News and Analysis (12/31/11)

Protests are more widespread than ever in Bahrain, while opposition groups in and  out of Syria unite, but doubts about the prospects of the Arab League mission grow after the controversial chief of the mission dismisses an observer’s claim to have seen government snipers with his own eyes as “a hypothetical remark”:

As Iran delays missile tests and proposes to reopen nuclear talks, the director of Mossad dismisses claims that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Israel:

Israeli soldiers with a conscience, no longer able to keep silent tell the truth about the Gaza massacres …

… meanwhile, Jerusalem mayor Nir Barakat doesn’t need bombs and guns to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem, he can do it with a pen:

“Creating an official headquarters for the Taliban would … help avoid further missteps, such as inadvertently negotiating with imposters, as happened in November 2010″ and “would make them more independent of Pakistan and the ISI”:

“I was shocked to discover that what the militants were doing was against Islam…. Now I call them terrorists, not jihadis” — Sultan Mehmood Gujar, former funder of Islamist militants:

The U.S. says Egypt agreed to stop raids on democracy groups, but Gamal Banna, “one of Islam’s leading liberal thinkers” and younger brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood warns that if Islamists do not “move quickly to fix years of social and economic neglect … they could lose this opportunity and [the revolution] might collapse”:

After a Christian student’s Internet posting of a supposed picture of Muhammad (peace bne upon him) spawned violence, the military government promised “security around churches” and the ” Muslim Brotherhood has also vowed to protect the country’s churches”:

Richard Bonin writes, “It is remarkable how Ahmad Chalabi, a Shiite exile who commanded no army and led no tribe, managed to get a superpower to wage a war it will rue for years”:

Uri Avnery argues that Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran all owe Israel a big “thank you” for their success:

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