Must Reads of the Week: Seven Days of Russian TV, Post-Qaddafi Libya, and More

Author: CFR.org Editors February 20, 2015

“’Out of My Mouth Comes Unimpeachable Manly Truth‘”
New York Times Magazine
By Gary Shteyngart

 

“It doesn’t matter that the true path of Russia leads from its oil fields directly to 432 Park Avenue. When you watch the Putin Show, you live in a superpower. You are a rebel in Ukraine bravely leveling the once-state-of-the-art Donetsk airport with Russian-supplied weaponry. You are a Russian-speaking grandmother standing by her destroyed home in Luhansk shouting at the fascist Nazis, much as her mother probably did when the Germans invaded more than 70 years ago. You are a priest sprinkling blessings on a photogenic convoy of Russian humanitarian aid headed for the front line. To suffer and to survive: This must be the meaning of being Russian. It was in the past and will be forever. This is the fantasy being served up each night on Channel 1, on Rossiya 1, on NTV.”

(Photo: Ilya Naymushin/Courtesy Reuters)
The Unravelling
New Yorker
By Jon Lee Anderson

“There is no overstating the chaos of post-Qaddafi Libya. Two competing governments claim legitimacy. Armed militias roam the streets. The electricity is frequently out of service, and most business is at a standstill; revenues from oil, the country’s greatest asset, have dwindled by more than ninety per cent. Some three thousand people have been killed by fighting in the past year, and nearly a third of the country’s population has fled across the border to Tunisia. What has followed the downfall of a tyrant—a downfall encouraged by NATO air strikes—is the tyranny of a dangerous and pervasive instability.”

What ISIS Really Wants
Atlantic
By Graeme Wood

“The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior. Its rise to power is less like the triumph of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (a group whose leaders the Islamic State considers apostates) than like the realization of a dystopian alternate reality in which David Koresh or Jim Jones survived to wield absolute power over not just a few hundred people, but some 8 million.”

“The Great SIM Heist”
Intercept
By Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley 

“The U.S. and British intelligence agencies pulled off the encryption key heist in great stealth, giving them the ability to intercept and decrypt communications without alerting the wireless network provider, the foreign government or the individual user that they have been targeted. ‘Gaining access to a database of keys is pretty much game over for cellular encryption,’ says Matthew Green, a cryptography specialist at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute. The massive key theft is ‘bad news for phone security. Really bad news.’”

Sisi’s Way
London Review of Books
By Tom Stevenson

“Men, women and even children who find themselves under arrest – whether they’re Muslim Brothers, students, labour activists, socialists, or just unemployed people protesting about their situation – are regarded as an army would regard captured combatants in a world without Geneva protocols. This is the essence of military dictatorship: a vision of the state and the population it rules as two opposing armies, the first better equipped but smaller than the second, which makes brutality an indispensable tactic. That this is how Sisi and his circle see matters does much to explain the surge in the use of torture.”

read more:

http://www.cfr.org/global/must-reads-week-seven-days-russian-tv-post-qaddafi-libya-more/p36149

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