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Humanitarian Relief in Gaza

CNN-GazaThe Craven News Network gives it to us straight.
A couple of weeks have elapsed since Gaza was drawn into the center of Mideast strife” and the chorus of outrage has grown louder, with several Nobel peace laureates calling for a military embargo against Israel and a US Secretary-of-State famous for his “who-moi” moments giving an impromptu shot across the bow from a hot mic. Will it matter? Does it ever?

Of FreeCell and Phone Chargers: A Lebanese Parable

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 6.11.43 PMLebanese politics often resembles a game of FreeCell to me. Or, for the millennials among us: 2048, which I often catch my students playing on their phones before class begins. For long stretches, the board is locked down. There is an occasional opening, a small shift in the grid, but it comes to nothing. Hardly anything moves for several rounds as the prospect of a game-ending rigor mortis looms.

Report on Syrian Students in Lebanon

iie-syriaThere’s a report out about the situation of Syrian students in Lebanon, authored by a specialist team of researchers affiliated with the University of California at Davis, the Carnegie Corporation, and the Institute of International Education. I know a couple of the authors very well and vouch strongly for their knowledge of the region’s politics, societies, and languages. This is a terribly sad situation, and one worries about the long-term consequences of having such a large and under-served refugee population in a country as small and overburdened (infrastructurally, economically, psychically) as Lebanon.

Ancient War Manual Said to Be Secret to Jihadi Group’s Success

arabic-msAs one Iraqi city after another has fallen to the jihadi juggernaut that is ISIS (or ISIL), military and intelligence experts have been baffled by the group’s stunning victories on the battlefield. Whether humbling the US-trained Iraqi army, surviving relentless bombardment by the Syrian Air Force, or fighting toe-to-toe with Hizbullah and IRGC special forces commandos, this motley crew of unkempt radicals and rootless cosmopolitans in medieval garb is a YouTube-sharing, hashtag-tweeting, fatwa-issuing paradox.