Popular Uprisings Leave al Qaeda Behind
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Peaceful protesters are overthrowing governments and raising hopes for new freedoms in the Muslim World. Will al Qaeda and other violent extremists just fade away or live to exploit the likely chaos if high expectations are disappointed? Also, attacks in Frankfurt leaves two US servicemen dead, and the US Supreme Court upholds the right of unpopular free speech, even at the funerals of American soldiers.
Banner image: Anti-government demonstrators celebrate in Tahrir Square upon hearing the news of the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images
Two US Servicemen Killed in Frankfurt ()
Two US soldiers were shot to death and two were wounded today at the main airport serving Frankfurt, Germany. They were on a military bus outside the terminal, and a suspect has been arrested. David Crawford is Berlin correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.
- David Crawford: Berlin Correspondent, Wall Street Journal
Al Qaeda and the Challenge of People Power ()
Pakistan's only Christian cabinet member, who was under threat of death for opposing laws against "insulting" Islam, was murdered today in Islamabad. In Yemen, a radical cleric, once a mentor of Osama bin Laden, has rallied crowds with calls for establishing Islamic rule. But the actual toppling of Hosni Mubarak, a goal of al Qaeda for the past 20 years, was accomplished in 18 days by mostly peaceful protesters for whom Islam appeared to be only an afterthought. No violence. No calls for jihad. Surprisingly little anti-Americanism, given US support for Egypt's President over the years. Has America mis-read the Muslim world? The promises of free speech and jobs seem to have more street appeal than radical Islam, and the "War on Terror" looks like a strategic mistake. What does that mean for the power of extremists in the Muslim world? Are they waiting to seize the moment in case promised reforms aren't allowed to happen?
- Scott Shane: National Security Writer, New York Times, @ScottShaneNYT
- Peter Beinart: Senior Fellow, New America Foundation, @PeterBeinart
- Paul Pillar: former CIA National Intelligence Officer
- Michael Scheuer: former Chief, CIA's Bin Laden Unit
Military Funeral Protesters Win at Supreme Court ()
Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas stirred nationwide anger when they picketed the funeral of an American soldier with signs that included "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" and "God hates fags." A Maryland jury awarded one soldier's father $11 million for emotional distress. But today, the US Supreme Court overturned that verdict. In today's decision, Chief Justice John Roberts said the protesters were "certainly hurtful," but that the 1st Amendment protected them from tort liability. David Savage covers the court for the Los Angeles Times.
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