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Middle East in the Media February 11 - 17 2013

Weekly reading list


Al Qaeda

  • Foreign Policy: What do the Mali al Qaeda documents tell us about the group? (Mary Habeck, February 16)
  • "The French military intervention in Mali apparently forced the insurgents to flee without their most confidential papers. In the chaotic aftermath, journalists found a large number of documents produced by al Qaeda's shadow government in Timbuktu."

US Foreign Policy

  • Al Monitor: Kerry puts Middle East first (Geoffrey Aronson, February 17)
  • "In the absence of a strategy for dealing with the Middle East, seeking advice from leaders in the region can be compared to listening to the inmates in an insane asylum, where useful advice is in short supply."


  • BBC: Why are sex attacks on the rise in Tahrir Square? (Aleem Maqbool, February 15)
  • "The young men we spoke to admitted they went to the square to look at women, and though they did not admit to being involved in serious assaults, their manner suggested they saw no problem in harassing women."

  • Foreign Policy: What Egypt can learn from the breakup of the Soviet Union (James Traub, February 15)
  • "Egypt's revolutionaries have begun to think of President Mohammed Morsy as their Putin, consolidating power and crushing dissent. But it's much more likely, as Sestanovich observes, that Morsy will prove to be Egypt's Yeltsin, presiding fecklessly over weak institutions and an increasingly fragmented polity."


  • Al Monitor: Jordan king launches ‘White Revolution’ (Danya Freenfield, February 14)
  • "Some observers believe reform from above remains possible in Jordan, but the king’s reform agenda has yet to fundamentally change the balance of power or widen the political playing field. Until this situation changes, Jordan is likely to witness an increasing number of popular protests that will also grown in size and intensity."


  • BBC: What next for Hezbollah, Israel, Syria and Iran? (Jim Muir, February 15)
  • "In a turbulent and rapidly-changing region, Hezbollah finds itself facing an unprecedented array of threats and challenges. Will it be fatally weakened if its strategic ally, the Syrian regime, collapses?"


  • BBC: Slow rebirth for post-revolution Libya (Rana Jawid, February 17)
  • "The spark of the revolution has long since faded in Benghazi, where the uprising started before it spread to the rest of Libya. Instead, the city has witnessed the birth of militia rule, assassinations and the influence of radical Islamists."

  • The Guardian: Libya asks: where are the binmen and police now its people are free (Chris Stephen, February 15)
  • "Libya remains rich in oil but economically it is on its knees; militias control the streets and jihadis roam the east; unemployment is rampant, but despite an acute housing shortage, cranes stand idle on huge construction projects."


  • Reuters: Insight: Divided Damascus confronted by all-out war (Samia Nakhoul, February 13)
  • "For Damascus and its outskirts are rapidly descending into civil war and everything that comes with it - lawlessness, looting, kidnapping and revenge killings. Like the rest of the country, the capital and its suburbs are crawling with armed gangs."

  • Foreign Policy: Syria's Battle Royalle (Emile Hokayem, February 11)
  • "In recent days, fighting has erupted in and around the Syrian capital. The intensification of violence suggests that what many have dubbed "the grand battle for Damascus" is gathering force -- a major rebel offensive that has been in the works for several months may soon begin."

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