News and Analysis (8/24/15)

“The man who boarded a high-speed Amsterdam-to-Paris train with a Kalashnikov rifle before being tackled by passengers was on the radar of authorities in three countries, had ties to radical Islam and may have traveled to Syria”:

“Days after the army uprooted Palestinian-owned olive trees to pave the route of the separation barrier in Beit Jala, … [h]undreds of Muslim and Christian Palestinians protested … against the future establishment of the separation wall that would cut them off from Jerusalem”:

“[A]  pair of devastating terrorist attacks that killed nearly 60 foreign tourists has triggered a state of emergency, and police have been arresting hundreds in sweeps. It is prompting many activists to fear a return to the days of repression under late dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali” …

… while inBahrain, the “Shiite opposition group al-Wefaq identified Isa as the suspect. It said he was innocent and was being targeted under laws that criminalize peaceful political activism. Al-Wefaq earlier said that Isa’s lawyers have not been allowed to see him”:

“[T]he deceased are believed to have been of Rohingya, the ethnic group from Myanmar who currently face persecution, and Bangladeshi origin. They are suspected to have died of abuse and malnourishment”:

“The [Assad] regime’s withdrawal left the city entirely in the militants’ control, though Isis pledged to destroy only what it deemed idolatrous. Isis considers grave markers and statues symbols of paganism that ought to be destroyed, according to their puritanical version of Islam” …

… “What matters is not just how many people live, but how we live. Throughout history, people have made the choice to prefer death over survival at too high a price. As the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata said, “It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees”:

“In Aden, al-Qaida militants and other Islamic extremists continue to patrol the streets. Hundreds of al-Qaida militants hold some key areas in the port city, exploiting a vacuum left by pro-government forces pushing north”:

“Despite their size, the protests seem unlikely to force broader change in Lebanon, which continues to be buffeted by a tussle for regional influence” with Iran backing “Shia Muslims and roughly half of [its] Christians and Druze” and Saudis backing the Sunnis “the other half of the Christians and Druze”:

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