frandroid: Pirate ghostship, moored in a lava creek, underground. (ghostship)
Very interesting BBC article on the implementation of Sharia in the Swat valley of Pakistan.

This follows Chapati Mystery's Reading Swat from February, which compiled a bunch of articles on the topic, from both the U.S. and Pakistan.

If you haven't really followed this topic on the news, the Pakistani government in February agreed to let the Swat valley be governed by Sharia law, after Pakistani Taliban elements where basically chasing the government out of there and were becoming more threatening to the rule of law elsewhere. At first this might sound like a heretic proposition, but as the first article demonstrates, it's not all bad, although there's no coverage of rape/adultery cases, which is where things often get ugly. (They also are ugly under non-sharia Pakistani law, though.)

I'm posting about these things because Pakistan is shaping up to become the most important area of Obama's foreign policy as it relates to Afghanistan, the Taliban, and in some smaller (but not unimportant) measure Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the future of Islamic terrorism and militancy against the United States and its allied regimes. The implications for global security are quite important.

I have found Chapati Mystery, in particular, to be a rich source of information: Sepoy (Manan Ahmed) holds South Asia history PhD from the University of Chicago, has a progressive take on things and has quite a depth of historical and political knowledge.

I need to read Tariq Ali again, although the value of his writing works at a different level...
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (great worm)
Hello,

I'm trying to cut on procrastination while going through the last stretch of the semester, so I'm not reading other people's LJs. But I'm posting and reading replies to responses.

Anyway, here's a depressing Baghdad violence map applet thing from the Beeb.

Things to do:
Move the slider forwards in time. Notice that the red dots are just for 10+ death events; the total deaths for the month are much higher than what's shown. Compare the ethnic areas, pre-2006 and now.

Numbers come from Iraq Body Count.
frandroid: YPG logo, Syrian Kurdish defense forces (great worm)
Largest cache of bomb-making explosives found in British history, terrorists get no bloody attention:
Police officers raided a home in Lancashire on Monday night and uncovered a huge cache of chemicals used to make explosives. Officers say it is the largest haul of such chemicals ever found in this country. One man has already appeared in front of Burnley magistrates charged under the Explosives Substances Act 1883. Another man has also been charged after a raid on his house uncovered rocket launcher and a nuclear biological suit.

You'd have thought this would be national front page news, wouldn't you? After all the hype, at last we have solid evidence of terrorists attempting to perpetrate a murderous outrage on the population - prosecutors say the pair had "some kind of master plan".

Except, of course, that the men charged are not Asian Islamists, but white fascists. Robert Cottage, who has been charged for the explosives haul, stood for the BNP in Colne at the last elections.


follow-up 1: I wrote to the BBC asking why they had not covered the story that bat020 drew attention to of the huge bomb factory discovered in the hands of far right activists, and I got the following reply.

follow-up 2: So, does anyone know what date it is?

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