Ahlan wa sahlan fi London

I’m back in the UK. What on earth is this government playing at. Seriously guys, I’m back now, you have to stop messing around. I’ll give you a week, OK?

A few quick links before I head up to Lancashire for the weekend. After you’ve read them, why not donate something to the Pakistan flood appeal?

Jon Lee Anderson interviews Ahmedinejad in the New Yorker

Particularly interesting for me were his comments on the mood of Iranians – very similar to what I found in Iran. Most people I met were fatalistic; those who had demonstrated last year felt that was a chance they had missed and that would not come again.

Purity of arms, and all that toss

Not that the British/US armies can claim any real moral superiority on this one…

Hasbara declassified – Israeli PR and the US media

“Since the days of Hulagu, your city and your lands have been subject to the tyranny of strangers, your palaces have fallen into ruins, your gardens have sunk in desolation and your forefathers and yourselves have groaned in bondage.”

Ah, the old post-Mongol vacuum. Great piece on the generations of people who have successively screwed Baghdad, none more so than Hulagu. And then…

…the Mongols in Iraq today

Obama’s communication problem is not with the Muslim world, but with America

Only 50,000 US soldiers left in Iraq now. Milestones, eh?

Let’s talk with Iran

Keith Olbermann on the Ground Zero mosque Manhattan Islamic community centre

This whole ‘controversy’ just makes my skin crawl. Although Olbermann is well-intentioned, all his explanations fall flat in the face of what is essentially at stake – something he recognises, to his credit. It’s a community centre, not a mosque, it’s not at Ground Zero, you won’t be able to see it – so what. Build the fucking thing and let’s have some religious freedom all up in here.

As Hizbullah ‘take over’ Southern Lebanon, the US and Saudis have a cunning plan…

Al-Ahram splits hairs and fumbles around with semantics. Egypt needs renewal, not change, guys!

Happy Ramadan, everyone

Ramadan in Iran was a lot easier than I thought it would be. We could buy food in shops and eat it in parks, slightly out of the way. We saw some Iranians doing the same. Also, iftaar is really fun. I got fattened up by successive Kurdish grandmothers.

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