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Good Reads: the Anwar al-Awlaki effect, Amanda Knox verdict, and Israel's offer

Foreign Policy magazine questions how much safer the world is without Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar al-Awlaki; the press awaits the Amanda Knox verdict; and Israel offers peace talks, again.

By Scott BaldaufStaff Writer / October 3, 2011

In this 2010 file image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, Anwar al- Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites.

SITE Intelligence Group/AP/File

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With all the press attention that Anwar al-Awlaki’s death received last week – the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula spokesman was killed by a US military drone in Yemen – you could be forgiven for thinking the war on terror was finally over.

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But you would be wrong. As J.M. Berger writes in Foreign Policy, Mr. Awlaki’s skills were largely restricted to the world of ideas – he was an Islamic scholar, with many books and inspirational tapes about the prophet Mohammad and the Quran. He only belatedly joined Al Qaeda’s military fight in Yemen – and so his death may have little actual effect, aside from highlighting the (false) narrative he created for himself.

As Mr. Berger writes,

With his alleged death, the narrative that Awlaki wanted to sell us is now complete: the reasonable man, pushed too far, who reluctantly took up the gun and was finally killed by the enemy he dared face.

The effects of this story will likely reverberate for years to come; in the short term, Awlaki's death will probably elevate interest in his entire body of work, from beginning to end.

Amanda Knox

Today’s news will largely focus on a courtroom in the Italian city of Perugia. Amanda Knox, a young American woman, was convicted in 2009 of murdering her roommate, the British-born Meredith Kercher, and today an appeals court there will decide whether to uphold that conviction.

The case has attracted hundreds of reporters and dozens of TV satellite trucks, largely because of the human drama and the salacious details involved. The Guardian has its senior reporters Peter Walker and Luke Harding live blogging from the courtroom as does the Telegraph, with Andrew Hough and Nick Squires.

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