It's cold, dingy, and wet outside. It's also a Sunday, which is oddly a holiday in this part of the world (haven't they heard of Friday?). Hence, I've decided to stay in, watch TV, read newspapers, and browse the net. It seems today has been a very active day in many places, most importantly Bahrain.
So it appears a verdict of one year prison has been landed on Al Khawaja. This isn't good. The event is also splashed all over the main news sources, including BBC. The government is not going to like that.
It's worrying to think what will happen next...
Iraq: The fighting will stay for a while.
I don't know how anyone can still think the insurgency in Iraq is conducted exclusively by foreigners. I mean, if you read anything more than just the major flashing headlines and anything about how life functions in Iraq you can tell it's actually become even embedded.
One way to tell now that the fighting, resistance, abducting (and any of the other activities going on Iraq) in will be around for at least some months to come is how the insurgency has actually seeped into the economy and general business life in Iraq. Security issues have become such a money generating source that I can't see them disappearing anytime soon.
Why? simply because there are vested interests in the unstable situation in the moment, on both sides. There is a considerable amount of people whose income source comes from the problems. There are some Iraqis who make money by colluding with the insurgency. They'd give them information, help with abducting foreigners or Iraqis (apparently it is big bussiness).
On the other side, you have thousands of personnel in Iraq working in private security companies who sole job is to protect from the insurgency. These companies' livelihood depend on the situation. Basically both sides need each other to go on.
Obviously, these vested interests are peanuts compared to the other interests reconstruction comapnies and others have. I'm not saying that above (those interested in the conflict) are the majority, or even that they are extremely substantial, but they definitely are widespread enought to have an influence.
This creates a group that its interests, economically, are for the conflict to continue. They probably aren't going to succeed in the end, since they have no chance in front American firepower and force, but they will forelong the fighting.
It is pretty depressing how every country in the World is switching to be more authoritarian, police-run state. If Even the UK is switching to become more police-run, then one has to be worrid. Mr. Blunkett, the Home Secretary, has decided it is a good idea to expand "anti-terrorism laws".
Now for me, an Arab studying in the UK, these new laws do raise a few jitters. I'm in my twenties, a student here, an Arab, and a Muslim: Their first line of suspicion.
These new laws include trial without juries and special "anti-terror courts." What is more worrying however is that you can now arrested for what they "call prepatory acts of terrorism," and not for actually committing an act of terrorism. In Blunkett's own words, " We'd be able to use civil law, like anti-social behaviour orders, to say, 'If you step outside what we've precluded you from doing, if you for instance, use this particular banking network... then we can move you from the civil into the criminal law'. Basically you could be arrested for an act you didn't commit, because there is suspicion that you might commit it!
Added to this, phonetaps could be used in court now.
What are these "particular banking networks"? Is there a list that's going to be published. Are there going to be hundreds of them? Doesn't that mean that statistically there will be one of these that unfairly on the list? What if a legitemate bank I use is by mistake included because of typing error? What if National Bank of Bahrain or Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait is included?
What if I get phone-tapped, they hear national Bank of Bahrain on the phone, they come arrest me on suspicion of maybe doing something, detain me without trial in Belmarsh prison, and then take me to a court with no jury?
Obviously, that's taking things to there logical extreme, and hopefully it won't happen, but it does make you worry about what extra new laws are going to be put!