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Ziad Abu-Rish زياد ابوالريش


Municipal Politics in Lebanon

The municipal system has been a key pillar of debates on administrative decentralization, economic development and political participation in Lebanon. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, activists sought to stop the demolition of the 1924 Barakat Building on the basis that it was a heritage site. In response to public pressure, the Municipality of Beirut expropriated the building in 2013, and has since overseen a contentious process of transforming the space into a memory ...

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Doubling Down: Jordan Six Years into the Arab Uprisings

[Another example of logo and design efforts at state propaganda in Jordan]

The political economy of Jordan today is characterized by greater degrees of authoritarianism and neoliberalism than was the case in 2010. Yet two trends in knowledge production on Jordan seem to claim otherwise. The first of these trends privileges narrowly defined security concerns. The second assumes the best of intentions by a core group of those in power. Whether through reporting or analysis, authors of either suasion typically ignore the machinations of ...

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After the Moment: The Death of US Exceptionalism?

[US Electoral College Map as of 9am EST Wednesday 9 November 2016. Image via]

The victory of Donald Trump over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the US presidential elections has sent a shock wave across the United States, the Americas, and indeed the world. However, the particular reverberations of this shock take on very different manifestations depending on geographic location, political affiliation, class background, and much more. In Beirut for example, some loyalists of recently elected Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement are ...

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Brief Reflections on Assassinations and Intolerance in Jordan

On the morning of Sunday 25 September 2016, a gunman shot Jordanian writer and opposition figure Nahed Hattar outside of the Jordanian Palace of Justice. At the request of Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki, the government accused Hattar of “inciting sectarian strife” and “insulting religion” and issued an arrest warrant for him on 12 August. Hattar turned himself in the following day and was subsequently released on bail on 8 September. The evidence presented was his posting to ...

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Garbage Politics

[Abdul Aziz Street, near the intersection with Bliss Street, Beirut during the 2015 summer. Image by Ziad Abu-Rish]

In late July 2015, mounds of garbage began piling up across Beirut and the towns of Mount Lebanon to the capital’s east. While not without precedent in poorer neighborhoods, such heaps of rubbish had never appeared in more affluent areas. By mid-August, Lebanese government officials, businesspeople, activists, residents and media outlets were all speaking about a garbage crisis. Some observers took a benign view of the accumulating trash, seeing it as one more symptom of the ...

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The Facade of Jordanian Reform: A Brief History of the Constitution

[Image by TheBlueJett4 via Wikipedia]]

In a matter of days this past month, the Jordanian legislature moved rapidly to substantially concentrate official government power in the institution of the monarch. The cabinet introduced a set of constitutional amendments on 18 April 2016. On 27 April and 2 May, the lower and upper houses of the Jordanian parliament respectively passed the amendments with overwhelming majorities. King Abdullah II issued a royal decree on 4 May approving the amendments. How was it ...

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Manufacturing Silence: On Jordan's ISIS War, Arab Authoritarianism, and US Empire

[Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircrafts fly alongside a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft while waiting to connect for fuel over Jordan on 19 October 2009.]

On 24 December 2014, ISIS reported and the US-led coalition confirmed that a Jordanian fighter pilot, Mu‘ath al-Kassasbeh, had crashed in Syria and was now in ISIS custody. On 3 February 2015, ISIS released a video showing its own members murdering the pilot by immolation. The Jordanian regime vowed revenge. Some Jordanians took to the streets in grief and anger. The Jordanian Armed Forces, for its part, intensified its bombing campaign in Syria. Media outlets and Middle ...

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عن موقع حبر كمساحة للحوار النقدي: مقابلة مع رئيسة التحرير لينا عجيلات

في 30 حزيران سنة 2014، حجبتْ الحكومة الأردنية موقع حبر. كان هذا الحجب الثاني للموقع في العامين الماضيين.  نُفِّذَ الحجبُ الأول على موقع وهو الـ URL الأول للمجموعة. أما الحجب الأخير فقد نُفِّذَ على عنوان  وهو الـ URL البديل للمجموعة منذ الحجب الأول. أجريت مقابلة مع رئيسة التحرير لينا عجيلات منذ سنة من أجل معرفة المزيد ...

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On Power Cuts, Protests, and Institutions: A Brief History of Electricity in Beirut (Part One)


[What follows are some preliminary findings on the history of the electricity sector of Lebanon in general and that of Beirut in particular. Such research forms part of a broader project on the history of struggles over the political economy of Lebanon, within which the issue of electric public utilities was and continues to be central. In this first installment of a three-part series, the origins of the electricity sector will be laid out, as well as the popular and elite ...

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From Revolution to War on Terror: Reflections on Post-3 July Egypt

[Two women wait near an armored army vehicle guarding Torah Prison, where ousted President Hosni Mubarak is held in Cairo, and expected to be released. Image by Amr Nabil via Associated Press.]

There is no doubt that the toppling of President Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013 was a watershed event in Egyptian history. On the one hand, it demonstrated the continued possibility of mass collective action seeking political change through contentious rather than formal political channels. On the other hand, wittingly or not, it allowed the country’s armed forces to restructure the nature of its own longstanding domination of Egyptian politics and economics, both formal and ...

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Romancing the Throne: The New York Times and The Endorsement of Authoritarianism in Jordan

[A Jordanian pedestrian passes by a Jordanian parliamentary campaign poster, in Amman, Jordan, on Thursday 3 January 2013. The Arabic writing on the poster reads,

On 23 January 2013, elections were held for the seventeenth parliament of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. During the past several months, the monarchy and its allies hailed the 2013 parliamentary elections in Jordan as both the symbol and litmus test of the regime's commitment to "reform" in the country. Alternatively, the Islamic Action Front (IAF)—the political wing of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood and the leading political opposition group since at least the ...

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Getting Past the Brink: Protests and the Possibilities of Change in Jordan

[Jordanian policemen prepare to disperse protesters blocking a main road during a demonstration against a rise in fuel prices in downtown Amman, Jordan, Wednesday, 14 Nov. 2012. Hundreds of Jordanians chanted slogans against the king and threw stones at riot police as they protested in several cities for a second day Wednesday amid rising anger over fuel price hikes. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh)]

On Tuesday, 13 November 2012, protesters took to the streets across several cities in Jordan. The immediate spark for the protests was the government’s announcement that it would cut fuel subsidies as a means of addressing its budget deficit and securing a two billion dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund. Such cuts are poised to generate price increases of fifty percent for cooking gas, thirty-three percent for heating gas, and fourteen percent on lower ...

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Jordan's Current Political Opposition Movements and the Need for Further Research: An Interview with Tariq Tell (Part 2)

[King Abdullah II and Queen Rania wave from a motorcade during an official celebration of the 10th anniversary of the king's accession to the throne in Amman, 9 June 2009. Image by Nader Daoud/AP Photo]

The following is the second and final installement in a two-part interview on the history and politics of the Jordanian regime. The interview was conducted during the first two weeks of August 2012 with Tariq Tell, a Jordanian scholar and activist. In this second part, Tell discusses the positions of various contemporary socio-political forces towards the Hashemite regime and outlines important areas for much-needed further research on the history and politics of state ...

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On the Nature of the Hashemite Regime and Jordanian Politics: An Interview with Tariq Tell (Part 1)


The following is the first installment in a two-part interview on the history and politics of the Jordanian regime. The interview was conducted during the first two weeks of August 2012 with Tariq Tell, a Jordanian scholar and activist. In this first part, Tell discusses the history of the Hashemite regime and Jordanian state formation as well as the broad outlines of the political field that such a history has engendered. In the second part (click here to access) Tell ...

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No Comment

[On east side of Abdel Aziz street, as you are approaching Bliss Street. Beirut, 2011. Image by Ziad Abu-Rish]

On Abdel Aziz street, just across from Cafe Yunis as you are approaching Bliss Street. Beirut, 2012.

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Beyond US Exceptionalism: Stephen Walt and America's "Core Values"

[Graffiti on Beirut's Bliss Street. Image by Ziad Abu-Rish]

In a recent post entitled “What’s going on in Israel,” Stephen M. Walt effectively undermines the “claim that Israel has always been interested in a fair and just peace.” Walt, like many others, notes the persistence of this “pernicious narrative.” On Israeli policy, he concludes the following: What is going on, in short, is slow motion ethnic cleansing. Instead of driving out Palestinians out by force – as was done in 1948 and 1967 – the goal is simply to make life ...

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The President, SCAF, and the Future of Egypt: Interview with Sarah Sirgany

[Egyptian man who was part of Tahrir Square 24 June 2012 celebration of Mohammed Morsi's election as president. Image by Sabri Khaled via Flickr]

The following Skype interview was conducted on 29 June 2012 with Sarah Sirgany, an Egyptian journalist and editor at Egypt Monocle. In the first video, Sirgany discusses the presidential election outome while situating it within allegations of deal-making between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Surpeme Council for the Armed Forced (SCAF). She also identifies the key challenges facing the new president. In the secon video, Sirgany identifies the challenges facing ...

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نهر البارد واللاجئون الفلسطينيون والسياسة اللبنانية: مقابلة مع غسان مكارم

[مصدر الصور وكالة فلسطين برس للأنباء]

أجريت هذه المقابلة مع الناشط اللبناني غسان مكارم على السكايب، يوم الجمعة، ٢٢ حزيران، ٢٠١٢. وتتناول الأحداث التي كانت قد وقعت في مخيم نهر البارد للاجئين الفلسطينيين واضعة إياها في إطارها السياسي والتاريخي اللبناني الأوسع. يناقش مكارم الأحداث الحالية وأحداث ٢٠٠٧ مبيناً التشابهات والاختلافات. كما يتطرق مكارم أيضاً لوضع الفلسطينيين عموماً في لبنان وتقاطعاته مع الديناميات اللبنانية، بالإضافة إلى تورط كافة القوى اللبنانية (على اليمين واليسار) في العنصرية والتفرقة ضد ...

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Nahr al-Bared, Palestinian Refugees, and Lebanese Politics: An Interview with Ghassan Makarem

[A diagram showing a May 2009 progress report of rubble removal from Nahr al-Bared. This portion of the camp, which was the central section, was completely destroyed in 2007 by the Lebanese army. Image from]

The following is the translated transcription of a Skype interview that was conducted on Friday 22 June 2012. It features Lebanese activist Ghassan Makarem. The interview explores the particular events that transpired last week in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared, locating them within the broader political and historical context of Lebanon. Makarem discusses both the current and 2007 events of Nahr al-Bared, highlighting similiarities and differences. Most ...

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The Constitutional Court Rulings and Counter-Revolution in Egypt: An Interview with Lina Attalah

[Egyptian soldiers stand guard during a protest in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Egypt's highest court, in Cairo on Thursday 14 June 2012. Image from AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)]

With presidential run-off elections set to take place 16-17 June 2012, Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court affirmed the presidential candidacy of Ahmed Shafiq (Mubarak's last prime minister) and nullified the parliamentary elections from earlier this year (thus dissoliving parliament). Despite ongoing debates about the efficacy of parliamentary and presidential powers vis-a-vis SCAF and other unaccountable centers of power, the rulings represent a major victory for ...

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Ziad Abu-Rish زياد ابوالريش


Ziad Abu-Rish is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Ohio University. He is co-editor of The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of An Older Order? (2012), and author of "Protests, Regime Stability, and the State Formation in Jordan" in the edited volume Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East (2014). In addition to his publications, Ziad serves as one of the senior editors of the Arab Studies Journal. Ziad is Co-Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine. You can follow him on Twitter at @ziadaburish.

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