Links September 29th to October 2nd

Links from my del.icio.us account for September 29th through October 2nd:



  • Nasrallah to Lebanese Army: When All Else Fails, Turn East! - Middle East Times - Nicholas Noe on the stalled US arms deal with Lebanon and Hizbullah's call to look elsewhere

  • Libyans savour joys of consumerism - Yahoo! News - Libya starts getting consumer lifestyle - for those who can afford it anyway

  • IRAN: Official admits his Oxford degree was fake | Babylon & Beyond | Los Angeles Times - "The official in charge of guarding against fraud and forgery in Iran's upcoming presidential elections says he submitted a phony Oxford law degree as evidence of his qualifications for the job." I love the excuse he have: "He said he had been duped by an intermediary who had given him the degree."

  • Is This a 'Victory'? - The New York Review of Books - "We hear again and again from Washington that we have turned a corner in Iraq and are on the path to victory. If so, it is a strange victory. Shiite religious parties that are Iran's closest allies in the Middle East control Iraq's central government and the country's oil-rich south. A Sunni militia, known as the Awakening, dominates Iraq's Sunni center. It is led by Baathists, the very people we invaded Iraq in 2003 to remove from power. While the US sees the Awakening as key to defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq, Iraq's Shiite government views it as a mortal enemy and has issued arrest warrants for many of its members. Meanwhile the Shiite-Kurdish alliance that brought stability to parts of Iraq is crumbling. The two sides confronted each other militarily after the Iraqi army entered the Kurdish-administered town of Khanaqin in early September."

  • Financial Troubles Humble U.S. - WSJ.com - "The success of the pending rescue of the U.S. financial system probably depends as much on the central banks of China and the Middle East as on Congress and the Federal Reserve." But will there be political strings attached? Although countries like Saudi have an interest in maintaining the dollar, since their reserves are mostly in dollars, one would think this is an opportunity for hard bargaining.


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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.