(Almost) everything in pairs this week:
Speaking of Nigeria, Chima Williams argues in the Guardian that Shell oil “must clean up its act” there.
4. Magna Cum Kalashnikov. Hargeisa and Garowe State Universities, in the north of the country, have turned out to be, while severely underfunded, terrific bases for hybrid human rights sensitive and Islamic education. Both offer a great deal of coursework attempting to address how Islamic law can be reconciled with state and clan law in light of human rights norms (extremely complicated). It’s not perfect; for example the law sets contradict each other dramatically on issues like rape, female genital surgery, and forced marriage. But a few heroic souls have created new, if struggling, fora to approach solutions. And yes, women study here, too. There are a few already practicing law.
Kal takes on Walt, Lynch, Friedman, Obama, and US-Muslim relations. He argues:
There is no altruism in American Middle policy regardless of what president carries it out. There will be Arabs disappointed with American policy in any case, because that policy is design[ed] to suit and serve American interests and nobody else’s. Whether it is presented so as to make Arabs happy or not, most will know and understand that the United States is a foreign power with its own pursuits as the ultimate goal of its activity. American support for reform, democratic or otherwise, will be weak so long as the regimes in the region are deemed useful and friendly and their peoples see their interests as being out of line with a dominant US position there. Bush’s rhetoric was plainly disingenuous for many Arabs; Obama’s has been not much more, though less so because of the power of his ideas than because of his personal aura and good will for not being Bush.
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