Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A General in Decline

"... After the general's trip to Abu Dhabi, a Musharraf-Bhutto deal looked almost assured. The two are believed to have agreed on several constitutional changes. According to this playbook, General Musharraf would be re-elected by the current parliament in uniform, and would then have to shed it around the end of the year.

Yet as the general's fortunes wane, Ms Bhutto's price may be rising. She now says she cannot support a military ruler. If so, General Musharraf will have to disrobe and hope to fare better than Samson did when he was shaved. Or else, aged 64, he might even think about retirement."

Source: The Economist, August 18th-24th 2007

The general, like an old battered boxer, just don't know when to quit. But, whereas the bruised boxer only hurts himself, this guy, "the general", is going to bring a whole nation down with him.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

News Round-up: June-August

A showdown between Palestine’s two rival groups, Hamas and Fatah, left the US-backed secularists of Fatah running the West Bank and the democratically-elected Islamists of Hamas in control of the Gaza strip.

Glasgow airport was attacked in bizarre fashion when a Jeep driven by two doctors struck the terminal and burst into flames, leaving one of the men dead and the other injured. This came a few days after Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister and a day after two unexploded cars were found in central London packed with gas canisters, petrol and nails.

A horrific week-long gun battle took place in Islamabad’s Lal (Red) Masjid between Pakistan’s security forces and those running the Masjid. Nearly 100 people died in the ensuing battle, including the Mullah leading the opposition.

On a more positive note, Pakistan and India celebrated 60 years as independent nations. While India, after decades of sloth, is poised to regain its pre-colonial glory as a great economic power, Pakistan on the other hand, lurching between corrupt civilian governments and military rule, struggles to hold fair and free elections.

The violence in Iraq did not slow. With much of the US-electorate losing faith in the war pressure was increased for the troops to return home. In turn, the US government increased pressure on Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, as well as accusing Iran of arming its neighbours (Iraq and Afghanistan).

Not all was bad in Iraq, in truly inspirational fashion the Iraqi football team won the Asian Cup in Jakarta to set off a wave of celebrations.

(Written for Issue 16 of the Noor Magazine)