Detail from a lovely map of Africa if European colonialism had not occurred, as imagined by Nikolaj Con, via WaPo. Some other interesting Middle Eastern maps there too. Click on the excerpted crop for the full map.
The Sahara desert has become a new centre for trading cocaine from West Africa for heroin from East Africa, the UN's drugs chief said yesterday. Antonio Maria Costa said drugs money was being used to fund terrorists and anti-government forces and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime had "acquired evidence" of new trafficking routes across Chad, Niger and Mali. He told the UN security council that the trade of West African cocaine for East African heroin was making drugs a new kind of currency in the region. "Terrorists and anti-government forces in the Sahel extract resources from the drug trade to fund their operations, purchase equipment and pay foot soldiers," he said.✩ Of course there is the old question of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and how it may benefit from the drug trade and other forms of organized crime. Some see behind it the machinations of the Algerian regime, a kind of exporting/subverting of the remnants of armed Islamic groups from the civil war to carry out black ops, project strategic importance, or simply make money. ✩ Meanwhile, Guinea's leader is recovering in Morocco following an assassination attempt. The country is still highly unstable. It is one of the main routes for drug trafficking across Western Africa, a route that ends in Morocco. Which is hosting several politicians believed to be involved in that trade, and has a poor record of officials being complicit in aiding or covering up the drug trade.
The basic goal of all Islamists, from Salafis to the Muslim Brotherhood, is the revival of Muslim society, and the reversal of the perceived decline it has been experiencing for several centuries. All Islamists agree that this decline occurred because of a shift from the original foundations of its greatness, Islam. Thus, they agree that revival means the re-Islamicization of society through ridding it of what they consider corrupting Western ideas, such as secularization.Hamas makes feature film about slain militant - Yahoo! News | "the screenplay was penned by Mahmoud Zahar, the Gaza strongman seen as one of the architects of the group's violent takeover of Gaza two years ago." It'd be nice if Zahar was referred to as Hamas' foreign minister, and also if wasn't such an idiot for spending money on this at this time. Who does he think he is, Saddam Hussein or Muammar Qadhafi? BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saudi 'genie' sued for harassment | About time that genies learn that they are not beyond the law. Boston Review — Helena Cobban: Peace Out | The decline of Israel's progressive movement, by Helena Cobban.
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