Archive for February, 2011

News and Analysis (2/14/11)

Monday, February 14th, 2011

As the military imposes martial law and “calls for an end to strikes and protests” in the face of rising labor unrest:

As Hamas rejects the PA’s call for early elections, Ali Abunimah (co-founder of says, “You can’t have free and fair elections, these will be rigged elections if run by Palestinian Authority”:

Mir Hossein Mousavi has joined his rival Mehdi Karroubi in house arrest as the regime blocks the Internet:

“The organizers of a pro-reform protest that brought thousands of Algerians onto the streets of the capital over the weekend called Sunday for another rally next week”:

Meanwhile, in Syria, “[t]he leader of Syria’s banned Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group” warns the oppressive socialist government of Bashar al-Assad to “come to its senses”:

News and Analysis (2/11/11)

Friday, February 11th, 2011

[B]owing to a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands …

… while the army promises the end of the state of emergency:

The former Bush administration official targeted by Frank Gaffney and his cohorts calls his accusers “a fringe who are making a lot of noise, disproportionate to their numbers who are trying to bring in a message of disunity and of hate”:

News and Analysis (2/10/11)

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

“[C]onflicting reports emerged about whether the country’s embattled president will resign”:

Terms of the U.S. aid to Egypt have allowed “funds labeled by Washington as promoting democracy often ended up being used for other projects, such as sludge removal or to bolster the very judicial institutions used to jail democracy advocates”:

Karroubi’s call “for a rally on Monday to support the popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia”hits a raw nerve for the Iranian regime; a virtual admission of its similarity to the secular dictatorships:

“The names [of the ministers] do not make any difference to us, what makes a difference is what’s going to be done on the ground by the way of reforms.” — former Islamic Action Front deputy general secretary Nimer Al-Assaf:

A Muslim Brother speaks directly to Americans:

“We are the first to admit we are not deterring piracy.” — Navfor spokesman Wing Commander Paddy O’Kennedy:

“Five deans are among the 100 faculty members who signed a letter asking the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to drop the charges filed last week against” eleven Muslim students already punished for disrupting “a speech by Israel’s U.S. ambassador”:

In British schools using “the … national curriculum” of our Saudi ally:

In 1991, the veteran of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan “along with his brother, was convicted of robbing a bank in Pakistan in 1991, but a sentence that included amputations of a hand and foot was overturned”:

News and Analysis (2/9/11)

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

Doubts about Raymond Davis’s diplomatic status …

… are exacerbated by his holding “multiple visas from three different Pakistani institutions and having lived in Lahore and Islamabad for years [without yet being] attached to an authentic professional and personal profile”:

Crowds reject Mubarak’s offers, continue to grow:

The man who created a media outlet to “to counter negative stereotypes” becomes one himself:

“[Y]ears of propping up the corrupt regime in Egypt has led the people to increase their resentment of both America and Israel” — Ron Paul:

Suspicion falls on the group that last year “pressured local authorities late last year to shutter a Christian church located in a densely populated Muslim area, and assailants stabbed a Christian worshipper and beat a minister on the head with a wooden plank as they headed to prayers”:

In a remarkable display of understatement, Queen Noor calls Newt Gingerich’s ignorant smear of the Muslim Brotherhood “unhelpful”:

The persecution of the Irvine 11 has split the Jewish community:

News and Analysis (2/7/11)

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Fareed Zakaria points out that fears “over Egypt’s imagined future are drawing American eyes away from the actual problem in Egypt: military dictatorship”:

Muslim Brotherhood (MB) spokesman  says, “We have good feelings towards the Western countries. What I’m searching for is better feelings from the Western countries,” and the MB seeks neither the presidency nor any cabinet position and would respect the treaty with Israel …

… but the MB may withdraw from the talks because lest concessions on Mubarak’s departure drive a wedge between it and the young instigators of the revolt …

… Meanwhile, the Egyptian Cabinet tries to derail the revolution by expanding preferential treatment to lower level agents of the state:

“Addressing Mubarak, the [Coptic] priest called out, ‘Our churches were attacked when you were in power. Now that there are no police in the street and we have revolution, our churches are safe, our people are safe”:

He “doesn’t eat pork, but he still likes barbecue; and he was the lead in his school’s Christmas play”:

If he really “followed the Islamic faith” he wouldn’t have been “a regular at the bar” drinking with his attacker:

In Iran, the defense is optimistic even as “anti-Americanism reaches ‘fever pitch'”:

… while in California,

Are Iraq and Kuwait (but not Syria) next?

Iraq swirls with rumors of Egypt-like protests to come

News and Analysis (2/3/11)

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

“The military began to step in between the two sides Thursday morning. But it was absent during hours of fighting with rocks, sticks, and Molotov cocktails Wednesday night” with a Western journalist among the targets of the pro-Murabak counter-demonstrators:

Has the neoconservatives’ split with their Israeli allies over Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood confused you? Dr. Esam Omeish gives a straight assessment:

After the Islamists reject the Jordanian Prime Minister’s offer

… no one is buying Salah’s offer:

The governments of Algeria and Kazakhstan have taken note of recent developments …

… but the failed state in Somalia lives in a different world:

How to manufacture consent in the cyber-era:

“Both Israel and Palestinian Authority officials fear the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt might prompt Cairo to ease access to Gaza”:

“Jewish and Baptist leaders are among those calling on Rep. Allen West to apologize for remarks he made about Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress”:

“Criminal charges … would be overkill, a punishment out of proportion to the offense. Is it really necessary to threaten the futures of students who engaged in a nonviolent protest that didn’t, ultimately, stop Oren from delivering his remarks?”

UC Irvine suspended the Muslim Student Union after several members disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador. The district attorney’s involvement at this stage is simply overkill.

When Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, was invited to UC Irvine last February to speak on the subject of U.S.-Israeli relations, members of the Muslim Student Union, a campus group, decided to protest his presence. They did so by repeatedly disrupting his speech — about a dozen times, standing up one by one to shout anti-Israel slogans until each was removed from the room.

The behavior of the students was wrong. They could have held up signs or distributed leaflets or chanted slogans outside the lecture hall, but they should not have tried to shut down the event by making it impossible for Oren to speak. Protesters have the right to voice their objections in many ways, but not to silence those they disagree with. This principle is especially important at a university, which exists, in part, to promote the free exchange of ideas.

The students were removed from the hall by police. Eleven were arrested and cited for “disturbing a public event,” although they were not criminally charged at the time. After an investigation, which found that the Muslim Student Union had planned the protest and subsequently conspired to deny its involvement, university officials suspended the group for an academic quarter.

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That seemed reasonable. There was some dispute over whether it was the group that should have been punished or the individuals involved, but discipline of some sort was in order. The suspension ended last month; the group remains on probation.

Now, however, as the anniversary of the Feb. 8 fracas approaches, the Orange County district attorney’s office is apparently considering bringing criminal charges against the students before the deadline to do so expires. A grand jury in Orange County has been hearing testimony.

Criminal charges, however, are not appropriate. They would be overkill, a punishment out of proportion to the offense. Is it really necessary to threaten the futures of students who engaged in a nonviolent protest that didn’t, ultimately, stop Oren from delivering his remarks? These students have been punished already, in an effort to make clear the difference between legitimate protest and their unacceptable actions. We hope they’ve learned a lesson. Now it’s time to move on.


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News and Analysis (2/2/11)

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Can what is splitting Egypt unite Yemen?

Can the current monarch match his father’s skill at responding to discontent without actually giving up power?

Not least of the differences between the Egyptian and Iranian revolts is the Egyptian army’s measured response this past friday compared to “Black Friday” when the shah’s troops “fired on antigovernment demonstrators with helicopter gunships and tanks” to leave thousands wounded and “500 dead in downtown Jaleh Square alone”:

After Egyptians find ways around the shutdown:

On the “on the Catch-22 argument that no one can ever prove they were targeted by a secret program”:

“If it had been a proper court then my daughter would not have died,” protests the father of the 14-year-old murder victim, while there is no report of punishment of any sort for the married man with whom she allegedly committed adultery:

Despite high-profile cases like “Jihad Jane’s” guilty plea on Tuesday the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security found that “the number of U.S. Muslims accused in terror plots dropped by more than half in 2010”:

We may never know for what blasphemy has the 17-year-old student been arrested, since authorities fear that to tell us would be to commit the act of blasphemy themselves:

According to Human Rights Watch, India “needs to take bigger steps to make sure past practices of rounding up scores of Muslim men, holding them without access to lawyers and forcing confessions don’t make a comeback”:

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