middle east politics
The Muslim world's battle over the legitimacy of political Islam has expanded to the soccer pitch as proponents and opponents of interpreting the faith politically seek to impose their public morals with men's hairstyles and facial hair taking centre stage.
n playwright Jamil Khoury's characteristically ethnographic way, "Mosque Alert" at Silk Road Rising offers a matrix of possibilities, each raising questions and offering contrasting responses.
The contrast could hardly be starker. A soccer star-turned-protest leader-turned-jihadist encourages peaceful anti-Bashir al-Assad protests in Syrian rebel-held territory. Nearby, in Islamic State (IS)-controlled territory young boys play soccer with decapitated heads.
Saudi Arabia decided to halt a 4 billion US dollars grant to the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Internal Security Forces. And Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE have urged their citizens to leave Lebanon or avoid traveling there.
Flattening Beirut has been done before. Flattening Gaza has been done before. And both may be done again if Israel's license to kill with impunity is left unchecked.
Eleven years later, as Hariri's Future Movement holds its annual commemoration of the assassination, we should remember that the violence in Lebanon did not start or end on the 14th of February.
The U.S. words of support notwithstanding, the announcement marked the latest move in Saudi Arabia's increasingly assertive and, from Washington's standpoint, independent foreign policy. It is the latest in a series of Saudi moves that underscore a significant foreign policy shift.