Does the situation of present-day Muslim society, marked by crisis, tensions, foreign interventions and political despotism, foster the reformist democratic Islam, or does it promote its violent and theocratic rivals?
As Pope Francis slammed Europe as "elderly and haggard" in an address this week in Strasbourg, the speaker of the Polish parliament, Radek Sikorski, warned in the WorldPost that Europe's starkest challenge is defending "a world of rules" against an aggressive Russia. Writing from the Vatican for our "Following Francis" series, Sébastien Maillard looks at the "holy ghostwriters" behind the pontiff's tweets and encyclicals. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports from Istanbul on yet another retrograde move in Turkey's modern history taken by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who declared this week that men and women can't be equal. Though Erdogan still considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party a terrorist organization, Nazand Begikhani writes from Iraqi Kurdistan about how women from that party who have taken up arms to defend their fellow Kurds from the radically misogynist Islamic State are also advancing equal rights in their own society. This week, as the Israeli cabinet moved to define Israel as a "Jewish state," the French parliament, like other European parliaments of late, is voting on whether to recognize a Palestinian state. Writing from Paris, Bernard-Henri Lévy argues passionately that such a move, intended to enhance peace, will perpetuate war. (continued)
For two years the IGLHRC, jointly with Iraqi and international NGOs, has supported humanitarian assistance to vulnerable LGBT individuals and worked to raise awareness about their desperate plight. Out of this work comes two briefings that expose the depth of suffering and violence perpetrated against LGBT people across different levels of society.
It is with enormous sorrow that I watched Hagel's tenure ended at the half-way mark by a President who seems to have forgotten the pledge he made to Americans when he was elected: to finally craft a sane foreign policy, devoid of hubris, and over-reliance on military solutions.
John McCain would much rather have been elected president back in 2008, but for a man who was soundly defeated by Obama, being a Shadow President against that very same man is the perhaps the second-best thing that he could have hoped for.
Let's play a game, the kind that makes no sense on this single-superpower planet of ours. For a moment, do your best to suspend disbelief and imagine that there's another superpower, great power, or even regional power somewhere that, between 2001 and 2003, launched two major wars in the Greater Middle East.
We are living in The Neocon Moment, a testament to the foolishness and arrogance of those who believe themselves to be engineers of peoples, societies, and nations. Yet Washington officials have yet to tire of America's permanent state of war.
As with so much else connected with President Obama and national security, he has acted contrary to his past words and proclaimed intentions. There is no longer hope; the despair remains.
While the courage, audacity and resistance of Kurdish women fighters combating Islamic State jihadists in Kobani have made headlines in the last few months, Kurdish women have marked another revolutionary step by passing an equality decree that could guarantee their own rights within family and society.
The abrupt change of command at the Pentagon, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigning under pressure Monday, is more than a change of faces. It marks the final disillusionment with the two war-fighting strategies the United States has relied on for 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan: the "hearts and minds" counterinsurgency formerly defined and pursued by Gen. David Petraeus, and the costly "train and equip" effort to build self-sustaining security forces in both countries. After the sacrifices of more than 5,300 American battle dead and 52,000 wounded, it has become clear that something more -- and different -- is needed, not least a new, strategy-savvy defense secretary who will articulate a coherent new approach, sell it to the White House, Congress, and the uniformed brass across the river at the Pentagon, and oversee its implementation.
The torture and torment of women has become an ideology for some. What we can give ourselves as women, no one else will. Women of the world, rise up for your dignity and equality.
For decades now, the first four of these assertions have formed the foundation of U.S. policy in the Middle East. The events of 9/11 added the fifth, without in any way prompting a reconsideration of the first four.
If Dempsey, a soldier with a long and distinguished career, cannot in good conscience preside over a military campaign he feels will be ultimately doomed, should he quietly (or noisily) resign?
On the same day this week that President Obama announced a measure that could give legal protection to 5 million undocumented immigrants, massive protests raged across Mexico against the impunity and corruption that led to the horrific massacre of 43 students. From Mexico City, Sergio Sarmiento, Elena Poniatowska and Homero Aridjis chronicle the events and ponder what's next. Anthropologist Claudio Lomnitz examines the causes behind Mexico's corrosive impunity. Meanwhile, as Xin Chunying writes from Beijing, China is also seeking to establish the rule of law through steadily boosting the role of the National People's Congress. While stifling dissent, China's President Xi is taking on both "tigers and flies" in his no-holds-barred assault from the top down on corruption. Can China's effort succeed without active public engagement? Can Mexico learn from China and move from angry protest to systemic change? (continued)
The nuclear negotiations with Iran are in their eleventh hour. By Monday we'll know whether a resolution has been reached or a new crisis of the first order added to the conflagrations in the Middle East -- indeed, one that will exacerbate all the others. Even an understanding that lays out a few principles while extending the deadline would be a dangerous outcome. The technical issues are complicated. But they are not in themselves the main obstacles to be overcome. Let's get down to brass tacks. The starbursts of commentary on centrifuge numbers and Iran's retention of low-enriched uranium (LEU), albeit under international inspection, should not be allowed to conceal the underlying reality: If Washington and Tehran want a nuclear deal, it is there for the taking. While the responsibility is shared, the crucial decision rests with the White House. This is not the way that President Obama and his advisers see it, though.
Do your best to get it right. If you do, great. If you don't, admit you got it wrong, fix it, even if hard, and try harder next time. And we should reward journalists and press outlets that are practicing good, honest journalism.