Home > Roundup > Roundup of Analysis and Investigative Articles: The bomb, Palestinian NGOs, Middle East secularism, and Turkey

Roundup of Analysis and Investigative Articles: The bomb, Palestinian NGOs, Middle East secularism, and Turkey

Bird’s eye view of Israel’s nuclear reactor. “Sensitive installations, Air Force bases with their planes and helicopters, missile bases and even the nuclear reactor in Dimona have never been photographed better,” writes Yuval Dror in today’s Yedioth Ahronoth. “A recent Google Earth update shows satellite pictures that make it possible to see clear, sharp pictures of military and civilian targets all across Israel.” The images are pretty remarkable. You can check out a very detailed shot of Israel’s not-so-secret nuclear reactor in Dimona (along with other Israeli military sites) over here courtesy of Charles Levinson at Conflict Blotter. (Dion Nissenbaum, Checkpoint Jerusalem)

Who Lost Turkey? Turkey has been the strongest ally that the United States has had in the Middle East since the end of WW II. The Marshall Plan started with Northern tier states like Turkey and Greece. Turkey joined NATO and was a key player in the American victory in the Cold War. As a secular government, Turkey stood against the rising tide of Muslim radicalism. To the extent that Turkey is moderating its long-term secular militancy, and moving toward fair elections, it may be providing a model for a moderate, democratic Middle East. Its economy is growing rapidly, foreign investment is in the billions. Turkey is in short, almost everything the US could have asked for in the Middle East. But the Bush administration has, during the past five years, increasingly thrown away this asset, and now is in danger of losing a close and valued ally altogether. (Juan Cole, Informed Comment)

Closing NGOs underming Abu Mazen government. The Al-Wurud Organization supports 130 poor families by providing food packages during holy days, feasts, and at the beginning of the school year. They hold workshops for women on social, educational and health issues. But the Palestinian government — the emergency government declared by Abu Mazen — is closing Al-Wurud, along with hundreds of others just like it. The emergency government claims that the organizations are being closed because they “are not properly registered.” But, in fact, it now appears that the charities that are being closed have crossed a thin political line being drawn by Abu Mazen: it is not that they are not registered, it is that they are registered in the wrong place. (Conflicts Forum)

Secularism and Islamism in the Arab world. Secularism in the political leadership in the Arab world has had a very short life-span if put into historical context. It became a dominant political current for a few decades in the latter half of the twentieth century, and today is seeing a near complete collapse in political movements struggling for independence and development in the region. Different Islamic leaders have been the main political inspiration for Arabs in their liberation movements. Salahuddin al-Ayoub, more popularly known as Saladin, who liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders in the twelfth century is probably the Islamic leader most widely known outside of the region. (Sukant Chandan, Conflicts Forum)

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