Links September 21st to September 22nd

Links from my del.icio.us account for September 21st through September 22nd:



  • The Angry Arab News Service/وكالة أنباء العربي الغاضب - Angry Arab reviews the latest Woodward book: "What is lacking in reviews of the book is the most damning conclusion: that the Bush administration was lying to the American public throughout: statements that were made in public were contradicted by classified reports that were read in private meetings. In fact, the best case scenario for Iraq was according to them a Mubarak-like dictator. In the words of Sen. McConnell: "I'd settle for Egypt.""

  • US/MIDEAST: Obama Advisor Stresses Carrots Over Sticks - Susan Rice, Obama's advisor: "On the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, Rice said Obama would be "supporting the Israelis and Palestinians in their effort to broker a lasting peace based on two states -- the Jewish State of Israel and the Democratic Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security."" Interesting choice of adjectives -- Israel must be defined as Jewish (even though it has a large non-Jewish population) and Palestine as democratic, suggesting that if its government is not perceived as democratic by the international community then it should not be a state. So many code words, so little time.

  • POLITICS-US: Arab Americans Favour Obama by Wide Margin - "The poll, which was conducted by Zogby International for AAI, a Washington-based lobby and public education group, found that the Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, currently leads his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain, by some 20 percentage points among Arab American voters -- 54 percent to 33 percent -- in a two-man race.
    Obama's lead, however, dropped to 46 percent to 32 percent when the 500-plus respondents who participated in the survey were also given the option of two other candidates -- independent Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr."

  • POLITICS-US: Anti-Islam Film Targets "Swing State" Voters - "Clarion Fund was founded by the writer and executive produce of "Obsession", Israeli-Canadian Raphael Shore. The group also runs the website Radicalislam.org -- an educational site which implores its readers to "take action against radical Islam" by exploring its resources under four headings: "fueling terror", "Sharia law", "vote 2008", and "radical Islam overview."
    Because of Clarion Fund's non-profit, tax-exempt status, it is not permitted to sway voters in a partisan manner. But Radicalislam.org reportedly was, until it was recently pointed out in the media, carrying an article that explicitly endorsed Sen. John McCain. "

  • Egypt » Blog Archive » Salafis vs the Ikhwan in Egypt, Playing With Fire? - Nathan discusses the "is the Egyptian regime using Salafists against the Ikhwan?" question. I guess that depends what you mean by "using". A more precise question would be, is the regime allowing them to practice what I would call "proto-takfirism" in the hope that it will draw young Islamists away from the more political Ikhwan tradition? Because I don't think you can say they are being used in the same explicitly political sense that Islamist groups were generally used against the left in the 1970s. Rather, they are being used to de-politicize.


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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.