• Ali Gomaa, a former Grand Mufti who has been critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, survived an assassination attempt at a mosque west of Cairo today; the gunmen escaped on a motorcycle after wounding one of Gomaa’s bodyguards.
“Historians and political scientists have long recognized that legal institutions greatly facilitate the formation of modern states by legitimizing violence, protecting economic transactions and property rights, and justifying taxation and military conscription. If we take seriously the “state” in ‘Islamic State,’ then we should also take seriously the institutional building blocks of that state, including its legal system. Like all legal systems, the Islamic State’s has (1) rules—based on the divinely revealed body of Islamic law known as shari‘a—(2) a judiciary to apply them, and (3) a law enforcement apparatus to ensure compliance. The Islamic State appears to be using this legal system to advance at least three different state-building objectives: (1) establishing a legal basis for territorial sovereignty and expansion; (2) enforcing internal discipline within the Islamic State’s own ranks; and (3) justifying taxation, which has become an increasingly important source of revenue for the group.”
Oren Kessler writes: The tightening ties between Egypt and Israel are an increasingly rare example of America's Middle Eastern allies cooperating to mutual benefit. With the region roiled by civil wars in Syria and Iraq, and a post-coup purge in Turkey, the Cairo-Jerusalem partnership is a rare piece of good news in a region offering precious little of it. – The Hill