- Najma al Zidjaly on Oman's Place in the Arab Uprisings One of the countries recently caught up in the trend of Middle East protests is Oman. Najma al Zidjaly, a native of the country and a professor at one of its universities explains in the New York Times today how Oman's history and recent protests differ from other sources of unrest in the Arab world. Oman has been an independent nation, ruled by the same man, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, for 40 years. But unlike Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, Zidjaly argues, Omani's actually "love" their ruler. "Ours is a visionary leader who has brought our country out of the dark ages and into a state of modernity," he explains. "Sultan Qaboos bin Said has placed Oman at the forefront of many Arab countries, if not of the world, in terms of rights for women, people with disabilities and foreign workers and in providing free education and health care for all." Zidjaly believes that reason Oman saw its own, perhaps unnecessary, protests, was because of a disconnect between the older generation of Omani's who appreciate how far their country has come, and the country's youth, who have grown up with the luxuries their elders had to suffer to ensure. These protests, however, were short-lived and for now, Zidjaly says, "we are talking!"
- Richard Haass on Why the U.S. Shouldn't Intervene in Libya The calls have been getting louder for the United States to intervene militarily in Libya, with the plan for a "no-fly zone" getting support on both sides of the aisle. Haass--the president of the Council on Foreign Relations--lays out the reasons why imposing a no-fly zone would be unwise. First he says, "there is no reason to believe a no-fly zone would be decisive." Secondly, while the U.S. wants to support democracy, "there is no reason to assume that helping to remove the regime would result in the ascendancy of such people." With an acknowledgment of the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Haass argues that "the last thing it [the U.S. military] needs is another vaguely defined intervention in a place where U.S. interests are less than vital."
- Richard Cohen on the Muslim Radicalization Hearings Richard Cohen makes the case against Representative Peter King's upcoming hearings on the radicalization of Muslim Americans. Cohen cites a recent study which found a significant decrease in "attempted or actual terrorist activity by American Muslims," from 47 to 20 over the past year, and that the majority of known terrorist plots were exposed by tips from Muslim Americans. "Not only does this contradict King's implicit charge that the American Muslim community is one vast terrorism enabler," writes Cohen, "but it suggests that an outcome of his hearings will be the further alienation of this community--and less cooperation with the authorities." Cohen points out that the US government has thus far largely kept "its nose out of religion," despite serious crimes within the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps it should stick to this policy.
- The Wall Street Journal on Obama's Move to Allow Military Tribunals The Wall Street Journal's editors praise President Obama's decision to resume military tribunals for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, declaring that "no one has done more to revive the reputation of Bush-era anti-terror policies than the Obama Administration." The editors think that, in anticipation of outrage from the left, the Administration may be trying to "sell their military commissions process as more 'credible' than Mr. Bush's, but their policy change are de minimis." Obama is not the first to execute such an about-face, the editors clarify, pointing to the case of Eisenhower and the "Republican isolationists." They conclude that "the responsibilities of power, and the realities of a dangerous world, tend to be educational." There are a few approaches Obama is taking that the editors disagree with, though, such as the effort to stick with Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions,"extending the laws of war to terrorists who hold combat restrictions in contempt."
- Neill Franklin on Ending the War on Drugs The so called 'war on drugs' is unwinnable, argues Neill Franklin, a former narcotics enforcement agent--and it's costing many lives. "There is no level of law enforcement commitment, skill or courage that can ever eliminate obscenely profitable, tax-free drug markets that deliver prized commodities to millions of people," Franklin says. He draws a parallel between the drug enforcement today and Prohibition, noting that the regulation was "a boon to organized crime and fueled disrespect for the rule of law." The argument to legalize and regulate drugs the way we do tobacco and alcohol is oft-repeated position, but Franklin gives it a personal side. After 34-year career and losing cops to the battle, Franklin writes that he came to realize that "drug use didn't wane, and the market didn't dissipate," despite his and others' best efforts. "Today, we don't see Budweiser or Coors distributors killing cops in order to maximize profits," Franklin says.
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