In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate

Jan14

The US, Saudi Arabia, propaganda and tyranny in the Middle East

The most significant problem in political discourse is not that people embrace destructive beliefs after issues are rationally debated. It’s that the potency of propaganda, by design, often precludes such debates from taking place. Consider how often one hears the claim that the US is committed to spreading democracy and opposing tyranny in the Middle East in light of this fact from a New York Review of Books article by Hugh Eakin reviewing three new books on Saudi Arabia (via As’ad AbuKhalil): “The US does more trade – overwhelmingly in oil and weapons – with Saudi Arabia than any other country in the Middle East, including Israel, and depends on close Saudi...

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Jan04

The myth of the murderous Muslim

Muslims are subversive jihadists. The Middle East is perpetually unstable. “Islam has bloody borders.” If you’ve already made up your mind, you’ll find a way to twist the facts to support your conclusion. And if the facts don’t do the job, you can always hire new ones. In the last year, American anti-Muslim hate groups have increased threefold. As playwright Wajahat Ali and others have found, the farther we move away from the September 11 terrorist attacks, the worse discrimination, prejudice and violence against Muslims become. There’s a simple enough reason for this: Islamophobia has become an industry. In the absence of alternative narratives, which...

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Dec30

Morsi must become a leader for all Egyptians

Carnegie Endowment senior associate Marina Ottoway has argued that the only question facing Egypt’s faltering democratic transition “is whether it will be the tyranny of the Islamist majority or that of the secular minority.” Since the fall of Mubarak, Ottoway argues that an ‘Islamist majority’, with popular support, has been pitted against a ‘secular minority’ with considerable influence over state institutions. Yet, this oft-repeated dichotomy of ‘Islamists vs seculars’, masks real diversity in the motivations of opponents to both the presidential decree and the hastily drafted constitution. The labelling also avoids adequate scrutiny of the actual proposals being made by all sides. With...

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