Aardvark update

Abu Aardvark has an interesting post on an attempt to pass a law in Jordan that would forbid disrespecting the state. It started as a response to Syrian mockery of the really rather ridiculous "Jordan First" campaign launched by the Hobbit-King Abdullah. Usually when countries adopt a me-first policy, it means that they're about to mess someone else up. Who will it be?

And let's not forget that Abu Aardvark's alter ego Marc Lynch has a piece in the National Interest on Al Qaeda's Media Strategies. His trademark interests crop up:

Al-Jazeera is hardly a paragon of Islamist advocacy: Many of its leading news presenters and talk-show hosts are beautiful, unveiled women, and many of its popular figures are determinedly iconoclastic. Its leading Islamist figure, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is a fierce critic of Bin Laden's form of Islamist extremism (and is regularly castigated in jihadi circles as a dangerous, misguided American dupe). Nor can Al-Jazeera's narrative be reduced to a simple anti-Americanism. It shows the carnage in Iraq, but it also shows democratic elections and gives ample voice to those who condemn Al-Qaeda's Mesopotamian strategy. In its fervent, sustained criticism of the Arab status quo and its advocacy of democratic reforms, Al-Jazeera can sometimes sound surprisingly like an American neoconservative organ.

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.