Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 30th, 2008

Due to unforeseen circumstances…

Posted by Charles II on December 30, 2008

Juan Cole’s blog is the place to go for a roundup of analysis on the situation in Gaza. One link he provides to Farnaz Fassihi points out that a consequence of the bombing of Gaza is that governments across the Middle East are at elevated risk of being overthrown by radicals:

The ferocity of the Israeli attacks in Gaza — and mounting casualties, which United Nations estimated Monday at 320 dead, including 62 civilians, and more than 1,400 injured — could channel pent-up anger against Arab leaders into further support for Islamist groups. These groups are increasingly seen as the only organized movements willing to stand up to Israel.

In Iraq, Ayatollah al-Sistani has called for “[t]he Arab and Muslim worlds … to take practical steps in order to stop this continual aggression and to break this cruel blockade…”

As Juan Cole says, “Sistani’s forceful call for practical action, on the other, shows an increased militancy and self-assuredness on the part of the Shiite authorities in Iraq.”

And al-Maliki has responded. According to Zeina Karam of AP:

the political party of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki issued a statement condemning the attacks and calling on Islamic countries to cut relations with Israel and end all “secret and public talks” with it.

According to Karam, in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrullah has mobilized huge numbers (half a million?) of members of Hezbollah, and even the king Abdullah II of Jordan has donated blood for Gazans. While clearly just a symbolic gesture, it is a sign that American policymakers should consider. In Egypt, repression is too heavy for people to demonstrate openly, but that just makes it the more likely that there will be a coup. The Taliban has also joined in.

In Europe, countries with significant immigrant populations also have to be concerned. In France, Nicolas Sarkozy has condemned the attacks (Juan Cole’s translation here).

One would never have imagined that Israel would succeed in uniting Sunni radicals like Hamas with Shi’a like Iran, or that it could have succeeded in alienating its natural allies in Europe. But it has, and it is not far from bringing down the pro-western regimes that have made the job of the IDF relatively easy. I’m sure that when things spiral out of control and Israel’s continued existence is no longer a sure thing that Likud will say that these were completely unforeseen circumstances.

Posted in israel, Middle East, wrong way to go about it | 10 Comments »


Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 30, 2008

Don’t mind me, I’m just preening over the news that, yet again, Minneapolis and Saint Paul were among the top five cities in America in terms of literacy:

CITY OVERALL RANK  2008 2007 2006 2005
Minneapolis, MN 1.5 1 2 2
Seattle, WA 1.5 2 1 1
Washington DC 3 5 3.5 3
St Paul, MN 4 3 5 9.5
San Francisco, CA 5 7 9 5
Atlanta, GA 6 8 3.5 4
Denver, CO 7 4 8 6
Boston, MA 8 10 11 7
St Louis, MO 9 6 12 15
Cincinnati, OH 10.5 11 7 9.5
Portland, OR 10.5 12 10 11



*Preens some more*

Posted in education, Minnesota | 3 Comments »

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