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Bassam Haddad


Four Years On: No Easy Answers in Syria (Part II)

[Damaged buildings line the streets of Homs. Image from Reuters, by Yazan Homsy]

[See Part I here. Parts II and III are combined below] The Irony of Calamity There are no easy answers in Syria. Though undramatic, this is not how most seem to approach the Syrian tragedy in practice. What follows is not a recipe for an answer as much as it is a reminder against repeating the same mistakes if/when calling for solutions. If one’s vision is not yet clear regarding what path to take, or what existing combination of forces to support, one should be steadfast ...

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Four Years On: No Easy Answers in Syria (Part 1)

[Syrian boys, whose family fled their home in Idlib, walk to their tent, at a camp for displaced Syrians, in the village of Atmeh. Photo by Muhammed Muheisen/AP Photo.]

[See Part II here] After four years of killing and mayhem, the truth remains that there are no easy answers in Syria. What might appear to be natural liberal solutions are not only lacking in realism, but are also embedded in half-baked world views about freedom, justice, development, international relations, and even human dignity—contested as some these terms might be. No consequential camp or political actor approximates the pure. No camp is immune to faults, even to ...

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Breaking: Yemeni Political Alliances Shift as Houthis Capture Sanaa

On 21 September 2014, the Houthi movement militarily won control of the Yemeni state. This was quickly followed by a Peace and National Partnership Agreement, signed by most significant political players, which will have serious implications for the structure of national politics going forward. I interviewed John Warner, Co-Editor of Jadaliyya's Arabian Peninsula Page. He analyses the local and regional dynamics that led to these important political developments and their ...

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Growing Israeli and Neoconservative Fears of One More Frittata (Groundbreaking Video)

[Screenshot from video below.]

The calamitous destruction that befell Gaza did not dissuade mainstream media in the United States from registering the growing fears of one more Frittata (apparently all kinds). “Phat Potatoes in Palestine,” or PPIP, a new terrorist group that makes khkhamas appear lame, has issued its first communiqué and is now gearing up to start the frying. It's a chilling image. WATCH 20-SECOND CLIP BELOW Fataaaaaaah, for its part, commented that it is not able to deal with the new ...

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رد مصر على الهجوم الإسرائيلي على غزة: مقابلة مع حسام الحملاوي

[مقتطف من الفيديو أدناه]

أناقش في هذه المقابلة (انظر الفيديو في الأسفل) مع حسام الحملاوي رد حكومة السيسي على الهجوم الإسرائيلي على غزة كوظيفة للسياسة المصرية المحلية، بالإضافة إلى التغير الشجاع في الخطاب حول فلسطين، خاصة حول حماس. يبدأ بمعالجة كيف واصل السيسي لعب الدور الذي لعبه الرئيس السابق حسني مبارك حيال فلسطين؛ باستثناء أن السيسي تجاوزه بأضعاف مضاعفة. ومهما كان ما فعله مبارك لتخفيف معاناة الفلسطينيين، خاصة في غزة، قليلاً، فإن ما فعله السيسي في هذا الصدد أقل بكثير. يشير حسام إلى إغلاق حدود غزة ...

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Egypt's Response To The Israeli Assault On Gaza: An Interview With Hossam El-Hamalawy

[screenshot from video below.]

In this interview (video below), I discuss with Hossam El-Hamalawy al-Sisi's government response to the Israeli assault on Gaza as a function of local Egyptian politics and the bold shift in the discourse on Palestine, Hamas specifically. He starts by addressing how al-Sisi continues to play the role that former President Mubarak did on Palestine, except “on steroids.” Whatever little Mubarak did to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, al-Sisi ...

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Discursive Delusions | أوهام خطابية

[Screenshot from the video]

        Discursive Delusions | اوهام خطابية from Jadaliyya on Vimeo.

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The Strands of the Military Opposition in Syria: An Interview with Yasser Munif (Part 2)

[Undated file picture released on Wednesday Jan. 29, 2014, by the official website of Iraq's Interior Ministry claiming to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Al-Qaida's central leadership broke with one of its most powerful branch commanders, who in defiance of its orders spread his operations from Iraq to join the fighting in Syria and fueled bitter infighting among Islamic militant factions in Syria’s civil war. The announcement sharpens a dispute raging the past year between al-Qaida’s central leadership and the faction known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was created last year by, Al-Baghdadi. He formed the group to expand his operations into neighboring Syria in defiance of direct orders by Ayman al-Zawahri not to do so and to stick to operations within Iraq. (AP Photo/Iraqi Interior Ministry, File)]

This is part two of an interview as conducted with Yasser Munif, by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad. You can view Part one here. Yasser teaches Sociology and History at Emerson College and has been to Syria a few times in the past year. He starts the interview by discussing the importance of the invisible part of the uprising: namely, the civilian component that has been largely ignored in reporting on the uprising. He then proceeds to provide a ...

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The Strands of the Military Opposition in Syria: An Interview with Yasser Munif (Part 1)

[Screenshot from the interview]

This interview was conducted with Yasser Munif, by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad. Yasser teaches Sociology and History at Emerson College and has been to Syria a few times in the past year. He starts the interview by discussing the importance of the invisible part of the uprising: namely, the civilian component that has been largely ignored in reporting on the uprising. He then proceeds to provide a breakdown of existing opposition groups on the ground, starting with the ...

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تأملات ناشط حول الانتفاضة السورية: حوار مع عبد القادر الدهون

 [عبد القادر الدهون خلال الحوار]

لم يكن من المفترض أن يحدث الأمر على هذا النحو إلا أنّه حدث. فكان لتغيّر في الظروف قد لفت انتباهي إلى عبد القادر منذ بضعة أشهر، فيما كنت أخطّط لإجراء مقابلات مع سوريين ذوي وجهات نظر مختلفة. في النهاية، الآخرون المُدرجون في قائمة الحوار، وما بقيَ هو قصة ناشط سوري صاحب شخصية غير نموذجية. وعلى الرغم من أنني لا أتفق وعبد القادر في الرأي، فإن مقاربته وموقفه فريدان، وخاصة إذا ما أخذنا ماضيه والتعذيب الذي عاناه بعين الاعتبار. كما ستعرفون حين تشاهدون هذه المقابلة، صارت أسئلتي ...

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An Activist's Reflections on the Syrian Uprising: Interview with Abdul-Qader Al-Dhoun

[Abdul-Qader al-Dhoun during the interview]

This was not meant to happen in this manner. But it did. A twist of circumstances brought Abdul-Qader to my attention a few months ago as I was planning on interviewing Syrians with differing viewpoints. In the end, the other interviewee bailed. What remained is an account by a Syrian activist who is not a typical character. Though Abdul-Qader and I do not see eye to eye, his approach and attitude were unique, especially considering his past and the torture he endured. As ...

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استقطاب الخطاب وانتصار الليبرالية في مصر

[آلاف من أعضاء حزب الأخوان المسلمين يرددون شعارات أثناء مظاهرة احتجاجية أمام مجلس القضاء الأعلى في القاهرة، مصر، يوم الجمعة، 19 نيسان\أبريل تقول بالعربية:

لستُ سوى مراقب عن كثب للسياسة والتاريخ المصريين. وآمل أن يسمح لي الذين يشاركونني في الحوار حول مصر بأن أقدّم بعض الملاحظات عمّا يمكن أن يصبح في نهاية المطاف مهماً لنا جميعاً، نحن الذين نحرص على المنطقة، أو ندرّسها. سأركّز ملاحظاتي على الأسباب الكامنة وراء الخطاب الاستقطابيّ حول مصر، داخل وخارح البلاد في آن واحد معاً، وأختتم بتعليق حول مجئ ليبرالية جديدة. وتستند ملاحظاتي إلى رصْدٍ دقيق استمرّ أكثر من ستة أسابيع للإعلام المصري بمختلف أنواعه، وللجزيرة، والعربية، ومجموعة من ...

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Discourse Polarization and the Liberal Triumph in Egypt

[Thousands of mostly Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members shout slogans during a protest in front of the the Supreme Judicial Council in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 19, 2013. Arabic reads,

I cannot profess to be more than a close observer of Egyptian politics and history. I hope my Egypt interlocutors allow me to make some observations about what might end up concerning all of us who care about, or teach about, the region. I will focus my observations on the reasons behind the polarized discourse on Egypt, both inside and outside the country, and conclude with commentary about the advent of a new liberalism. These observations are based on more than six weeks ...

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Alianzas militares-empresariales en Egipto antes y despues del 30 de junio: entrevista con Wael Gamal

[Screenshot from the interview]

[This interview was originally conducted in Arabic by Bassam Haddad with Wael Gamal. It was published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English. It was translated into Spanish by Sinfo Fernández and published by Rebelión.] Entrevista con Wael Gamal: Alianzas militares-empresariales en Egipto antes y después del 30 de junio Tuve el placer de entrevistar a Wael Gamal, uno de los más periodistas más honestos e informados a la hora de ...

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تحالفات العسكر - مصالح الأعمال في مصر قبل وبعد 30 يونيو: مقابلة مع وائل جمال

[مصدر الصورة تسجيل المقابلة]

سررت بإجراء هذه المقابلة مع وائل جمال، أحد أكثر الصحافيين المطلّعين والموثوق بهم، والذي يتطرق، من وجهة نظر نقدية، إلى المتغيرات السياسية والاقتصادية في مصر. يقارب وائل في هذه المقابلة الوضع الإجتماعي والإقتصادي الملّح الذي قلّما تتم مناقشته والذي أثار احتجاجات 30 يونيو والأحداث التي أعقبته؛ بداية في ظل حكم الإخوان المسلمين ومؤخراً في ظل التكتل الرخو المناهض للإخوان المسلمين الذي يتشكّل الآن. إن أكثر ما يبرز في هذه المقابلة هو دور علاقات وآفاق ثنائية العسكر- الأعمال ...

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Military-Business Alliances in Egypt Before and After 30 June: Interview with Wael Gamal

[screenshot from the Interview]

[Please find both the Arabic video and an English translated transcription below.] I had the pleasure of conducting this interview with Wael Gamal, one of the more reliable and informed journalists who addresses critically political-economic variables in Egypt. In this interview, Wael addresses the less discussed dire social and economic situation that spurred the 30 June protests and the immediate aftermath, first under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and recently under ...

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Is The Egyptian Revolution Aborted? Interview With Hossam El-Hamalawy

[Screenshot from the Interview]

[I conducted this interview with Hossam El-Hamalawy despite a bad internet connection! Please find both the video and the edited English transcription below.] Hossam El-Hamalawy starts by rejecting the "coup vs. revolution" debate, and addresses briefly the short and long history of the military's involvement in politics in relation to the 30 June events. He then moves on to discuss in more detail the developments of the past two years, revealing that we cannot ...

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Sobre que deberia uno escribir? Tercer verano pavoroso en Siria

[Map of displaced Syrians. Image from Wikipedia]

[This article was originally written by Bassam Haddad and published by Jadaliyya in English. It was translated into Spanish by Sinfo Fernández and published by Rebelión.]  Sobre qué debería uno escribir? Tercer verano pavoroso en Siria Durante las últimas semanas que he pasado en Beirut, me he visto inundado de correos y comentarios de colegas y observadores acerca de los acontecimientos en Siria. Lo mismo sucede respecto a la ...

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Revisando de nuevo la situacion en Siria: Dos anos errando

[Compass. Image from Wikimedia Commons]

[This article was originally written by Bassam Haddad and published by Jadaliyya in English and Arabic. It was translated into Spanish by Sinfo Fernández and published by Rebelión.]  Revisando de nuevo la situación en Siria: Dos años errando Si tuviera un dólar por cada vez que alguien ha escrito acerca de la “partida final” en Siria a lo largo de los últimos dieciocho meses… Casi dos años de levantamiento sirio y los ...

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Triunfo e irrelevancia de las metanarrativas sobre Siria: 'Rohna Dahiyyah'

Billboard on road between Aleppo and Damascus showing Bashar al-Asad. Image from Wikipedia]

[This article was originally written by Bassam Haddad and published by Jadaliyya in English and Arabic. It was translated into Spanish by Sinfo Fernández and published by Rebelión.]  Triunfo e irrelevancia de las metanarrativas sobre Siria: "Rohna Dahiyyah" No traten de simplificar lo que está sucediendo en Siria. No lo van a conseguir. Tampoco podemos ceder el paso a la complejidad. Muchas de las ...

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Personal Posts

Homsi Comic Relief Speaks of Strong Spirits Despite All

[Screen shot from Video]

Two youngish Syrian men in Homs discuss "Bashar's Reforms" (islahaat) while pointing to the destruction of their homes (we don't know if these are indeed their homes, but that's immaterial here) and cars.  The script itself is clean and elegant as it is acerbically satirical. (though some of the comments under the Youtube video are disturbingly/disgustingly sectarian). There really is nothing to say except that it is worth watching. I apologize for not ...

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welcome back . . .

[Image from unknown archive]

I was just flying back from Amman to Washington DC on United Airlines, sitting at an aisle seat. As I looked to my left diagonally across the aisle, I saw four UA screens playing the same film, Sex in the City (2). (read reviews here, here, and here, though they don't all do justice to it--if you have other piercing reviews, please post them in the comments section. Watch the trailer here). I looked to the lady sitting to my right, and she's reading a book, which seemed to ...

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What's With World Cup Praying?

Ronaldo to the right

I don't have time to write about this now, but what's with world cup praying on behalf of so many players in the field (especially those coming in and out)? I've been watching football (the original football where one mostly uses their feet--the plural of foot, hence, "footbal"--not the sport where one mostly holds the ball using their hands) since 1974, and I have yet to witness such frequency of praying and exhibition of religious symbols. Could the economist be ...

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Bassam Haddad

Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East Studies Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam is currently editing a volume on Teaching the Middle East After the Arab Uprisings, a book manuscript on pedagogical and theoretical approaches. His most recent books include two co-edited volumes: Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012) and Mediating the Arab Uprisings (Tadween Publishing, 2013). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal a peer-reviewed research publication and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the critically acclaimed film series, Arabs and Terrorism, based on extensive field research/interviews. More recently, he directed a film on Arab/Muslim immigrants in Europe, titled The "Other" Threat. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and serves on the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report. He is the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute, an umbrella for five organizations dealing with knowledge production on the Middle East and Founding Editor of Tadween Publishing.



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