Cut through the clutter in the news concerning developments in the Middle East. Find out what really matters. Tune in to Powell History Recommends Middle East Watch. Each week, I’ll be monitoring the news for historically significant events in the region’s major countries, and passing them on to you, with brief commentary about why these events deserve your attention.
Noted Reformist Cleric Jailed in Iran (Associated Press)
Much attention continues to be focused on Iran’s influence over the Iraqi insurgency and to its posturing over its nuclear program. Certainly these deserve attention, but any treatment of these topics has to be informed by a proper assessment of what Iran is. It is an oppressive Islamist theocracy that continually violates the rights of its own citizens by denying a fundamental principle of moral civilizations: the separation of church and state.
PHR will be following developments in Turkey closely in the months to come, because Turkey’s supreme court has accepted a case that could lead to a ban on the ruling party. The AKP party, led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, though democratically elected, has a platform that contradicts the secularist tenets of Turkey’s constitution. If it isn’t stopped by the court, another military coup is likely to occur.
Egypt: Elections and Future of the Muslim Brotherhood (RightSideNews)
This article runs down the current political situation in Egypt, and points to problems that are likely to occur when Mubarak kicks the bucket. Egypt’s biggest problem is that Nasserism was ideologically vacuous. The country’s run-of-the-mill state socialism is economically destructive and may very well produce the kind of widespread discontent that Truman era thinkers worried would lead to world communism. In this case, however, it’s Islamism that will profit.