Hopefully the first of a more disciplined weekly link dump.
- How ISIS Rules by Sarah Birke | NYRblog
- 20 key findings about CIA interrogations
Handy interactive summary
- TV presenter defends her role in mass ‘gay’ bathhouse arrests
Argues arresting and shaming naked men will help fight HIV
- The Syrian Civil War, From Space
Its cities shine "a quarter as bright" at night now
- Navy engineer tried to leak plans for new aircraft carrier to Egypt, U.S. says - The Washington Post
- Four years after Egypt's uprising, prison ranks swell: A writer's story - CSMonitor.com
- Imagining a New Arab Order
Tarek Osman - perhaps too optimistic in his bleakness...
- Muslim-hating man rams Missouri teen with SUV, severing his legs and killing him
- Luke Somers, American Hostage, Is Killed During Rescue Attempt in Yemen, U.S. Official Says - NYT
- Sunnis Fear Permanent Displacement From Iraqi Town - NYT
- State Dept. Spokesperson Stuck to Her Lines… Until She Thought Her Mic Was Off
Admits US position on Egypt is "ridiculous"
- Architects float monument concept for Qatar's fallen World Cup workers
Or one could just prevent deaths in the first place
- Radio-Free Syria
- Congress enshrines Israel in a new class of ally
For shame - an ally that spies on US.
- Profiling the Islamic State | Brookings Institution
- Islamist and Secular Forces in Morocco
- The refusal to talk to hostage-takers has sucked the US and UK into war | Jonathan Littell | The Guardian
Interesting argument against US/UK policy not to pay ransoms.
- Jihadi Blowback in Saudi Arabia | Hurst Publishers
Anti-Shia attacks in Saudi.
Another long overdue link recap. Should do these more often...
- Militant Group in Egypt Vows Loyalty to ISIS - NYTimes.com
- Joint Letter to President Obama on Egypt's Targeting of Civil Society
By HRW and various DC figures.
- Amnesty: Egypt’s defence of human rights record ‘cynical’
"Egypt’s defence of its human rights record lay in tatters today"...
- Egypt's Sisi and the insurgency
- The Islamic State and the Internationalization of the Sinai Conflict
Interesting piece on ABM by @zlgold
- A new authoritarian regime in Egypt? Controlling power and eliminating dissent
Dina El Khawaga
Belal Fadl, an Egyptian screenwriter and columnist who has continued to speak his mind on the brutality and hypocrisy of the country's military regime, has published a five-part series with the news site Mada Masr on the history of domestic espionage in Egypt. Our good friends at the professional translation service Industry Arabic have translated the final installment in the series; the earlier ones are available in Arabic on the Mada site.
Egypt: The Nation of Snitches Makes a Comeback. Is Sisi Fulfilling Nasser’s Dream of Turning All Citizens into Informers?
When a ruler depends solely on the power of oppression and completely impedes rational thinking, he no longer concerns himself with ensuring that there is an informant for every citizen. Rather, he seeks to drive each and every citizen to become an informant of his or her own volition.
Some weeks ago, Abdel Rahman Zaidan, coordinator of the Revolutionaries Front in East Cairo, published a testimony on his Facebook page that soon became widely shared. In this testimony, Abdel Rahman states that as he was riding a microbus [shared taxi-van] home, he was surprised to hear a middle-aged woman begin to fiercely criticize Sisi, the current government, and the Interior Ministry, much to the shock of those riding in the microbus with her. One of the other passengers, encouraged by what the woman was saying, joined her in openly attacking Sisi, the government, and the Interior Ministry. Before Abdel Rahman could join the discussion, the woman suddenly asked the driver to pull over next to a church along the way. As soon as the microbus stopped, the woman stuck her head out the window and called to the church guards, shouting, “Save me! There’s a Muslim Brotherhood terrorist in the microbus!” The guards rushed over, began beating the young man who had criticized Sisi, and pulled him from the microbus. The woman also got out of the microbus in order to accompany them and to testify to the heinous act that the young man had committed. She shot a sharp glance back at the other passengers, as if defying them to intervene, and stated proudly, “We’re cleaning up this country!” The remaining passengers, shocked at what had happened, sat frozen in their seats as the microbus drove away. Abdel Rahman concludes his testimony by advising his colleagues – who are busy defending their comrades who are among the students who have been detained, providing for their needs, and publicizing their cases – to refrain from talking about politics on public transportation in order to focus their efforts on what is most important. He urges them to avoid falling into this new security trap, set to ensnare anyone who expresses opposition to what is happening in Egypt.Read More
- Refugees Fleeing to Europe Face Death From Smugglers
- Egypt Begins Surveillance Of Facebook, Twitter, And Skype
To fight terrorism and homosexuality, officials say
- Russia, Egypt seal preliminary arms deal worth $3.5 billion: agency
- EXCLUSIVE: Egypt Begins Surveillance Of Facebook, Twitter, And Skype On Unprecedented Scale
US company hired to track blasphemy and sarcasm
- 500 migrants feared dead in Mediterranean migrant shipwreck
- "Death of Arabic" Issue Gets a Lecture at Brown by a Fellow Skeptic
Ramy Khoury argues in the Daily Star that the extremist movement is the nearly inevitable result of the region's (often foreign-backed) authoritarianism.
But the single biggest driver of the kind of criminal Islamist extremism we see in this phenomenon is the predicament of several hundred million individual Arab men and women who find – generation after generation – that in their own societies they are unable to achieve their full humanity or potential, or exercise their full powers of thought and creativity; or, in many cases, obtain basic life needs for their families.
The expressions of bewilderment we hear today from many Arab and Western politicians or media analysts about why the Islamic State rose and what to do about it have zero credibility or sympathy in my book. Some of the same people who pontificate about the Islamic State threat were often directly involved in actions that helped to bring it about (corrupt Arab security states, the invasion of Iraq, and total support for Israel).
Peter Harling, in Le Monde Diplomatique, looks to Sunni resentment and the "void" of good governance and international diplomacy.
At root, IS simply fills a void. It occupies northeast Syria because the Syrian regime has by and large abandoned it, and the opposition that might have replaced it has failed to secure a genuine sponsor, in particular the US. And, in Iraq, IS has surged into cities such as Fallujah and Mosul because the central power in Baghdad has largely neglected them: the Iraqi state maintained a presence there that was simultaneously corrupt, repressive and flimsy. IS’s rapid expansion into zones in northern Iraq controlled by Kurdish forces, but inhabited by Christian and Yezidi minorities, is unsurprising, given the lack of real interest shown in the victims by their ostensible protectors, the Kurds, who were quick to withdraw to their own territory.
IS also fills a void on a more abstract level. Simply put, the Sunni world has trouble coming to terms with its past and imagining its future. A fragmented 20th-century history, following a long period of Ottoman occupation which was seen as a period of decline, ended with a succession of failures: anti-imperialism, pan-Arabism, nationalist movements, socialism, various forms of Islamism, capitalism — all led only to bitter or ambiguous experiences. Thus far, with the exception of Tunisia, the hopes born of the 2011 uprisings have turned to ashes. So where can Sunnis turn to find inspiration, self-confidence and pride? The reactionaries in the Gulf and Egypt? The Muslim Brothers, who are on the ropes? Palestinian Hamas, locked in a perpetual impasse in its resistance to Israel?
Clearing the holiday backlog...
- Fathers of ISIS | P U L S E
- Blamed for Rise of ISIS, Syrian Leader Is Pushed to Escalate Fight - NYT
Assad's ISIS blowback.
- Egypt's Wasat party withdraws from pro-Morsi bloc | Middle East Eye
Wonder if leaders to be released...
- Saudi princes visit Qatar as Gulf states try to end rift | Reuters
I wonder how much of this is over Libya
- Libya: Is civil war likely? | The Economist
- Libya's New Power Brokers?
Excellent overview of power networks by M. Fitzgerald.
- Libya: Anarchy
On the recent UAE-Egyptian raids, and how they haven't tipped the balance
- Art Beyond Politics, by Robyn Creswell
On an exhibition of Arab art at the New Museum
Alaa Abdelfattah decides to go on hunger strike:
Statement from the Family of Alaa Abd El-Fattah
Alaa is on Hunger Strike: “I will no longer play the role they’ve written for me”.
At 2 o’clock on the morning of Sunday August 17, Alaa visited his father, Ahmad Seif, in the ICU Unit of Qasr el-Eini hospital, after Seif had become unconscious.
Three days earlier we’d been on our latest visit to Alaa in Tora Prison. His father’s health at that point had been relatively good. Since then there had been no way for us to inform him that his father had gone into crisis. And so Alaa arrived at the hospital in the small hours of Sunday happy to be visiting, carrying flowers, looking forward to talking with his father. He found him unconscious in an ICU cubicle.
That spectacle crystalised matters for him. By the end of the few-minute visit Alaa had decided that he would withdraw co-operation with the unjust and absurd sitution he had been put in – even if this cost him his life.
For context, Alaa had previously taken the view that he would cooperate with the judicial process and authorities, hoping for an eventual acquittal on a retrial (since his conviction was the result of an absurd trial he was not allowed to attend.)
His family's full statement is here.
A long overdue link dump. From the first link:
“In all the suffering and death,” wrote a friend from Gaza, “there are so many expressions of tenderness and kindness. People are taking care of one another, comforting one another. Especially children who are searching for the best way to support their parents. I saw many children no older than 10 years old who are hugging, comforting their younger siblings, trying to distract them from the horror. So young and already the caretakers of someone else. I did not meet a single child who did not lose someone – a parent, grandmother, friend, aunt or neighbor. And I thought: If Hamas grew out of the generation of the first intifada, when the young people who threw stones were met with bullets, who will grow out of the generation that experienced the repeated massacres of the last seven years?”
- Israel's moral defeat will haunt us for years | Haaretz
- Israeli Self-Defense Does Not Permit Killing Civilians - NYT
- A City-Sized Prison-House - Lori Allen
- The Consequences of NATO’s Good War in Libya
- Five legal controversies in 'Al Jazeera case' | Mada Masr
- In the Heart of Mysterious Oman by Hugh Eakin | The New York Review of Books
- Iraq Illusions by Jessica T. Mathews | The New York Review of Books
- Zen and the art of American foreign policy - The Washington Post
Pretty, pretty good.
- What’s behind Libya’s spiraling violence? - The Washington Post
Excellent piece by Fred Wehrey.
- Israel's Latest Fib: 'Gaza Tunnels Were Surprise' – J.J. Goldberg – Forward