As the uprising in Syria takes on an increasingly sectarian cast, Jordan has become a crucial center for the Islamist opposition — fighters, regime defectors, and their supporters, who speak of replacing the secular-Alawite regime with a new government that brings a Sunni majority to power. More extremist groups, like Jabhat al-Nasra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate based in and around Aleppo that wants to establish a caliphate, have strengthened their numbers with Jordanian recruits in the south, and are fighting to take the capital first. And while Jordan’s own secular monarchy contends with hundreds of thousands of newly arrived Syrian refugees, it is fearful that the conflict is also creating a powerful cause for its own restless Islamists.
Entries in New York Review of Books (6)
Whoever takes the time to peer closely at the space enclosed within those bars [of our lives] can see that our country has been altered in fundamental ways. When President Barack Obama in his elegant address accepting the Nobel Peace Prize declares to the world that he has “prohibited torture,” we should pause in our pride to notice that torture violates international and domestic law and that the notion that our new president has the power to prohibit it follows insidiously from the pretense that his predecessor had the power to order it—that during the state of exception, not only because of what President George W. Bush decided to do but also because of what President Obama is every day deciding not to do (not to “look back” but “look forward”), torture in America has metamorphosed. Before the War on Terror, official torture was illegal and anathema; today it is a policy choice.
State TV: "Ms Haleh Sahabi was first heart attacked, then deceased" (Cartoon: Nikahang Kowsar)
2055 GMT: Erasing the Dead. Kalemeh reports that, in the aftermath of the death of activist Haleh Sahabi after she was accosted by security forces, both "Haleh" and "Sahabi" have been filtered from SMS texts in Iran.
2040 GMT: There May Be Trouble Ahead. The hard-line Majmal News claims that, for the ceremonies commemorating Ayatollah Khomeini tomorrow, the CIA and anti-Revolutionary groups will bring ammunition across the western borders of Iran and to Tehran.
Even more distinctive, however, is the analysis of Digarban, which is critical of the Government: hardliners are are afraid of the reactions of Ahmadinejad and his team, so they are spreading news abt something grave happening on Saturday.
We give billions in aid to Pakistan’s military and civilian government. Yet Pakistan is harboring our enemies and even the enemies, one could argue, of its own healthy survival. Portions of our money are being funneled into the variety of insurgent networks whose fighters are killing American soldiers, Afghan soldiers, American civilians, Afghan civilians, European civilians, Pakistani civilians—mothers, fathers, children on multiple continents. Why, asks a US army major, did all his friends die in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when the real problem is on the other side of the border? Why, asks a twelve-year-old Afghan girl in Kandahar whose family has been wiped out by US air strikes, are you bombing us? How has this come to pass?
A United Nations diplomat charged with investigating claims of torture said Monday that he is “deeply disappointed and frustrated” that U.S. defense officials have refused his request for an unmonitored visit with Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of passing classified material to WikiLeaks.
Juan E. Mendez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, said his request for a private interview with Manning was denied by the Defense Department on Friday. Instead, he has been told that any visit must be supervised.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a changed man. His worldview now is decidedly anti-Western. When I spoke with him earlier this month at the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai told me that the US has been unable to bring peace to Afghanistan or to secure cooperation from Pakistan, which continues to give sanctuary to the Taliban. He rejects the barrage of US criticism at his government on issues like corruption and poor administration and says the original sin of all these faults lies with the Americans.