Women in Peril

Frank Crimi in FrontPage As the United States begins its scheduled 2014 troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Afghan government has intensified its reconciliation efforts with the Taliban. Needless to say, the outcome of any subsequent peace deal with the Taliban holds enormous consequences for the women of Afghanistan, given the brutality they suffered at the hands of the fundamentalist regime. Thus, many Afghan women have been adamant that any negotiations with the Taliban have substantial female representation, as a way to ensure that the rights they have gained won’t be crushed if the Taliban returns to the Afghan fold. This seemed like a genuine possibility at first, when Afghan President Hamid Karzai created the High Peace Council to direct negotiations with the Taliban and gave the committee female representation. Unfortunately, the government top-loaded the council with 60 men and only 9 women, a disparity in numbers that brought immediate concern from Afghanistan’s nascent crop of women leaders. One such leader, Fauzia Kofi, a member of Afghanistan’s parliament, said of the female council members, “They’re negotiating for our rights — for my

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Starving Somalia

Frank Crimi in FrontPage The UN’s recent declaration that parts of southern and central Somalia are in a state of famine was apparently not shared by al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist organization that controls nearly 90 percent of the drought stricken areas. Consequently, the Islamist terror outfit has now banned international relief organizations from the territory it controls, an action that is now reportedly preventing emergency aid from reaching over 2.2 million starving Somalis. Somalia’s drought is just part of the larger drought that has gripped the entire Horn of Africa, one that has affected over 11 million people. For Somalia — already engulfed in horrific sectarian violence and subjected to near continuous anarchy for over twenty years — the current drought has been particularly nasty. According to various reports, more than half of Somalia’s 3.7 million people live in drought-affected areas where they are unable to find food and, as such, face imminent starvation. It’s been estimated that 500,000 Somali children alone are critically malnourished. In fact, so bad has the situation become that the UN reported 11,000 Somalis

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Saudis Up the Nuclear Ante

Frank Crimi in FrontPage Saudi Arabia declares its intention to enter the nuclear arms race as Iran edges closer toward completion of its nuclear weapons goal. Fearful that he will soon face a nuclear-armed Iran, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal recently warned that the Saudi Kingdom would have no choice but to develop its own nuclear weapons, a move he said would lead to “untold and possibly dramatic consequences.” While the Saudi’s have long voiced the strategic goal of a nuclear-free Middle East, they have also unequivocally stated that they won’t sit back and allow themselves to be the only nonnuclear nation in the region. So, the remarks by al-Faisal — a former Saudi intelligence official — simply echo that view, one espoused by Saudi King Abdullah in 2006 when he said that if Iran ever developed nuclear weapons, “everyone in the region would, including Saudi Arabia.” However, with Iran now edging ever closer to acquiring its own nuclear weapons, it appears the Saudis have actually begun laying the groundwork for a similar pursuit. For example, in April 2011, the

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Iran’s Christian Shutdown

Frank Crimi FrontPage An Iranian court rules that a pastor must reject his Christian faith or be put to death. It’s the latest incident in the Islamist Republic’s continuous and increased assault on its small Christian population.   Iran’s Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that Yosef Nadarkhani, a 32 year-old Iranian evangelical pastor, must reject his Christian faith or be put to death. It’s the latest incident in the Islamist Republic’s continuous and increased assault on its small Christian population. Nadarkhani was first arrested on the charge of apostasy (leaving Islam for another faith) in October 2009 and sentenced to death by hanging for his refusal to teach Islam to Christian children. While Nadarkhani hadn’t practiced any faith before he became a Christian at age19, he was born to Muslim parents and thus considered to be a Muslim under Islamic law. As such, Nadarkhani’s conviction was upheld in September 2010 by a lower Iranian court when it found that he had proven his apostasy by “organizing evangelistic meetings, sharing his faith, inviting others to convert, and running

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Tunisia Falling

Frank Crimi in FrontPage As it prepares for its first General Election, Tunisia’s fledgling attempt toward democratic rule is being heavily threatened by an emboldened Islamist movement and an increased al Qaeda presence. As it prepares for its first General Election, Tunisia’s fledgling attempt toward democratic rule is being heavily threatened by an emboldened Islamist movement and an increased al Qaeda presence. Tunisia’s Islamist movement is led by Ennahda, the Tunisian Islamist party inspired by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. The Ennahda — which had been banned by former Tunisian President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali since its 1981 inception — was legalized in March 2011 following Ben Ali’s ouster. Like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ennahda has been viewed as having the organizational expertise and large membership to make it the odds on favorite in any parliamentarian election. With that in mind, Tunisia’s interim government recently moved its originally scheduled July Election to October in an effort to help the country’s disparate group of loosely organized, secularist parties better prevail against the more organized Ennahda. Not surprisingly, that decision was denounced

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Kucinich: Tyranny Propagandist

Frank Crimi in FrontPage Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s visit to Damascus includes a call to end economic sanctions against the Syrian regime as well as high praise for Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Offering singular praise for the reform efforts being enacted by Syria’s embattled leader, President Bashar Assad, noted anti-war Democrat Dennis Kucinich urged the United States and the rest of the international community to lift economic sanctions against the Syrian regime. Rep. Kucinich’s comments were made to reporters during a visit to the Syrian capital of Damascus. There, Kucinich chastised the media for overly “dramatizing” the chaotic events transpiring in the country. According to Kucinich, Assad was “highly loved and appreciated by the Syrians,” adding that those opposing him were still free to speak their minds. It should be noted that when his remarks appeared in the Syrian paper Al-Watan, Kucinich was quick to state he had been misquoted, saying the report contained “a number of mistranslations and mischaracterized statements. It is unfortunate that translation errors can create such problems.” Of course, there was confusion as to why Kucinich happened

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Domestic Terror, Saudi Style

Frank Crimi in FrontPage The recent beheading of a foreign domestic servant in Saudi Arabia is just the latest in a horrifying litany of systematic abuse, torture and rape of female workers at the hands of their Saudi employers. Ruyati binti Satubi, a 54 year-old Indonesian maid, was recently beheaded for killing her female Saudi employer with a meat cleaver. Claiming years of severe physical abuse, Satubi committed the murder when her employer had denied her permission to return home to Indonesia. Although Satubi’s justification for her actions had no effect on the Saudi court’s decision, it certainly resonated among most of the over 2 million foreign women working as domestic servants in Saudi households. Many of these women — most of whom hail from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines — have routinely been subjected to emotional, sexual and physical abuse by their Saudi employers. Sadly, these maids were all recruited by employment agencies in their home countries, but most had little idea where they were going or what would be expected of them, which probably makes sense given

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