The Middle East &Amp; North Africa

By Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, December 2nd, 2011 @ 10:36PM

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I have neglected saying much lately about the Middle East and Iran, in part because the EWI readership follows things there so closely.  But, lately, there’s been a good deal of insightful writing that shouldn’t be missed.  Those on Egypt include J. Millard Burr’s most recent exclusive to EWI “Egypt’s Trade-Off,” which I’ve already sent out and posted.  Burr’s attention to Egypt’s economy is supplemented by several pieces by David Goldman.  Egyptian politics have had fresh and closer attention on the part of Fouad Ajami, Lee Smith, Goldman, and YNET NEWS.  If there’s possibly a conspiracy to share rule between Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, one has to wonder might being going on between the Brotherhood and the military in Egypt.

With the Egyptian election ongoing and the success of the PJD in Morocco, the debate continues regarding the strength and future of Islamist parties across the Middle East and North Africa, some of it still pollyannaish.  Soeren Kern and others describe well the dynamic between Moroccan Islamists in Brussels and those back home.  Brussels seems to have become the capital of Muslim Europe, but it also may become the capital of an Islamist Morocco.

The biggest news these days (apart from the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran by, in all probability, the basij militia) seems to be the sabotage of Iranian nuclear and missile facilities.  The Iranian government denies the blasts, when they’re not blaming America and Israel agents for aggression against Iran.  Roger Cohen of the NYT sees the blasts as evidence of American and Israeli secret warfare.  Michael Ledeen, on the other hand, sees the Iranian opposition at work.  Let’s hope they’re both right.

In the wake of Hezbollah’s claim that it has rolled up CIA operations in Lebanon, commentators have come up on both sides of the argument as to whether this was a further embarrassment for the U.S. intelligence service and an indication that we need counterintelligence reform (John Schlindler) or evidence of Hezbollah’s weakness (Lee Smith).

Other interesting recent articles include Raymond Ibrahim’s report on the Obama administration’s attempts to exclude mention of Islamism, let alone analysis of it, in official counterterrorism training; and Jeffrey Goldberg’s treatment of anti-Semitism and the Arab Spring.

The EWI DIGEST and BLOG now contain a great plenty of pieces byDavid Goldman.  For years, one had to go to the Asia Times to read“Spengler.”  Now he’s “outed” himself and begins to challenge Walter Russell Mead as a blogger among bloggers.  He also has a new book that’s very much worth our attention: How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying, Too), Regnery.  One can never get too much Goldman, and the blog and digest include a Front Page interview with him on the arguments of the new book.

Categories: U.S. Policy

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