Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Palestinian Authority cannot budget on Israel halting settlement growth. That is clear. But Hamas, who now controls the Gaza Strip, doesn't seem to have anything better than launching crude projectiles--and the occasional 122mm rocket--into Israel. So ... what is the situation?
Front page of Haaretz today drops fears that former Fatah strongman, Mohammed Dahlan, is on the move... again. The truth is that Dahlan had a lot going for him in Gaza before the 2007 takeover, and that many in the US see him as a viable contender--unlike Abbas, and anyone else active in the Palestinian Authority--to regain control in the Strip by force. Thus, it seems the Palestinian Authority is losing its ability to harness non-Islamist factions of Palestinian politics. Duh. Right?
Bottom line: The Palestinian Authority is doomed unless they can cut a deal with the Israelis. Take all the American dollars you want, it doesn't appease the occupation for the Palestinians. It shouldn't be surprising that we are seeing signs of decay within the nationalist Palestinian community, that for the past few years, has settled under the banner of the Palestinian Authority. As Plato warned, "democracy" (or a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off and trying to govern) is the breeding ground for a tyrant.
Mohammed Dahlan may mean unity of the West Bank and Gaza, but we'll probably call him Saddam Hussein when it's all said and finished. For Dahlan, unlike Abbas, all options are on the table.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
He's right. The US needs to see this small, Levantine state as it is: in the middle of everything else... and all want a side to ally with among Lebanon's multicultural community.
BEIRUT — Once upon a time a U.S. secretary of state spoke of the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” That’s now the most laughed-at phrase in gravity-defying Lebanon, a country with two armies, a “unity” government too divided to meet, a wild real estate boom and a time bomb called the “international tribunal.”
Confused already? Lebanon is not for amateurs. Condoleezza Rice wanted to believe that in the bloodshed of Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, the militant Shiite movement, lay the seeds of a new Middle East — democratic, Hezbollah-free and amenable to U.S. interests. Turns out she was dreaming.
Four years on, Hezbollah is stronger than ever. It has the more powerful of those two armies (the other being the Lebanese armed forces), a presence in government, veto power over Lebanon’s direction, and a leader — Hassan Nasrallah — whose popularity as the proud face of Arab defiance has never been higher.
Dahiye, the Hezbollah-controlled southern Beirut suburb flattened by Israel in 2006, now bustles with construction and commerce, including state-of-the-art juice bars and risqué lingerie stores. It feels about as threatening as New York’s Canal Street.
"Sweet Jesus in minimalist design heaven, the iPad. No mouse, no extra cables, no mandatory hookups, no startup times, installation DVDs, RAM guides, accelerators, system folders, font drivers, extensions, launch daemons, Kerberos plug-ins, jpg helpers or compression schemes, no diphthong upslingers pongo hurling goober kerfuffling flipblasters.
"Just a devastatingly simple, utterly gorgeous sheet of glass and aluminum that does almost everything your average computer user needs it to do, with a couple finger taps and a happy sigh, sans roughly 500 of the usual steps, clicks, guides, installations, file extensions and so on. It's understandable at a glance, intuitive as candy, enjoyable as a porn star in summertime. You know, just like the Mac has always been, except not really.
"Use it for five minutes and you'll have what's known as the Apple Epiphany, that thought that says, "Holy hell, why can't every user experience/consumer product be like this?""
Yeah... I think my favorite part was "kerfuffling". Or, in present tense, to kerfuffle.
Update: NYT's "Top Ten" for the iPad. (Surfing the Middle East, dear Lord willing, will be the 11th.)