News and Analysis (10/18/07)

Bush Administration scores major victory in Senate against Americans’ right to privacy, reaching an important “consensus” agreement with members of Congress to grant immunity to telecoms while providing little oversight:

Amid a very cordial tone, members of Congress throw softball questions at Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey and fail to press him on his knowledge of the NSA wiretapping and some other controversial policies advocated by former AG Gonzales:

Former PM Bhutto is met with joy from over 250,000 Pakistanis upon her return from exile, however some unease remains about what her return means for the country’s political future:

“Beirut should be combining a foreign policy that stresses the refugees’ right of return with a domestic one that strives to accomodate their stay here as humanely as possible.”—Daily Star Lebanon Editorial

Grassroots reconciliation efforts appear to make more progress than at the national level as prominent Shi’a politician meets with Sunni leaders in Anbar who reciprocate by expressing their willingness to meet with Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf:

US Government watchdog slams Saudi for its violations of international religious freedom, including restrictions against Shi’as and women, but also recommends closing a Saudi-sponsored school in Virginia over concerns of teaching religious radicalism without requesting and analyzing their curriculum materials:

Alejandro

Alejandro Beutel is program assistant for the Minaret of Freedom Institute with expertise in religious freedom, democratization and security issues.

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