Bashir Goth - "A word of truth used with an ill intention" is a maxim attributed to Imam Ali, the fourth Caliph of Islam. This was the first thing that came to mind when I read about the Mogadishu Islamists' decision to ban Khat, the narcotic stimulant, that millions of Somalis use as a pastime and for generating income to feed millions of children in a country where more than 43 percent of the population lives on less than a dollar a day.
December 2006 Archives
Panelist's View | December 5, 2006 9:30 AM
Guest Analyst | December 5, 2006 1:07 PM
Wolfango Piccoli - Is the Pope's reported endorsement of Turkey's bid for EU membership going to make any difference? Unfortunately for the Turks, no.
Panelist's View | December 6, 2006 9:05 AM
Yossi Melman - In spite of the belligerent declarations of Iran's leaders - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeated his mantra this week that he expects the Zionist entity to collapse in the near future - Iranian representatives are holding negotiations with Israeli representatives. These are not only indirect negotiations, but real meetings. These meetings have been going on for about two decades, and concern laborious international arbitration regarding the debts between the two nations.
Panelist's View | December 7, 2006 10:07 AM
Sami Moubayed - President George W Bush's met with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the Iran-backed turbaned cleric who leads the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). Bush must have been shocked.
Guest Analyst | December 8, 2006 9:48 AM
Henri Barkey - The European Union has never been about borders or geographical limits. Through each expansion cycle, the European Union enlarged the circle of stability and prosperity. The EU's founders always conceived of Europe as a community of solidarity and common destiny, not just a common market.
Panelist's View | December 8, 2006 6:15 PM
Gustavo Gorriti - Octogenarian Fidel Castro has been in the hospital for months and Augusto Pinochet just passed away.
Guest Analyst | December 12, 2006 9:01 AM
Editor's Inbox | December 14, 2006 2:07 PM
Dana Priest answers your questions on national security. Click here to join the discussion.
Editor's Inbox | December 15, 2006 7:10 PM
Here's the transcript the interview with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem conducted on December 14, 2006 in Damascus, Syria.
Guest Analyst | December 16, 2006 1:44 PM
Dr. Francois Venter - Southern Africa is in a HIV crisis. Not a single country in the region has demonstrated a decrease in the number of new infections in recent years. Even Uganda, traditionally the poster child of HIV prevention, has experienced a rise in infection rates over the past few years. Knowledge about HIV has not translated into behavior changes. Condoms have been disappointing, especially in countries such as South Africa.
Guest Analyst | December 16, 2006 10:59 PM
Princeton Lyman - Somalia edges closer to war each day. Ethiopia and the Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) have positioned troops just a few miles from each other inside Somalia. Ethiopia and the United States have meanwhile staked out increasingly belligerent positions toward the CIC. Ethiopia's Prime Minister has scoffed at moderation as only encouraging "terrorists." The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Jendayi Frazer has charged that the CIC is now controlled by Al Qaeda cell individuals. American intelligence personnel are seen increasingly in Addis Ababa, suggesting the U.S. will back an Ethiopian military action. A war in Somalia would easily spread throughout the Horn, with refugees streaming into Kenya and Djibouti. War could once again erupt between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Guest Analyst | December 19, 2006 5:12 PM
Sima Wali - Although women have made major strides towards equality in the 21st century, we also see a lingering tendency in the West to restrain these advances around the world. Let's turn to history for a moment.
| December 22, 2006 3:46 AM
Sami Moubayed - There's not much to be proud of in Syria today. The economy is in bad shape and our morale is low. So to uplift my spirits, I write about good times in Syria's history. I turn to the likes of legendary writer and poet Nizar Qabbani. In the mid-20th century, his work called for the emancipation of women.
| December 22, 2006 3:47 AM
Damascus, Syria - There's not much to be proud of in Syria today. The economy is in bad shape and our morale is low. So to uplift my spirits, I write about good times in Syria's history. I turn to the likes of legendary writer and poet Nizar Qabbani. In the mid-20th century, his work called for the emancipation of women.
Panelist's View | December 22, 2006 7:06 AM
Bashir Goth - Somalia for Somalis! Let them run their country as they please. Easy words to say but difficult to accept when it means beheading people for not praying five times a day, chopping hands of those who steal to stay alive in a country where mere survival is a lifelong ambition. Difficult to accept when women are shrouding and denied to breathe fresh air or go about their daily business to feed their children. Difficult to accept when the country's musical heritage is expunged as Satan's work, the cinema is banned and tha watching of world sports is forbidden, thus depriving the youth of the only source of cultural interaction they have with the outside world.
Editor's Inbox | December 27, 2006 12:00 PM
It's a gorgeous afternoon in Beirut, the sky is a clear Kodak blue, the sun warm, a soft breeze blows cold. A quiet day it is, quiet days they have been preceding the holidays. The usual frenzy is palpably (understandably) dimmed. Everything seems smaller, shrunk to a barely functional size, Christmas decorations, the commerce of gift-giving, celebrations. The mobilization in downtown Beirut, where more often than not one can hear Christmas carols blaring in English on one square and thundering calls for overthrow of government on the square right adjacent to it, is also a little dimmed. Much to my surprise (but that's the result of my own failing), Beirut has managed to cope with the political upheavals with the two factions effectively looking away from one another. Even when cars jam in traffic along the periphery of the protest area, you look around and see drivers chatting away casually with their passengers, taxi drivers are able to have conversations worlds removed even when the outpour of either Christmas caroling or revolutionary fervor are deafening. The country is stuck in an impasse, we have been granted a lull for the holidays (Christmas, New Year's, Adha and Armenian Christmas... who knows). On the one hand the protestors promise to up the ante and stage violent disruptions (civil disobedience) after the holidays, and on the other hand the other side is bracing for more assassinations. They are all living martyrs, potentially. There is no resolution for the present conflict in sight. Blood will be spilled. It will have to. Since the assassination of Hariri, this country seems to be living a big noir moment, at moments I suspected the script to be pretty bad, closer to dinner theater than fiction from the 1930s and 1940s, but I have been systematically surprised with the turn of events. Except for Bogie and Bacall, all the motifs of noir novels are here, added to them, hordes of ghosts from unsettled deaths, unavenged assassinations. I have grown in the habit of writing that Beirut is now the realm where Stephen King would be king and Guy Debord never dreamed such a spectacle, and if the two should have ever met, it would have been here.
Panelist's View | December 29, 2006 1:16 PM
William Gumede - Is China becoming Africa's new colonizer? In what is reminiscent of a new scramble for Africa, China has rushed to plant its flag on the continent, offering soft credit, bricks and mortar investment and promising non-interference in local politics.