I just finished “Assad Or We Burn the Country” by Sam Dagher. It’s an interesting and captivating read. It gives an insider account (via Manaf Tlass) of the regime’s decision making in the first few months and years, which is its main draw. There’s also some on-the-ground activists whose activities it follows to balance out that perspective.Continue reading “Assad Or We Burn The Country: Review and Excerpts”
The China-Pakistan Relationship: A Critical Analysis
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said,
Pakistan’s future is with China. We should be clear about this… Our country’s progress and development is linked with China… We’re lucky that it’s currently the world’s fastest growing economy, I don’t see any country challenging it in the future.
This line of thinking represents not just Imran Khan and his party, but rather the entire political and military leadership of Pakistan. However, it should not be believed uncritically. These leaders often prioritize their short term political gains over the long-term well-being of the country, so it’s possible that being so closely linked with China will end up being bad for Pakistan.
In this post, I’ll take a closer look at the China-Pakistan relationship. I’ll start by laying out Pakistan’s priorities, and I’ll show how China hasn’t helped much except a little. I’ll then discuss CPEC, and demonstrate that it’s a one-sided project that doesn’t significantly benefit the Pakistani people. After that, I will discuss the US-Pakistan relationship and point out why it’s important for this relationship to expand in the future. I’ll end by pointing out historical parallels with the Pakistan-China relationship and the warnings they might provide.
Continue reading “The China-Pakistan Relationship: A Critical Analysis”
Muslim Doctrine of Warfare: Beyond Just War Theory
One of the most controversial issues these days related to Islam is that of war and violence, i.e. does Islam as a religion promote violence, are Muslims inherently or especially violent, and is it legitimate for Muslims to have waged war in the past to spread their religion (although more sophisticated critics these days have recognized that there weren’t forced conversions).
This debate has produced a lot of literature, and people have responded to the issues in various ways. The main focus has been on the why: for what reasons did Muslims wage war, what motivated them, and what role did wanting to spread or glorify Islam play – as opposed to responding to aggression, defending the oppressed, and so on.
But there’s been much less focus on the how. Clearly, the Prophet (SAW) and his Companions achieved tremendous military success. They took down the Persian Empire and much of the Byzantine Empire, the great powers of their age. It’s worth asking: what was their military strategy? How did they manage to march against enemies much stronger than them and still win? These people were not trained in fancy military academies and did not have experience fighting against great powers. Ultimately, even on the battlefield, they looked to their religion for guidance and inspiration.
In this post, I’ll look at 3 different primary sources that hold theological weight for Muslims: the Quran, the ahadith (sayings) of the Prophet, and the actions of the Companions, especially the rightly-guided Caliphs. From these, I’ll draw some broad principles for how Muslims should wage war. I’ll also give examples from history, both Islamic and general, of these principles being used or ignored and how it led to victory or defeat.
Continue reading “Muslim Doctrine of Warfare: Beyond Just War Theory”
Where Should Muslims Live?
Let’s assume you could move to any country in the world. Where would you go?
This is a tough question to answer. A lot of people answer this based on a cool picture they saw of a mosque in a certain country, or the alleged attractiveness of people of the opposite gender there, or something like that. In actuality, this question requires a more systematic approach.
Will America Become Great Again?
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم، وصلوات الله وسلامه على أشرف المرسلين
In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Civilizations decline. And then fall. It’s happened again and again throughout history. Of course, their decline and falls don’t always follow set patterns and the course of events isn’t predictable. But what’s guaranteed is that no civilization will last forever, and everything comes to end, one way or another. This is how Allah created this world.