Gershom Gorenbergwrites about how hardened assumptions about the Middle East, combined with a tendency to willfully ignore the interests of individual regimes in favor of a grand strategic framework, have often blinded American policymakers to reality in the region.
Indulging in one of his periodictirades against Christians who have the bad form to call attention to the widespread human rights abuses of the Israeli occupation, Marty Peretzinveighs against those perfidious Methodists, noting with apparent satisfaction a drop in church membership:
Newsweekreports on Muqtada al-Sadr's role vis-a-vis the surge:
Gen. David Petraeus has been deservedly praised for tamping down violence in Iraq, but an unlikely character deserves some credit—Sadr. Five months ago the firebrand cleric ordered his followers to lay down their arms, and they've largely obeyed...American officers now talk about "splitting the seams" within the Shiite militia—working with moderates in the group to isolate the radicals, similar to the strategy adopted to tame the Sunni insurgency.