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Laleh Khalili


With Muslim Ban, Trump and Bannon Wanted Chaos, but Not Resistance

[Protesters outside the US Embassy in London, 4 February 2017. Photo by Alisdare Hickson, via Flickr]

The Trump executive order that puts into place a series of unconstitutional restrictions on migration of citizens of seven Middle Eastern and African countries is anything but an instance of harried incompetence by an inexperienced White House staff. Rather, it is, like so many other Trump executive orders and presidential memoranda, a malignant, strategic attack on democracy. A closer look at the pre-history and logic of the ban reveals that the Muslim Ban executive order ...

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Seam Zones, Security Zones, Death Zones, and Walls

[Time in the Shadows investigates the two major liberal counterinsurgencies of our day: Israeli occupation of Palestine and the U.S. War on Terror.]

I wrote Time in the Shadows in order to puzzle out why the counterinsurgency practices of enormously powerful state militaries—the US and Israel at the time I was writing the book—so often invoked law and humanitarianism, rather than naked force. And why so much of their war-fighting pivoted around the mass confinement not only of combatants but civilians. I was also struck by the similarities in the practices of confinement not only between Israel and the US but ...

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New Texts Out Now: Laleh Khalili, Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies

[Cover of

Laleh Khalili, Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Laleh Khalili (LK): In the course of completing my first book, I was performing some final interviews with Palestinian residents in Lebanon who had been detainees in Israel at various points over the last couple of decades. I was conducting these interviews when the news of Abu Ghraib tortures broke and pictures ...

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This Sea Is Mine: A Review


Dictaphone Group, This Sea Is Mine. Beirut, Lebanon, 28 August - 8 September 2012. A familiar feature of the Beirut waterfront is the ongoing struggle between Beirutis who want access to the sea and the barriers erected to precisely prevent that on the part of a constellation of powers – private and public. (And who can tell the difference between the two sometimes?) The waterfront is nearly entirely privatized, and what is not private teems with fishermen and fisherwomen, ...

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Threat: Palestinian Prisoners in Israel

[Cover of

Abeer Baker and Anat Matar (eds.), Threat: Palestinian Political Prisoners in Israel. London: Pluto Press, 2011. There are many harrowing passages in the excellent new edited volume by Abeer Baker and Anat Matar on the processes of administrative detention and imprisonment of Palestinians in Israel; some of them are even in the book’s academic chapters. But the most harrowing, and paradoxically the most hopeful, is the account Osama Barham gives of his endless arrests, ...

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What Churchill Said

[Pashtuns at Malakand. Image from BBC.]

The end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century were decisive years in British asymmetric warfare in its colonies and against colonial rebels. Those years were significant not only because of the consolidation of colonial war-fighting doctrine, as enshrined in Major General Charles Callwell’s Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice, but also because there emerged for the first time a concerted anti-war movement in the Metropole, which ...

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