Troubled Libya now faces dueling governments | AP

Libya’s past, Islamist-dominated parliament reconvened Monday and voted to disband the country’s current interim government, defying voters who elected its opponents to take over amid ceaseless fighting by rival militias.

The power grab highlights the lawlessness that has swept Libya since rebels overthrew dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 and later formed powerful militias that successive governments have been unable to tame. It also leaves troubled Libya with two governments and two parliaments, deepening divisions and escalating the political struggle that’s torn the country apart. [Read more]

The truth behind the “Turkish model” | openDemocracy

With former Prime Minister Erdoğan now firmly installed as President and promising a new Turkey, it is time to take a fresh look at the direction in which the country’s political economy is headed. For over a decade, international media and many academic researchers have presented the “Turkish model” under the “moderately Islamic” Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a success story of economic development and political democracy in a Muslim country – made all the more attractive in an international environment dominated by the fear of radical Islam.

Since 2013, especially after the massive nationwide protests in the summer of that year, this enthusiasm has left its place to more critical appraisals. The media coverage of the country is now dominated by statements of concern about the state of the economy  –  and the increasingly authoritarian character of the regime. The praise, where it still persists, now has a different character. The Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, for example, recently pointed to Turkey (along with Singapore, China, India and Russia) to argue that non-Western countries which are not liberal democracies and “in some cases probably not even democracies” can be highly successful in the global race. However, Orban’s favourable assessment of Turkey’s performance as a global actor was preceded by several alarming accounts of the economy’s weaknesses, such as a huge current account deficit and the very high ratio of short term debt to the GNP. [Read more]

The real threat from the Islamic State is to Muslims, not the west | Al Jazeera

“I was like any other regular Canadian. I watched hockey, I went to the cottage in the summertime, I loved to fish, I wanted to go hunting… I was a regular person,” said Abu Muslim in the last video he recorded before his death. And then came his pitch: “Everyone can contribute something to the Islamic State, as it is obligatory on us … If you have knowledge on how to build roads and houses, you can be of use here.”

Andre Poulin, as he was named at birth, was confirmed dead in January of this year and one of the first known Canadians fighting for the Islamic State group in Syria. The recruitment video, released in July as the Islamic State gathered strength, took many experts by surprise for how “slick” it was. But more than that, it played on the paranoia of governments around the world that their citizens could be heading in the same direction. [Read more]

Here’s everything the U.S. military has hit with airstrikes in Iraq | Washington Post

The United States is closing in on its 100th airstrike in Iraq since Aug. 8, when President Obama authorized military action against a variety of militant targets affiliated with the Islamic State. The details have come in news releases issued nearly every day since, incremental reminders that the U.S. military is waging a new war with no end in sight.

What has been hit, though? As the strikes continue, grasping the totality has become increasingly difficult. To get a better handle on it, Checkpoint compiled a spreadsheet — available in Google Docs here — breaking down all of the targets as U.S. Central Command has described them. Among the patterns to emerge: [Read more]

New Palestinian Town in West Bank Awaits Israel’s Approval for Water | New York Times

The Roman-style amphitheater with seating for 12,000 is taking shape against a stunning backdrop of rolling hills. Off to one side, a small soccer stadium is under construction. On the slopes below, there are plans for a water park, and in the town center, a piazza lined with arcades and cafes. A movie theater is being built with seven screens, one of them 4-D.

“This will be a major destination for Palestinians who have no destinations,” Bashar Masri, the Palestinian businessman and driving force behind this ambitious project to build a new city here, said as he toured the site in his jeep last week. [Read more]

The Fall of Amran and the Future of the Islah Party in Yemen | Middle East Institute

As the world’s attention was riveted on the lightening conquests of the Islamic State in Iraq, Yemen’s al-Huthi movement made an equally stunning but largely unnoticed military advance on Amran Governorate and captured the provincial capital, Amran, in July. The fall of Amran has extraordinary political significance: The al-Huthi advance dislodged the al-Ahmar family’s grip on the leadership of the Hashid tribal confederation, a central political pillar of the Yemeni Republic since 1962, and threatens the survival of the Islah Party itself.

During the capture of Amran, the al-Huthi destroyed the 310 Armored Brigade, which was allied with General Ali Muhsin, who, along with the al-Ahmar family and a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, are the heart of the Islah Party. [Read more]

Running out of options | Middle East Monitor

Israel’s inability to crush the Palestinian resistance in Gaza has triggered renewed efforts to end its war. While Britain and France spearhead a European initiative to obtain a UN Security Council resolution, Egypt is making yet another attempt to “mediate” a ceasefire. Whichever way the pendulum swings, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must feel encouraged. Israel holds the record for the highest number of Security Council resolutions vetoed in its favour, thanks to the US.

Now Egypt, under the former military chief Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi is, like Israel, equally committed to defeat the Islamic resistance movements in the embattled enclave. Had it not been for an accident of geography it’s hard to imagine any significant role for Egypt in the current impasse. Many in the region, including Hamas spokesmen, often make patronising statements about its importance, which may have had some relevance in days gone by. Sadly, the Egypt of today has different priorities and Palestinian freedom is not among them. [Read more]


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