Morning Report: 2010-07-06

Irshad on culture and strategy in Afghanistan. Irshad Manji writes:
The tribal culture of “honor” has already trumped democracy in Afghanistan. Despite being suave and sophisticated, President Hamid Karzai rarely defends individual rights, a cornerstone of democracy. Instead, he quietly condones punishments inflicted in the name of tribal honor, from widespread gang-rapes of women to acid attacks on schoolgirls.

Why would a Muslim, routinely described as a “moderate,” hand so much power to feudal warlords? For years, military strategists have told me it’s because Karzai has to avoid carnage at all costs.

But does violating innocents to pre-empt further violence make sense?

Sadly, yes, and that’s where the power of culture enters Afghanistan’s grim picture. In societies influenced by Arab culture, a massive motivator of action is asabiyya or tribal solidarity.

She goes on to cite Ibn Khaldun. Read the rest of her post at the link.

BP does something slightly not evil. Debka: 'Monday, July 5, Mehdi Aliyari, secretary of Iranian Airlines Union, said airports in Britain, Germany, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates had refused to refuel Iranian passenger planes. He said the cutoff affected the national carrier Iran Air and the biggest Iranian private airline Mahan Air, both of which operate several flights to Europe. Following this announcement, a spokeswoman of the oil giant BP said "we will comply with any international sanctions that are imposed. And that goes also for the new round of US sanctions following a decision by Congress." Around Friday, BP sent faxes to its refueling operations in some European countries, including those owned with partners, ordering a ban on refueling for several Iranian airlines, including Iran Air. BP is under US pressure over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.' The Wall Street Journal reports that BP 'has instructed its European operations not to refuel Iranian airlines after U.S. President Barack Obama signed sanctions targeting Iran's gasoline supplies, people familiar with the matter said Monday.'

Netanyahu, Obama in fifth meeting, set to approve new Gaza contraband list. JPost:
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu left for the US late Monday night for a meeting the next day with President Barack Obama, perhaps not carrying any dramatic new diplomatic initiative, but at least bringing a message of significant changes in what goods Israel will allow into the Gaza Strip.

Hours before Netanyahu was to board his plane for Washington, Foreign Ministry director-general Yossi Gal and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot unveiled the principles behind a detailed list of items Israel will not allow into the Gaza Strip. Everything not on that list will be let in.

Full article at the link.

Iran: Anniversary of student uprisings approaches. SKF: 'We are fast approaching July 9th which marks the 11th year anniversary of the July 9th (18 Tir) 1999 pro-democracy student demonstration in Iran. The 18 Tir demonstrations were originally triggered when a reformist newspaper “Salam” was banned from publication. As a reaction to the peaceful protests Regime Agents attacked the student dormitories in Tehran University where they beat and arrested hundreds of students and turned the dormitories into a blood bath. At least one student was murdered by Regime Agents when he was thrown off the dormitory balcony. ...'