Ever since the end of the Libyan revolution last October, the militias—both secular and Islamist–that overthrew former leader Muammar Gaddafi have acted with impunity. They stole cars and confiscated buildings. They clashed with rival brigades using heavy weaponry they pilfered from military bases. But an interim government too weak and disorganized to confront the brigades was unable to persuade them to merge them into a national army and police force. And so frustrated residents in Benghazi decided to act on their own.

As the U.S. and Libyan government scrambled to find a way to tame those very same militias allegedly behind an attack against the American consulate that left four dead including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Benghazi residents took things into their own hands. In clashes that extended into the early morning hours, protesters overran the base of a militia suspected of masterminding the raid. The demonstrations started peacefully…

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1. Fear of a Black Flag (or It’s the Salafists, Stupid)

Ordinary Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis didn’t come across the latest insults to their religion because they spent hours trolling YouTube for Californian political-porn provocations. It required broadcasting of the offending clips by Egypt’s al-Nas network to trigger this week’s anti-U.S. protests in Cairo, Benghazi, Sana‘a and elsewhere. Al-Nas is owned by a Saudi businessman and promotes the extreme Salafist current within Islam, whose political adherents have emerged as a powerful challenger to the more moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s de facto ruling party.

The dominant political current to emerge from the Arab rebellion that began in early 2011 has been Islamist, but so diverse is the range of parties broadly grouped under that term that it’s insufficiently precise to explain the political dynamic at work in the embassy demonstrations. The more important signifier, at the embassies in Benghazi, Cairo and…

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Could Egypt’s Military Still Accept a Muslim Brotherhood President?


By delaying the announcement of presidential election results that had been expected on Thursday, Egypt’s ruling military junta may have signaled that it faces the same dilemma that has faced the Muslim Brotherhood since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak: figuring out how much institutional political power to claim for itself. The Brotherhood may hold unrivaled support at the ballot box, but the generals still hold most of the power cards, including the ability demonstrated over the past week to entirely neuter the Islamists’ electoral advantages.

Indeed, the generals write the rules of Egypt’s political game, and they have constantly changed those rules on the fly. Last week alone, an allied judiciary empowered the junta to dissolve parliament and reimpose martial law with attendant powers of arbitrary arrest; the military further claimed the right to run the government and oversee the writing of a new constitution, and suggested…

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Syria: Map Of Events

The activist group SyriaUprising publishes this continually updated map of events in Syria: Color code: Blue markers: protests, Red: casualties Yellow: on strike Green: military action/other incidents The map appears to be update frequently by the SyrianUprising (Twitter: @SyriaUprising)

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Israel Plans To Get More F-35 Fighter Jets

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Israel has ordered 20 of the fifth-generation fighters in 2010 and is now contemplating to buy 20 more despite growing cost and delays in delivery. As part of a multi-year program to strengthen Israel’s defense, the government is expected to … Continue reading

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Royal Saudi Air Force Gets New Training Aircraft

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The Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) substantially increases its number of pilot training systems by buying 22 Hawk and 55 Pilatus PC-21 trainers, Britain’s BAE and Pilatus of Switzerland have confirmed last month. The RSAF is already one of the … Continue reading

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Images From The International Defense Exhibition ‘Hemus 2012’ In Bulgaria

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A few shots taken during the ‘Hemus 2012’ on 31 May in Plovdiv, Bulgaria: (All images by Johann Brandstätter / JB Photgraphy) Several major defense companies show their products on the ‘Hemus 2012’ in Plovdiv, central Bulgaria. The arms industry was optimistic … Continue reading

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