Force India plans major upgrades        
Force India is planning on introducing major upgrades to its car in both Bahrain and Spain following successful trials in Formula 1 pre-season testing
          Comment on Banners Design for Mobile Unlock Base by MichaelImmed        
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          ICTs, Social Movements and Individual Accountability        
ICTs, Social Movements and Individual Accountability By: Anna Greenstone Over the past several months, we have watched ICTs play important roles in social movements and revolutions throughout the Middle East.  In countries from Tunisia and Egypt to Bahrain and Yemen, public protests have been organized on and through social media sites while recorded footage of […]
          10 Questions on the Conflict in Syria        
A potential military strike by Western powers on Syria now appears to be a fait accompli and is being touted as long overdue. Given the spiralling humanitarian disaster that has overtaken the country during the last two years of conflict, continued inaction appears to be an untenable reality. The death toll is now well over 100,000 (although the proportion of civilians to combatants is unclear). There are 2 million refugees, half of whom are children, and over 4 million more internally displaced persons (IDPs), amounting to a quarter of the country's overall population. Yet, it was the apparent chemical weapons attack in the suburbs around Damascus known as Ghouta last week that has served as the impetus for international military intervention into the conflict. Amidst the rhetoric and war rehearsals, clarity on what is really happening seems to be cast aside in the media, in favor of faux-spontaneous leaks, retired generals, and trumpeters of past wars. Here are ten questions to try to set the record straight.

1. Were chemical weapons used in Syria?

When the initial attack unfolded last Wednesday, August 21 in the suburbs in Damascus known as Ghouta (near the town/suburb of Jobar), news quickly spread to local, regional and international media. Claims were made of hundreds of deaths, with some activists claiming the death toll was 1,300. Moreover, the Government of Syria immediately denied responsibility and has continued to do so. However, the attack did unfold amidst a series of army strikes on Jobar, which is a rebel-held area, and has been for quite some time. The Government conversely claimed to find chemical weapons supplies in tunnels in the same area, and it is alleged that some Hezbollah fighters were also exposed to chemical toxins.

A week on, it appears incontrovertible that chemical weapons were used, not just from YouTube videos but also from visits by independent journalists, and of course by a report by Médecins Sans Frontières that has documented at least 355 deaths from local hospitals. It is likely that the chemical agent used was a neurotoxin or nerve gas, most likely sarin gas. What is still not clear, is how they were delivered (i.e. in what form and carried on what type of weapon) and from where.

It should also be kept in mind that this was not the first attack that has been alleged. There have been numerous claims by rebels, and counter-claims by the government on the use of chemical weapons in the conflict. Here's a map of those events. In fact, this is precisely why the team of UN inspectors had arrived in the country, the day before this latest incident (and massacre) took place. In fact, what is interesting is that their investigation of other sites has now been put on the back-burner due to the latest developments.

2. Do we know who actually used the chemical weapons? 

The United States, United Kingdom, and France have all stated they are certain that the Government of Syria has undertaken the attack last week. On the U.S. side, at the forefront of the rhetoric has been Vice President Biden - who has said there is 'no doubt' - and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made an evocative plea for action several days ago. Of course, the next speech is the most important, and it would be one made by President Barack Obama. In light of this certainty, it would be difficult to question the attribution of blame. A leak from the US government also claims to have intercepted a murky call between commanders in the Syrian army that supposedly is evidence of culpability on the Syrian side.

There is tremendous reason to doubt U.S. claims. Firstly, it should not be forgotten that then Secretary of State Colin Powell presented ironclad evidence to the United Nations Security Council of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that Saddam Hussein possessed, a finding that was later proven to be utterly false, but which was the basis of a war that continues until today. Secondly, the U.S. claimed that there was incontrovertible proof that the Government of Syria was responsible for earlier chemical attacks this year, but that finding has been contested, and some experts apportioned blame to the rebels fighting the government. And finally, in this case, no evidence has been presented, as of yet to make such a determination, at least not conclusively.

Does that mean the Assad and his regime are not responsible? No. It is very likely given the ongoing military operations in the same area that the Syrian government launched such an attack. Yet, more evidence needs to be presented to make a definitive conclusion. The other scenarios that could be possible are:

- Extremists groups like Jubhat al-Nusra, who have previously seized advanced weaponry and possibly chemical weapons from Syrian army bases and positions, were attempting to use them on Syrian soldiers (or conversely to cast blame on the Syrian army);

- The Government of Syria inadvertently hit a stockpile of sarin gas releasing the toxins (although unclear if this would lead to the effects that we've seen); or

- Rogue elements within the chain of command used chemical weapons intentionally or inadvertently.

Russia, Iran and China have of course cast doubt on western claims but that is to be expected.

3. What would be the basis or justification for US intervention?

The U.S. intervention would likely be on the basis of Obama's previously stated red line on Syria, which would be the mass use/movement of chemical weapons. It is not in fact about humanitarian intervention and the Responsibility to Protect framework, developed in the 1990s to prevent genocide and mass civilian deaths. If it was, then the humanitarian case for intervention has been present for some time, and other massacres by the Syrian regime, such as in Houla in 2012, would have provided sufficient pretext. Obviously, the U.S. and other Western powers, and regional countries, have their own interests at play that are much more geopolitical in nature, but the justification or casus belli being offered is around the issue of chemical weapons, and chemical weapons alone.

4. Will anybody else be involved in the military strikes besides the US and will this affect whether they are 'legal'?

Given Russian and Chinese opposition, and a likely veto of any resolution by the United Nations Security Council supporting such a military strike on Syria - especially in light of the intervention in Libya, which Russia regretted supporting - a 'coalition of the willing' will need to be developed. This coalition would be broader than the Iraq War in 2003, and would be similar to the coalition carrying out the strikes against Serb positions vis-a-vis Kosovo in 1999. While the U.S., U.K. and France will likely lead an effort, Turkey would also be critical as a staging ground (as it borders Syria from the North), and thus there will be an attempt to launch such an attack under the auspices of NATO. Despite its reluctance, Jordan, given its reliance on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia politically and economically, will have no choice but to support . The two other neighbours of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are squarely against any military strike. And of course, the other neighbor - Israel - would sit this one out but would provide intelligence to the U.S. and other parties on Syrian positions, given that it has already undertaken a number of air strikes on Syria in the past two years.

Further afield, it is likely the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) will support military intervention, with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates possibly sending fighter jets to participate in a strike to give it regional cover and credibility. Finally, while many groups within the Arab and Muslim world, and the 'left' of the West, will oppose military intervention, many others will support it, because of the spiralling humanitarian situation in Syria.

Technically speaking if the military intervention is not sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, and there is no imminent threat that the U.S. and other parties can point to towards its own territory or its assets, it would be illegal under international law. However, that has not stopped NATO or other countries (i.e. Russia in Georgia) form undertaking military action in the past. And before the Iraq War, some scholars claimed that while such an attack would be illegal it would be legitimate, and demonstrated retroactively to be legal. Given the state of world affairs, 'legality' is likely not a determining factor for a strike on Syria.

5. Are we seeing a repeat of Iraq in 2003? 

No. The situation today with Syria is different than it was in 2003 in Iraq, for many reasons, despite some passing similarities. In Iraq, the U.S. claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction while in Syria, we already know Bashar al-Assad possesses chemical weapons, and the question is whether he used them (small aside, it was released this week that thirty years ago, the U.S. obstructed a UN investigation when it knew Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons). In Iraq, the U.S. alleged that Saddam Hussein had links with Al Qaeda (and related groups), while in Syria, Bashar al Assad is widely acknowledged to be fighting Al Qaeda (and related groups) in addition to the 'Free Syrian Army' (and in addition to crushing peaceful demonstrators). In Iraq, there was no active state of conflict that was leading to a spiralling humanitarian catastrophe (and the potential use of WMDs), while in Syria there is not just a violent conflict, but also WMDs have been used by somebody (even if the culprit is not yet clear).

What should be noted, however, is that both Iraq in 2003 and Syria in 2013, are in complex environments, and any removal of government or sustained military intervention would have dramatic unforeseen consequences. It seems like the media debate in the U.S. is also similarly anaemic (but slightly better) this time around.

6. What is the real motivation for the United States and other powers?

As with all things in this world when it comes to international relations, the primary interest is not humanitarian but geopolitical. This is not absolute, however, and it could be argued that Turkey has been insisting on humanitarian intervention from an early stage. However, the regimes (not peoples) in the Gulf, most notably Saudi Arabia, are exclusively concerned with dislodging Syria from the Iranian orbit, and severing connections between Syria and Hezbollah. Humanitarian concerns are a by-product. And for the United States, something similar is at play. As noted above, if this was about humanitarian concerns, action would have been taken long before 100,000 deaths had occurred.

For the U.S. it has been looking for regime change in Syria for a while. However, these strikes if they occur, will be about sending a message and asserting America's position in the Middle East, given the red line that Obama drew. Ultimately, it may tip the scales in the rebels favour or improve the U.S.'s negotiating position vis-a-vis Iran. The chemical weapons attack in a morbid way, opened a door of opportunity for Western powers (with GCC support) to do something limited without a full-scale intervention.

7. Will military intervention solve the Syrian conflict?

No. Military intervention no matter how small or how big will not solve the Syrian conflict. In fact, it could very much exacerbate the situation on the ground even further (if that can be imagined). What is being reported currently is that the U.S. and allies will undertake a series of 'surgical strikes', a euphemism for a large-scale assault on key military and strategic installations, such as army positions, air bases, radar installations, communications infrastructure, supply routes, and, where appropriate, power stations (among other targets). More than anything this will be intended to send a message to the regime and weaken its capabilities. Yet, it would not be a fatal blow. And it would not necessarily tip the scales in favor of the rebels. It may in fact mobilize certain parties to support the regime, if there are civilian casualties from the intervention.

The solution to the Syrian situation has to be political, if it is going to lead to stability or peace. Yet, if the military intervention escalated and led to the removal of the Syrian regime, that would still not be the end of the conflict. After the Soviets were booted out of Afghanistan, the country devolved into a civil war for five years until the rise of the Taliban in 1996. Somalia has only recently stabilised (somewhat), more than 20 years after the assassination of its leader, President Siad Barre. And neighboring Lebanon, took 15 years of conflict (1975-1990) to reach an end, which was brought about by ironically Syrian military intervention (which committed its own crimes), that produced a - audible gasp - political settlement.

8. What could potentially go wrong?

Everything. The potential for disaster following military intervention in any country is great (see Black Hawk Down, Iraq, Afghanistan and the list goes on). Yet, in Syria it could be apocalyptic. Here is a list of what that could entail:

- Chemical weapons are used by Syria against its neighbors such as Jordan and Turkey, or U.S. military positions in those countries;
- U.S. planes/helicopters are shot down leading to an escalation of U.S. involvement requiring boots on the ground;
- Syria sends a volley of missiles into Tel Aviv and other places in Israel, leading to a regional war;
- Proxy forces of Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, launch a sustained campaign against Israel/U.S. interests, including attacks embassies within Lebanon/Palestine/Israel but also in other countries, in the short and medium-term;
- Al Qaeda forces in the region, while opposing the Assad regime, oppose U.S. intervention especially if there are masses of civilian casualties, and use it as a pretext for attacks in places such as Yemen;
- Russia objects to the U.S. strike, and mobilizes warships to the Mediterranean, leading to a standoff with Europe and the U.S.;
- Negotiations with Iran, still in embryonic stages are suspended irrevocably;
- Six party talks with North Korea are suspended by Russia, China, and North Korea irrevocably;
- The Syrian regime goes all out in its conflict and begins to bomb with even more abandon civilian areas controlled by rebels, leading to thousands of casualties, and counter-massacres by enraged rebel fighters;
- The Syrian regime is removed by force from power by the intervention, leading to a power vacuum sinking the country further into civil war for over a decade of even more violent strife and a possible Al Qaeda style government;
- Tensions rise in the Middle East, especially in places of sectarian division (i.e. Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia, and Iraq) leading to civil strife and attacks on governments, and counter-attacks on populations; and
- World War 3.

9. What could potentially go right?

It may seem that what is written above is slightly alarmist and that's true. Many things can go wrong (most of which, to be honest, are hard to predict as they will be unforeseen consequences or as Donald Rumsfeld, ironically calls them, unknown unknowns). However, the U.S.-led strikes could be quite effective. Firstly, if they are limited in scope, they can be completed in one day, reducing the risk for a military entanglement and civilian casualties. Secondly, if they are from the air, there is limited risk for casualties on the side of the intervening forces. Thirdly, an attack that is forceful and hits Syrian military positions, will send a message to Assad that there is a limit to what he can do, which thus far has not been the case, and may entice him to reach a political settlement. Fourthly, it is unlikely that the Syrian regime would retaliate, for a short strike on positions, against Israel, knowing that they cannot afford to fight a war on so many fronts (and thus far they have yet to retaliate to any Israel air strike). Finally, the systematic destruction of Assad's air capabilities could be instrumental in limiting civilian casualties by the regime in the future.

All of this is one possibility of what could occur.

10. Let's cut to the chase - should I support or not support military intervention?

There is no clearcut answer. Ultimately, military intervention should not be supported as a solution to the Syrian conflict. It is not, and whether we like it or not, a political solution/settlement is the only way the current situation moves towards peace and stability. The U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban. The Vietnamese negotiated with the U.S. The Lebanese negotiated with each other. The Dayton Accords to end the Bosnian War were signed with Slobodan Milosevic. It may not be easy, it may be unlikely, and it will not work perfectly, but political discussions involving all parties is the only way to find a real solution.

That being said, if a case is made with overwhelming evidence by independent parties (not U.S. conjecture) that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime, then military intervention on a limited scale, and for a period of 1-2 days only, should be undertaken, ideally with UN support - and if not with broad support of half of the members, i.e. 90, of the UN General Assembly to demonstrate legitimacy - against military targets only, which will both send a message about the use of these weapons and damage the capabilities of Assad.

What is clear is that whatever happens, there are no clear answers with regards to the conflict in Syria.

          Another Coup for the Outgoing Emir of Qatar        
In July 2010, the (now outgoing) Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, traveled to South Lebanon to bask in the gratitude for his country's largesse in supporting reconstruction following the Israeli bombardment just four years earlier. The $300 million (and beyond) committed by the Gulf state was very much appreciated by the Shiite armed movement Hezbollah, who ensured billboards in the South and on Airport Road in Beirut were decorated with notes of thanks to the Emir. It was a conspicuous visit because Qatar had stood out amongst the GCC in taking a strong if not controversial stand. Hand-in-hand with Hezbollah, the Emir, was not apparently one of the "half-men" that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pointed to in the Gulf during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war. In fact, the Emir and Assad were quite close, if not close friends, and were frequently in touch.

In 2013, Qatar finds itself at the forefront on a number of regional issues, most notably the conflict in Syria, which had pitted the Emir in direct opposition to his old friend Bashar Al Assad. In fact, on the sectarian front, hosting firebrand spiritual figure, Yusuf al-Qaradawi who recently called for a Sunni-led jihad, and allying almost openly with Muslim Brotherhood movements in the region (which brought criticism from people as far afield as Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef), has increasingly prompted the question: Has the politically adept Qatar lost its touch?

Once again, however, the Emir of Qatar (who I'll refer to by his initials HBK) shocked the region with another unprecedented move - this time the transfer of power to his 33-year old son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani (the 'new Emir'). In doing so, HBK put Qatar back on the political front-foot and raised the pressure on regional allies. And in typical style, he added another deft touch in his address to the nation with a quote (and the only quote outside from scripture) from Ali Ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph in Islam and the first Imam of the Shi'a Muslims: 'Teach your children other than that what you were taught; as they are created for a time other than yours."

It was nearly 18 years to the day, on June 27, 1995 [although official Qatari sites list his 'start-date' as June 26] that the outgoing Emir, HBK, came to power in a bloodless coup with the aid of his current outgoing Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamid bin Jassim al-Thani (HBJ) and other figures. He dislodged his father, Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad, at the time, under largely benign circumstances but also as Qatar was starting to truly increase its economic base. When HBK took the reigns, the country was bit-player on the regional scene, with a GDP of $8bn. Today, the country is a regional powerhouse, punching far above its weight with a GDP in upwards of $170bn. The transformation, after HBK's rise, began in a number of areas:
  • In 1995 (August), the Emir alongside his wife, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, launched what has become one of the largest foundations, Qatar Foundation, dedicated to 'knowledge' and social development in the country and wider region;
  • In 1996, the State of Qatar launched Al Jazeera, initially only in Arabic, which shocked the region by becoming literally the only widespread outlet of independent voices (from the 'regimes') in the region; 
  • And in 1997, Qatar Airways was relaunched and became a symbolic flagship for the country, although it is not clear whether the carrier will ever truly be profitable.
Economically, with growing revenues from natural gas over the last decade and a half, the departing Prime Minister, HBJ, effectively became the CEO of the country. In addition, to governing national investments through the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund, HBJ also built up constituent vehicles like Qatari Diar, which looked to deploy billions of dollars in capital throughout the region, including in places that would traditionally be 'off-the-grid' like Libya, Syria and the Palestinian Territories.

Yet, while the transformation of Qatar happened on several levels - and Sheikha Moza led a number of key initiatives that have separately built up the profile of the country - the Prime Minister & Emir particularly forged a formidable political duo, implementing a plan for political leadership which led to alternating reactions of admiration and consternation in the region. HBK & HBJ became in recent years, the guiding and influencing force on a number of key regional files. It was a strategy of multi-faceted engagement and relevance, often replete with paradoxes, that even until now has confounded observers and analysts, who were always late to the party in understanding and engaging with Qatar.

For example, while condemning Al Jazeera Arabic for links to Al Qaeda, the U.S. government in September 2002 began moving its Central Command (CENTCOM) Headquarters in part to Doha. Qatar maintained an Israeli trade office since the late 1990s (closing intermittently during the Intifada and in 2009 during the Gaza War), while also building up relations with Hamas throughout the 2000s. The country maintained strong links within the GCC, and also with Sunni allies such as leader of the Future Party Saad Hariri, but in 2008 it was their ties with Hezbollah that allowed them to forge the Doha Agreement, averting what could have been a dark period of civil strife in Lebanon. There was no end to the political engagement: peace talks on Darfur, engagement with the Taliban, mediation between Chad and Sudan, and the list goes on.

On the political level, while the period prior to the Arab awakening was characterized by engaging with a wide variety of stakeholders, in early 2011, it seemed that Qatar was starting to play a much more partisan role. Previous allies such as Syria's Assad, and Libya's Gaddhafi fell by the wayside very quickly, with Qatar in fact leading efforts in the fight to topple both dictators. And in other 'revolutionary' environments such as Egypt and Tunisia, where the ruling parties are Islamist, Qatar has become the political football for its perceived support for Islamist movements. Critics ask why figures like Qaradawi (mentioned above) are based in Qatar? Why was the state mosque in Doha named after the founder of Wahhabism, the particularly conservative brand of Islam, in 2011? And why has a station like Al Jazeera portrayed only one side of the story, often with an 'Islamic' bent, the last two years especially?

Yet, the criticism has only grown commensurate with the prominence of Qatar in the region. On one hand, the policies of Qatar were simply part of its strategy of engagement in the region, to demonstrate leadership but also fundamentally relevance - important for a small country that previously lived in the shadow of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Arab uprisings and subsequent rise of Islamist movements in the region was a tremendous opportunity for Qatar to provide indispensable leadership. Yet, leadership and unique prominence, has consequences, and it is likely that the inflection point of a transfer of power, provides a moment for reflection, especially as the region comes to terms with its new (and oft-changing) dynamics. What was immensely popular in late 2011 no longer is definitively so. For example, in Egypt, President Morsi's approval rating has notably dropped from 70% to 40%.

Thus, the transfer of power to a new ruler, in Sheikh Tamim, means that Qatar can assess its strategic position and alignment. Perhaps, the country could benefit from a broader engagement given rising divisions in the region, and once again capture the role of lead mediator? Domestically, Sheikh Tamim will play close attention to catalyzing the role of his generation in the country's leadership. After all, Qatar had yet to enact the legislative or Shura Council that HBK promised when he rose to power, and enshrined in the Constitution ratified 9 years ago. The first step will be the announcement of a new cabinet that will replace what is increasingly seen as a gentrified political elite with new or younger faces. It is also expected that there may be a rise in salaries of Qataris employed in the public sector, at a smaller scale, however, to a similar announcement in 2011. Most important, however, will be a new dialogue and series of consultations that the new Emir will have with Qatari citizens, whose expectations have risen with new-found wealth and prosperity. In particular, with 70% of Qataris under the age of 30, engaging youth will be a priority. Do they feel included in the governance of the country and its institutions? Are there sufficient opportunities for employment and growth? And do public services meet their expectations?

As Sheikh Tamim assesses the domestic situation, he does have a strong ally in his mother, Sheikha Moza, and the institutions she leads that address youth, health and education. And he will rely on  experienced hands like Sheikh Abdullah al-Thani to evaluate macro-projects like the Qatar World Cup preparations and the development of the national railways. Yet, both on the national and international fronts, the new Emir is not without experience or preparation. While observers were caught off-guard, it is thought HBK had planned for this day far ahead of time. The ascension of the Crown Prince to the leadership, began in earnest over the past two years. In fact, when significant announcements like the salary increase from 2011 were made, it was from Sheikh Tamim's office. He was also front and center, for example, when the move was made to shift Hamas headquarters out of Syria. And the then Crown Prince had been taking an increasing "foreign affairs role" amidst the Arab uprisings.

While the policies that Qatar will follow will likely be unchanged in the short-term, we will have to wait and see what path the new Emir forges in the long-term. Yet, his father has assured that he enters on the political front-foot. Even in his departure, the outgoing Emir left as he came in - with a coup. Upending traditions in the region, he ensured that he would leave the scene at the ripe (for the GCC) age of 61, leaving power to his son who is only 33. This is next to countries such as Saudi Arabia, where the King is 91 (if not older) and where power has never been transferred to the 'next generation', passed instead from brother-to-brother among the descendents of King Abdelaziz (since his death in 1953). Or take Bahrain, where the Prime Minister, Khalifa bin Salman, has helmed the government for over four decades without interruption.

Certainly, the move by HBK has not ushered in a democracy in Qatar; it is still an authoritarian state. And the ascension of Sheikh Tamim does not automatically assuage any of the concerns (real or perceived) ranging from migrant rights to nepotism to regional interference. Nevertheless, in its own way, Qatar has provided the region with a new revolutionary moment. Now we wait to see how the day-after, always the hard part, plays out.

           For President Obama on Day One: A New “New Beginning”         
On Day One: A New “New Beginning”
There was never a question that President Barack Obama represented a symbolic break with the past – someone who could redefine relations with the Muslim world. However to add substance to the symbolism of change, early on in his first term, President Obama went to Cairo to make a speech entitled, “A New Beginning.” Yet, as he begins a second term it is clear that this new beginning needs to be reinvigorated in both style and substance. That initial speech, while poignant then, today rings hollow. If indeed President Obama and the administration are to achieve a definitive step change in relations with Muslim communities, there must be a renewed effort for honest dialogue, robust development initiatives, and tangible shifts in policy.

At the onset of the Iraq War in 2003, President George W. Bush had abysmal numbers in many Muslim-majority countries. While 59 percent of Nigerians, 56 percent of Jordanians, and 46 percent of Pakistanis held confidence in Osama bin Laden’s leadership, Bush was polling in the single digits in the same countries. By 2008, in countries like Jordan and Turkey, nearly 90 percent of people had “little or no confidence” in President Bush.

So when a young Kenyan-American Senator with Muslim roots, Barack Obama, emerged on the political scene, he was a welcome sight in even unsavory and sharply antagonistic corners of the Muslim world. In the midst of the political campaign even Hamas seemingly endorsed him saying, “Actually, we like Mr. Obama.” Winning over Hamas never was (nor should it have been) a litmus test, but when President Barack Obama was elected, there was near universal euphoria across Muslim communities.

Early on, Obama and others in the Administration acknowledged the challenge in meeting these expectations. Even before he was inaugurated, the Administration was already planning to mark this ‘new beginning.’ Going into the heart of Cairo to engage university students in an honest speech about a real change in relations between the U.S. and Muslims was indeed something to be commended. Subsequent to the speech, the White House created a position on the National Security Council for Global Engagement, and the State Department launched a number of partnership initiatives. In the fall of 2009, D.C. played host to the Presidential Summit of Entrepreneurship that brought together 250 delegates from over 50 (mostly Muslim) countries.

Then the situation started to become more difficult. There are no easy answers in the complex geopolitical relations in the wider Middle East and beyond. When the Green Movement in Iran demanded democratic change, the Obama administration had to contemplate whether it was for engagement with ‘regimes’ or engagement with ‘peoples.’ One of the President’s early visits was to Saudi Arabia to meet with King Abdullah prior to his Cairo speech, during which he said in reference to fundamental liberties, “They are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.” But during his visit with the King, there was deafening silence on this point. The advent of the Arab Spring made these dilemmas even sharper. Support democracy in Tunisia and Egypt at the last minute. Push democracy by force in Libya. Half-heartedly support it in Yemen. Remain frozen on Syria. Tacitly oppose it everywhere else.

While Obama has grappled with difficult decisions, as any President would, he also shirked following up on critical points he made during his speech in Cairo. For example, he declared, “I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year.” Guantanamo Bay remains open, almost glaringly so. And while, torture has allegedly stopped being an officially sanctioned practice, summary executions and civilian casualties by drone strikes have dramatically increased in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and the Horn of Africa. The latter have led directly to animus towards Obama from within many Muslim countries.

Then there was the line in the speech about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements…The settlements must stop.” Of course, they did not. In fact, in February 2011 the U.S. vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution that called on Israel to simply “cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian Territory.” Out of 15 countries on the Security Council, the U.S. was the lone dissent (and of course the fatal one). This is not to mention that the U.S. also stood against 95 percent of the world’s population in voting against recognizing Palestinian statehood at the United Nations General Assembly in November.

There were other elements of the ‘New Beginning’ that were promised, particularly around education and entrepreneurship. It is true that the U.S. has now (co-)organized three global entrepreneurship summits, in D.C., Istanbul, and Dubai, the latter being held in 2012. Yet, it is also clear that beyond the pomp of a summit, the once-robust programmatic initiatives that have come out have been weaker. Leadership changes within internal initiatives, as well as those with partners, have meant stalled if not stagnant programming. The idea of connecting entrepreneurs between the Muslim world and the West is a mutually beneficial and powerful concept, but it has not translated into the impact it should have by now. In the last summit in Dubai, it was as if the institutional memory from three years ago was lost, and everything was starting again.

All this being said, there still exists the perception that relations have improved between the U.S. and Muslim communities. However, since 2009 and Obama’s inauguration, positive views have been on a steady decline in Muslim countries, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project. In 2009, 33 percent of respondents held confidence in Obama; that number slipped to 24 percent in 2012. In 2009, 25 percent of respondents held a favorable view of the U.S.; that figure dropped to 15 percent in 2012. Finally, approval of Obama’s ‘international policies’ fell from 34 percent in 2009 to 15 percent in 2012. Without a substantive shift, these numbers will continue to decline, further cementing the reality that there never was a new beginning.

Can things be turned around, given the current state of affairs? It would be misleadingly Pollyannaish to think that President Obama could snap his fingers and magically change opinion towards him from Muslim countries. Moreover, there are certain political realities that will remain. The U.S. will continue to be an ally of Israel. The U.S. will continue to fight terrorism. And the U.S. will not be able to fund new Marshall plans in the Middle East for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, there is a lot that can and should be done.

At the outset, President Obama needs to re-launch a dialogue with the Muslim world. At the beginning of his first term he went to Cairo to give a speech. Perhaps he should go to Cairo in 2013 to have a conversation. In fact, since becoming president, Obama has visited only the country of his upbringing, Indonesia, apart from the initial trips to Saudi Arabia and Egypt (in addition to cloak-and-dagger visits to Afghanistan), within the Muslim world. Instead of distant speeches and dispatched drones, the Administration would be served by a President who is more engaged with his audience, through visits as well as frank and honest dialogue during those trips.

Although the U.S. will not reverse decades of support for Israel, it need not ally with the most extreme policies of the Israeli government. Continuing to be the lone voice at the United Nations and international community defending illegal Israeli practices is a sharp blow to many efforts of the Obama administration. There is no third-term, and the President should stop pandering to contrived political interests in Washington D.C. There are enough Jewish supporters, lobby groups, and intelligentsia, who would support a more moderate and principled set of policies towards the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Israel is, of course, not the only foreign policy issue that should be of concern. The U.S., while acting in its national interest, should remain consistent in its language and support for key principles of human rights. It is when it becomes caught in naked hypocrisy that support for the Administration falls, whether in Bahrain in 2011 or Egypt in 2012, and a range of countries, perhaps, in 2013.
Finally, initiatives that can make an impact on tackling the economic despair for young people, like the 100 million youth who will enter the labor market over the next decade in the Arab world, need to be prioritized. There needs to be sufficient attention and support for the global entrepreneurship program that can truly support the emerging and exciting entrepreneurial energy in places like Amman and Ramallah, Karachi and Kuala Lumpur. The U.S. has the best soft-power in this area, from the start-up scene in Silicon Valley to MIT Labs, yet it is hardly deployed, even though the White House calls entrepreneurship, “a critical pillar of U.S. global engagement.”

There is a tremendous opportunity in President Obama’s second term to catalytically shift relations with Muslim communities and turn potential adversaries into allies. If the status quo, however, is maintained in policy and practice, this opportunity will be lost.

This article originally appeared in the print edition of the Diplomatic Courier, in the January/February 2013 issue. It can be accessed online at: 

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I must admit that I used to be not into mobile apps for the sole reason of me foregoing "experiencing" the world and just rely everything that I need on technology. Online shopping? It was not for me. I wanna physically experience the thrill of the hunt. The interaction with the people. The victory of finding a good deal.

But that was then when I was younger (and with no credit card to my name -hehe). As I grew older, I started to slowly venture into the wonderful world of mobile apps. I actually downloaded around 30 in the past 3 months. Several of those were online shopping apps. I'm hooked! I guess, aside from age, it also goes with the amount of responsibilities that I have taken on putting physical shopping on the bottom of my priority list.

But I realized, I also need my exercise. Just armed with the convenience of mobile apps.

One mobile app that I recently discovered is Penshoppe. "Finally!" I thought when I found out about it.  It's not an online shopping app by the way. It's a balance between physical shopping and being updated on the latest about the brand with lots of perks and rewards!

So what's with the app?

Here's an overview:

After completing the first two steps, you can now start earning points and redeem rewards!

What I like most about the app is that aside from the usual features you see on other retail mobile apps like the Catalogue, Store Locator, etc.,

Penshoppe's also come with a beefed up MyPenshoppe Loyalty program where you can earn 1 point for every Php10 spent (Php1,000 = 10 points) and more! How do like a discount e-voucher on your Birthday? How about an invitation to Penshoppe's exclusive events? All that is in the app!

Plus, it's also nice to see your celebrity crushes and idols wearing the latest from Penshoppe on the home page enticing you to visit the store and shop now!

And as a launching treat, the Penshoppe App will give 10% off e-voucher welcome gift to new subscribers for a limited time only.

About Penshoppe
Founded in 1986, Penshoppe is the flagship brand of Golden ABC, Inc. Known for its fresh take on casual wear, Penshoppe has since evolved into an international fashion and lifestyle brand located not only in the Philippines but also in other countries in Asia and the middle East, including Indonesia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom of Bahrain, U.A.E, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and in Taiwan through online retail partner Zalora. To know more about Penshoppe, please visit or follow them on Facebook at Penshoppe, on Instagram with handle @penshoppe, on Twitter as @PENSHOPPE, and on Snapchat at @teampenshoppe.

          BANG BANG: Dave McDougall        
[BANG BANG is our week-long look back at 20!!, or "Twenty-bang-bang," or 2011, with contributions from all over aiming to cover all sorts of enthusiasms from film to music to words and beyond.]

Selected 2011 discoveries, briefly noted and across various media by Dave McDougall.


Homeland —— the characters on this show run deep; their history and demons are as much a driver as the twists of plot. Which certainly helps Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin and Damian Lewis and Morena Baccarin act their asses off. Allegiances don't shift as much as they are gradually revealed; even though the audience isn't only in the headspace of Danes' rebellious CIA agent, everything is filtered through the line between the watchers and the suspects, and the further into each world we're given access, the more complicated the line between terrorist and hero. This isn't a war of ideas as much as a war between wounded people who've sided with ideas, and those wounds are what drive both the terrorists and those trying to stop them. This week's showstopping season finale toyed with heavy political and personal dénouement and teased an even greater moral complexity to come. If there's a better show on television right now, I'd like to see it. 

The Color Wheel (Alex Ross Perry, 2011) —— A masterpiece, a perfect screwball comedy, and a vicious, misanthropic, prickly little thing. What Ignatiy said, and then some.

And two other filmic masterpieces-to-be-named-later that also tackle communication (and shared histories) between men and women, on which I'll have more to say in the Mubi year-end roundup.


Governments toppled, not by social media but by people going to the streets to battle for their due. But the dynamics of open source protest and new media communication flows were a big part of why this was the year that kicked off an #ArabSpring, an indignado movement, a global coalition of #Occupy protests. It's not just coordination of protests but the ability for knowledge flows to reveal the silent political preferences of a people, and to rally supporters to the cause. None of these movements were created by the emergence of social media -- all grew out of previous organization by activists on the ground, over years and decade -- but it's hard to deny that these movements could only coalesce through communication, and that new forms of one-to-many communication smooth the friction of reaching out to wide audiences. 


As the 2008 financial crisis has shifted to become a crisis of solvency and liquidity in the Eurozone, the economic intelligence of the left-ish political blogotwittersphere rises almost as fast as events shift; but the key insight is that, unlike the people-powered movements and revolutions mentioned above, the fate of all of our economic lives still hangs in the balance of deals to be cut in back rooms by power brokers. Which, as those same movements will attest, is the opposite of democracy. If the revolutions of Egypt or Libya or Tunisia (or Syria or Bahrain or Yemen, if you're looking for revolutions-in-the-making) were best revealed by the participants themselves in 140 characters (or 140 character updates, compiled), then the stories of our economic dilemmas have been best told by those savvy enough to get to the bottom of capital flows and reveal these inner workings via blogs, articles, and interviews, whose links were embedded in 140-character updates themselves. Information, in all its forms -- pictures, videos, charts, analysis, stories from the front lines -- move and flicker and flow just the ways frames do in the cinema. For me, these were a few of the sources that made the leap to essential in 2011, from the MENA uprisings to the Econopocalyse and the social movements pushing back:


Among all the books and blogs and analysis, an epic cornerstone of how to even begin to think of how we got here — David Graeber's Debt: The First 5000 Years. 

David McDougall is a writer, filmmaker, and media strategist based in London and Los Angeles. He's got blogs and films and words in various places, some of them on the internet. He twitters here.

          Baloch in Bahrain Millitary        

Source :

According to some historical sources, in a sign of profound connection with the intensive presence of Balochi element in the military and security forces now, which is that the royal family hired a private military force of Baloch since the mid-nineteenth century, where those sources state that the Baloch tribes such as the family of Yousif bin Ahmed bin Fadel, the family of Al Barakat and the family of Rashid bin Saeed participated with Al-Khalifa the in the their internal and external. Interestingly here that Baluch tribesmen were among the approved types for the Gulf rulers as loyal combatants and can be relied upon in wars and skirmishes. Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah and the Sultans of Oman used to depend on them a lot in controlling the internal security and guarding the borders.

Researcher Abdulla Saif points out in his article on the history of the Baloch in Bahrain that they and since ancient times practiced military actions, escorting the royal family, making and refining daggers and falconry which is loved by Arab tribes, especially the ruling family.

One of the Baloch leaders who stood with Al Khalifa was Commander Ahmad Murad Al Balushi, who died after the Al-Khalifa entry to the country in 1788. After the stability of the security in the country and the fact that the Baloch were tough warriors, they lived in Bahrain’s castles, such as  Arad Fort, the Court Castle and Bomaher Castle.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa (brother of the ruler of Bahrain back then, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa) married the daughter of Dawood Bin Abdul Qadir Al Balushi (granddaughter of Haj Juma bin Jalal) and lived with her in Busaiteen in a neighborhood that was known as the Baluch neighborhood. As Sheikh Abdullah bin Homoud Al Khalifa married the daughter of Abdul Qadir bin Fadel Al Balushi.

          Koren sedmi Slovenec v Bahrain-Meridi        
Po Mateju Mohoriču se v kolesarsko ekipo Bahrain-Merida seli še en Slovenec. Pogodbo za sezono 2018 jepodpisal Kristijan Koren, nazadnje član Cannondale-Drapaca.
          Cyclisme - Transferts - Kristijan Koren quitte Cannondale pour rejoindre Bahrain-Merida        
Le Slovène Kristijan Koren a signé mercredi un contrat d'un an avec...
          Cyclisme - Transferts - Gorka Izagirre avec Ion chez Bahrain-Merida        
Un an après son petit frère Ion, c'est au tour de Gorka Izagirre de...
日本の期待を一身に背負った新城幸也選手も   無事出走リストに入った(BAHRAIN-MERIDA)バーレーン […]
          Torture -part 3: “Bahrain’s Security Forces: A History of Sexual Sadism”        
 “There is one place in which one’s privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed – one’s body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so … Continue reading
          Torture -part 2 “Bahrain: The Systematic Use of Sexual Abuse”        
“Ahmed talked about the oppression of the Khalifa family in the old days . If any of Baharnis were known to have a decent house, donkey or daughter they were robbed of it by the Shaikh”  Belgrave Diaries Bahrain’s security … Continue reading
          Torture -part 1 “From Guantanamo to Bahrain”        
“But the one person from Bahrain who fought for our freedom till the end was Nabeel Rajab from the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights.” This was part of an interview with Juma Mohammed Al Dossary, a former Guantanamo prisoner from … Continue reading
          â€œArsenal of Tyranny”; the Western Hand in Bahrain        
Prior to independence, the British with mercenaries from India helped the royal family crush any popular protest or uprising. Things didn’t change much afterwards; upon independence, Ian Henderson, a ruthless colonial police officer, who previously crushed the Mau Mau Uprising … Continue reading
          Cause & Effect: The CFI Newsletter - No. 81        

Cause & Effect is the biweekly newsletter of the Center for Inquiry community, covering the wide range of work that you help make possible. Become a member today!

The Main Events

stephenfry.jpgThe Global Madness of Blasphemy Laws 

For most of those who are reading this, laws against blasphemy seem like anachronistic, vestigial restrictions on free expression that no longer apply in our modern world. Recent months have reminded us, however, that blasphemy laws are very much a part of the contemporary human experience, and the consequences of violating them can range from absurd to horrifying. Several secularists and dissidents have met grisly ends this year, including Pakistani student Mashal Khan, beaten to death last month by a mob of fellow students who were angry over allegations of blasphemy, and Indian student H. Farook, murdered by a gang of militants over postings to social media about atheism.

The Center for Inquiry has made combatting blasphemy laws around the world a central part of our mission. We even have a special program dedicated to rescuing secular writers and activists in need of escape from imminent threats to their lives. In recent weeks, we have taken on the crisis on several fronts.

1549751494524276483.pngBlasphemy is the focus of the latest issue of Free Inquiry, CFI’s magazine of secular humanist thought. Making its way to newsstands and subscribers now, this issue features a powerful and sobering cover piece by someone who knows a thing or two about the consequences of blasphemy restrictions: Flemming Rose of Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which ran the “Danish cartoons” of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005, which were deemed such an offense to religious sentiments that they sparked violent protests across the Muslim world. Rose warns about the international threat of states’ blasphemy laws and how governments are stirring up rage among the people, inciting them to carry out acts of murder such as those that took the lives of Khan and Farook.

The issue also includes an important report by Mirjam van Schaik on the machinations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the diplomatic body that seeks to push blasphemy laws beyond borders and into international law.

Blasphemy also became a topic of concern in the west, when beloved actor and humorist Stephen Fry, a longtime advocate of secular causes, became the subject of an investigation by Irish authorities for allegedly committing blasphemy in 2015, when he said some unpleasant things on television about the biblical God’s psychotic behavior. Eventually, the investigation of Fry was dropped, with Irish police citing a lack of outraged victims of Fry’s blasphemy.

DawkinsCFI Board Member Richard Dawkins cleverly stepped into the fracas by reiterating his own “blasphemy” to an Irish newspaper, and dared the authorities to arrest him over it when he next came into the country. He later explained, “I wanted to increase the pressure to repeal this law – partly because the existence of a blasphemy law in a civilised western country like Ireland is taken as an encouraging precedent by some of those countries in the Middle East and Africa, where they have a blasphemy law and it really is enforced.”

Of course, CFI’s diplomatic and international advocacy efforts never stop. For example, CFI President and CEO Robyn Blumner and our public policy director Michael De Dora are signatories on a new petition from the Index on Censorship calling on Denmark to scrap its blasphemy law. Whether these affronts to human rights emerge in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Ireland, or Denmark, and whether they are enforced by the state or by the rage of the mob, we will continue to fight for free expression, for the simple idea that ideas don’t need rights. People do.


Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 11.07.07 AM.pngTrump’s Religious Privilege Theater 

During the past couple of weeks, the Trump administration took one clumsy step backward for secularism, but that didn’t stop an encouraging step forward at the state level.

On May 4 (which weirdly was both the National Day of Prayer and Star Wars Day), President Trump signed his “religious liberty” executive order, through which he claimed to be loosening the restrictions on campaign endorsements by churches and other tax-exempt organizations and providing “relief” to companies that don’t want to take part in the contraceptive mandates of the Affordable Care Act because of religious exemptions.

CFI denounced the move as a “cynical pander to the religious right” and noted that despite the president’s boasts, his order is mainly symbolic. “While this executive order won’t accomplish much in practical terms,” said Michael De Dora in our official statement, “it sends a signal that Trump is looking to reward his conservative evangelical base. But this political payback is divisive and dangerous, blurring the line between church leadership and political operatives.”

ct-congress-endorsemaaaaents-illinois-raja-gutierrez-edit-02As a positive sign of our impact, however, the Center for Inquiry and Michael were both called out by name during a House hearing on the Johnson Amendment, with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi asking that our statements be put into the official congressional record.

Meanwhile in Oregon, both houses of the state legislature passed a measure that would allow Secular Celebrants, such as those trained and certified by CFI, to solemnize marriages in the state. CFI began this effort in Oregon in 2015 with a bill that passed the state House, worked on similar legislation in Ohio, and have won crucial court victories for Secular Celebrants in Indiana and Illinois. On May 11, the Secular Coalition for America and its Oregon state chapter were successful in securing its passage through the Oregon House and Senate, and the bill is expected to be signed by the state’s Democratic governor.


News from HQ and the CFI Community

internz.pngCFI Welcomes 2017 Summer Interns 

The movement to advance science, reason, and secularism is alive with energy among campus groups and student activists. One of the most inspiring aspects of being a part of the Center for Inquiry is how the CFI internship program gives some of those young leaders the opportunity to take their passion and talents beyond the campus and into the broader world, helping them to learn new skills, develop crucial connections, and earn real-world experience in organizing and advocacy.

Last week, we announced our Summer Outreach Interns for 2017.

First is Vicki Smith of Central Michigan University’s Dogma-Free Society, who says, “I’ve spent my college years getting to know myself and the different issues secular and humanist organizations are up against; now I’m ready to take the next step and see what I can do to promote a secular society.”

Next is Andy Ngo of Portland State University and the Freethinkers of PSU. You might remember Andy’s video report of CSICon 2016, in which he discusses his religious background and journey to skepticism.

And working from our Executive Offices in Washington, DC will be legal intern Jaskirat Singh, who has just finished his second year at George Washington University Law School and Elliot School of International Affairs, studying for a JD and MA in Security Policy Studies. Jaskirat has a background in international human rights work, having previously interned for Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain.

We look forward to getting to know and working with our new colleagues.


o-RICHARD-DAWKINS-facebook.jpgSee Richard Dawkins, On Tour in the U.S. Now

Richard Dawkins is here! And there’s still time to get your tickets to see him in live conversation with notable guests, as he comes to the United States for four special engagements, starting this Thursday in L.A.!

  • On May 18 in Los Angeles, Dawkins will be joined in conversation by satirist Adam Felber, best known for appearances on NPR’s Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and as a writer for shows such as Real Time with Bill Maher.
  • In Boulder, CO, on May 22, Prof. Dawkins will take the stage with best-selling author and actress Annabelle Gurwitch.
  • On May 24 in Washington, D.C., Dawkins joins another great mind of evolution, Jerry Coyne, best-selling author of Why Evolution Is True.
  • And in Miami on May 27, you can witness a meeting few would have predicted, as Dawkins sits down with Pulitzer Prize–winning humorist Dave Barry.

Time and tickets are running out. Don’t miss your chance to witness these unscripted conversations with one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. Buy your tickets now.


CFI Highlights on the Web and in the Media

  • Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 11.22.50 AM.pngCFI’s investigative guru Joe Nickell is profiled in a really fun short video by Great Big Story, a new media initiative supported by CNN. “Everything is obvious after it’s been explained,” says Joe.

  • Richard Dawkins is interviewed by The Times, where he discusses religion, his legacy, and in particular his view of the moral status of animals. “There is a speciesist belief that somehow they are only animals, they don’t feel pain,” he says. “But pain doesn’t seem to me to be the kind of thing you need intellect to experience.”
  • At HuffPost, Ronald Lindsay, CFI’s research fellow and former boss, critiques The Benedict Option, the book by conservative thinker Rod Dreher that argues for Christians’ withdrawal from secular society. “What’s so special about recent events that has caused him to decide that now’s the time to sound retreat?” asks Ron. “Same-sex marriage. For Dreher, same-sex marriage is unendurable.”
  • CFI Legal Director Nick Little provides secular perspective in a piece at VICE on a Christian funeral home’s unwillingness to cremate the body of a gay man.
  • 1-CKpTZAudlh0dPz8VOHVxdA.jpegGeorge Ongere, director of CFI Kenya, is interviewed by Humanist Voices about what inspired his work on behalf of reason and against superstition in Africa. “There needs to be a change in mind and thinking,” he says. “Humanism promises this kind of change for Africans to abandon blind faith and focus on the realities of life.”
  • Several outlets covered CFI’s response to Trump’s “religious liberty” executive order, including HuffPost and the Columbus Dispatch (which also features comment from CFI Northeast Ohio’s Monette Richards). Plus, CFI was attacked by the forever-aggrieved Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for our “militant secularism.”
  • Bertha Vazquez updates us on the progress of the Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science (TIES) with developments in Alabama, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Now available online from Skeptical Inquirer and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry:

And of course, you can keep up with news relevant to skeptics and seculars every weekday with The Morning Heresy.

Upcoming CFI Events

May 18:

May 19:

Annabelle GurwitchMay 21:

May 22:

May 24:

  • Marissa Postler, a new member of the Wyoming City Council (and an atheist), speaks to CFI Michigan about “leading with reason.”

May 25:

May 26:

  • Kathie Dello, associate director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, speaks to CFI Portland about climate change and the impact of the Trump administration’s policies.

Dave_Barryklcb.jpgMay 27:

June 11:

June 18:


Thank you!

Everything we do at CFI is made possible by you and your support. Let’s keep working together for science, reason, and secular values.  Donate today!

CFI Logo MarkFortnightly updates not enough? Of course they’re not.

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Cause & Effect: The Center for Inquiry Newsletter is edited by Paul Fidalgo, Center for Inquiry communications director.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at 


          Our new era        
For the last couple of weeks I have been carrying out an old ambition, to read a 40-year old book by Ernst Nolte, a German historian about Germany and the Cold War.  That historian, a most ambitious if sometimes erratic thinker, begins his tome with more than 150 pages putting the emergence of both the United States and the USSR in the whole context of modern western history.  He also spends some time on the origins of Fascism, about which he had written another book.  Although I do not always agree with his judgments, he gives the kind of extraordinary tour d'horizon that was expected of a great historian during the first two-thirds of the twentieth century.  I cannot read the book today without an acute sense that that whole tradition is dead.  But more importantly, the world that it described has also died.  My own adult lifetime, spanning the last half-century, has seen the end of an era in which western peoples and states counted on the political arena to create a better world.  And the frightening consequences of that era are all over today's news, and may well dominate the news for the rest of my life.

The new era may be said to have begun in the late 18th century with the American and French Revolutions.  Those two fraternal twin children of the Enlightenment claimed to use reason and human science to design a fairer and better world.  Both promulgated declarations of rights and set up some kind of democracy.  The American experiment progressed rather steadily, while the French one immediately emerged as the first great example of the dangers of Enlightenment principles, which could provide excellent excuses for terror and dictatorship.  The crisis of the late 18th century actually led to a swing away from democratic principles in Britain and much of Europe, but they steadily gained ground during the 19th century.  But the intellectual and political world were transformed starting around 1900 by the rise of socialism, the progressive reaction to the consequences of industrialization in the US and elsewhere, and then, the catastrophe of the First World War.

The Communist victory in Russia resulted in large part from the First World War, establishing a theoretically Utopian state within one of the largest countries on earth.  Five years later, Fascism--to some extent a response to Communism--took over in Italy, and in 1933 Hitler came to power in Germany.  All three of these new regimes rejected democracy as it evolved in the West and became single-party states. While Mussolini's actual impact on Italy was relatively modest until the Second World War, both Stalin and Hitler embarked upon extraordinary redesigns of their societies, economy and culture, based on very specific visions of a great future to come.  They also vastly strengthened their militaries.

Yet in the long run the most important impact of Communism and Fascism was the response in the West, and particularly in the United States.  Franklin Roosevelt also recognized the need to transform the role of the state, and to redesign the American economy and society, albeit within the framework of American democracy.  He came into office proclaiming that false values--a devotion to money above all else--had led the United States into Depression.  He held out the vision of an America that would restrict the dangerous excesses of capitalism (for instance, by separating commercial and investment banking), and guarantee economic security for all.  And when the world war broke out in the late 1939, and especially after the fall of France in 1940, he was determined, as I showed in No End Save Victory, to build a military that could allow his idea of democracy not only to survive in the US, but to prevail throughout the Americas and if possible, in much of Europe and even Asia as well.  He succeeded in that goal, committing both the US and the world to his four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear.  In the postwar period the essential philosophy of the New Deal became the basis for the new welfare states all over Western Europe and even in Japan. 

The Cold War remained a competition between the US and its allies on the one hand and the Soviet Union on the other, each offering a new and professedly superior way of life.  While American principles prevailed in western Europe, Soviet principles spread through China and into Korea and Vietnam.  Colonialism rapidly came to an end, and in one way or another most of the leaders of newly independent states were also committed to the goals of political rights and economic justice for their peoples.  And depending on their right, center or left orientation, they could count on some assistance from Washington or Moscow to achieve at least stability within their realms.

It is in this perspective that the collapse of Communism in 1989 takes on a whole new meaning.  While it appeared to represent the triumph of the west, now, almost thirty years later, it clearly marked the beginning of the end of the era which I have been describing.  The Cold War had forced both sides to claim that they were working for the interests of the peoples of their nation and of the world.  When it came to an end, governments lost the best of their mission.  All over the world, they have become increasingly beholden to economic interests.  It is not a coincidence, I suspect, that that trend has been most striking in Russia and the US, the two leading contestants in the Cold War.  Oligarchies rule them both now, and neither, to be blunt, offers the world a model which any nation ambitious for civic virtue or economic justice could want to emulate.  They are still setting an example, but a very different one.

And for this reason, I would suggest, the international customary law that grew up during the second half of the twentieth century and at least partially restrained the cruel excesses of states has broken down.  The President of the Philippines has unleashed a campaign of terror against his people, killing drug dealers and even users without trial.  Turkey has metamorphosed from the most westernized state in the Muslim world into an authoritarian dictatorship that relies largely on religion and has locked up tens of thousands of citizens, like the totalitarian regimes of the 1930s.  Venezuela is abandoning the last vestiges of its democracy.  And in the midst of all this, the Trump Administration is backing rapidly away from the United States' role as a monitor of international human rights.  Secretary Tillerson skipped his department's annual human rights observance, and has now approved arms sales to Bahrain that had previously been blocked on human rights grounds.  At the risk of shocking many readers, I must admit that I have always been skeptical about our government's role as a human rights enforcer.  While I applaud the efforts of private groups like Amnesty International to fight abuses, it seems to me that our government's attempts to do the same inevitably result in hypocrisy and often do more harm than good for the people we are trying to help.  The best way for us to promote human rights or economic justice is the way that we did so from about 1933 through 1965 or so: to promote those things at home.  But without a Cold War, we do not even worry that we have one of the largest prison populations in the world.

More than 10 years ago, when it was becoming clear to me where the US was repudiating the best traditions of mid-century politics, I gave a talk in Berlin, and suggested that it would perhaps be up to the Europeans to stand up for the principles they had shared with us in the postwar era.  Sadly, that has not really happened either.  Although Angela Merkel has remained an aggressive defender of human rights, she is also complicit in the austerity policies that have helped cripple many major and lesser European economies, and the politics of the various European nations are even more fragmented than our own.  Global warming looms as the one element of our future that might force the world into a rebirth of strong institutions in order to make sure that our civilization survives.  That is almost exactly what happened in the first half of the twentieth century.  For a long time I was please that I would not, apparently, have to live through a crisis comparable to the Second World War.  I still would not want to repeat it, but I see now that its terror, loss of life, and great crimes were linked, in a sense, to the great political achivements of that era that gave me and my contemporaries the world in which we grew up.

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          OECD Tax man ready to change blacklisting rules on Panama        


OECD says Panama pledge a positive step

The country faces a review on its financial services sector by the Global Forum.

Following the announcement of President Juan Carlos Varela on the commitment of Panama to exchange financial information, the director of the Center for Fiscal Policy and Administration of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Pascal Saint-Amans acknowledged that the pledge is a step forward for Panama but said the country still has a long way to go.
Saint-Amans spoke with La Prensa during the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, which concluded yesterday in Lima, Peru. The following are questions and answers from the interview.
What do you think of Varela's pledge?
It is a good step forward. In October of last year, 94 countries committed themselves to the automatic exchange of information. They pledged to implement the standard. Panama was one of the few jurisdictions that did not make the pledge, along with Bahrain, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Nauru, with Panama being the only significant financial center.
Panama said it would exchange information, but that it would not accede to a multilateral convention. what is your opinion of that?
From a legal point of view, once a commitment is made, it has to be implemented. To share information, it can be done through a multilateral convention, or it can be done bilaterally. In that case, one should move fast if you want to grant the exchange of information to all interested countries that meet the standard of confidentiality.
Do you think that Panama will pass to the second phase of the review of its jurisdiction?
The peer review, which includes 30 countries, has made that recommendation to the Global Forum, which has until the end of October to decide. I think it was premature of Panama to announce that, as it broke the rules of confidentiality. It is more than likely, but who knows. There are members of the Global Forum who are not in the peer review group. We have to wait for the Global Forum, which is the sole decision-making body in this matter. In substance, it is true that the members of the review group have recognized some progress that was made in Panama.

Varela said that debate on the exchange of information should be conducted in the UN. Do you agree?
It is an opinion I respect completely. But in this case, there are 127 jurisdictions, including Panama, that are members of the Global Forum. What matters is that all countries are equal. No longer is the OECD a group of countries dictating what rules other countries have to make.
In Panama there is a concern because the steps demanded by the OECD could hurt the competitiveness of the financial services industry. Do you agree?
It is not true. Because all countries have moved. What happens is actually the opposite. Panama won a competitive advantage by not conforming. That is why other countries think that the situation is very unfair because Panama is receiving money that they have lost. The perception in Panama is really different from the perception outside.
Do you think that those flows of money look to hide the funds from tax authorities?
The reviewer group will decide that. But that's basically what we heard from the banking industry.
In the country there is a sense that a double standard is used. That the United States is not required to provide information with the same level of transparency that it demands from Panama. Is that a fair statement?
The rules are the same the United States is expected to act with reciprocity with any other country. Look at the review of the United States. It has a mark in regards to beneficiaries and they have to change. Currently they are providing required information, but not enough

- See more at:

See also 
More Pascal Saint-Amans statements in Panama: Profits for two men and a dog
The Economic Case for Tax Havens

          Britain's free press cringes in anticipation of coming regulation; plutocrats and oligarchs celebrate        

Writing in The Spectator, Kirsty Walker describes the chilling effect the UK's Leveson Inquiry (which is investigating illegal phone/email interception and systematic harassment by UK papers, especially tabloids) is having on legitimate reporting. The UK is already the best place in the world for rich and powerful people who want to use libel law to silence unflattering accounts of their actions. But with Leveson heading for its conclusion and the spectre of official press regulation (through which the government would license reporters and news outlets, and could remove those licenses at will), reporters and their editors are under increasing pressure from the world's dictators and local plutocrats.

Before the Leveson inquiry, I had received less than a dozen PCC complaints in my career and never had one upheld. But when I left, complaints were coming in at a rate of at least one a month. All required mini-investigations. Even foreign dictatorships know how to frighten Fleet Street. The last complaint I was asked to deal with was from a dictator, the King of Bahrain, who didn’t like the way I referred to criticism of his regime following the deaths of 40 people in anti-government protests.

Like 99.99 per cent of British journalists, I never hacked a phone or bribed a public official. During my long career in the House of Commons, I tried my utmost to be fair. If a story didn’t quite stack up, I would abandon it. A small handful of journalists did hire private investigators to do some horrific things, but there are laws in this country to deal with them.

How do we know that Lord Leveson’s report will encourage the rich, the powerful, the venal and the pompous to intimidate journalists and frighten papers into not covering stories? Because the prospect of it has done so already. How do we know that an elite will attempt to decide what it is appropriate for the rest of us to read about over our cornflakes? Because Leveson is already doing exactly that. This is the judge who read a 200-word article in the Times about how The Thick of It was planning to satirise him in one episode — and promptly asked the editor of that paper whether it was ‘appropriate’ for him to run the piece. It is all too easy to guess what a judge with such an attitude to newspapers will do for press freedom.

What the papers won’t say (Thanks, Marilyn!)

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          The Importance of Carrying a Business Card        
By Karen Preston-Loeb

Technology has transformed business communication from email to internet. While written communication is often paperless, one piece of correspondence remains printed: the business card. And while it seems that it would be more advantageous to ping information between colleagues, it remains important to always carry a business card.

Here are some reasons why business cards are effective business tools:

Brand marketing
The business card represents your company’s brand. Not only does it convey important personal contact information such as name, title, email, website, address and phone number, but oftentimes it is also the first exposure to the overall image of the business. The company logo is prominently displayed for brand identity. The fonts used, color, texture and paper stock used also conveys a message about the type of industry represented. Specialized printing techniques can be used such as embossing, foil stamping, thermography or laminating. The business card reflects the personality of the company and gives the first impression.

Conveys professionalism and preparedness
Image is everything. Having a business card on hand gives the appearance of professionalism and shows proper planning. Being caught off-guard without a business card imparts an ill-prepared impression. Always carry a stack of business cards protected by a card case and you will convey a polished quality.

Quicker to hand a business card vs input digital information
Numerous apps exist for smartphones to transfer contact information wirelessly; however the quickest and easiest way to exchange data remains the paper business card. Multiple business cards can be handed out in seconds at a networking event versus entering data. In the fast-pace workplace, time matters and nothing beats the quick handing over of a business card for speed.

Some clients do not own digital devices
Do not rely on smartphones for transferring of contact information, because some people do not own digital devices or are not tech savvy. While the majority of our population does have a personal electronic device, some prefer not to rely on theirs. And even if digital devices are used by both parties, the applications may not be compatible. Exchange business cards and you can always follow up with an email that contains your digital contact card.

Essential in international business
With the rise of global working opportunities, doing business overseas is becoming more normal.  Business cards are not only necessary in international business in some cultures, but they are also used ceremoniously. In most Asian countries, the business card is treated with respect. It is often presented with two hands, never tossed, and should be properly placed in a holder once received—never shoved in a pocket. In Japan exchanging business cards is a ritual and considered a formal introduction to a person. Business cannot begin until business cards are exchanged as this signifies the beginning of a relationship. In India, business cards are exchanged even in non-business situations and are always presented face-up with the text facing the recipient. In the Middle East, protocol varies per country. In Bahrain, for instance, never exchange business cards with the left hand and be certain to look at the business card received carefully before putting it away.

The printed business card still dominates. At any instance, whether a networking event or at a coffee shop, the opportunity for a business connection can occur. Not having a business card on-hand could result in a lost potential client. Exchanging business cards gives the ability to follow up, providing a foot in the door for a business transaction. It also allows a personal encounter between two parties, a crucial element of creating a business connection.

          LATEST POINTS TO PONDER SUNDAY 3/3        

Top World News Now                 
March 3, 2013

United States
Obama Pardons 17 Felons, First in His Second Term
DHS built domestic surveillance tech into Predator drones
'Hundreds of thousands' of documents captured with Osama bin Laden, but only 17 released
Michigan governor moves to appoint emergency manager in Detroit
Pentagon Plans to Ask for Base Closures 
Thousands of Soldiers to Leave Europe
U.S. lawmakers question military aid to Egypt, citing concerns about Israel
US factory work is returning, but the industry has changed
'Anonymous' Hacker Explains Why He Fled The US
Among Most Polluted in US, NYC Area Awaits Cleanup
US Budget Cuts Force Yellowstone to Delay Opening
Obama signs sequester bill
Obama moves a step closer to approval of Keystone pipeline
Navy Building a Drone Base in Sunny Malibu

Ukrainian leader, fresh from EU talks, to meet Putin
Russian Arms Trade Czar Says "War" Declared on Weapon Supplies to Syria
Russian demonstrators rally in support of U.S. adoption ban
Moscow Police to Probe Alleged Rally Payment Scam
Moscow Mayor says no to more mosques in the city
Opposition’s ‘Social March’ Fizzles Out in Moscow
Uzbek National Shot Dead in Moscow
Putin, Obama stress cooperation, pledge to 'avoid deterioration' in relations
Russia presses for extradition of fugitive banker
Ukrainian President: Gas contract with Russia is killing us
Putin Signals Russia Can Be More Flexible on Syria
Putin says Russia should listen to French arguments on Syria, over vodka
Russians commend Putin's performance, believe he can keep election promises

Islands Dispute: China Warns Japan Ahead Of Legislative Session
A push for change in China as new leaders take the helm
China's reform roadmap gets clearer
China "fully prepared" for currency war
China divided on TV 'execution parade': judicial resolve or crude voyeurism
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Kills 12 in Chinese Coal Mine
Spill in China Underlines Environmental Concerns
China's fourth space launch center to be in use in two years
Xi Jinping taking on corruption in China
Premier Li Keqiang, as Hu Jintao protege, may be outgunned on policy
China calls for decreased tension on Korean Peninsula
5 Tibetans, mostly Buddhist monks, arrested for inciting self-immolations
Darkness at noon as worst dust storm in months mixes with morning smog
China's First Aircraft Carrier on Way to Permanent Base at Qingdao in North

United Kingdom‎
Cameron: UK 'can transform Africa' with G8
Cameron Vows To Stay The Course
Cameron buries hatchet with Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell - and offers him £250,000 EU job
Government fights Europe over air pollution reduction
EU banker pay cap 'threatens thousands of British jobs'
Revealed: One in four of UK's top companies pay no tax
Banker Andrei Borodin granted asylum in Britain after fleeing Russia
UK Explorer: Green Campaigning Has Failed
UK commits £88m to Chilean telescope 'as big as all existing ones put together'
Paedophile ring leader, Colin Peters, linked to Barnes scandal
Cameron vows to defend UK banks

European Union
Hundreds of thousands march against austerity in Portugal
Italy paralysed as Grillo plots exit route from euro
Italian newcomer Grillo predicts collapse in six months
Italy President Napolitano calls for realism after vote
Greek military prepares for mass repression
1000s hold anti-austerity demo in Greece
At least 22 people hurt in Macedonia ethnic protests over new defense minister
Mass layoffs at Caterpillar in Belgium
Dark Rumblings Of A Coup D'État In Spain
Spain Delays Catalunya Banc Auction
Spain overturns Islamic face veil ban
Thousands march in Portugal to protest austerity

Germany Blasted for Role in Europe's Crisis
German states rail against 'stupid' wealth transfers
Italian president says Germany must give EU recovery a boost
Germany Debates Fracking as Energy Costs Rise
Bitter feud divides family of Germany's reunification leader
Racism in German military mirrors society
Germany discovers toxin in animal fodder
Angela Merkel Wishes Bulgaria's Borissov Quick Recovery
Merkel cabinet lowers bars to German labor market
Kerry praises Germany's 'exemplary leadership' in Europe
Italian president scraps meeting with German opposition leader over "clown" remarks

Hollande leads tributes to 'a great figure' and resistance fighter
As France's Mali mission grows, so does terror threat from homegrown militants inside France
France considers marijuana-based drug
France will not reach 2015 disabled access target
Paris seeks alternative to 75% tax
France-Qatar tensions rise over Mali war, Tunisia
Hollande juggles trade, human rights in Moscow
Hollande to Talk Syria Settlement With Putin
Kerry holds talks on Mali with French leadership
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Al-Qaeda leader behind Algeria gas plant hostage massacre killed in Mali
US Seeks to Confirm Report of Terror Leader's Death
Syria: Fierce Clashes in Provincial Capital Raqqa
Assad Forces Take Aleppo Village, Reopening Supply Line
Syrian President Assad Blasts British Government
Iran Says Syria’s Assad to Run for 2014 Election
How Does the U.S. Mark Unidentified Men in Pakistan and Yemen as Drone Targets?
Syrian Rebels Angry Over US Aid: ‘Only Thing We Want Is Weapons’

Insight Into Today’s News
Billionaires Continue To Dump Stocks
G20 issues empty declaration against currency wars
Norway Enters The Currency Wars
The Second-Mortgage Shell Game
The Last Liberal Branch of Government
US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan unraveling
Goodbye? We’ve Lost Who We Are?
US Schools Go Into Full Prison Mode
Hornady Addresses Ammo Shortage: We’re working 24/7
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Netanyahu secretly visited Jordan to discuss peace with Palestinians
Netanyahu gets two more weeks to form Israel coalition
3 Syrian Mortars Land in Southern Golan Heights
Gaza Border: Senior Officer's Vehicle Hit by Gunshots
New coalition will have to freeze construction outside settlement blocs
Tissue tests planned for Israelis in Gaza who want to cross border
Palestinian PM evacuated from West Bank after Israeli soldiers fire teargas at protesters
Sequestration: Israel Could ‘Gradually’ Lose $500 Million in US Aid
Netanyahu blasts Erdogan's 'dark and libelous' criticism of Zionism

Scud Missile Fired in Syria Lands Near Iraqi Village
Bombs Kill at Least 22 in Iraqi Capital
Erdoğan: Islamophobia, anti-Semitism same
Turkey's Difficult Choice in Palestine, Israel
Erdogan Calls for More Support for Syrian Opposition
Kurdish leader 'outlines' Turkey peace plan
More Military Arrests in Turkey For 'Feb. 28 Process'
Turkey Provides Schools for Syrian Refugee Children
Iraq budget stalemate deepens over Kurd oil payments
Iraq continues to allow Iranian overflights to Syria

John Kerry visits Egypt as dozens injured in violent protests
Kerry urges Egypt to take difficult economic steps; opposition figures skip meetings
Protesters Demand Armed Forces Intervention in Cairo
Ex-member: Muslim Brotherhood has secret societies in 80 nations, including U.S.
Bahrain Activist Zainab Al-Khawaja Sentenced to Jail
176 Protesters Held in Saudi Arabia
Qatar's Influence in Egypt Runs Deeper Than Its Pockets
Morsi criticized for reaction to tragedy
Parties who boycotted Morsi's national dialogue invited to send suggestions
Opposition refuse to stand in Egypt's parliamentary elections

Ahmadinejad: National dialogue only way to end Syria crisis
Ahmadinejad: West's war against Iran media doomed to failure  
Ahmadinejad to Visit Pakistan This Month to Inaugurate IP Gas Pipeline Construction
Threatening Iran Won't Help in Nuclear Talks, Envoy Says
Seized Chinese Weapons Raise Concerns on Iran
Head Of Iran's Qods Force Suggests Assad Is Vulnerable
Sanction-Hit Iran Fears Unrest as New Elections Near
Khamenei tells Zardari pipeline must advance despite US opposition
Ahmadinejad Aide’s Candidacy a Challenge to Iran’s Theocratic Status Quo
Ahmadinejad, Zardari Stress Expansion of Iran-Pakistan Ties

Hugo Chavez undergoing chemotherapy
VP Maduro: Capriles Seeks Destabilization in Venezuela
Venezuela decries "absurd" rumors over Chavez death
Maduro: Chavez ‘battling’ for his life
Rumours swirl as Chavez stays out of sight
Former envoy claims Venezuela's Chavez is dead
Venezuela government denies rumours about Chavez
Venezuelans hold demo in support of Chavez
Student demonstration dispersed by authorities in Venezuela
FARC: Colombia government to blame for coffee strike

Brazil to get its first nuclear subs
Rousseff Meets Nigerian Leader for Trade Talks
Brazil's Unemployment Rises More Than Forecast in January
Prosecutors investigate spying charges against consortium building dam in Brazil
Brazil turns to Catholic Church to quash crack epidemic
Brazil Wind Developers May Be Required to Build New Power Lines
No one is safe from Argentina's drug war
Modern Slavery Rears its Ugly Head in Chile
Chilean Navy Saves 25 Stranded Whales, 20 Die
Peru says American couple found; family wants 'proof of life'

Nieto Says Justice Will Be Done in Union Boss’s Case
Six Bodies Found in Mexico, Including Teenage Boy Earlier Arrested for Murder
Mexican Daily Hit by Third Attack This Week
Army Kills 4 Gunmen in Northern Mexico
Two Police Gunned Down in Guatemala
Fire hits big Mexico City marketplace
Pena Nieto enacts major education reform
Powerful head of Mexico teachers union is arrested
Mexico to Launch New Police Force Later This Year

Cuba Dissident’s Daughter Says Dad’s Death Was No Accident
Cuban Dissidents Hope to Build Mass Organization
A post-Castro Cuba
Chavez Congratulates Raul Castro on Re-Election
Castro Retirement News Prompts Tepid Response In Miami
Transition now seen as underway in Cuba
Cooperatives Could Save Cuban Socialism
South African medical students in Cuba may be deported
No ease for Cuba from US state sponsor of terrorism list

United Nations
U.N. Security Council asks for report on possible Mali peacekeepers
Ban Tones Down Criticism of Rwanda Over Congo Claims
UN chief says Iran should gain world confidence over its disputed atomic plan
Libya to ask U.N. to lift arms embargo
UN Removes Osama bin Laden From Sanctions List

Top World News Now                 
February 26, 2013

United States
Obama To Tell Israelis of Plan for Iran War
Obama's Paycheck Exempt From 'Sequester'
White House Sells Meetings with Obama for $500k
Pentagon to Keep Gen. Allen Probe a Secret
Kerry: US to Hasten Syria Government Change
Kerry’s first overseas trip off to shaky start
Bill unveiled to legalize medical pot
Why Should Taxpayers Give Big Banks $83 Billion a Year?
Listen up ladies! Next time there's a draft, Uncle Sam might want you too
Homeland Security Chief Threatens Long TSA Lines From Sequester
TB outbreak: LAPD urges officers to wear masks
US Internet providers start spy program to stop file-sharing
Billions at stake: US and BP clash in court over Gulf oil spill
Nation of Islam asks for gang protection
New York City homelessness continues to set new records
Canadian Asteroid-Hunting Satellite Launched into Space

Putin's KGB/FSB Converging with New IMF Banking FSB
Putin signs radical anti-tobacco bill into law
In Putin's Russia, Shooting the Messenger
Medvedev: No Grounds for New ‘Cold War’
Deputy FM Ryabkov: Iran sanctions may be lifted
Zyuganov reelected Communist chief, vows reset in left-wing politics
China, Russia ink major energy deal
Moscow 'regrets' treatment of Russians abroad
Moscow Welcomes Release of 15 Russian Sailors in Nigeria
1kg meteorite piece found in Russian Urals, biggest chunk yet discovered
Moscow Police Seize Large Cache of ‘Black Market’ Weapons
At Least 17 Amur Tigers Dead in Russia's Far East in 2012
Protests in Ukraine as EU gives May ultimatum
Ukraine wields natural gas trump card in Brussels
As Medvedev is savaged, Putin silent
State Duma Backs Putin's Foreign Assets Bill

Xi vows peaceful path on Taiwan
Xi calls for cross-Strait cooperation in realizing "Chinese dream"
Xi rewards Chinese missile brigade for launching 100 missiles
Hu Jintao meets KMT honorary chairman
State councilor meets South Korea's new president
South Korea's Park Warns North Against Nuclear Pursuits
Foreign Ministry: All Japanese activities regarding Diaoyu Islands illegal
Min of Environmental Protection refuses to release data from soil contamination investigation
China to halt approvals for small coal mines
2 Tibetan Monks Self-Immolate as Anti-China Protests Continue
Tibet's Growing Tragedy: Self-Immolation Protests Reach 105
5.4-magnitude earthquake jolts Tibet
BBC World Service Shortwave Radio Blocked in China
Chinese transport "workhorses" extending military's reach

United Kingdom‎
David Cameron: I'll stop migrant benefits
John Kerry: US Won't Back UK on the Falklands
Britain's top cardinal resigns over allegations 'he behaved inappropriately with priests'
Family Targeted in North Belfast Blast Bomb Attack
Cameron to hold talks with Kerry
Head of Cameron's local Tory branch resigns over gay marriage
Clegg denies cover up of associate's misconduct
Tory threat to rival parties over libel law
UK Ratings Cut Puts Spotlight on Budget
Will Litvinenko-MI6 links be revealed?
UK onshore wind farms to create more carbon dioxide than they save
Tax Breaks Spur Record UK Offshore Oil & Gas Spend

European Union
Berlusconi revives political career in chaotic Italian election
Italian markets celebrate Berlusconi’s poor performance in election
Italy's center-left to win lower house, leads in Senate race
Initial results indicate stalemate in Italian election
Angry Italians deliver austerity warning
EU ministers discuss horse meat crisis
EU holds breath over crucial Italy election
Topless Femen protest against Berlusconi as he votes in election
Protest votes add to uncertainty in close Italy election
Spanish Police Nab 3 Suspected of Spying for Iran
Spain police arrest 45 in Madrid after protest

Merkel holds talks with Turkish leaders frustrated by slow-moving EU talks
Germany presses Turkey for progress in lifting embargo on Cyprus
German government backs ban on far-right party
German Intel Paid Neo-Nazi Informer $240,000
Bare-chested protesters take on Berlin
Merkel: China, Russia seeing Syrian president's time is up
Merkel Raises Turks' Hope Of European Union Entry
Merkel kicks off sensitive visit to Turkey
Merkel inspects German Patriot missiles in Turkey
Germany arms the Persian Gulf monarchies
Germany patient with France on deficit

Hollande's Sarkozy joke riles French opposition
Ayrault: Boko Haram Claiming to Hold French Family
France blasts 'cruelty' as Boko Haram displays kidnapped family
France to pause austerity, cut spending next year instead: Hollande
Hollande urges compulsory labeling amid horsemeat scandal
France's military operation in Mali in 'final phase'
France warns of kidnappings, attack risk in Benin
France is euro 'problem child', frets Angela Merkel's party official
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Syrian Opposition Pledges to Attend Rome Summit
Syria says ready to talk with armed opposition
Kerry Vows Not to Leave Syria Rebels 'Dangling in the Wind'
Car blast rocks central Damascus, casualties reported
Assad's Army Has Fled Entire Area Bordering Israel
Syrian Refugees Riot in Jordan Camp; 3 Hurt
Nearly 100 Rebels Are Reported Killed in Mali Battle
No sign of peace or reconciliation in Mali
West African Mali forces to cost €715m

Insight Into Today’s News
Billionaires Continue To Dump Stocks
G20 issues empty declaration against currency wars
Norway Enters The Currency Wars
The Second-Mortgage Shell Game
The Last Liberal Branch of Government
US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan unraveling
Goodbye? We’ve Lost Who We Are?
US Schools Go Into Full Prison Mode
Hornady Addresses Ammo Shortage: We’re working 24/7
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Netanyahu: Arrow will help us on peace, or defense
Netanyahu urges the PA to calm rioters and stone throwers
West Bank Streets 'Boiling' as Abbas Accuses Israel of Stoking Unrest
IDF and Palestinians clash following prisoner's funeral
West Bank Protests Grow, Fears of New Intifada
Israel, US successfully test anti-missile system
Palestinian officials accuse Israel of torturing inmate to death
Palestinian Detainee’s Death in Israel Sparks Unrest
Thousands of jailed Palestinians stage 1-day hunger strike

Erdogan holds joint press conference with Merkel
Kurdish Peace Process to Start After PKK Leave Turkey
Erdoğan: Assad a ‘mute devil’ for not defying Israel
Defense Minister Says 965 Suicides Among Soldiers in 10 Years
Turkey in Key Stage to Address Kurdish Issue
Turkey lists requests from Germany's Merkel
Turkey eyes Karabakh step from Armenia to open ways
Turkey Pressures Germany on EU Accession
Turkey says aid pledges for Syrian refugees 'unfulfilled'
Iraq shuts down 3 illegal tunnels to Syria

Bahrain Bans Import of Plastic Guy Fawkes Masks
ElBaradei Calls for Boycott of 'Sham' Parliamentary Election
Egyptian Brotherhood Hits Back at Opposition Leader
Stripped of 'Country of Origin' Label, US Agrees to Sell Tear Gas to Egypt
Bahraini Dies After Being Struck by Tear Gas Canister
Divided Egypt opposition attacks Morsi on election call
Morsi calls parliamentary elections in April
Thousands hold anti-government protests in Egypt
New death from SARS-like virus in Saudi

World Powers May Offer Iran Sanctions Relief at Nuclear Talks
UK claims General Shateri actually died in January bombing of Hezbollah-bound weapons convoy
World Powers Seek Compromise in Iranian Nuclear Talks
Ahmadinejad Admits to Economic Pain
Iran tests suicide drones in ongoing military drill
Iran denies downing foreign drone
Iran claims it has captured a foreign ‘enemy drone’ during military exercise
Iran announces new uranium deposits discovery
Iran selects 16 new sites for nuclear plants
Iran sentences 4 to death in biggest bank fraud case
Envoy: Iran to continue talks with IAEA on nuclear program

Chavez warns that Africa and South America Must Unite or face Western Interventions
Indigenous Venezuelans Hold Ritual for Chavez
Colombian Rebels Call on Santos to Save Peace Talks
Villegas: Condition of cancer-stricken Chavez not "favorable"
Prosecutor Accuses Former Colombian Governor of 2000 Massacre
Bolivia's Morales says was unable to see Chavez in Venezuela
Questions about political succession whirl in Venezuela after Chavez comes home
Poll: Maduro would win vote if Chavez goes
Chávez's return is obstacle for Venezuela's embattled opposition
Bolivia's Morales arrives in Venezuela to visit President Chávez

Falklands dispute: Argentina accuses UK of ‘defiance’ of anti-nuke treaty
Rousseff says extreme poverty almost eradicated
PM Medvedev begins visit to Brazil
Pro-Cuba Protesters Halt Dissident's Brazil Event
After Being Hounded by Protesters, Cuban Dissident Praises Brazil's Freedom of Expression
Brazil dockers end China ship protest; port strike threat
Argentina to renovate railways with Chinese trains in 2014
Union Leader Protests by Bringing Trucks to Argentine Labor Ministry
New tobacco law ignites controversy in Chile
Ex-leaders of German sect in Chile enter prison to begin sentences for sexual abuse of minors

Official Accuses CIA of 'Managing' Not 'Fighting' the Drug Trade
Nieto Meets with San Antonio Mayor
Government Says Over 27,000 People Missing in Mexico
Mexico Slaughters Nearly 500,000 Birds Infected with Avian Flu
Guatemala Moves Up Ex-Dictator’s Genocide Trial
Police Chief in Mexican Border City on Nuevo Laredo Missing
Suspect in General’s Murder Arrives in Mexico
Mexican Police Detain 81 Migrants
Vigilantes reportedly release captives in southern Mexico

Castro successor lacks charisma but is experienced manager
Raúl Castro Says His New 5-Year Term as Cuba's President Will Be His Last
Fidel Castro makes surprise parliament appearance amid leadership speculation
Cuban parliament gathers, president to be selected
Esteban Lazo Elected New President of the Cuban Parliament
Haitians Rage as UN Rejects Payout for Cholera Victims
Yoani Sanchez May Be Top Dissident in Cuba, but She Agrees US Embargo Must Go
Medvedev Discusses Meteorite Strike with Fidel Castro
Raul Castro Mentions Possible Retirement

United Nations
UN Removes Osama bin Laden From Sanctions List
Tunisia Arrests Suspect in Killing That Sparked Unrest
African leaders sign DR Congo peace deal
At least 53 killed in rival Arab militia clashes in North Darfur
Tunisia's New Premier Promises Inclusive Government
US blocks UN resolution condemning Damascus terror bombings
Tunisia: Party Names Premier Candidate
Tunisian PM steps down after crisis prompted by political assassination
Unesco agrees 5.6 million-euro plan to save Mali's
Top World News Now                 
February 21, 2013


 Heads up from AntiMullah. Separate vacations and Obambi brings Reggie Love back with  him. If you do  not know what this is, you need to visit/view more often to keep up with latest developments.

Tone and content reflects information not normally provided by Lame Stream Media's love fest with Obambi. And worldwide events that discredit his claims and motives for anti-American, pro-Moslem Brotherhood policies and actions.
Read and become knowledgeable and stop believing the incredible lies Obama feeds us at every opportunity. Lies his own Democrats increasingly have a problem swallowing and are intentionally leading our nation into certain fiscal and political destruction.

United States
GOP Resists Obama's Push for Tax Rise to Head Off Cuts
Obama Fleshes Out Plans for Infrastructure Projects
Obama considers urging the Supreme Court to overturn California’s ban on gay marriage
White House announces online espionage response policy
US issues final word on essential benefits under "Obamacare"
Anonymous thrown into China-US cyberwar scandal
Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilian workers
In wake of Benghazi, rapid response Marine unit heading to Europe
US issues worldwide caution to its citizens of terror threats
Body found in restaurant rubble after Kansas City explosion
Why Americans Might Be Better Off If Their Burgers Were Made Of Horsemeat
Sex-Change Surgery Available Through Many US Colleges
Majority of US citizens say illegal immigrants should be deported
Hundreds of thousands march in Puerto Rico against gay rights

Putin Invites G20 Leaders to St. Petersburg Summit
Migrant workers call on Putin for amnesty
Lavrov: Time to end the war in Syria
Moscow: N. Korea sanctions can only impact nuclear program
IMF warns of higher inflation, slower GDP growth in Russia
Russia's missing billions revealed
Russia Tries To Remove Images of New Drone From the Internet
Russian Military to Develop Anti-Meteorite Defenses
Russia investigates 25 cases of Defense Ministry fraud - Prosecutor General
MP resigns after bloggers disclose his Florida property
Russia escalating attacks on free expression a year on from Pussy Riot protest
‘Ample Evidence’ Linking Ukraine Ex-President to Journalist Murder
French Specialists Resume Work at Chernobyl Disaster Site
Ukraine: Embezzlement At State Orphanages
Belarus Phases Out Russian Warplanes, Radars

Xi Jinping's campaign to purge Communist Party 'won't be easy'
Incumbent cabinet holds final meeting
China's central banker skips retirement bar to stay on
Manila to tackle sea row 'with or without China' at UN
Attacks originating from US rank 1st among overseas hackings in China
Photos show new activity at N Korea nuclear site
Spy agencies scrounge for details on North Korean nuclear test
North Korea: A nuclear 7-Eleven?
N Korean propaganda video shows Obama in flames
US Envoy Opposes S Korean Nuclear Armament
Rise in online fan clubs extolling China's party leaders
After China's multibillion-dollar cleanup, water still unfit to drink
Smog in Pearl River Delta 'worse than in Beijing'
Maoists Block Deal to Break Nepal's Long Political Deadlock

Cameron to pay respects to victims of Amritsar massacre
Cameron's India trip hits wobble with concern over helicopter deal
Sars-like virus death reported in UK
New coronavirus can infect human lungs as easily as cold virus
Magdalene laundries: Ireland to apologise to survivors
Iranian torture guard refused UK citizenship
Britain expands "bigger than burgers" horsemeat tests
Regulator warns Britain 'on the brink' of energy crisis
Scotland 'faces EU funding cut'
Tanker drivers in Scotland vote to strike
Belfast Orange Order warns members over flag protests
One in four Africans attacked in Ireland

Berlusconi accused of trying to buy votes days before election
After Bulgarian Protests, Prime Minister Resigns
Greek police fire tear gas on anti-austerity protesters
Greece welcomes Hollande with ‘news blackout’
Dutch experiment in legalised prostitution a disaster
Thieves in Belgium pull off most spectacular and dramatic diamond heist in years
Iceland considers dropping its currency
Lawmakers Threaten to Veto Tightened Budget
EU reinforces sanctions against DPRK
To Revive Honey Bees, Europe Proposes a Pesticide Ban
Anti-austerity strike to bring Greece to a standstill
Italy politicians make final drive for votes before poll

Berlusconi's possible comeback a nightmare for Angela Merkel
Merkel's Rainbow Problem: On Gay Rights, Chancellor Still a Conservative
German Officials Signal Berlusconi Isn't Their Man
Germany Sends Troops to Mali
German police raid firms over Ponzi scheme
Germany: Court Backs Adoption by Same-Sex Couples
Net activists slam Germany's open data portal
NSU victims' families want more than sympathy
Security staff at Hamburg airport to strike Wednesday in pay dispute
Swiss mayoral candidate 'pro-Hamas, pro-Iran'
Outgoing chairman of Switzerland's Novartis foregoes $78 million golden parachute deal
Norway is Afraid of Foreign Spies

Hollande: French soldier killed in northern Mali
Hollande confirms seven kidnapped in Cameroon
Hollande urges investment in Greece, growth in Europe
Hollande: France will miss 2013 growth target
French Kidnapped in Cameroon Were Taken Into Nigeria
France saw 58 percent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in 2012
Man arrested for serial attacks on Paris Chinese
France to unfreeze development aid to Mali
France Charges 11 In Alleged Kurdish Extortion Ring
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Syrian rebels threaten Hezbollah with 48-hour deadline
Syrian military reportedly shoots down Israel drone
US direct military support to Mali likely to continue after elections
Mortars Explode Near Assad Palace in Damascus
Missile kills more than 30 in Syria
Typhoid breaks out in rebel-held eastern Syria
Foreign Arms Supplies to Syrian Rebels Expanding
Pro-Assad militia now key to Syrian government’s war strategy
Russia's double dealing on arms to Assad regime leaves UK isolated over Syria
Syrian Rebels Threaten to Attack Lebanon Over Border Dispute
Insight Into Today’s News
Billionaires Continue To Dump Stocks
G20 issues empty declaration against currency wars
Norway Enters The Currency Wars
The Second-Mortgage Shell Game
The Last Liberal Branch of Government
US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan unraveling
Goodbye? We’ve Lost Who We Are?
US Schools Go Into Full Prison Mode
Hornady Addresses Ammo Shortage: We’re working 24/7
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets

Former foreign minister Livni joins Netanyahu coalition
Prisoner X: Benjamin Netanyahu adds to mystery
Secretary Kerry to skip Israel in first trip
Turkey, Israel Cut 1st Defense Deal Since Freezing Ties
Israel Seeks to Curb Weapons Flow to Gaza
West Bank protesters rally for release of deteriorating prisoners
Palestinian Prisoner's Hunger Strike Reaches 211th Day
Fatah Official Warns of Violence if Prisoners Aren't Freed
'Iron Dome' may be instrumental in peace process
Head of Israeli IVF unit arrested in Romania


Security deteriorating in Egypt due to political instability
Opposition Sets Conditions For Dialogue With Morsi
Morsi's advisory team less diverse after months of walkouts
Morsi Issues Presidential Decree to Appoint New Mufti
Strike, Protests Hit Egypt's Port Said for 3rd Day
Egyptians protest at Libyan border over new visa rules
Egypt ministry appeals against order to block YouTube
Egypt files new charges against Mubarak's last premier
2 Sunni groups halt roles in Bahrain crisis talks
A Palace Rift in Bahrain Bedevils Key US Navy Base

Iran to Conduct Military Drills Over 3 Days
Reformists Meet Khamenei To Improve 'Internal Climate'
Rivals Forced to Apologize to Supreme Leader
Ahmadinejad threat to cancel Iranian poll
Iran Pushes Nuclear-Free Mideast Plans
Syrian Prime Minister Claims Iran is Now “Occupying” Syria
MPs say sovereignty over three Persian Gulf islands is non-negotiable
Iran protests Berlin film award for banned Jafar Panahi
Fatwa Issued Against 3G Internet Operator in Iran
Iran FM Spurns Western 'Gold Trade' Offer
Stung by 'Argo,' Iran Backs Conference Denouncing 'Hollywoodism'

Top World News Now                 
February 15, 2013

United States
Environmentalists Press Obama in Heated Oil Pipeline Debate
NRA exec accuses Obama of gun 'charade' at State of the Union
Kerry: Moves Against North Korea Would Scare Iran Off Nukes
Senate Republicans Block Hagel Nomination For Defense Secretary
Key US general backs keeping Afghan forces at peak strength
Missouri Democrats Introduce Legislation to Confiscate Firearms – Gives Gun Owners 90 Days to Turn in Weapons
Transocean to pay $400 million for 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill
High taxes force more Americans to renounce their citizenship
600 children living in Washington, DC homeless shelter
Conspiracy Theorists Leap at the Confusing Case of Dorner’s Multiple Wallets
Body in burned cabin ID'd as Christopher Dorner
Cruise ship nightmare nearing end for passengers after hellish trip
CDC Warns of Super-Gonorrhea

Russia activates ‘Operation Fortress’, 20,000 troops after air defense forces shoot down space object
Putin orders Russian security on high alert before Olympics
Putin Warns Foreign NGOs Against 'Meddling' In Russian Affairs
Putin Orders FSB to Set Up Anti-Hacker Defense
Putin: Russia will not tolerate foreign pressure
Foreign Ministry: Russia ‘Ready’ to Consider Further Nuclear Arms Cuts
Army Chief: Russia may be drawn into resource wars in future
Russian Army Commissions Bioengineered Liver for $17 Mln
Russia charges Georgian politician with plotting mass unrest
Constitutional Court: Authorities must not politically discriminate against protesters
Six Suspected Militants Killed in Dagestan Operation
Very strong earthquake in a sparsely populated Siberia area
Thousands of Russian convicts may go untracked if bracelet batteries die

Xi's Vows of Change in China Belie Private Warning
Xi Jinping Prepares to Deal With New 'Gang of Four'
Beijing ramps up propaganda war to bolster Diaoyus claim
China's environment unaffected by DPRK nuclear test so far
China's Netizens React Colorfully to N. Korean Nuke Test
Nuke test gives US excuse to boost its military
S. Korea stages large-scale drills following DPRK nuke test
South Korea flexes missile power after North test
The Real Japan-China Conflict
7 dead, 18 injured in China after man sets off bomb over child custody dispute
Depressing landmark reached, 100th Tibetan self-immolates
Tibetans commemorate centennial of 'Tibetan independence'
Clues to why most survived China's melamine scandal

Major warns Cameron's EU referendum is a 'gamble'
EU warns Tories that UK security opt-out 'doesn't make sense'
UK Military Flies Ghana Troops, Equipment to Mali
Britain warns of Syria jihadist threat to Europe
British MPs to receive on-the-job mental health aid
UK Lawmakers Say Credit Schemes Not Working
Another policeman held in UK graft probe
New SARS-like virus shows person-to-person transmission
Deaths, lies and the NHS: Shocking new healthcare scandals emerge in UK
UK Arrests Men in Horse-Meat Probe
Horsemeat: Bute Found In Carcasses In UK
UK soap opera star faces child sex charges

Europe Rejects Critics of 'Robin Hood' Tax
Austerity's children becoming Europe's "lost generation"
Economy in Europe Contracts More Than Expected
Pope rounds on rival cardinals and their 'sins against unity'
Man sets himself alight at Rome airport
Berlusconi defends need for bribery in winning contracts
Monte Paschi's former finance chief held in Italy
Italy unemployment crisis reaches alarming rate
Foreign investors set to sue Spain over energy reform
King Juan Carlos fights new pressures to abdicate
Greece: Alexis Tsipras raises the political stakes
Interior Ministry: Mafia plotting to crash Serbian Air Force One

Un-Natural Gas: Fracking Set to Shake Up German Campaign
Germany and Spain Move to Curb Green-Energy Supports
German airports security staff strike continues Friday
Germany to help Israelis stuck in unfriendly countries
Roma in Germany forced into abject poverty
Barbarians at the Gate
Reports Of 'Neo-Nazi' Guards At Amazon Warehouses In Germany Creates Fresh Scandal
Tempting PhDs lead politicians into plagiarism
Germany's Great Church Sell-Off
Swiss push reconciliation plan for Sri Lanka
Switzerland prepares to sit at G20 head table
Norway Ready to Use Rate Cuts to Cool Krone

Hollande Tiptoes Toward Raid on Pensions Under Pressure From EU
Hollande says France ok with India civil nuclear liability clause
Hollande in India to sell warplanes, nuclear power, metro construction
Tunisians denounce France interference
The European Slump: France Gives Up Lowering Its Budget Deficit
French Goodyear workers protest against closure of Amiens Nord plant
France moves step closer to legal euthanasia
French firm suspected as culprit in spreading horsemeat scandal
France to return 7 paintings looted during WWII
War For Global Energy Supremacy-World War III
Libya Braces for Unrest on Anniversary of Qaddafi Revolt
Syrian rebels down 2 government planes
Syria rebels capture oil field and military base
Saudis say Syria death toll may be 90000
As war in Syria continues, refugees in Turkey open a high school
Armenia tries to help as Christian Armenians flee Syria
In Mali town, counter-insurgency task ties down French
French incursion frees few slaves in Mali
Official Details French Role in Mali
US Pledges to Help Mali With Long-Term Stability
Insight Into Today’s News
US Media Yet Again Conceals Newsworthy Government Secrets
Now We Know: War Is Murder
It Can't Happen Here?
The Andromeda Strain, Yes. Jesus, No. Your Tax Dollars at Work.
Remember 1994
Morningland Dairy destroyed by feds, $250,000 inventory stolen by government thugs during armed raid
Department of Homeland Security Targets Gun Collector
CIA Adviser Warns of 'Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction'
Debtors Prisons In The US Are Rapidly Filling With People Who Can’t Pay Bills

Netanyahu threatened media over Prisoner X
'Prisoner X' took part in Mossad operation of killing Hamas operative in Dubai?
Lawyer: ‘Prisoner X’ negotiated plea bargain before suicide
Israeli Security Delegation Arrives for Talks in Cairo
Border area on alert as Israel carries out drills
Israel shells out almost a fifth of national budget on defense
Israel falls 20 places in World Press Freedom Index
Leading Rabbi Says Let Haredim Guard Their Own West Bank Cities
Israeli Siege Snuffing Out Gaza's Camel Industry


Morsi's Egypt Poised to Criminalize Protest
Morsi's graduate son snares plum Egypt job at 66 times lowest salary
Salafis open fire on Morsi
Ruling party aims for outright majority in new parliament
Egypt political forces call for symbolic funeral of slain boy potato seller
Egypt Military Offers Rare Apology for Child Death
Teenage protester shot dead amid clashes on Bahrain uprising anniversary
Saudi Minister Puts Young Royals in Succession Spotlight
Bahrain condemns Iran's statements

Ahmadinejad bluffed that Iran is now a 'nuclear state'
IAEA, Iran Fail to Reach Nuclear Deal
Kerry urges Iran to make "real offers" in nuclear talks
Gulf states reject Iranian suggestion that Syria, Bahrain be discussed at nuclear talks
Iran denies transferring arms to Somali militants
Iran Using China To Smuggle Nuclear Material? ISIS Report Raises Concerns
Iran Mourns Senior Commander Killed in Syria
Iran Begins Its Election-Season Web Crackdown a Few Months Early
Pak-Iran pipeline deal likely to be inked today

Venezuelan students protest outside Cuban Embassy as Chavez remains out of sight in Havana
Venezuela to Limit Medicine Prices After Chavez Devaluation
Maduro: Chavez Undergoing “Very Complex and Tough” Treatment
Venezuela's move to devalue is desperate
Chavez Devaluation Puts Venezuelans to Queue Before Price Raise
Capriles: Venezuela needs no devaluation, but stop handouts
US Imposes Sanctions on Venezuela's Cavim Arms Company
Farc rebels kill seven Colombian soldiers in blow to peace process
Eastern Colombia locked into neo-paramilitary war

Witnesses of Argentina major train accident fear for their lives
Woman in Argentina marries twin sister's convicted killer
Rousseff Stumbles on Energy
Brazil's Hydroelectric Dam Boom is Bringing Tensions
Brazil Papal Contender: Place of Birth Irrelevant
Argentina confirms quizzing of Iran suspects
Epic Glacier Collapse In Argentina: Ice Bridge Connected To Perito Moreno Thunders Into Lake
Argentina Continues Its Defiance of Ghana in the Courts
Chile's Mapuche Indians clash with police in Collipulli

A glimpse of Nieto's new crime fighting strategy
Mexico arrests six suspects for rape of
          Comment on After the Rise of ISIS, Will Iraq’s Shiites Secede? by Reidar Visser        
Interesting. As most proto-nationalist discourses, it's also empirically wrong, since there were also Shia tribes with semi-nomadic lifestyles at least in the south. But there's an fascinating parallel to the discourse of the Shia of Saudi Arabia, which historically has been far more upfront separatist, referring to their "greater Bahrain" homeland stretching from the island of Bahrain along the Hasa coast all the way to Kuwait and Basra. They, too - and empirically perhaps more correct - paint a picture of themselves as age-old sedentary peoples, exposed to the Wahhabism of the desert people.
          Masonic Queen’s Jubilee List Draws Criticism        

Winnipeg Free Press May 18, 2012

Queen’s Jubilee guest list draws criticism due to inclusion of Bahrain, Swaziland kings Raphael Satter, The Associated Press

Caption: Queen Elizabeth II, right, looks on as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chat with King Hussein and Queen Rania of Jordan as guests arrive at a lunch for sovereign monarchs of the world, held in honour of the queen’s Diamond Jubilee, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, Friday May 18, 2012. Critics are aghast at the choice of some guests for the lunch _ among them a king whose Gulf nation has been engaged in a brutal crackdown on political dissent.(AP Photo/ Arthur Edwards, Pool)

LONDON – Britain has come under criticism for inviting the king of Bahrain, whose Gulf state has engaged in a brutal crackdown on political dissent, to a lunch Friday celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

The lunch in Windsor Castle was the largest gathering of foreign royals in Britain since Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, Prince William, was married to Kate Middleton last year. Then, as now, the decision to extend an invitation to members of the Bahraini royal family has angered those who are upset [...]

          Certificate In HR Policies And Procedures - LEORON Professional Development Institute , Bahrain, Ghana, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Muscat, Johannesburg, Lagos         
Human resources policies and procedures are detailed guidelines and glue for both management and employees must observe to ensure the company will achieve its strategic direction and desired corporate culture.
As a company's policies are developed they become a framework for consistency and fairness for all. Polices define management's standards for making decisions on various personnel and organizational issues.
Clearly defined procedures and standards, are developed from polices that are well thought out by Senior management, express the company's intent to make consistent and evenhanded decisions. Not enough can be said about the value that comes from policy development.
Policy can help an organization run at its most efficient and effective level.
At the end of the workshop participants will have:

1. Learned why good quality HR policies and procedures are important to employees and the overall success of the company 
2. Understood the difference between a policy and procedure
3. Learned how to write both a high quality HR policy and procedure
4. Understood the major areas in which HR Policies and procedures need to written and communicated
5. Become familiar with the contents of a robust Employee policy and Procedure manual;
6. Practiced and received feedback on specific policies and procedures they drafted for management's approval
7. Understood how HR policies and procedures relate to the overall success of the company and employee motivation
8. Prepared a presentation for senior management on critical HR policies and procedures they drafted for approval and implementation to meet the growth plans of the company.
9. Realized the importance of designing an organizationwide employee communication program to implement the upgraded HR policies and procedures.



          Youth Conflict Resolution Strategies and Skills - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
Whenever two or more people interact, either as individuals or as part of a group, there is always potential for conflict. It is no different when you interact with young people in a work setting: the potential for conflict is present. It is important that you are aware of that potential so that you are able to identify a conflict situation and intervene appropriately to control it.
Workers dealing with young people are often confronted with difficult situations in which they may be asked to assist in resolving young people's problems and conflicts. These may be internal problems of relationships within a youth group, or relationships between young people and those in authority, or even conflict between yourself and the young people you are working with.
This program has been designed to help you understand the nature of conflict and its effects on people in a range of contexts, both at an individual and at a group level. We will also look at the processes involved in behavior that occurs between different groups, called inter-group behaviour, and its potential impact on group members.

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
identify examples of conflict in the region where you live, understand their origins and describe the course the conflicts have taken.
Recognize the different approaches that have been used in resolving conflict, and the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches.
Apply the insights gained from studying conflict situations to the kinds of conflict that are encountered in youth development work.
Recognize the existence of pre-conflict and conflict situations when they are encountered in different youth and development settings.
Employ negotiation and mediation skills in bringing together conflicting groups or individuals.
Consider strategies to resolve conflict when agreement cannot be reached by consensus.

Who Should Attend?

Youth workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
Young leaders.
Youth Program coordinators.
School and University teachers.
Professionals responsible for youth policy formulation and strategy development.
Police department officers.

Program Outline

Day 1
Analysing conflict
Conflict in groups
The conflict process model

Day 2
The Five Stages
Resolving Conflict
Dealing with conflict
Ending conflict
Practicing conflict resolution skills
Bargaining strategies
Negotiation skills

Day 3
Conflict Among Groups
Inter-group relations
Impact of conflict on group dynamics
Managing conflict among groups



          Facilitating Youth Learning Processes - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
Learning takes place throughout life - in different ways, in different contexts. It's almost impossible to stop people learning, in some form or other, all the time. This is very useful for youth development workers. Learning is a powerful tool that we can use deliberately to improve knowledge and enhance skills. If you can direct learning along appropriate channels, then you will accelerate the process and help young people to develop very rapidly.
The aim of this program is to introduce you to the ideas and practices of learning that are relevant to youth development work. The module focuses on the role of youth development workers as educators, or to put it another way, as 'learning facilitators'. We prefer this term because it indicates that your role will be to help and guide the very powerful internal learning processes in young people, rather than to control them.

The module explores different theories of learning and their influences. It identifies the different ways in which people learn and the factors that inhibit or facilitate learning. It also considers experiential learning as a method that is appropriate to youth development workers, and examines appropriate strategies for face-to face work with young people and adults.

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
Give an overview of important psychological and philosophical principles relevant to 'education for all' and youth development work.
Describe the characteristics of informal education and apply this knowledge to youth development work.
Make use of the techniques of informal and experiential learning in youth development work and enable other people to use it.
Describe your own and other people's learning style(s) and mode of intelligence.
Identify factors that help and factors that hinder people's learning, particularly in informal settings.
Devise effective strategies for learning with a range of individuals and groups in youth development work.

Who Should Attend?

Youth workers in government departments, corporates and NGOs.
Young leaders.
Student activities coordinators.
School and University teachers.
Professionals responsible for youth policy formulation and strategy development.

Program Outline

Day 1

What is Learning?
Thinking about learning
Experiential learning
How adults learn best
Self-directed learning
Education for All
A positive philosophy of learning
Developing the whole person
Lifelong learning
Guiding principles

Day 2
Informal Education
Types of learning and education
Agents of informal education
Implications for youth development work
What Helps and What Hinders Learning?
A good learning environment
Factors that hinder learning

Day 3
Learning styles
What is learning style?
Learning style models
Meeting learner needs
Socio-cultural background and learning

Day 4
Facilitating Adult Learning
Communication and participation
Designing the program
Selecting learning strategies



          Youth Development Work Principles and Practices - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
This program is designed to introduce you to a range of different approaches to working with young people. You may already have experience of youth work. If so, then you have been working in a wide-ranging and complex field. However, you may have experience of only one type of youth work practice. We have designed this program so that you can get a clear understanding of several of the key practices in youth work. This will enable you to develop your insight and skill by allowing you to draw on a rich frame of reference.

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
Define Youth Development concept.
Briefly describe, in your own words, the history and position of youth development work in your country.
Delineate the professional role of the youth worker.
Explain the important factors that have affected youth development work and that influence current trends.
Begin working effectively with young people and adults in enabling them to improve the quality of their lives.
Select from a range of different approaches to youth development work those that are most appropriate to specific circumstances.

Who Should Attend?

Youth program coordinators.
Young leaders.
Youth workers in government departments, corporates and NGOs.
School and University teachers.
Professionals responsible for policy formulation and strategy development in youth focused organizations.

Program Outline

Day 1
Youth Development
What is Youth development? and how does it influence youth work?
Youth Development theories and practivcies
Interactionist perspective - Functional Perspective
Youth Development Values
Enabling - Empowering

Day 2
Youth development work: history and traditions
Youth development work in families and communities
Youth work as social and leisure provision
Out of school education
Youth work for national development
Youth welfare work

Day 3
Youth development work: models and approaches
Treatment Model
Reform Model
Advocacy Model
Conscientisation Model
Youth Development Practices

Day 4
Youth Worker roles and methods
Working face to face with young people in a variety of settings
Managing and supporting other paid and volunteer workers
Formulating and developing community policies for governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs)



          Youth and Healthy Lifestyle Promotion Skills - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
Youth development workers have a key role to play in delivering a holistic approach to health promotion. The program starts by defining youth in the context of health. It continues by looking at why it is important to involve young people in the planning and implementation of any program that targets them, and how to promote youth participation. You will also look closely at some of the contemporary health issues that affect young people, such as nutrition and diet, sexual and reproductive health and drug abuse. The program also looks at how to enable practitioners to recognize the different roles they have, and how to foster effective working relationships.

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
Identify the major health issues affecting young people.
Outline health promotion strategies (particularly preventative strategies).
Describe the specific role of youth development work in health promotion.
Develop specific programs of health promotion.
Use the distinctive methodology of youth development work within the environment of a primary health care agency.

Who Should Attend?

Professionals of healthcare institutions.
Public health practitioners.
Youth Workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
Health awareness organizations staff.
Professionals responsible for youth policy formulation and strategy development.

Program Outline

Day 1
Defining Youth and Health
Defining youth
Defining health
Primary health care
Adolescent and youth developmental changes
The basics of health and personal hygiene

Day 2
Involving Young People
Youth development and health services
The role of young people in health
Developing skills and information
Factors affecting participation

Day 3
Sexual and Reproductive Health
Defining sexuality
Defining reproductive health
Reproductive rights
Traditional practices

Day 4
The World Health Organisation (WHO) mandate
World food supply
Mental Health and Drug Abuse
What is mental health?
Self-abuse and deviant behavior
What is drug abuse?
Demographics and drug use
Prevention and support
Self-abuse through injury and suicide



          Working with Youth in Their Communities - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
If you already have significant experience as a youth development worker, you will have spent a lot of time working with individuals and groups. During the course of your work, you will probably have had doubts about your performance and may have wondered how you could improve on what you were doing. Improvement is partly a matter of experience, but it is much the best to have a carefully directed experience, shaped by what research has shown to be effective.
In this program, you will explore what is currently understood about the most appropriate knowledge and skills required for working successfully with young people in groups.
You will study how other people have worked in communities ,and their theories about their work.
You will explore the theory and practice of community development.
You will learn about community development work plans, and how to make and implement them.
You will examine the characteristics of an effective group leader.

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
Work effectively as a member of a group.
Take on a variety of roles in a group, including leadership and advocacy.
Know how to develop your own skills in facilitating a group.
Use the techniques of community development.
Be familiar with key concepts in community development.
Promote the participation of young women and men in community activities.
Create effective planning strategies and develop community profiles, social community plans and personal plans.
Recognize several useful models for analyzing human behavior and individual differences.

Who Should Attend?

Youth program coordinators.
Young leaders.
Youth workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
School and University teachers.

Program Outline

Day 1
Working with and for young people
Community Development
(Important terms and concepts)
Community: not just a place
Getting going in the community
Laying the foundation
Developing a community profile
Planning your work

Day 2
Young people in their communities
Skills, characteristics and knowledge
The role of the community youth worker
Leaders and leadership
Increasing group participation

Day 3
Social planning
Social planning activities
Planning stages
Practical applications of community social planning
Networks and partnerships



          Youth Social Development Methodologies - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
This program is designed to help you understand some of the theoretical background of youth development work, so that you can relate what you are doing to the social context in which you are working. You will already be aware that young people have roles and responsibilities. These responsibilities are different in each society, yet particular aspects are common across most societies.
Understanding the social situations of young people is crucial. This program aims to illuminate the situation of young people in your society by exploring what researchers and theorists have said about youth in different social contexts, and relating that to general theories about society. Your role as a youth development worker is to help to improve conditions for young people. In doing this, you will be helping to develop the society in which they live.

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
Understand how young people are seen in various societies, and from different sociological perspectives.
Examine the range of definitions of 'youth', 'adolescence' and 'family'.
Understand the problems and issues facing young people and the societies in which they live.
Work in a way that is sensitive to social and cultural traditions.

Who Should Attend?

Youth workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
Young leaders.
Student activities coordinators.
School and University teachers.
Professionals responsible for policy formulation and strategy development in youth focused organizations.

Program Outline

Day 1
Ways of seeing young people
The concepts of society and culture
Defining youth
The nature of youth work
Describing and defining adolescence
Psychoanalytic theories of adolescence
Sociological theories of adolescence

Day 2
Young people and the family
Family types
Approaches to the study of the family
Issues facing families today
The concept of community

Day 3
Young people and social issues
Images of young people
Young people and unemployment
Young people and crime
The implications for youth development workers



          Youth and Sustainable Development Strategies - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
This program provides strategies for Youth Sustainable Development Projects. It is also explores the need to raise awareness about sustainable development for young generations, addressing the importance of the balance between development process and environmental protection. In this program, we present the key role that young people can play towards the sustainable development. As stated in Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 1992: "Principle 21: The creativity, ideals and courage of the youth of the world should be mobilised to forge a global partnership in order to achieve sustainable development and ensure a better future for all."

Program Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
Increase your knowledge of the sustainable development and environmental issues that affect youth around the world.
Provide you with the skills that will enable you to contribute to positive change in the present state of the environment.
Work with a youth group to design and undertake an environmental/ sustainable development-related project.
Enable you to lead and support group activities that will help to promote environmentally sustainable development.
Design a project that gives clear expression to the principles of sustainable development.
Evaluate projects in terms of their contribution to sustainable development.

Who Should Attend?

Professionals of environment and Sustainable development departments.
Youth Workers, in government departments, corporates and NGOs.
Student activities coordinators.
Professionals responsible for policy formulation and strategy development in youth focused organizations.
Young Leaders
Schools and universities educators.

Program Outline

Day 1
Youth and sustainable development
Opportunities for young people
International Youth Federation (IYF)
The Caribbean Youth Environment Network (CYEN)
Youth as initiators
Youth as activists
The social environment
The relationship between the environment and development
Youth concerns and Responses

Day 2
Sustainable Development Project Elements
Sustainable Development Strategies
The World Resources Institute model
Environmental and technological objectives
Economic and socio-cultural objectives
Socio-economic and cultural objectives
Ecological objectives

Day 3
The World Bank approach
The sustainability matrix
Sustainability as opportunity
Youth and Sustainable development Practical Case Studies
Young Conservationists Club (YCC), Thailand
Fiji National Youth Council (FNYC)
Association of Friends of Nature Clubs (ACAN), Cameroon
JEMS, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.



          Positive Youth Development Strategies - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
Course Overview

Positive Youth Development (PYD) is a theory based on years of research on the best ways to help young people grow into adulthood. This program is designed to help youth workers to understand the Positive Youth Development approaches, such as the individual strength approach that promote young people's social and emotional well-being.

In this program we discuss the outside influences that promote young people's social and emotional well-being. Also the program aims to examine approaches of working with young people to create a growth plan and to create positive places for young people. Creating a step by step action plan for integrating Positive Youth Development into youth organizations is also presented in this program.

Course Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
  • Understand the Positive Youth Development approaches.
  • Identify the developmental needs of young people and adolescents.
  • Work effectively with young people to create a growth plan.
  • Make use of individual strength approach that promote young people's social and emotional well-being.
  • Create positive places for young people.
  • Create an action plan for integrating Positive Youth Development into your organization.
Who Should Attend?
  • Department heads of youth focused institutions.
  • Young Leaders
  • Professionals responsible for youth program development, in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
  • Youth Workers.
  • Student Activities coordinators.
  • Professionals responsible for policy formulation and strategy development in youth focused organizations.
  • School and University teachers.

Course Outline

Day 1
  • What is Positive Youth development?
  • The concept
  • Strength based approaches
  • Individual strengths that promote young people's social and emotional well-being
  • The 5 Cs
  • Outside influences that promote young people's social and emotional well-being
  • Families - Schools - Communities
Day 2
  • The Developmental Assets
  • The five Promises
  • Work with young person to create a growth plan
  • Youth immediate needs
  • Assisting young person to set goals
  • Active listening skills to determine youth's strengths and interests
  • Rewarding youth
Day 3
  • Putting Positive Youth Development into practice
  • Building individual strength in youth
  • Youth involvement
  • Creating positive places for young people
  • What makes a place positive?
  • how to keep youth places positive?
Day 4
  • Creating a step by step action plan for integrating Positive Youth Development into your organization
  • Select PYD framework
  • Train staff and volunteers
  • Preview your mission statement
  • Review your programs
  • Establish a concrete ways to involve youth in your programs
  • Assess your programs



          Managing Youth Economic Development Projects - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
Course Overview

The purpose of this program is to explore some of the development possibilities of the links between youth work and contemporary economic change. We will describe the skills needed to promote self employment among young women and young men, including the principles of setting up micro enterprises. We will explore how aspects of informal education can help young people to develop enterprise skills and undertake enterprise projects.

In this program, we focuses on the nature of current economic development and its relationship to enterprise activity. Other sessions concentrate on practical guidelines and exercises to develop enterprise skills. While one session of this program takes the form of a training program that you will be able to deliver to enterprising youth in your community.

Course Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
  • Identify the different factors that shape and influence current economic development, particularly at a local level.
  • Use experiential learning strategies to develop youth enterprise skills, with the aim of promoting local economic development.
  • Support young women and young men in setting up small business projects.
  • Contribute entrepreneurial expertise in the development of local economic strategies.
  • Devise and deliver programs of informal education for young people to acquire enterprise skills.
Who Should Attend?
  • Mentors of business incubators and accelerators.
  • Professionals responsible for the development of economic strategies.
  • Youth Program coordinators.
  • Young leaders.
  • Youth workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.

Course Outline

Day 1
  • Understanding Economic Development
  • Opportunities in the global market
  • Unleashing entrepreneurship
  • Economic development in rural areas
  • Youth enterprise
  • Small and informal enterprises
  • Training entrepreneurs
  • Government policies and support
  • Changing role of government and NGOs
Day 2
  • Youth and enterprise
  • What is youth enterprise?
  • Barriers to enterprise
  • Being creative
  • The enterprise development cycle
  • Setting up a small business
  • Setting up a small business: The training program
  • Starting out
  • Preparing the ground
  • Accounting practice
  • The business model
Day 3
  • Planning a micro-enterprise
  • Planning an enterprise
  • Planning for micro and informal enterprises
  • Informal learning
  • Opportunities for young people



          Integrating Technology into Youth Settings - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         

Course Overview

In this program, you will explore current uses of technology by youth and how that engagement influences their own development and the world around them. You will also identify the opportunities and dangers that are associated with new technologies. Participants will demonstrate how new technologies can be designed and incorporated into youth programming to promote positive youth development.

Course Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:

  • Explain how the type and extent of youth usage of technology affects tier development.
  • Identify the risks and benefits of technology to youth programs and create a plan for technology use in their programs.
  • Describe the various models that are used to structure technology-based interventions for youth.
  • Apply one of these models to a practical situation in a youth-relevant setting.
  • Demonstrate the ability to design an activity or intervention that incorporates technology to promote positive youth development.
Who Should Attend?
  • Youth workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
  • Young leaders.
  • Student activities coordinators.
  • School and University teachers.
Course Outline

Day 1
  • Overviews of Youth and Technology
  • App generation review
  • Youth and Adolescent Ownership and Use of New Media
  • The Impact of Social Media on Youth, Adolescents, and Families
  • A Silicon Valley School That Doesn't Compute!
  • Models of Integrating Technology into Youth Settings
  • The Use of Technology to Promote the Multicultural Development of Youth
  • Internet use and developmental tasks
  • Positive Technology Development
  • The Potential of Games for Learning
Day 2
  • Technology in Youth Programs
  • E Mentoring
  • Digital Media
  • Using Technology to Promote Positive Youth Development
  • Youth-Driven Social Media Campaign to Promote STI and HIV Testing Among Adolescents
  • Adaptive Game for Reducing Aggressive Behavior
  • Text-Messaging Interventions to Promote Healthy Behaviors in Adolescents

Day 3
  • The Dangers and Policies around Technology Use
  • Use of Electronic Devices and Social Media in Youth Camps
  • Understanding the Role of Technology in Adolescent Dating and Dating Violence
  • The Multiple Dimensions of Video Game Effects on Youth
  • Social media use in adult-youth relationships
  • How Clear Missions Guide Electronic Technology Policies



          Youth Program Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         

Course Overview

Much of the work of youth development professionals is organised around specific projects. They may be small projects designed by yourself and relevant stakeholders to solve very specific problems that you and they face. Alternatively, they may be part of much larger projects run by major funding bodies. Either way, project design and development is often expected to use certain techniques to ensure project quality. The aim of this program is to introduce you to the practices that have built up around the design and management of projects in the last few decades.

What is presented here will give you a general overview of project work. It has been written to help you develop the knowledge and skills necessary to plan, design, implement, monitor and evaluate projects in your youth in development program.

Course Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:

  • Identify activities involved in project planning, monitoring and evaluation.
  • write a proposal for funding, including logframes.
  • plan projects on the basis of a logical framework.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the Total Quality Program standers.
  • Prepare project risk management plan.

Who Should Attend?

  • Department heads of youth focused institutions.
  • Young Leaders
  • Professionals responsible for youth project planing, in government departments, corporates and NGOs.
  • Volunteers of youth projects and organizations.
  • Youth Workers.
  • Student Activities coordinators.
Course Outline

Day 1

  • Youth Centered Programming Model
  • Preparation for programming
  • (Need Assessment - Youth development Factor - Assessing Organization - Entrepreneurship - Youth involvement)
  • Program Objectives
  • Logical Framework

Day 2

  • Program Development
  • Approaches to program development
  • Selecting program format
  • Selecting program area
  • Program promotion
  • Total Quality Program

Day 3

  • Program Implementation
  • Program leadership
  • Helping Youth feel valued
  • Promoting youth involvement
  • Quality customer service
  • Handling complaints
  • Risk Management

Day 4

  • Program Evaluation
  • Purposes
  • Principles of evaluation
  • Types of evaluation
  • Methods of evaluation
  • Model of evaluation



           Youth Policy Planning and Implementation - Matsh Youth Development , Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai         
Course Overview

This Program will enable you to develop the skills required to investigate, analyse and influence the policy-making processes that shape welfare services, particularly those that directly affect the quality of young people's lives. It will focus in particular on the nature and scope of youth policy - the common themes that underpin national youth policies and the characteristic tensions within such policies. The relationship between youth policies and the wider policy environment will be considered. The program will also look at the criteria for success or failure of youth policies and the evaluation of their outcomes.

Course Benefits

When you successfully complete this program, you should be able to:
  • Describe the origins, history and development of youth policies in at least two countries in your region.
  • Outline the main themes that underpin the formulation, development and implementation of youth policies.
  • Demonstrate a broad awareness of the impact of youth policies on youth development work.
  • Evaluate the success of such policies through, for example, the use of performance indicators.
  • Contribute to the strategic development of agencies in the youth development field through youth policy development.
  • Establish and/or work within partnerships created to achieve key objectives of youth policy at local level.
  • Influence policy-making processes in a way that is appropriate to your role.
Who Should Attend?
  • Members of National Youth Councils.
  • Youth Workers in government departments, corporations and NGOs.
  • Youth Parliamentarian Committees.
  • Professionals responsible for policy formulation and strategy development in youth focused organizations.
Course Outline

Day 1
  • Youth policy Overview
  • Policy Definition - social/welfare policy - youth policy
  • Youth Policy
  • Nature, Objectives and Importance
  • Characteristics of youth policies
Day 2
  • The scope of youth policy
  • Policy planning and formulation
  • Policy impact and implementation
  • Analyzing Social Policy
  • Social policy in context
  • Government involvement in social policy
  • Grassroots policy development: another approach
Day 3
  • Youth policy principles
  • Youth policy and the wider policy environment
  • Elements of a successful youth policy
  • Policy success and failure
  • Measuring success or failure
  • Elements of a successful policy
Day 4
  • Frameworks in action
  • Key headings for a youth policy
  • Essential features of a youth policy
  • Evaluation of the effectiveness of policies



          Strategic Quality Management - LEORON Professional Development Institute , Bahrain, Ghana, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat, Lagos,Accra,London         

This intensive three-day program is designed for those in senior leadership positions. Participants will gain a practical understanding of how to assess risk from a strategic business perspective and tactical operations perspective to align all functions within an organization, manufacturing or service to be positioned to meet the challenges faced by rapid changes by market forces, as well as the ever changing consumer demands and technological advancements.

This program will utilize the applications of quality theory and methodology in a holistic approach to supporting business excellence. The use of quality tools to support fact based strategic decision making, as well as tactical decision making will be emphasized. Participants will not become quality professionals, but they will gain an advanced understanding of how a quality management system supports strategy and operations.


Discount: Discounts Up to 100% OFF

Next Session:

Duration: 5 Days


          Executive Certificate in HR and Business Strategy - LEORON Professional Development Institute , Bahrain, Ghana, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom         

In today's turbulent business world, most companies find themselves in a complex, competitive environment in which the formulation and execution of strategy are more critcial than ever before. When companies fail to deliver on their promises, most blame poorly designed strategy. No worthwhile strategy can be planned without taking into account the organization's ability to execute it - strategies most often fail because they were not executed well. Things that are supposed to happen don't happen. Either the organization's aren't capable of making them happen, or the leaders of the business misjudge the challenges they face, or both.

HR leaders need to provide strategic insights on how the firm's human capital can best deliver on its' strategic business objectives. Participants will learn and use a variety of strategic tools, frameworks and mindsets to better understand the company's business strategy and business model, their competitive position of their industry, and it's human capital value proposition for competitive advantage. HR leaders will have a firm grasp of the key concepts, models and language of strategy and the implications strategy has on the design, capabilities and deployment of the workforce.

Special emphasis is placed on connecting strategic and tactical organizational design issues, budgeting and analytics, developing a high performance culture, and how it can create new organizational possibilites.


Discount: Discounts Up to 100% OFF

Next Session:

Duration: 5 Days


          Contract and Commercial Management Practitioner - LEORON Professional Development Institute , Bahrain, Ghana, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat, Lagos, Accra, London         

People enter Contract and Commercial Management discipline from a wide variety of backgrounds, often with little or no specific training. They may be financial or legal professionals, they may have come from sales or from  a market intelligence function. A key value offered is that the IACCM learning provides everyone with a consistent base level of knowledge. IACCM also introduces the concept of a professional standard and matching certification, to encourage individuals in their continued development. This enables IACCM to deliver a valid assessment of current capabilities at Associate, Practitioner and Expert level.

Learning Outcomes

  • Make a greater contribution to corporate goals and objectives 
  • Achieve smarter analysis, execution and processes 
  • Companies experience increased workforce status and morale through visible investment in their development 
  • Companies ensure the best targeting of investment dollars
5 Key Take Aways

  1. Understand and embrace best practices in contracting and contract management 
  2. Deliver greater value to the enterprise through enhanced contracted outcomes 
  3. Manage risk with greater effectiveness 
  4. Accelerate the contracting and contract management process 
  5. Minimize disputes and reputation damage related to ineffective contracts
Who Should Attend

This highly practical and interactive course has been specifically designed for: 

  • Contracting Professionals 
  • Contract Negotiators 
  • Contract Managers and Administrators 
  • Contract Attorneys 
  • Contract Drafting Professionals 
  • Contract Strategists 
  • Procurement Professionals 
  • Strategic Sourcing Professionals 
  • Supply Chain Management Professionals 
  • Commercial Managers 
  • Sales Account Managers 
  • Commercial Project Managers
Benefits for Attending

  • IACCM eLearning Resources (12 months access) 
  • e-Book of the Operational Guide, the core referencework for contract and commercial practitioners 
  •  Access to insights and tools for a full year 
  • Certified candidates become members of IACCM and gain access to global content and advice provided by expert contributors in industry.


Discount: Discounts Up to 100% OFF

Next Session:

Duration: 5 Days


          Certified Private Equity Specialist - LEORON Professional Development Institute , Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat, Accra, London         
The course covers private equity in depth, starting with the strategic framework, proceeding to evaluation of targets, company valuation and financing, the legal and regulatory framework, and the deal
execution process. It concludes with assessment of post-investment value creation, and utilizes a number of real life case studies, including many in which the instructor has had personal involvement. Exercises are conducted in excel and group discussion.


Discount: Discounts Up to 100% OFF

Next Session:

Duration: 5 Days


          Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) - Blue Ocean Academy GCC , Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar         

The CPP is meant for all purchasing professionals who need the right credentials and skills to set themselves firmly on the road of success. This course that helps a professional to understand the basic tenets of international sourcing, procurement and risk management. This course is ideal for procurement and supply chain professionals who are already working in the procurement department of any organization and need a certification for a promotion or to validate their knowledge and professionalism.

The CPPM is an advanced course where the skills of purchase managers are honed and they develop an insight into the challenges of the industry that they are engaged in. Complex problem solving, case studies and much more await purchase managers at this level of certification

  • International Certification
  • Industry Experienced Trainers
  • Practical Oreiented Training Sessions



          Certified Balanced Scorecard Management System Professional - The KPI institute , Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Kuwait, Bahrain, Doha, Istambul         

The training course provides you with relevant knowledge on how to develop and implement a Balanced Scorecard System. This course offers a comprehensive overview on the many benefits any organization can extract from the Balanced Scorecard System implementation

A highly interactive learning experience will enable you to grasp the functionality of the Balanced Scorecard, and leverage on its benefits to advance strategy execution. The course focuses on delivering all the information needed to fully comprehend the value of the Balanced Scorecard, as well as on developing the necessary skills for a successful implementation.  

5 Benefits:

  • Get access to a deeper understanding of the value added and functionality of the Balanced Scorecard Management System; 
  • Develop and implement a Balanced Scorecard Management Architecture in a standardized manner; 
  • Overcome challenges in strategy execution by implementing the Balanced Scorecard Management System; 
  • Improve strategy communication by using the Balanced Scorecard Management System; 
  • Obtain premium recognition as a Certified Balanced Scorecard Management System Professional by completing a unique international learning program. 

 Learning objectives:

  • Comprehend fundamentals of a Performance Management System; 
  • Transpose the organizational strategy into a Balanced Scorecard Management System; 
  • Learn how to integrate the components of a Balanced Scorecard Architecture; 
  • Differentiate between objectives, KPIs, and initiatives;  
  • Understand KPI selection and KPI documentation;  
  • Optimize the data gathering process.  

Evaluation :

The certification process is finalized only when you complete all 3 stages of the learning experience. Nonetheless, you will receive a:

  • Certificate of Attendance: after participating at the 3 days of on-site training course; 
  • Certified Balanced Scorecard Management System Professional diploma: after you have successfully completed all 3 stages of the learning experience. 


Discount: Promotion Available

Next Session:

Duration: 3 Days


          Facility Management Professional - Review Course - LEORON Professional Development Institute , Bahrain, Ghana, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Riyadh, Jeddah, Muscat, Lagos, Accra, London         

IFMA's Facility Management Professional (FMP) designation is a knowledge-based credential that will help to accelerate an FM's transition into the profession and demonstrate a proven comprehension of the foundations of facility management. 

It is ideal for:

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  • Students entering the profession from colleges, universities, certificate or technical programs. 
  • Experienced FMs intending to pursue the CFM credential


    Discount: Discounts Up to 100% OFF

    Next Session:

    Duration: 5 Days


              Comment on Official Saudi, Bahrain, UAE iPhone 5s and 5c launch date: November 1 by Khaled A.        
    most likely still banned
              Comment on Official Saudi, Bahrain, UAE iPhone 5s and 5c launch date: November 1 by Khaled A.        
    yes, supports 1800mhz lte
              Comment on Official Saudi, Bahrain, UAE iPhone 5s and 5c launch date: November 1 by mohamed        
    does unlocked iphone US Models support 4G Network?
              Comment on Official Saudi, Bahrain, UAE iPhone 5s and 5c launch date: November 1 by Waleed Alzuhair        
    Any idea if the banning of Face Time was lifted?
              Comment on Official Saudi, Bahrain, UAE iPhone 5s and 5c launch date: November 1 by iPhone 5s/5c Expected to Launch in Saudi Arabia November 1st (updated) - SaudiMac        
    […] »Official Saudi, Bahrain, UAE iPhone 5s and 5c launch date: November 1 […]
              PDF417 for E-Business Suite        

    A while back I wrote up a how to on 2D barcode formats. I kept things generic and covered the basics of getting the barcodes working.  Tony over in Bahrain (for we are truly international :) has had a tough time getting it working under EBS. Mostly to do with the usual bug bear of the JAVA_TOP, XX_TOP and getting class paths set up. Its finally working and Tony wanted to share a document on the 'how' to get PDF417s working under EBS.

    Document available here.

    Thanks for sharing Tony!

              Democracy in Arab World        
    Yes, we still support Arab autocracy

    by Bradley Glasser [Asia Times Online: Jan 15, 2005]

    Since September 11, 2001, Western governments have articulated a breathtaking vision of democratic reform in the Arab world. Government officials, with the support of myriad policy wonks and pundits, have embraced the idea of Western support for a democratic transformation of the Middle East. Western officialdom has argued that a democratic boom in the region would alleviate the discontent that fuels terrorism and fanaticism in the Arab and Islamic worlds.

    This post-September 11 interest in democracy-promotion in the Middle East is supposed to mark a reversal of decades-old Western support for Middle Eastern dictatorships. The Bush administration has touted this apparent transformation in US policy toward the region in countless policy addresses and campaign speeches in 2003 and 2004. (Indeed, in a November 2003 speech, President George W Bush apologized for American support for Middle Eastern dictatorships over the last 50 years.) And the official rhetoric has seemingly been matched by a concerted policy effort among Western powers.

    At the June 2004 Group of Eight Summit at Sea Island, Georgia, the US and European governments presented a Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative, which outlined a common US-European framework for democracy-promotion in the Middle East. The initiative created a global forum for the discussion of Middle Eastern political reform, and created a fund for democracy-promotion activities throughout the Arab world.

    Most Arab rulers have rejected the imperialist overtones of Western democracy-promotion in the region, and indeed the Arab media have by and large denounced Western efforts to reshape Arab political systems. At the same time, the Western initiative has sparked some debate on political reform in Arab societies, and has pushed Arab governments to acknowledge the need to open up their polities. A few states like Jordan and Morocco have even indicated their willingness to work with Western donors on democracy-promotion.

    Sadly, the grandiose Western proclamations and the impassioned Arab debate simply obscure a stifling global consensus that will militate against genuine Arab democratization for the foreseeable future. Overwhelmingly, rhetoric aside, Western governments - including the Bush administration - seem to agree with Arab rulers on a critical point: in general, the authoritarian stability of the existing Arab order should be maintained; at best, Arab and Western governments are considering exceedingly cosmetic political reforms that alleviate domestic discontent and present a positive face to the international community.

    Here the confusion - whereby the American media and public assume the US government is pushing for genuine democracy from Morocco to Egypt to the Arab Gulf - stems from the critical distinction between political liberalization and democratization. For more than a decade, the US and the European Union have invested comparatively trivial sums in political liberalization programs in Arab countries. Such aid programs have sought to support civil-society groups seeking greater political participation, or have had a technical orientation that sought, for example, to upgrade the infrastructure of the justice and parliamentary systems in countries like Egypt and Jordan.

    What the democracy aid projects of the 1990s did not do was pressure the various rulers to share power in any meaningful way: to allow free and fair parliamentary elections, or to ease the overwhelming institutional power of the ruling parties (in the Arab republics) or of the ruling families (in the Arab monarchies), or to roll back the brutal dictatorial powers of the Arab state. The trivial scope of the democracy aid has reflected the traditional American and European interest in preserving geopolitical stability in the Middle East. For decades, of course, Western governments have preferred to ally themselves with friendly Arab dictators who would guarantee the flow of Middle Eastern oil and keep anti-Western radicals at bay. In designing the democracy aid projects in the 1990s, American and European policy-makers assumed that marginal reforms - enacted at a glacial pace - might enable Arab regimes to ease popular discontent and in turn work to prevent anti-Western revolutions (as occurred in Iran, for example).

    The post-September 11 Western approach to Arab reform is essentially the same one employed so ineffectually in the 1990s, notwithstanding the deafening and misleading rhetoric. Indeed, Western-sponsored reforms have perversely worked to enhance the legitimacy of the Arab rulers: enabling them to project a "democratic" facade to their domestic critics and to the international community. In Egypt and Jordan in the 1990s, for example, while aid flowed, human-rights conditions actually deteriorated and the rulers further marginalized their political opponents.

    At first glance, some current American and European reform initiatives seem worthwhile. In recent months, for example, the US State Department has highlighted a new Middle East Partnership (MEPI), which will spend hundreds of millions of dollars on Arab reform, broadly defined. In Bahrain last September, MEPI sponsored a judicial reform conference for 200 representatives of Arab justice ministries. Conference participants discussed various aspects of Western judicial practice, including judicial ethics, the recruitment of judges and court administration. The premise of the State Department is that such promotion of Westernized notions of "the rule of law" will contribute to the eventual democratization and Westernization of Middle Eastern polities. That may - or may not - be the case in the long run, as Arab officials absorb Western political and legal values in the coming decades.

    But in the short and medium term, the current Western aid projects do nothing more than burnish and enhance the repressive status quo. Since Arab rulers thoroughly dominate their judiciaries and parliaments, the upgrading of judicial and parliamentary procedures mean little or nothing - at least in terms of genuine democratization. Indeed, the aid projects enable rulers to claim that they are democratizing and modernizing, while political conditions in fact continue to deteriorate in major Arab states.

    In the end, Western governments may well have little or no power to promote substantial reforms in Arab countries. But given the failures of the gradualist aid approach in the past decade or so, only a more aggressive policy - that of political conditionality - has any hope of contributing to real democratization in the region. In other words, the provision of foreign aid and the expansion of trade ties should be conditioned on genuine political liberalization and democratization. Such progress would include meeting well-defined benchmarks in terms of respecting human rights and press freedoms, allowing free and fair parliamentary elections, and the implementation of constitutional curbs on executive power.

    Arab rulers may well refuse to participate in such an intrusive program. But even that eventuality would be preferable to the current "democracy" activities, which simply seem to perpetuate a dangerous and dysfunctional status quo.


    Bradley Glasser is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and author of Economic Development and Political Reform: The Impact of External Capital on the Middle East (Edward Elgar, 2001).

    [Copyright 2005 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.]
              Tomato fest in town        
    The tomatoes are here – they really are. Bahrain’s had a bumper harvest this year and prices have hit rock bottom. This this year’s harvest has been quite exceptional – and very colourful – and prompted organisers of the”Saturday Market” to hold a “Tomato festival”yesterday. Though nowhere near the famous La Tomatina festival held in...
              Bahrain’s Greens        
    We visited the local Central Vegetable Market this morning. Normally, we would do the grocery shopping from one of the supermarkets but looked towards Bahrain’s local winter produce this time round – at least for the vegetables. What we got was very fresh and ‘life-like’, particularly the celery, the tomatoes and the baby tomatoes. Though...
              Tea Time Tales        
    Traders, workers and shoppers take a break from their schedule over cups of tea, Arabic coffee and gossip in Bahrain’s bustling Central Market. The country’s only facility where fruits and vegetables from all over the region and beyond first arrive is a must-visit for anyone looking for the freshest-possible produce at affordable cost.Filed under: Picture...
              HUMAN RIGHTS IN 2011: THE CIRI REPORT        
    The CIRI Human Rights Data Project has released its ratings of government respect for 16 internationally-recognized human rights in almost every country in the world for the year 2011.  The CIRI Project’s data stretch back, annually, to 1981 and can be freely accessed at

    The CIRI data are used by governments, scholars, international organizations, businesses, think tanks, and students the world over for a variety of purposes.  The project is co-directed by Dr. David L. Cingranelli (Binghamton University), Dr. David L. Richards (University of Connecticut), and Dr. K. Chad Clay (University of Georgia). 

    This data release has also been accompanied by a number of changes at the CIRI Project.  A new country was added to the data for 2011 (South Sudan), and, reflecting the addition of a new co-director (K. Chad Clay) in Fall 2012, the project’s citation has changed.  Perhaps most importantly, CIRI’s release schedule has changed.  In the future, data updates will be issued annually in January to cover the year that began two years previous.  As such, the 2012 ratings will be released in January 2014.

    Below, we present four stories from the 2011 data:


    All 14 of CIRI’s individual indicators of particular human rights can be summed into an overall human rights score for each country in the world.  The best score a country can receive is 30, representing high respect for all 14 human rights; the worst score is 0, representing very low respect for all 14 human rights.  The world average was 17, and the USA scored 24 (tied for the 7th highest score, but still ranking behind 37 countries).  Below are the best and worst of 2011.

    Top 9 Countries – Overall Respect
    Luxembourg [30]
    Netherlands [29]
    New Zealand [29]
    San Marino [29]
    Andorra [28]
    Australia [28]
    Denmark [28]
    Iceland [28]
    Norway [28]

    Bottom 9 Countries – Overall Respect
    Iran [1]
    Eritrea [2]
    Saudi Arabia [2]
    Burma [3]
    China [3]
    Libya [3]
    Yemen [3]
    Democratic People's Republic of Korea [4]
    Syria [4]


    The CIRI Physical Integrity Rights Index measures government respect for the freedoms from torture, extrajudicial killing, political imprisonment, and disappearance. It varies from 0 (no respect for physical integrity rights) to 8 (full respect for physical integrity rights).  Overall, government respect for physical integrity declined in 2011, as the mean score on the physical integrity rights index fell from 5.01 in 2010 to 4.82 in 2011.  In particular, respect for physical integrity rights saw the following dramatic changes in 2010-2011:

    Largest Declines in Respect for Physical Integrity Rights
    Bahrain [-5]
    Djibouti [-3]
    Egypt [-3]
    Republic of Korea [-3]
    Libya [-3]
    Mauritania [-3]
    Oman [-3]

    Largest Improvements in Respect for Physical Integrity Rights
    Panama [+4]
    Croatia [+3]
    Belarus [+2]
    Nepal [+2]
    Togo [+2]

    Further, as these lists suggest, it would appear that changes in government respect for physical integrity rights in 2011 were not evenly distributed across the globe.  Indeed, as demonstrated below, South Asian states experienced a net improvement in average government respect for physical integrity, while some of the largest declines in government respect for physical integrity rights were concentrated in the Near East & North Africa:

    Average Change in Respect for Physical Integrity Rights by Region
    Africa [-0.04]
    East Asia & the Pacific [-0.12]
    Europe & Eurasia [0]
    Near East & North Africa [-1.37]
    South Asia [+0.25]
    Western Hemisphere [-0.11]


    Beginning in Tunisia in December 2010, the wave of demonstrations, protests, and conflicts known as the “Arab Spring” swept through the Arab world in 2011.  What effect did this have on respect for human rights in the Near East and North Africa (as defined by the US State Department)?  Table 1 displays the change in the overall human rights score, as well as in the CIRI Physical Integrity Rights Index, from 2010 to 2011. 

    As can be seen, most states in the region demonstrated reduced respect for human rights in 2011, particularly those states that experienced some of the highest levels of unrest that year, e.g. Bahrain, Libya, and Egypt.  Of course, other states, like Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, already had extremely low scores on our indicators and thus, had little room to move down.  On the other hand, Tunisia experienced a large increase in its overall human rights score, owing to the overthrow of its government early in the year and the elections held in October.  However, this was not enough to overcome the high level of physical integrity rights abuse that accompanied the protests early in the year, which led to a decrease in respect for physical integrity rights from an already low score of 3 in 2010 to 2 in 2011.
    CIRI also annually codes two measures of internationally-recognized women’s rights: women’s political rights and women’s economic rights.  The women’s political rights measure is aimed at capturing the degree to which government laws and practices ensure that women enjoy the rights to vote, to run for political office, to hold elected and appointed government positions, to join political parties, and to petition government officials.  The women’s economic rights measure captures the degree to which government laws and practices ensure that women enjoy equal pay for equal work, free choice of profession or employment, the right to gainful employment, equality in hiring and promotion, job security, freedom from discrimination by employers, freedom from sexual harassment, and the right to work in dangerous professions, including working at night and working in the military and police forces.
    Our two measures of women’s rights moved in opposite directions in 2011.  While women’s political rights improved for the second straight year, women’s economic rights suffered a setback after two consecutive years of improvement.  Indeed, this is in keeping with these measures’ performance over time.  As shown in the graph below, respect for women’s economic rights has lagged behind respect for women’s political rights consistently since 1981.  However, that gap has widened with time, as respect for women’s political rights has consistently grown while respect for women’s economic rights has remained relatively flat.
    Note: The shapefile used to construct the above map comes from Weidmann, Kuse, and Gleditsch’s cshapes, version 0.4-2.  The map was made using Pisati’s spmap package in Stata 12.1.  Another version of this post can be viewed at the The Quantitative Peace.

              HUMAN RIGHTS IN 2010: THE CIRI REPORT        
    In conjunction with Human Rights Day, 2011, the CIRI Human Rights Data Project releases its ratings of government respect for 16 internationally-recognized human rights in almost every country in the world for the year 2010. The CIRI project's data stretch back, annually, to 1981 and can be freely accessed at

    The CIRI data are used by governments, scholars, international organizations, businesses, think tanks, and students the world over for a wide variety of purposes. The project is Co-Directed by Dr. David L. Cingranelli (Binghamton University) and Dr. David L. Richards (University of Connecticut) and assisted by Senior CIRI Associate K. Chad Clay (University of Georgia). Any inquiries may be addressed to

    Below, we present four types of stories from this year's released data:

    THE BEST AND WORST of 2010

    All 14 of CIRI's indicators of particular human rights can be summed into an overall human rights score for each country in the world. The top (best) score a country can receive is 30, while the worst score would be 0. The world average was 18 and the USA scored 26 (tied for 5th place). Below are the best and worst of 2010.

    Top 13 Countries:

    Denmark [30]
    Iceland [30]
    Austria [29]
    New Zealand [29]
    Norway [29]
    Australia [28]
    Belgium [28]
    Finland [28]
    Liechtenstein [28]
    Luxembourg [28]
    Netherlands [28]
    San Marino [28]
    Sweden [28]

    Bottom 10 Countries:

    Burma [2]
    Eritrea [2]
    Iran [2]
    China [3]

    Korea, Democratic People's Republic of [3]
    Yemen [3]
    Zimbabwe [3]
    Saudi Arabia [4]
    Congo, Democratic Republic of [5]
    Nigeria [5]


    On May 20, 2011, the United Nations elected 15 new members of the UN Human Rights Council. Here are their total CIRI human rights scores for 2010, out of a possible 30 points. Six out of the fifteen new members had scores below the world average of 18 for the year 2010. Below are the scores for each new member:

    Austria         [29]
    Benin          [16]
    Botswana     [22]
    Burkina Faso    [20]
    Republic of Congo  [18]  
    Chile             [26]
    Costa Rica     [26]
    Czech Republic   [24]
    India               [10]
    Indonesia        [13]
    Italy               [24]
    Kuwait          [11]
    Peru              [18]
    Philippines     [15]
    Romania        [17]


    The CIRI Index of Physical Integrity Rights measure's a government's overall level of respect for four rights: torture, extrajudicial killing, political imprisonment, disappearance. The index ranges from 0 (no respect for any of these four rights) to 8 (full respect for all four of these rights). In 2008-2009, the world saw an overall average increase in these rights of .047. However, a reversal of this improvement was seen from 2009-2010, with it's overall average decline in respect of -.031. In particular 2009-2010 saw the following dramatic changes:

    Three Countries Lost 3 Points (Violations Increased)


    Seven Countries Gained 2 Points (Violations Decreased)


    The fact that the CIRI data stretch back in time to 1981 allows for longitudinal comparison. For example, the graph below shows how regional averages of respect for physical integrity rights have changed over the years:


    An important part of this overall decline in respect for physical integrity rights comes from a continuing degradation, globally, of respect for the right not to be tortured. For example, 2009-2010 saw 17 countries engage in more torture, while only 8 engaged in less torture. Below is the list of these countries. CIRI's indicator of government respect for torture is as follows: (0) Frequent/systematic torture, (1) Moderate/occasional torture (2) No reported/confirmed episodes of

    Increased Torture, 2009-2010

    Congo, Republic of
    Korea, Republic of
    Kyrgyz Republic
    Marshall Islands
    Sierra Leone

    Decreased Torture, 2009-2010

    Czech Republic       
    Micronesia, Federated States of       

    This trend in the greater use of torture is not a post-9/11 phenomenon, however. The chart below shows the increased use of torture beginning in the early 1980s. The extent of the drop in respect for this right differed by region and is seen to be particularly acute in Africa.

              Mehlville School District Loses Record Number of Teachers        
    An empty classroom is pictured at the Hutin primary school in Manama on September 30, 2009. Like other Gulf states, Bahrain postponed the new academic year due to swine flu (H1N1) influenza, affecting many kindergarten teacher with temporary contracts who are not getting paid. AFP PHOTO/ADAM JAN (Photo credit should read ADAM JAN/AFP/Getty Images)Interim Superintendent Norm Ridder says teachers have left for higher paying jobs in the Lindbergh and Rockwood school districts.
              The Doha Problem        
    The WTO has just published the request by Qatar for consultations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia concerning their trade restrictions. I quickly skimmed through the requests and found a few interesting points: This is the second...
              Westliche Doppelstandards: Warum amerikanische Waffen an Bahrain etwas ganz anderes sind als russische an Syrien        



     Die USA haben ihre Waffenverkäufe an Bahrain wieder aufgenommen. Aber natürlich werden korrekt nur Schiffe und Flugzeugmotoren geliefert, also Dinge, mit denen man nicht auf Demonstranten schießt, wie das US-Außenministerium betont, wengleich man sich über die genauen Details …

              Amerikanische PR-Firma soll arabischen Frühling aufhalten        

    Die Herrscher Bahrains  versuchen den arabischen Frühling ganz modern und elegant mit Hilfe der amerikanischen PR Firma Qarvis aufzuhalten und ihr angeschlagenes Image aufzupolieren. Kostenpunkt: 40.000 Dollar im Monat.   Qorvis selbst wirbt mit dem Solgan „Integrierte Stragegien, um ihnen …

              Revolutionäre Fischläden, hoffentlich demnächst auch in Libyen, Bahrain und Damaskus        

    Foto: El-Gawhary

    Sorry für die lange Pause. Ich hatte einfach zu viel an anderen Medienfronten zu kämpfen, so dass ich nicht dazu gekommen bin an meinem Blog weiterzuarbeiten. Ich gelobe Besserung und fange gleich heute mit diesem Foto an, dass …

              Arabische Welt im Aufstand: Hilfe, mir wird schwindelig. Ich weiß gar nicht wohin ich zuerst blicken soll        

    Es geht Alles so rasend schnell. Soll man heute nach Bahrain blicken, wo die Toten von gestern begraben werden und sich die Begräbnisfeiern wahrscheinlich zu einem neuen Höhepunkt der Demonstrationen gegen den König entwickeln werden. Schon gestern nachdem der Lulu …

              Polizei räumt „Platz der Perle“ in Bahrain        

    Die Szenen erinnern sehr an den Tahrir-Platz in Kairo. Um drei Uhr morgens griff die Polizei den Platz der Perle in Manama, der Hauptstadt von Bahrain an, auf dem sich die Demonstranten gestern mit Zelten eingerichtet hatten. Nach Angaben der …

              Next events 21 – 22 November        

    FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP 6 Hours of Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit

    La entrada Next events 21 – 22 November aparece primero en Al kamel Systems.

               Bahrain This week         
    Treasury Manager, Bahrain 
    About the Client My client is a Government owned organisation in the Oil and Gas Industry who are looking to develop their Treasury Department in Bahrain. You can be one of the chosen few who are experts in the treasury arena. 
    Treasury Manager Reporting to the CFO, the chosen candidate will be required to  establish and maintain a full-fledged treasury function. 
    Role Description 
    • Develop, review and monitor cash flow forecasts ensuring that the Company's cash flow is adequate to allow it to operate efficiently 
    • Manage all cash management functions including cash concentration, wires, account funding etc. 
    • Ensure adequate liquidity for working capital needs and manage investment of short term excess cash
    • Manage foreign exchange, commodity exposures etc. in line with the Corporate framework 
    • Evaluate, develop and implement cash management systems to optimize efficiencies, including new technologies, products and services to improve cash cycle etc.
    • Manage short term and long term funding requirements. 
    • Manage and demonstrate compliance with all covenants on external loan agreements
    • Maintain, review and monitor comprehensive counter party credit risk / limit policies and procedures 
    • Develop, maintain and manage relationships with Financial Institutions and key service providers 
    • Forecasting the impact of future events etc. on the Company's covenant position 
    • Maintain robust treasury controls and procedures, developing risk and controls matrix and associated process documentation 
    • Develop and test appropriate business continuity procedures for treasury operations 
    • Development and improvement of existing processes around compliance reporting 
    • Ownership and development of treasury reporting The Successful Applicant
    • Experience in cash management and funding 
    • Strong analytical, financial and system related skills
    • Strong management skills with the ability to lead cohesive and productive teams.
    • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to communicate at all levels of the organization with diplomacy and tact.
    • Good understanding of corporate risk management techniques 
    • Strong IT skills with experience in development, testing and roll out of treasury systems Requirements 
    • Degree in Finance/Accounting 
    • Professional Qualification (CA, CPA and/or Treasury related professional qualifications) is essential. 
    • Minimum 7 years managerial experience with large international businesses, specifically within group treasury function (Oil and Gas Industry knowledge and/or experience would be an advantage) 
    • Additional Qualification in Risk Management (preferable) 
    Please send Word CVs and cover letters to
    Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 
    For further details on these vacancies or for more information on our services please contact us on +973 17565363 or email a Word format CV to one of our experienced consultants at
    For more jobs kindly refer to our website: 
    ENGINEERS, FINANCE, IT, Nurses, Construction Professionals in high demand in Canada/ Australia. Permanent Residency with job opportunities. Send CV to or call 17296839 
    ARCH GATE looking for Civil Structural Engineer as a Project Manager. Bachelor of Civil Engineering, 5 years Bahrain experience. Send CV to:
    REQUIRED DRIVER and Filipina Secretary for office. Tel. 36406688 
    AC TECHNICIAN in repairing all types of AC's and chiller units. Walk-in interview, 8am-1pm, Tel. 17728144 
    BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT Manager with experience required Real Estate Development Company. Call 39717719 
    URGENTLY REQUIRED Senior Architect, Structural Engineer and Draftsman. Send CV to email: 
    FEMALE THERAPIST required for Wellness Centre in Juffair. Visa + salary + accommodation & commission. Send CV to: 
    URGENTLY REQUIRED: A reputed organization in Bahrain urgently requires Civil Supervisor-structural work, Piping Supervisor- DI underground work, Draftsman, Document Controller, 5 years of GCC experience. Contact 36494122, Email: (Locally available candidates preferred). 
    REQUIRED DRIVER cum Helper for Electrical Shop. Contact Tel. 39845111 
    URGENTLY REQUIRED Security guards with Hotel experience. Send CV to HRRECR@HOTMAIL.COM, Tel: 17820974
    REQUIRED FEMALE Secretary for a Reputed Company, experienced in office works with good communication skills. Send CV to: 
    PLUMBER REQUIRED immediately for a Construction Company. Contact 36058895  
    URGENTLY LOOKING for Secretary cum Sales Executive for Trading & Marketing company. Candidates may forward CV to 
    EXEPERIENCED FILIPINO Male Nurse required for Industrial Clinic. Apply on
    STAFF REQUIRED urgently for Coffee Shops and Juice Making shops. Candidate should have experience in Coffee making/ servicing and juice making and should be available in Bahrain, to process recruitment quickly. Salary negotiable. Filipino men and ladies preferred. Please send CV with photograph to email:
    FMCG COMPANY requires Sales Executive and Van Sales & Merchandiser. Experience & valid license required. Email: 
    URGENTLY REQUIRED Experienced Pharmacist with Bahrain NHRA License. Email: 
    MUSIC TEACHERS required part-time (9am-1pm) for keyboard, Carnatic & Hindustani music, violin & dance for a reputed institute. Email: 
    A REPUTED Building Materials Manufacturer is looking for results-oriented Business Development Manager to be based in Bahrain. Personnel with 7+ years GCC experience in the field of Construction and Building Materials may apply with their CV and recent photographs to                                   :::::::::::::::::::::::
    CANADA, USA, UK Consultancy- PR, Jobs Opportunity, Education. Send CV:
    TRAINING CENTRE in Bahrain looking for full time English Teachers. Native speakers preferred. Send CV to: 
    REQUIRED EXPERIENCED Quantity Surveyor. Successful candidate should be able to: Perform risk, value management and cost control. Advise on a procurement strategy. Undertake cost analysis for repair and maintenance project work. Allocate work to subcontractors; Provide advice on contractual claims; Analyze outcomes and write detailed progress reports; Value completed work and arrange payments; Effectively manage variation and change control; Maintain awareness of the different building contracts in current use, specifically FIDIC. Applicant must have Good communication skills, minimum 5 years experience.
     For those interested, please, send your CV to :
    FEMALE SECRETARY with good English and office work experience, salary BD280/-. Send CV with photo to: 
    EXPERIENCED BURGER Chef & Waiter required. Contact : 39000977, 33736742 
    FILIPINA WAITRESS with pleasing personality required for a First Class Restaurant. Age between 20-28. Good salary + accommodation + food & transportation. Email:

               Orthopedic Doctor / GP Doctor Et Radiographer , Bahrain        
    Job Title: 
    • Orthopedic Doctor
    • GP Doctor Et Radiographer
     Job Location: Bahrain
    Read more »
               Graphic Designer/ GTO OPerator/Cutting Machine OPTR/Binders/Accountant , Bahrain -Overseas Recruitment        

              O Portugal rosa da Altice | O COMANDO É DELES?        

    Miguel Guedes* | Jornal de Notícias | opinião

    AAltice transborda de "vertente humana" mas só pelo nome da empresa de recursos humanos especialista em trabalho temporário com a qual contracena. Aberta a porta de saída para os despedimentos em massa, a Altice acena aos futuros despedidos da PT, enviando uma cenoura roída em forma de panfleto: "Se tem um amigo ou familiar (...) que está à procura de emprego, esta é a oportunidade de trabalhar ao lado da (...) MEO com contrato de trabalho temporário (...). Saiba tudo sobre este desafio". Não há muito mais para saber. O que a Altice pretende fazer é uma ilegalidade, promovendo descaradamente um dos maiores processos de despedimento e precarização do trabalho em Portugal, sem qualquer pejo em aliciar os mesmos trabalhadores que pretende despedir. Compete ao Governo decidir, de uma vez por todas, se o comando é mesmo da MEO.

    A forma como comandamos as portas de saída diz bem sobre quem as atravessa mas também sobre quem as abre. Tanto na Europa, como nos EUA ou no Médio Oriente. No Reino Unido, a ideia fundamental que preside ao processo de negociação com a UE relativamente ao Brexit é a de que os conservadores britânicos não fazem a mais pequena ideia de como querem sair. Arrastados para um processo de dúvidas, os "tories" procuram pagar o menos possível sem saber como fazer contas, adiando as negociações que deveriam ter começado no pós-referendo. E esta parece ser a única certeza: a falta de preparação para a saída arrasta o Reino Unido para a divisão interna.

    No Médio Oriente, Israel ameaça silenciar a Al-Jazeera após o primeiro-ministro Netanyahu acusar - sem prova aparente - o canal de notícias árabe de incitamento à violência. O que antes fora uma relação relativamente pacífica que permitia a Israel apresentar-se ao comando dos "trunfos democráticos", transformou-se agora numa arma de arremesso no isolamento que o mundo árabe começa a fazer ao Qatar, base da cadeia televisiva (Arábia Saudita, Egipto, Bahrain e os Emirados Árabes Unidos baniram recentemente a Al-Jazeera). Resta saber se Israel tem a pretensão de pensar que nem sequer precisa de comunicar com o mundo árabe ou se Netanyahu pretende passar mais facilmente entre a chuva corrosiva dos seus mais recentes escândalos de corrupção. Ou se a ocupação da Palestina será, longe das câmaras, convenientemente menos visível.

    Nos EUA, enquanto cresce o grau de descontentamento com a sua governação, Trump recruta Kayleigh McEnamy à CNN para um autêntico canal de propaganda que faria corar o estimado líder norte-coreano. Racista, misógina, reconhecida apoiante de Trump, a comentadora abandona as "fake news" para a "twilight zone" da TRUMP TV. E da noite para o dia, entrega-nos agora as "notícias reais" ao som de uma marcha de propaganda, directamente da Trump Tower. Porque o comando também é dele.

    *Músico e jurista

    O autor escreve segundo a antiga ortografia

              Qatar Enlists a New Ally in Its Diplomatic Crisis: 4,000 Cows        

    Qatar, the subject of a crippling blockade by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, will welcome 4,000 herbivorous foreigners in the coming months to help fulfill the country’s dairy demands. Arriving on a Qatar Airways flight from Germany via Budapest, the first batch of 165 cows landed in the tiny Gulf nation on Tuesday and were promptly transported to a newly built dairy facility.

    Dairy products found in Qatari supermarkets used to be imported from neighboring Saudi Arabia. But on June 5, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar and imposed the land, air, and sea blockade of their neighbor. Doha, the capital of the primarily oil-exporting economy, rejected a list of 13 demands as preconditions for lifting the sanctions, so the blockade continues.

    According to one estimate, more than 99 percent of Qatar’s food is imported, primarily through its land border with Saudi Arabia. Although the Qatari government promises that there’s enough Ben & Jerry’s to keep the country of 2.7 million people happy, news of the blockade led many Qataris to stock up on supplies. “I’ve never seen anything like it – people have trolleys full of food and water,” one Qatari shopper told Doha News on the day the blockade was announced. Even as the blockade put Qatari shoppers on edge, it presented a business opportunity for others.

    According to Bloomberg, the Qatari firm Power International Holding purchased the cows from Europe to be flown in via 60 flights. Chairman Moutaz al-Khayyat says he expects the cows to meet 30 percent of the country’s dairy demand. Qatar has also been seeking new trade routes, importing yogurt from Turkey and meat and fruit from Morocco and Iran. A rival to Saudi Arabia’s ambitions in the Middle East, Iran has also granted Qatar access to three of its ports, and Turkey flew four cargo planes of food to Qatar immediately after the blockade began. “New import arrangements have been made with different countries including Turkey to ensure uninterrupted supply of food products,” a representative of Qatar’s Lulu supermarket chain told the Peninsula in June.

    Qatar, which currently boasts the highest per capita income in the world, has continued to dismiss the blockade’s economic toll. Even as the Gulf country has been hit with a ratings downgrade over the crisis, its leaders and people insist on its resilience.

    “Even if we don’t import or export for the next year, we have enough materials to cover our infrastructure and private sector projects,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani told Al Jazeera earlier this month.

    “It’s a message of defiance, that we don’t need others. Our government has made sure we have no shortages and we are grateful for that. We have no fear. No one will die of hunger,” Qatari resident Umma Issa told Bloomberg.

    And although the cows might enjoy their new surroundings, hundreds of camels have reportedly died from starvation and thirst after their Qatari farmers were kicked out of Saudi Arabia. According to the Independent, the Qatari government was able to save 8,000 stranded camels, but many died en route across the desert.

    Maybe Qatar Airways’ cattle car isn’t a bad way to travel after all.

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              Kommentar zu Formel 1 – Motorsport kompakt erklärt von Dekra kauft den Lausitzring! » Auto-Natives        
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              Once again, not in my name.        
     An outraged John Kerry having dinner with Assad, yesterday

    After two years of civil war in Syria, our Parliament has been recalled to debate yet more military action in the Middle East. Our dish faced "man of the people" Prime Minister, desperate to add yet more war to his CV is keen to teach those pesky Arabs a lesson from the comfort of his armchair, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and all the other Middle Eastern hotspots are still burning after being bombed back into the middle ages. Egypt stands on the brink of civil war, Yemen, Bahrain, the Sudan...the list is endless. As if bombing these people back to the middle ages is a known and trusted cure to the worlds ills.

    Well, Sir, once again, you do so without my consent. Like Blair before him, his eyes are only the glory and riches of a military victory against a people not important enough to actually care about - he may as well order cruise missile strikes against squabbling Amazonian tribes for all the difference it will make to the region. I've written at the Backbencher that the only cure against Islamism is the same cure we used to rid ourselves of religious fanatics - industrial progress and capitalism - now we have to somehow remove the millennium old vendettas of warring tribes intent on wiping each other off the face of the planet for the sake of a few more acres of goat infested desert rocks.

    Assad is a monster tolerated and venerated ( like Saddam, Gaddafi, Iranian Shah et. al before him) by the West and the Soviets in our century long battles of imperialism and colonialism. Where T E Lawrence failed, our Politicians suddenly feel they can succeed in uniting the Arabs in a cosy little democratic union, tugging it's forelock at us whilst we extract the last of their mineral wealth to support our bloated States appetite for ever more riches.

    Leave Syria alone. That simple. Yes, people are going to die but they are Syrians. And when the Syrians have had enough pain, they will make their peace with their various tribes, call their truces and resume their lives. We have no idea who are the good guys, if any actually exist there at all or what any victorious tribe is likely to look like - it is simply madness to walk into a bar fight and arm everyone with pick axe handles and hope the nice guys win.

    Of course, we cannot resist. A seat at the top table of the UN Security Council is a license to inflict your military machines on anyone of whom you disapprove or cannot make enough money from (how is Bahrain by the way, Hague?) and Cameron wants nothing more than a statue of himself, glorious in victory after defeating a few tent dwellers in the barren desert with laser guided bunker busters dropped from 40,000 feet. Cameron, the only job of our military is to defend OUR borders and OUR private property. It is not their role to wander the planet kicking hornets nests to see if we can install productive bees instead.

              Iran Daily, Jan 9: "Enemy Staged Attack on Saudi Embassy"        

    PHOTO: Tehran Friday Prayer leader Ayatollah Emami Kashani


    Trying to limit the fallout from last weekend's attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, Iran's clerics suggested on Friday that the "enemy" had staged the protests which burned and ransacked part of the complex.

    The attack has fed a dispute within the regime over the downturn in Iran-Saudi relations, including the breaking of diplomatic relations by Riyadh and several other countries. President Rouhani has pressed for an investigation to identify those responsible --- which could include elements within the regime --- while others have tried to maintain the focus on Saudi "crimes", including Riyadh's role in regional crises in Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain.

    In the Tehran Friday Prayer, Ayatollah Emami Kashani suggested that Saudi Arabia, seeking a diplomatic row with Iran "from the beginning", and its allies arranged the Embassy assault:

    It is clear that the attack on the Saudi embassy in Iran was carried out on behalf of infiltrators. Perhaps they used ignorant people in this attack....[They] guided and led this offense and wanted this to happen in order to throw the ball that had fallen into the Saudi court [with the execution of 47 detainees] back into Iran’s court.

    That way the enemy could have the higher hand and could then move to sever diplomatic relations with Iran.

    Emami Kashani blamed "young and ignorant rulers" in the region and claimed “three pillars” of “plots” against Islam: Saudi Arabia, "the planners" of Israel, and the "investors" of the US.

    The line was echoed in the Friday Prayer in Qazvin. Ayatollah Abedini aruged, “Perhaps the Saudis wanted to commit some mischief from inside the embassy....We do not want officials to underestimate the mischief of America and the Saudis.”

    A Week of Turmoil

    Hours after Saudi Arabia executed 47 detainees including a prominent Shia cleric last Saturday, a crowd gathered in front of the embassy and threw Molotov cocktails before raiding some offices. The protest appeared to have been supported by elements within the regime, with security being withdrawn just before the demonstrators assembled.

    On Sunday, as Saudi Arabia cut relations with Iran, President Rouhani said the attack by "extremists" was "unjustified". Initially, his call was overshadowed by anti-Saudi rhetoric, including the Supreme Leader's equation of Riyadh and the Islamic State.

    By the next day, even the Revolutionary Guards were suggesting that the protests were not spontaneous --- as the regime initially claimed --- but organized by some deviant group.

    Trying to take control of the issue from hardliners, Rouhani called on the head of judiciary to launch an investigation to identify and punish the perpetrators. At the same time, the Cabinet banned imports from Saudi Arabia.

    (Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translations)

    Bahrain's Gulf Air Suspends Flights to Iran

    Bahrain's Gulf Air has suspended flights to Iran from next Thursday. Mohammad Khodakarami, an official with Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, said Gulf Air had informed the CAO by letter of the cut-off. Last week, Bahrain followed Saudi Arabia in breaking diplomatic relations with Iran. The Saudis have also suspended commercial ties with Tehran. Khodakarami said Gulf Air also requested that all flights by Iranian airlines to Bahrain be suspended from Thursday. Gulf Air currently operates 14 flights each week, with destinations in Tehran, Mashhad, and Shiraz.

    Supreme Leader Admits, "Some Iranians Might Not Accept Me"

    Urging Iranians to vote in February's elections, the Supreme Leader has made an unprecedented admission, "There might be people not accepting me, but they also participate."

    Speaking in the holy city of Qom, Ayatollah Khamenei said before 2013's Presidential ballot that some in Iran might not believe in the Islamic Republic, but this is the first time that he has said they might not accept his leadership.

    The February elections are for Parliament and the Assembly of Experts, the body that chooses the Supreme Leader. They have prompted bitter in-fighting within the regime between hardliners and supporters of President Rouhani and former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

    The Supreme Leader effectively supported the hardline rhetoric of a "sedition" threatening the Islamic Republic by referring to the disputed 2009 Presidential election and the mass protests that followed it: "The 2009 post-election event was an unsuccessful color revolution coup d'etat."

    Like the hardliners, he linked this to a warning about this year's vote:

    A widespread front of enemy is standing before us, from heads of the Zionist regime and US Government to Daesh [the Islamic State] and Takfiri agents. All their analyses are focused on ways to uproot the robust tree of the Islamic Revolution.

    Award-Winning Poet Sedighi Arrested

    Award-winning poet Hila Sedighi has been arrested as she returned to Iran from a foreign trip. Sedighi, whose poem "Do You Still Love Iran?" was prominent amid the protests after the disputed 2000 Presidential election, was arrested on Thursday at the airport. Since last September the Revolutionary Guards and judiciary have detained a series of journalists, artists, businessmen, and activists in a crackdown on dissent. Another female poet, Fatemeh Ekhtesari, has been given a nine-year prison term and lashes for a handshake and a kiss of greeting with a man who is not a member of her family. Sedighi reading one of her poems:

              Menjawab Syubhat Tentang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (3)        
    Syubhat 6

    Mereka menyatakan: “Karena seringnya ia meriwayatkan hadits, Ummul Mukminin ‘A’isyah dan para sahabat yang utama menuduhnya sebagai berbicara tak keruan (mazzah), berbohong (kadzdzab) dan lain-lain. Umar mengancam akan memukul dan mengasingkannya apabila ia meriwayatkan hadits. Ia sendiri mengaku tidak berani mengucapkan sebuah hadits di zaman Umar. Ummul Mukminin ‘A’isyah mengatakan bahwa ia tidak pernah mendengar Rasul bercerita seperti yang disampaikan Abu Hurairah. ‘Ali menamakannya pembohong umat. Demikian juga tokoh-tokoh yang terdahulu. (36)

    Juga menyatakan: “Hadits-hadits yang disampaikan Abu Hurairah, menurut Abu Muhammad bin Hazm berjumlah 5374 buah. Bila dibandingkan dengan seluruh hadits yang disampaikan oleh keempat Khulafa’ur-Rasyidin, jumlah ini sangat banyak. Abu Bakar, misalnya, menyampaikan 142 hadits (yang dimasukkan dalam Bukhari, 22), ‘Umar 537 hadits (yang dianggap shahih, 50), ‘Utsman 146 (Bukhari memasukkan 9 hadits, Muslim 5), dan ‘Ali 586 hadits (yang diangap shahih 50); semuanya hanya 1411 hadits dan itu berarti Cuma 21 % dari jumlah hadits yang disampaikan Abu Hurairah seorang diri. Dan jumlah ini hampir sama dengan jumlah ayat-ayat Al Qur’an.

    Sebagai perbandingan, maka seluruh hadits yang disampaikan Abu Bakar selama 20 tahun pergaulannya dengan Rasul, hanya diperoleh Abu Hurairah dalam 16,7 hari duduk di Shuffah setelah ia menganut Islam, ‘Umar dalam 63,1 hari, ‘Utsman dalam 17,1 hari, ‘Ali dalam 68,9 hari, Tholhah bin ‘Ubaidilah dalam 4,4 hari, Salman al-Farisi dalam 7 hari. Zubair bin al Awaam dalam 1,1 hari, ‘Abdurraohman bin ‘Auf dalam 1 hari. Dan seluruh haditsnya baru diucapkannya hampir 30 tahun sesudah Rasul Allah SHALLALLAHU’ALAIHI WASALLAM wafat, sebagaimana pengakuannya, karena sekembalinya dari Bahrain dia tidak diperkenankan mengobral haditsnya. (37)


    Apakah benar para sahabat utama menuduh Abu Hurairah berdusta? Sebagaimana dituduhkan diatas. Itu semua tidak benar, sebab para sahabat besar seperti Abu Bakar, ‘Umar dan lain-lainnya memberikan pengakuan dan menerima hadits Abu Hurairah. Sedangkan riwayat mereka menuduh Abu Hurairah berdusta diriwayatkan dari Al Nadzam atau Bisyr Al Mirrisi atau Abu Ja’far Al Iskafi yang merupakan musuh besar penentang Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

    Adapun yang dinisbatkan kepada ‘Umar bahwa beliau mengancam akan memukul dan mengasingkannya apabila ia meriwayatkan hadits diambil dari kitab lbnu ‘Asakir, bahwa Umar bin Al Khaththab Radhiallahu’anhu berkata kepada Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu: “Engkau akan sungguh-sungguh tidak meriwayatkan hadits dari Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam, atau aku pulangkan anda ke negeri Daus?” Dan kitab Ibnu ‘Asakir termasuk yang banyak memuat hadits-hadits dhaif (lemah), bahkan maudhu’ (palsu). Jika benar pernyataan tersebut, dapat difahami, bahwa kekhawatiran Umar Radhiallahu’anhu itu terhadap hadits-hadits yang terkadang dibuat oleh orang (yang diletakkan) bukan pada tempatnya, disebabkan mereka banyak membicarakan hadits-hadits yang mengandung masalah rukhsah (keringanan dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam), juga karena (dikhawatirkan) jika seseorang memperbanyak meriwayatkan hadits mungkin terjadi kesalahan atau kekeliruan, lalu orang-orang meriwayatkannya atau yang semisalnya. (38)

    Namun, tampaknya zhahir kisah ini menunjukkan, bila hadits ini merupakan kepalsuan yang dilakukan oleh Rafidhah yang ingin menampakkan kesan kebencian Umar Radhiallahu’anhu kepada hadits-hadits Rasul Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Kemudian pernyataan Umar Radhiallahu’anhu sendiri menjadi bukti yang menunjukkan adanya kontradiksi isi kandungannya. Artinya, ancaman Umar Radhiallahu’anhu kepada Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu dengan mengasingkannya ke negeri Daus tanah airnya tidaklah perlu, sebab pengasingan itu tidak tepat. Juga, periwayatan hadits-hadits tidak membutuhkan nasihat Umar Radhiallahu’anhu, jika dimaksudkan untuk menjaga hadits-hadits Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Bila yang diriwayatkan Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu itu tidak shahih, tidak benar pula Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu menghindari daerah Daus, sebuah negeri yang juga dapat melindunginya? Jika hadits-hadits Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu itu tidak shahih menurut pandangan Umar Radhiallahu’anhu, niscaya ia akan secepatnya memotong lisan Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu dan tidak perlu mengasingkannya ke negeri kaumnya atau ke daerah lainnya.(39)

    Dan terdapat kisah ‘Umar menerima persaksian dan riwayat Abu Hurairah, diantaranya kisah yang diriwayatkan Imam Al Bukhari rahimahullah dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, ia berkata :

    أُتِيَ عُمَرُ بِامْرَأَةٍ تَشِمُ فَقَامَ فَقَالَ أَنْشُدُكُمْ بِاللَّهِ مَنْ سَمِعَ مِنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي الْوَشْمِ فَقَالَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ فَقُمْتُ فَقُلْتُ يَا أَمِيرَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَنَا سَمِعْتُ قَالَ مَا سَمِعْتَ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ لَا تَشِمْنَ وَلَا تَسْتَوْشِمْنَ

    “Umar mendatangi seorang wanita yang bertato, lalu ia berdiri seraya berkata,“Bersumpahlah kalian dengan nama Allah. Siapa diantara kalian yang mendengar dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam tentang tato?” Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu berkata: Akupun bangkit dan berdiri, seraya berkata, “Saya mendengarnya, wahai Amirul Mukminin.” Umar Radhiallahu’anhu bertanya,“Bagaimana yang engkau dengar?” Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu menjawab,“Aku mendengar Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam bersabda: ‘Janganlah kalian bertato dan meminta untuk ditato’ “(40)

    Ini semua merupakan bantahan langsung dari perbuatan ‘Umar atas berita bohong yang dinisbatkan kepadanya.

    Demikian juga kisah ‘Aisyah Radhiallahu’anha yang disebutkan dalam tuduhan mereka diatas adalah pernyataan beliau :

    أَلَا يُعْجِبُكَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ جَاءَ فَجَلَسَ إِلَى جَانِبِ حُجْرَتِي يُحَدِّثُ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يُسْمِعُنِي ذَلِكَ وَكُنْتُ أُسَبِّحُ فَقَامَ قَبْلَ أَنْ أَقْضِيَ سُبْحَتِي وَلَوْ أَدْرَكْتُهُ لَرَدَدْتُ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لَمْ يَكُنْ يَسْرُدُ الْحَدِيثَ مِثْلَ سَرْدِكُمْ

    “Tidakkah Abu Hurairah membuatmu heran, datang lalu duduk di samping kamarku menyampaikan hadits dari Rasulullah memperdengarkannya kepadaku dan aku sedang shalat sunnah, lalu ia pergi sebelum aku menyelesaikan shalat sunnahku. Seandainya aku mendapatinya tentu aku akan membantahnya. Sesungguhnya Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam tidak menyampaikan hadits seperti penyampaian kalian.” (41)

    Inilah sebab pengingkarannya, Aisyah Radhiallahu’anhu tidak melemahkannya dan tidak juga menuduhnya sebagai pendusta sebagaimana yang dilakukan oleh sebagian penuduhnya. Sekalipun demikian, ‘Aisyah Radhiallahu’anhu tetap mengakui, bahwa Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu meninggalkan tempat sebelum ia Radhiallahu’anhu selesai dari shalatnya. Padahal waktu shalat bukanlah waktu yang lama.

    Adapun pernyataannya “Jika aku menjumpainya, niscaya aku akan menjawabnya,” yakni niscaya aku akan menegurnya dan menjelaskannya, pelan dalam menyampaikan hadits itu lebih baik daripada memaparkannya secara cepat.(42) Perkataan Aisyah Radhiallahu’anhu “Sesungguhnya Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam tidak menyampaikan hadits seperti penyampaian kalian,” yaitu menyampaikan hadits dengan pelan dan tersusun rapi, berurutan (menyelesaikan yang satu, kemudian baru yang lainnya), agar tidak bercampur bagi yang mendengarnya.

    Tidak ada dalam pernyataan ‘A’isyah yang menunjukkan ia menolak hadits Abu Hurairah atau menuduhnya telah berdusta atas nama Nabi atau membuat-buat hadits palsu. Bahkan ‘A’isyah menerima dan membenarkan periwayatan Abu Hurairah sebagaimana dalam hadits Khobaab yang bertanya kepada Ibnu Umar:

    يَا عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ أَلَا تَسْمَعُ مَا يَقُولُ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ مَنْ خَرَجَ مَعَ جَنَازَةٍ مِنْ بَيْتِهَا وَصَلَّى عَلَيْهَا ثُمَّ تَبِعَهَا حَتَّى تُدْفَنَ كَانَ لَهُ قِيرَاطَانِ مِنْ أَجْرٍ كُلُّ قِيرَاطٍ مِثْلُ أُحُدٍ وَمَنْ صَلَّى عَلَيْهَا ثُمَّ رَجَعَ كَانَ لَهُ مِنْ الْأَجْرِ مِثْلُ أُحُدٍ فَأَرْسَلَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ خَبَّابًا إِلَى عَائِشَةَ يَسْأَلُهَا عَنْ قَوْلِ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ثُمَّ يَرْجِعُ إِلَيْهِ فَيُخْبِرُهُ مَا قَالَتْ وَأَخَذَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ قَبْضَةً مِنْ حَصْبَاءِ الْمَسْجِدِ يُقَلِّبُهَا فِي يَدِهِ حَتَّى رَجَعَ إِلَيْهِ الرَّسُولُ فَقَالَ قَالَتْ عَائِشَةُ صَدَقَ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ فَضَرَبَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ بِالْحَصَى الَّذِي كَانَ فِي يَدِهِ الْأَرْضَ ثُمَّ قَالَ لَقَدْ فَرَّطْنَا فِي قَرَارِيطَ كَثِيرَةٍ

    “Wahai Abdullah bin Umar tidakkah engkau mendengar apa yang disampaikan Abu Hurairah, bahwa beliau mendengar Rasululloh Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam bersabda: “Barangsiapa yang keluar bersama jenazah dari rumahnya dan menyolatkannya kemudian mengiringinya sampai dikubur, maka ia mendapat pahala dua Qiraath. Setiap Qirath seperti gunung uhud. Barang siapa yang menyolatkan jenazah kemudian pulang, maka mendapat pahala seperti gunung uhud”. Lalu Ibnu Umar mengutus Khobaab ke ‘A’isyah untuk menanyakan perkataan Abu Hurariroh tersebut kemudian kembali kepadanya memberitahu pernyataan ‘A’isyah. Lalu Ibnu Umar mengambil segenggam kerikil masjid yang ia bolak-balikkan ditangannya sampai datang utusan beliau tersebut. Lalu berkata utusan tersebut: ”A’isyah berkata: ‘Sungguh benar Abu Hurairah’. Lalu Ibnu Umar membuang kerikil-krikil yang ada ditangannya ke tanah, kemudian berkata: ‘Kita telah kehilangan banyak qiraath’.(43)

    Sedangkan pernyataan Imam ‘Ali yang mereka kemukakan diatas merupakan kedustaan sebagaimana disampaikan penulis kitab Difa’ ‘An Abu Hurairah: “Tidak ada referensi yang valid dan terpercaya yang menunjukkan adanya pernyataan yang menyakinkan, bahwa Ali Radhiallahu’anhu menuduh Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu telah berdusta, atau melarangnya meriwayatkan hadits. Akan tetapi, sebagian musuh Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu berusaha berargumen dengan mengambil riwayat dari Abu Ja’far Al Iskaafi, bahwa ketika mendengar hadits Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, (maka) Ali Radhiallahu’anhu berkata: “Ketahuilah, sesungguhnya sedusta-dusta orang…,” atau ia berkata: “Sedusta-dusta orang terhadap Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam ialah Abu Hurairah Ad Dausi”.

    Riwayat ini adalah dhaif (lemah) dan tertolak. Sebab, jalur sanadnya dari Al Iskaafi; ia seorang pengikut hawa nafsu, sekaligus menyeru orang menuhankan hawa nafsunya. Disamping itu, ia juga seorang rawi yang tidak tsiqah.(44) Bahkan demikian ini merupakan dusta besar yang telah disingkap kebohongannya, berdasarkan kesepakatan sebagian besar putra, sahabat dan para panglima Ali Radhiallahu’anhu, serta sejumlah tokoh Syi’ah generasi awal dan anak keturunan Al Hasyimi tetap diam dan terus meriwayatkan dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, atau meriwayatkan haditsnya melalui jalan periwayatan orang-orang terpercaya (tsiqat) jika mereka tidak mendengarnya langsung dari Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu.”(45)

    Seandainya ada peringatan dan pengingkaran para sahabat terhadap banyaknya riwayat Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, maka ini menunjukkan kepada kita, bahwa mereka selalu mengutamakan kehati-hatian, ketelitian, kejelian dalam meriwayatkan dan menyandarkan cara periwayatannya. Mereka tidak memperbanyak (menyampaikan hadits), karena takut terjatuh pada kekeliruan.

    Ketika Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu memaparkan apa yang beliau dengar, tidak ada perasaan takut seperti mereka. Hal ini, karena kepercayaan Abu Hurairah terhadap hafalan serta daya ingatnya. Sehingga, bukanlah sesuatu yang aneh dan salah, jika kita mendapatkan ada orang yang memandang penting memperbanyak riwayat, sedangkan yang lain membatasi dengan mengingkari banyaknya riwayat Abu Hurairah.

    Khususnya, apabila seorang sahabat mendapatkan dhahir hadits-hadits yang memerintahkan untuk membatasi dalam meriwayatkan hadits dengan merajihkannya dari hadits-hadits lain, yang memerintahkan untuk menyampaikan dan memperbolehkan meriwayatkan hadits (secara bebas) -atau barangkali- belum mendengar hadits-hadits lainnya.(46)

    Kemudian mereka mulai mempertanyakan kenapa Abu Hurairah banyak menyampaikan hadits melebihi para sahabat besar lainnya, seperti Khalifah Al Rasyidin. Usaha membandingkan riwayat Abu Hurairah dengan riwayat Khulafa’ Ar Rasyidin dalam jumlah hadits yang diriwayatkan mereka merupakan satu kesalahan yang besar, dengan dasar-dasar sebagai berikut:

    Memang benar bahwa Khulafa’ Ar Rasyidin telah mendahului Abu Hurairah dalam persahabatan dan keislaman serta penerimaan hadits. Namun mereka sibuk mengurus permasalahan negara dan pengaturan hukum serta pengiriman para ulama, ahli qur’an dan Qadhi’(hakim). Sehingga mereka telah menunaikan amanat yang mereka emban sebagaimana mereka telah menunaikan amanat mengurus permasalahan umat. Sebagaimana kita tidak mencela Khalid bin Al Walid dengan sedikitnya periwayatan beliau dari Rasululllah karena sibuk dengan jihad. Demikian juga tidak mencela Abu Hurairah dengan banyaknya periwayatan beliau karena sibuk dengan ilmu. Setiap orang dimudahkan Allah kepada yang terbaik baginya.

    Abu Hurairah meluangkan seluruh waktu dan pikirannya kepada ilmu dan pengajaran tanpa ikut serta dalam politik. Ditambah dengan kebutuhan orang kepada beliau karena usia panjang beliau. Hal ini membuat perbandingan antara beliau dengan sahabat-sahabat besar atau Khulafa’ Ar Rasyidin tidak benar.(47)

    Rasa aneh dan tuduhan memperbanyak hadits telah dijawab oleh Abu Hurairah sendiri dalam pernyataannya:

    أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ إِنَّكُمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ يُكْثِرُ الْحَدِيثَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَتَقُولُونَ مَا بَالُ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ لَا يُحَدِّثُونَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِمِثْلِ حَدِيثِ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ وَإِنَّ إِخْوَتِي مِنْ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ كَانَ يَشْغَلُهُمْ صَفْقٌ بِالْأَسْوَاقِ وَكُنْتُ أَلْزَمُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى مِلْءِ بَطْنِي فَأَشْهَدُ إِذَا غَابُوا وَأَحْفَظُ إِذَا نَسُوا وَكَانَ يَشْغَلُ إِخْوَتِي مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ عَمَلُ أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَكُنْتُ امْرَأً مِسْكِينًا مِنْ مَسَاكِينِ الصُّفَّةِ أَعِي حِينَ يَنْسَوْنَ

    “Sesungguhnya Abu Hurairah berkata: ‘Kalian akan menyatakan, bahwa Abu Hurairah banyak meriwayatkan hadits. Dan Allahlah tempat (untuk membuktikan) janji. Juga mengatakan ‘Mengapa orang-orang Al Muhajirin dan Anshor tidak banyak meriwayatkan hadits, seperti periwayatan Abu Hurairah?’ Sungguh, saudara- saudaraku dari Muhajirin disibukkan dengan jual-beli di pasar. Sedangkan saudara- saudaraku dari Anshor disibukkan oleh pengelolaan harta mereka. Adapun aku seorang miskin yang selalu mengikuti Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam selama perutku berisi. Aku hadir saat mereka tidak hadir, dan aku ingat dan paham saat mereka lupa.”(48)

    Dalam lafadz Imam Ahmad: “Sedang aku adalah seorang yang i’tikaf (berdiam diri di masjid (Ahlus Sifah), dan paling banyak turut serta dalam majelis-majelis Rasul Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Aku hadir saat mereka tidak hadir, dan aku menghafalnya ketika mereka lupa.”(49)

    Dalam lafadz Al Hakim: “Sungguh, isteri ataupun jual-beli di pasar tidak menyibukkan kami dari turut serta bersama Rasul Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam, melainkan aku meminta kepada Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam satu kalimat yang Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam ajarkan kepadaku atau sesuap makanan yang Beliau berikan kepadaku“.(50)

    Kita lihat dalam pernyataan dan sejarah Abu Hurairah, beliau telah mencurahkan seluruh potensinya untuk mendengar, menghafal dan menyaksikan seluruh peristiwa pada Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam ditambah dengan kemampuan beliau menghafal yang demikian kuat dan waktu mulazamahnya setelah berdatangan orang untuk masuk Islam. Tentunya hal ini meembuatnya dapat menghafal hadits-hadits yang tidak ada dikalangan sahabat lain.

    Hal ini terbukti. Kita dapati sebagian besar kibaar sahabat (tokoh-tokoh besar sahabat) telah menyadari dan mengakui, bahwa mereka telah disibukkan dengan jual beli di pasar dari pada mendengarkan sebagian hadits-hadits Rasul Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam sebagaimana yang dilukiskan oleh Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu. Lihatlah, Al Faruq Umar bin Khaththab mendengar sebuah hadits dari Abu Musa Al Asy’ari, lalu ia mengingkarinya, sampai Abu Said Al Khudri bersaksi menguatkan Abu Musa Al Asy’ari, bahwa ia mendengar hadits itu juga, lalu Umar (pun) berkata: “Aku belum tahu hadits ini termasuk perkara Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Jual-beli di pasar telah melalaikanku dari mendengar hadits ini” .(51)

    Bahkan tidak hanya jual-beli yang melalaikan Beliau Radhiallahu’anhu semata. Juga tempat tinggal Beliau yang berada di ‘Awaali (52) Madinah. Tidak seperti Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu yang hanya beberapa langkah dari kamar Aisyah Radhiallahu’anhu. Jika demikian, maka tidaklah aneh jika Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu mengetahui sesuatu yang tidak diketahui oleh sahabat-sahabat lama (tokoh besar sahabat).(53)

    Dengan demikian tertolaklah tuduhan orang-orang yang beralasan dengan sedikitnya hadits yang diriwayatkan oleh kibarush shahabah (sahabat senior) untuk menolak dan mendustakan riwayat-riwayat Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu yang telah banyak meriwayatkan hadits. Tidak lain mereka sendirilah yang berdusta. Sedikitnya riwayat dari sahabat senior Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam, tak lain karena mereka telah wafat sebelum dibutuhkan oleh umat. Dan yang banyak riwayatnya, hanyalah dari Umar bin Al Khathab dan Ali bin Abi Thalib. Sebab, keduanya dijadikan pemimpin (kaum muslimin), sehingga ditanya dan memutuskan perkara kaum muslimin.

    Seluruh sahabat Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam adalah para pemimpin tauladan yang dicontoh dan dikenang seluruh amalan yang mereka kerjakan. Mereka dimintai fatwa dan berfatwa; mereka mendengar hadits-hadits Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam lalu menyampaikannya. Sehingga banyak sahabat-sahabat senior yang lebih sedikit haditsnya dibanding dengan lainnya; seperti: Abu Bakar, Utsman, Thalhah, Az Zubair, Sa’ad bin Abi Waqash, Abdul Rahman bin Auf, Abu Ubaidah bin Al Jarrah, Sa’ad bin Zaid bin Amr bin Naufal, Ubay bin Ka’ab, Sa’ad bin Ubadah, Ubadah bin Ash Shamith, Usaid bin Khudhair, Muadz bin Jabal dan lainnya yang segenerasi dengan mereka radiyallahu’anhum.

    Kita tidak mendapatkan mereka banyak meriwayatkan hadits sebagaimana para sahabat-sahabat muda, seperti: Jabir bin Abdullah, Abu Sa’id Al Khudri, Abdullah bin Umar bin Al Khaththab, Abdullah bin Amr bin Al Ash, Abdullah bin Abbas, Rafi’ bin Khudaij, Anas bin Malik, Al Barra’ bin Azib dan yang segenerasi dengan mereka; sebab mereka hidup (setelah para tokoh tua sahabat) dan berumur panjang, sehingga orang-orang membutuhkan mereka.

    Sementara itu, banyak para sahabat sebelum dan setelahnya meninggal bersama ilmunya. Sebagian mereka ada yang tidak menyampaikan satu haditspun dari Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam, yang mungkin lebih lama bersahabat, belajar dan mendengar hadits Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam dibandingkan dengan orang yang meriwayatkan hadits. Akan tetapi kita memahami hal ini, karena mereka sangat berhati-hati dalam meriwayatkan hadits. Atau yang bersangkutan tidak perlu menyampaikan, karena banyaknya sahabat-sahabat Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam (yang telah meriwayatkan hadits). Atau karena kesibukkan mereka dengan ibadah dan pergi berjihad di jalan Allah hingga mereka wafat, dan tidak satu pun hadits yang diriwayatkan darinya.

    Al Mu’allimi rahimahullah berpendapat, disana ada dua tugas. Yang pertama menerima hadits dan penjelasan langsung dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Yang kedua adalah tugas menyampaikan. Adapun menerima hadits dan penjelasan langsung dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam (talaqqi), maka para sahabat tidak mampu terus-menerus bermulazamah (mengikuti Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam) dengan konsisten; sedangkan Anas dan Abu Hurairah radiyallahu’anhuma secara terus-menerus mengikuti Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam untuk melayani Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam.

    Hal itu menunjukkan secara pasti, bahwa keduanya menerima langsung dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam lebih banyak, dibandingkan dengan talaqqi para shahabat yang sibuk dengan perdagangan dan pertaniannya. Disamping itu, Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu memiliki antusiasme yang tinggi terhadap ilmu, juga talaqqi hadits-hadits yang dihafal orang-orang yang telah mendahuluinya dalam bersahabat dengan Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam, sehingga terkadang beliau meriwayatkannya dari mereka.(54)

    Adapun dalam hal menyampaikan. Sesungguhnya Abu Bakar Radhiallahu’anhu hanya hidup pada masa penyampaian hadits selama kurang lebih dua tahun, dan dalam keadaan sibuk melaksanakan tugas menata permasalahan kaum muslimin. Sedangkan Umar Radhiallahu’anhu, pada masa Abu Bakar Radhiallahu’anhu, (ia) disibukkan dengan tugas kementerian (pendamping Abu Bakr) dan perdagangan. Setelah wafatnya Abu Bakar Radhiallahu’anhu ia sibuk menata dan mengatur urusan kaum muslimin.

    Diriwayatkan dalam kitab Al Mustadrak, bahwa Muadz bin Jabal Radhiallahu’anhu mewasiatkan sahabat-sahabatnya untuk mencari ilmu. Lalu beliau menyebutkan kepada mereka nama-nama: Abu Darda’, Salman, Ibnu Mas’ud dan Abdullah bin Sallam, radiyallahu’anhum. Lalu Yazid bin Umairah berkata, “Lalu (bagaimana) Umar bin Al Khathab?” Muadz Radhiallahu’anhu menjawab, "Janganlah anda bertanya kepada Umar, sebab ia orang yang sibuk.”

    Demikian juga Utsman dan Ali radhiyallahu’anhuma pada masa hidupnya disibukkan dengan tugas-tugas kementerian (pendamping Khalifah) dan lainnya, kemudian disibukkan dengan tugas sebagai khalifah dan menghadapi berbagai macam fitnah dan ujian. Orang yang semangat dan gemar mencari ilmu, mengejar mereka dan yang semisalnya; memandang seluruh shahabat adalah orang-orang yang tsiqah (terpercaya). Karenanya mereka menganggap cukup dengan kedudukan sahabat- sahabat.

    Para sahabat generasi senior memandang, bukan menjadi suatu keharusan yang mendesak atas mereka untuk menyampaikan (hadits), kecuali jika dibutuhkan. Juga memandang cukup, jika amal sudah dilakukan berdasarkan hal tersebut, sehingga tidak ada sedikitpun dari Sunnah Nabi yang diabaikan. Disebabkan para sahabat masih sangat banyak dan masa tinggal serta kehidupan mereka akan panjang.

    Begitu pula berbagai kegiatan yang membutuhkan tabligh (penyampaian hadits) amatlah banyak. Atas itu semua, Allah Ta’ala telah berjanji menjaga syariatNya. Meskipun demikian, mereka pun sangat hati-hati terhadap dirinya, karena takut salah. Mereka juga berpendapat, jika ada salah seorang diantara mereka keliru saat dibutuhkan menyampaikan (hadits), maka yang bersangkutan termaafkan; (ini) berbeda jika menyampaikannya sebelum dibutuhkan lalu ia keliru. Sekalipun demikian, mereka sangat suka orang lain yang mencukupkannya. Walaupun demikian adanya, mereka tetap meriwayatkan berbagai macam hadits. Sampai kepada mereka dari sebagiannya, bahwa Abu Hurairah telah banyak meriwayatkan hadits dan tidak ada yang mengingkarinya. Yang ada, hanyalah kisah yang menunjukkan, bahwa memperbanyak riwayat menyalahi yang utama.(55)

    Yang aneh bin ajaib, ada orang yang kaget dengan banyaknya hadits Abu Hurairah dan lebih aneh lagi dibahas pada abad kedua puluhan ini! Apakah kaget dengan hafalan Abu Hurairah yang mampu menghafal 5374 hadits? Atau kaget beliau menghafal sejumlah ini dari Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam selama tiga tahunan? Jika kaget dengan kuatnya hafalan beliau, maka ini bukanlah sarana untuk mencelanya, karena banyak orang Arab yang telah menghafal lebih banyak dari hafalan Abu Hurairah. Kita lihat banyak para sahabat yang telah hafal Al Qur’an, hadits dan syair-syair. Lalu apa katanya tentang mereka? Apa yang ia katakan tentang hafalan Abu Bakar tentang nasab Arab? Apa yang dikatakannya tentang Hammaad Al Raawiyah orang yang paling tahu sejarah, syair, berita, nasab dan bahasa orang Arab? Apa yang dikatakan padanya jika ia menyampaikan untuk setiap huruf hija’iyah seratus qasidah yang panjang dari syair jahiliyah saja? Apa yang dikatakannya tentang hafalan hibrul umat Ibnu Abaas dan hafalan imam Az Zuhriy, Asy Sya’bi dan Qatadah bin Da’amah Al Sadusi? Jadi hafalan Abu Hurairah bukanlah baru dan aneh. Apalagi bila diketahui bahwa hadits-hadits yang berjumlah 5374 itu tidak semuanya shahih.

    Sehingga Abu Hurairah tidak dapat dituduh melalui hafalan dan banyaknya hadits beliau ini. Jika ia kaget dengan kemampuan Abu Hurairah menerima hadits-hadits yang banyak ini dari Rasulullah selama 3 tahun, maka ia telah lupa bahwa Abu Hurairah bersahabat dengan Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam di tahun-tahun yang penting. Masa terjadinya peristiwa-peristiwa sosial, politik dan pensyari’atan secara umum sehingga memungkinkan beliau menghafal seluruhnya tersebut.(56)


    Tuduhan dan syubhat yang dilontarkan musuh Islam seputar sahabat Abu Hurairah masih sangat banyak, namun sebagaian yang telah dibantah diatas mudah-mudahan dapat menjadi ibroh bagi kaum muslimin dan menjadi peringatan terhadap bahaya yang mengancam mereka.

    Sebagai penutup kami bawakan pernyataan Ibnu Khuzaimah yang dinukil Dr. Muhammad ‘Ajaaj Al Khathib dalam kitab As Sunnah Qabla Al Tadwiin dari Al Mustadrak ‘Ala Al Shahihain karya imam Al Hakim. Nashnya sebagai berikut:

    “Orang yang telah buta hatinya mencela Abu Hurairah hanya karena ingin menolak hadits beliau. Karena mereka tidak faham maknanya. Orang tersebut adakalanya seorang mu’aththil jahmi (pengikut alirat sesat Jahmiyah (pen)) yang mendengar hadits-hadits beliau yang menyelisihi madzhab mereka yang kufur, lalu mencela Abu Hurairah dan menuduhnya dengan tuduhan yang Allah telah sucikan darinya dalam rangka membuat opini pada orang awam dan rendahan bahwa hadits-hadits beliau tidak benar. Adakalanya ia seorang khowarij yang mengangkat pedang kepada kaum muslimin dan tidak memandang kewajiban mentaati khalifah dan imam. Jika ia mendengar hadits-hadits Abu Hurairah dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam menyelisihi madzhabnya yang sesat, tidak dapat cara menolak berita-berita beliau ini dengan hujjah maka ujungnya mencela Abu Hurairah. Atau seorang Qadariy (pengikut aliran sesat Qadariyah) yang meninggalkan islam dan kaum muslimin dan mengkafirkan kaum muslimin yang mengikuti takdir yang telah ditakdirkan Allah dahulu dan tetapkan sebelum hamba itu melakukannya. Jika melihat hadits-hadits yang beliau sampaikan dari Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam dalam menetapkan taqdir, tidak mendapatkan hujjah yang mendukung pendapat mereka yang merupakan kekufuran dan kesyirikan, maka hujahnya adalah menyatakan bahwa berita-berita Abu Hurairah tidak boleh dipakai sebagai hujjah. Atau seorang bodoh yang ingin menjadi faqih dan mencarinya bukan dari tempatnya, jika mendengar berita Abu Hurairah menyelisihi pendapat madzhab orang yang dipilihnya dengan taklid tanpa hujjah, maka mencela Abu Hurairah dan menolak hadits-haditsnya yang menyelisihi madzhab mereka dan berhujah dengan hadits-hadits Abu Hurairah atas orang yang menyelisihinya jika haditsnya tersebut sesuai dengan madzhabnya!!!”.(57)

    Semoga bermanfaat.

    Penulis: Ustadz Kholid Syamhudi, Lc.


    36) Saqifah op.cit hlm 14.

    37) Saqifah op.cit hlm 16.

    38) Al Bidayah Wa An Nihayah, oleh Ibnu Katsir VIII/106.

    39) Zhulumaatu Abi Ar Rayyah, halaman 43.

    40) Al Bukhari, dalam Shahihnya kitab Al Libaas bab Al Mustawsyimah no. 5490 hlm VII/214

    41) Muslim, dalam Shahihnya kitab AL Ilmu Bab Sardu Al Hadits no. 3303

    42) Fathul Bari, VII/389-390.

    43) Muslim dalam Shahihnya kitab Al Jana’iz Bab Fadhlu ‘Ala Al Sholat Waittiba’uha no. 1574.

    44) Abu Hurairah Rawiyatul Islam, halaman 278, yang dikutip apa yang dituduhkan oleh Al Iskaafi dari Syarhu Nahji Al Balaghah, I/468 Cet. Beirut.

    45) Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh, op.cit hlm 123

    46) ibid hlm 87 dengan perubahan.

    47) Al Sunnah Qabla Al Tadwiin op.cit hlm 450.

    48) Al Bukhari,dalam Shahihnya, kitab Al Buyu’ Bab Ma Ja’a Fi Qaulihi Ta’ala Faidza Qadhaita Al Sholat no. 1906 – III/135. dan Ahmad bin Hambal dalam Musnad Ahmad hadits no. 7273

    49) Al Musnad, XIV/122.

    50) Al Mustadrak, III/510 dengan sanad yang shahih.

    51) Muslim, VI/179.

    52) Nama daerah di kota Madinah. Hingga kini masih dikenal dengan nama tersebut.

    53) Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh op.cit hlm 72-75 secara singkat.

    54) Al Anwaa’u Al Kasyifah, halaman 141. kami nukil dari Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh op.cit hlm 91

    55) Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh op.cit hlm 91.

    56) Dinukil secara bebas dari Al Sunnah Qabla Al Tadwiin op.cit hlm 449.

    57) As Sunnah Qabla Tadwiin op.cit hlm 467-468.

    Tulisan ini di posting ulang dari sumber:
    1. Menjawab Syubhat Tentang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (1)

    2. Menjawab Syubhat Tentang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (2)

    3. Menjawab Syubhat Tentang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (3)

              Opinion: Why Morocco chose to be neutral on the Gulf crisis        
    The attempts to blockade Qatar are an extraordinary exercise in opportunism, brought about in part by the ineptitude of President Trump. While the situation drags on, the citizens of Qatar are being supported by a group of nations, including Morocco. Not only has the Kingdom despatched plane loads of food, but have also offered to moderate in the dispute. Samir Bennis is a political analyst with more than eight years of experience as a political adviser with an Arab mission to the United Nations in New York. In a recent article he examines Morocco's stance.

    Why Morocco chose to be neutral on the Gulf crisis

    In the past week, Morocco's decision to send planes loaded with food to Qatar has been criticised in light of the internal problems the North African country has recently been facing. People accused the Moroccan government of trying to aid a foreign country before responding to the grievances of its own people. Such a critique, however, is superficial and fails to take the historical context of regional relations and Morocco's foreign policy ambitions into consideration.

    Certainly, Moroccan government is currently facing serious problems in several regions of the country and it needs to address them efficiently without further delay. To solve these problems, the government needs to embark on several large-scale projects.

    The Moroccan government must address the needs of the citizens who have been protesting in Al Hoceima and elsewhere in the country. It needs to acknowledge the need to listen to the oppressed and work seriously to improve their living conditions. A weak response to the demands of these protesters will surely precipitate additional problems.

    A humanitarian decision

    However, the state's commitment to addressing internal problems cannot come at the expense of its foreign policy interests. Putting their emotions and hasty judgements on the issue aside, Moroccans should be proud of this symbolic, yet humanitarian, decision demonstrating Morocco's political savoir-faire.

    By announcing that it would be sending food supplies to Qatar, Morocco showed that it would not take part in an unwise dispute among the Gulf countries. Instead, it confronted the crisis with a well-reasoned and balanced approach calculated to reflect its leadership on the world stage.

    Morocco's decision to play the card of neutrality in the Qatar-GCC rift is strategic and the country may soon take up a bigger role in this crisis by acting as a mediator.

    By staying neutral and deciding not to follow countries' that are blockading Qatar, Morocco is preserving the balanced relationship between King Mohammed VI and the other kings and princes of the Gulf.

    In so doing, the country is preserving the independence of its foreign policy decisions, and proving that its moves in the international arena are not based on the agendas and stratagems of other countries. The decision is courageous as it distinguishes Morocco's foreign policy from Saudi Arabia.

    Morocco's decision to send food aid to Qatar, which came only days after the king offered to mediate between the parties, demonstrates that the country has learned its lesson from its hasty 2009 decision to sever relations with Iran because of Bahrain.

    Not only was Morocco's decision to aid the people of Qatar politically wise, but it will likely be beneficial to Morocco, in the short, medium and long terms. Morocco is in urgent need of foreign investment to embark on necessary large-scale infrastructure projects. Qatar and its people will never forget Morocco's symbolic humanitarian gesture in their time of need.

    Strong relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE

    Morocco's decision to send food to Qatar is unlikely to harm its relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Relations between Morocco's king and the leaders of these two countries are currently too strong to be affected by a decision like this.

    Saudi Arabia and the UAE's strong relations with Algeria also influenced Morocco's decision to continue its relations with Qatar. Algeria has been trying to destabilise Morocco and establish an independent state in the Western Sahara for over four decades. Yet King Mohammed VI has not asked the Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, to sever their ties with Algeria. In fact, both countries are working towards strengthening their relations with Algeria and the UAE is among the largest foreign investors in Algeria.

    Its renewed ties with Iran were also influential over Morocco's decision to stay neutral in this crisis. Morocco restored its diplomatic relations with Iran last October, after more than six years of severed ties due to Iran's conflict with Bahrain. The decision to renew ties came at the height of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, because of Iran's nuclear ambitions and the war in Syria. Despite this, Morocco's decision to restore ties with Iran did not affect its relations with its Gulf allies.

    Similarly, in Egypt, Morocco did not immediately recognise General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's presidency after the coup against Mohamed Morsi, although Saudi Arabia and the UAE did so. Since Sisi seized power, relations between Morocco and Egypt have not returned to the same level as before 2011 and remained tense. Yet, while relations between the two countries have not improved, this has not affected relations between Morocco and its Gulf allies.

    In the past month, King Mohamed VI cancelled a trip to a summit in Riyadh and a visit to Egypt at the last moment and these decisions were neither arbitrary nor coincidental. It is far more likely that Morocco received intelligence that the outcome of the conference would not serve its interests. Therefore, by cancelling these visits, the King aimed to avoid being trapped in regional calculations of the Gulf states.

    Morocco's decision to play the card of neutrality in the Qatar-GCC rift is strategic and the country may soon take up a bigger role in this crisis by acting as a mediator.

    Samir Bennis is a political analyst with more than eight years of experience as a political adviser with an Arab mission to the United Nations in New York. 

    He is the co-founder of Morocco World News, and an expert on Morocco's foreign policy, UN-related issues and the Maghreb.


              Menjawab Syubhat Tentang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (2)        
    Syubhat 4

    Mereka berkata: “Ia mendatangi para sahabat seperti ‘Umar dan Abu Bakar dengan berpura-pura meminta dibacakan sebuah ayat Al Qur’an, menurut pengakuannya sendiri, padahal ia ingin agar ditawari makanan, tetapi tiada seorang sahabatpun menawarkan makanan kepadanya, kecuali Ja’far bin Abi Thalib, yang langsung mengajak Abu Hurairah ke rumahnya.

    Bukhari meriwayatkan dari Abu Hurairah: “Demi Allah, tiada lain kecuali Dia, aku sering menekan perutku ke bumi karena lapar, dan pada suatu hari, karena lapar, aku menekan perutku dengan batu sambil duduk di jalan tempat mereka keluar dari masjid. Aku bertemu Abu Bakar dan aku bertanya kepadanya tentang ayat kitab Allah, dan aku tidak menanyainya kecuali (dengan maksud) agar dia memberi aku makan; tapi ia berlalu dan tidak melakukannya. Dan ‘Umar bertemu denganku dan aku bertanya mengenai ayat kitab Allah, aku tidak bertanya (kepadanya) kecuali agar ia mengajak aku makan, dan ia tidak melakukannya.

    Bukhari: “Aku bila bertanya mengenai sebuah ayat (al Qur’an) kepada Ja’far (bin Abu Tholib) maka dia tidak akan menjawab kecuali setelah ia mengajakku kerumahnya”. Dibagian lain: “Aku meminta kepada Ja’far bin Abi Thalib untuk membacakan kepadaku ayat (Al Qur’an) yaitu artinya, agar dia memberi aku makan, dan dia (Ja’far bin Abu Tholib) adalah orang yang paling baik terhadap orang miskin. Ia mengajak kami ke rumahnya dan memberi kami makan seadanya”. (20)


    Kisah ini dibawakan imam Al Bukhari yang lengkapnya berbunyi:

    اللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ إِنْ كُنْتُ لَأَعْتَمِدُ بِكَبِدِي عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنْ الْجُوعِ وَإِنْ كُنْتُ لَأَشُدُّ الْحَجَرَ عَلَى بَطْنِي مِنْ الْجُوعِ وَلَقَدْ قَعَدْتُ يَوْمًا عَلَى طَرِيقِهِمْ الَّذِي يَخْرُجُونَ مِنْهُ فَمَرَّ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَسَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ آيَةٍ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مَا سَأَلْتُهُ إِلَّا لِيُشْبِعَنِي فَمَرَّ وَلَمْ يَفْعَلْ ثُمَّ مَرَّ بِي عُمَرُ فَسَأَلْتُهُ عَنْ آيَةٍ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ مَا سَأَلْتُهُ إِلَّا لِيُشْبِعَنِي فَمَرَّ فَلَمْ يَفْعَلْ ثُمَّ مَرَّ بِي أَبُو الْقَاسِمِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَتَبَسَّمَ حِينَ رَآنِي وَعَرَفَ مَا فِي نَفْسِي وَمَا فِي وَجْهِي ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا أَبَا هِرٍّ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ الْحَقْ وَمَضَى فَتَبِعْتُهُ فَدَخَلَ فَاسْتَأْذَنَ فَأَذِنَ لِي فَدَخَلَ فَوَجَدَ لَبَنًا فِي قَدَحٍ فَقَالَ مِنْ أَيْنَ هَذَا اللَّبَنُ قَالُوا أَهْدَاهُ لَكَ فُلَانٌ أَوْ فُلَانَةُ قَالَ أَبَا هِرٍّ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ الْحَقْ إِلَى أَهْلِ الصُّفَّةِ فَادْعُهُمْ لِي قَالَ وَأَهْلُ الصُّفَّةِ أَضْيَافُ الْإِسْلَامِ لَا يَأْوُونَ إِلَى أَهْلٍ وَلَا مَالٍ وَلَا عَلَى أَحَدٍ إِذَا أَتَتْهُ صَدَقَةٌ بَعَثَ بِهَا إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَمْ يَتَنَاوَلْ مِنْهَا شَيْئًا وَإِذَا أَتَتْهُ هَدِيَّةٌ أَرْسَلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَأَصَابَ مِنْهَا وَأَشْرَكَهُمْ فِيهَا فَسَاءَنِي ذَلِكَ فَقُلْتُ وَمَا هَذَا اللَّبَنُ فِي أَهْلِ الصُّفَّةِ كُنْتُ أَحَقُّ أَنَا أَنْ أُصِيبَ مِنْ هَذَا اللَّبَنِ شَرْبَةً أَتَقَوَّى بِهَا فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَمَرَنِي فَكُنْتُ أَنَا أُعْطِيهِمْ وَمَا عَسَى أَنْ يَبْلُغَنِي مِنْ هَذَا اللَّبَنِ وَلَمْ يَكُنْ مِنْ طَاعَةِ اللَّهِ وَطَاعَةِ رَسُولِهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بُدٌّ فَأَتَيْتُهُمْ فَدَعَوْتُهُمْ فَأَقْبَلُوا فَاسْتَأْذَنُوا فَأَذِنَ لَهُمْ وَأَخَذُوا مَجَالِسَهُمْ مِنْ الْبَيْتِ قَالَ يَا أَبَا هِرٍّ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ خُذْ فَأَعْطِهِمْ قَالَ فَأَخَذْتُ الْقَدَحَ فَجَعَلْتُ أُعْطِيهِ الرَّجُلَ فَيَشْرَبُ حَتَّى يَرْوَى ثُمَّ يَرُدُّ عَلَيَّ الْقَدَحَ فَأُعْطِيهِ الرَّجُلَ فَيَشْرَبُ حَتَّى يَرْوَى ثُمَّ يَرُدُّ عَلَيَّ الْقَدَحَ فَيَشْرَبُ حَتَّى يَرْوَى ثُمَّ يَرُدُّ عَلَيَّ الْقَدَحَ حَتَّى انْتَهَيْتُ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَدْ رَوِيَ الْقَوْمُ كُلُّهُمْ فَأَخَذَ الْقَدَحَ فَوَضَعَهُ عَلَى يَدِهِ فَنَظَرَ إِلَيَّ فَتَبَسَّمَ فَقَالَ أَبَا هِرٍّ قُلْتُ لَبَّيْكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ بَقِيتُ أَنَا وَأَنْتَ قُلْتُ صَدَقْتَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ اقْعُدْ فَاشْرَبْ فَقَعَدْتُ فَشَرِبْتُ فَقَالَ اشْرَبْ فَشَرِبْتُ فَمَا زَالَ يَقُولُ اشْرَبْ حَتَّى قُلْتُ لَا وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ مَا أَجِدُ لَهُ مَسْلَكًا قَالَ فَأَرِنِي فَأَعْطَيْتُهُ الْقَدَحَ فَحَمِدَ اللَّهَ وَسَمَّى وَشَرِبَ الْفَضْلَةَ

    “Demi Allah. Tidak ada sesembahan yang benar, kecuali Dia. Sungguh aku tempelkan perutku ke tanah karena lapar dan aku ganjal perutku dengan batu menahan lapar. Sungguh pada suatu hari aku duduk di jalan yang biasa mereka pakai pulang dari (bertemu) Rasulullah Lalu Abu Bakar melintasi jalan itu. Aku pun bertanya kepadanya tentang satu ayat Al Qur’an. Dan tidaklah aku menanyakannya, kecuali agar Abu Bakar menjamuku. Beliau pun melewatiku dan tidak berbuat apa-apa. Lalu melintas di jalan itu, Umar bin Al Khaththab. Aku pun bertanya kepadanya satu ayat Qur’an. Dan tidaklah kutanyakan hal itu, kecuali agar beliau menjamuku. Namun beliau pun melintas dan tidak berbuat apa-apa. Kemudian setelah itu Abul Qasim Muhammad melintas di jalan itu seraya tersenyum ketika memandangku. Beliau mengetahui yang sedang bergejolak dalam hatiku dan yang tersirat dari wajahku. Kemudian Beliau memanggilku, ”Wahai, Abu Hirr,” aku pun menjawabnya,”Aku penuhi panggilanmu, wahai Rasulullah.” Beliau bersabda,”Ikuti aku.”. Beliau beranjak meninggalkanku dan aku pun mengiringi di belakang Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Beliau masuk rumah dan aku pun meminta izin dan diizinkan. Ketika Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam memasuki rumah, beliau mendapati susu dalam gelas besar (bejana). Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam bertanya, “Darimana susu ini?” Mereka (isteri-isteri Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam) Radhiallahu’anhum menjawab,”Hadiah dari fulan atau fulanah untuk engkau.” Beliaupun memanggilku,”Wahai, Abu Hirr.” Aku pun menjawabnya,”Kupenuhi panggilanmu, wahai Rasul.” Beliau bersabda,”Temuilah Ahlush Shuffah dan undanglah mereka kesini.” Kata Abu Hurairah, Ahlush Shuffah adalah tamu Islam. Mereka tidak bersandar kepada keluarga tertentu. Tidak memiliki harta dan famili seorang pun juga. Jika datang kepada Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam shadaqah, Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam kirimkan makanan tersebut kepada mereka dan sama sekali tidak ikut mencicipi makanan tersebut. Jika datang kepada Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam berupa hadiah (untuknya), maka Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam pun mengirimkannya kepada Ahlush Shuffah dan ikut bersama menikmatinya. Hal itu kurang berkenan bagiku, maka aku berkata (dalam hati),”Apakah susu ini cukup untuk Ahlush Suffah?! Menurutku, akulah yang berhak pertama kali meminum susu agar aku menjadi kuat dengannya". Maka ketika Beliau datang, Beliau memerintahku untuk membagikannya kepada mereka. Padahal, mungkin susu itu tidak akan sampai kepadaku. Namun, mentaati Allah dan RasulNya merupakan keharusan, maka akupun mendatangi dan mengundang mereka. Lalu mereka datang dan mohon izin masuk. Kemudian Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam pun mengizinkannya. Lalu mereka mengambil posisi masing-masing di tempat yang ada di rumah Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Beliau memanggilku,”Wahai, Abu Hirr.” Aku pun menjawabnya, “Kupenuhi panggilanmu, wahai Rasul ….” Beliau bersabda lagi, “Ambil dan bagikan kepada mereka.” Aku pun mengambil gelas dan memberikannya kepada salah seorang (diantara mereka); ia meminumnya hingga puas dan kenyang, lalu ia kembalikan gelas itu dan aku berikan kepada orang lain; lalu meminumnya sampai puas dan kenyang. Begitu seterusnya hingga berakhir kepada Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam dalam keadaan seluruh Ahlush Shufah kenyang. Lalu Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam mengambil gelas tadi dan meletakkannya di atas tangan Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam seraya memandangku sambil tersenyum dan bersabda, “Wahai, Abu Hirr. Duduk dan minumlah.” Akupun duduk dan meminumnya. Lalu Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam bersabda lagi, “Minumlah,” lalu aku minum. Beliau terus memerintahku minum, sehingga aku berkata,”Cukup. Demi yang mengutusmu dengan kebenaran, tidak lagi aku dapati tempat untuk minuman dalam tubuhku. Beliau bersabda,”Berikanlah kepadaku,” aku pun menyerahkan gelas tadi, kemudian Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam memuji Allah dan meminum susu yang tersisa“. (21)

    Mereka berdalih dengan kisah ini untuk menguatkan pernyataan mereka terdahulu dalam mencela Abu Hurairah sebagai orang yang beramal untuk sesuap makanan, namun apakah karena kejadian tersebut, lalu kita tolak seluruh hadits beliau? Apalagi sampai menghina beliau sebagai orang yang punya hobi makan dan disebut sebagai pembawa hadits lesung.

    Orang yang meneliti kehidupan para sahabat menemukan bahwa beliau dalam hal ini tidak sendirian. Ada diantara sahabat yang berbuat hal yang serupa, diantaranya Watsilah bin Al Asqaa’ sebagaimana diriwayatkan Al Hakim dengan lafadz:

    “Kami bertempat tinggal selama tiga hari. Setiap orang yang menuju masjid mengajak dua dan tiga orang sesuai dengan kemampuannya, dan memberi mereka makan”. Beliau berkata lagi, ”Aku termasuk yang tidak dibawa selama tiga hari tiga malam. Tiba-tiba aku melihat Abu Bakar di kegelapan malam. Aku pun mendatanginya dan memintanya untuk membacakan surat Saba’ hingga sampai di rumahnya. Aku berharap ia mengundangku makan malam. Lalu beliaupun membacakannya kepadaku hingga depan pintu rumah (beliau) kemudian berhenti di depan pintu sampai selesai membacakan seluruhnya. Kemudian ia masuk dan meninggalkanku di luar. Kemudian aku menemui Umar. Aku berbuat seperti itu dan beliau (pun) berbuat serupa dengan perbuatan Abu Bakar terdahulu. Keesokan harinya, pagi-pagi aku menemui Rasul Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam dan menceritakan hal tersebut padanya, dan Beliaupun menjamuku.” (22)

    apakah kita menolak seluruh hadits Waatsilah karena peristiwa ini?

    Sedangkan kisah beliau dengan Ja’far bin Abu Thalib dibawakan Imam Bukhari dengan lafadz:

    خَيْرُ النَّاسِ لِلْمَسَاكِينِ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ يَنْقَلِبُ بِنَا فَيُطْعِمُنَا مَا كَانَ فِي بَيْتِهِ حَتَّى إِنْ كَانَ لَيُخْرِجُ إِلَيْنَا الْعُكَّةَ لَيْسَ فِيهَا شَيْءٌ فَنَشْتَقُّهَا فَنَلْعَقُ مَا فِيهَا

    Sebaik-baik manusia terhadap orang miskin adalah Ja’far bin Abu Thalib. Dia terus mengunjungi kami dan memberi makan kami apa yang ada di rumahnya, sampai-sampai membawa tempat makanan tanpa berisi makanan. Kami pun memegangnya, lalu menjilati sisa yang ada di tempat makanan tersebut. (23)

    Lihatlah perbedaan dan penukilan ngawur yang menjadi cirri khas ahli bid’ah dan musuh Islam!!!

    Syubhat 5

    Mereka menyatakan: “Keperibadian Abu Hurairah lemah. Tatkala kembali dari Bahrain, Umar bin Khathab mencurigainya menggelapkan uang baitul mal. ‘Umar menuduhnya sebagai pencuri dan menyebutnya sebagai musuh Allah dan musuh kaum muslimin, dalam riwayat lain, musuh Kitab atau musuh Islam. (24)


    Pernyataan mereka ini berdasarkan riwayat yang disampaikan Ibnu Sa’ad dengan sanad yang shahih tentang kisah kepulangan Abu Hurairah dari tugasnya sebagai amir (gubernur) Bahrain.

    Beliau menghadap Umar bin Khathab dengan membawa uang sebanyak 400.000 dari Bahrain. Umar Radhiallahu’anhu bertanya padanya: “Apakah engkau menzhalimi seseorang?” Ia menjawab,“Tidak.” Umar Radhiallahu’anhu bertanya lagi,“Apakah engkau mengambil sesuatu dengan tidak benar?” Ia menjawab,“Tidak.” Umar Radhiallahu’anhu bertanya lagi, “Berapa banyak yang engkau bawa untuk pribadi?” Ia menjawab, “Sebanyak 20.000.” Umar Radhiallahu’anhu bertanya, “Dari mana engkau mendapatkannya?” Ia menjawab, “Aku berdagang.” Umar Radhiallahu’anhu berkata, “Hitunglah modal dan rizkimu (gajimu), maka ambillah. Sedang yang lainnya simpanlah diBaitul Mal.” (25)

    Dan dalam lafazh Abu Ubaid, (disebutkan) Umar berkata padanya: “Wahai, musuh Allah dan musuh KitabNya. Apakah engkau mengambil (mencuri) harta?” Ia menjawab, “Aku bukan musuh Allah dan bukan musuh KitabNya. Akan tetapi aku adalah musuh bagi yang menentang keduanya dan aku tidak mencuri harta Allah.” Umar bertanya kembali: “Dari mana berkumpul untukmu uang sejumlah 10.000 dirham?” Ia menjawab, “Kudaku berkembang biak. Pemberian untukku selalu aku dapatkan. Begitu juga sahamku (bagianku dari pembagian rampasan perang), juga berkembang dan bertambah.” Lalu Umar mengambilnya dariku. Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu berkata, “Ketika kutunaikan shalat Shubuh, aku mintakan ampunan untuk Amirul mukminin.”(26)

    Kita lihat para musuh Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu mempergunakan perkataan keras Umar Radhiallahu’anhu ini untuk mencaci Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu dan menuduhnya mencuri dan merampas; padahal permasalahannya tidak demikian.

    Umar Radhiallahu’anhu melakukan pengambilan sebagian harta tersebut terhadap sejumlah pejabatnya (27) dan tidak mengkhususkan kepada Abu Hurairah dengan perlakuan semacam ini. Sebabnya, ketika Amr bin Ash Sha’iq melihat harta para pejabat semakin bertambah banyak, ia merasa aneh, lalu menulis surat kepada Umar bin Al Khaththab dalam bentuk bait-bait syi’ir.(28) Lalu Umar Radhiallahu’anhu pun mengirim utusan kepada para petugas. Diantara mereka adalah Sa’ad Radhiallahu’anhu, dan Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, lalu ia mengambil harta mereka menjadi setengah bagian.(29) Begitu juga ia memutasi Abu Musa Al Asy’ari dari tugas di Bashrah, dan hartanya dibagi menjadi dua bagian. Demikian juga pada Al Haarits bin Wahb.(30)

    Umar Radhiallahu’anhu tidaklah menuduh Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, dan tidak juga hanya mengambil harta miliknya saja. Bahkan itulah sistem politik Umar Radhiallahu’anhu terhadap para pejabatnya; bukan atas dasar syubhat, namun itu merupakan ijtihad dan kehebatan beliau dalam me-manage perkara-perkara kaum muslimin. (31)

    Sungguh Umar Radhiallahu’anhu sangat mencintai sahabat, sebagaimana ia mencintai dirinya. Dan beliau sangat tidak suka, bila salah seorang dari mereka mendapatkan harta yang berbau syubhat. Berita perbuatan beliau ini banyak diriwayatkan dalam perjalanan hidupnya. (32)

    Khalifah Umar Radhiallahu’anhu khawatir atas mereka. Jangan-jangan orang bermu’amalah dalam perdagangan dan usaha dengan mereka karena jabatan yang disandangnya. Karenanya beliau mengambil sebagian dari harta mereka dan meletakkannya di Baitul Mal agar terlepas tanggung jawabnya di hadapan Allah Ta’ala. Kemudian ia pun memberikannya kepada mereka setelah pengambilan tersebut dari harta Baitul Mal sesuai jumlah yang layak. Dengan demikian menjadi halallah bagi mereka tanpa ada syubhat.(33)

    Para penuduh tersebut hanya memandang dan menukil riwayat ini sesuai dengan keinginannya, lalu menjadikanya sebagai senjata untuk menyerang sahabat Abu Hurairah dan menuduhnya berkepribadian lemah, tanpa menyebutkan riwayat secara lengkap.

    Padahal dalam riwayat tersebut terdapat bantahan Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu terhadap Umar Radhiallahu’anhu, ketika Umar Radhiallahu’anhu berkata padanya, “Wahai, musuh Allah dan musuh kitabNya. Apakah engkau telah mencuri harta Allah?”, Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu menjawab,“Aku bukan musuh Allah dan bukan musuh KitabNya. Akan tetapi aku adalah musuh bagi yang menentang keduanya.”

    Dengan demikian jelaslah Umar tidak mencurigai dan menuduh Abu Hurairah mencuri. Hal ini dibuktikan dengan keinginan beliau mengangkat kembali Abu Hurairah untuk kedua kalinya.

    Sebagaimana diriwayatkan Abu Ubaid setelah riwayat diatas dengan bunyi: “Kemudian, setelah itu Umar Radhiallahu’anhu berkata kepadaku: “Bukankah engkau mau bertugas kembali?” Aku menjawabnya: “Tidak”. Ia berkata: “Mengapa, (tidak mau) padahal telah bertugas orang yang lebih baik darimu, yakni Yusuf”. Akupun menimpalinya,“Sesungguhnya Yusuf seorang Nabi dan anak seorang Nabi pula. Sedangkan aku adalah anak Umaimah, dan aku takut tiga dan dua”. Umar Radhiallahu’anhu berkata, “Kenapa engkau tidak berkata lima?”. Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu menjawab, “Aku takut berbicara tanpa dasar ilmu dan memutuskan tanpa hilm (sabar dan hati-hati).” Atau ia berkata: “Aku berkata tanpa hilm (sabar dan hati-hati), dan aku memutuskan perkara tanpa dasar ilmu”. Seorang perawi (dari Ibnu Sirin) berkata: “Keraguan ini berasal dari Ibnu Sirin”. Lalu Abu Hurairah berkata lagi (yg dua hal),“Dan aku takut akan dipukul punggungku dan dicela kehormatanku dan diambil hartaku dengan paksa.”(34)

    Seandainya Umar Radhiallahu’anhu telah mengetahui Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu pernah berkhianat, niscaya tidak akan memakainya sama sekali dan tidak akan memanggilnya untuk kedua kalinya. Seandainya Khalifah Umar Radhiallahu’anhu meragukan sifat amanah Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu sedikit saja, tentu beliau akan menghakimi dan menghukumnya dengan hukuman syar’i. Akan tetapi, beliau telah mengetahui sifat amanah dan keikhlasannya, maka beliaupun kembali menemui Abu Hurairah meminta menjadi pejabat beliau.(35)


    Penulis: Ustadz Kholid Syamhudi, Lc.

    20) Saqifah op.cit hlm 20.

    21) Shahih Al Bukhari,dalam Shahihnya kitab Al Riqaaq, Bab Kaifa ‘Isy Rasululloh wa Ashhabihi Wa Takhallihim min Al Dunya no. 5971 hlm VIII/120.

    22) Dinukil dari Difaun ‘An Abi Hurairoh, op.cit hlm 45-46 dari Al Mustadrak, IV/116.

    23) Al Bukhari, dalam Shahihnya kitab Al Ath’imah, Bab Al Halwa wa Al Asl, no. 5431 hlm IX/557.

    24) Saqifah op.cit hlm 13.

    25) Thabaqaat Ibnu Sa’ad, IV/336 dengan sanad yang shahih.

    26) Al Amwaal, oleh Abu Ubaid, halaman 269.

    27) Al Bidayah Wan Nihayah, VlIII/13.

    28) Al Amwaal, oleh Abu Ubaid, halaman 269. Muhammad ‘Ajaj Al Khathib menyebutkan di hlm. 225 dari Thabaqat Ibnu Sa’ad, 105/J.3/Q.

    29) Al Amwaal, oleh Abu Ubaid, halaman 269; dinukil dari Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh op.cit hlm 141 dan menyatakan bahwa Muhammad ‘Ajaj Al Khathib menyebutkan di halaman 225 dari Tahabaqat lbnu Sa‘ad, 105/J.3/Q.2.

    30) Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh op.cit hlm 140 dan menyatakan bahwa Muhammad ‘Ajaj mengisyaratkan di halaman 225, bahwa Ibnu Abdi Rabbih menyebutkan berita keduanya dalam Al Aqdu Al Farid, I/33.

    31) Abu Hurairah Rawiyatul Islam, halaman 225; As Sunnah Qabla At Tadwin, halaman 438.

    32) Al Anwaar Al Kasyifah, karya Abdurrahman Al Mu’allimiy halaman 213.

    33) ibid

    34) Al Amwaal, oleh Ibnu Ubaid, halaman 269 dengan sanad yang shahih dari jalan Yazid bin Ibrahim At Tasatuni dari lbnu Sirin, dan kisah itu sendiri dalam Al Mustadrak, 11/ 347 dan Uyunu Al Atsaar, I/53. diambil dari AL Difa’ ‘An Abu Hurairoh op.cit hlm 142.

    35) As Sunnah Qabla At Tadwin, halaman 438.

              Menjawab Syubhat Tentang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (1)        
    Mencela dan melecehkan para sahabat dengan penghinaan dan tuduhan ngawur merupakan cara-cara pengikut iblis dan musuh-musuh Islam(1). Tujuan mereka sebenarnya hanyalah berusaha mencela dan merendahkan para saksi kebenaran islam dan hendak mencela Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam dengan menyatakan beliau memiliki sahabat-sahabat yang jelek dan tidak memilih sahabat yang baik saja.

    Akhirnya dengan cara ini mereka ingin menghancurkan agama islam dan memadamkan cahayanya. Namun Allah tidak ingin cahaya agamaNya padam, bahkan Allah menyempurnakan cahaya agamaNya walaupun kaum kafir pengikut iblis tidak suka dan marah. Biarlah mereka mampus dengan kemarahan dan kedengkiannya.

    Mereka hendak memadamkan sunnah Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam dengan slogan yang tampak luarnya rahmah dan ilmiah namun di dalamnya menyimpan dendam kesumat dan penipuan besar serta kepandiran.

    Slogan studi kritis hadits, studi ilmiyah dan kebebasan berpendapat, ini semua hanyalah semu dan fatamorgana, tujuannya hanya satu menghancurkan Islam dengan segala cara. Oleh sebab itu berhati-hatilah wahai kaum muslimin dari racun yang mereka tebarkan dimana-mana untuk merusak aqidah dan syariat kita.

    Diantara para sahabat yang mereka serang adalah perawi hadits Nabi terbanyak Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu dengan melemparkan tuduhan ngawur dan kritikan tanpa dasar, namun dibungkus dengan kata-kata indah dan ilmiyah sehingga banyak menipu kaum muslimin yang belum mengenal aqidah dan syariat islam.

    Maka dalam makalah singkat ini kita coba mengungkap beberapa tuduhan yang dilontarkan musuh islam kepada tokoh besar kita Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu yang terzahlimi dengan mencoba membantah dan membedahnya dengan tetap terus memohon kepada Allah kemudahan dan petunjuknya.

    Diantara syubhat yang dilontarkan dengan zhalim oleh para musuh Islam adalah;

    Syubhat 1

    Mereka(2) menyatakan: “Berbeda dengan para sahabat lain, para ahli sejarah tidak dapat memastikan nama sebenarnya dari Abu Hurairah, namanya dizaman jahiliyah maupun dizaman Islam. Begitu pula asal usulnya.”. (3)

    Juga menyatakan : “Abu Hurairah bukan sahabat besar, bukan dari kaum muhajirin bukan Anshor, bukan penyair Rasul, bukan keluarga Rasul, malah asal-usulnya, orang tuanya, bahkan nama aslinyapun tidak diketahui orang.”. (4)


    Memang Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu terkenal dengan "kunyah" (julukannya) melebihi namanya. Namun pernyataan diatas tidak benar seluruhnya dan tidak dapat dijadikan alasan untuk melecehkan Abu Hurairah. Adapun sejarah Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu pada masa jahiliyah memang tidak dikenal, namun, demikian itu satu kewajaran, karena bangsa Arab -seluruhnya- tenggelam dalam ke-jahiliyah-an dan terkungkung di wilayah jazirahnya saja.

    Mereka tidak peduli dengan keadaan dunia. Begitu juga dunia tidak peduli dengan keadaan dan kondisi mereka, kecuali yang berhubungan dengan perniagaan, karena melintasi wilayah mereka.

    Baru, ketika Islam datang, Allah memuliakan dan menjadikan mereka sebagai pengemban risalahNya, jadilah setiap individu dari mereka memiliki sejarah yang ditulis menjadi bahan pembicaraan. Dan para perawi, selalu memperhatikan berita mereka, serta mereka memiliki murid yang mengambil ilmu dan petunjuk dari mereka.

    Para ahli sejarah sudah memahami, bahwa terkenalnya seseorang dengan gelar atau julukan merupakan perkara biasa dan wajar. Bahkan, terkadang seseorang berselisih dalam hal nama dan kun-yah (julukan)nya, sebagaimana terjadi atas khalifah pertama, beliau dikenal dengan gelarnya Abu Bakar. Begitu juga dengan Abu Ubaidah, Abu Dujanah dan Abu Darda’. Mereka merupakan tokoh besar dan pahlawan dari kalangan sahabat. Namun lebih dikenal dengan gelar-gelar mereka, hingga sebagian besar manusia tidak mengetahui nama mereka yang sebenarnya. Belum pernah kita dengar pada kurun waktu tertentu, bahwa kedudukan dan keturunan dapat menentukan penghargaan intelektualitas.(5)

    Karenanya, celaan dan pelecehan terhadap julukan Abu Hurairah dan ketenaran beliau dengannya melebihi namanya adalah tidak benar. Apalagi para ulama Islam telah me-rajih-kan nama beliau di zaman Jahiliyah adalah Abdus Syamsi dan setelah masuk Islam adalah Abdurrahman. Kemudian tuduhan beliau tidak jelas asal usulnya juga satu kebodohan dari mereka (para penuduh ini) karena asal-usul dan nasabnya cukup terhormat.(6)

    Apakah ihwal Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu dalam hal ini berbeda dengan ihwal sahabat-sahabat Nabi lainnya? Lalu, mengapa ketiak-jelasan sejarah kehidupan Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu pada masa jahiliyah merusak kedudukan dan menghancurkan posisi beliau dalam Islam? Apakah ada dalam Kitabullah, bahwa orang yang tidak dikenal sejarahnya sebelum Islam harus direndahkan dan dilecehkan posisi dan kedudukannya serta meragukan terhadap semua riwayatnya dari hadits-hadits Rasul? Maha Suci Allah, sesungguhnya ini merupakan tuduhan dan tipu daya yang besar.(7)

    Syubhat 2

    Mereka menyatakan: “Abu Hurairah ada di Madinah hanya 1 tahun 9 bulan di Shuffah. Abu Hurairah datang kepada Rasulullah pada bulan Safar tahun 7 Hijriyah, setelah perang Khaibar dan tinggal di emperan masjid Madinah (Shuffah) sampai bulan Zulqaidah tahun 8 Hijriyah, karena pada bulan itu ia disuruh Rasul ke Bahrain menemani Al Ala’ Al Hadhrami sebagai Muadzdzin“.(8)


    Pernyataan ini tidak benar, sebab Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu bersahabat dengan Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam sekitar 4 tahun lebih.(9) Sebagaimana ditegaskan oleh Humaid bin Abdurrahman Al Himyari dalam pernyataannya,

    لَقِيتُ رَجُلًا صَحِبَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَرْبَعَ سِنِينَ كَمَا صَحِبَهُ أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ

    “Aku berteman dan berjumpa dengan orang-orang yang bersahabat dengan Nabi sebagaimana persahabatan Abu Hurairah dengan Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam selama empat tahun.”. (10)

    Sedang kepergiannya menemani Al ‘Alaa’ Al Hadhrami tidak menunjukkan beliau menetap di sana sampai Rasulullah meninggal, apalagi adanya riwayat yang menyatakan beliau ber-mulazamah dengan Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam selama empat tahun di atas. Demikian juga pendapat yang didukung riwayat otentik menunjukkan beliau ikut serta perang Khaibar walaupun tidak seluruhnya (11) dan mengikuti haji bersama Abu Bakar Ash Shidiq Radhiallahu’anhu tahun 9 H.

    Syubhat 3

    Mereka menyatakan : “Ia sendiri menceritakan bahwa ia mendatangi Rasul bukan karena ia mendapat hidayah atau karena kecintaannya kepada Nabi seperti yang lain, tapi untuk mendapatkan makanan. Dalam riwayat Ahmad, Bukhari dan Muslim, Abu Hurairah berkata: “Aku adalah seorang miskin, aku bersahabat dengan Rasul Allah untuk mengisi perutku.” (12)

    Dan dalam riwayat lain: “Untuk memenuhi perutku yang lapar.” Dalam riwayat Muslim: “Aku melayani Rasul Alllah untuk mengisi perutku.” Atau Aku menetap dengan Rasul Allah untuk mengisi perutku” kemudian menyatakan lagi : “Ia juga punya hobi makan, karena kesukaannya yang berlebihan akan makanan, maka sering juga disebut sebagai pembawa ‘hadist lesung’ (lesung -al-mihras- , alat untuk menumbuk dan mengulek makanan. Lihat, “Hadits Lalat” dan “Hadits Pundi-pundi”) (13)


    Riwayat-riwayat yang dipakai mereka sebagai dasar tuduhan mereka terhadap Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu, bahwa beliau melakukan aktivitas mendengar hadits Rasulullah Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam hanya untuk mencari sesuap nasi yang mengenyangkan perutnya dalam kata lain melakukannya hanya karena sedikit dunia yang rendah, memang diriwayatkan secara shahih dengan lafadz:

    أَنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ إِنَّكُمْ تَقُولُونَ إِنَّ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ يُكْثِرُ الْحَدِيثَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَتَقُولُونَ مَا بَالُ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ وَالْأَنْصَارِ لَا يُحَدِّثُونَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِمِثْلِ حَدِيثِ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ وَإِنَّ إِخْوَتِي مِنْ الْمُهَاجِرِينَ كَانَ يَشْغَلُهُمْ صَفْقٌ بِالْأَسْوَاقِ وَكُنْتُ أَلْزَمُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى مِلْءِ بَطْنِي فَأَشْهَدُ إِذَا غَابُوا وَأَحْفَظُ إِذَا نَسُوا وَكَانَ يَشْغَلُ إِخْوَتِي مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ عَمَلُ أَمْوَالِهِمْ وَكُنْتُ امْرَأً مِسْكِينًا مِنْ مَسَاكِينِ الصُّفَّةِ أَعِي حِينَ يَنْسَوْنَ

    “Sesungguhnya Abu Hurairah berkata: ‘Kalian akan menyatakan, bahwa Abu Hurairah banyak meriwayatkan hadits. Dan Allahlah tempat (untuk membuktikan) janji. Juga mengatakan ‘Mengapa orang-orang Al Muhajirin dan Anshar tidak banyak meriwayatkan hadits, seperti periwayatan Abu Hurairah?’ Sungguh, saudara- saudaraku dari Muhajirin disibukkan dengan jual-beli di pasar. Sedangkan saudara- saudaraku dari Anshar disibukkan oleh pengelolaan harta mereka. Adapun aku seorang miskin yang selalu mengikuti Rasulullah selama perutku berisi. Aku hadir saat mereka tidak hadir, dan aku ingat dan paham saat mereka lupa.” (14)

    Pernyataan Beliau di lafadz pertama “Allah-lah tempat (membuktikan) janji” pengertiannya, bahwa Allah akan menghisabku jika aku sengaja berdusta, (dan) sekaligus akan menghisab orang-orang yang menuduhku dengan tuduhan yang keji. (15) Adapun pernyataan beliau: “selama perutku berisi“, yakni merasa telah puas dengan sesuap makanan, sehingga beliau tidak pernah tidak hadir di sisi Nabi. (16)

    Kalau demikian tuduhan atas beliau sangat dipaksakan sekali dan tidak ilmiah. Hal itu karena Abu Hurairah tidak sekedar menceritakan persahabatannya yang sama-sama dimiliki sahabat lainnya semata. Namun, Beliau dalam pernyatannya tersebut ingin juga menceritakan keistimewaan (yang dimilikinya). Keistimewaan tersebut adalah kebersamaan Beliau bersama Rasulullah yang tidak dimiliki oleh yang lainnya.

    Keistimewaan tersebut beliau jelaskan dengan caranya (yang) tawadhu’, dengan menyatakan: “Selama perutku berisi“, lalu menyebutkan keistimewaan para sahabat lainnya, sebagai orang-orang yang mampu dan kuat mencari penghidupan. Hal ini, demi Allah, merupakan akhlak yang luar biasa.(17)

    Tuduhan Abu Hurairah banyak makan dan bersemangat mendapatkan makanan serta bersahabat dengan Nabi hanya karena makanan, bukan karena hidayah Islam atau kecintaan pada beliau merupakan tuduhan keji yang hanya dilontarkan orang yang hasad atau orang yang memiliki kerusakan syaraf. Jika tidak, bagaimana mungkin seorang yang berakal dapat membenarkan pemahaman, bahwa Abu Hurairah sanggup meninggalkan negerinya, kabilah dan tanah airnya demi menjumpai Rasul hanya (sekadar) untuk makan dan minum semata?

    Apakah Abu Hurairah di kabilahnya tidak mendapatkan makan dan minum? Lalu untuk apa Abu Hurairah datang ke Madinah? Apakah di negerinya ia tidak bisa mendapat makanan dan minuman sebagaimana yang diperoleh para petani dan pedagang di sana? Tuduhan ini betul-betul pelecehan terhadap sahabat yang mulia ini. Dan para penuduh lebih layak dilecehkan dan diragukan keikhlasannya dari beliau. Hingga sampai sejauh inikah kebutaan hati dan kedengkian mereka?

    Kemudian dalam pernyataan mereka ini terdapat penyimpangan makna, karena dalam riwayat tersebut bukan dengan lafadz Shuhbah (bersahabat), namun yang benar, sebagaimana yang diriwayatkan oleh Imam Al Bukhari dengan lafadz ‘Alzamu‘ (selalu menemani dan mengikuti).

    Demikian juga Imam Muslim meriwayatkannya dengan lafadz: “Aku adalah seorang miskin yang melayani Rasul selama perutku berisi”. Hal ini menunjukkan penyimpangan yang jelas dari pernyataan beliau, sebab kata “persahabatan” (shuhbah) tidak sama dengan kta “mulazamah” dan “al khidmah” (melayani dan membantu).

    Sehingga pernyataan beliau ini jelas-jelas untuk menjelaskan sebab banyaknya periwayatan beliau terhadap hadits-hadits Nabi seperti telah jelas dari alur pernyataannya. Demikian juga para penuduh ini disamping telah melakukan tahrif (penyimpangan) di atas juga memotong pernyataan beliau yang merubah konotasi maknanya, sehingga terfahami bahwa pendorong utama persahabatan beliau adalah mencari sesuap makanan.

    Padahal semua itu, beliau katakan untuk menjelaskan sebab pendorong menjadi sahabat yang paling banyak meriwayatkan hadits. Demikianlah, tahrif (menyimpangkan sesuatu dari lafadz atau makna sebenarnya) sudah menjadi adat kebiasaan orang yang menyimpang dari jalan yang lurus dan penyembah hawa nafsu.

    Lalu, darimana mereka mengklaim diri mereka mampu mengungkapkan secara benar dan jelas sebab persahabatan Abu Hurairah dengan Nabi Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam? Apakah mereka lebih tahu dari Rasulullah yang telah memberikan pengakuan dan pujiannya kepada Abu Hurairah? (18)

    Mereka tidak cukup hanya dengan itu, bahkan menyatakan, bahwa makna lafadz (عَلَى) pada perkataan Abu Hurairah Radhiallahu’anhu (’عَلَى مِلء بَطْنِيْ) bermakna untuk yang menunjukkan sebab. Ini juga merupakan kedustaan dan penipuan lain, sekaligus sebagai bukti mereka selalu mencari jalan untuk menjatuhkan pribadi Abu Hurairah.

    Pernyataan Abu Hurairah ini telah difahami dengan benar oleh para ulama Islam, seperti pernyataan Imam Nawawi ketika menjelaskan perkataan Abu Hurairah (ala mil’i bathni): “Maknanya aku senantiasa mulazamah dengan Beliau Shallallahu’alaihi Wasallam. Aku rela dengan makananku. Aku tidak mengumpulkan harta untuk simpanan dan tidak untuk yang lainnya. Dan akupun tidak berusaha menambah porsi makanan bagiku. sedangkan maksud pernyataan beliau ‘melayani‘, bukan sebagai upaya untuk memperoleh gaji atau upah”.(19)

    Sehingga jelaslah kebatilan tuduhan ini.


    Penulis: Ustadz Kholid Syamhudi, Lc.

    1) Semua tuduhan dan kecaman dalam pembahasan ini diambil dengan huruf per huruf dari buku “Saqifah, Awal Perselisihan Umat” karya seorang syiah dari Lampung yang bernama O. Hashem, cetakan ketiga tahun 1415 H -1994 M, terbitan penerbit Al Muntazhar, Jakarta barat.

    Buku ini sebenarnya hanya menukil tuduhan dan kecaman para pendahulunya dari kalangan orang syiah dan musuh-musuh Islam. Maka hendaklah kaum muslimin berhati-hati terhadap buku ini karena berisi kebohongan dan kelicikan dalam mengolah kata sehingga dapat mengelabuhi kaum muslimin yang tidak memiliki dasar pengetahuan islam yang baik.

    Kemudian jawabannya kami ambilkan dari kitab Difa’un ‘An Abi Hurairah karya Abdul Mun’im Shalih Al ‘Ali Al ‘Izzi, tanpa tahun, Dar Al Syuruq, Bairut, As Sunnah Qabla Al Tadwin karya Dr. Muhammad ‘Ajaaj Al Khathib, cetakan kelima tahun 1401 H, Dar El Fikar, Bairut, dan kitab-kitab hadits serta beberapa referinsi lainnya.

    2) Kami gunakan kata ‘mereka‘ disini karena tuduhan ini juga dilontarkan orang lain, baik di Indonesia atau di negara lain agar lebih bersifat umum. Karena penulis buku Saqifah hanya mengekor dan menukil dari orang lain, diantaranya Abu Rayah (dimesir) atau orang-orang syi’ah lainnya.

    3) Saqifah, op.cit hlm 12

    4) ibid hlm 20.

    5) Dikutip dari kitab Difa’un ‘An Abu Hurairah dari pernyataan Al Ustadz Al Khathib dalam kitab Abu Hurairah Rawiyatul ISlam, halaman 213.

    6) Insya Allah akan disajikan pembahasan Abu Hurairah Pribadi menganggumkan. (- ibnu abdillah)

    7) Dikutip dari pernyataan Dr. As Siba’i dalam Sunnah Wa Makanatuha, halaman 307.

    8) Saqifah op.cit hlm 11

    9) Siar A’lami An Nubala, karya Al Dzahabiy, Tahqiq Syu’aib Al Arnauth, Maktabah Al Risalah, Bairut hlm II/426.

    10) Musnad Ahmad,no. 16793; Abu Dawud, dalam Sunannya, kitab Al Thoharoh, Bab Al Nahyu ‘an Dzalika no 73 hlm I/19; Al Nasa’i, dalam sunannya kitan Al Ziinaah bab Al Akhdzi ‘An Al Syaarib no. 4968 hlm I/130 dengan sanad-sanad yang shahih.

    11) Lihat Riwayat-riwayat tersebut dalam kitab Difa’ ‘An Abi Hurairoh karya Abdul Mun’im Al’Izzi. Hlm 25-26.

    12) Saqifah op.cit 12

    13) ibid hlm 14.

    14) Al Bukhari,dalam Shahihnya, kitab Al Buyu’ Bab Ma Ja’a Fi Qaulihi Ta’ala Faidza Qadhaita Al Sholat no. 1906 – III/135. dan Ahmad bin Hambal dalam Musnad Ahmad hadits no. 7273

    15) Fathul Bari, karya Ibnu Hajar, tanpa tahun, Maktabah Al Salafiyah, hlm V/28.

    16) Fathul Bari, op.cit IV/288.

    17) Dari pernyataan Al Mualimi rahimahullah dalam Al Anwaar Al Kaasyifah, halaman 147.

    18) Lihat hadits - hadits tentang pujian Rasulullah kepadanya. (Insya Allah disajikan bersama Artikel Abu Hurairah pribadi yang mengagumkan - ibnu abdillah)

    19) Syarh An Nawawi terhadap Shahih Muslim, tashhih Syeikh Kholil Ma’muun Syeihaa, cetakan ketiga tahun 1317 H, Dar Al Ma’rifah, Baerut hlm XV/270.

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    Qatar has lodged a formal complaint with the World Trade Organisation against the “illegal siege” imposed by four Arab neighbours that have accused the Gulf state of sponsoring terrorism. The complaint, lodged with the WTO’s dispute-settlement body, described the embargo as “unprecedented”, accusing Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain of “violating the WTO’s core laws and conventions on trade of goods and services, and trade-related aspects of intellectual property,” the ministry of economy and commerce said in a statement on Monday.

    On June 5, the quartet of Arab allies cut off air, sea and land links to their gas-rich neighbour, closing off airspace to Qatar-bound flights, refusing to handle goods bound for the gas-rich state and cutting diplomatic ties. While Qatar has shifted supply chains, bringing in food from Turkey and Iran and using Omani ports, its imports nonetheless slumped 40 per cent in June as the embargo hit home. “The arbitrary measures taken by the siege countries are a clear violation of the provisions and conventions of international trade law,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassem bin Mohammed Al Thani, the minister of economy and commerce. “Furthermore, the illegal siege is unprecedented in the framework of economic blocs.”
    The complaint at the ICAO will also mirror the WTO complaints since Qatar has had a very hard time sending and receiving Qatar Airlines and other flights with the likes of UAE closing their airspace to Qatar. While I have little doubt that Qatar's case is a fairly good one against such a wide range of sanctions without apparent cause--especially trade-related ones--you have to wonder: Given that WTO cases are usually resolved over a year's time, will there still be much of a commercial center left of Qatar if things take that long to resolve?

    Ultimately, I believe that a diplomatic solution, whoever may broker it, will need to be found. Litigation will only get you so far and may leave a bad aftertaste besides.

              How Trump Made the Qatar Situation Worse        

    Why are five of the largest Arab states ganging up on Qatar? And should we care? These are reasonable questions for the crisis-soaked news reader upon learning that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates have cut off ties—diplomatic as well all travel and trade—with this tiny constitutional monarchy.

    A few things worth knowing about Qatar. It holds the world’s fourth-largest oil and natural gas reserves. It hosts the Middle East’s largest U.S. military base, including the headquarters of Central Command’s air combat center. A fairly cosmopolitan place, the nation was chosen—controversially—as the setting for the 2022 World Cup. As with the countries now opposing it, Qatar is led by Sunnis who are active in the fight against the Houthi rebels in Yemen and Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Yet they are also friendly with Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and some of the most hardcore Islamist militias.

    In short, like many of the problems that President Trump has confronted or aggravated, Qatar is a lot more complicated than anyone knew.

    And, though tensions between Qatar and the other Arab countries have been simmering for nearly a decade, Trump—perhaps accidentally—triggered this new escalation.

    Trump thought he would unify and strengthen the Sunni leaders when he spoke to them in Saudi Arabia last month. That visit, his first stop on his first trip abroad as president, was more enthusiastically greeted than his later stops in Europe. But Trump’s speech there, too, was a disaster, though of a different sort, heralding a new U.S. policy of taking the Sunni powers’ side in their sectarian wars against Shiite powers, especially Iran. What Trump clearly did not foresee was that his speech would also deepen a wedge among the Sunnis—and, possibly, intensify the conflicts in the region.

    The emir of Qatar—Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, whose family has ruled the country for almost two centuries—has tried to carve out a separate foreign policy in the past decade, courting one side in the region’s sectarian feuds, then the other side, depending on his own interests. He could do this because his country has enormous wealth for such a small population—its 2.2 million people, most of whom are foreign expats, enjoy the world’s highest per-capita income, dampening the political fissures that plague many of the region’s monarchies. During the Arab Spring, the emir supported the rebel protesters, using the state-owned TV network, Al-Jazeera, as a propaganda organ for their cause. He also moved closer to Iran, the Shiite neighbor just across the Persian Gulf.

    Faysal Itani, an analyst at the Atlantic Council in Washington, says that the Qataris’ approach made sense.* “They made the best of their position and tried to carve out a special sphere to be relevant in the region’s politics.”

    But in recent years, Qatar’s approach has gone awry. After the Arab Spring faded and the rebels were supplanted by jihadis, Qatar swung its media and money to support these new movements —which its fellow Sunni states loathed and feared. Similarly, as the Sunni–Shiite wars intensified, Qatar moved closer to the leading Shiite government in Iran. In his fellow Sunnis’ eyes, the emir’s strategy looked more and more like a ploy to bring down their regimes—and to expand his own power. In short, he started alienating everyone: the Sunnis by supporting Iran and its allies in the various militias; the Shiites by continuing to host the U.S. military and helping the Saudis in Yemen.

    “The Qataris tried to be the Hong Kong of the region,” says Joyce Karam, Washington bureau chief of Al-Hayat, a major pan-Arab newspaper. “It isn’t working anymore.”

    The tipping point came with Trump. President Obama kept lines open to all the powers in the region, including Iran, because he did not want to entangle the United States into the sectarian wars any more than it already was. He particularly steered clear of the brewing tensions between Qatar and the other Sunni powers, figuring it would be better to let them work out their own balancing act. Trump’s visit changed the calculus. His speech emboldened the main Sunni powers not only to step up their confrontation with Iran and its “proxies” but also to cut off Qatar.

    Now Qatar is vulnerable. Though very wealthy and diplomatically nimble, Qatar relies on Saudi Arabia for 40 percent of its food. Hence the photos of long lines Monday in the grocery stores of the capital, Doha. More than half of the country’s workers come from other countries in the region—and as part of the sanctions, they have now been called home. Even Qatar’s foreign policy has been circumscribed; for instance, the cut-off of air routes prevents Qatar from flying humanitarian aid to Gaza. Saudi Arabia in particular is all but pushing Qatar’s military to take control. A Saudi newspaper headline says of Qatar on Monday: “5 Coups in 46 Years—and 6th Coup Not Far Away.”

    An analysis in Jane’s 360, which specializes in defense and intelligence, predicts that the Qatar will have no choice but to give in and to sharply reduce its support for Islamist movements, especially in Syria. Whether it can part company with Iran is another question. Those relations have grown very close; the two countries even share a natural gas field.

    Meanwhile, the fissure’s effect on the American-led anti-ISIS campaign is uncertain. As recently as last week, U.S. officials were singing Qatar’s praises for its role in combating terrorism. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Monday that he would try to mediate the new tensions between Qatar and the other powers—though, given the dearth of second- and third-tier officials in the State Department and an emptied diplomatic corps, it’s unclear how he might do this. It’s alarming enough that the rupture seems to have taken the Trump administration by surprise—perhaps another result of the president’s failure to nominate any under or assistant secretaries in the departments of state and defense.

    Over the long haul, this rupture is likely to strain relations within and between the Arab countries. Then again, pan-Arabism unity has long been a bit of a fantasy. It’s possible that this new twist could have some productive consequences. If Qatar ends its support for Islamist fighters, that could speed up the war against ISIS and other extremists in the region. But if, at the same time, Qatar—whether through accession or coup—folds itself completely into the Sunni camp, this will further harden the sectarian divide. For all its flippancy and risk-taking, Qatar’s foreign policy did provide some gray zones and safe harbors in this conflict; it defused some crises, helped free hostages, offered a figment of a third way. Those things are now likely to be shut down and closed off. War will come closer to subsuming the entire region.

    *Correction, June 5, 2017: This article originally misspelled Faysal Itani’s last name. (Return.)

              Nothing but Mechanical failure only can stop Renault- Alonso        
    It was 3 out of 3 on Sunday in Manama, Bahrain for Renault. Once again, like Malaysia, Alonso led from the pole to the podium. Schumacher was giving a tough fight for Renault until 10th lap, when he was just 0.5 seconds behind Alonso. But the newly introduced F2005 failed to survive. Barichello who faced lot of problems with his gearbox in qualifying started from 20th position. But he fought valiantly and at one time was in 5th position. But at the end of the race he could finish only at the ninth position. He could only blame F2005 and Bridgestone tyres. Their combination is not working out this season.

    Trulli, beginning from 3rd position finished 2nd. But he could not compete Alonso. Raikonnen of Mclaren got 3rd place. BAR Honda is having a bad season this year. Sato went out of the race. It is quite usual for him. Button, who was all set to gather some valuable points stopped at 46th lap for his 2nd pitstop. His car failed to stop after the pit stop. Sad end for him.

    Narain Karthikeyan started well. He moved from 17th to 15 th in the first lap itself. He was well set to overtake Villenuve of SauberPetronas. But Electrical failure stopped him from moving on.

    Like Trulli, Ralf Schumacher of Toyata also gathered some points. More podium finishes for Toyota will make Ferrari tough to reach Renault. With 3 races gone, and except for a 2nd place in Australia, Ferrari is under pressure. We have to wait until next race to know whether Ferrari comes out of the situation.



    Penampilan Fisik Al-Habib Ali Al-Jufri

    Penampilan fisiknya mengagumkan: tampan, berkulit putih, tinggi, besar, berjenggot tebal dan rapi tanpa kumis. Wajar jika kehadirannya di suatu majelis selalu menonjol dan menyita perhatian orang.

    Tetapi kelebihannya bukan hanya itu. Kalau sudah berbicara di forum, orang akan terkagum-kagum lagi dengan kelebihan-kelebihannya yang lain. Intonasi suaranya membuat orang tak ingin berhenti mengikuti pembicaraannya. Pada saat tertentu, suara dan ungkapan-ungkapannya menyejukkan hati pendengarnya. Tapi pada saat yang lain, suaranya meninggi, menggelegar, bergetar, membuat mereka tertunduk, lalu mengoreksi diri sendiri.

    Namun jangan dikira kelebihannya hanya pada penampilan fisik dan kemampuan bicara. Materi yang dibawakannya bukan bahan biasa yang hanya mengandalkan retorika, melainkan penuh dengan pemahaman-pemahaman baru, sarat dengan informasi penting, dan ditopang argumentasi-argumentasi yang kukuh.

    Wajar, karena ia memang memiliki penguasaan ilmu agama yang mendalam dalam berbagai cabang keilmuan, ditambah pengetahuannya yang tak kalah luas dalam ilmu-ilmu modern, juga kemampuannya menyentuh hati orang, membuat para pendengarnya bukan hanya memperoleh tambahan ilmu dan wawasan, melainkan juga mendapatkan semangat dan tekad yang baru untuk mengoreksi diri dan melakukan perubahan.

    Itulah sebagian gambaran al-Habib Ali bin Abdurrahman al-Jufri, sosok ulama dan dai muda yang nama dan kiprahnya sangat dikenal di berbagai negeri muslim, bahkan juga di dunia Barat. Ia memang sosok yang istimewa. Pribadinya memancarkan daya tarik yang kuat. Siapa yang duduk dengannya sebentar saja akan tertarik hatinya dan terkesan dengan keadaannya. Bukan hanya kalangan awam, para ulama pun mencintainya. Siapa sesungguhnya tokoh ini dan dari mana ia berasal? 

    Kelahiran dan Nasab Al-Habib Ali Al-Jufri

    Al-Habib Ali al-Jufri lahir di kota Jeddah, Arab Saudi, menjelang Fajar, pada hari Jum’at 16 April 1971 (20 Shafar 1391 H). Ayahnya adalah al-Habib Abdurrahman bin Ali bin Muhammad bin Alwi al-Jufri, sedangkan ibundanya Syarifah Marumah binti Hasan bin Alwi binti Hasan bin Alwi bin Ali al-Jufri.

    Di masa kecil, ia mulai menimba ilmu kepada bibi dari ibundanya, seorang alimah dan arifah billah, Hababah Shafiyah binti Alwi bin Hasan al-Jufri. Wanita shalihah ini memberikan pengaruh yang sangat besar dalam mengarahkannya ke jalur ilmu dan perjalanan menuju Allah.

    Pendidikan dan Guru-guru Al-Habib Ali Al-Jufri

    Setelah itu ia tak henti-hentinya menimba ilmu dari para tokoh besar. Al-Quthb al-Habib Abdul Qadir bin Ahmad Assegaf adalah salah seorang guru utamanya. Kepadanya ia membaca dan mendengarkan pembacaan kitab Shahih al-Bukhari dan Shahih Muslim, Tajrid al-Bukhari, Ihya’ Ulumiddin, dan kitab-kitab penting lainnya. Cukup lama al-Habib Ali belajar kepadanya, sejak usia 10 tahun hingga berusia 21 tahun.

    Ia juga berguru kepada al-Habib Ahmad Masyhur bin Thaha al-Haddad, ulama terkemuka dan penulis karya-karya terkenal. Diantara kitab yang dibacanya kepadanya adalah Idhah Asrar `Ulum al-Muqarrabin.

    Prof. Dr. As-Sayyid Muhammad bin Alwi al-Maliki juga salah seorang gurunya. Kepadanya ia mempelajari kitab-kitab musthalah hadits, ushul, dan sirah. Sedangkan kepada al-Habib Hamid bin Alwi bin Thahir al-Haddad, ia membaca al-Mukhtashar al-Lathifdan Bidayah al-Hidayah.

    Ia pun selama lebih dari empat tahun menimba ilmu kepada al-Habib Abu Bakar al-`Adni bin Ali al-Masyhur, dengan membaca dan mendengarkan kitab Sunan Ibnu Majah, ar-Risalah al-Jami`ah, Bidayah al-Hidayah, al-Muqaddimah al-Hadhramiyyah, Tafsir al-Jalalain, Tanwir al-Aghlas, Lathaif al-Isyarat, Tafsir Ayat al-Ahkam, dan Tafsir al-Baghawi.

    Pada tahun 1412 H (1991 M) al-Habib Ali mengikuti kuliah di Fakultas Dirasat Islamiyyah Universitas Shan`a, Yaman, hingga tahun 1414 H (1993 M). Kemudian ia menetap di Tarim, Hadhramaut. Di sini ia belajar dan juga mendampingi al-Habib Umar bin Hafidz sejak tahun 1993 hingga 2003. Kepadanya, al-Habib Ali membaca dan menghadiri pembacaan kitab-kitab Shahih al-Bukhari, Ihya’ Ulumiddin, Adab Suluk al-Murid, Risalah al-Mu`awanah, Minhaj al-`Abidin, al-`Iqd an-Nabawi, ar-Risalah al-Qusyairiyyah, al-Hikam, dan sebagainya.

    Selain kepada mereka, ia pun menimba ilmu kepada para tokoh ulama lainnya, seperti asy-Syaikh Umar bin Husain al-Khathib, asy-Syaikh as-Sayyid Mutawalli asy-Sya`rawi, asy-Syaikh Ismail bin Shadiq al-Adawi di al-Jami` al-Husaini dan di al-Azhar asy-Syarif, Mesir, juga asy-Syaikh Muhammad Zakiyuddin Ibrahim. Disamping itu, al-Habib Ali juga mengambil ijazah dari 300-an orang syaikh dalam berbagai cabang ilmu.    

    Dakwah Al-Habib Ali Al-Jufriy

    Berbekal berbagai ilmu yang diperolehnya, ditambah pengalaman berkat tempaan para gurunya, ia pun mulai menjalankan misi dakwahnya. Aktivitas dakwahnya dimulai pada tahun 1412 H/1991 di kota-kota dan desa-desa di negeri Yaman. Ia kemudian berkelana dari satu negeri ke negeri lain. Perjalanannya ke mancanegara dimulai pada tahun 1414 H/1993 dan terus berlangsung hingga kini.

    Berbagai kawasan negara dikunjunginya. Misalnya negara-negara Arab, yakni Uni Emirat Arab, Yordania, Bahrain, Arab Saudi, Sudan, Suriah, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mesir, Maroko, Mauritania, Jibouti.

    Negara-negara non-Arab di Asia, diantaranya Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapura, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. Di Afrika, diantaranya ia mengunjungi Kenya dan Tanzania. Sedangkan di Eropa, dakwahnya telah merambah Inggris, Jerman, Prancis, Belgia, Belanda, Irlandia, Denmark, Bosnia Herzegovina, dan Turki.

    Ia pun setidaknya telah empat kali mengadakan perjalanan dakwah ke Amerika Serikat; pertama tahun 1998, kedua tahun 2001, ketiga tahun 2002, dan keempat tahun 2008. Disamping juga mengunjungi Kanada

    Perjalanan dakwahnya ke berbagai negeri membawa kesan tersendiri di hati para jama’ah yang mendengarkan penjelasan dan pesan-pesannya. Di Jerman, ia membuat jama’ah masjid sebanyak tiga lantai menangis tersedu-sedu mendengar taushiyahnya. Orang-orang yang tinggal di Barat, yang cenderung keras hatinya, ternyata bisa lunak di tangan al-Habib Ali.

    Di Amerika ada yang merasa bahwa memandang dan berkumpul bersama al-Habib Ali al-Jufri selama satu malam cukup untuk memberinya tenaga dan semangat untuk beribadah selama tiga bulan. Di Inggris ia terlibat pelaksanaan Maulid Nabi di stadion Wembley. Di Denmark ia  mengadakan jumpa pers dengan kalangan media massa.

    Di Darul Musthafa, Tarim, Hadhramaut setiap tahun, bulan Rajab-Sya`ban, ia menjadi pembicara rutin Daurah Internasional. Ia pun merangkul para dai muda di Timur Tengah, serta membimbing dan memberikan petunjuk kepada para pemuda yang berbakat. Ia suka duduk bersama para pemuda dan mengadakan dialog terbuka secara bebas.

    Dalam berdakwah, ia aktif menjalin hubungan dengan berbagai kalangan masyarakat. Ia memasuki kalangan yang paling bawah, seperti suku-suku di Afrika, hingga kalangan paling atas, seperti keluarga keamiran Abu Dhabi. Ia berhubungan dengan kalangan awam hingga kalangan yang paling alim, seperti asy-Syaikh Muhammad Said Ramadhan al-Buthi (mufti de facto negeri Syria), asy-Syaikh Ali Jum`ah (mufti Mesir), dan ulama-ulama besar lainnya.

    Banyak sekali bintang film, artis dan aktris, para seniman, di Mesir yang bertaubat di tangannya. Artis yang sebelumnya “terbuka” jadi berhijab, yang dulunya aktor jadi berdakwah.

    Kini ia pun secara rutin tampil di televisi. Penyampaian dakwahnya menyentuh akal dan hati. Cara dakwahnya yang sejuk dan simpatik, pandangan-pandangannya yang cerdas dan tajam, pembawaannya yang menarik hati, membuatnya semakin berpengaruh dari waktu ke waktu.

    Kemunculan al-Habib Ali di dunia dakwah membawa angin segar bagi kaum muslimin, terutama kalangan Sunni. Cara dakwahnya berbeda dengan dakwah kalangan yang cenderung keras, kasar, dan kering dari nilai-nilai ruhani, serta cenderung menyerang orang lain, dan banyak menekankan pada model konflik ketimbang harmoni dengan kalangan non-muslim. Bahkan mereka memandang masyarakat muslim sekarang sebagai reinkarnasi dari masyarakat Jahiliyah.

    Tragedi Kartun Nabi

    Beberapa waktu lalu koran Denmark kembali menampilkan kartun Nabi. Berbeda dengan reaksi sebagian kalangan muslim yang penuh amarah dan tindak kekerasan di dalam menanggapinya, al-Habib Ali al-Jufri dengan kesejukan hatinya serta ketajaman pandangan, pikiran, akal, dan mata batinnya telah melakukan serangkaian langkah yang bervisi jauh ke depan. Ia berharap, langkah-langkahnya akan berdampak positif bagi kaum muslimin, terutama yang tinggal di negara-negara Barat, serta akan menguntungkan dakwah Islam di masa kini dan akan datang.

    Bukannya melihat kasus ini sebagai ancaman dan bahaya terhadap Islam dan muslimin, al-Habib Ali justru secara cerdas melihat hal ini sebagai peluang dakwah yang besar untuk masuk ke negeri Eropa secara terbuka, untuk menjelaskan secara bebas tentang Rasulullah Saw. dan berdialog dengan penduduk serta kalangan pers di sana tentang agama ini dan tentang fenomena muslimin. Singkatnya, ia justru melihat ini sebagai peluang dakwah yang besar.

    Tentu saja cara pandang al-Habib Ali juga disebabkan pemahamannya yang sangat dalam tentang karakter masyarakat Barat. Salah satu karakter terbesar mereka adalah mempunyai rasa ingin tahu yang besar, berpikir rasional, dan memiliki sikap siap mendengarkan. Karakter-karakter umum ini, ditambah sorotan perhatian kepada Rasulullah Saw., merupakan peluang besar untuk memberikan penjelasan. Mereka ingin tahu tentang Nabi Saw., berarti mereka dalam kondisi siap mendengarkan. Mereka rasional, berarti siap untuk mendapatkan penjelasan yang logis.

    Apabila kita bisa menjelaskan tentang Nabi Saw. dan agama ini kepada mereka dengan cara yang menyentuh akal dan hati mereka, maka kita justru akan bisa mengubah mereka. Dari yang anti menjadi netral, yang netral menjadi pro, yang pro menjadi muslim, yang antipati menjadi simpati, yang keras menjadi lembut, yang marah menjadi dingin, yang acu menjadi penasaran. Sekaligus pula mencegah simpatisan menjadi oposan, pro menjadi anti dan seterusnya.

    Karena karakter masyarakat Barat yang terbuka, toleran, lebih bisa menerima keanekaragaman budaya, maka peluang dakwah terbuka bebas. Inilah ranah ideal untuk dakwah Islamiyah. Tentu saja ini bagi para da`i yang berfikiran terbuka, berakal lurus dan tajam, cerdas memahami situasi kondisi, dan memiliki dada yang cukup lapang dalam menerima tanggapan negatif, serta giat melakukan pendekatan yang konstruktif dan positif, serta memiliki akhlak yang mulia. Di sinilah al-Habib Ali al-Jufri masuk dengan dakwahnya yang dialogis. 

    Terjalinnya Silaturahim dan Bersatu dalam Mahabbah

    Tentu saja untuk berani melakukan dialog dengan pers Barat dibutuhkan kecerdasan dan keluasan berpikir serta pemahaman atas pola berpikir masyarakat Barat. Al-Habib Ali dan para dai ini, selain sangat memahami masyarakat Barat, juga memiliki tim khusus yang melakukan penelitian-penelitian secara ilmiah dan mendetail tentang subyek apapun yang dibutuhkan.

    Ketika melihat berbagai reaksi yang ada atas kasus kartun Nabi, al-Habib Ali menemukan satu benang merah: “Semua kelompok dalam masyarakat Islam marah”. Kemarahan yang mencerminkan masih adanya sisa-sisa mahabbah kepada Nabi Saw. ini bersifat lintas madzhab, lintas thariqah, lintas jama’ah, bahkan lintas aqidah.

    Al-Habib Ali melihat ini sebagai peluang pula untuk menyatukan visi kaum muslimin dan menyatukan barisan mereka. Kalau kaum muslimin tak bisa bersatu dalam madzhab, thariqah, bahkan aqidah, mereka ternyata bisa disatukan dalam mahabbah dan pembelaan terhadap Nabi Saw.

    Langkah al-Habib Ali tidak berhenti di sini. Ia membentuk sekelompok dai yang dikenal dengan akhlaqnya, keterbukaan pikiran dan keluasan dadanya, serta kesiapannya untuk melakukan dialog secara intensif dan bebas dengan masyarakat Barat. Kemudian ia bersama kelompok dai ini mengadakan safari intensif keliling Eropa bertemu dengan kalangan pers dan berbagai kalangan lainnya untuk memberikan penjelasan.

    Al-Habib Ali dan para dai tersebut mengambil momen ini untuk memupuk cinta muslimin kepada Rasulullah Saw., untuk menghidupkan lagi tradisi-tradisi yang lama mati, dan untuk mengajak muslim berakhlaq mulia sebagaimana akhlaq Nabinya, sambil mengingatkan kaum muslimin yang berdemo agar menjaga adab dan akhlaq Nabi Saw.

    Ia juga menyeru kepada kaum muslimin untuk memanfaatkan momen ini dengan menghadiahkan buku-buku tentang Nabi Muhammad Saw. kepada para tetangga dan kawan-kawan mereka yang non-muslim, serta untuk membuka topik untuk menjelaskan kepada mereka tentang Rasulullah dan kedudukan beliau di lubuk hati kaum muslimin.

    Bukan hanya itu. Ia pun memanfaatkan momen ini untuk menyatukan dai-dai sedunia dalam satu shaf dan mempelopori berdirinya organisasi dai sedunia. Yang menarik, dalam semua tindakan dan langkahnya ini, ia senantiasa menggandeng, berkoordinasi, dan bermusyawarah serta melibatkan para ulama besar dunia, seperti asy-Syaikh Muhammad Sa`id Ramadhan al-Buthi, asy-Syaikh Ali Jum`ah (mufti Mesir), dan ulama-ulama besar lainnya. Sehingga gerakan ini menjadi gerakan kolektif, milik bersama, bukan milik al-Habib Ali saja.

    Sebagai salah satu dampak dari gerakan ini adalah terjalinnya silaturahim dan tersambungnya komunikasi yang sebelumnya terputus atau kurang intensif di antara para ulama dan dai muslimin karena mereka menjadi giat berkomunikasi lintas madzhab, pemikiran, kecenderungan pribadi, bahkan lintas aqidah.

    Gerakan yang dipelopori al-Habib Ali ternyata mampu mengikat sejumlah besar pemuka Islam dari berbagai latar belakang yang berbeda ke dalam satu shaf lurus yang panjang untuk bersama-sama menanggapi sebuah isu internasional dengan satu suara bulat yang tidak terpecah-pecah.  Kita berharap, ini tidak akan berakhir, bahkan justru menjadi sebuah awal dari persatuan ulama dan dai-dai muslimin. Aamiin yaa Ilaahanaa Ilaahal Ma’buud.

    Disadur dari berbagai sumber

    Sya’roni as-Samfuriy, Indramayu 10 Rabi’ul Awwal 1434 H

              Landmark upgrade for Bahrain’s power grid with Siemens technology        

    Siemens has been awarded a landmark contract...

    The post Landmark upgrade for Bahrain’s power grid with Siemens technology appeared first on .

              FIFA-Kongress bestätigt neue Ethikkommission        
    Die neue FIFA-Ethikkommission wurde vom FIFA-Kongress im bahrainischen Manama mit großer Mehrheit bestätigt. Neue Chef-Ermittlerin ist damit die Kolumbianerin María Claudia Rojas. Neuer Vorsitzender der rechtsprechenden Kammer und damit Nachfolger des deutschen Richters Hans-Joachim Eckert ist der frühere Präsident des Europäischen Gerichtshofs Vassilios Skouris aus Griechenland.
              Bahrain to Purchase LM's Sniper ATP        
    Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) received a direct commercial sale contract from the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) to provide Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATP) for its F-16 fleet, becoming the 25th international customer for the program. Under the $22.45 million contract, Lockheed Martin will deliver ATPs, spares and support equipment for integration. To meet the BDF's urgent operational need, pod deliveries will begin in early 2018. "Sniper ATP will provide the BDF with critical targeting c...
              Bahrain forms new Urban Planning and Development Authority        
    Royal Decree establishes authority under the supervision of a minister in charge of urban planning
              Batelco starts peering with Steam,        
    (Telecompaper) Bahrain operator Batelco announced new peering agreements with two gaming content providers to enhance the gaming experience for its customers...
              Violation of Maytham Al-Salma’s Freedom of Expression        
    ICJ Norway is seriously concerned for human rights defender Maytham Al-Salman’s situation, after Bahraini authorities’ repeated arrests and the interrogation of him yesterday. As we understand, the arrest of him now is based solely on his public criticism of a new law adopted by the Kingdom of Bahrain, which stipulates that women under the age of […]
               - Bahraini rights activist Ebtisam Al-Saegh charged under anti-terrorism law        
    Bahraini human rights defender Ebtisam Al-Saegh faces up to six months detention, while her case is being investigated.
              Esteri di lun 01/02        
    1-Ginevra, il negoziato impossibile sulla Siria. Non solo per colpa dell'opposizione...Assad non ha alcuna intenzione di trattare. A Esteri il racconto di un gioralista siriano da Damasco.2-L'avventura mediatica di Donald Trump può diventare realtà politica...In Iowa il via alle primarie americane. Il primo vero test per il candidato alla nomiantion repubblicana (Roberto Festa).3-Quando il calo del prezzo del petrolio rischia di far saltare la pace sociale. Il caso algerino (Chawki Senouci).4-Come Schiavi in Libertà. La vita dei tagliatori di canna da zucchero nella Repubblica Dominicanca. Il libro e il documentario di Raúl Zecca Castel.5-Dalla repressione della piazza in Bahrain ai vertici del calcio mondiale. La storia di Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifam, che a fine mese potrebbe diventare il numero uno della FIFA (Dario Falcini).6-La vita degli chef tra ricerca della perfezione e pressioni spesso insostenibili. La racconta Netflix, in una serie-documentario (Massimo Alberti).
              Codes for making International Calls        

    What is a Country Code?

          Country codes are used to make International Phone calls.Every country has a unique country code. Country codes are the prefixes you need to dial before calling to the country.This short alphabetic or numeric geographical codes (geocodes) are developed to represent countries and dependent areas.The International Dialing codes of a country is called "Country Code" or  International Area Code(IAC) or International Calling Codes.

    International Calling codes of all countries

    Country Codes List

    CountryCountry Code
    Abkhazia+995 44 +7 840, 940
    American Samoa+1 684
    Anguilla+1 264
    Antigua and Barbuda+1 268
    Ascension Island+247
    Australian Antarctic Territory+672 1x
    Bahamas+1 242
    Barbados+1 246
    Bermuda+1 441
    Bonaire+599 7
    Bosnia and Herzegovina+387
    British Indian Ocean Territory+246
    British Virgin Islands+1 284
    Burkina Faso+226
    Cape Verde+238
    Cayman Islands+1 345
    Central African Republic+236
    Christmas Island+61 8 9164
    Cocos Islands+61 8 9162
    Cook Islands+682
    Costa Rica+506
    Côte d'Ivoire+225
    Curacao+599 9
    Czech Republic+420
    Democratic Republic of the Congo+243
    Dominica+1 767
    Dominican Republic+1 809 / 829 / 849
    East Timor+670
    El Salvador+503
    Equatorial Guinea+240
    Falkland Islands+500
    Faroe Islands+298
    Federated States of Micronesia+691
    French Guiana+594
    French Polynesia+689
    Global Mobile Satellite System+881
    Grenada+1 473
    Guam+1 671
    Guernsey+44 1481
    Hong Kong+852
    International Freephone UIFN+800
    International Premium Rate Service+979
    Isle of Man+44 1624
    Jamaica+1 876
    Jersey+44 1534
    Kazakhstan+7 6xx, 7xx
    Kosovo+377 44 / 45 +386 43 / 49 +381 28 / 29 / 38 / 39
    Mainland China+86
    Marshall Islands+692
    Mayotte+262 269 / 639
    Montserrat+1 664
    Nagorno-Karabakh+374 47 / 97
    New Caledonia+687
    New Zealand+64
    Norfolk Island+672 3
    North Korea+850
    Northern Mariana Islands+1 670
    Palestinian territories+970
    Papua New Guinea+675
    Puerto Rico+1 787 / 939
    Republic of China (Taiwan)+886
    Republic of the Congo+242
    Saba+599 4
    Saint Helena+290
    Saint Kitts and Nevis+1 869
    Saint Lucia+1 758
    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1 784
    Saint-Pierre and Miquelon+508
    San Marino+378
    São Tomé and Príncipe+239
    Saudi Arabia+966
    Sierra Leone+232
    Sint Eustatius+599 3
    Sint Maarten+599 5
    Solomon Islands+677
    South Africa+27
    South Korea+82
    South Sudan+211
    Sri Lanka+94
    Telecommunications for Disaster Relief by OCHA+888
    TokelauList of Currencies of the World and their Currency Symbols

    There are 179 currencies in the world.
    List of Currencies of the World
    Currencies of the World

    Currency Symbols

    Afghan afghani؋
    Albanian lekL
    Alderney pound£
    Algerian dinarد.ج
    Angolan kwanzaKz
    Argentine peso$
    Armenian dramդր.
    Aruban florinƒ
    Ascension pound£
    Australian dollar$
    Bahamian dollar$
    Bahraini dinar.د.ب
    Bangladeshi taka৳
    Barbadian dollar$
    Belarusian rubleBr
    Belize dollar$
    Bermudian dollar$
    Bhutanese ngultrumNu.
    Bolivian bolivianoBs.
    Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible markKM or КМ
    Botswana pulaP
    Brazilian realR$
    British pound£
    British Virgin Islands dollar$
    Brunei dollar$
    Bulgarian levлв
    Burundian francFr
    Cambodian riel៛
    Canadian dollar$
    Cape Verdean escudoEsc or $
    Cayman Islands dollar$
    Central African CFA francFr
    CFP francFr
    Chilean peso$
    Chinese yuan¥ or 元
    Cocos (Keeling) Islands dollar$
    Colombian peso$
    Comorian francFr
    Congolese francFr
    Cook Islands dollar$
    Costa Rican colón₡
    Croatian kunakn
    Cuban convertible peso$
    Cuban peso$
    Czech korunaKč
    Danish kronekr
    Djiboutian francFr
    Dominican peso$
    East Caribbean dollar$
    Egyptian pound£ or ج.م
    Eritrean nakfaNfk
    Ethiopian birrBr
    Falkland Islands pound£
    Faroese krónakr
    Fijian dollar$
    Gambian dalasiD
    Georgian lariლ
    Ghanaian cedi₵
    Gibraltar pound£
    Guatemalan quetzalQ
    Guernsey pound£
    Guinean francFr
    Guyanese dollar$
    Haitian gourdeG
    Honduran lempiraL
    Hong Kong dollar$
    Hungarian forintFt
    Icelandic krónakr
    Indian rupee₹
    Indonesian rupiahRp
    Iranian rialï·¼
    Iraqi dinarع.د
    Israeli new shekel₪
    Jamaican dollar$
    Japanese yen¥
    Jersey pound£
    Jordanian dinarد.ا
    Kazakhstani tenge₸
    Kenyan shillingSh
    Kiribati dollar$
    Kuwaiti dinarد.ك
    Kyrgyzstani somлв
    Lao kip₭
    Latvian latsLs
    Lebanese poundل.ل
    Lesotho lotiL
    Liberian dollar$
    Libyan dinarل.د
    Lithuanian litasLt
    Macanese patacaP
    Macedonian denarден
    Malagasy ariaryAr
    Malawian kwachaMK
    Malaysian ringgitRM
    Maldivian rufiyaaރ.
    Manx pound£
    Mauritanian ouguiyaUM
    Mauritian rupee₨
    Mexican peso$
    Micronesian dollar$
    Moldovan leuL
    Mongolian tögrög₮
    Moroccan dirhamد.م.
    Mozambican meticalMTn
    Myanma kyatK
    Nagorno-Karabakh dramդր.
    Namibian dollar$
    Nauruan dollar$
    Nepalese rupee₨
    Netherlands Antillean guilderƒ
    New Taiwan dollar$
    New Zealand dollar$
    Nicaraguan córdoba
              Countries in Asia        
     Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent in the world with 50 Countries.Here is the list of 50 countries in  Asia and their capitals. 
    Bandar Seri Begawan
    Phnom Penh
    East Timor
    New Delhi

    Kuwait City
    Kuala Lumpur
    North Korea
    Pyongyang (P'yŏngyang)
    The People's Republic of China
    The Philippines
    The Republic of China
    Saudi Arabia
    South Korea
    The United Arab Emirates
    Abu Dhabi

              Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch to be Sold        
    'Second Star to the Right and Straight On 'Til Morning':

    Five years after the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson's California mansion is on the property market and expected to sell for a value between $75 and $85 million. Investment firm Colony Capital have placed the Neverland Ranch on the market: they bought a $23.5m controlling stake in the property just before Jackson's death in 2009, which gives the company the right put the estate up for sale.

    A seven bedroom mock-Tudor mansion served as Jackson's dwelling on the site and the rest of the 2,600 acre plot was filled with all manner of wondrous features. In its heyday the sprawling grounds of Neverland contained carnival rides - including dodgems and a carousel - a drive-in cinema, a candy shop, a zoo and a huge artificial lake.

    When interviewed about the unusual contents of the estate in 2003, Jackson explained that he had wanted " to have a place that I could create everything that I never had as a child. So you see rides, you see animals, there's a movie theatre. I was always on tour travelling, you know, and I never got a chance to do those things. So I compensated for the loss by – I have a good time – I mean, I can't go into a park, I can't go to Disneyland as myself. I can't go out and walk down the street. There's crowds and bumper-to-bumper cars. So I create my world behind my gates. Everything that I love is behind those gates. We have elephants and giraffes and crocodiles and every kind of tigers and lions. " Calling it 'Neverland' after the land inhabited by J.M Barrie's Peter Pan, Jackson cast himself in the role of the boy-who-never-grew-up and retreated into his own fantastical land in his back garden.

    However, when Jackson vacated Neverland and fled to Bahrain following his acquittal for his alleged crimes against children in 2005, the fantasyland started to fall into disrepair. In recent years Paris Jackson (Michael's 17-year-old daughter) has spearheaded efforts to restore her father's beloved ranch to its former glory. Some changes have been made –the fairground has been replaced with a Zen garden, for example – and the fountains and pools have been filled once more with water as part of the regeneration project. However, with upkeep costs for the Los Olivos property estimated to be in the region of $5 million per annum and with Michael Jackson himself having lost control of his finances and property in the latter years of his life, the Jackson estate sadly could not retain or sustain Neverland.

    The Jackson estate have expressed their disappointment and sorrow at the sale, despite Colony Capital's insistence that they would like to see Neverland remain as an 'enduring tribute to Michael Jackson'. A spokesman for the estate implored any prospective owner to 'respect the historical importance and special nature of this wonderful property', reminding of the hordes of fans who regard Neverland as Jackson's spiritual home and hold his memory dear.

    While the fate of Neverland is yet to be decided, Michael Jackson's fans will almost undoubtedly continue to make pilgrimages to the famous property as they have done in the years since his death, and just as fans of the other King – and Jackson's one-time father-in-law – make the journey to pay their respects at the gates of Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. And should it be changed beyond recognition, the ranch will always remain part of the legacy of the undisputed King of Pop in the minds of many.

    Article by + on behalf of
              Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt meet to discuss Qatar response        
    CNBC's Willem Marx reports from Doha, Qatar, on the ongoing diplomatic spat between the state and four other major Arab countries.
              Dynaflex appointed authorized representative for TGI ILMADUR gauge & sight glasses in Middle East & Africa        
    TGI's factory in Ilmenau

    Ilmenau — 22 June 2012 — Dynaflex Corporation, the authorized importer, stockist & representative in India for ILMADUR gauge & sight glasses manufactured by Technische Glaswerke Ilmenau GmbH, has been allotted by TGI the additional territories of the Middle East & Africa to cater to requirements of their ILMADUR branded gauge & sight glasses in the region. With this appointment, Dynaflex Corporation will now export Ilmadur Gauge & Sight Glasses to Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Northern Cyprus, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Comoros, Djibouti, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan & Sahrawi.

    ILMADUR branded gauge & sight glasses are manufactured by Technische Glaswerke Ilmenau GmbH at it's Ilmenau plant. ILMADUR gauge and sight glasses are manufactured from borosilicate “I-420” material developed and patented by TGI particularly to produce high-quality sight glasses.

    About TGI
    Technische Glaswerke Ilmenau GmbH is a leading manufacturer of laboratory and household glassware, sight and gauge glasses, pressed technical glasses, glass tubes, capillaries & rods in Ilmenau, a town located in the district of Ilm-Kreis, Thuringia, Germany.

    About Dynaflex Corporation
    Dynaflex Corporation is a leading importer and one of the largest stockists in the world of technical & safety glasses from the leading manufacturers in Europe & the USA. Most of the products are again re-exported to South East Asia, Middle East, Africa, North & South Americas & Europe.

    To learn more about this topic, please contact
    Dynaflex Corporation, Media Relations
    Tek Towers (DOXA)
    No.11, Rajiv Gandhi Salai (OMR)
    Chennai 600097, INDIA

              Rex Tillerson and James Mattis are cleaning up Jared Kushner's Middle East mess        

    sirte libya

    On March 25, 2011, a Qatar Air Force Mirage 2000-5, took off from Souda Air Base, in Crete, to help enforce a no-fly zone protecting rebels being attacked by Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi. Qatar was the first Persian Gulf nation to help the U.S. in the conflict.

    Qatari operations were more than symbolic.

    The Qatari military trained rebel units, shipped them weapons, accompanied their fighting units into battle, served as a link between rebel commanders and NATO, tutored their military commanders, integrated disparate rebel units into a unified force and led them in the final assault on Qaddafi’s compound in Tripoli.

    “We never had to hold their hand,” a retired senior U.S. military officer says. “They knew what they were doing.” Put simply, while the U.S. was leading from behind in Libya, the Qataris were walking point.

    The Qatar intervention has not been forgotten at the Pentagon and is one of the reasons why Defense Secretary James Mattis has worked so diligently to patch up the falling out between them and the coalition of Saudi-led countries (including the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt), that have isolated and blockaded the nation.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) and U.S. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis participate in the Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations (AUSMIN) at Government House in Sydney, Australia, June 5, 2017.   REUTERS/Mark Metcalfe/POOL

    In fact, Mattis was stunned by the Saudi move. “His first reaction was shock, but his second was disbelief,” a senior military officer says. “He thought the Saudis had picked an unnecessary fight, and just when the administration thought they’d gotten everyone in the Gulf on the same page in forming a common front against Iran.”

    At the time of the Saudi announcement, Mattis was in Sydney with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to dampen concerns about the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate accords.

    The two glad-handed Australian officials and issued a reassuring pronouncement on U.S. intentions during a June 5 press briefing with that nation’s foreign and defense ministers.

    Jared Kushner

    When the burgeoning split between the Saudis and Qataris was mentioned, Tillerson described it as no more than one of “a growing list or irritants in the region” that would not impair “the unified fight against terrorism …”

    But while Tillerson’s answer was meant to soothe concerns over the crisis, behind the scenes he and Mattis were scrambling to undo the damage caused by Saudi action.

    The two huddled in Sydney and decided that Tillerson would take the lead in trying to resolve the falling out.

    Which is why, three days after the Sydney press conference, Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to ease their anti-Qatar blockade and announced that the U.S. supported a Kuwaiti-led mediation effort.

    The problem for Tillerson was that his statement was contradicted by Donald Trump who, during a Rose Garden appearance on the same day, castigated Qatar, saying the emirate “has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

    donald trump rose garden paris climate agreement

    A close associate of the secretary of state says that Tillerson was not only “blind-sided by the Trump statement,” but “absolutely enraged that the White House and State Department weren’t on the same page.”

    Tillerson’s aides, I was told, were convinced that the true author of Trump’s statement was U.A.E. ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, a close friend of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Rex put two-and-two together,” his close associate says, “and concluded that this absolutely vacuous kid was running a second foreign policy out of the White House family quarters. Otaiba weighed in with Jared and Jared weighed in with Trump. What a mess.”

    The Trump statement was nearly the last straw for Tillerson, this close associate explains: “Rex is just exhausted. He can’t get any of his appointments approved and is running around the world cleaning up after a president whose primary foreign policy adviser is a 36-year-old amateur.”

    Rex Tillerson

    Worse yet, at least from Tillerson’s point of view, a White House official explained the difference between the two statements by telling the press to ignore the secretary of state.

    Tillerson may initially have had a view,” a White House official told the Washington Post, “then the president has his view, and obviously the president’s view prevails.”

    Or maybe not. While Trump’s June 9 statement signaled that the U.S. was tilting towards the Saudis and the UAE, Tillerson and Mattis have been tilting towards Qatar. And for good reason.

    “Every time we’ve asked the Qataris for something they’ve said ‘yes,’ which isn’t true for the Saudis,” the retired senior U.S. military officer with whom I spoke says. “It really started with the help the Qataris gave us in Libya, but it goes well beyond that. They’ve been absolutely first rate on ISIS. The Saudis, on the other hand, have been nothing but trouble – in Yemen, especially. Yemen has been a disaster, a stain. And now there’s this.”

    That view has been reflected by both Mattis and Tillerson.

    Six days after Trump’s statement, Mattis met with Qatari Defense Minister Khalid al-Attiyah to sign an agreement shipping 36 F-15 fighters to the Gulf nation.

    The $12 billion sale had been in the works for years, so Pentagon officials were able to claim that it had not been fast-tracked by Tillerson, whose department oversees arms transactions. But the Mattis announcement seemed suspiciously well-timed to signal Mattis’ and Tillerson’s views.

    Qatar ambassador James Mattis weapons deal

    On the same day that Mattis was announcing the Qatar arms agreement, Tillerson told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that it would be a mistake to classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, one of the primary reasons that the anti-Qatar coalition gave for isolating their Gulf neighbor.

    “There are elements of the Muslim Brotherhood that have become parts of government,” Tillerson said, naming Turkey and Bahrain as having brotherhood members in their parliaments. Those “elements,” Tillerson added, have renounced violence and terrorism. “So, in designating the Brotherhood in its totality as a terrorist organization . . . I think you can appreciate the complexities this enters into our relations with [governments in the region].”

    But the single most important reason for the Qatar tilt is obvious to anyone who knows how to read a map.

    b-52 al udeid qatar operation inherent resolve

    The U.S. leases the al-Udeid Air Base, southwest of Doha, which is home to the Air Force’s 379th Air Expeditionary Wing. The U.S. (and the Qataris), not only mount fighter-bombers from al-Udeid against ISIS units in Iraq and Syria, the base serves as the first line of defense against Iranian encroachments in the region.

    Even more crucially, al-Udeid not only protects America’s Persian Gulf allies, it protects Israel – and would be a launching point for U.S. aircraft against Iran were Israel to be attacked by the Islamic Republic.

    More crucially, particularly from Mattis’s point-of-view, the Saudi-Qatar feud not only shattered the anti-Iran coalition the administration cobbled together during the president’s trip to Riyadh, it redrew the geopolitical map of the Middle East.

    In the wake of the Saudi-Qatar falling out, Turkey pledged its support for Qatar (and deployed troops to a Qatari military base to guard Qatar’s sovereignty), while Iran took steps to help ease the Saudi-imposed blockade.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R) walks with Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani before their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

    “The Saudis and Emiratis have told us repeatedly that they want to weaken Iran, but they’ve actually empowered them,” a senior Pentagon consultant who works on the Middle East told me. The Saudi actions, this official went on to explain, have backfired.

    Instead of intimidating the Qataris, the Saudis have “thrown them into the arms of the Iranians.” The result is an uneasy, but emerging Turkish-Qatari-Iranian alliance backed by Russia.

    “This isn’t just some kind of Gulfie dust-up, where we can go out and hold everyone’s hands,” this Pentagon consultant says. “The Saudis have handed the Iranians a gift and we’re on the outside looking in.”

    The official then shook his head. “Listen, I can certainly understand where Mattis and Tillerson are coming from. I mean, with friends like these, who needs enemies.”

    Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst and the author of "The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthur." His next book, "The Pentagon’s Wars," will be released in October. He tweets @markperrydc

    SEE ALSO: The US military doesn't seem to be on board with Trump's condemnation of Qatar

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              Sungai Bawah Laut ?