Weekend Roundup: Anguish Stalks the Muslim World


Nathan Gardels is the editor-in-chief of Noema Magazine.

The recent string of terrorist attacks in Muslim-majority cities, including Dhaka, Istanbul, Baghdad and Medina, has left the global ummah, or Muslim community, bleeding. The suspected culprit of the attacks is the so-called Islamic State.

As Dean Obeidallah writes, “No one wants to see ISIS defeated more than the Muslims who bury loved ones daily because of the horror ISIS is waging upon them.” As he points out, Muslims, by far, suffer more than others from these acts of terror.

In a personal reflection during the closing days of Ramadan, World Social Media Editor Rowaida Abdelaziz finds hope in her faith in the face of the challenges of her identity as a Muslim American. “I am exhausted by the irony of my existence,” she writes. “As I scramble to report the news, I can’t hide my pain at the deafening silence of the world over the senseless murders in not one, but four Muslim countries over the course of the week. I simply can’t deny the reality that there were no Facebook check-ins to be found. There were no vigils. No monuments lit up across the world. There were no prayers. Just Muslims dying on one side of the world and Muslims being shot on the way to do their prayers, being assaulted and publicly strip-searched on the other end.”

Clint Watts argues that ISIS has unleashed its “suicide bomb cadres” onto the world during Ramadan to disguise its losses on the ground in Syria and Iraq. From Istanbul, Yusuf Muftuoglu, former advisor to Abdullah Gul, who was president of Turkey from 2007-2014, writes that “Turkey’s strategy of supporting the Salafi factions in Syria, and its huge public relations machinery that praised the fighters, normalized Salafism in the eyes of many ordinary, pious Sunni Turks.” That sympathy, he worries, will come back to haunt Turkey as jihadis shift their focus to urban terrorism in the region, as in the recent attack at Ataturk airport.

WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones, who is based in Istanbul, acknowledges the anxiety induced by the attacks on residents like herself. “I’ve stopped taking the metro at rush hour,” she writes. “My pulse quickens when a heavy door slams or a car backfires. A tourniquet, taken from a first aid kit I’ve carried on assignment in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, now has a home in my purse.” Yet, she affirms her commitment to stay in “incredible” Istanbul. Turkish journalist Ilgin Yorulmaz writes that many of her fellow citizens who travel regularly through Ataturk airport in cosmopolitan Istanbul are coping with the thought that “it could have been me.”

Writing from Beirut, former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke fears another incipient clash in the region — an all-out Israeli assault on Hezbollah. “For Israel,” says Crooke, “Hezbollah must be incapacitated or destroyed; war becomes inexorable by implication. The question is whether Israel has concluded that now — with America engrossed in its presidential election — is the moment to launch the war.”

A more familiar conflict reminiscent of the Cold War days threatens elsewhere. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis sees rough seas ahead as NATO meets in Warsaw this weekend. The leaders are expected to approve four new battalions and a new stage of readiness of a missile defense shield in countries bordering Russia. Paradoxically, it may be the chaos of the Middle East that saves the day. “The best hope for an accommodation,” he writes, “rests to the south: Russia and NATO have a shared interest in creating stability in the Levant.” Senior Military Correspondent David Wood outlines how Russian President Vladimir Putin is continuing to “probe” and test NATO’s capacities.

The reverberations of Brexit continue to shake Europe. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier argues that Europe’s best defense against breakup is to push ahead even harder toward integration. “No member state,” he writes from Berlin, “not even Germany or France — or even the United Kingdom — can assert its interests as successfully on the international stage as we can together as a powerful community bound together by solidarity.” Renowned sociologist and former director of the London School of Economics, Anthony Giddens, tells his peers in the House of Lords that what Great Britain needs down the road is a “second referendum” once an actual plan for leaving the European Union is devised and its true costs and benefits are known.

British voters are not the only ones seeking less interdependence. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) calls on his fellow Democrats to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact promoted by U.S. President Barack Obama, which Sanders sees as a threat to American jobs.

Australian journalist Helen Clark reports on how a massive fish die-off in Vietnam has morphed into a controversy over press freedom. Eric Olander and Cobus van Staden examine how the financial disaster in Venezuela is causing growing concern in Beijing that China may have been too ambitious in its loaning of billions of dollars to high-risk, developing countries — especially in Africa. Karoline Kan examines another migration crisis in the world today — how to integrate the great mass of rural migrants into urbanizing China through a resident permit that gives their families access to education and social benefits. In a wide-ranging interview, celebrated Indian novelist and social critic Arundhati Roy says “I’m on the A-list of anti-nationals” and wonders why “cool” young women say they are not feminists.

The WorldPost remembers futurist Alvin Toffler, who died last week, through an interview about the prognostications from his last book, “Revolutionary Wealth.” In a photo essay, “Next Gen Scientist” host Aaron Pomerantz displays otherworldly reptiles and amphibians he captured on film during a recent research expedition in Ecuador. In our Singularity series this week, we look at “smart dust” — lenses the size of a grain of salt that enable super sharp images.


EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at The Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s news coverage. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are World Reporters. Rowaida Abdelaziz is World Social Media Editor.

CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media), Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).


CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


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