“Sectarian violence in Syria raises fears,” screamed the headline of a Washington Post article on the murder Tuesday of 16 Syrians in the city of Homs, which lies 100 miles north of Damascus. Admitting that "confirming details" of what happened are hard to come by in a city under siege, the Post's Beirut-based correspondent Liz Sly nonetheless gives a dire reading of an impending civil war:Read more
After Hosni Mubarak’s fall in Egypt, there was a whorl of ambiguous media commentary that either tried to present the Muslim Brotherhood as a conciliatory Islamist movement posing no threat to Egypt, its neighbours (read: Israel) or the West, or tried to challenge the Brotherhood about its core tenets and ultimate goals. Nowhere has this confused and contradictory approach been better exhibited than at the British Broadcasting Corporation.Read more
Where governments and statesmen can afford to be cynical about trade relations and security agreements with rogue regimes, human rights groups are supposed to operate at a higher level – the ultimate goal being for those regimes to alter their behavior. When NGOs traffic in realpolitik, it has a more scandalizing impact. Nothing better showcases this phenomenon than Human Rights Watch’s kid-gloved and self-interested approach to Libya in the past several years.Read more
For a politician whose previous career was in public relations, David Cameron cannot have picked a more polarizing subject, or less opportune time to address it, than his recent speech on the failure of state multiculturalism, which he delivered in early February at the Munich Security Conference. The British prime minister’s remarks happened to coincide with a mass rally in Luton led by the xenophobic English Defence League (EDL). Liberal commentators in Britain did not fail to notice the unfortunate overlap and everywhere detected a high-frequency Tory appeal to the far right.Read more
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