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Middle East in the Media February 18 - 25 2013

Weekly reading list

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Afghanistan

  • Al Jazeera: Taliban talks in Doha drag on endlessly (Ali M. Latifi, February 25)
  • "Taliban representatives have been in Qatari capital for almost a year, but negotiations seem to be going nowhere...Several observers have suggested the Taliban are simply trying to buy time until presidential and legislative elections in the spring of 2014 to see who the next Afghan leaders will be."

Egypt

  • Al Monitor: Culture of violence in Egypt (Sarah el-Sirgany, February 24)
  • "Violence has quickly become the norm at protests in Egypt, and is being deployed by both the Islamist government and opposition."

Iran

  • Al Monitor: Iran reacts angrily to "Argo" Oscar (Saideh Jamshidi, February 25)
  • "Michelle Obama’s live remote appearance from the White House at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony to announce the year's best-picture winner — "Argo" — created a political buzz in Iran."

Israel/Hezbollah

  • Al Monitor: The Israel-Hezbollah shadow war (Ali Hashem, February 24)
  • "Both Hezbollah and Israel believe they are destined to fight each other, though both might think, given the existing deterrence, it's safer, wiser and maybe cheaper to fight away while watching the common borders getting calmer."

Libya

  • The Economist: The party and the hangover (February 23)
  • "After a brief bout of euphoria to mark the second anniversary of the rebellion against Muammar Qaddafi on February 17th, Libyans soon sank back into the less joyful realisation that political, economic and security reforms are proceeding at a snail’s pace at best."

Palestine

  • BBC: Hebrew taught in Gaza schools, but barriers remain (Jon Donnison, February 21)
  • "The Islamist movement introduced the programme earlier this year. It is the first time such classes have existed in Gaza for two decades. Such has been the demand that the government is having to train more Hebrew teachers so the classes can be rolled out across Gaza."

Syria

  • Foreign Policy: Plan B: Arming the rebels isn’t the only way the United States can help Syria (Marc Lynch, February 22)
  • "The United States should not shy away from explicitly tying the push for cross-border aid to a political strategy to strengthen the opposition. American humanitarian assistance thus far, while considerable, has achieved remarkably little in terms of advancing its strategic goals or gaining influence within Syria."

  • New York Times: Saudis step up help for rebels in Syria with Croatian arms (C.J. Chivers & Eric Schmitt, February 25)
  • "The weapons began reaching rebels in December via shipments shuttled through Jordan, officials said, and have been a factor in the rebels’ small tactical gains this winter against the army and militias loyal to Mr. Assad."

Saudi Arabia

  • Foreign Policy: The Kingdom of No Surprises (Michael Stephens, February 19)
  • "Put aside notions of Saudi Arabia's imminent collapse -- it isn't going to happen...The oil will keep pumping, the arms sales will keep flowing, and for now, the kingdom's huge economic surpluses will be enough to stave off the societal hounds from barking at the door."

Turkey

  • New York Times: New uniforms for Turkish Airlines create uproar (Tim Arango, February 24)
  • "This being Turkey, where seemingly trifling matters can become bitter contests over identity, mock-ups leaked to the news media have caused quite a stir, eliciting passionate reactions from the secular and the pious, and from those who support the traditions of modern Turkey and others who are nostalgic for the days of the Ottoman Empire."

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