Arab world mourns Michael Jackson | There's a bizarre number of stories and blog posts about Michael Jackson's popularity in the Arab world. Yes of course he is popular in the Arab world. As if he wasn't popular everywhere. Perhaps his popularity is magnified in developing countries because he was one of few truly international artists (like Madonna). So what you say about Jackson in the Arab world is probably applicable to Central Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.
World Bank approves Dead Sea canal plan: Israel | Linking Red and Dead seas and powering a desalinisation plan. I remember Egypt opposed this, but not sure why. Maybe it wants to be the only one with a canal.
Supreme Iranian Leader | Angry Arabon Khameini:
If there is one area of the Iranian political-clerical system that is more at odds with the tradition of Shi`ite theology it is the position of Supreme Leader: or the Guardian Cleric, as the translation should be. In Shi`ite tradition, the Grand Ayatullahs are never appointed or officially designated: they simply rise by reputation, just like a village or rural physician. Khumayni (the mentor of Mr. Moussavi in Iran) reversed that by deciding to first appoint himself (on behalf of the missing 12th Imam), and then to appoint his own successor without regard to clercical seniority. Khamenei is not senior at all among the clerics, and his Ayatullah treatise was rushed AFTER his designation, when Khumayni reversed his decision to designate Mountazari. I would expect that part of the Iranian republic to be the weakest link.
How Arabic is Like Parseltongue | Harry Potter joke.