February 20 - 26
Hello, and welcome to the Dispatch for February 20 - 26!
I spent the better part of this week with a nasty cold that I’m still shaking off, so this week’s dispatch is rather brief - we’ll be back to full length next week.
NATO troops at Bagram Airbase mistakenly incinerated several copies of the Koran. The incident sparked riots that continued through the end of the week, despite apologies from NATO and President Obama and appeals for calm from Afghani President Karzai.
On Tuesday, Yemenis went to the polls to finally close the door on Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 22-year rule. The election was largely a formality, as the only candidate was Saleh’s vice president Abed Rabu Mansour Hadi, but it paves the way for broader changes in the country.
Hamas announced its support for the Syrian opposition this week, formally denouncing the Assad regime which has supported the group for years.
Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which recently won a majority of the seats in Egypt’s parliament. In snubbing Syria, they also snub Iran - it’s unlikely the group did so without securing other backers first, and it’s likely those backers are in Cairo. This will complicate relations between Egypt and Israel. Once the dust settles in Syria, Israel is likely to face a very different Palestinian situation.
Foreign Affairs published an essay this week about the current state of US national security. Entitled “Clear and Present Safety,” it’s a good, clear- eyed look at the incredibly safe world the United States finds itself in today.
Thanks for reading! My best for the week ahead,