The exercise will test the Arrow (Hetz) system, the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence), the ship-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence System, as well as Patriot and Hawk anti-aircraft systems, media said. It will simulate the firing of long-range missiles from Israel's foes Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and towards the end it will include a "live" missile interception, reports said.✪ Matthew Yglesias » Bernstein on Human Rights Watch | A good retort to the latest silly attack on HRW (by one of its former chairman) "or having the temerity to hold Israel to the same standards of international humanitarian law to which it holds every other country." But this just points to the problem of bias in the higher echelons of HRW - among former and current staffers. ✪ Almasry Alyoum | No Fly Zone | Nice story looking at the recent airport detentions of various kinds of activists. ✪ Almasry Alyoum | Pope Shenouda: "I Support Gamal Mubarak" | What a nasty little man, and what disservice he does to his flock. I hope Copts flee the Orthodox Church en masse over this. ✪ Arab states consider joint counter-terror police unit | "Arabpol." Oh Lord Have Mercy. ✪ Egyptcarpoolers | A carpooling connecting website for Cairo. ✪ Saddam Interview | Transcripts of interviews with Saddam Hussein during his captivity in 2004.
On January 1, 2009, the end date of the U.N. resolution that was the legal basis for the presence of U.S. troops, Iraq assumed full sovereignty, and American soldiers became heavily armed guests. Next came the June 30 deadline for U.S. combat troops to withdraw from populated areas. These shifts seemed to leave military public-affairs officers, and many commanders, at something of a loss to explain the role of the thousands of troops still in the country. With the main military effort shifting to Afghanistan, the military finds itself in the disconcerting position of still being heavily involved in Iraq but unwilling to acknowledge it. Mostly they’ve retreated into non-communicativeness, and worse. Reporters who visited an Iraqi camp near Baghdad after January 1 were asked by the military not to photograph the U.S. soldiers supporting the Iraqis, to avoid giving the “wrong impression.” Does this matter? Yes. This is more than journalists’ angst at a declining story or a residual sense of entitlement fostered by what now seems a golden age of military-media relations. At a minimum, most of us who have covered this war for the past six years want to make sure its painful lessons aren’t lost, and that we don’t forget the ongoing cost. Forgetfulness is a danger. According to the Pew Research Center, by March 2008, only a little over a quarter of Americans knew that more than four thousand U.S. servicemen and women had been killed in Iraq, let alone more than thirty thousand injured. (As of mid-August, the total number of Americans killed was 4,318.) This latest phase has coincided with both the financial crisis and turmoil in the media industry. Time magazine was the latest bureau to shut its physical bureau here, in June. The TV networks maintain skeleton staffs—often with no correspondents. Still dangerous, Iraq has become a way station for new reporters on their first foreign assignments. For the most part they expect very little from the military, and that’s generally what they get. This lack of access means that journalists—and by extension, Americans in general—are much less able to determine what’s happening there beneath the surface. And in Iraq, almost everything important happens beneath the surface.
A few day's worth...
✪ Orientalism’s Wake: The Ongoing Politics of a Polemic | Very nice collection of essays on Edward Said's "Orientalism" from a variety of supporters, critics, academics including Daniel Varisco, Robert Irwin, Roger Owen, etc.
✪ The Sources of Islamic Revolutionary Conduct | I have not read in detail this small book by a US Air Force analyst, but scanning through it I see rather odd choices. For instance there are long chapters comparing Christianity and modern secularism to the Islamist outlook, except that it's never quite clear whether the latter means the outlook of engaged Islamist activists or ordinary Muslims. There is also copious quoting from Sayyid Qutb's "Milestones" as if it was representative of all Islamic thinking. Someone should give this a detailed look (and I'd be happy to post the result.) [PDF]
✪ Al-Ahram Weekly | Egypt | A clean break | On Cairo's garbage collection crisis.
✪ Irving Kristol, Godfather of Conservatism, Dies - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com | Leaving behind a disastrous intellectual, social, economic and political legacy: alleged liberalism on social issues that shirks from real change, supply-side economics, and of course an imperial war doctrine.
✪ Are Morocco And Algeria Gearing Up For Arms Race? « A Moroccan About the world around him
✪ Big mouth - The National Newspaper | Bernard Heykal on how the strength of al-Qaeda is impossible. Which makes sense, at least if you try to do it from the Bin Laden tapes as all the silly pseudo-analysis of last week showed.
✪ Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website | Very much like the new look of the Muslim Brothers' English website, which I hadn't checked in a while. They have a very useful "today's news" feature that can also be used for archives by date.
✪ Al-Ahram Weekly | Economy | Depleting Egypt's reserves | A good article with details on the Egypt-Israel gas deal and why it may be a bad idea in terms of resource management, never mind political and financial sense.
✪ Al-Qaradawi's Fatwa Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English) | The alleged liberal paid by intolerant Islamists in Riyadh attacks the alleged moderate Islamist paid by Doha:
A news item reported in the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper revealed that Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi had issued a fatwa prohibiting Iraqis from acquiring US citizenship on the grounds that this is the nationality of an occupier nation. However this fatwa has nothing to do with the reality on the ground, and contains more political absurdity then it does religious guidance. Sheikh al-Qaradawi himself is an Egyptian who possesses Qatari nationality, which was given to him after he opposed the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel. However when an Israeli office was opened in Doha, al-Qaradawi did not renounce his Qatari nationality.
| "His brother Uday told Reuters: "Thanks be to God that Muntazer has seen the light of day. I wish Bush could see our happiness. When President Bush looks back and turns the pages of his life, he will see the shoes of Muntazer al-Zaidi on every page.""
✪ BAE to axe 1,100 jobs and close site | Business | guardian.co.uk | So Tony Blair quashed the Yamama inquiry to save jobs (or so he says) but BAe still carries out layoffs?
✪ Seinfeld, Sacha Baron Cohen and Natalie Portman slam Toronto Film Festival protest - Haaretz - Israel News| Some stars come to Israel's side in the tiff over TIFF.
✪ GDC | Economist Conferences| Economist infographic shows public debt around the world.
✪ FT.com / Middle East / Politics & Society - Investors seek to revive faded glory of Cairo | On investment in Downtown Cairo properties and plans for gentrification. Look out for another article on this soon.
✪ No concrete proof that Iran has or has had nuclear programme – UN atomic watchdog | Just a reminder that the press reports have spinned things wrongly - this comes straight from the UN: "17 September 2009 – Refuting a recent media report, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) today reiterated that the body has no concrete proof that Iran has or has ever had a nuclear weapons programme."
✪ Egypt Islamic Authority Says Women Can Wear Trousers - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - FOXNews.com | The world is going to hell -- what next, capris?
✪ BBC NEWS | Middle East | 'Many killed' in Yemen air raid | Serious turn in Yemen's trouble -- bombing a refugee camp!?
In a region where import restrictions and government censors made the free flow of books a rarity, and in an era before the internet, Qasim Al-Rajab’s devotion to hunting down books and making them available earned him the nickname of shaykh al-kutubiyyin (the shaykh of booksellers.) Loyal customers also dubbed him al-Fihrist-”the Index” — partly for his prodigious memory and partly in homage to a famous 10th-century Baghdad bookseller, Ibn Nadim, who wrote a well-known bibliography of the same title. Between 1960 and 1972, he also published a regular journal-cum-catalogue, al-Maktaba (The Library), which featured articles and announcements about major new books published elsewhere in the world. Qasim Al-Rajab also launched a project of reprinting editions of medieval Arabic texts. That meant getting hold of rare manuscripts in academic libraries in places as far as London, Leipzig and Leiden and then publish modern editions in Beirut, India and Pakistan, where printing costs were cheaper. He would also occasionally print them, as well in Iran, which was known then for its good printing technology and for having state-of-the-art presses. In all, he published around 200 books, including editions of 1001 Nights and medieval works of Arabic travel literature.This is part two, on the current situation:
Then came the American invasion in 2003. With the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, books began to be imported into Iraq again, but that new freedom came with a price: “People were importing certain types of books and getting killed for it. At the time, mainly in 2004 and 2005, people were eager to get books that had been banned in the time of Saddam Hussein.” The rising sectarian violence was reflected in the importation of inflammatory literature — both Shi’ite and Sunni — into Iraq. “Some dealers approached importers from Iran, and they introduced to the market very extreme kinds of books. On the other hand, other booksellers were bringing in books from Saudi Arabia — extremist literature on the other side.” The violence and sectarianism were a far cry from the bookselling environment Qasim Al-Rajab had once known: “In his time, my grandfather would sell books by Christians, Jews, Sunnis, Shia. Bookselling then was very different from the sectarian situation post-war,” said Ibrahim.
Interesting that these former sworn enemies, now sharing the same strategic ally (Iran), are now co-dependent: Syrian Minister of Economy and Trade Amer Hosni Lutfi said during a recent trip to Iraq that he hopes to more than triple bilateral trade, now estimated at $800 million, far behind Syria's biggest trade partners, China and Turkey, at $2 billion each. Syrian officials also have said that a railway line from the coastal city of Tartous to Umm Qasr port in southern Iraq is opening this month. The railway promises a faster and cheaper route to the Mediterranean for regional goods typically shipped through the Suez Canal.
Explosive - these are the pictures Obama does not want released: "At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee. Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube. Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts."
What should America's response to all this be? We should stop talking about "terrorism" and W.M.D. and make clear that we're in Iraq for one reason: to help Iraqis implement the Arab Human Development Reports, so the war of ideas can be fought from within. Then we should get out of the way. Just one good model, one good Arab model that works, and you will see more than just municipal elections in Saudi Arabia.Crazy times. Let me know when/if he ever apologizes, or expresses regret for what he wrote.