “Any insult to the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, is an insult to more than 1 billion Muslims and an act like this must never be allowed to be repeated,” Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai.

Europe - Reprints of ‘offensive’ cartoons spark Islamic rage

In an effort to calm Muslim anger, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, was set to appear last night on the al-Arabiya satellite news channel to explain his government’s position. He also called a meeting of all foreign ambassadors in Copenhagen for today as the debate in Europe polarised defenders of press freedom and religious groups.

Comment & analysis / Editorial comment - No time to walk away

If the world needed a new reason of self-interest to stay engaged in Afghanistan, it is that the country now accounts for nearly 90 per cent of global opium production. But the original reason still holds good. The attacks of 9/11 showed how the west's negligence, in letting post-Soviet Afghanistan slide into a Taliban state and haven for al-Qaeda terrorists, can savagely rebound on it.

Tarzi: Afghans Likely to be Disappointed at London Conference--Council on Foreign Relations

Interviewee: Dr. Amin Tarzi, Interviewer: Esther Pan, Staff Writer

The Afghanistan Compact

The London Conference on Afghanistan

At least 60 high-level government delegations and representatives from international organizations gathered in London January 31 and February 1 to discuss the future of the international community’s engagement with Afghanistan. The Afghan government presented its interim national development strategy outlining its political and economic goals over the coming years ....More >>

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Special reports | Anger as papers reprint cartoons of Muhammad

The "blasphemous" cartoons were reminiscent of the caricatures of Jews published by the Nazi propaganda sheet Der Stürmer, Michael Muhammad Pfaff, of the German Muslim League, told the Guardian."Press freedom shouldn't be used to insult people. We Germans need to know our history."

World Pledges $10.5B for Afghanistan Aid

LONDON -- Nearly 70 nations and international bodies pledged $10.5 billion to help Afghanistan fight poverty, improve security and crack down on the drug trade, officials said Wednesday at the end of a two-day conference on the nation's future.