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Ziad Abu-Rish


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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[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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On Mubarak's Trial, Presidential Elections, and the Return to Tahrir: An Interview with Sharif Abdel Kouddous

[Tahrir protests on 2 June 2012. Banner reads:

In the following interview Egyptian journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous discusses developments in Egypt in the wake of last Saturday's verdict in the Mubarak trial. The interview begins with an overview of the verdict, the legal process that led up to it, and the erruption of protests in its aftermath. It then tackles the broader context within which the trial and verdict unfolded: the struggle to define the scope of revolution in Egypt. Sharif discusses the (re)emergence of ...

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So What If Iran Has The Bomb?

[Nuclear symbol. Image from WikkiCommons]

Whether it is simply a product of political jockeying associated with the US presidential election season or a "real" concern of the institutional networks that constitute the US foreign policy establishment, there has been a marked increase in the rhetorical—and even the practical—mobilization around Iran's potential nuclear capabilities. Initially, such mobilizations centered on the question of whether and to what degree Iran would grant weapons inspectors access ...

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Turkey's Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East: An Interview with Asli Bali (Part 2)

[Turkish flag. Image from]

This is Part 2 of a two-part interview in which Asli Bali discusses Turkey's foreign policy interests and objectives with regards to the Middle East. In this second part of the interview, Asli discusses Turkey’s foreign policy in the face of the Arab uprisings, with particular reference to Egypt, Libya, and Syria. The interview was conducted on 11 February 2012. It was transcribed by Ziad Abu-Rish and Kristina Benson. Edited Transcript (Complete audio file ...

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Turkey's Foreign Policy Towards the Middle East: An Interview with Asli Bali (Part 1)

[Cartoon by Ingram Pinn]

This is Part 1 of a two-part interview in which Asli Bali discusses Turkey's foreign policy interests and obejectives with regards to the Middle East. In Part 1, Asli tackels the question of whether Turkey's foreign policy positions vis-a-vis the Middle East have changed with respect to what is otherwise described as a "western orientation." She also explores whether whatever changes have occured can be traced directly to the AKP's rise to power within Turkish ...

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Turkish Politics, Kurdish Rights, and the KCK Operations: An Interview with Asli Bali

[Arrested individuals being transported to their hearing in Diyarbakir as supporters look on. Image from]

Turkey recently has witnessed a massive police operation against activists, advocates, academics, and publishers who are pro-Kurdish on the grounds of alleged links to the outlawed “Union of Communities in Kurdistan” (sometimes also referred to as the Kurdish Communities Union), known by its Kurdish-language acronym, the KCK. In the following interview, Aslı Bali provides some context for the “KCK Operations,” with particular reference to the role of the Justice and ...

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Leyla Halid'le Soylesi: Yasanmis Gundelik Bir Deneyim Olarak Direnis ve Devrim

[Leila Khaled. Image from unknown archive.]

[This interview was conducted in Arabic by Ziad Abu-Rish and translated/published from English into Turkish by SOL KÜRE.] Leyla Halid’le Söyleşi: Yaşanmış Gündelik Bir Deneyim Olarak Direniş ve Devrim [Aşağıdaki metin, yazarın 2007 yazında Leyla Halid’le yaptığı söyleşi dizisinin 1. bölümüdür.] İşgal terörizmdir; bir mülteci olmak cehennemdir; yurdunuzun çalınması bir suçtur; bir özgürlük savaşçısı olmak özgürleşmektir. Bu tümcelerle başladım, çünkü Filistinli ...

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Resistance and Revolution as Lived Daily Experience: An Interview with Leila Khaled (Part 4)

[Graffiti art depicting Leila Khaled. Image from unknown archive.]

[This is Part 4 of a translated transcription of a series of interviews conducted by the author with Leila Khaled during the summer of 2007. Click here to read the Introduction to the interview, here to read Part 1,  here to read Part 2, and here to read Part 3] After a brief training period in Jordan in 1969, I found myself in Lebanon meeting with Dr. Wadi Haddad. He asked me if I was ready to die. I replied that I was and asked why. ...

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Resistance and Revolution as Lived Daily Experience: An Interview with Leila Khaled (Part 3)

[Center: Leila Khaled. Image from unknown archive.]

[This is Part 3 of a translated transcription of a series of interviews conducted by the author with Leila Khaled during the summer of 2007. Click here to read the Introduction to the interview, here to read Part 1, and here to read Part 2.] The 1960s were particularly formative for many activists and thinkers in the Middle East, Leila Khaled among them. It was the high point of the Arab Nationalist Movement (ANM), one of the major political ...

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Ziad Abu-Rish


Ziad Abu-Rish is currently a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). 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 History of Authoritarian State Formation in Jordan" in the forthcoming 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. His co-authored Jadaliyya articles can be found here and here. You can follow him on Twitter at @ziadaburish.

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