There was a nice edition of the short BBC World Service radio program Witness today, about Osama Bin Laden. It focuses on Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of al-Quds al-Arabi, who met him in the late 1990s.
Listen here for the next seven days. Atwan's book about al-Qaeda — The Secret History of al Qaeda —includes many of the vignettes he talks about here, and is a pretty interesting non-academic, non-CT oriented, account of Bin Laden and friends. Atwan is funnily self-deprecating as a pampered "five-star journalist" when served "soggy potatoes and rotten cheese." I wonder if the gebna qadima was al-Zawahri's contribution.
Egypt said it would prevent their passage because of the "sensitive situation" in Gaza and warned Monday of legal repercussions for anyone defying the ban. Around 1,300 international delegates from 42 countries have signed up to join the Gaza Freedom March which was due to enter Gaza via Egypt during the last week of December.✪ Exclusive excerpt from Joe Sacco’s groundbreaking new book: Footnotes in Gaza | I'm awaiting my copy of this book from this great cartoonist. ✪ Sic Semper Tyrannis : Men on Horseback | Pat Lang on the Afghan policy war inside the Obama administration. ✪ Ardebili's laptop - Laura Rozen - POLITICO.com | Iran holding hikers and others because US holding Iranians? ✪ Anis Sayigh: and Israeli history of letter bombs | Angry Arab has an interesting post on the Israeli use of letter bombs against civilians. ✪ Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen - NYTimes.com | Rather suspicious, this Yemen angle at a time when people are trying to confuse the Huthis and al-Qaeda... ✪ The Lives They Lived - Ben Ali - The Chili That Shaped a Family - NYTimes.com | Sausages and chilli, served to Obama by an Indian Muslim Trinidadian. ✪ Mainstreaming the Mad Iran Bombers | Marc Lynch | Lynch on NYT op-ed's call for war. ✪ The Nevada gambler, al-Qaida, the CIA and the mother of all cons | The Guardian | "Playboy magazine has revealed that the CIA fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America."
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!?
On the murky sands of alleged Sahel terrorism and al-Qaeda's supposed operations there, which some have suggested are false flag ops by Algeria or merely local resource conflicts labeled at Global War On Terror to get major power attention and funding.
Automatically posted links for February 6th through February 7th:
- Moroccan Held for Alleged Royal ID Theft - Moulay Rachid's identity stolen on Facebook
- Nominee Backs Human Rights in Egypt - Margaret Scobey, future US Ambassador to Cairo, promises to fight for rights, Nour but discount aid pressure
- US admiral confirms secret camp at Gitmo - On secret facility of al-Qaeda suspects (so what does that make the others exactly?)
- Arab state power is on the defensive - Rami Khouri on decentralization and governance
- Be Riberar - Funny column by Magdy Gallad about schizo government
- Project on Defense Alternatives Infogate - PDA, a centrist security policy think tank, has revamped info, document and bookmark collection
- World Leaders Gather To Roast Mahmoud Ahmadinejad | The Onion - "Musharraf went on to update the group on the status of Ahmadinejad's mouth, opening the floor to debate on whether or not it has sheltered a greater number of fundamentalist Muslim dicks than the Sudan."
- Qatar focuses on its currency policy - Doha may drop dollar peg
Automatically posted links for February 4th through February 5th:
- The Experiment in Gaza -- In These Times - Argues blockade is about breaking the Pals' backs
- Bernard Kouchner - Profiled in the NYT, a bit silly at times but interesting
- The Strangulation of Gaza - The Nation on how Israel decided to put, in Dov Weiglass word's, Gaza on a diet
- Israeli Apartheid Week 2008 - Official site of movement, events across the world
- Annals of National Security: A Strike in the Dark - Hersh on the disinformation campaign around Israel's raid on Syria
- Libyans advance in Al Qaeda network - Because people tend to forget that over half of Arabs are in North Africa
Automatically posted links for January 20th through January 21st:
- al-Qaida Solicits Questions Online - Questions include "why haven't you opened a new front in Egypt" and more depressing idiocy
- Measuring liberty | When freedom stumbles | Economist.com - Look at the charts: in 1982 Egypt was "partly free," now it is "not free"
- Economics focus | Selling sex | Economist.com - Interesting article on the economics of prostitution
- HAMAS ASKS EGYPT TO REOPEN RAFAH BORDER - Hamas puts Cairo on the spot
- Translating the Party of God into English - Quilty reviews Hizbullah in translation
- Review: Loaded Dice by Neill Lochery - Debunking of idea that UK Foreign Office is pro-Arab or anti-Israel
- The rise and decline of London as a pan-Arab media hub - Media critic Najm Jarrah
- An Israeli Law for Censorship of Web Comments - Elijah points to a bill in the Knesset that would enable libel laws for web comments
- Why does Johnny come marching homeless? - How Iraq veterans with psychological problems end up homeless
- Those troublesome engineers « Kafr al-Hanadwa - SP has a good post on why engineers are over-represented in Islamist groups
Automatically posted links for January 6th:
- Report: FBI translator says Israel planted nuclear 'moles' in U.S. - Another twist the Larry Franklin affair / Israeli spy operation in US
- Interview with Khalil Enani - Author of new book on Muslim Brothers
- Egypt police torture mentally handicapped boy - Can a day pass without one of these stories?
- Egypt court jails three police in abuse case - Another conviction against police torturers
- al-Qaida Videos Now on Cell Phones - Bin Laden & co. develop multimedia distribution platforms
Automatically posted links for December 19th through January 5th:
- Fashion and Faith Meet, on Foreheads of the Pious - NYT article from Dec 2007 on that bizarre Egyptian fetish, the zebibah
- Al Jazeera appelée à présenter ses excuses - Al Jazeera called on by its Algerian staff to apologize for poll about Algiers attacks
- Le Monde.fr : Le Dakar 2008 a été annulé - Paris-Dakar race cancelled for first time because of "al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb" threats
- Benazir Bhutto | Economist.com - A good obituary
- AFP: Egyptian woman in legal test of SMS divorce: report - Woman argues third divorce SMS makes it legal
- Guardian's Tehran correspondent expelled without explanation - Robert Tait kicked out of Iran
- Anti-Zionist author kicks off speaking tour of Lebanon - Norman Finkelstein tour
- Du Nil à la Seine, l'étrange destin des Badraouis - Unusual story about an Egyptian village that specializes in emigrating to France
- U.S. envoy Jones starts Mideast security push - New American governor of Palestine arrives