Links Jan. 27-31 2010

✪ Special report: The rise of Islamic militia in Somalia | World news | The Observer | By Peter Beaumont, who is good on Somalia.
✪ Pashas: Traders and Travellers in the Islamic World by James Mather | Book review | Books | The Observer | Dalrymple reviews a book on the Levant Company.
✪ Why are there no arab democracies? [PDF] | Journal of Democracy article by Larry Diamond, who concludes it's mostly because of oil.
✪ Ambassador to Syria - Laura Rozen - POLITICO.com | Robert Ford, a high-level appointee, will be first since 2006.
✪ Egypt-Algeria: Who's afraid of Amr Adeeb? | Al-Masry Al-Youm | Amr Adeeb and Egyptian-Algerian football rivalry.
✪ Autocracy-lite in Jordan | Chris Phillips | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk | Not so sure about the 'lite'...
✪ Wonk Room » Looking Toward A Future Gulf Security Architecture | Big question: will US reconfigure its role?
✪ Daily News Egypt - Egypt Still Involved In Secret Detentions, Says Un Report | Along with US, Russia, China, Algeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, India and Iran. Wonder if Morocco too.
✪ Waq al-Waq: The Myth of Undergoverned Spaces in Yemen | No such thing - rather, "alternately governed".
✪ Coptic Assembly of America | Activist site of Coptic emigrés.
✪ New MB leader slapped with travel ban | Al-Masry Al-Youm | As usual these days for senior Muslim Brothers.
✪ Brotherhood to Egypt: Don't squeeze out moderates | Reuters | Interview with new Murshid Mohamed Badie.
✪ A Duped President’s Wasted Foreign-Policy Year by William Pfaff -- Antiwar.com | Powerful op-ed by Pfaff (on antiwar.com!!!)
✪ Congress letter to Obama | Finally, congresspeople we can be proud off, here calling for an end to the Gaza blockade.
✪ Universities and Islam: Hearts, minds and Mecca | The Economist | "A forthcoming book by Steffen Hertog, a sociologist, will argue that terrorists include a high number of engineers—not because of their need for bomb-making skills, but perhaps because of a mindset that likes rigidity and binary choices."
✪ Holocaust remembrance is a boon for Israeli propaganda - Haaretz | On Netanyahu's distasteful use of Holocaust remembrance for anti-immigrant, anti-Iran rant.
✪ The Decline of the Israeli Left | Secrecy News | Full book by Israeli writers available for download.
✪ Goodbye to oil that: the excesses of today's quest for crude - The National Newspaper | Review of books on oil.
✪ Michael Mineo Testifies That Police Brutalized Him in Subway - NYTimes.com | NYPD Egyptian style?
✪ Arabic on the iPad - SaudiMac It works. Am still skeptical though, esp. as ebook reader, although it looks great for comic books.

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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.