Middle East Blog to Check Out

The Internet is a veritable treasure trove of Middle East related blogs, so here’s another one to keep you updated on all the happenings in our favorite chaotic and beautiful region.  The National Council on Arab-U.S relations has a blog, that stays up do date with Middle Eastern news, culture and trends; among other topics.  Today’s article on the blog talks about the silent energy crisis occurring in Saudi Arabia in a detailed and intellectual fashion.  So if you’re interested in more in-depth editorials on the Middle East from a widely recognized international organization, this is the blog for you.

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Recent Releases in Middle Eastern Literature – May 23rd, 2012

The Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre (Amman, Jordan – website) announces the release of four new books, two of which were papers recently presented at the 2nd Catholic-Muslim Forum at the Baptism Site in Jordan and the other two books are on the Islamic concepts of warfare and peace. The books are:

  1. The Concept of Faith in Islam – by Habib Ali al-Jifri
  2. Reason and Rationality in the Qur’an – Dr Ibrahim Kalin
  3. Islam and Peace – Dr Ibrahim Kalin
  4. Warfare in the Qur’an – Dr Joel Hayward

Here’s a more detailed synopsis of each book

Middle East News – May 9th, 2012

Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister

– Iran has begun to accept the yuan (China’s currency) for oil – this is in reaction to the increasingly difficult economic times in Iran under worldwide sanctions – Read more at CNN

– A reaction to the Israeli political agreement yesterday to postpone elections for at least another year is that Netanyahu is simply buying time for himself to consolidate full control of the Israeli government – More at CNN

A nuclear inspector from the UN was killed in a car accident in Iran, which will surely raise further suspicions that Iran is trying to hide its nuclear weapons program

An Aghan woman who was raped and beaten repeatedly by her family is in anguish over what she considers the light sentencing of her attackers

Recent Middle East News – May 7th, 2012

Three recent big stories going on now in the Middle East (courtesy of CNN)

– The hunger strike of around two thousand Palestinian prisoners continues in Israel – they are protesting Israel’s detention of them without any formal evidence or charges – Read more

– The parliamentary elections for Syria began this week – The military is offering heavy security while the opposition groups are calling for people to boycott the elections – Read more

– Amid the conflict in Syria the recent escalation of violence in Yemen has been largely forgotten – the USA-backed campaign against Al-Qaeda rebels in the northern part of the country has amped up in recent weeks – Read more

Arab Spring Lecture – Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow: UNESCO, NWICO and the U.S. – NAIROBI 1976 and the February 2011 ‘Arab Spring’

Edris Makward
Professor Emeritus, Department of African Languages and Literature
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Time and Location: 12:00pm, 206 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI
Click the link below for further information on Professor Makward’s discussion of the NWICO organization and how it affected the Arab Spring of February 2011.

Judaism Lecture – Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
56th Annual Free Public Lecture
Bernard M. Levinson, Professor at University of Minnesota
“‘You Must Not Add Anything to What I Command You’: Paradoxes of Canon and Authorship in Ancient Israel”
at the AT & T Lounge in the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison

Professor Bernard M. Levinson will present a free public lecture entitled, “‘You Must Not Add Anything To What I Command You’: Paradoxes of Canon And Authorship in Ancient Israel.” Professor Levinson’s lecture addresses how Israel, having a tradition of prestigious or authoritative texts, dealt with the problem of literary and legal innovation. By comparing scribal practices in ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform law, he shows how ancient Israel’s development of the idea of divine revelation of law that might have been expected to impede legal revision or amendment tolerated modification through exegetical innovation.

As a test-case, Professor Levinson begins with the concept of divine punishment in the Decalogue: the idea that God punishes sinners transgenerationally, vicariously extending the punishment due one generation to three or four generations of their progeny. A series of inner-biblical and post-biblical response to the rule demonstrates, however, that later writers were able to criticize, reject, and replace it with the alternative notion of individual retribution. The lecture’s conclusions stress the extent to which the formative canon sponsors this kind of critical reflection and intellectual freedom.

This lecture is sponsored by University Lectures Committee and the Department of Hebrew & Semitic Studies with the generous support of the Ettinger Family Foundation; co-sponsored by the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies and the Lubar Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions. For more information, please contact the Department of Hebrew & Semitic Studies, email  hebrew@mailplus.wisc.edu

Lecture: Iran, the New Geopolitical Balance in the Middle East, and Implications for Latin America – Monday, April 30th, 2012

Zidane Zeraoui will be giving a lecture at noon next Monday (April 30th) in 336 Ingraham Hall concerning the new geopolitical situations in the Middle East and how this affects Latin America.  This lecture should be of interest to anyone studying either Latin America or the Middle East and will be a fascinating synthesis of these two regions that are commonly thought to be (mostly) independent of one another.

For more information see the attached poster.  Zidane Zeraoui Poster