The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Aardvark update

Abu Aardvark has an interesting post on an attempt to pass a law in Jordan that would forbid disrespecting the state. It started as a response to Syrian mockery of the really rather ridiculous "Jordan First" campaign launched by the Hobbit-King Abdullah. Usually when countries adopt a me-first policy, it means that they're about to mess someone else up. Who will it be?

And let's not forget that Abu Aardvark's alter ego Marc Lynch has a piece in the National Interest on Al Qaeda's Media Strategies. His trademark interests crop up:

Al-Jazeera is hardly a paragon of Islamist advocacy: Many of its leading news presenters and talk-show hosts are beautiful, unveiled women, and many of its popular figures are determinedly iconoclastic. Its leading Islamist figure, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is a fierce critic of Bin Laden's form of Islamist extremism (and is regularly castigated in jihadi circles as a dangerous, misguided American dupe). Nor can Al-Jazeera's narrative be reduced to a simple anti-Americanism. It shows the carnage in Iraq, but it also shows democratic elections and gives ample voice to those who condemn Al-Qaeda's Mesopotamian strategy. In its fervent, sustained criticism of the Arab status quo and its advocacy of democratic reforms, Al-Jazeera can sometimes sound surprisingly like an American neoconservative organ.