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Friday, March 11, 2005

Thursday Night Linkfest

From the Boston Globe, where did the anti-porn feminists go?:

Today, as social conservatives lead the campaign to rid the airwaves of the taint of sex, it's easy to forget that the most powerful anti-pornography legislation ever passed in this country was written not by cultural conservatives but radical feminists led by legal scholar Catharine A. MacKinnon and author Andrea Dworkin...The two women's brief against pornography went beyond simply attacking its lasciviousness. They argued that its aestheticized visions of female degradation actually incited men to violence. In 1974 the writer and activist Robin Morgan had put it most starkly: ''Pornography is the theory, rape is the practice.''

Johnathan Edelstein has posted part four of his series on Lebanese politics for beginners:

"Nothing, in Lebanon or elsewhere, happens in a vacuum, and no spark catches fire unless there is a sufficient amount of dry tinder underneath. In one way, the current Lebanese political crisis began with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005. In another, its roots can be traced back through a chain of events that began five years ago.

One of these was the parliamentary election of August-September 2000, in which Hariri - who had been ousted as prime minister in 1998 at Syrian instigation - returned to office at the head of a Beirut-centered coalition. This had no immediate effect on Lebanon's relationship with the Syrian government, because Hariri had made his peace with Syria before the election. Nevertheless, the 2000 vote was the most fiercely contested election since the Taif Accord, and the first in which a change of administration was accomplished through electoral means. With Hariri's billions financing an insurgent campaign, it was also more a Lebanese affair, driven by Lebanese money and internal politics, than the two previous post-Taif polls. In at least a minor way, it represented a cautious opening of the political process."

From Open Democracy, Iranian confidence:

"From an Iranian perspective, what has happened in Iraq has been broadly favourable to the country’s interests. True, the United States has 150,000 troops in Iraq, several thousand more in Afghanistan, and controls the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian sea; but it is also enmeshed in a bitter and continuing insurgency in Iraq, while facing the political prospect that a core aim of its strategy there – a client government with permanent military bases in this immensely oil-rich country – may eventually prove untenable.

Moreover, for the Iranians, Iraq’s elections have effectively delivered a Shi’a-dominated legislature. The United States may dominate the country through its massive embassy, economic influence and occupying forces, but Iran’s view is that the US will eventually be worn down and forced to withdraw most, if not all, of its military forces. Whether or not this analysis is accurate, it helps to buttress the worldview of Iran’s theocratic leadership."

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