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Bassam Haddad


A Preface to A Critique of Instant Analysis and Scholarship on the Arab Uprisings

Much of the writing on the Arab uprisings continues to suffer from the new think-tank-ish, self-important, semi-casual, sloppy-analysis syndromes. It is as if having a platform and a mandate are sufficient to produce sound knowledge. For the most part, the proof is in the pudding. Follow platforms and individuals across time and space and this becomes clear: zig-zagging and pendulum-swing judgements and analysis, driven more by events and politics than by historical and ...

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عصير الكتب: بلال فضل يحاور بسام حداد

[المصدر موقع عصير الكتب]

في هذه الحلقات الثلاث من برنامج "عصير الكتب" على قناة العربي يستضيف الكاتب والصحفي المصري بلال فضل الدكتور بسام حداد، أستاذ العلوم السياسية في جامعة جورج ميسن ومدير برنامج دراسات الشرق الأوسط فيها وأحد مؤسسي ومحرّري مجلة "جدلية،" الصادرة عن مؤسسة الدراسات العربية.  يناقش الحوار العديد من المحاور المتعلقة بالإنتفاضة السورية ودول عربية أخرى. كما تتناول الحلقة كتاب بسام حداد   Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian ...

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The Futility of Presidential Policy Recommendations

[US Air Force F-15E Eagle fighter aircraft of the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., are parked on an air field during Operation Desert Shield. Image by Phan Chad Vann via Wikimedia Common]

Providing recommendations on Middle East policy to US decision-makers or the president-elect is a bit of a delusional act if one considers the different metrics some of us proceed from. Despite an abundance of good minds, US policy over the past five-to-six decades has been devastating for the people of the region, though pretty good for Arab autocrats and economic elites, as well as the Apartheid state of Israel. The policy inputs are not likely to change soon, and in this ...

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الجدل حول سوريا يصل إلى طريق مسدود

[المصدر: موقع حركة المجتمع التعددي]

[اضغط/ي هنا للنسخة الإنجليزية من المقال] روايتان متصارعتان تهيمنان على النقاشات، وكلتاهما لا تقدمان حلا  يشعر كل المتتبعين لأخبار سوريا المؤلمة الآن بحالة من التشبع بالمعلومات والأرقام والتحليلات والمعلومات المضللة التي ظهرت منذ عام 2011 وحتى وقتنا الحالي. الكثير منا تبنى روايته الخاصة للأحداث وهذا هو الحال سواء كنا من المتابعين لسوريا خلال العقدين الماضيين أو بدأنا فجأة بمتابعتها منذ 2011. وللأسف، ففي ضوء الطبيعة المثيرة للجدل للمعلومات التي تصلنا عن هذا ...

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ما الذي يجري في حلب؟ حديث مع مراسل صحيفة الحياة في سوريا ابراهيم حميدي

This is a conversation Bassam Haddad conducted with Al-Hayat journalist, and friend, Ibrahim Hamidi, for Status on the following topics: هذا حديث أجراه بسام حداد مع الصحفي في جريدة الحياة والصديق ابراهيم حميدي، لمجلة الوضع\ Status الصوتية حول المواضيع التالية:     Introduction and Journalistic Notes مقدمة و ملاحظات صحافية Beyond Aleppo ما بعد حلب All About Aleppo ماذا يجري في حلب؟ Turkey, Russia, et. al, and Northeast Syria تركيا، روسيا، و ...

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The Debate Over Syria Has Reached a Dead End

[A member of the Syrian Civil Defense, the White Helmets, runs in a rebel-held market district in Aleppo, Syria, October 12, 2016. Reuters / Abdalrhman Ismail]

[Arbic translation can be accessed here.] By now, those following the heart-wrenching news from Syria have been saturated with data, analysis, information, and misinformation on developments there since 2011. Many of us have adopted our disparate narratives. This is the case whether we have been observing Syria over the past two decades or whether we suddenly started paying attention in 2011. Unfortunately, in light of the contentious nature of received knowledge on the ...

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بعد مرور أربع سنوات: ما من أجوبة سهلة في سوريا

(كُتب هذا المقال في آذار\نيسان. ترجمة: أسامة إسبر) (Read English Version here) بعد أربع سنوات من القتل والتدمير، ليس هناك أسئلة سهلة في سوريا. ذلك أن الحلول الليبرالية المطروحة لا تفتقر للواقعية فحسب، بل هي أيضاً متضمنة في وجهات نظر عالمية غير ناضجة عن الحرية والعدالة والتنمية والعلاقات الدولية وحتى الكرامة الإنسانية، وهذه مصطلحات يدور الجدل حولها. ما من معسكر مهم يقترب من النقاء، وليس هناك معسكر محصن من الأخطاء، وحتى من السلوك ...

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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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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 and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and Director of the  and the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine. Twitter: @4Bassam.


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