Doha

After years of trying, Al Jazeera has finally bought a seat at the cable-television negotiating table.

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AMMAN—Syria's former Prime Minister Riyad Hijab, who announced his defection from the Assad government Monday, is one of several high-ranking Syrian government officials to defect in recent months. But if it's increasingly clear that Assad officials are eager to separate themselves from the regime, it's not yet clear what role they will be able to play in the Syrian opposition. For regime defectors, joining the FSA at all is an involved process.

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Friended

On a Tuesday morning in September, three buses full of Libyan tribesmen milled around the gilded lobby of the Ritz Carlton hotel in Doha, the shimmering glass capital of Qatar. The tribesmen were dressed in a mixture of suits and ties and sweeping white robes, and they had come to personally thank the emir for helping them to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi. Yusef Mansoori, a member of the delegation, told me earnestly, “We would like to thank him very, very much for everything he has done for us.” Certainly, the Libyans had plenty to be grateful for.

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Darfur has become all but invisible. With fewer and fewer human rights reports, news dispatches, or even candid accounts from U.N. leaders, events in the region have dropped almost fully out of international view. Facilitating this slip is the fact that global attention has recently shifted away from Darfur to other areas of Sudan: to negotiations with Khartoum, to the south’s independence referendum in January, and, more recently, to the mounting crisis in Abyei, the contested border area between the north and the south. So have things improved in Darfur?

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What the Great Lakes region exports to the world now is, mostly, cars. But its rich network of universities and medical complexes may be one of the best bets for its export future. A recently released University Research Center report documents how Michigan’s leading universities are helping to move its manufacturing base to more diverse and higher end advanced products in energy components, pharmaceuticals, sensors, circuits and robotics.

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Feisel Abdul Rauf, the man behind the Cordoba House and the target of a hilariously elongated chain of guilt-by-association by conservatives, turns out to have been invited to speak abroad about Islam and America by the Bush administration: If one were to hearken back to the halcyon days of the Bush Administration, one would remember that, when Bush adviser Karen Hughes was appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, the Bush Administration saw improving America's standing among Muslims abroad as a part of its national security strategy.

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Did anyone notice that NEC director Larry Summers quietly exploded old-fashioned urban policy last week?  He didn’t mean to. In a speech at the Brookings-White House Council on Automotive Communities summit on May 18, Summers set out to talk about the economy, and how to stimulate manufacturing in general and auto manufacturing in particular.   He identified four policy areas that are particularly important: the availability of credit; exports; innovation and R&D; and human capital. More credit, more exports, more innovation, and more educated workers could, in conjunction with huge and su

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Pullout

If you've been following developments in Darfur, then you know the situation is dire. Last month, the U.N. reported that fighting between the Sudanese army and an obscure rebel faction rendered the Jebel Marra region in southern Darfur inaccessible to humanitarian aid, cutting off some 100,000 Darfuris who had relied on aid agencies for food, water, and medical care.

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I have to admit that Barack Obama's last speech to the Muslim world—by telewhatever to the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar—did contain one subtle reproach to the umma after a year of fawning. And it was an important one although it was only three words: “including their daughters.” The president was ever so gently urging Muslims to include girls and women in the pursuit of knowledge which he right called “the currency of the 21st century.” It is, of course, more than that. But give him his due.

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Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery The State of the Union Wednesday, January 27, 2009 Washington, DC Madame Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union.  For two hundred and twenty years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty.  They have done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility.  And they have done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggl

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