Sunday, March 13, 2016

Trump Rally Violence; US F-16s for Pakistan; Obama on Saudi Ties; Mustafa Kamal Bandwagon; Shahbaz Taseer Release

Why is there increasing violence at rallies held by US Republican presidential front-runner Donald J. Trump? Who’s inciting it? Is it Trump himself egging on his angry supporters to hurt protesters? How will this affect the holding of peaceful elections in 2016? Will it hurt the US image in the international community?

Why did the Obama administration and the US Senate ignore efforts by Indian lobby, including Husain Haqqani and Tarek Fatah, to block the $700 million deal to sell F-16s and other related equipment to Pakistan? Why did the US-Pakistan joint declaration after strategic dialogue in Washington refer to the importance of Kashmir resolution? Is the US willing to anger New Delhi to maintain close ties with its arch-rival Pakistan?

Is Mustafa Kamal bandwagon gathering momentum with more MQM leaders joining the ex mayor of Karachi? How many more will jump on this bandwagon to try and isolate the all-powerful Altaf Husain and his London-based Rabita Committee? Why did Obama not acknowledge “close ties” with America’s “ally” Saudi Arabia? Why did he say “Saudi Arabia must share region with Iran”? Is Obama putting Iran and Saudi Arabia on the same footing now?

What led to the welcome release of Gov Salman Taseer’s son Shahbaz Taseer soon after Mumtaz Qadri execution? Was he recovered by use of Pak military force or by ransom paid to kidnappers by his family?

Viewpoint From Overseas host Misbah Azam discusses these questions with panelists Ali H. Cemendtaur and Riaz Haq (

Trump Rally Violence; US F-16s; Obama on Saudi Ties; Mustafa Kamal; Shahbaz Taseer Release from Ikolachi on Vimeo.

Trump Rally Violence; US F-16s; Obama on Saudi... by ViewpointFromOverseas

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

The Trump Phenomenon

US-Pakistan Ties

MQM-RAW Connections

Iran-Saudi Proxy War

Talk4Pak Think Tank

VPOS Youtube Channel

VPOS Vimeo Channel


Rks said...

Trump rallies are being targeted by mostly leftists and Muslims. Once he gets elected (which looks very likely) , they will be at the receiving end of his stick.

Riaz Haq said...

19640909rk : "Trump rallies are being targeted by mostly leftists and Muslims."

Trump is supported by a minority of Republicans (less than 50%) and registered Republicans themselves are a minority themselves relative to registered Democrats....

As to who organized the protest in Chicago, here's an LA Times report:

How black, Latino and Muslim college students organized to stop Trump's rally in Chicago

When black, Muslim and Latino student activists at the University of Illinois at Chicago heard last week that Donald Trump was planning a rally on campus, they did what any good organizers do in 2016: They went online.

Within days, thousands of people had liked a Facebook page called "Stop Trump – Chicago." Tens of thousands added their names to a petition calling on the school to cancel the rally.

They all had one thing in common, said Casandra Robledo, a second-year student who helped organize the protest: "We felt so strongly that Donald Trump and his bigotry and racism wasn’t welcome here.”

Anonymous said...

We call Donald Trump a buffoon, a clown, a carnival barker but we fail to call him evil.

Trump is a racist, a misogynist, he belittles the disabled, he calls for massive deportations, he calls for massive deportations, he calls for slaughter of innocent Muslim women and children, he is xenophobe, an Islamophobe and a bully. Why aren't we asking who would be such a person and who could suggest such outrageous ideologies for American consumption?

The man is no longer funny. He is a dangerous disgrace to the United States. L. Branen

Riaz Haq said...

Several #MQM leaders, incl F. Sabzwari, H. Rizvi, K. Shujaat, leave #Pakistan amid confusion in party #MustafaKamal …

Several leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) have left the country amid growing confusion in the ranks following dissociation of prominent leaders from the party.

Former MQM leaders Waeem Aftab, Anis Qaimkhani, Dr Sagheer Ahmed and Raza Haroon joined Mustafa Kamal following his announcement to launch a new political party.

MQM MPA Faisal Subzwari, whose name had been doing the rounds for being the next in line to join Kamal’s fold, left the country for the US early Monday morning.

Former MQM leader Raza Haroon joins Mustafa Kamal

However, MQM’s spokesperson Aminul Haque told The Express Tribune Subzwari had informed the party before leaving for a month.

Similarly, senior figure Haider Abbas Rizvi is in Canada, whereas MPA Irtiza Farooqui is residing in London for his son’s treatment.

Another party leader, Khushbakht Shujaat, who is also being tipped off as a potential-next to join Kamal’s party, is said to be on an official UN trip to the US.

Rangers tortured MQM workers in jails: Farooq Sattar

While the MQM confirmed absence of these leaders, it also said they had taken official leave from the party.

Meanwhile, party’s Leader of Opposition in Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan has reportedly left the country for Dubai, sources say.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Raza Haroon, a former Sindh IT minister, praised Kamal’s decision to launch his party, saying it was a brave and patriotic step by the former mayor.

Kamal, flanked by Anis Qaimkhani, launched his political party on March 3, simultaneously alleging Altaf Hussain of fomenting terrorism in Karachi and calling him an agent of Indian spy agency RAW.

Riaz Haq said...

US Court order declaring MQM terrorist organization:

In 1997, Ahmed fled from Pakistan to the United States and sought asylum on the basis
of government persecution for his involvement with the MQM. Compl. ¶ 35. During both his
asylum interview and immigration hearing, Ahmed fully disclosed his involvement with and
work on behalf of the MQM.
Compl. ¶ 36. On December 2, 1998, an immigration judge
granted his request for asylum. Compl. ¶¶ 36, 38.
After an initial denial on unrelated grounds, on February 14, 2006, Ahmed filed a Form I-
485 application for adjustment of immigration status to legal permanent resident. Compl. ¶¶ 39-
41. On February 13, 2008, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”)
denied Ahmed’s application on the basis that he was a current member of the MQM-A.2
Ex. 5, at 3. UCSIS found that the MQM, and its factions the MQM-A and MQM-H, met the
contemporary definition of an undesignated or “Tier III” terrorist organization under the
Immigration and Naturalization Act (“INA”). Compl. Ex. 5, at 4; see 8 U.S.C. §
1182(a)(3)(B)(vi)(III). Although the immigration judge that had granted Ahmed asylum had
found him admissible, Ahmed was now inadmissible as an alien who “has engaged in a terrorist
activity,” 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)(i)(I), and an alien who is a representative of a “group that
endorses or espouses terrorist activity,” 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(3)(B)(i)(IV). Id. Since the time of
Ahmed’s grant of asylum in 1998, the USA PATRIOT Act, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272
(2001), and the REAL ID Act, Pub. L. No. 109-13, 119 Stat. 302 (2005), expanded the terrorismrelated
grounds under which aliens may be deemed inadmissible.

Anonymous said...

"We call Donald Trump a buffoon, a clown, a carnival barker but we fail to call him evil. "

Trump is the bitter medicine USA is in a dire state of need. Will love to see his officials drag likes of haq in street and 'process' their entire family. Muzzie mud does not deserve better.

Riaz Haq said...

#NYPD commissioner condemns #Cruz's call to 'patrol' #Muslim areas. #Islamophobia via @msnbc

Sen. Ted Cruz’s controversial proposal that “patrols” should monitor “Muslim neighborhoods” in the United States the aftermath of terror attacks in Belgium has been condemned on both sides of the political aisle, and on Tuesday, New York Police Department commissioner William Bratton added his voice to the chorus.

Bratton, flanked by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had previously called Cruz’s remarks “reprehensible” and example of “demagoguery,” told reporters that “the statements he made today is why he’s not going to become president of this country.”

“We don’t need a president that doesn’t respect the values that form the foundation of this country,” Bratton added. “As the mayor mentioned, I have over 900 very dedicated officers in this department, many of whom do double duty, and they serve as active duty members of the U.S. Military in combat, something the senator has never seen,” referring to the fact that Cruz has no military experience.

“So before he starts denigrating any population, he should take a close look at who he’s denigrating,” Bratton said. This is not the first time Cruz has provoked the ire of many New Yorkers. In January, Cruz suffered a barrage of bad press in the Big Apple, after he took aim at what he called “New York values.”

The NYPD has attempted to procure intelligence by secretly monitoring Muslim enclaves in the past, a practice defended by then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But doing so yielded little success, according to the Associated Press. They report that in six years of broad surveillance, the so-called Demographics Unit “never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.” Meanwhile, when reports of the program surfaced, first revealed as part of a Pulitzer prize-winning investigation by the AP, it was met with strong rebuke from the Muslim community and led to a discrimination lawsuit against the city which was ultimately dismissed in 2014. Bratton, who was appointed by de Blasio, oversaw the decision to abandon the program.

Later on Tuesday, Cruz doubled down on his earlier statements, arguing that it’s “standard” police procedure to infiltrate communities overrun with gang activity, and that the same tactics should be applied to areas where radicalization may be taking hold. “Political correctness costs lives,” he added.

However, Cruz did not offer clarity about how he would define a “Muslim neighborhood,” or how he could pre-emptively engage communities “before they become radicalized” as he suggested during an earlier appearance on CNN.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said Cruz’s remarks send “an alarming message to American-Muslims who increasingly fear for their future and to all Americans who value the Constitution and religious liberties.”

In an interview with NBC News, Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR, compared Cruz’s comments to “the dark days of the 1930s” in Europe and “the interment of Japanese-Americans” in the 1940s. “What is a Muslim neighborhood? How many Muslims have to be in a neighborhood before it becomes worthy of checking papers and kicking in the doors of homes and businesses?” he said. “What constitutes a Muslim neighborhood?”

Still, his plan wasn’t opposed across the board. His 2016 rival Donald Trump, who spent much of Tuesday advocating for torture techniques to reinstated to combat threat of ISIS, called Cruz’s patrol plan a “good idea” which he “100 percent” supports.

Riaz Haq said...

Does #Obama Have This Right in #MiddleEast? #Israel #SaudiArabia #Iran #Syria #Libya #Iraq #Kurds #ISIS #Terrorism

Sulaimaniya, Iraq — As one could see from President Obama’s recentinterview in The Atlantic, he pretty much hates all the Middle East’s leaders including those of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iran and the Palestinians.

Obama’s primary goal seems to be to get out of office being able to say that he had shrunk America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevented our involvement on the ground in Syria and Libya, and taught Americans the limits of our ability to fix things we don’t understand, in countries whose leaders we don’t trust, whose fates do not impact us as much as they once did.

After all, the president indicated, more Americans are killed each year slipping in bathtubs or running into deer with their cars than by any terrorists, so we need to stop wanting to invade the Middle East in response to every threat.

That all sounds great on paper, until a terrorist attack like the one Tuesday in Brussels comes to our shores. Does the president have this right?


The Kurdish government, which was allowing a strong opposition party to emerge and a free press, is now backtracking, with its president, Massoud Barzani, refusing to cede power at the end of his term, and the stench of corruption is everywhere. The Kurdish democratic experiment is hanging by a thread. More U.S. aid conditioned on Kurdistan’s getting back on the democracy track would go a long way.

“It is one big game of survivor out here,” said Dlawer Ala’Aldeen, president of the Middle East Research Institute in Kurdistan. “America needs to constructively engage the Kurds, offer them conditional help and make them the partner that America deserves. Here, everyone listens to and likes America. [The Kurdish] people want America to protect them from Iran and Turkey.”

Kurdistan and Tunisia are just what we dreamed of: self-generated democracies that could be a model for others in the region to follow. But they need help. Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama here — how to leave a unique legacy and secure a foothold for democracy … without invading.

Riaz Haq said...

Overreacting to #Terrorism? #BrusselsAttacks #Obama #Trump #Cruz2016 #Islamophobia

Are terrorists more of a threat than slippery bathtubs?

President Obama, er, slipped into hot water when The Atlantic reportedthat he frequently suggests to his staff that fear of terrorism is overblown, with Americans more likely to die from falls in tubs than from attacks by terrorists.

The timing was awkward, coming right before the Brussels bombings, but Obama is roughly right on his facts: 464 people drowned in America in tubs, sometimes after falls, in 2013, while 17 were killed here by terrorists in 2014 (the most recent years for which I could get figures). Of course, that’s not an argument for relaxing vigilance, for at some point terrorists will graduate from explosives to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons that could be far more devastating than even 9/11. But it is an argument for addressing global challenges a little more rationally.

The basic problem is this: The human brain evolved so that we systematically misjudge risks and how to respond to them.

Our visceral fear of terrorism has repeatedly led us to adopt policies that are expensive and counterproductive, such as the invasion of Iraq. We have ramped up the intelligence community so much that there are now seven times as many Americans with security clearances (4.5 million) as live in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Donald Trump responded to the Brussels attacks with crowd-pleasing calls for torture or barring Muslims that even Republican security experts agree are preposterous.

On the same day as the attacks, a paper by James E. Hansen and other climate experts was released arguing that carbon emissions are transforming our world far more quickly than expected, in ways that may inundate coastal cities and cause storms more horrendous than any in modern history. The response? A yawn.

Hansen is an eminent former NASA scientist, but he’s also an outlier in his timing forecasts, and I’m not qualified to judge whether he’s correct. Yet whatever the disagreement about the timeline, there is scientific consensus that emissions on our watch are transforming our globe for 10,000 years to come. As an important analysis in Nature Climate Change put it, “The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.”

To put it another way, this year’s election choices may shape coastlines 10,000 years from now. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both mocked the idea of human-caused climate change, with Trump suggesting that it is a hoax invented by China to harm the American economy (he now says that last point was a joke).

The upshot is that Brussels survived this week’s terrorist attacks, but it may not survive climate change (much of the city is less than 100 feet above sea level).

Doesn’t it seem prudent to invest in efforts to avert not only shoe bombers but also the drowning of the world’s low-lying countries?


Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, says that the kind of threats that we evolved to deal with are those that are imminent rather than gradual, and those that involve a deliberate bad actor, especially one transgressing our moral code. Explaining our lack of concern for global warming, he noted,“Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, not flags.”

In short, our brains are perfectly evolved for the Pleistocene, but are not as well suited for the risks we face today. If only climate change caused sharp increases in snake populations, then we’d be on top of the problem!

Yet even if our brains sometimes mislead us, they also crown us with the capacity to recognize our flaws and rectify mistakes. So maybe we can adjust for our weaknesses in risk assessment — so that we confront the possible destruction of our planet as if it were every bit as ominous and urgent a threat as, say, a passing garter snake.