Glenn Stewart Observer

One Week, One Dictator, One Prince

October 24, 2011adminMiddle East, News and OpinionComments Off on One Week, One Dictator, One Prince

By Glenn M. Stewart

The death this week of Mu’ammar al Ghaddafi and Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz Al Sa’ud has once again changed the face of Middle East politics and affected US interests in the region.

The capture and apparent ‘rapid execution’ of Ghaddafi and his son Mutassim have made the post-Ghaddafi era a little easier for the Transitional National Council (TNC) in Libya. It is, of course, a more fortuitous situation for them than any protracted trial either in Libya or at The Hague would have been.  A trial would have merely given Ghaddafi another platform on which to spout off his rhetoric.

Given the number of weapons that are now in the hands of various ill-disciplined and untrained militia groups scattered around the country, the TNC is going to have enough problems creating a stable government in Libya. But maintaining law and order would be its first priority.
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September 18, 2011adminNews and OpinionComments Off on A PECULIARLY EGYPTIAN PROBLEM

By Glenn M. Stewart

Much to many people’s surprise, the Egyptian government is putting Hosni Mubarak on trial for corruption. Unfortunately, I have to take a cynical view of this situation and I conclude that this trial is being staged as a sop by the ruling military council to appease the Egyptian people rather than a sign of the emergence of the rule of law in Egypt.

From what I have experienced in Egypt attempting to do business there, corruption is rife at all levels of society. At one point I was sent on a fool’s errand to Cairo by a Kuwaiti businessman who owned some land near the airport in Heliopolis that was zoned as agricultural land. He wanted to get the land rezoned so that he could build a waterslide park on it. To get this done it needed the approval of the Minister of Agriculture, The Minister of Tourism and because of the proximity of the land to the airport, The Minister of Transportation. I was accompanied on this mission to obtain these approvals by one of the Kuwaiti’s staff members.

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September 18, 2011adminNews and OpinionComments Off on A CONVERSATION WITH TARIQ RAMADAN

Tariq Ramadan takes an interesting syncretistic view of what should constitute an adaptation of the meaning of Islamic scripture in a world heavily influenced by the 18th century enlightenment in the west. However, the vast majority of Muslim scholars will consider his views as an innovation of misguidance (bida’atu dalal). and i doubt very much that he will get much traction for his ideas in current Islamic theological circles despite his protestations to the contrary.

His comments on the meaning of the sharia’ are misleading. There is a great deal of consensus among Muslim jurists as to what the sharia’ is and that consensus has been well codified since the 9th century. C.E


WADAH KHANFAR: A historic moment in the Arab world

September 18, 2011adminNews and OpinionComments Off on WADAH KHANFAR: A historic moment in the Arab world

As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, the head of Al Jazeera, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond — at this powerful moment when people realized they could step out of their houses and ask for change.

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September 18, 2011adminNews and OpinionComments Off on THE DOHA DEBATES

The Doha Debates are chaired by the award-winning former BBC correspondent and interviewer Tim Sebastian, who founded them in 2004 and secured their editorial independence.

Televised eight times a year by BBC World News, the Debates are based on a centuries-old format, refined by the famous Oxford Union. They focus on a single, controversial motion, with two speakers for and against. Once they have outlined their arguments, each speaker is questioned by the chairman and the discussion is then opened up to the audience for argument and a final electronic vote.
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