Links for 08.09.09 to 08.13.09

Moises Naim -- A New Recipe for Autocrats Around The World - washingtonpost.com | Some good stuff there, but he goes to easy on Mossad and the CIA - they would not be scapegoats if it wasn't sometimes true! The Groping Elephant in the Room: Sexual Harassment in the Arab World « the long slumber | More from The Long Slumber on sexual harassment in the Arab word - recommended, thought-provoking reading. شارك - حوار مفتوح لشباب مصر مع جمال مبارك | Tell me this man is not running for president... Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle | Mother Jones | Nothing to do with the Middle East, but outrageous. BBC NEWS | Middle East | Frustrated dreams of young Egyptians | Living in the City of the Dead: "I dream of leaving this place. One day we will buy a new home and pretend we have lived there all our lives." Get Good at Arabic « MediaShack | Good tips on picking up the lingo - this method really works although it means you must be disciplined and dedicated (and have no other job, ideally). Even if it might seem a tiny bit exploitative. 'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Agha, Malley, and some other ideas | Helena Cobban's critique of the Malley/Agha op-ed, saying it's quite banal. Well yes and no: it's banal because experts and many Israelis and Palestinians have known it for a long time (that it's about 1948), but it's still important to reiterate the point because politicians (in Israel/Palestine, among the two diasporas and among foreigners) still pretend otherwise. Op-Ed Contributors - The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything - NYTimes.com | Malley and Agha say it's all about 1948: "For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees’ rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel." Les ministres israéliens divisés sur la libération de Marwan Barghouti - Proche-Orient - Le Monde.fr | Israelis pols split about whether or not to free Marwan Barghouti. Dar Al Hayat - Ayoon Wa Azan (Why Are Men Allowed to Wear Dresses?) | Jihad al-Khazen suggests (jokingly?) that Gulf Arabs buy up the Observer, which is shutting down (alas, although perhaps they shouldn't have spent so much money on stupid lifestyle supplements and Nigella Lawson pageantry.) Will the leader of Lebanon's Druze really form an alliance with Hezbollah? - By Lee Smith - Slate Magazine | Weird Slate story in whcih Walid Jumblatt is celebrated as hero, disowns his old friends, and they react: "His former American friends are not amused. "I don't believe for a minute that he's sorry he met with the dreaded neocons, and I'm sorry he feels somehow compelled to say that," said Elliott Abrams, the Bush administration's deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy. "I just hope he keeps sending all of us that nice wine from the Bekaa."" Three soldiers, Al-Qaeda leader killed in Yemeni clashes - AL SHORFA | Note that this site is funded by US Central Command. I don't know much about Yemen, but isn't it rather odd to refer to the insurgents in Yemen to al-Qaeda (as opposed to people motivated by local grievances, as a recent International Crisis Group report argued)? Le Figaro - International : Mauritanie : attentat suicidedevant l'ambassade de France | Suicide bombing outside French embassy in Mauritania.
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Links for 07.31.09

allAfrica.com: Egypt: Bloggers Fly Into Security Trap (Page 1 of 1) | On the recent spate of arrests of bloggers at Cairo Airport. Makes you think, did they get a new computer system or what? Grading places - The National Newspaper | Marc Lynch on AHDR 2009: I don't get what all the debate is about. The Federal Budget and Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2010: Democracy, Governance, and Human Rights in the Middle East | Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) | Well-researched report on US democracy promotion spending in the Middle East. From the inside - The National Newspaper | Iason Athanasiadis on his ordeal in Iran. EGYPT: Coptic pope likes president's son | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times | Shenouda yet again says he supports Gamal Mubarak presidency.
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New Arab Human Development Report

The latest installment in the Arab Human Development Report, Challenges to Human Security in the Arab Countries , is out. From the executive summary:
In the Arab region, human insecurity—pervasive, often intense and with consequences affecting large numbers of people—inhibits human development. It is revealed in the impacts of military occupation and armed conflict in Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is found in countries that enjoy relative stability where the authoritarian state, buttressed by flawed constitutions and unjust laws, often denies citizens their rights. Human insecurity is heightened by swift climatic changes, which threaten the livelihoods, income and access to food and water of millions of Arabs in future. It is reflected in the economic vulnerability of one-fifth of the people in some Arab states, and more than half in others, whose lives are impoverished and cut short by hunger and want. Human insecurity is palpable and present in the alienation of the region’s rising cohort of unemployed youth and in the predicaments of its subordinated women, and dispossessed refugees.
A press release can be found here. Update: Fatemah Farag in Masri al-Youm has an interview with the lead author of the report, Professor Mustafa Kamal Sayed of Cairo University, who says he has disowned the report after major changes were made without consulting him:
"They then sent me the final report and the changes were drastic. They should not have taken place without consulting me. After all the contract we signed says that the final draft is the responsibility of the lead author in consultation with UNDP. And it is the first time in the history of the report that the lead author not be consulted with regards the final draft." At the end of the day El Sayed says he "refused the changes for scientific reasons since they undermine the quality of the report." One such change is moving the chapter on the impact of foreign occupation in the region to human security from being the second chapter to being the last "which of course undermines the importance of this factor. Undermines the impact of Israeli occupation in Palestine and American occupation in Iraq to human security," elucidates El Sayed. Another change was the dropping of a chapter on identity conflict in the region. "The report demonstrated that identity conflict causes damage that exceeds that of foreign occupation. The casualties of the situation in South Sudan, civil war in Lebanon and other such conflicts are very high and yet this chapter was reduced to two pages integrated into another chapter," adds El Sayed. "Personal security, which we had slotted as the last chapter after chapters on foreign occupation, poverty and lack of health services was moved to chapter four – putting the ramifications before the reasons. Further within this chapter I had been careful to maintain balance – by highlighting for example that major Arab cities remain much safer in terms of personal security than many other major cities of the South. This balance is no longer reflected in the current report," lamented El Sayed. He considers that such changes and omissions not only weaken the report but disregard UNDP's own analyses and concepts in defining human security.
In 2004, I had interviewed the report's previous lead author, Nader Fergany, about the pressure he came under from Israel and the US. If you remember, Bush had delayed the publication of the report because of its criticism of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and US occupation of Iraq.
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