History does repeat itself

Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts, February: Not very long ago, as you all recall, it was taken for granted that the Iraq war would be the central issue in the 2008 election, as it was in the midterm election two years ago. However, it’s virtually disappeared off the radar screen, which has solicited some puzzlement among the…

The first of many?

Global leadership emerges from…Central America: Israel has postponed a planned meeting with Costa Rican officials over the Central American nation’s decision to formally recognize a Palestinian state. The meeting between President Oscar Arias and an Israeli diplomat, scheduled for Wednesday, ”was postponed, but we are looking to reschedule,” Costa Rican Foreign Minister Bruno Stagno said…

Take cover

After winning an Oscar for his documentary Taxi to the Dark Side, Alex Gibney has a new target in his sights: The filmmaker who won an Academy Award Sunday night for best documentary is next turning his attention to the Jack Abramoff scandal, including GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s role in investigating the affair. Alex…

A small opening

Barack Obama, Cleveland, February: I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt a unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re anti-Israel and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel. Nobody should be under any illusion about Obama’s ability or interest to seriously shift America’s role…

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My latest column for New Matilda is about China’s crackdown on internal dissent and its fear of the internet: Although China is also battling a seemingly unsurmountable pollution problem, the regime appears determined to ignore Western calls for greater openness. “Why can’t China accept that dissent and argument are part of being a normal country?”…

Ships of fools

Iranian blogger Kamangir offers a tantalising piece of news: “5 in the morning”, a website close to the reformists, claims that since a month ago Iranian tankers have been travelling in the Persian Gulf under foreign flags [Persian]. Reportedly, as the American ships in the Persian Gulf increased their surveillance on Iranian vessels, tankers operated…

The power of the pulpit

Ibrahim El Houdaiby, Conflicts Forum, February 25: Those who believe that the ongoing crackdowns on the Muslim Brotherhood by the Egyptian regime will cause a major setback for the country’s largest and most powerful civil opposition group are definitely mistaken. Brotherhood members are an integral living part of the Egyptian society who can never be…