A new interactive tool allows you to decide how many Israeli settlers to annex and what constitutes a viable Palestinian state.
One day after the Palestinians successfully upgraded their state at the United Nations General Assembly, the Israeli government announced “preliminary zoning and planning preparations” for a plot of land just outside of Jerusalem known as E1. Many were quick to condemn the move as a significant blow to the already-gridlocked peace process, perhaps even more so than other settlement construction announcements, since construction in E1 would separate the major Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem from Jerusalem. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon decried the plan as “an almost fatal blow to remaining chances of securing a two-state solution,” while The New York Times declared that “If such a project were to go beyond blueprints, it could prevent the creation of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.”
[Image: S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace/SAYA/Is Peace Possible?]
Most media attention paid to Afghanistan this month revolved around a scandal involving General David Petraeus and General John Allen, the two most recent U.S. military commanders there. However, that scandal has had little or no impact on daily life in Afghanistan. Of greater concern there is the continued insecurity. As the 2014 withdrawal of NATO troops approaches, people are leaving Afghanistan at a higher rate than they have since 2002. Iran and Saudi Arabia, rivals for regional influence, are making investments in the country’s infrastructure, each hoping to be the stronger partner after 2014. But it’s far from clear what the future will bring. These photos show just a glimpse of this conflict over the past month, part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.
See more. [Images: AP, Reuters, Getty]
See More from In Focus: Rockets Over Israel and Gaza
[Images: Reuters, AP]
Critics of America’s drone war occasionally ask its supporters to imagine how they would feel if unmanned aerial vehicles were weaponized and sent by foreign powers to attack American cities. What’s always forgotten is the time when the U.S. Senate confronted that possibility. It scared them. In fact, one senator said his alarm helped persuade him to approve the War in Iraq.
I know, that doesn’t make any sense. Saddam Hussein didn’t have a drone fleet capable of reaching America. As you’ll recall, however, Congress was told a lot of things about Iraqi weapons that didn’t turn out to be true. We remember the talk of WMDs. But we’ve forgotten the drones.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
For all the damage that mobs and armed groups have done in majority-Muslim nations in the past week, there is one target that they missed. The mobs in Cairo, one of many cities where protests followed the Innocence of Muslims video ridiculing the Prophet Muhammed, overlooked the Egyptian TV station that had actually broadcast it, Al Nas TV. Egyptian prosecutors have now issued arrest warrants for eight people in the United States with connections to the film — but they, too, overlooked the TV station.
While the film’s creators have received the attention they craved, it’s more illuminating to focus on Al Nas TV, which made them famous. The station’s story even suggests one possible answer to the problem of offensive speech in a number of volatile majority-Muslim societies.
Read more. [Image: YouTube]
In August 1857, a century before the United Nations would declare the Israeli state in what had been Palestine, before British and French diplomats would formally carve up the Middle East, before the U.S. would back a coup in Iran, before political Islamism would emerge, and before the U.S. would arm unmanned airplanes to kill Islamism’s most violent and radical adherents, the British empire found itself besieged by Muslim protesters.
Officers at Fort William, in the Indian city of Calcutta, were the first to require colonial troops to grease their rifles with a compound that included cow and pig fat, a mixture guaranteed to offend both Hindus and Muslims. Many of the troops, known as sepoys, protested. The protests spread and turned violent, growing into an uprising that effected much of the British Raj at a time long before it was unified by roads or telephones, much less cell phones or the Internet. […]
As the Western world once again endeavors to understand the roots of apparently anti-Western rage that have again surfaced in large parts of the Muslim world, it’s worth remembering the history of offense and backlash that has been a recurring theme of their intersections.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo is an unusual building.
For one thing, as you can see in the center photo above, it’s over 10 stories high — most embassies are much shorter. For another, it’s right in the middle of downtown Cairo, in a posh area called Garden City, a stone’s throw from the Nile and a short walk from Tahrir Square.
On normal days, this prominent location underscores that the U.S. is an engaged and important presence in Egyptian affairs. This past week, it made the building a quickly accessible assembly point for protesters and the site of a violent stand-off.
Issues like these are the subject of serious debate in the world of embassy design, where architects try to construct buildings that will, in good times and bad, represent American values while they withstand the force of bombs. For the people who build embassies, that’s a difficult balance, and one that has shifted many times in the last few decades between two competing schools of thought: isolation and civic engagement.
Read more. [Images: State Department/SOM]
Protests against the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims have erupted in cities from Morocco to Somalia and Pakistan to Indonesia, an agglomeration of otherwise disparate societies that we sometimes refer to as “the Muslim world.” That phrase appears today in headlines at, for example, CBS News, the U.K. Telegraph, Radio Free Europe, and many others. […]
But, looking into the severity and frequency of the protests, their occurrence doesn’t seem to correlate as directly with the presence of Muslims as the phrase “protests erupt across the Muslim world” might lead you to believe. Even if that’s generally true, we might learn a bit more by looking also at who is protesting violently and who isn’t.
In a map above, I’ve charted the violent protests in red and the protests that did not produce violence in yellow. It’s an imperfect distinction; I’ve counted the stone-throwers in Jerusalem as a violent protest but the flag-burners in Lahore as non-violent. But it gives you a somewhat more nuanced view into who is expressing anger and how they’re doing it than to just say that the “Muslim world” is protesting. To help show what “Muslim world” means, I’ve used a map (via Wikimedia) that shows countries by their share of the world Muslim population. The darker blue a country, the more Muslim individuals live there.
Read more. [Image: Wikimedia/The Atlantic]