Links for Feb 12-18 2010

OK, a slow blogging week, but watch out for more today and tomorrow on Mohamed ElBaradei's return to Egypt. In the meantime, some recent links:

Fascinating fallout from the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhuh here, here and here. Not only Israel stole the identities of foreigners, notably British and Irish citizens, but also of its own. Haaretz's Amir Oren thinks Mossad chief Meir Dagan should resign. I think the international community needs to take punitive measure against Israel and beef up counter-espionage measures; according to one BBC interview I heard yesterday an expert on the Mossad said there are at least half a million Mossad informants around the world. Listen to that BBC radio piece, it's worth it. I also hope Dubai leverages whatever economic pull it still has to ensure EU countries collaborate with its investigation.

Without stepping into an already heated debate on the Egyptian blogo-twittosphere, I think Joseph Mayton's piece on the Muslim Brothers on CiF is wrong, and the original Fawaz Gerges piece he comments on much more on the money (although I still have problems with it — it takes Habib's claims at face value). The bigger problem is Mayton's idea that somehow the MB youth has real influence; this is preposterous in an organization as gerontocratic and patrician as the Ikhwan. Also, he gets a detail wrong: Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh is no longer in the Guidance Bureau — which should be a sign of how much esteem MB leaders have for his reformist ideas.

Finally for Egypt-watchers, the recent replacement of many key figures in the National Council for Human Rights is an important event, which perhaps I'll write more about later. The removal of its deputy chairman, Ahmed Kamal Aboul Magd, is particularly interested as he was not even aware of the new appointments. I loved his reaction, picked up by Zeinobia (those familiar with Egyptian mukhabarat conspiracy theories will understand). And this is a good time to re-read Josh Stacher's 2005 article on the NCHR.

And do read Amira Hass' latest on the impact of the West Bank Wall.

And here's the usual stuff:

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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.