Saturday, June 16, 2012

Arabist
The ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court on Thursday has been described by many, including myself, as a coup by proxy. The only democratically elected institution in Egypt is now gone, the SCAF has regained full legislative powers — i.e. the power to rule by decree — and it's not clear whether the president who will be elected in the next two days will be able to assume his position in any case. Furthermore, we know that SCAF intends to ammend the constitutional declaration now in place or perhaps issue a new one altogether. If it looks like a coup and smells like a coup and is based on absurd legal reasoning, it probably is a soft coup.

The strange thing is that I don't see much outrage about it outside of Twitter. ...
The areas of the web concerned with politics can be divided into those discussing politics and those discussing the idea of politics; the degree of separation depends on the personal stakes of the participants.  In the case of economics the arguments are personal out of a sense of competition with ideological opponents. In the case of journalists the best are those most willing to admit they love the chase.

Philosopher Chris Bertram: "I'm sympathetic, I really am..."
Philosopher G.A Cohen: "You know I just think that I'm not a morally exemplary person that's all. That's the reconciliation."
Journalist Nir Rosen: "imagine if that one taliban commander had not screwed up my plans to go with them when they conducted attacks... wouldnt it make for a fun read?"

More translations of Rainer Hermann @ Frankfurter Allgemeine on Houla @ MoA

More questions from the BBC
In the aftermath of the massacre at Houla last month, initial reports said some of the 49 children and 34 women killed had their throats cut. In Damascus, Western officials told me the subsequent investigation revealed none of those found dead had been killed in such a brutal manner. Moreover, while Syrian forces had shelled the area shortly before the massacre, the details of exactly who carried out the attacks, how and why were still unclear. Whatever the cause, officials fear the attack marks the beginning of the sectarian aspect of the conflict.

In such circumstances, it's more important than ever that we report what we don't know, not merely what we do. In Houla, and now in Qubair, the finger has been pointed at the shabiha, pro-government militia. But tragic death toll aside, the facts are few: it's not clear who ordered the killings - or why.
Also: The Greek elections are tomorrow.

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