News and Analysis (11/5/14)

“In the ex-Baathists, jihadists found organizational skills and military discipline. In the jihadists, ex-Baathists found purpose. ‘In Bucca, the math changed as ideologues adopted military and bureaucratic traits and as bureaucrats became violent extremists'”:

The weapons are marked “FEDERAL LAW FORBIDS TRANSPORTATION IF REFILLED — PENALTY UP TO $25,000 AND FIVE YEARS IMPRISONMENT (49 USC 1809)” with codes that should make it easy for the [US] to trace their transfer “if they choose to do so“:

In branding the head of a groups devoted to the destruction of Muslim religious sites as “the leader of a movement for Jewish access … is like saying the Ku Klux Klan is an organization dedicated to the well-being of white people”:

“[T]he Knesset raised the threshold for election to the parliament, in what has been widely interpreted as an attempt to exclude all three small parties representing the Palestinian minority” and is now moving to ban a branch of the “widely supported” Islamic Movement:

“Stalin and Mao would have enthusiastically endorsed Sam Harris when he wrote that “there are some beliefs so terrible that we are justified in killing people just for holding them”, just as they would have endorsed his defence of torturing prisoners“:

The “US ambassador to the UNHRC, said Egypt had violated ‘freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association [and] deprived thousands of Egyptians of fair trial guarantees’. Some Egyptian human rights organisations refused to attend the hearing, fearing reprisals”:

“Cat Stevens was a truly engaging and prolific singer-songwriter until 1979 when he converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf Islam and vanished from the music industry for 27 years – an absence that he jocularly refers to tonight as ‘taking a short break'”:

Turkey’s new sultan has cut down hundreds of trees in a forest reserve to build a 1000-room palace “bigger than the White House in Washington, the Kremlin in Moscow and even the Palace of Versailles near Paris” at a cost of $615 million:

“Since Rouhani’s election in 2013, there has been a tug-of-war between the hardline and pragmatic camps about foreign policy and particularly on how to deal with the United States”:


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