Juan Cole has the craic on the ongoing cartoon controversy:
The global controversy over the Danish caricatures of the prophet Mohammed continued to spin out of control this week, as Iraqis demonstrated for the withdrawal of Danish troops, and Afghans attacked NATO soldiers, leaving four dead and dozens wounded. The dispute has typically been treated in the Western media as a further sign of the fanaticism of Muslims. But the tempest did not arise out of nowhere. Muslim anger has been greatly heightened by the widespread belief that at best the West has treated the Islamic world unjustly and at worst launched a war against it. Moreover, the caricatures have most often been deployed by Middle Easterners and Muslims in disputes with each other -- disputes that have been sharpened by the Bush administration's blundering interventions in the region. Western attempts to cast the issue as one of freedom of expression display an ignorance of the local context of these conflicts, which are not mostly about religion so much as they are about religious nationalism and about power struggles within Muslim societies.