The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged jihad
Islamophobia in France

In the run-up to the incredibly unpredictable French presidential election, I took a look at some of the books being written by prominent (and not-so-prominent) French scholars, and wrote about the vitriolic debate over Islamophobia, Islamic radicalism and the alleged creeping Islamization of France. It is hard to over-state both how complicated, personal and over-the-top this debate can get. 

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I found Gilles Kepel's book Terror in France interesting as an overview of jihadism in France and of major political developments for France's Muslim minority since 2005 (including some analysis of political participation and of the question of a Muslim vote). Kepel is very critical of the idea of Islamophobia – not because he denies that there is discrimination against Muslims in France but because he says that Islamophobia has been politically instrumentalized to forbid criticism of Islam (Kepel is, not coincidentally, at loggerheads with the Comité Contre L'Islamophobie en France). Yet while I am sure that there are Islamists who use the victimization of Muslims as a means to set themselves up as leaders and spokesmen (always men) and to accrue political influence, there is plenty of criticism of Islam in France these days -- it's practically an intellectual and media industry. 

Which brings us to one of the other books I discuss, which is representative of the genre. Below is an excerpt:

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"That is one of the arguments of a book published this year for which Bensoussan was the lead editor: Une France Soumise, Les Voix du Refus (A Vanquished France, the Voices of Refusal). A collection of essays and interviews with public employees and officials, the book paints a dire picture of France turning into "a foreign land," its culture, identity, and rule of law threatened by the advance of Islamism. France faces a choice, a passage in the books warns, between civil war or "Houellebecquian" submission to Islam (a reference to the best-selling 2015 satire by Michel Houellebecq, Submission, in which the country elects a Muslim president and adopts Shariah law).

As evidence of creeping Islamization, the book cites demands for prayer rooms and halal meals; husbands who will not allow their wives to receive medical care from male doctors; reports of Muslim high-school students’ refusing to observe the moment of silence after terrorist attacks or expounding conspiracy theories. Many of the interviews are anonymous or do not specify when and where particular incidents took place. Bensoussan admits that it "is not an exhaustive investigation and does not have scientific pretensions." Yet he insists that it exposes a reality that France’s elites refuse to acknowledge."

Another book, now out in English, I strongly recommend is Olivier Roy's Jihad and Death, a beautifully written analysis of the narcissism and nihilism of jihadis and a critique of the paranoid view of Islam as an imminent threat to France. Also, although I don't write about it in this piece, French journalist David Thomson's book Les Revenants ("The Returnees"), a collection of interviews with young French jihadis (and their female supporters/partners) who have returned from Syrian, is also a riveting work of reportage. 

'Sexual Jihad' in Syria

Sana Saeed tries to trace the "Tunisian women are going on sex jihad in Syria" story to its roots -- which turn out to be tangled and possibly non-existent. As Saeed notes, any story with the words "sex" and "jihad" in the title is going to be catnip to the international press. And making an accusation like this (which Tunisia's Minister of Interior did recently) may be an easy way to embarrass/discredit Islamists. 

Despite the story having gained traction of the viral variety, and despite the concerns and facts expressed by Tunisian officials, there seems to be actually very little evidence to suggest that the so-called sexual Jihad is actually a thing (and Jihad al-Nikkah is not a thing in Islamic jurisprudence).

The story of Tunisian women returning from waging sex on holy warriors (thanks RT) in Syria impregnated with future warrior babies itself is, at best, just incredibly questionable and many, from the onset of the story’s break into the English press, expressed deep skepticism. In a civil war that has had many ideological fronts, the most pernicious in is salience has perhaps been that of information. Syria has been a cluster of misinformation, misattribution and propaganda. O’Bagygate and Mint Press-gate are two of the most recent headlines to highlight the problems in not only reporting on the conflict but also how easily questionable, untrue, unverified information is gobbled up to serve ideological biases and wishful thinking.

 

AsidesUrsula Lindseytunisia, sex, jihad
Blowback from Egypt's released jihadist militants?

This is an important story by Siobhan Gorman and Matt Bradley in the Wall Street Journal:

The revolutions that swept the Middle East and North Africa also emptied prisons of militants, a problem now emerging as a potential new terrorist threat.

Fighters linked to one freed militant, Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, took part in the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya that killed four Americans, U.S. officials believe based on initial reports. Intelligence reports suggest that some of the attackers trained at camps he established in the Libyan Desert, a former U.S. official said.

Western officials say Mr. Ahmad has petitioned the chief of al Qaeda, to whom he has long ties, for permission to launch an al Qaeda affiliate and has secured financing from al Qaeda's Yemeni wing.

U.S. spy agencies have been tracking Mr. Ahmad's activities for several months. The Benghazi attacks gave a major boost to his prominence in their eyes.

Mr. Ahmad, although believed to be one of the most potent of the new militant operatives emerging from the chaos of the Arab Spring, isn't the only one, according to Western officials. They say others are also trying to exploit weaknesses in newly established governments and develop a capacity for strikes that could go well beyond recent violent protests in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere.

Since the fall of Mubarak, in Egypt alone dozens of former Islamist militants have been released, both by the SCAF and later by President Mohammed Morsi. Field Marshall Hussein Tantawy, while heading SCAF and acting as Egypt's de facto president after Mubarak stepped down, released hundreds. Egypt Independent's Heba Afify reported as early as June 2011 about this:

According Montasser al-Zayat, a lawyer who represents Islamist groups, over 400 political detainees were released since Mubarak’s resignation, including 80 leaders from the Jama’a al-Islamiya, the most notorious of whom is Aboud al-Zomor, charged in the murder of late President Anwar Sadat.

“The leaders of the Jama’a al-Islamiya who made the decisions were released while members of the Jama’a remain in prison,” says Taher. “This is not rational.”

Having been excluded from the military council’s decision to release prisoners, many of the prisoners have begun to relive feelings of injustice that they experienced when they were first detained.

“We were treated unjustly before and after the revolution. There is no difference between those who were released and those who remain in prison,” says Taher.

The lobbying has continued and Morsi, in July alone, released 25 such men. Many of them come from radical groups such as Gamaa Islamiya and Islamic Jihad who had been held in jail since the 1990s or later, or are veterans of the Saudi-funded (and often American-backed) jihads in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Some may have been part of the recantation program run by Egyptian security, but not all. It may be that, in some cases at least, they legally had to be released because they had served their sentences (even life sentences are limited to 25 years in Egypt, although in the past the ministry of interior did not always release militants, even if they had court decision in their favor.)

At the end of last July, Reuters' Tom Perry reported that Morsi was pardoning some militants under pressure from Islamist groups:

(Reuters) - Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi has freed a group of Islamists jailed for militancy during Hosni Mubarak's era a step seen as a gesture to hardliners who supported his presidential bid.

A lawyer for 17 Islamists, many of them held since the 1990s, say they owe their release to a pardon issued by Mursi. At least three of the released Islamists had been condemned to death, said the lawyer Ibrahim Ali.

Those released in recent days include members of al-Gama'a al-Islamiya, jailed during the group's armed insurrection against the state in the 1990s, and Islamic Jihad, the movement behind the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

The pardon underlines efforts by Egypt's first Islamist president to satisfy the some of the hardliners he courted with election promises to implement Islamic law.

Mursi is facing calls from Islamists to secure the release of the remaining few dozen of their brethren who they believe are being kept behind bars by security forces resistant to the new president's wishes.

These may include many people like Abu Ahmad who are not articularly well-known, but some of Egypt's most high-profile killers. This recently included "Sheikh" Abu Elka Abd Rabbo, the man who killed secular intellectual Farag Fouda in June 1992. This was the first major attack on a public intellectual by radical Islamists in the Mubarak era, and would followed within a few years by the assassination attempt against novelist Naguib Mahfouz and threats against many others, as well as the spread of hesba lawsuits against   critical Muslim thinkers who questioned fundamentalist and traditional orthodoxy, like Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid. Abd Rabbo appeared on TV last week on the popular show Qahira wal Nass, while he regretted killing Fouda ("even if he was an unbeliever") his appearance did send a chill among Egyptian secularists for whom Fouda is a martyred icon.

Morsi also made a promise, during his campaign, to lobby the US for the release of Gamaa Islamiya leader Omar Abdel Rahman. (Not likely to happen, of course.) But his positive response to Salafi groups' call for the release of many former militants and the quiet and fast manner in which they have already been released does raise some important questions. It should be noted that many of these men were brutally tortured, and many may be too old to be any kind of genuine nuisance. But some have dedicated following within extremists groups (even of these groups are or have become non-violent) and will now have the opportunity and platforms to proselytize. The bottom line is, what criteria is being used to figure out who to release (other than demands by relatives and supporters) and what will be done to monitor their activities if they are released? Is the Morsi admnistration going to take responsibility for those who end up returning to their bad old ways in a region that offers plenty such opportunities?

Going back to the WSJ story, they have more on Abu Ahmad:

Of the new militant operatives, Mr. Ahmad is among the most worrisome to Western officials. Thought to be about 45, he is a native of Cairo's Shobra district, a densely populated, low-income neighborhood along the Nile that includes many Coptic Christians, said Barak Barfi of the New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, who recently interviewed several of Mr. Ahmad's associates in Egypt.

According to Mr. Barfi, Mr. Ahmad attended college, studying either literature or commerce, and went to Afghanistan in the late 1980s. There, said his associates, he trained to make bombs.

On returning to Egypt in the 1990s, a former U.S. official said, Mr. Ahmad became head of the operational wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was then headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a physician who is now the chief of al Qaeda. Associates of Mr. Ahmad agree he was part of Egyptian Islamic Jihad but say he wasn't among its leaders.

Many of that group's fighters embraced a cease-fire with the government of former President Hosni Mubarak in 1997, but Mr. Ahmad earned a reputation as a hard-liner by rejecting it, according to Mr. Barfi.

"Unlike the organization's leaders who have reconciled with the state and have eagerly embraced the democratic process, Mr. Ahmad and his cohorts reject any semblance of compromise with the state they have fought for decades," Mr. Barfi said.

Former militants who knew Mr. Ahmad in an Egyptian prison, where he was locked up around 2000, describe a hardened inmate who showed belligerence toward the guards. While most prisoners submitted to random cell searches, Mr. Ahmad often refused to let guards remove items from his cell, the former inmates say.

He would start by preaching to the guards and escalate to shouted insults, said a former jihadi imprisoned with him starting in 2006. That often landed Mr. Ahmad in solitary confinement, in a roofless cell exposed to the elements. The guards sometimes let in dogs or insects to harass him, said the ex-jihadi.

Freed last year, Mr. Ahmad is building his own terror group, say Western officials, who call it the Jamal Network. They say he appears to be trying to tap former fellow inmates such as Murjan Salim, a man who, like Mr. Ahmad, has ties to al Qaeda's Dr. Zawahiri. Former associates of Mr. Ahmad said Mr. Salim is directing aspiring jihadis to Mr. Ahmad's camps in Libya.

In an interview in Cairo, Mr. Salim denied any connection to jihad, citing his physical limitations. He uses a wheelchair, a result, he said, of being wounded by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Also freed in Egypt last year was Mohammed al-Zawahiri, a brother of the al Qaeda leader. Mohammed al-Zawahiri backed a protest in Cairo three weeks ago but says he had no role in a later invasion of U.S. Embassy grounds.

U.S. officials believe he has helped Mr. Ahmad connect with the al Qaeda chief. In an interview, Mohammed al-Zawahiri denied that, saying that though imprisoned with Mr. Ahmad, he isn't helping him. "These are all accusations without proof," he said.

Mr. Zawahiri denied resuming past militant activities. "This is always what they say," he said. "This is meant to scare us away from exercising our political rights."

As for Mr. Ahmad, associates say he now lives in Libya. Western officials believe that besides financing through al Qaeda's Yemeni wing, he has tapped into its system for smuggling fighters. At his camps, militants are believed to be training future suicide bombers, say current and former U.S. officials, who add that he has established limited links with jihadists in Europe.

Incidentally, this really raises some important question about how the embassy riots started – was the campaign to incite a riot outside the embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Benghazi, as well as the campaign  on Salafi channels, deliberate attempts to create cover for a pre-planned attack on the Benghazi compound?

Links for Jan.10.10 to Jan.11.10
“Lorsque je commençais mon enquête sur le tourisme au Sahara marocain, je n’imaginais pas être prise à témoin d’échanges sexuels” « Ibn Kafka's obiter dicta – divagations d'un juriste marocain en liberté surveillée | On sexual tourism in Western Sahara.
What the "Eurabia" Authors Get Wrong About Islam in Europe - By Justin Vaïsse | Foreign Policy | Critique of Eurabia theory.
The Trials of Tony Judt - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education |
U.S. to store $800m in military gear in Israel - Haaretz | To keep in mind in context of Iran.
Israel and Iran: The gathering storm | The Economist | Interesting story with background on Osirak bombing, Israeli prospects against Iran.
Executive | Magazine has new books section.
Strong reaction to warning of coup - The National Newspaper | Iraqis react to UK ambassador's testimony to Chilcot Enquiry that coup to purge Iran influence still possible in Iraq.
the arabophile | New blog.
Joe Sacco: Graphic History | Mother Jones | Interview with the cartoonist and author of "Footnotes from Gaza."
High cost of living means more unmarried in Egypt | Bikya Masr | Stats on why Egyptians are marrying later.
Arab Reform Initiative | Report on constitutional reforms in the Arab world.
The architecture of apartheid | SocialistWorker.org | On the bantustanization of Palestine.
The Venture of Marty Peretz’s bigotry: Arabs, Muslims, Berbers and more « The Moor Next Door | Kal on the New Republic editor's Islamophobia.
The Forgotten Recantation — jihadica | Interesting post on the recantation of Abbud al-Zommor.
'Bush sold Arab states arms in violation of deal with Israel' - Haaretz - Israel News | Obama, more pro-Israel than Bush: "The Bush administration violated security related agreements with Israel in which the U.S. promised to preserve the IDF's qualitative edge over Arab armies, according to senior officials in the Obama administration and Israel."

Links for Jan.05.10
akhbare-rooz (iranian political Bulletin) | List of organizations considered "subversive" by Iranian ministry of inteligence [in Farsi].
The Daily Star - The Gaza scorecard, one year later | Rami Khouri.
Israel approves east Jerusalem building project | Yet another new settlement.
Library of Congress on Islam in Early America « Anonymous Arabist وين الناس | Fascinating.
Tweet freedom | On Twitter activism in Egypt, unfortunately confuses arabawy.org for arabist.net.
Cairo's US Embassy is Worse by Far | Mamoun Fandy: "The embassy has become an embodiment of the meaning of disgracefulness in Cairo, in terms of people's behavior, rudeness, and impoliteness."
gary's choices - The Decade's First Revolution? | Gary Sick on Iran.
لا لحجب الإنترنت بالجزائر - Non à la censure de l'Internet en Algérie - No to Internet Censorship in Algeria Petition | Petition.
Egyptian minister slams Al-Jazeera for 'instigating civil war' - Ynetnews | Over Gaza wall.
Video: Gaza war: One year on, Palestinians struggle to rebuild life from the rubble | guardian.co.uk |
CIA Bomber a Jihadi Blogger? — jihadica | Interesting background on Abu Dujana, as the bomber was allegedly known.
Dear Metallica | Letter asking the metal band not to perform in Israel.
Free Barghouti Now - Haaretz | OK.
The Daily Nuisance | News From The Frontier | New online site from Israel/Palestine
Three days in Iran - The Big Picture - Boston.com | Great pics of Iranian protests.
Links for 12.04.09 to 12.07.09
ElBaradei on Zakaria's GPS - CNN | Check in at around 30:50 for his take on Egypt's current situation.
Egypt to re-evaluate subsidies for the poor - The National Newspaper | The debate over subsidies reform in Egypt.
Start the Week: 30/11/2009 | Andrew Marr interviews Eugene Rogan, author of "The Arabs". Also interviews on terrorism, etc.
Cyber Jihadis' LOTR obsession | Super funny post on the use of Lord of the Rings in jihadi propaganda
The Associated Press: Veil's spread fans Egypt's fear of hard-line Islam | I don't like this idea of the government backing a "moderate Islam" vs. some hardcore Islam. The government is as Islamist as anyone else.
AFP: Egypt detains 10 senior Muslim Brotherhood members | 227 Brothers behind bars so far.
Egypt to demand the Rosetta Stone from British Museum - Times Online | Fight to get antiquities back continues.
Why U.S. Mideast Policy is (Still) Screwed Up | Stephen M. Walt | "Every appointee to the American government must endure a thorough background check by the American Jewish community."
Arms smuggling heightens fears Iran may be building arsenal | US-backed UAE crackdown on arms smuggling to Iran. Interesting story, who leaked it and why?
Congress.org - News : Rising military suicides | "More U.S. military personnel have taken their own lives so far in 2009 than have been killed in either the Afghanistan or Iraq wars this year."
The Generals' Revolt : Rolling Stone | Are the generals pushing Obama on AfPak because of Petraeus' presidential ambitions?
Egypt’s opposition misled by fixation with Mubarak’s son - The National Newspaper | Amr Hamzawy,
FT.com / UK - Muslim Brotherhood rifts widen | Habib lays out the divide for the FT.
Reset - Dialogues on Civilizations | Life | Interview with Joseph Massad on his ridiculous thesis of the "invention" of homosexuality ion the Arab world by the West and the "Gay International."
Iran whistleblower died from drug-laced salad - Yahoo! News | Nasty.

Links for 11.12.09 to 11.15.09
Violence Flares Ahead of Algeria-Egypt Soccer Match - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com | The NYT's blog The Lede has a nice post about the Algeria-Egypt, game, so I don't have to do it as I don't even like football.
Daily News Egypt - Egypt Among States Attempting To Weaken Un Anti-Corruption Convention Enforcement Mechanism | Egypt and others against review mechanism for corruption convention.
The Young Brotherhood in Search of a New Path | Khalil al-Anani.
The Brotherhood vs. Al-Qaeda: A Moment Of Truth? | Jean-Pierre Filiu.
The Saturday Profile - An Arms Dealer Returns, Now Selling an Image - Biography - NYTimes.com | Profile of arms dealer Adnan al-Khashoggi, who apparently has fallen on hard times. Still, I'd like to know why he met with Richard Perle in 2002.
Blogging Imam Who Knew Fort Hood Gunman and 9/11 Hijacker Goes Silent - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com | Can't believe this guy has not been arrested prior to leaving the US.
'Going Muslim' - Forbes.com | NYU professor "goes desi" after Texas massacre. Is this just Indian (I assume the professor is originally Indian or Sri Lankan) prejudice against Muslims? I wonder if the next time an Asian shoots people at a college we'll say, "going oriental"... Shame on you, Forbes.
Palestine: Salvaging Fatah | ICG's new report on Palestine. [PDF]

Links for 09.21.09 to 09.22.09
Ethnic Ashkenazim Against Zionist Israel: In Re: The persistence of the Massad question | The campaign against Joseph Massad starts anew.
Why Algeria’s Jihadist defectors don’t matter « Maghreb Politics Review | On Maghteb jihadists' recantations, focusing on Algeria.
Sirgo’s Labyrinth | New English-language Egypt-based blog.
The Next Minister Of Culture Will Be… | Potential candidates to succeed Farouq Hosni as Egyptian Minister of Culture: enter Gamal Mubarak's electoral strategist, Muhammad Kamal.
The NDP synagogue | On a Jewish temple in Heliopolis being used as ruling party office.
feeling more hate in Jerusalem | More insane views on Obama from Israelis.

Ending Jihadism? The Transformation of Armed Islamist Movements
From an article in the newArab Reform Bulletin on the wave of jihadi recantation and the de-radicalization of Salafist Jihadist groups in North Africa and elsewhere:

Research on de-radicalization processes shows that a combination of charismatic leadership, pressure from the government, interactions with non-jihadis as well as from within the organization, and selective inducements from the state and other actors are common causes of de-radicalization. Government pressure and interaction with  non-jihadis often cause jihadi leaders to rethink strategically, learn politically, and revise their worldview. Following this, the leadership initiates a de-radicalization process that is bolstered by selective inducements from the state as well as by internal interactions with the followers. De-radicalized groups often interact with violent ones and in some cases the former influences the latter, a sort of domino effect demonstrated in the cases of the IG and al-Jihad Organization in Egypt, the AIS and factions from the GIA, the GSPC and other militias in Algeria and de-radicalized Islamist figures and individual suspects in Saudi Arabia. 

Whether de-radicalization will continue and eventually have a serious impact on al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other like-minded organizations depends on many factors, not the least of which is regime type in the countries in question. In dictatorships, de-radicalization processes and programs are a short to mid-term solution for the problem of Islamist political violence. Indeed, de-radicalization does not mean that the root causes of radicalism were properly addressed and resolved. The Egyptian Muslim Brothers abandoned political violence back in the 1970s, for example, but the much more violent IG and al-Jihad emerged as their successors in the same decade. Now the IG has also abandoned violence, but the repression from dictatorships, socioeconomic strains, and exclusionary dogmas can ultimately reproduce similar organizations. Successful democratization and religious reformation remain critical to a long-term, durable solution. "


While all this is fine and dandy, I've found the excitement over these recantations to be blown out of proportion to some degree. Even is they eschew violence, the ideology of these groups remains extremely radical, intolerant, bigoted, and susceptible to create social violence (among Muslims as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims). Regular "scientific" Salafism, which some of these jihadis are reverting too, seems to me still incipiently takfiri. Let's not get too excited just yet, especially when the current generation of recantations has been largely obtained from jihadi leaders under arrest who appear to be recycling themselves for a career in post-Bin Ladenism.
Links for 09.09.09 to 09.10.09
The Reporter’s Account: 4 Days With the Taliban - At War Blog - NYTimes.com |
ISRAEL: Prime Minister Netanyahu's secret trip to...where? | Although Arab press said he went to an unnamed Arab country, it's more likely that secret trip was to Russia to meet Putin over military cooperation with Iran.
RUSI The Gulf States and a fourth Gulf War | The GCC in the event of a confrontation with Iran.
Israeli rights group says 320 minors died in Gaza war
(AFP)
| Israel's "War on Kids".
Libyan Jihad Revisions — jihadica | Yet another jihadi revisionist book.

Links for 08.09.09 to 08.13.09
Moises Naim -- A New Recipe for Autocrats Around The World - washingtonpost.com | Some good stuff there, but he goes to easy on Mossad and the CIA - they would not be scapegoats if it wasn't sometimes true!
The Groping Elephant in the Room: Sexual Harassment in the Arab World « the long slumber | More from The Long Slumber on sexual harassment in the Arab word - recommended, thought-provoking reading.
شارك - حوار مفتوح لشباب مصر مع جمال مبارك | Tell me this man is not running for president...
Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle | Mother Jones | Nothing to do with the Middle East, but outrageous.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Frustrated dreams of young Egyptians | Living in the City of the Dead: "I dream of leaving this place. One day we will buy a new home and pretend we have lived there all our lives."
Get Good at Arabic « MediaShack | Good tips on picking up the lingo - this method really works although it means you must be disciplined and dedicated (and have no other job, ideally). Even if it might seem a tiny bit exploitative.
'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Agha, Malley, and some other ideas | Helena Cobban's critique of the Malley/Agha op-ed, saying it's quite banal. Well yes and no: it's banal because experts and many Israelis and Palestinians have known it for a long time (that it's about 1948), but it's still important to reiterate the point because politicians (in Israel/Palestine, among the two diasporas and among foreigners) still pretend otherwise.
Op-Ed Contributors - The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything - NYTimes.com | Malley and Agha say it's all about 1948: "For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees’ rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel."
Les ministres israéliens divisés sur la libération de Marwan Barghouti - Proche-Orient - Le Monde.fr | Israelis pols split about whether or not to free Marwan Barghouti.
Dar Al Hayat - Ayoon Wa Azan (Why Are Men Allowed to Wear Dresses?) | Jihad al-Khazen suggests (jokingly?) that Gulf Arabs buy up the Observer, which is shutting down (alas, although perhaps they shouldn't have spent so much money on stupid lifestyle supplements and Nigella Lawson pageantry.)
Will the leader of Lebanon's Druze really form an alliance with Hezbollah? - By Lee Smith - Slate Magazine | Weird Slate story in whcih Walid Jumblatt is celebrated as hero, disowns his old friends, and they react: "His former American friends are not amused. "I don't believe for a minute that he's sorry he met with the dreaded neocons, and I'm sorry he feels somehow compelled to say that," said Elliott Abrams, the Bush administration's deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy. "I just hope he keeps sending all of us that nice wine from the Bekaa.""
Three soldiers, Al-Qaeda leader killed in Yemeni clashes - AL SHORFA | Note that this site is funded by US Central Command. I don't know much about Yemen, but isn't it rather odd to refer to the insurgents in Yemen to al-Qaeda (as opposed to people motivated by local grievances, as a recent International Crisis Group report argued)?
Le Figaro - International : Mauritanie : attentat suicidedevant l'ambassade de France | Suicide bombing outside French embassy in Mauritania.

Links for 08.09.09 to 08.12.09
Get Good at Arabic « MediaShack | Good tips on picking up the lingo - this method really works although it means you must be disciplined and dedicated (and have no other job, ideally). Even if it might seem a tiny bit exploitative.
'Just World News' with Helena Cobban: Agha, Malley, and some other ideas | Helena Cobban's critique of the Malley/Agha op-ed, saying it's quite banal. Well yes and no: it's banal because experts and many Israelis and Palestinians have known it for a long time (that it's about 1948), but it's still important to reiterate the point because politicians (in Israel/Palestine, among the two diasporas and among foreigners) still pretend otherwise.
Op-Ed Contributors - The Two-State Solution Doesn’t Solve Anything - NYTimes.com | Malley and Agha say it's all about 1948: "For years, virtually all attention has been focused on the question of a future Palestinian state, its borders and powers. As Israelis make plain by talking about the imperative of a Jewish state, and as Palestinians highlight when they evoke the refugees’ rights, the heart of the matter is not necessarily how to define a state of Palestine. It is, as in a sense it always has been, how to define the state of Israel."
Les ministres israéliens divisés sur la libération de Marwan Barghouti - Proche-Orient - Le Monde.fr | Israelis pols split about whether or not to free Marwan Barghouti.
Dar Al Hayat - Ayoon Wa Azan (Why Are Men Allowed to Wear Dresses?) | Jihad al-Khazen suggests (jokingly?) that Gulf Arabs buy up the Observer, which is shutting down (alas, although perhaps they shouldn't have spent so much money on stupid lifestyle supplements and Nigella Lawson pageantry.)
Will the leader of Lebanon's Druze really form an alliance with Hezbollah? - By Lee Smith - Slate Magazine | Weird Slate story in whcih Walid Jumblatt is celebrated as hero, disowns his old friends, and they react: "His former American friends are not amused. "I don't believe for a minute that he's sorry he met with the dreaded neocons, and I'm sorry he feels somehow compelled to say that," said Elliott Abrams, the Bush administration's deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy. "I just hope he keeps sending all of us that nice wine from the Bekaa.""
Three soldiers, Al-Qaeda leader killed in Yemeni clashes - AL SHORFA | Note that this site is funded by US Central Command. I don't know much about Yemen, but isn't it rather odd to refer to the insurgents in Yemen to al-Qaeda (as opposed to people motivated by local grievances, as a recent International Crisis Group report argued)?
Le Figaro - International : Mauritanie : attentat suicidedevant l'ambassade de France | Suicide bombing outside French embassy in Mauritania.

Links for 08.02.09 to 08.03.09
Liam Stack, Greek Club Civil War, and Developing Developments | Boi boi Liam...
Al-Maqdisi’s Online Library of Translated Jihadi Material | Get your jihadi agit-prop in translation...
Fatah to reject Israel as Jewish state at congress: document (AFP) | Rightly so.
50 Palestinians evicted from their Jerusalem homes (AP) | "AP - Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families in east Jerusalem on Sunday, then allowed Jewish settlers to move into their homes, drawing criticism from Palestinians, the United Nations and the State Department." Criticism? Cut off their funding!
Jewish Tribune - Pepe Le Pew makes aliyah and protects the Jews | Columnist in Canada's Jewish tribune, on protests by International Solidarity Movement for Palestine against Israel's wall: "I personally would recommend use of live ammo on the ‘anarchists'". [Thanks, Saeed]

Links January 9th and January 10th

Automatically posted links for January 9th through January 10th: