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Thoughts on ‘Innocence of Muslims’

Innocence of Muslims, the shoddy production that recently unleashed waves of outrage throughout the Middle East and the Muslim world, was, mildly put, an insult directed at Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Whether in form, language, or content, the film made a mockery of basic standards of human decency, good taste, artistic subtlety and historical discernment...    read more 

Syria’s War Hits the House Of Assad

It has to come to this in Damascus: Wednesday’s rebel bomb attack on a meeting of Bashar al-Assad’s top lieutenants, killing at least three. The war has come to the House of Assad itself. Syria’s dictatorship had rested on a dynasty, and the terror had to be visited on the dynasty. There could be no [&hellip...    read more 

An Alawite State in Syria?

Many Middle East analysts view Syria through one lens: a troubled state in need of regime change. But recent events indicate that a new paradigm is needed-one that accepts that the Alawite drive for communal survival may preclude survival of the present Syrian state. Quite a few commentators described the Houla massacres of May 2012 [&hellip...    read more 

Syria and the Power of Sectarian Strife

Major world powers, meeting in Geneva over the weekend in an effort to strike a meaningful pose on the ongoing crisis in Syria, failed to do so. There was no consensus on calling for the removal of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad from power, and the ultimate agreement favoring a political transition lacked any real meaning. [&hellip...    read more 

Egypt’s Dilemma: The Professor or the Pilot?

Egyptians will vote June 16 and 17 in a runoff election to determine their next president. The two candidates are unexpected beneficiaries of a divided electorate, disqualifications of more popular candidates and better organization among several key constituencies. The results will determine the future of the largest Arab state, as well as play a pivotal [&...    read more 

In Sudan, Give War a Chance

Less than a year after South Sudan declared its independence, it appears headed for war once again with its northern neighbor, Sudan. At the same time, marginalized northerners are rebelling against the government of Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The international community has called for a cease-fire and peace talks, but the return of viol...    read more 

An Incomplete Justice

The verdict delivered Thursday against Charles G. Taylor for crimes against humanity ends a saga that began on Christmas Eve 1989, when Mr. Taylor and a group of Libyan-trained followers invaded Liberia, igniting a regional conflagration that eventually engulfed parts of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast. Although Mr. Taylor’s conviction, by a speci...    read more 

America’s Syria Abdication

Little more than a year into their terrible ordeal, the Syrians are a people unillusioned. “We have been forsaken by the world,” a noted figure of the opposition recently told me in Istanbul. Days later, in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Antakya, in a tent city a stone’s throw from their tormented homeland, [&hellip...    read more 

Adonis, the Syrian Crisis, and the Question of Pluralism in the Levant

More than a century after its genesis, Arab national identity remains a vexing question for many Middle Eastern writers and intellectuals. In its 20th century heyday, it frequently overshadowed any alternative identity frameworks. Its vocal proponents dismissed any alternative, non-Arab identities, placing their ideological convictions over any other competi...    read more 

The New Anti-Semitism

Not long ago, the Economist ran an unsigned editorial called the “Auschwitz Complex.” The unnamed author blamed serial Middle East tensions on both Israel’s unwarranted sense of victimhood, accrued from the Holocaust, and its unwillingness to “to give up its empire.” As far as Israel’s paranoid obsessions with the specter ...    read more