Jordan

Clerical Era

Shortly after I arrived in Damascus this summer, I dropped by the offices of Dr. Mohammed Al Habash, one of Syria’s leading religious scholars, to interview him about the rise of Islam in his country. But the Danes beat me to him. Habash’s Islamic Studies Center was hosting the first official Danish delegation to travel to Syria since a mob, infuriated by the publication of cartoons of the Prophet in a Danish newspaper, had attacked and burned the Danish Embassy in February.

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GOPtopia

Surry Hill. So reads a plaque at the end of the long, winding private road that leads to the crown jewel of McLean, Virginia: the 18,000-square-foot mansion that Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers and his wife Edwina call home. To get there from Washington, you drive across the Potomac River and along a parkway that, in the summer, is canopied by lush green trees. Shortly before the guarded entrance to the CIA, you turn off McLean's main road and then down a private lane, passing through brick gate posts adorned with black lanterns and into a grand cul-de-sac. A massive brick Colonial with majestic

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War Old and New

It would be too charming to suggest that the Jewish state has now emerged as the protector of Sunni Islam, but there is no denying that the events in Lebanon have furnished a strategic illumination. Many people have observed with delight the varying degrees of solidarity with Israel's war against Hezbollah that have been expressed by Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and even the Arab League, which has now broken its perfect record of being on the wrong side of every crisis in the region. There is nothing pro-Zionist about this solidarity; not at all.

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PA Confidential

THE AUTHOR SERVED for four and a half years as the head of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. As a thought experiment, he placed himself inside the mind of a Palestinian spymaster to provide a cold assessment of the challenges faced by the new Hamas-led government. The following is a memo to Ismail Haniyeh, the Palestinian prime minister. Mr. Prime Minister: Your rise to power has been meteoric and unprecedented.

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Divine Rights

 THE MIND OF THE MASTER CLASS: HISTORY AND FAITH IN THE SOUTHERN SLAVEHOLDERS’ WORLDVIEW By Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene D. Genovese (Cambridge University Press, 828 pp., $70) DWELLING PLACE: A PLANTATION EPIC By Erskine Clarke (Yale University Press, 601 pp., $35) I. FOR ALL THE INK THAT HAS been spilled, for all the quarrels and the debates that have erupted over the past century and a half, popular and scholarly understandings of the Civil War almost universally share one view in common: that the war was a great tragedy in American history and American life.

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The Rejection

The Palestinian People: A History By Baruch Kimmerling and Joel S.

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Bible Brigade

The Reverend Franklin Graham has long been something of a thrill seeker. In his quarter-century as head of the Christian relief agency Samaritan's Purse, the eldest son of the legendary Billy Graham (and heir to his evangelical empire) has earned international respect for supplying food, water, shelter, and medical care to regions where other angels fear to tread.

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Noise Pollution

In the weeks leading up to the October 12 bombing in Bali, warnings of pending terror flooded U.S. intelligence channels. Analysts from the National Security Agency (NSA), the CIA, and the FBI combed through threats suggesting that car-bomb attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings were planned against Americans on three continents. The volume of electronic and telephonic communications--what intelligence professionals call "chatter"--between assumed Al Qaeda operatives spiked in late September.

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Smoke Signals

Hiding out somewhere in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden must be a happy man. U.S. officials have identified him as the principal suspect in the disasters visited upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And there are several reasons why. First, the operation required recruits sufficiently well-motivated that they were prepared to commit suicide. Bin Laden's group, Al Qaeda ("the base"), employed suicide bombers in the 1998 attacks against two U.S. embassies in Africa and in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen eleven months ago.

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Two Way Street

It has been three months since "the handshake" on the White House lawn, and the euphoria that followed it has by now all but dissipated. The Israel-PLO talks have become one impasse after another. What keeps the process going is one Israeli concession after another. Yasir Arafat says he won't come to Jericho unless and until his officials control the bridges to and from Jordan and the cross-points between Egypt and Gaza. In return, the Israelis agree to a larger, more heavily armed Palestinian police force than they ever contemplated.

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