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Legendary investigative reporter SEYMOUR HERSH says Obama’s best chance for restarting the Mideast peace process is mediating talks between Israel and Syria. Syria’s president Bashar Assad told Hersh that despite Israel’s war on Gaza, he is very interested in closing a deal on the Golan Heights. Hersh writes about “Syria Calling” in this week’s issue of The New Yorker.
Plus: in Agfhanistan and Pakistan, TOM ENGELHARDT says, the US is “trading in a limited war in a mountainous, poverty-stricken country of 27 million people for one in an advanced nation of 167 million, with a crumbling economy, rising extremism, advancing corruption, and a large military armed with nuclear weapons.” Tom wrote about “The Great Afghan Bailout” for his indispensable website TomDispatch.com.
Also: What a billion Muslims really think: the Gallup poll did 50,000 interviews with Muslims in 35 countries, and found that Muslims and Americans are equally likely to reject attacks on civilians as morally unjustifiable; that large majorities of Muslims would guarantee free speech if it were up to them to write a new constitution — and they say religious leaders should have no direct role in drafting that constitution. DALIA MOGAHED will explain — she’s Executive Director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies and co-author of Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think.