EGYPT: Christian's headscarf fight
On her first day to school, Ferial Habib, 15, a Christian, was stopped at the door of her high school with clear instructions: either put on a headscarf or no school this year. She refused. Most Muslim women in Egypt wear the headscarf, but Christians do not, and the move by administrators to force a student to don it was unprecedented. For the next two weeks, Habib reported to school in the southern village of Sheik Fadl every day in her uniform, without the head covering, only to be turned back by teachers. Last week, she was finally allowed to attend without the scarf, and civil rights advocates say her case is a rare one. But it stokes the fears of the Christian minority that they will become the victims of assertive Islamists after the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak.
IRAQ: Army staying in cities
The Iraqi army was supposed to pull out of the nation's cities by the end of the year, but is delaying the pullback over security concerns, the Iraqi military spokesman said Saturday. Even after four years of declining violence, it appears the police are not capable of maintaining security on their own. The other worry is that violence will increase when U.S. troops complete their own withdrawal at year's end. The spokesman for the Baghdad command, Qassim al-Moussawi, said the military is worried that police will not be able to keep security in all areas.
AFGHANISTAN: First troops in, last to leave
They were the first into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks and will probably be the last to leave. As most U.S. troops prepare to withdraw in 2014, the CIA and military special operations forces are girding for the next great pivot of the campaign, one that could stretch their war up to another decade. The war's 10th anniversary Friday recalled the beginnings of a conflict that drove the Taliban from power and lasted far longer than was imagined. Recent remarks from the White House suggest the CIA and special operations forces will be hunting al-Qaida long after most U.S. troops have left.