Friday, June 26, 2015
ISIS has both sympathisers and active supporters inside the kingdom of Saudi Araibia.
ISIS and the Saudis’ kingdom are ideologically similar, so attempts to challenge ISIS on ideological grounds risk undermining the Saudi state too. As Heba Saleh and Simeon Kerr noted in the Financial Times last September:
“Some of the features of Isis ideology, such as its hatred of Shia Muslims and application of strict punishments such as limb amputations, are shared with the purist Salafi thought that defines Saudi Wahhabism. ISIS has explicitly referenced early Wahhabi teachers, such as Mohammed ibn Abdulwahhab, to justify its destruction of Shia shrines and Christian churches as it cuts a swath through Iraq and Syria. Thousands of Saudi nationals have been recruited to its ranks.
Saudi efforts to confront ISIS ideologically have mainly taken the form of denunciations from tame clerics – figures who have no prospect of influencing ISIS supporters and sympathisers – but it is difficult to see what else they might do without calling their own state system into question.
The king and his princes have dug a hole for themselves by harnessing religion in the pursuit of power. Religious credentials bolstered their claim to legitimacy and helped them assert their authority. For a long time, those credentials served them well, but now they are becoming a liability and it may be too late to unfasten the harness.
The Saudi funded Notorious Takfiri Outfit Islamic State took responsibility for a deadly explosion on Friday at a Shiite Muslim Imam Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait City, a rare attack in the tiny Gulf nation.
The Wahabi extremist group claimed the attack via a statement posted to a known Twitter account. It named the bomber as Abu Sleiman al Mouahed and said that he was wearing a suicide belt.
Cell phone video posted to social media and apparently shot at the mosque showed worshippers walking and stumbling through a dust- and rubble-filled interior, many with their white robes splattered in what appeared to be blood.
Its pertaining to mention here that The blast explosion hits the Shia Mosque Imam Al-Sadiq in Al-Sawaber Kuwait City during the friday prayers when the shia worshipers offering the prayer in holy month of Ramadan. More than 5 Shia worshipers were martyred in the deadliest blast inside Shia Mosque.
Its worth mentioning here that earlier, two incidents of suicide bombing on Shia worshipers witnessed on two Shia mosques in two shia dominated provinces of Saudi Arabia which were claimed by Saudi-US funded IS.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday praised the Supreme Court's ruling declaring same-sex couples have a right to marry and suggested that her Republican opponents were being left behind by history.
In one of her most partisan speeches since announcing her presidential campaign, Clinton criticized the field of more than a dozen Republican candidates for opposing gay marriage, gun control, immigration reform and women's reproductive rights.
"We can sum up the message from the court and the American people in just two words: Move on," she said in a fiery speech to Democratic activists gathered in Northern Virginia for a party fundraiser.
Casting herself as a fighter for struggling Americans, Clinton pledged to advocate for all those facing economic discrimination and prejudice.
"I'm on the side for everyone who's ever been knocked down but refused to be knocked out," she told the cheering audience. "I will always stand my ground so you and my country can gain ground."
Clinton equated the gay marriage decision with the decision striking down bans on interracial marriage, saying that "love triumphed in the highest court." She vowed to fight discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and accused Republicans of being "determined to lead us right back into the past."
"Instead of trying to turn back the clock, they should be joining us in saying no, no to discrimination once and for all," she said.
Clinton was making the first stop of her presidential campaign in Virginia, a state likely to be closely contested in the general election. President Barack Obama won the state in 2008, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had captured its electoral votes in decades, and again in 2012.
Clinton's political tactics in the state will likely mirror Obama's winning strategy: increase the number of black and minority voters at the polls while capturing a sufficient share of the white vote in suburban Washington, D.C.
Her personal connections may give her an additional advantage. She took the stage alongside Gov. Terry McAuliffe, her longtime friend and fundraiser, who won office in 2013. His fundraising efforts helped bankroll the campaigns of both Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. After they left the White House, McAuliffe used his personal wealth to help the couple get a mortgage on their house in Chappaqua, New York.
McAuliffe's gubernatorial campaign was run by a young operative, Robby Mook, who now is working as Clinton's campaign manager.
"This is personal for me," McAuliffe told the crowd at the fundraiser. "I've known Hillary for decades. We've worked hard together. We've played hard together."
He added: "She's a lot more fun than Bill Clinton is and I love him, too."
By ADAM LIPTAK
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and signs of resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.
The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.
“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”
In a second dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Kennedy, who has become the nation’s most important judicial champion of gay rights.
“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague’s work. “Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”
As Justice Kennedy finished announcing his opinion from the bench on Friday, several lawyers seated in the bar section of the court’s gallery wiped away tears, while others grinned and exchanged embraces.
Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, was on hand for the decision, and many of the justices’ clerks took seats in the chamber, which was nearly full as the ruling was announced. The decision made same-sex marriage a reality in the 13 states that had continued to ban it.
Outside the Supreme Court, the police allowed hundreds of people waving rainbow flags and holding signs to advance onto the court plaza as those present for the decision streamed down the steps. “Love has won,” the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses threw up their arms in victory.
In remarks in the Rose Garden, President Obama welcomed the decision, saying it “affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts.”
“Today,” he said, “we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.”
Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court’s previous gay rights landmarks. The latest decision came exactly two years after his majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples, and exactly 12 years after his majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime.
In all of those decisions, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes.
“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” he wrote on Friday. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”
This drew a withering response from Justice Scalia, a proponent of reading the Constitution according to the original understanding of those who adopted it. His dissent was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.
“They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Scalia wrote of the majority, “a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”
“These justices know,” Justice Scalia said, “that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.”
Justice Kennedy rooted the ruling in a fundamental right to marriage. Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” he said, and of special importance to couples raising children.
“Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers,” he wrote, “their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion.
In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts said the majority opinion was “an act of will, not legal judgment.”
“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” he wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”
The majority and dissenting opinions took differing views about whether the decision would harm religious liberty. Justice Kennedy said the First Amendment “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” He said both sides should engage in “an open and searching debate.”
Chief Justice Roberts responded that “people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in his dissent, saw a broader threat from the majority opinion. “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” Justice Alito wrote. “In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”
Gay rights advocates had constructed a careful litigation and public relations strategy to build momentum and bring the issue to the Supreme Court when it appeared ready to rule in their favor. As in earlier civil rights cases, the court had responded cautiously and methodically, laying judicial groundwork for a transformative decision.
It waited for scores of lower courts to strike down bans on same-sex marriages before addressing the issue, and Justice Kennedy took the unusual step of listing those decisions in an appendix to his opinion.
Chief Justice Roberts said that only 11 states and the District of Columbia had embraced the right to same-sex marriage democratically, at voting booths and in state legislatures. The rest of the 37 states that allow such unions did so because of court rulings. Gay rights advocates, the chief justice wrote, would have been better off with a victory achieved through the political process, particularly “when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.”
In his own dissent, Justice Scalia took a similar view, saying that the majority’s assertiveness represented a “threat to American democracy.”
But Justice Kennedy rejected that idea.
“It is of no moment whether advocates of same-sex marriage now enjoy or lack momentum in the democratic process,” he wrote. “The issue before the court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry.” Later in the opinion, Justice Kennedy answered the question. “The Constitution,” he wrote, “grants them that right.”
Afghanistan: UN official expresses deep concern after report reveals children bear brunt of conflict
Last year saw more children killed or maimed in Afghanistan since monitoring of those statistics began in 2007, reflecting that “children are bearing the brunt of the conflict,” according to United Nations UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on children and armed conflict in that strife-torn country.
“The killing and maiming of children from the indiscriminate use of IEDs [improvised explosive devices] in populated areas, and the use of children as suicide bombers, can only be condemned as flagrant violations of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said Leila Zerrougui, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.
The 18-page report, released Thursday, says 2,302 children were killed, and 5,047 injured throughout the reporting period from 1 September 2010 to 31 December 2014. Of that toll, 2,502 children were killed or injured in 2014 alone – making that year the worst for child casualties of any in Afghanistan since the monitoring began in July 2007.
“These tragically high casualty numbers show that children are bearing the brunt of the conflict, and unfortunately this trend continues with the deterioration of the security environment into 2015,” Ms. Zerrougui said in a press release on the report.
She also highlighted the report’s expression of serious concern for what it calls “widespread impunity for grave violations against children by Government security forces, including against children in detention for alleged association with armed groups.”
“These children are first and foremost victims, and they should be treated as such,” she said.
Despite the difficult security context, the report highlights the “commendable progress” the Afghan Government and its National Security Forces have made towards ending and preventing the recruitment and use of children – after the signing of an Action Plan and the establishment of a road map specifying steps for achieving that end.
The report noted that a Government decree criminalizing underage recruitment by the Afghan National Security Forces has been in force since February 2015, and “lies at the centre of all efforts to ensure accountability and prevent the recruitment and use of children by both the Government and armed group actors.”
“I look forward to working with the Government of Afghanistan even more intensively in the months ahead as we move towards fully implementing the country’s Action Plan for ending recruitment and use of children,” Ms. Zerrougui said.
The report calls for donor support, including sustainable funding for the “timely and effective” implementation of the Action Plan in line with the goal of the Children, Not Soldiers campaign to end recruitment and use of children in Government forces by 2016.
The 18-page report highlights the situation of children affected by armed conflict in Afghanistan, and presents information collected by the UN-led Afghanistan Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting. It covers monitoring of the six grave violations the UN Security Council has identified as affecting children caught in armed conflict.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, made the rounds on Capitol Hill on June 23 urging support for universal, free education.
With her father Ziauddin Yousafzai at her side, the 17-year-old Pakistani urged lawmakers to boost funding for girls' secondary education through first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative, Let Girls Learn.
"It is time that a bold and clear commitment is made by the [United States] to increase funding and support governments around the world to provide 12 years of free primary and secondary education for everyone by 2030," said Malala, who survived a severe gunshot wound to the head for her support of girls' schools in Pakistan.
Earlier, on June 22, Malala urged the World Bank and United Nations to include a commitment to 12-year free education for all children in their new millenium goals for the next 15 years.
"It is very important that we raise our voices to speak out for girls deprived of a secondary education," Malala said after meeting with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.