Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Interview with Shahid R. Siddiqi

Kourosh Ziabari - The 2010 Pakistan flood was one of the most unpleasant and painful incidents of the year which attracted widespread international attention due to its extensiveness and destructive impacts. The floods started in July following heavy monsoon rains and overflow of the Indus River in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan regions of Pakistan. It is estimated that more than two thousand people lost their lives and over a million homes were destroyed since the flooding began. According to the United Nations estimates, over 21 million people have been injured or displaced as a result of the devastative flood.

Pakistani journalist and former Air Force employee Shahid R. Siddiqi joined me in an interview to discuss the aftermaths of the unprecedented flood which

encompassed the whole Pakistan in a matter of days and caused serious damages to the country’s agriculture, industry, energy sector, infrastructures and even politics. Mr. Siddiqi answered my questions about the government’s management of the flood and the distribution of humanitarian aid sent by different countries to the flood-hit regions. He explained that how the unanticipated disaster paralyzed Pakistan in an astonishing way and surprised the unprepared government which failed to manage the crisis appropriately. In this interview, I also seized the opportunity to ask Mr. Siddiqi some questions about the prospect of Iran – Pakistan relations and Pakistan’s stance on Iran’s nuclear program.

Shahid R. Siddiqi has been a broadcaster with the Radio Pakistan and the Islamabad bureau chief of the “Pakistan and Gulf Economist”. His articles and political commentaries appear in the Pakistani newspapers such as Dawan, The Nation and Pakistan Herald. He is also the founder of Asian American Republican Club. Siddiqi is a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy Journal, Middle East Times and Axis of Logic.

Continues here

Monday, September 27, 2010

A defense which deserves being called "holy"

Kourosh Ziabari - Almost 20 years have passed since the conclusion of 20th century's longest, most erosive war which was brutally imposed on the defenseless people of Iran by a belligerent and aggressive dictator who was finally pushed to death by the same people who had once persuaded, funded, aided and supported him in attacking and invading the new-born Iran of post-revolution days.
The expansionistic ambitions of the beloved puppet of the White House who was granted the honorary citizenship of Detroit as a reward for his unconditional subservience to the United States, transpired to be a deadly pandemic which claimed the lives of more than 400,000 innocent Iranians who witnessed the most breathtaking years the country had experienced contemporarily.

With the intention of revitalizing the forgotten pan-Arabist sentiments of the 1950s, confronting an emerging Shiite power in the Persian Gulf region and taking over some of the strategic parts of Iran including the Arab-speaking province of Khuzestan and the triple islands of Abu Musa, Lesser Tunb and Greater Tunb which were handed over to Iran 9 years earlier in a trilateral agreement between Iran, the protectorate of Ras Al-Khaimah and the representatives of British forces in the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein unilaterally nullified the 1975 Algiers Agreement in 1980 and attacked Iran.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

UANI: United Against the Nation of Iran

Kourosh Ziabari - Those who regularly follow the developments of Iran might have come across to the website of "United Against Nuclear Iran", a "non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization" that seeks to "prevent Iran from fulfilling its ambition to become a regional super-power possessing nuclear weapons"

UANI has compiled an elaborate list of the foreign companies and firms which do business with Iran and calls on its readers and visitors to send condemnatory letters and complaints to these companies so as to persuade them to withdraw their capitals and resources from Iran and stop doing business with a country which the United States and its European allies consider to be an emerging nuclear threat in the Middle East.

Interestingly, UANI has listed each and every foreign company which is active in Iran, from the food production companies to internet service providers, medicine manufacturers, industrial conglomerates, news agencies, transportation infrastructure providers and private consortiums, and its objective is to convince these companies to put an end to their activities in Iran.
UANI runs a divestment campaign which contains pressuring foreign corporations to stop conducting business with Iran. So far, it has succeeded in pulling out General Electric, Caterpillar and Ingersoll Rand from Iran's market.

UANI's advisory board consists of a number of U.S. government insiders and big shots who have close ties with the U.S. statesmen including R. James Woolsey, the former head of CIA, Fouad Ajami, a John Hopkins University professor and a close associate of the Council on Foreign Relations, Henry D. Sokolski, the former Deputy for Nonproliferation Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Gary Milhollin, the director of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control and the publisher of "Iran Watch" website which is dedicated to promoting financial sanctions against Iran.

The activities of UANI, however, are not limited to lobbying for the intensification of sanctions against Iran. Each year and on the advent of UN General Assembly, UANI runs an advertorial campaign to prevent New York hotels from accommodating Iranian President and his colleagues and dissuade the city's convention centers from hosting events in which the Iranian officials are slated to deliver a speech.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The questions of 9/11 are still unanswered

Kourosh Ziabari - It’s not unjustifiable or irrational to argue that the 9/11 attacks were designed and intended to rescue Israel from a political dissolution which was seen by many thinkers as its ultimate destiny, and to promote the cordial coalition of Bush and Bin Laden families. It’s no wonder that 9 years after the attacks on New York’s Twin Towers and Pentagon, Osama Bin Laden, who is introduced as an Islamic fundamentalist and terrorist that masterminded and directed the 9/11 attacks, hasn’t been arrested or killed yet.

For those who are familiar with the world of journalism, it’s comprehensible that Osama Bin Laden was simply a name which should have been put forward to become the target of ad hominem attacks by the mainstream media of the Bilderberg Group to appease the pain of Americans who couldn’t digest the tragic loss of life in a chain of suicidal attacks which were carried out by the agents of a political entity which has so far succeeded in surviving thanks to the ignorance of the American taxpayers who don’t know where their taxes go.


The questions of 9/11 are still unanswered by Kourosh Ziabari

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Interview with Kenneth O'Keefe

Kourosh Ziabari - Kenneth O’Keefe is a world citizen. As an anti-war activist and social entrepreneur, he renounced his U.S. citizenship on March 1, 2001 and burned his American passport on January 7, 2004 in protest to the United States’ Imperialism and called for the immediate withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. O’Keefe is a former U.S. Mariner who served in the 1991 Persian Gulf War and subsequently revealed the use of depleted uranium by the United States as a crime against humanity.

O’Keefe has taken part in a number of substantial anti-war movements and served as the director of Human Shield Action to Iraq. He founded a group of activists who traveled to Iraq to act as human shields to prevent the U.S.-led coalition troops from bombing certain locations during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In 2004 O’Keefe established an association known as the “P10K Force,” a group of 10,000 Westerners intended to act as international observers in the occupied Palestinian territories and help bring peace with Israel

In the fall of 2008, he served as a Captain and 1st Mate with the Free Gaza Movement, a direct action in which 46 people successfully challenged the Israeli siege of Gaza

O’Keefe was one of the international peace activists onboard the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that was intended to end the Israeli siege of Gaza Strip.

Kenneth O’Keefe joined me in an in-depth interview to answer my questions on his anti-imperialistic viewpoints, the prospect of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the continued international controversy over Iran’s nuclear program, the chronic hostility between the United States and Iran and his experiences in the Freedom Flotilla mission.



Kourosh Ziabari interviews Kenneth O'Keefe - Baltimore Chronicle
Kourosh Ziabari interviews Kenneth O'Keefe - Ramallah Online

Monday, September 13, 2010

This is America, the beacon of freedom

Kourosh Ziabari - The ninth anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks coincided with the offensive insults of the Americans to the holiest book of 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe. According to reports by the Reuters, near Nashville, Tennessee, evangelical Pastor Bob Old and another preacher used lighter fluid and a lighter to burn at least two copies of the Qur’an. Old called Islam "a false religion."

It was also reported that the American protesters objecting to the construction of an Islamic center and a mosque adjacent to the Ground Zero site tore pages from the Holy Qur’an and set them alight. Reuters also dispatched reports from the similar abuses to the Holy Qur’an in Lower Manhattan.

The terrifying plan of burning the Holy Book of Muslims was initially proposed by the pastor of an obscure, small, nondenominational church in Gainesville who had announced that he would be burning copies of the Holy Qur’an on the anniversary of 9/11 attacks. The plan was described by the global media as a publicity stunt by someone whose desire for gaining some reputation and attention by the international media propelled him toward thinking of such an evil action.

Although a global wave of protests which erupted immediately after Pastor Jones announced his plan for burning the Holy Qur’an on Sept. 11 dissuaded the attention-seeking preacher from realizing his mischievous intention, he inspired other people to go ahead with the plan and abuse a Holy Book which is venerated and adored by millions of people in the four corners of the world.


Continues here

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Interview with Muhammad Abdul Latif

Kourosh Ziabari - Muhammad Abdul Latif is the imam of Lighthouse Mosque in Oakland, California, and an instructor at ILM Tree, a home-schooling cooperative in Lafayette, California. He also teaches at Zaytuna College’s annual Summer Arabic Intensive program in Berkeley, California.

Abdul Latif converted to Islam in 1995 in Atlanta, Georgia, when he was 20 years old. He subsequently traveled throughout the Muslim world and, in 2002, relocated with his family to the San Francisco Bay Area to take advantage of the resources of knowledge and the community that had formed around Zaytuna Institute.

Mr. Abdul Latif joined me in an interview to discuss the cancelled plan of Dove World Outreach Center to burn copies of the Holy Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 attacks. We also discussed a variety of issues concerning the Islamic world including the growing wave of Islamophobia in the west, the plight of the Palestinian nation and the mainstream media’s portrayal of Islam.

Continues here

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Does burning Quran solve your problems?

Kourosh Ziabari - You might be unfamiliar with the concept of “Wudu”. It’s an Islamic practice including the washing of some parts of body such as the hands, arms and face in order to get prepared for saying prayers or reciting the Holy Quran. It’s is of high value in the Islamic tradition, because it’s a preface to inner purity and satisfies the Almighty Creator who wants its creatures to be pure and clean once they want to talk to Him. Wudu is translated into English as “ablution”. One who is in the state of Wudu, that is has washed his face, hands, arms and feet, is obliged to adhere to some certain codes of morality, including devotion to honesty, justice and sincerity. One who is in the state of Wudu is supposed not to tell lie, not to judge with prejudice and partiality and not to state or claim what is unrighteous and unfair.

Prior to setting off for writing this article, I conducted “Wudu” and promised myself not to get out of the borders of honesty and objectivity. I promised myself to propose what is my concern in a manner that is justifiable and virtuous, and pose a few questions as someone who has been entitled to ask freely, without being disrupted by projection or disturbance.

It was on the news headlines that the Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center church pastor Terry Jones has decided to burn a set of Qurans on the advent of September 11 in an action which is deemed to be a remonstration against what is introduced as “Islamic extremism”.

Regrettably, Wayne Sapp who is an associate pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center has proclaimed that burning the Holy Quran is a direction God wants them to go. “We are convinced this is the direction God wants us to go. That’s the only reason we’re doing it in the first place,” he told the reporters.

First and foremost, it should be noted that the announcement of such a plan, regardless of its being done or not, is an immoral, condemnable and blameworthy action. The immorality and unacceptability of such an action would be underscored by the fact that an evangelical church which considers itself a propagator of Christian religious values has decided to burn a holy book which some 1.5 billion people around the world revere and venerate.

Continues here

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Who pays for the loss of life in Iran?

Kourosh Ziabari - Since the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 which toppled the U.S.-backed regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran has been facing with devastating and agonizing financial sanctions of the United States and its European allies who didn’t favor the post-revolutionary Iran’s doctrine of confrontation with the superpowers and its denial of Western liberal democratic values.

The 1979 revolution which put an end to 2,500 years of imperial monarchy in Iran was pivoted on theocratic and ideological values which the sumptuous, thrilling West usually tends to dislike and rebuff. Under the spiritual leadership of Imam Khomeini, Iranians declared that they wouldn’t need the support of Western and Eastern superpowers, will stand on their own feet and only seek to realize a political regime which establishes its bases and principles in accordance with morality and Islamic solidarity.

Iran’s ideological disagreement with the West and its efforts to fulfill independence as an Islamic state, however, cost for the Iranian people heavily. First of all, the United States spurred its regional puppet, the late dictator Saddam Hussein, on to launch a massive, crushing war against Iran so as to push the country’s newly-established political regime to annihilation. The 8-year war demolished Iran’s infrastructures irreversibly, caused irreparable damages to country’s economy and left more than 350,000 Iranians dead.

The 8-year resistance of the Iranian people, however, rendered the plans of the U.S. and its Baathist ally futile. Iran rose from the rubbles of 8-year war with Iraq and set out to emerge as a regional superpower gradually. Iranians recreated the country’s war-torn economy once again, renewed the obliterated infrastructures, appeased the pains of the families of 350,000 martyrs with compassion and brought hopes to the hearts of those who had come to think that a political state with the ideological pillars of Islam would be impossible to survive.

Continue here