Loose ends

It's been a hectic week, so I am putting various bits and pieces I've noted over the past week here with little commentary:

  • Visit Daoud Kuttab's homepage and his blog, which contains an archive of his writings and other material. Kuttab, whom I had the opportunity to meet in Cairo in late 2002, is the Arab pioneer of internet radio. Here is an article he wrote on the need for more alternative Arab media, and here's an article on his pet project, Ammannet -- a website and radio station. Radio could be a powerful medium in the Arab world, but in most countries it is restricted to state-owned stations and perhaps a couple of commercial ones that avoid anything controversial. A Malian journalist told me a while back that in his impoverished West African mostly Muslim country of Mali has dozens of independent radio stations. Embarrassing.
  • Amr Hamzawi had an article in the Daily Star on why Egypt's ruling party's reform image is a sham. Hellme didn't like it though.
  • The Likudnik Middle East Quarterly remembers Hume Horan, noted State Department Arabist, although I noticed they chose not to call him an Arabist but rather an "Arabic linguist" so as to not confuse him with those nasty, er, State Department Arabists. In Robert Kaplan's The Arabists, that subtle smear job on American diplomats who specialized in the Middle East and weren't pro-Israel ideologues, Horan comes out as something as a hero for his role in the airlift of the Falasha Jews in Sudan -- which is probably why he's so well liked over at the MEQ. I'm not sure what Horan's politics were, especially as he published in the MEQ, but he was certainly an important American diplomat working in the region.
  • Kareem Fahim, Egyptian-American globetrotting journalist for the Village Voice, keeps a blog on their site.
  • Mahmoud Abbas calls yet again for the end of armed struggle in Palestine, but has nothing to offer in exchange. In the meantime, military operations like the one carried out a few days ago offer a much better model of resistance than the suicide bombings, so why do they occur so little?
  • Sami Awad offers three strategies for non-violent Palestinian resistance: strong leadership, continuous protests and strong international campaigning. Easier said than done.
  • The NYT profiles Seif Al Islam Qadhafi. Like in another profile by the Financial Times a few months ago, he sounds deranged. Not as much as his father, though.
  • Europe's counter-terrorism chief says that European and Arab radicals are being trained in insurgent-run camps in Iraq.
  • Egypt's National Council for Human Rights has asked the government to cancel the Emergency Law that has restrained political life for over a quarter of a century. I won't say more about this now because some more in-depth analysis will come soon.
  • Adam Morrow looks at the Wafaa Konstantin affair amidst larger sectarian tensions in Egypt.
  • Rami Khouri talks about the recent Dubai conference on Arab reform.
  • France has banned Al Manar, Hizbullah's satellite TV station, for being anti-Semitic. (Update: CNN reports the US government about to declare Al Manar a "terrorist organization." Not sure why they need to differentiate from Hizbullah which they already consider a terrorist organization.

    Issandr El Amrani

    Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.