New Hamas charter codifies a dead-end strategy

Omar Hassan Hamas has offered significant concessions to Israel and the collaborationist Palestinian Authority in the long-awaited update to its political charter. Released on 1 May after months of speculation, the charter cements the increasing moderation of the party under the leadership of Khalid M...CONTINUE READING

What’s wrong with Tim Anderson?

Omar Hassan The weird and wacky world of the far right blogosphere has had a busy fortnight. They pulled out all stops: shocking headlines, capital letters, even the classic homoerotic picture of a topless Putin on a horse. The point of all this frantic activity? To cast as much doubt as possible on t...CONTINUE READING

Trump’s month of bloodshed in the Middle East

Omar Hassan There has been a staggering rise in the number of civilian victims of US bombings in Iraq and Syria in the last month. It started with a strike on a mosque in the rebel-held town of al-Jinnah in Syria, where 42 people were killed while praying. As activists and media monitors posted videos...CONTINUE READING

The roots of sectarianism in the Middle East

Omar Hassan It is nearly impossible to find a mainstream news report about the Middle East that doesn’t refer to the religious affiliation of the protagonists. Sunnis hate Shi’ites, Shi’ites hate Sunnis, all Muslims hate Christians, and, of course, every Arab has a profound and irrational hatred of Je...CONTINUE READING

Saudi Arabia, with Western backing, inflicts horror in Yemen

Omar Hassan The death toll from the US-backed Saudi assault on Yemen has skyrocketed in recent weeks. The most recent atrocity was the bombing of a funeral, at which hundreds had gathered to mourn victims of previous Saudi air strikes. It was a “double-tap” strike, in which two bombs drop on the same...CONTINUE READING

‘Pauline Hanson don’t you dare, Muslims welcome everywhere!’

Omar Hassan The chants of anti-racist protesters rang through the streets of Sydney on 18 July, as activists gathered to protest Pauline Hanson, who was appearing on the ABC’s Q&A . The action was called in response to the network’s decision to invite her onto prime time television to spread her bigot...CONTINUE READING

Vic ‘anti-radicalisation’ plans are Big Brother on steroids

Omar Hassan The Victorian government is currently considering a raft of measures that purportedly aim to stop young people becoming terrorists. Compiled and proposed by the Victorian police commissioner, they would subject “radicalised” individuals to forced curfews, internet bans and restrictions on...CONTINUE READING

Keep the whine in the Pyne

Omar Hassan Just hours after surviving a party room challenge, Tony Abbott was interviewed by Leigh Sales on the ABC’s 7.30 . She started by asking the PM a simple, brutal question: “Are you a dead man walking?” Education minister Chris Pyne is in a similar sort of situation. Except that he’s more of...CONTINUE READING

What’s a few beheadings between friends?

Omar Hassan Flags in the UK and Australia were flown at half-mast last week to commemorate the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah. The ABC described him as a man with “reforming zeal”. The liberal New York Times valorised his attempts to “nudge” society forward. The managing director of the IMF, Ch...CONTINUE READING