March 2008 Archives



Guest Voice  |  March 5, 2008 3:20 PM

A Real Kurdish Solution

By Dr. Günes Murat Tezcür

Few places symbolize state power and security challenges more than the border zone between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. Whether this border will blossom with commerce and cultural exchange or become a transit point for tanks and militants has great implications for the future of the Middle East and the relationship between the Muslim world and the West.

For a peaceful border to become a reality, Turkey and other regional states with sizeable Kurdish populations need to extend full recognition to Kurdish demands for greater cultural and political rights. In turn, Kurdish nationalism needs to recognize the geopolitical reality by eschewing the goal of rewriting the prevailing borders and denouncing armed struggle. The United States and the European Union need to encourage reconciliation between Turkish and Kurdish politicians.

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Guest Voice  |  March 15, 2008 10:00 AM

360 Degrees from Erbil: The Iraqi Kurds Need Turkey

By Soner Cagaptay

On a recent trip to Iraq, I visited the three northern provinces that fall under the auspices of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). I happened to be in Erbil, the region’s capital, during the recent Turkish incursion into northeastern Iraq to disrupt the terror camps of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). After taking in the view of Mesopotamia from Erbil’s hilltop citadel, I asked Iraqi Kurdish leaders for a 360-degree view from Erbil, specifically inquiring about the KRG’s perception of what its external threats are. To my surprise, Iran topped the list, and Turkey consistently ranked at the bottom – even though Turkey was, at that very moment, carrying out military operations inside northern Iraq. The Iraqi Kurds indeed have bigger worries than Turkey, and the KRG leadership is actually seeking Ankara as a long-term ally. Indeed, if the Iraqi Kurds can deliver on the PKK issue, Turkey could potentially become their staunchest supporter.

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Guest Voice  |  March 20, 2008 8:32 AM

Malaysia’s New Momentum

By Firas Ahmad

Less than ten years ago, Malaysia’s former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was languishing in prison, suffering from arsenic poisoning surreptitiously introduced into his drinking water. Ibrahim was sacked after challenging the rule of then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. Jailed on what he claimed to be politically motivated charges of sodomy and corruption, not only was Ibrahim’s political career apparently over, but his life was in danger. Only after his family secretly smuggled blood samples out of the country to confirm the poisoning were steps taken to ensure his health.

Fast forward to March 8, 2008. Even though he remains unable to stand for election until April of 2008 due to his previous incarceration, the Ibrahim-led opposition coalition dealt a stunning blow to the ruling Barisan National (BN) Party, breaking its decades-old super majority control of parliament. To call it a “comeback” would be an understatement. While the BN continues to hold a simple majority, a tectonic shift has taken place in Malaysian politics, and it was in many ways engineered by Anwar Ibrahim. The victory means a new political future for the world’s most economically advanced Muslim country, ushering in new chapter in Muslim democracy.

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Guest Voices  |  March 26, 2008 2:24 PM

Ignoring Al Jazeera

CAIRO, Egypt – It appears that Israel is taking a page from the George W. Bush book of public diplomacy: attempting to influence coverage by Arab media by boycotting the most influential television station in the Arab world.

In the latest news from Jerusalem, it seems the Ehud Olmert government has decided Al Jazeera favors Hamas over Israel in the Gaza conflict and will now refuse to deal with its reporters.

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Guest Voices  |  March 28, 2008 12:04 PM

Dialogue of the Deaf: Europe's Muslim "Problem"

By Jørgen S. Nielsen

Copenhagen, Denmark -- In Europe we are anxiously awaiting public reaction to the controversial public showing of a film attacking the Koran, produced by the Dutch right-wing politician Geert Wilders.

This comes on top of trouble already brewing over the republication of the notorious Muhammad cartoons in several Danish newspapers. More than two years after the cartoons’ original publication, it seems we are back where we started, with protests simmering and sometimes descending into violence in various parts of the Muslim world.

Beneath the myriad reasons for these events appears to be a fundamental inability of people whose beliefs vary to understand how the other side thinks and feels. We have here a dialogue of the deaf, although paradoxically both sides share the same motivation: fear.

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