Damascus rising.; Syriana
December 11, 2006
Yes, I admit it. This is a theme I've been harping on for almost aquarter of a century: Syria sees Lebanon as an illegitimate break away from a great empire ruled from and by Damascus. Parts ofIraq and Turkey, and Cyprus in its entirety, are also duchies in this imagined imperium. And, of course, Israel. In the struggle against the Jewish restoration, many Arabs of Palestine called themselves southern Syrians. That provided a rationale for Damascusto fight in every Arab war against the Jews. Lebanon itself is a contrivance of the French, hewn from thedisintegrated Ottoman Empire.
October 30, 2006
Sitting among Madonna’s tassel-tipped corset, a jumpsuit worn by a member of ZZ Top, and other framed memorabilia, Egyptian families wait at their empty tables in silence. A 50-inch flat-screen television overhead plays music videos of the Killers and Nine Inch Nails, while waiters weave aimlessly around the booths. As the sun dips below the Nile, a Red Hot Chili Peppers video is unceremoniously interrupted—the guitar solo replaced by a solemn, baritone voice. “In the name of Allah, the most merciful,” it begins in Arabic.
Paleologus and Us
October 09, 2006
"Faith, Reason, and the University: Memories and Reflections"--the title seems an unlikely one for a papal speech that has triggered protests, even violence, across large parts of the Muslim world. Benedict XVI's remarks, made on September 12 at the University of Regensburg, where he was once a professor, have been denounced by the parliament of Pakistan, protesters in India, Iraq's Sunni leadership, the top Shiite cleric of Lebanon, the prime minister of Malaysia, and the president of Indonesia, among many others.
August 07, 2006
In the early hours of September 13, 1997, the Israeli army killed one 45- year-old woman, two Hezbollah fighters, and six Lebanese soldiers in the mountains of southern Lebanon. Later that day, Hezbollah officials viewed video footage of the bodies and confirmed that one of the slain was a precious kill indeed: 18-year-old Hadi Nasrallah, son of Hezbollah's leader, Secretary-General Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah. That evening, Nasrallah was scheduled to give a speech in Haret Hreik, the southern Beirut suburb where Hezbollah's offices are located.
June 19, 2006
This article was adapted from The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup. There have been revolutions to create socialism, democracy, and authoritarian dictatorship. But humankind has yet to fight a revolution to guarantee one of the most vital elements--if not the most vital element--of the good life. That is, a winning soccer team. If we were to take up arms for this reason, what kind of government would we want to install? Political theory, for all its talk about equality and virtue, has strangely evaded this question.
May 15, 2006
Never again? More like again and again.
A Very Long Engagement
May 15, 2006
Bush channels Neville Chamberlain.
May 08, 2006
In early February, as Egyptian markets were emptying shelves of Danish butter cookies and Lebanese and Syrian crowds were burning embassies, Arab satellite TV stations began playing a song called "We're Out of Patience." In Cairo, the song blasted out of stores, taxis, and gas stations, ordering the Danish illustrators and publishers of the Mohammed cartoons to go to hell, where "fire will be everywhere, burning your faces." Preceding the eternal damnation line was a friendly reminder in the form of a lyric: "Islam is a religion of love, not injustice and terrorism." The singer of "We're Out o
February 14, 2006
Two weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted to refer the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. There is plenty to like about the IAEA resolution, starting with the large majority it commanded among the organization's member states--even the usually recalcitrant Russians and Chinese signed on.
The Quiet Americans
October 06, 2005
In late July, news surfaced that Iran had executed two gay teenagers--ostensibly for sexual assault, but most likely for the crime of being gay.