Look, a thread about Islam! Nevertheless, two very good articles, the latter a commentary on the former: Both pretty interesting reads. Interestingly, the second article made me think quite a lot about the parallels between the current situations Russia and the Middle East. Both were formerly incredibly powerful, at the top of the world - though Russia much more recently than the ME - and since their "falls", much of the population has scapegoated external - or at least irrelevant - factors: much of the Russian population blames democracy (particularly its products - Yeltsin and Putin - and their corruption), whereas the blame from the ME seems apportioned fairly evenly between Jews and "Western" values. Anyway, interesting articles and please don't turn this into a ridiculous Muslim bashing thread. Islam != the Middle East, and whilst the region is going through a tremendous deal of trouble at the moment, it's much more a virtue of the wealth of dictatorships in the region as it is something inherent to Islam.