Links for 11.07.09 to 11.09.09

Israeli Asks Abbas Not to Step Down - NYTimes.com | What a weird headline: the Israeli in question is the president of Israel, Shimon Peres (aka Skeletor, Evil Lord of Destruction). Not that knowing this makes the whole thing any less weird, although it is telling to see how much the Israelis like Abbas.

Fatah al-Islam Connected to Israeli Elements- Lebanese Security Source Asharq Alawsat Newspaper (English) | Really: Fatah al-Islam, connected to the Palestinians, the Syrians, the Americans, the Saudis and now the Israelis. I am beginning to wonder whether it even exists.

The Dark Side of the Bright Side -- In These Times | I love Barbara Ehrenreich's books.

The Associated Press: Islamic critics blast Beyonce on eve of Egypt show | Muslim Brothers attack "nudity concert".

23 CIA Officers Convicted in Italy, in Abstentia | For extraordinary rendition of Egyptian man.

Middle East Bloggers: The Street Leads Online - Reports - Committee to Protect Journalists | CPJ report on bloggers in MENA, especially the rising use of emprisonment against them: "Individual bloggers face enormous threats; the medium as a whole faces significant challenges. Increasingly, governments are creating new laws to regulate the Internet and amending old ones to encompass online expression. Already authorities are exploiting the isolated nature of bloggers and the lack of institutional protections for online journalists. As the Iranian regime exhibited this year, governments are willing to take severe measures when they perceive a threat to their power."

Holiday sales could launch e-book readers as mass-market must-haves | If you're interested in ebooks, this is a pretty good piece on the state of the industry. Has anyone tried Kindle downloading in Egypt? Is it restricted?

Japanese contractors owed billions by Dubai firms - The National Newspaper | Dubai is a bad debtor.

Waq al-Waq: The Big Question for Saudi Arabia | Who runs Saudi Arabia's Yemen policy?

Obama's Failure in the Middle East | Stephen M. Walt | KA-POW: "I never thought I'd write the following words, but is it possible that Obama's handling of the I-P peace process might actually end up being worse than George Bush's?"

Berman’s Response to Goldstone on House Gaza War-Crimes Resolution « The Washington Independent | The assholes who run Congress reply to Goldstone.

Report: Mossad hacked Syrian computer to uncover nuke site - Haaretz - Israel News | Basic snooping software found super-classified info? Either this is not true or the Syrians are mega-stupid. But since the allegation is that Syria had a secret nuclear research facility, I'll lean towards the former - this was all bullshit from the beginning.

ATTACKERMAN » Somewhere, Khaled Meshal Is Laughing | Obama messed up doubly with Goldstone as well as backing down on settlements. What's a Palestinian leader (any of them outside Hamas) to do?

Lebanese opposition agrees to govt line-up: Hezbollah

(AFP) | Cabinet crisis over?

Clinton has 'productive meeting' with Egypt on Mideast peace process - washingtonpost.com | Hosni Mubarak loves nothing more than being made to feel important. Clinton's entire trip to Cairo is about this: "Clinton attributed the apparent softening in Egypt's position as a response to her personal diplomacy, conducted over visits to four capitals in the region over the past five days. "I thought it was a very productive meeting," she told reporters traveling with her after the news conference, adding that it "shows the value of consultation and listening and sharing ideas and hearing the other side and putting forward your views and explaining.""

Read More

What women (in Egypt) want

I have a piece in The Review about the best-selling (and soon to be translated, and soon to be a soap opera), blog-based book عايزة اتجوز (I Want to Get Married). I also discuss some recent, related instances of young Egyptian women airing their problems with marriage, and divorce, online. And you can check out the blog that started it all here.
Read More

Middle Eastern food fest in London

This event looks really fun for foodies:
The London Middle East Institute (LMEI), the SOAS Food Studies Centre, and Fertile Ground invite you to an evening celebrating the foods of the Middle East. Students and family members of all ages are invited to prepare a dish of special significance to them, and to share their food, as well as stories about it, with others. Special guests Claudia Roden (author of numerous food books, including A New Book of Middle Eastern Food, The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand and Vilna to the Present Day, and Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon) and Sami Zubaida (Professor Emeritus at Birkbeck University and co-author of A Taste of Thyme: Culinary Cultures of the Middle East) will offer remarks about the culinary traditions of the region. The event will be held in the Brunei Gallery Café Suite on Monday 7 December 2009, beginning at 6:00pm. Space on the event is limited, and registration is required. Those interested in participating should email Laura Jacobs (laura@fertile-ground.co.uk) by Friday 13 November at the latest.
If anyone in London is going, I'd like to hear about it -- and if they answer the perennial question of the mystery of Egyptian cuisine.
Read More