Arab Americans hold ground in Michigan elections

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Updated 05 August 2022

Arab Americans hold ground in Michigan elections

Arab Americans hold ground in Michigan elections

CHICAGO: Arab Americans held their own in Michigan’s primary elections on Aug. 2, but it was a Jewish American congressman who was ousted there by a massive $12 million funded campaign by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that targeted several incumbents and candidates.

Jewish Congressman Andy Levin, the son of a former Congressman Sandy Levin and nephew of former Senator Carl Levin, was forced to run in a new district as a result of remapping last year, and lost Tuesday.

Despite his well-known surname, Levin lost to Congresswoman Haley Stevens in part because he was targeted by AIPAC, which was angered by his support of both Israeli and Palestinian interests.

But long-time Michigan political consultant and pollster Dennis Denno told Arab News that AIPAC’s money wasn’t the real factor that caused his loss, but rather it was his decision to challenge Stevens in a year when women candidates are seeing a surge in their popularity.

 

“Haley Stevens was kind of a celebrity with Michigan Democrats. She flipped a Republican congressional seat. And she takes credit with helping with the auto bailout under President Obama. So that was unfortunate for Democrats because you had two congressionals getting merged into one district,” said Denno, explaining the battle in the newly drawn 11th Congressional District during an appearance on The Ray Hanania Radio Show.

“A lot of Democrats were frustrated if not bitter with Andy Levin because he could have run in that Carl Marlinga-John James seat (10th District) and could have avoided this really ugly expensive primary because he wanted to run in Oakland County.”

Denno added: “Andy Levin was kind of more, for a lack of a better word, moderate with regards to Middle East policies. The pro-Israel and AIPAC groups beat him up over that. ... I saw a lot of the mail and I saw a lot of the TV ads (attacking Levin). One you had Haley Stevens, she is a woman, so she has got that bounce and I didn’t see how Andy Levin was going to break through.”

But Levin chose not to run in the 10th District where Palestinian American activists Huwaida Arraf announced her candidacy. Arraf was also targeted by AIPAC but Denno said he didn’t believe she could overcome the popularity and name recognition that fueled Carl Marlinga’s election victory there on Tuesday.

Stevens won 60 percent or 70,478 votes in the new 11th District while Levin only took 40 percent or 47,117 votes, according to unofficial election returns from Wednesday morning.

In the 10th District, Marlinga won on his high-profile name recognition, securing 48 percent of the vote in a field of five Democratic candidates, including Arraf, who ran fourth with 13 percent support.

Marlinga served nearly 40 years as Macomb County prosecutor, assistant US attorney and judge on the 16th Judicial Circuit Court and Probate Court. Oakland and Macomb counties have always represented the heart of innovation and hard work in Michigan.

Denno said the new 10th District leans Republican and despite Marlinga’s primary victory, he faces a tough race in November against John James who ran twice as a Republican for the Michigan Senate.

 

“Carl Marlinga was the only one who had name ID. I really like Carl Marlinga. He is a great guy. He has been in politics since forever. There have been some questions in his past. But I just think it was very difficult for anyone to take out Carl Marlinga in that Democratic Primary,” Denno said of Arraf’s challenge.

“That being said, it is going to be very difficult for Carl Marlinga to take out the Republican John James who ran for Senate two times and almost won in both of those elections. I think Carl Marlinga is going to have an uphill battle.”

Denno said he expects Michigan to lean Democratic in the upcoming November General Elections, noting the strong performance of Palestinian Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, who was also a major target of the AIPAC campaign to unseat or block Arab candidates. Michigan shows that women candidates in the Democratic Party will have an edge going into the November elections in part because of the high-profile battle over abortion rights.

 

“Some of Donald Trump’s candidates did really well, and some didn’t. I think the other thing is, again, female candidates did really well. Female candidates start off with a one to three point advantage, and I think that has been proven over and over again,” Denno said, saying that Trump will be an albatross on Michigan Republicans rather than an advantage.

“(Rashida Tlaib) did really well in a brand new district for her. She is a national name. I did a little work for her opponent Janice Winfrey who is a nice person. But no offense to Janice, she was kind of a second-tier candidate. There really wasn’t that strong candidate that was needed to challenge Rashida. And Rashida works really hard. She raised a lot of money.”

Tlaib’s previous district was majority Detroit but her new 12th district includes Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and more Arab American voters than before. Tlaib won with 64 percent or 61,401 votes in a field of four candidates. Winfrey ran second with 22 percent or 21,577 votes.

The Ray Hanania Show is broadcast live every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. EST on WNZK AM 690 radio in Greater Detroit including parts of Ohio, and WDMV AM 700 radio in Washington, D.C. including parts of Virginia and Maryland. The show is rebroadcast on Thursdays at 7:00 a.m. in Detroit on WNZK AM 690 and in Chicago at 12 noon on WNWI AM 1080.

You can listen to the radio show’s podcast by visiting ArabNews.com/rayradioshow.


Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia
Updated 30 September 2022

Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

Late Sultan’s heirs ask Dutch court to enforce $15bn award against Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Heirs of a late Southeast Asian sultan filed a request in a Dutch court on Thursday to recognize and enforce a $15 billion arbitration award granted to them against Malaysia’s government, their lawyer said.

The petition was filed in The Hague Court of Appeal, said lawyer Paul Cohen, a lead co-counsel for the sultan’s heirs from British law firm 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square.

“This filing in the Netherlands will soon be followed by other enforcement actions, of varying types, in multiple jurisdictions. This may include immediate, direct attachment of specific Malaysian assets in The Netherlands and elsewhere,” Cohen said.

Malaysia’s government did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the petition.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the filings with Dutch court authorities.

A French arbitration court in February ordered Malaysia to pay the $15 billion sum to the descendents of the last Sultan of Sulu to settle a dispute over a colonial-era land deal.

Malaysia has obtained a stay on the ruling pending an appeal, but the award remains enforceable outside France under a United Nations treaty on international arbitration.

Malaysia has said it did not recognize the heirs’ claim and would take all steps to uphold the country’s sovereignty.


Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests

Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests
Updated 30 September 2022

Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests

Afghan women rally in support of Iran’s anti-government protests
  • Demonstrators gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul chanting ‘women, life, freedom’
  • Rally was soon dispersed by Taliban security forces, who fired into the air

KABUL: Afghan women rallied in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul on Thursday, joining global protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Mahsa Amini, 22, was detained in Tehran on Sept. 12 for failing to cover her hair in a manner deemed proper by the authorities. Women who were arrested along with Amini have said she was beaten inside a police van. Three days later she died in hospital after falling into a coma.

Public anger over her death has prompted days of rage and protests across Iran, in what has been the largest manifestation of dissent against the government in over a decade.

Protests have also spilled into other countries.

A group of about 25 women who gathered in front of the Iranian Embassy in Kabul carried placards that read: “Beautiful Mahsa, your blood is our way and inspiration,” as they chanted “women, life, freedom” — the phrase that has been used by demonstrators in Iran.

A 24-year-old university student who participated in the protest told Arab News she had attended the rally in solidarity.

“Women in Iran and we are facing the same oppression. We wanted to show that we can amplify the voices of our sisters in Iran while highlighting our own concerns for freedom and dignity,” she said, on condition of anonymity.

“The widespread protests in Iran supported by men and women also inspired us to continue our fight for the rights of Afghan women in Afghanistan. Afghan women have been brave enough to defy the Taliban’s restrictive attitude. We will not be silenced and we will rise again.”

The rights of Afghan women have been limited since the Taliban took control of the country after US-led forces withdrew from the country in August last year.

Although they had previously promised a softer version of the harsh rule during their first stint in power from 1996 to 2001, women have already been ordered to wear face coverings in public, banned from making long-distance journeys alone, and prevented from working in most sectors outside of health and education.

Since September last year, permission from the Ministry of Justice is required to organize a protest. Slogans used during rallies must also be approved by authorities.

Soon after Thursday’s rally in front of the embassy began, it was dispersed by Taliban security forces, who fired into the air.

For Afghan women’s rights activists like Muzhgan Noori, the protest was a “fine example of sisterhood and solidarity among women sharing the same pain and concerns.

“Afghan women have protested whenever they felt the need for it, and they should be able to do so now. The government must support and protect them instead of frightening them,” she told Arab News.

“I hope women continue to stand for each other.”


US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine

US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine
Updated 29 September 2022

US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine

US Senate approves $12 billion in new aid for Ukraine
  • It provides $4.5 billion for Kyiv to keep the country's finances stable and keep the government running
  • It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to declare the annexation of parts of Ukraine

WASHINGTON: The US Senate approved $12 billion in new economic and military aid for Ukraine Thursday as part of a stopgap extension of the federal budget into December.
The measure, agreed by senators of both parties, includes $3 billion for arms, supplies and salaries for Ukraine’s military, and authorizes President Joe Biden to direct the US Defense Department to take $3.7 billion worth of its own weapons and materiel to provide Ukraine.
It also provides $4.5 billion for Kyiv to keep the country’s finances stable and keep the government running, providing services to the Ukrainian people.
It comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to declare the annexation of parts of Ukraine occupied by Russian troops on Friday.
“Seven months since the conflict began, it’s crystal clear that American assistance has gone a long way to helping the Ukrainian people resist Putin’s evil, vicious aggression,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“But the fight is far from over, and we must, we must, continue helping the brave, valiant Ukrainian people.”
The Ukraine aid is part of a short-term extension of the federal budget, which is to expire at the end of the fiscal year on September 30 without the parties in Congress having agreed to a full-year allocation for fiscal 2022-23.
The extension, or continuing resolution, will keep the government running into December, but it has to first be approved by the House of Representatives to avoid shutting down parts of the government on Monday.


US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia
Updated 29 September 2022

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia

US charges ex-Army major and his wife over alleged plot to leak military health data to Russia
  • The indictment alleges that the plot started after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine
  • Prosecutors said the pair wanted to try to help the Russian government by providing them with data

WASHINGTON: A former US Army major and his anesthesiologist wife have been criminally charged for allegedly plotting to leak highly sensitive health care data about military patients to Russia, the Justice Department revealed on Thursday.
Jamie Lee Henry, the former major who was also a doctor at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, and his wife, Dr. Anna Gabrielian, were charged in an unsealed indictment in a federal court in Maryland with conspiracy and the wrongful disclosure of individually identifiable health information.
The indictment alleges that the plot started after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
Prosecutors said the pair wanted to try to help the Russian government by providing them with data to help the Putin regime “gain insights into the medical conditions of individuals associated with the US government and military.”
The two met with someone whom they believed was a Russian official, but in fact was actually an FBI undercover agent, the indictment says.


Putin says conflicts in Ukraine, ex-USSR are ‘result of Soviet collapse’

Putin says conflicts in Ukraine, ex-USSR are ‘result of Soviet collapse’
Updated 29 September 2022

Putin says conflicts in Ukraine, ex-USSR are ‘result of Soviet collapse’

Putin says conflicts in Ukraine, ex-USSR are ‘result of Soviet collapse’
  • In the past month, the region has seen clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and Armenia and Azerbaijan
  • Putin has regularly made nostalgic speeches about the USSR and served in the Soviet security services (KGB)

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that conflicts in countries of the former USSR, including Ukraine, are the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
“It is enough to look at what is happening now between Russia and Ukraine, and at what is happening on the borders of some other CIS countries. All this, of course, is the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union,” Putin said in a televised meeting with intelligence chiefs of former Soviet countries.
In parallel to the military operation in Ukraine, armed conflicts have returned to various parts of the former Soviet empire.
In the past month the region has seen clashes between the two Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Putin pointed fingers at the West, saying it was “working on scenarios to fuel new conflicts” in the post-Soviet space.
Putin spoke a day before he is due to formally annex four Moscow-occupied Ukrainian regions, in a move that is expected to escalate the Ukraine conflict.
“We are witnessing the formation of a new world order, which is a difficult process,” Putin said, echoing earlier statements about the waning influence of the West.
Putin, who turns 70 next week, has regularly made nostalgic speeches about the USSR and served in the Soviet security services (KGB).
His statement comes during an exodus of Russian men fleeing a mobilization, including to ex-Soviet countries like Kazakhstan, whose president vowed to shelter Russian draft dodgers.