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Ali Issa


New Texts Out Now: Ali Issa, Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq

[Cover of Ali Issa,

Ali Issa, Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq. Washington, DC: Tadween Books, 2015. [Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq is co-published with the War Resisters League.]   Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?  Ali Issa (AI): I wrote this book to remedy the glaring lack of awareness of progressive political work and dreams on the ground in Iraq now. This desire came about after I got the chance to be an interpreter for ...

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العراق الذي لم يعد هناك: مقابلة مع أحمد حبيب

[مدينة نيويورك 339 شارع لفايت]

 العراق الذي لم يعد هناك: مقابلة مع أحمد حبيب "لماذا أعلم ابني العربية يا علي؟ العراق راح، انتهى". هذا ما قالته لي صديقة من العراق تعيش حالياً في الولايات المتحدة قبل فترة، وفي الحقيقة لم أعرف بماذا أجيبها. ورغم أن التواصل المفترض مع العراق قد يختلف من شخص لآخر- فقد يكون زيارة للعراق، أو حديثاً عنه، أو عن "المنطقة" بشكل عام- فإن هذه المشاعر ليست غريبة على عراقيي الشتات. ففي خضم هذا الشعور المتنامي بالاحباط، نتساءل عن موقع، وهي ...

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The Iraq That Is Not There: An Interview with Ahmed Habib

[339 Lafayette St. in New York, August 2013]

“Why would I teach my son Arabic, Ali? Iraq is gone, finished.” This is what a friend from Iraq now living in the United States told me a while ago, and I really did not know what to say. Although the specifics of contact with Iraq may differ—it might be about visiting Iraq, talking about it, or about “the region” as a whole—this is not an uncommon sentiment in the Iraqi Diaspora. In the context of this widespread feeling of despair, what is, “an independent ...

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Rise Up: Iraq

[Baghdad's Tahrir Square, June 2011. From the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq.]

The street that your question describes as “quiet” is actually silent only as a result of repression, especially after the protests of February 2011 when the authorities revealed their violence openly—using the army to clamp down on nonviolent protests and firing live ammunition at peaceful protestors. — Falah Alwan, 22 January 2013, The Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq. As the world marks ten years since the US invasion of Iraq, many will be ...

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Tipping Towards Iraq's Squares: An Interview with Falah Alwan

[Iraqis in the Northern province of Salah al Deen on 11 January 2013 holding a banner that reads

The Iraqi state releasing 335 detainees this past week? Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki bussing in a few hundred paid “supporters” to rally? What gives? Signs point to the wave of mass anti-government protests mostly centered around the provinces al-Anbar, Niniweh, and Salah al-Deen, shaking Iraq since 21 December 2012. These evolving mobilizations have sometimes brought out numbers approaching hundreds of thousands (as in Mosul’s Ahrar Square) and led to the blocking of a ...

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The Unfinished Story of Iraq's Oil Law: An Interview with Greg Muttitt

[US Sergeant Masterson checks out an oil pipeline valve in Iraq early in his deployment in 2005. It was referred to as

“No Blood For Oil” was a slogan featured on many a sign in demonstrations during the run up to the US-led invasion of Iraq, and throughout the early years of the occupation as global opposition to it grew. But as Iraq faded from the headlines in 2009, the struggle over its oil continued. In the following interview, Greg Muttitt, investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq (2012), discusses the attempts by ...

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On the Ground in Basra: An Interview with Hashmeya Muhsin al-Saadawi

[Hashmeya Muhsin al-Saadawi with colleagues at the 2012 May Day march in Basra. Image from Electrical Utility Workers Union in Iraq]

Iraqi unions demonstrated yesterday on May Day 2012 at a difficult historical moment. Still operating without a labor law that sanctions their organizing, and under the consolidation of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s growing police/military powers, their movement faces an array of antagonistic forces. In this wide-ranging discussion with Ali Issa, Basra-based Hashmeya Muhsin al–Saadawi, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union in Iraq, and the first woman ...

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Iraq After Maliki's "100 Days": An Interview with Iraqi Organizer Uday al-Zaidi

[Uday al-Zaidi. Image from Associated Press.]

On February 27, 2011, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki gave his parliament 100 days to "reform" their sometimes totally nonfunctional ministries or face consequences, in response “to people’s demands” as he put it. Those demands have taken the form of some of the least noted events of the Arab Spring: large mobilizations in Baghdad's Tahrir Square; mass acts of civil disobedience and a general strike in Mosul; and the resignations of several governors all over ...

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Ali Issa


Ali Issa is the National Field Organizer with War Resisters League, where he is co-coordinator of a campaign to end police militarization. He is originally from Iowa and holds a Master's in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq (Tadween, 2015). His literary translations have appeared in Banipal, the PEN World Atlas Blog, and Jadaliyya where he is a contributor on Iraqi social movements. He is a member of the community funding committee of the North Star Fund, a foundation that provides grants to grassroots community groups. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and can be contacted at His other Jadaliyya contributions can be found here and here.