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Reality Check


Peshawar Attack



Back in Iraq

With the ISIS horror show tweeting murders and beheadings as it blazes through Iraq, pressure has mounted on world powers for new Iraqi intervention. This time they’re well equipped to attack remotely from up above rather than exposing troops to an extended ground assault. In his recent national address, President Barack Obama announced some measures to combat the terrorist group in Iraq. Air power will be used to seek and force out ISIS militants from various cities and towns they control across Syria and Iraq. There will also be an increased total of 1,600 American military advisers and others working with Iraqi Army, Kurdish fighters, and sectarian militias to defeat ISIS. US Vice President declared “we will follow them to the gates of hell”. Despite confident words from the administration, almost 70 percent of Americans lack confidence that the US will achieve their stated goals in fighting ISIS. Recent history with similar tactics in Afghanistan has proven that a decade isn’t long enough to establish a dependable local police force. This means the president, and perhaps the next several, will need to somehow sustain US public support for an entire generation to give the plan any real chance at success.
In an effort to train and equip US allies to fight terrorists, Obama has requested $5 billion from Congress. $500 million of that money will be spent on training a new Syrian opposition in Saudi Arabia. Even though Iraq demanded US assistance in fighting ISIS, and has even relented and promised immunity for US troops, the new Iraqi Prime minister made it clear that there will be no foreign combat forces on ground. This a day after US General Martin E. Dempsey recommended that American soldiers may be needed if current efforts fail.
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Jordan have joined the US-led alliance against ISIS. Russia and China also appear likely to give support for an operation launched against the extremists. Broad consensus from strange bedfellows may be what sets this effort apart from recent conflicts waged in the area. Granted, the proposed plan is not yet unique or inspiring, but support from all global powers may give this effort unparalleled staying power. Temporarily beating ISIS back into hiding is one thing. Strengthening Iraq’s weak government and military to sustain the peace is another matter altogether. Although a new government has been formed in Iraq, not much has changed since the old players are still in power. Nouri al-Malaki, the former prime minister is now the vice president and previous policy makers have been reshuffled.
With Afghanistan and Iraq are unraveling, the fruits of interventionist policies have come to bear. During his election campaign Obama promised to end the wars since the economy was in ruins and the American public was fed up. However, ISIS’ rampage across the region is becoming harder to ignore and the US finds itself back in Iraq. As Colin Powell once stated about the US invasion of Iraq “If you break it, you own it”. Contrary to President Bush rushing into a declaration of mission accomplished in Iraq, Obama is reluctant to even define what success would look like in this case or even the aftermath of “degrading” ISIS. US politician Jim Moran sums it up as “the best of a long list of bad options”.


CAIR press conference on American teen beaten by Israeli police

CAIR – The Florida chapter of the organization I work with held a press conference with the family of teen beaten by Israeli border police.


New Job!

I’m happy to announce that I have accepted a position with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). I will be working as the operations coordinator for theirphoto(1) office, a position which entails dealing with the press and writing etc. CAIR is a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group which is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, regardless of faith. CAIR’s missions and goals are in line with the last organization I worked with. Move to Amend, like CAIR also supported justice and human rights for all.

Untitled I still plan on keeping up with my articles for Express Tribune featured biweekly on Mondays. CAIR has an upcoming event featuring Glenn Greenwald from the Guardian and Wajahat Ali from Al-Jazeera. I looked forward to the event and working with CAIR.


Move to Amend

This year I began interning for Move to Amend a grass roots movement focused on abolishing Corporate Personhood – the idea that Corporations are the same as human beings and that money is equal to speech. Obviously this concept is ridiculous and translates into lobbying groups having ultimate power over the voice of the people. I co-produce the weekly MTA radio show and I also write Op-Eds & blog posts on various political issues for the movement.

The 2010 Citizens United verdict was an overreaching ruling by the Supreme Court which overturned a century of legislative trends to prevent corporate money from contaminating democracy. The last election cycle proved how individual voices are at risk of being stifled by anonymously funded super PACs. Take the recently exposed case of American Council of Engineering Companies California; this particular group supports privatization of public infrastructure work. It gifted $400,000 to a nonprofit in Virginia, Americans for Job Security which in turn gave this money to another vague non-profit organization in Arizona. This nonprofit then pumped $11 million to a committee in California which opposed Proposition 30, a tax increase on California’s top earners to fund schools and supported Proposition 32, deceptive initiative to crush labor unions. In order to improve their bottom-line these groups were determined to deny funding to schools and also make unions, a shrinking voice of the working class, powerless. Fortunately, the business group’s donation surfaced last month due to a Californian law requiring political action committees to show their spending, including money that goes to issue-advocacy groups.

Similarly Proposition 37, calling for a label stating genetically modified food was polling at Image80% approval rate in California before agribusiness corporations poured $46 million into the state to misinform voters. Deceptive methods such as voter guides from fake front groups posing as cops, literacy groups, green groups and Democrats were mailed to homes in order to sway voters against Proposition 37. The last minute tactics worked to defeat the well-intended measure before voters had a chance to figure out fact from fiction.

With Congress polling at a single digit approval rating, the people clearly do not believe that their representatives are serving their best interests. Some of them have selected to channel their frustrations and participate in local grassroots movements to reverse the trend of corporations buying elections.

My articles for Move to Amend:
Corporations as Voters?
Divine Incorporation?
Corporations cozy up to Judges


Rest of the World vs America Newsweek Covers for this week

So the Newsweek International cover features a story on “Imran Khan, the next prime minister of Pakistan?” and the US cover has diet advice from Dr. Phil!

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