Today’s reads: Branding al-Qaeda, Palestine at the Oscars


Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi, directors of the Oscar-nominated '5 Broken Cameras' pose at Sundance. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

This post is among the first of a recurring feature, in which I’ll share some of what I’m reading today. It’s meant to highlight some of the best foreign affairs coverage from other media outlets, blogs, academic institutions and think tanks. It’s also meant to give you a sense of what might end up driving the foreign policy conversations for the day. I hope you enjoy it and check back tomorrow.

1) New Yorker's Steve Coll: Are the 'spinoffs' all really al-Qaeda?

Coll is no softie on terror: he wrote the definitive, Pulitzer-winning account of the group's rise in Afghanistan and a biography on the bin Laden family. But he asks a question I've posed here several times: How do we tell which of the al-Qaeda spin-offs, franchises and self-declared allies actually match the original in intention, ideology and threat? This isn't just an academic question: it has major implications for U.S. national security policies.

2) Haaretz: The Palestinian uprising was written on Hollywood's red carpet

The Israeli newspaper's diplomatic correspondent says that the Oscar nominations for two documentaries about the Israel-Palestine conflict "helped wake Israelis up to the ugly reality of the occupation."

3) Financial Times: Words of caution for China bulls

The fear that China's economy might experience a "hard" rather than soft "landing" – that its growth might collapse rather than slow gradually and smoothly – has major implications not just for China but for the entire global economy, including the U.S. The China "bulls" and "bears" – economists and political scientists who express optimism or pessimism for the country's immediate future – have argued for years, and will continue to, in part because reliable data on the Chinese economy is so hard to come by. But this FT post rounds up a lot of the current thinking that things might not be going so well under the hood of China's economy. More on this later today.

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Caitlin Dewey · February 23, 2013

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