January 2010


(Image from the NYT)

By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, for the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.

The deployments come at a critical turning point in President Obama’s dealings with Iran. After months of unsuccessful diplomatic outreach, the administration is trying to win broad international consensus for sanctions against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which Western nations say control a covert nuclear arms program.

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From the Washington Post:

JOS, Nigeria — An international human rights group is calling on Nigerian officials to investigate reports that at least 150 Muslims were killed in a central Nigerian town.

Human Rights Watch on Saturday cited reports of a massacre in a town located south of Jos, where fighting broke out between Christians and Muslims about a week ago.

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Image from Foreign Policy Mag

By Justin Vaisse, for Foreign Policy Magazine:

By 2050, Europe will be unrecognizable. Instead of romantic cafes, Paris’s Boulevard Saint-Germain will be lined with halal butcheries and hookah bars; the street signs in Berlin will be written in Turkish. School-children from Oslo to Naples will read Quranic verses in class, and women will be veiled.

At least, that’s what the authors of the strange new genre of “Eurabia” literature want you to believe. Not all books of this alarmist Europe-is-dying category, which received its most intellectually hefty treatment yet with the recent release of Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolution in Europe, offer such dire and colorful predictions. But they all make the case that low fertility rates among natives, massive immigration from Muslim countries, and the fateful encounter between an assertive Islamic culture and a self-effacing European one will lead to a Europe devoid of all Western identity.

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Image from the NYT

Excellent news! Story by Sarah Lyall, for the New York Times:

LONDON — Six years after using the Patriot Act to revoke the visa of a prominent Muslim academic, the United States State Department reversed itself and said Wednesday that it would no longer bar the scholar from entering the United States.

The decision came in the form of an order signed by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. It paves the way for the scholar, Prof. Tariq Ramadan, to apply for a new visa free of the authorities’ former accusation that he had contributed money to a charity connected to terrorism.

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(From ABC News)

by Joseph Rhee, Tahman Bradley, and Brian Ross, for ABC News:

Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the United States military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found.

The sights are used by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and in the training of Iraqi and Afghan soldiers. The maker of the sights, Trijicon, has a $660 million multi-year contract to provide up to 800,000 sights to the Marine Corps, and additional contracts to provide sights to the U.S. Army.

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From the Economist:

FOR American commentators who like to denounce European complacency in the face of an increasingly assertive Islam, France is an intriguing test-case. It is home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, numbering some 5m-6m, and it unapologetically expects Muslims to adapt to French ways. In 1994 the government began clamping down on religious symbols, including the Muslim headscarf, in state schools. Ten years later it banned all “ostentatious” religious signs, including the veil, from state schools and other public buildings. Now yet another tightening is in the works: a proposed ban on wearing the burqa in any public places.

Jean-François Copé, parliamentary leader of the ruling UMP party, this week submitted a draft law stating that “nobody, in places open to the public or on streets, may wear an outfit or an accessory whose effect is to hide the face”. A few exceptions would be made, he said, such as for carnivals. At other times, anybody refusing to take off a face-covering could be fined €750 ($1,090). He hopes parliament will debate the draft at the end of March, shortly after the regional elections.

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(Image from the NYT)

By Edmund J. Hull, for the New York Times:

AMERICANS are scrambling to understand Yemen, where Al Qaeda has recently surged and the Christmas Day plot against Northwest Flight 253 was hatched. It’s not easy. Yemen has 5,000 years of history, complicated politics and daunting economic challenges. But we’ve made it more difficult to understand by allowing several myths to cloud our vision. Challenging these misconceptions is a first step toward comprehending and overcoming significant threats to American, Yemeni and international security.

Myth 1: The Yemeni government’s control does not extend much beyond the capital, Sana.

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