Links for 07.13.09

Settlers are encountering their first real opponent - Obama - Haaretz - Israel News | An interesting article even for an Obama-settlements skeptic like me. Provides good details and background. Grand Ayatollah Montazeri’s Fatwa – Tehran Bureau | "[TEHRAN BUREAU] In a very important development, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most senior cleric living in Iran, and one of the top two* marja’ taghlid (source of emulation) in Shiite Islam, issued a series of Fatwas, calling the Supreme Leader illegitimate and saying that he was working with the government against religion. Montazeri has called on people to take action against this injustice, even if they have to pay a heavy price for it." Egypt's President Mubarak planning to retire and transfer power to son - The Irish Times - Sat, Jul 11, 2009 | The Irish Times has a scoop. I really must get around to writing that post warning against following the hysteria of the Egyptian and Arab press on succession etc. MIDEAST: Succession Issues Face Key U.S. Allies - IPS ipsnews.net | Helena Cobban on Egypt and Saudi Arabia's dueling successions. Brothers divided by Gaza rivalry - The National Newspaper | Cool story on two brothers - one from Fatah, one from Hamas - and how they make do. News | Egyptians protest award to controversial writer | Sayed al-Qimni receives award, Islamists angry. Don't let it be said that the MB does not do this anymore. Israel phone firm's West Bank wall gag fails to amuse (Reuters) |
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Links for 06.28.09

MEI Editor's Blog: "She was a Splendid Beast": The Arabic Transliteration Problem | Michael Dunn on transliteration. I say, don't worry about it too much, spell it like it sounds even if that changes dialect to dialect, and use fuzzy query software for information retrieval. Arab world mourns Michael Jackson | There's a bizarre number of stories and blog posts about Michael Jackson's popularity in the Arab world. Yes of course he is popular in the Arab world. As if he wasn't popular everywhere. Perhaps his popularity is magnified in developing countries because he was one of few truly international artists (like Madonna). So what you say about Jackson in the Arab world is probably applicable to Central Asia or sub-Saharan Africa. World Bank approves Dead Sea canal plan: Israel | Linking Red and Dead seas and powering a desalinisation plan. I remember Egypt opposed this, but not sure why. Maybe it wants to be the only one with a canal. Supreme Iranian Leader | Angry Arabon Khameini:
If there is one area of the Iranian political-clerical system that is more at odds with the tradition of Shi`ite theology it is the position of Supreme Leader: or the Guardian Cleric, as the translation should be. In Shi`ite tradition, the Grand Ayatullahs are never appointed or officially designated: they simply rise by reputation, just like a village or rural physician. Khumayni (the mentor of Mr. Moussavi in Iran) reversed that by deciding to first appoint himself (on behalf of the missing 12th Imam), and then to appoint his own successor without regard to clercical seniority. Khamenei is not senior at all among the clerics, and his Ayatullah treatise was rushed AFTER his designation, when Khumayni reversed his decision to designate Mountazari. I would expect that part of the Iranian republic to be the weakest link.
How Arabic is Like Parseltongue | Harry Potter joke.
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Bahrain's oldest newspaper indefinitely suspended

Bahrain's oldest newspaper indefinitely suspended
After publication of anti-Khameini commentary. A sign of how sensitive this Sunni-ruled, Shia-majority country has become to the pro-Iran (regime) sentiments among its population. Which of course suggests that the Iranian regime must have spent much time building up a constituency there. Update: I posted this as I was clearing open windows in the browser. The newspaper has been reopened, as Bint Battuta kindly informed me. Sorry if I post slightly stale news that I bookmarked in recent days as I was traveling, I have not had much time to process my usual reading material over the last week as I was traveling. And thanks Bint Battuta!
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