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August 12, 2002 7:35 PM   Subscribe

The unofficial Islaam News Page. Suddenly, everyone's a journalist- but are they credible? What's "unofficial Islam" anyway? Depends who you ask.
posted by sheauga (5 comments total)
posted by donkeyschlong at 9:20 PM on August 12, 2002

Helmand, Paktia: 24 American Soldiers Killed
12th August 2002
Taliban and Arab Mujahideen engaged the enemy in the mountains Taliban and Arab Mujahideen engaged the enemy in the mountains bordering Iran and Chagai killing 13 Americans. 4 Arab Mujahideen Killed by American bombing. 10 Missiles fired against the enemy residential complex in Paktia 11 foreign soldiers killed 18 injured.

Ummm haven heard about these deaths in any other media...

A grenade attack by Taliban and Arab Mujahideen in the Afghan province of Helmand blasted 13 American troops into bits.

The only news I can find is this AP story about three suspected al-Qaida fighters arrested over the weekend, and that a total of 16 American Troops have died overall in the conflict with the Taliban.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:31 PM on August 12, 2002

Sounds suspiciously like the North Korean News Agency, which also subscribes to the "Wishful Thinking" school of journalism.
posted by laz-e-boy at 12:03 AM on August 13, 2002

hey, i've been reading some stuff about a post-saddam regime-changed iraq being headed by the jordanian royal family -- installed by the US govt. cuz like prince hassan was just in london with US intelligence people and met with former iraqi military leaders who'd defected/been exiled and stuff. also:
The Hashemites, or “Bani Hashem,” are descendants of the Arab chieftain Quraysh, a descendant of the Prophet Ismail, himself the son of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). Quraysh first came to the holy city of Mecca during the second century CE...The Hashemites are thus the direct descendants of the Prophet through his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali bin Abi Talib, who was also the Prophet’s paternal first cousin and the fourth caliph of Islam...Various Sharifian [Hashemite] families ruled over the Hijaz region in Western Arabia between 967 and 1201 CE. Moreover, King Hussein’s branch of the Hashemite family ruled the holy city of Mecca from 1201 CE until 1925...This makes King Hussein the head of the Hashemite family which, in addition to being directly descended from the Prophet, also represents over one thousand years of rule in the area, and almost two thousand years of recorded presence in the holy city of Mecca.
so like you'd have a hashemite king lineally descended from mohammed more in liking with wahhabis, iranians and iraqi muslims lending toward regional stability, but that'd still be decidedly pro-western. the official line though is:
Government officials say Jordan will not participate in any US military campaign and that the US understands the sensitivity of its position. They are adamant that US troops in the country are there only for military exercises planned long ago for this month.
more interesting (and wild speculation :) i guess is that if the jordanians ever did take over and ascend to power in iraq, it'd prolly demote the hause of saud's influence pretty severely i'd say. FOREIGN INTRIGUE!
posted by kliuless at 11:57 AM on August 13, 2002

August 15, 2002

Some See Monarchies as Better
For Advancement of Arab World


Are kings better for the Arab world than presidents?

The question unnerves Arab nationalists, who have dominated the intellectual life of the Middle East for a generation. And it can unsettle advocates of Western-style democracy, including the world's biggest republic and lone superpower.

Yet U.S. talk of toppling Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has spurred speculation about whether constitutional monarchy should be considered for whatever government would succeed Iraq's military dictatorship. Bolstering such talk is a surprising consensus that the region's new generation of kings and sheiks is doing a better job at modernizing their countries than the military-led republics that seized power half a century ago.

"The old idea that republics are necessarily better than monarchies is much weakened," argued Kuwaiti author Mohammed al-Rumaihi last month in the London-based daily al-Hayat, a leading opinion shaper in the Arab world. He noted that the republics lost more of Palestine than the monarchies that preceded them, and that economic development has been minimal under the nationalists even as political freedoms have been crushed.

"Some people say it would be utterly evil to return to a monarchy in Iraq. But the truth is that there might be some good in it," Mr. Rumaihi wrote. "Why don't we think about it, rather than be scared of it?"

While the U.S. says it favors some form of democracy, it hasn't proposed any particular form of government for Iraq. But Arab analysts watching events in Afghanistan have noted how America used Mohammad Zahir Shah, the former Afghan king, as a magnet to pull quarrelsome groups together into a government (and then, some Afghans allege, worked to keep Zahir Shah from taking a political role). They also believe they saw a U.S. hand behind the surprise visit by Jordan's pro-American Prince Hassan bin Talal at a gathering of Iraqi opposition officers in London last month (U.S. officials say they weren't involved). The U.S. did invite Sherif Ali bin al-Hussein, an exiled pretender to the Iraqi throne, to Washington along with a handful of other Iraqi opposition groups.

The debate has surfaced as Arabs seeking a way forward from the shock of Sept. 11 increasingly note that royal families are innovating and adapting faster than republican regimes, which have long thought of themselves as standard-bearers of Arab progress.

Young heirs to power in Morocco, Jordan, Bahrain and Dubai are staying on top by changing the way their royal fathers did business. Within limits, they are also liberalizing politics. In the Persian Gulf, this has helped turn sterile, old-style border disputes into efforts aimed at cooperative development. In Jordan and Dubai, royal families are driving technological changes that bring their populations into the Internet age. In Morocco, the new king has given greater public voice to dissatisfied, oppressed minorities.

"I have some princes saying, 'For God's sake, please don't fail in what you're doing, because you're giving us ammunition to go to our elders and say, "Look at what's happening in Jordan,' " said King Abdullah of Jordan in an interview last year.

Iraq is one of several Arab republics born in the nationalist, anticolonial 1950s. The movement ousted ineffectual, foreign-backed, often corrupt monarchies, and ushered in secular, nationalist regimes. But these days, it can be hard to tell the republics from the monarchies. Saddam Hussein's heir apparent is his son Qusay. That line of succession would follow the example of Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad took over from his father in 2000. The sons of the rulers of Egypt and Libya are also well-positioned to succeed their fathers. Meanwhile, corruption in all these countries is rife. Some in the Arab press call them "republican monarchies."

But there is an important distinction: These republican rulers, though dictatorial, lack the legitimacy of authentic monarchs. "When someone is legitimate he has to behave. When he comes with a tank, he has to be ruthless," says Fahd Fanek, a leading Jordanian commentator. "I can criticize Prince Hassan, and go home and sleep peacefully at night. Is that an advertisement for monarchy? I don't know. But it is an advertisement for ours."

Still, Mr. Fanek says, the question remains: "Are the monarchies better or just less bad?"

In Baghdad, few dare speak in favor of any opposition faction. But many Iraqis sigh nostalgically when they ponder the calm and relative modesty they associate with the last king, Faisal II, who was deposed and shot with his family in 1958 in the first of modern Iraq's many bloody coups.

Sherif Ali, Faisal II's senior-most living descendent, is delighted at the debate. "It has made people focus on the fact that a constitutional monarchy is a real possibility," he says. "All Africa and Asia were colonies when we won independence. Now we've fallen completely behind. We've lost 50 years."

Sherif Ali, whose models are constitutional monarchies such as England and Japan, points to support from Prince Hassan, the pro-American Jordanian. The two men are cousins, descendents of the Hashemite dynasty Britain hoped to install after World War I in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and what is now Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah of Jordan is the only Hashemite royal still in power.

Restoring the Iraqi monarchy would be an uphill struggle. The Hashemite dynasty isn't indigenous to Iraq, and Sherif Ali left Baghdad as an infant. He brushes aside rumors that his years as a banker in the West have left his Arabic rusty. Indeed, meeting wave after wave of Iraqi exiles, he has keen insights into the dog-eat-dog psychology of survival for ordinary Iraqis. "I eat, drink and sleep Iraq. I even force myself to watch Iraqi satellite TV," he says.

The U.S. is hedging its bets, supporting Sherif Ali as one voice working toward a democratic regime in Iraq. "It's not anything individual," says State Department spokesman Greg Sullivan. "He represents a credible voice of the Iraqi people in exile."

Write to Hugh Pope at hugh.pope@wsj.com1

URL for this article:,,SB1029368182992027635.djm,00.html

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Updated August 15, 2002

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posted by kliuless at 10:07 AM on August 16, 2002

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