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Editorial: Ten steps back

CAIRO: Egyptian society is in the grip of a moral crisis and nothing proves it more than the situation of women. It’s always one step forward and ten steps back. As the world celebrated International Women’s Day this week, a battle has been raging within Egypt’s judicial circles and spilling into the wider society over …

Rania Al Malky

Islamic principles versus Islamic state in Indonesia

SAN FRANCISCO, California/Jakarta: A critical component of Indonesia s democratic future involves recognition of the special role of Islam in the state. Because most Indonesian Muslims want their government to respect Islamic customs even if they do not support the creation of an Islamic state, the line between support for and opposition to Islamic law …

Daily News Egypt

China's bad bet against America

CAMBRIDGE: Chinese-American relations are, once again, in a downswing. China objected to President Barack Obama’s receiving the Dalai Lama in the White House, as well as to the administration’s arms sales to Taiwan. There was ample precedent for both American decisions, but some Chinese leaders expected Obama to be more sensitive to what China sees …

Daily News Egypt

Celebrating extraordinary Muslim women

WASHINGTON, DC: On March 10, three Muslim women were honoured alongside philanthropist Melinda French Gates and human rights activists Panmelo Castro from Brazil and Rebecca Lolosoli from Kenya, by Vital Voices Global Partnership, a Washington, DC-based organization that works to empower women around the world. The need to recognize the work of Muslim women is …

Daily News Egypt

Reassessing the genocide resolution

ANKARA, Turkey: Once again, as has happened every spring for years running, the debate over whether the ethnic clashes against the Armenians in the break up of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide has made it into the US political arena for Congress to weigh in. The recent resolution adopted by the House Committee on …

Daily News Egypt

The language of leaders: Lincoln as a model

WASHINGTON, DC: Angry rhetoric now characterizes the relationship between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs/Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, two West Bank burial sites revered by Jews and Muslims alike, were added by Netanyahu to Israel s new national …

Daily News Egypt

The Dutch retreat

AMSTERDAM: The Dutch army has been operating as part of NATO in a remote and unruly part of Afghanistan since 2006. Fighting against the Taliban has been heavy at times. Twenty-one Dutch lives have been lost, out of about 1,800 men and women. The Dutch were supposed to have been relieved by troops from a …

Ian Buruma

Hypocrisy

The international reaction to the murder in his Dubai hotel room a month ago of Hamas militant Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, and the sensational revelations that have followed, constitute a near-universal exercise in hypocrisy. Let s begin with Dubai. It is the region s main sanctions-busting transshipment station for Iran and its banks a laundering station for …

Daily News Egypt

In Focus: The Muslim Brotherhood puzzle

The Muslim Brotherhood has yet to take a clear position on former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei’s intention to run for president in Egypt in 2011. Neither, Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, nor any of the high ranking members of the group have declared whether they will support ElBaradei or …

Daily News Egypt

Corporate political speech is bad for shareholders

CAMBRIDGE: The United States Supreme court recently struck down limits on the freedom of companies to spend money on political elections. Large, publicly traded companies in other countries also often face lax limits on their use of corporate resources to influence political outcomes, fueling fears that the interests of shareholders will trump those of other …

Daily News Egypt

A brilliant blunder

The Dubai operation looks like a brilliant bungle. Brilliant because it was swift, smooth and effective. Hamas commander Mahmoud Mabhouh is dead and, according to Jane s Defence Weekly, which quotes an unnamed senior Hamas man, the perpetrators took a cell-phone and a set of documents that reveal arms sources and arms deals and so …

Daily News Egypt

A reset in the Caucasus

YEREVAN: Will Turkey’s current turmoil between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s powerful army complicate and delay the country’s boldest initiatives in years – the moves to address decades-old tensions with both Armenians and Kurds? Restructuring the role of Turkey’s army is vital, but if Turkey cannot follow through with the Armenian and …

Daily News Egypt

Muslim right to the Jewish past

JERUSALEM: The decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel s Tomb on the list of National Heritage Sites would, at first glance, appear to be one about which every Jew should be pleased. And, in fact, many Israelis believe that historical sites identified with the Jewish past should be under Jewish-Israeli control. …

Daily News Egypt

Can Muslim and Jewish narratives co-exist?

JERUSALEM: In his book, “Longitudes & Attitudes (2002), journalist Thomas Friedman, citing Middle East expert Stephen P. Cohen, suggests that the true clash in today s world is not between civilizations (as argued by Samuel Huntington) but within each civilization or religion – a clash between the forces of extremism and those of moderation, tolerance, …

Daily News Egypt

Renewing Europe's security dialogue

ATHENS: The year 2009 has been one of great change, taking place amidst even greater uncertainty. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the resilience of the post-Cold War security system in Europe is being tested. Longstanding conflicts remain unresolved and complex new challenges are emerging. Energy security, organized crime, terrorism, absolutism and …

Daily News Egypt

The dangers of deficit reduction

NEW YORK: A wave of fiscal austerity is rushing over Europe and America. The magnitude of budget deficits – like the magnitude of the downturn – has taken many by surprise. But despite protests by the yesterday’s proponents of deregulation, who would like the government to remain passive, most economists believe that government spending has …

Joseph E. Stiglitz

Israel must be held accountable

The assassination of a senior Hamas leader, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh, in Dubai in January was not the first such Israeli assassination of a Palestinian and will most probably not be the last. This one, however, created the biggest international furor that Israel may yet have faced over such an act. There are three reasons for these …

Daily News Egypt

Using Quranic narratives in pursuit of peace

NEW YORK: I consider the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the single biggest obstacle to eliminating Muslim-Jewish antipathy. Although this dispute is fundamentally about the distribution of assets and the power to control decisions, it is frequently portrayed as a religious conflict. And too often, opposing sides have used erroneous or out-of-context interpretations of their scriptures to demonize …

Daily News Egypt

Can Asians resolve global problems?

DAVOS: Is there an “Asian way to resolving global challenges? The conventional answer is no. But elements of an Asian way are gradually emerging. Given Asia’s growing influence, the world should pay attention – and may have much to gain. The key to understanding Asian approaches is their pragmatism. Asians constantly adapt and change. In …

Daily News Egypt

Europe's Contested Neighborhood

BRUSSELS: What is the most important source of disagreement today between Russia and the West? It is not the issues most often in the news – Iran or Afghanistan. It is Europe’s contested neighborhood – the future of those countries between the eastern border of NATO and the European Union and the western border of …

Daily News Egypt

Turkey's coup that failed

ANKARA: The exposure of the plan hatched by senior military officials – called “Operation Sledgehammer – to destabilize Turkey’s government, and the subsequent arrest of high-ranking officers, demonstrates the growing strength of Turkey’s democracy. Moreover, prosecutors’ efforts to uncover the truth are not a campaign to discredit the Turkish army, as some allege; nor has …

Daily News Egypt

The global roots of Euro-jitters

FLORENCE: It is too simplistic to explain the current wave of concern about the euro in terms of Greece’s problems. Greece has massive fiscal and competitiveness problems, but Greece (2.25 percent of the population of the European Union) is smaller than California (12 percent of the population of the United States). And California, too, is …

Daily News Egypt

Jinnah's labyrinth

NEW DELHI: Three recent events vividly illustrate the dilemmas of today’s Pakistan, which are in many ways the same challenges faced by the country’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, over six decades ago. The foreign secretaries of India and Pakistan met in New Delhi recently, after a gap of more than 15 months, the terrorist attacks …

Daily News Egypt

Editorial: Israel does not seek peace

CAIRO: First it was the hummus, kibbeh and tabouleh, but now Israel’s insidious endeavor to usurp Arab culture and traditions, just as it has been usurping Arab land for the past 60 years, has set its fangs on Islamic holy sites, single-handedly transforming the Arab-Israeli conflict into a religious feud. Israel’s “ultranationalist and fascistic fantasies …

Rania Al Malky

Bankruptcy comes to China

BEIJING: China’s businessmen have always needed resilience, but now they must become accustomed to the specter of bankruptcy. For China now has a bankruptcy code with teeth, and the country’s courts are beginning to enforce it with rigor. Bankruptcy legislation in China started right after Deng Xiaoping launched his pro-market reforms three decades ago. The …

Daily News Egypt

The Iranian dimension in Iraq

The general perception among many experts and observers of Iran is that the Islamic Iranian leaders prefer to see a grand victory by Iraq s Shias in the coming general elections there next month. It is of course true that Tehran desires to see a government in Iraq dominated by Shia. But this is only …

Daily News Egypt

Iraq's critical election

BAGHDAD: Iraqis go to the polls on March 7 to elect a new Parliament for the second time under the country’s permanent constitution of 2006. Many scholars believe that it is the second general election, not the first, which is the most important test of any new democracy. If so, these elections appear to foreshadow …

Daily News Egypt

The Middle East's hair trigger

TEL AVIV: Across the Middle East, a fatalistic conventional wisdom is taking hold: war is unavoidable. Some see war as a way of resolving an increasingly deadlocked situation, shaking up a dysfunctional regional order whose main actors are not only at loggerheads, but are also incapable of resolving the legitimacy deficits of their respective regimes. …

Daily News Egypt

Training our boys to be bullies

JERUSALEM: The main thing that drew me to Israel was that here, you put your life on the line in a great political struggle, unlike in the West, where political struggle is something you talk about from a safe distance. The political struggle for Israelis, as far as I m concerned, is to find a …

Daily News Egypt

How safe are your dollars?

CAMBRIDGE: Chinese officials and private investors around the world have been worrying aloud about whether their dollar investments are safe. Since the Chinese government holds a large part of its $2 trillion of foreign exchange in dollars, they have good reason to focus on the future value of the greenback. And investors with smaller dollar …

Daily News Egypt