Links for July 4 - July 8 2010

Carnegie recently did some excellent work on Israel/Palestine, showing that there is some reason in Washington going against the conventional wisdom of Netanyahu's "economic miracle" and the praise heaped on Sallam Fayad:
  • Are Palestinians Building a State? Nathan Brown says not really, and: “To the extent that Fayyadism is building institutions, it is unmistakably doing so in an authoritarian context.”
  • A Little Rain on the Palestinian Parade Just to be sure Brown says again: no. "Fayyad is not building a state, he's holding down the fort until the next crisis."
  • It's Not the Economy, Stupid Michele Dunne: "Washington should stop impeding reconciliation and providing an excuse to Fatah and Hamas to avoid the necessary compromises."

Meanwhile, Obama made up with his best-buddy Bibi:

[PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:] One final point, Mr. President -- I want to thank you for reaffirming to me in private and now in public as you did the longstanding U.S. commitments to Israel on matters of vital strategic importance.  I want to thank you, too, for the great hospitality you and the First Lady have shown Sara and me and our entire delegation.  And I think we have to redress the balance -- you know, I’ve been coming here a lot.  It’s about time --
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I'm ready.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  -- you and the First Lady came to Israel, sir.
PRESIDENT OBAMA:  We look forward to it.  Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU:  Any time.
Is it just me or was there a touch of bullying in Bibi's invitation? And speaking of bullying, why is everyone suddenly talking (here's the denial) about bombing Iran after this visit?
Now for the rest of the links:
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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.