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The Democracy Activist Who Became a Suicide Bomber – WSJ

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An idealistic young Egyptian who helped lead the Tahrir Square protests died three years later in Iraq as an Islamic State jihadist.

“Five years ago, Ahmad Darrawi was one of the idealistic young Egyptians whose bravery stirred world-wide admiration. In 2011, he stood among the protest vanguard in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and in the months afterward he often appeared on TV, outlining reforms for Egypt’s brutal and corrupt police. In the fall of 2011, he ran for parliament as an independent. His campaign ads showed a smiling, clean-shaven man in a gray suit under the slogan “Dignity and Security.” He was 32.

Three years later, Darrawi blew himself up on the battlefields of Iraq, where he was fighting as a loyal soldier of Islamic State, according to the terrorist group.

How did it happen? How did a hopeful, principled young man from a middle-class family turn into a coldblooded suicide bomber? It is hard to separate that question from the Arab world’s broader descent over the past five years: from nonviolence to mass murder, from proclamations of tolerance and civic idealism to the savagery of Islamic State.

The gap between those ideals is so vast that any attempt to link them can seem like madness. But for Darrawi and others like him—in Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Tunisia and more—the road from democracy to Islamic State wasn’t so strange…”

Source: The Democracy Activist Who Became a Suicide Bomber – WSJ

Blogger BlogThis! – Saved

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The Jan. 2 execution of Saudi Shiite cleric and political activist Nimr al-Nimr has escalated sectarian hostilities in the Middle East to dangerous new levels. Following the sacking of a Saudi embassy in Iran, Saudi Arabia has severed ties with Iran and expelled its diplomats. Tensions are running high, with apocalyptic rhetoric on all sides.

However, for all the fireworks, this escalation will probably not change much. Saudi Arabia and Iran have been engaged in a proxy war at various temperatures over regional order for many years. The Syrian peace process may be derailed, and even more weapons pour into its horrifyingly destructive stalemate, but few really believed in its prospects anyway. The war in Yemen will likely continue on the same current destructive course as before, where even the coming and going of a cease-fire affected fighting on the ground little. The campaign against the Islamic State may become a bit more complicated, but the Gulf states long ago shifted most of their military attention toward Yemen. The United States has not become any more likely to walk away from its painstakingly negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran.

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2016/01/04/why-saudi-arabia-escalated-middle-east-s-sectarian-conflict/ioiv?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRouvKnOZKXonjHpfsX66uskUK%2Bg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YsFRcZ0aPyQAgobGp5I5FEIQ7XYTLB2t60MWA%3D%3D

 

Source: Blogger BlogThis! – Saved

Syria air strikes: How we got to this point – BBC Newsbeat

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This is what Syria looks like now.

Source: Syria air strikes: How we got to this point – BBC Newsbeat

More than 250,000 Syrians have been killed, including nearly 12,000 children, according to the United Nations.

More than half of the county’s population have had to leave their homes.

Four million are living as refugees in other countries.

Others soldier on…

How to Fight ISIS – The New York Times

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“The mass murder of civilians in Paris has inevitably reignited the debate over using military force in the Middle East to attack the Islamic State. The debate, like anything that gets tangled up in American presidential politics, is divorced from reality. The United States, and other nations, is already engaged in military action with some ground forces in Iraq and Syria.

The panicked reactions, fanned by right-wing politicians in the United States and Europe, to “declare war” on the Islamic State are mostly just noise. None of those proposing that kind of response offer the slightest idea of how it would be done; all they have is an understandable desire, which we share, to obliterate the terrorist group also known as ISIS.

President Obama struck the right note in his remarks on Monday: Military action can be only one part of a broader strategy that the United States and its partners will have to pursue over many years. Important Muslim nations, notably Saudi Arabia, will simply have to stop paying for and politically enabling the mosques, imams and paramilitary groups that fuel extremists and their virulent perversions of Islam. Moderate Muslims need to redouble efforts, begun after 9/11, to ensure that their vision of a more tolerant and inclusive Islam prevails…”

Source: How to Fight ISIS – The New York Times

Parsing the Iran Deal

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Parsing the Iran Deal.

“On July 14, 2015, Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) concluded a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concerning the future of Iran’s nuclear program. The deal, which is the outcome of more than two years of negotiations, includes limits on Iran’s nuclear program as well as provisions for verification, implementation, procurement, sanctions relief, and peaceful nuclear cooperation. It singles out specific nuclear sites in Iran for particular scrutiny and restrictions, including the enrichment facilities at Natanz and Fordow and the heavy-water reactor, with its supporting facilities, at Arak. Unsurprisingly, the deal is complex—the text and its five annexes stretch to over 100 pages.

Our aim here is to analyze the deal as impartially and objectively as possible…”

Read more at: http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/08/06/parsing-iran-deal/iec5?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRoguKjPZKXonjHpfsX66uskUK%2Bg38431UFwdcjKPmjr1YUBTMN0aPyQAgobGp5I5FEIQ7XYTLB2t60MWA%3D%3D

New vaccine may end the biggest Ebola outbreak in history | Daily Maverick

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New vaccine may end the biggest Ebola outbreak in history | Daily Maverick.

Over a year – and 11,279 reported deaths – since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, the first effective ‘armour’ against the virus has been developed. The VSV-ZEBOV vaccine showed 100% efficacy in offering protection from Ebola virus, according to preliminary results published in the Lancet on Friday. The vaccine is the result of a massive collaborative effort between the Guinean Government, World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors without Borders and others.

Beginning in March, the trial involved over 4,000 volunteers, all of whom had come into contact with Ebola patients. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. The first – the intervention group – immediately received the vaccine. To test the protection conferred by the vaccine, those in the second, or control, group were given the vaccine three weeks later. (Usually the control group is only given a placebo; however, this was decided against for ethical reasons).

Within 10 days of receiving the vaccine, both groups developed protection against Ebola…

The Ultimate Fatal Attraction: 5 Reasons People Join ISIS-Carnegie Middle East Center

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The Ultimate Fatal Attraction: 5 Reasons People Join ISIS-Carnegie Middle East Center.

The Ultimate Fatal Attraction: 5 Reasons People Join ISIS-Carnegie Middle East Center

The appeal of the Islamic State to Arab and Muslim youth is hard to understand. Many assume religion or social media is the main draw for the increasing numbers who are uprooting their lives to join the militants in Iraq and Syria. But this is not the full story.

Five distinct trends—not including theology or technology—explain the fatal attraction to the Islamic State. And understanding these trends is vital for winning the war against extremist ideologies.

First, Arab education systems have failed. Instead of vital analytical skills or civic values, schools emphasized rote learning and the uncritical acceptance of authority. 

History curricula and religious education fostered an us-versus-them mentality along ethnic, ideological, and sectarian lines, making youth vulnerable to external influence. This helped transform the cultural landscape of Arab countries, facilitating the spread of militant ideologies and the early indoctrination of younger populations…

 

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