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Egypt’s Morality Power Play
By Mona Eltahawy - NYT

It took one session on Jan. 10 for a court in the Nile Delta province of Beheira to sentence Karim al-Banna, a 21-year-old student, to three years in prison for saying on Facebook that he was an atheist. The student’s lawyer complained that he was denied the right even to present a defense, but an equally chilling aspect of Mr. Banna’s case is that his father testified against him.


Obama in Saudi Arabia: Stability Is King
By Aaron David Miller - WSJ

The United States and Saudi Arabia never shared common values. The arrest and flogging of the liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi attest to that. But they do share common interests..


Almost 70 years ago, a fading President Franklin Roosevelt, returning from Yalta, held a historic meeting on board a U.S. destroyer with King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud of Saudi Arabia.


President Sisi Revisits ‘Egypt’s Identity Crisis’
By Raymond Ibrahim

Of all the recent calls for reform made by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, perhaps most adamant has been his insistence that all Egyptians—Muslims and Christians—see themselves first and foremost as Egyptians.


This came out very clearly when he visited the St. Mark Coptic Cathedral during Christmas Eve mass.  Then, he passionately (see video) declared:


Al Qaida’s Nusra Leads U.S.-Backed Rebels in Major Offensive Against Syrian Army
By WorldTribune

Al Qaida’s Nusra Front for the Defense of Levant has launched a major offensive in southern Syria.


Nusra has organized Islamic and U.S.-backed rebel militias for an offensive against the Syrian Army in the southern province of Dera. In the first stage of the offensive, Nusra captured the army’s 82nd Brigade headquarters and attacked the 60th Brigade.


ISIS Forced Out of Kobane
By World Affairs Journal

Kurdish fighters seized the embattled town in full

Kurdish troops on Monday notched a major symbolic blow to the Islamic State group, taking full control of Kobane after months of battles against ISIS.


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