Morning Report: June 23, 2006

Middle Eastern women move forward. Women see progress in Turkey, Kuwait, and Afghanistan, while a "home-grown" terror cell is busted in Florida.

Kuwaiti women vote, run for office. Amir Taheri:
Next week, Kuwaitis will go to the polls to elect a new National Assembly which will, in turn, approve a new prime minister and cabinet.

The Kuwaitis will be making history for a number of reasons. This is the first election in which women are allowed to vote, which means the size of the electorate has more than doubled. More importantly, and much to the chagrin of Islamists who insist that women are unfit to play any role in politics, a number of women are standing, often on a platform of radial social and economic reform.

With a native population of one million, Kuwait is one of the smallest states that form the Arab League. Nevertheless, its general election is important for the impact it is certain to have on broader Arab politics.

One reason is that the exercise will help consolidate the idea of holding elections as a means of securing access to power, something new and still fragile in most Arab states. Days before the Kuwaitis were due to go to the polls, the United Arab Emirates announced that it, too, would opt for a parliamentary system based on elections. This means all but five of the Arab states are now committed to holding reasonably clean elections at the municipal and/or national level.

SOME OF this new interest in holding elections is due to the impact of Iraq on the broader Arab imagination. Many within the Arab ruling elites saw, with a mixture of admiration and terror, how Saddam Hussein's regime, regarded as the strongest of the Arab despotic structures in recent memory, collapsed within three weeks.

The message was clear: An Arab regime without some mandate from the people is never more than a house of cards. ...

Read the rest at the link. Hat tip: Cinnamon Stillwell, via e-mail. (JPost)

More progress for Muslim women. Himadree at The Muslim Woman brings us several encouraging items. Turkey: 'here is a large-scale misunderstanding thrown by the ballad-like tradition among the Turkish community, that the Prophet had advocated the discrimination of women. Muhammad Ghourmiz, the Deputy Head of the Turkish Religious Affairs Administration says that such a statement do not hold any validity, and is purely a misconception put forward by the Muslims, to disguise their inappropriate way of maltreating the women folks. The religious administration has, in the wake of this stinking practice, asked all the religious clerics to redo all the text, thereby ordering 35 religious experts to compile a book, putting forth the directions laid by the great prophet, for the contemporary world on the role of equality.' In Bamiyan province in Afghanistan, large numbers of girls are enrolling in school: 'With the number of girl students increasing daily in the school, even school officials are quite optimistic that the day is not far away when the stigma of uneducated Bamyan girls will be washed away. According to the director of the Education Department, Haji Mohammad Ali Wasiq, this year, nearly 9,000 girls took admission. Moreover, out of the total students number of 78,534 almost 30,437 are girls.' Also from Afghanistan, some 1,500 Afghan women will receive police training from German instructors at a facility in India. (TMW)

Florida terror suspects indicted. CNN: 'A federal indictment against seven men revealed Friday details of what the government said was a terrorists' plan to "kill all the devils we can," including blowing up Chicago's Sears Tower. The "jihad" was intended to be "as good or greater than 9/11," beginning with destruction of the 110-story tower and FBI buildings, according to court documents obtained Friday by CNN. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in a news conference Friday, described the men as examples of "homegrown terrorists" who "may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al Qaeda" and who have come "to view their home country as the enemy." Named in the grand jury indictment is Narseal Batiste ...' Full article at the link. (CNN)

Briefly noted. Gateway Pundit has a round-up of reaction to the New York Times' latest outrage.

Commentary. Today's items show, once again, that the battlefield is worldwide. Nor is any phase of the Long War confined to a single geographical region: terrorists can operate in the Middle East or in Florida, and the "information war" is by no means confined to the industrialized West.