News and Analysis (12/5/11)

“After the fall of Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in 2003, Shiites regained the right to express their beliefs freely, and since then the annual commemorations [of the murder of Imam Hussain on the day of Ashura] have drawn huge crowds despite the threat of violence”:

“It looks like the 21st-century form of war,” said Patrick Clawson, the director of the Iran Security Initiative at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “It does appear that there is a campaign of assassinations and cyber war, as well as the semi-acknowledged campaign of sabotage”:

Official results confirm that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party came out on top in the first round of elections, with the liberals falling even behind the conservative Islamist’s an-Nour Party …

… with at least five parties guaranteed seats so far, the runoff elections that began today will determine whether the liberals and secularists can catch take away an-Nour’s second place position and whether the FJP candidates extend their lead as in Egypt’s souththe Gamaa Islamiyya militant-group–turned-political-party is reported to have threatened FJP supporters:

The followers of the second largest religion in the world “have a much greater tendency to say their religion motivates them to do good works, said the survey.” In fact, “religious upbringing ‘could be an antidote’ to radicalism. The people most likely to become Islamist radicals, [one former radical] says, are those who were raised without a religious education and came to Islam later, as ‘born-agains’”:

A new cabinet has been sworn in and NTC leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil has “outlined the priorities of the new government, including looking after the families of those killed in the war, treating the injured, reintegrating the fighters with society,” but “Tripoli residents have also become increasingly frustrated with fighters from other areas of Libya who have taken over prime locations in the city”:

“Afghanistan estimates it will need outside contributions of roughly $10 billion in 2015, or slightly less than half the country’s annual gross national product, mostly to pay for its security forces, then slated to number about 350,000”:

Mixed signals; even as “the foreign ministry announced that Syria was now prepared to accept a delegation of observers from the Arab League, after the pan-Arab body announced unprecedented sanctions because of its refusal to comply earlier”:

With “the closure of the NATO supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan” in its tenth day, Obama’s phone call to the Pakistani PM “falls short of an actual apology, although a White House statement denies the killings of our ally’s soldiers were not deliberate:






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