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Authoritarian Rule

Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (April 15)

[Activists and human rights organizations campaigned to stop the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix in order to highlight human rights abuses by the Bahraini regime. Image from CaterhamF1/flickr. 6 April 2014.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Converging Interests May Lead to Cooperation Between Israel and Gulf States Helen Cooper maintains that US and Israeli officials hope for closer security cooperation between Tel Aviv and the Arab Gulf states. Can the Saudis adapt to Obama's policies? Marwan Kabalan argues that the US ...

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Tartus in the Present Crisis: A Mirror of the Syrian Regime

[A small boat dock in Tartus. Image by Taras Kalapun via Flickr]

Whether in the Syrian or international media, Tartus is often presented as an island of calm in the ongoing Syrian crisis. The typical response of a Tartus resident to a non-resident interlocutor inquiring about the local situation is “Hon ma fi shi,” which translates from the Arabic as “There is nothing going on here.” Syrian official media in particular likes to emphasize that Tartus’s inhabitants are safe, free, and living without problems.[1] Tartus has always been a relatively quiet city, lacking the commercial and cultural life of such cities as Damascus and Aleppo, and even Latakia. Market areas, including the Suq Mshabki, have always closed early in the evening. ...

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Son of UAE94 Detainee Tortured for Four Days

[Logo of the Alkarama Foundation. Image from alkarama.org]

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 3 April 2014] Osama Al Najjar, an Emirati human rights activist and the son of one of the 'UAE94', was tortured for four days during his secret detention by officers from the state security services who arrested him for a tweet. He was arrested on 17 March 2014 on his way back home, the day after he posted a tweet in reply to a radio statement made by the Emir of Sharjah Emirate on the 'UAE94' case. On 19 March, as he was held in secret detention, Alkarama solicited the urgent intervention of the UN Special Procedures with the UAE authorities. It was only two weeks later that Alkarama learned ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (April 1)

[King Abdullah in a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry, 5 January 2014. Image from Wikicommons.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations Kuwait summit: Arab unity or disunity? Joseph Kechichian argues that behind the seeming united front, representatives of the Arab states had serious disagreements in private. Kuwait summit merely papers over Arab rifts Sylvia Westall and Amena Bakr report on the Arab summit and ...

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Media On the Margins: An Interview with Alex Christie-Miller about Turkey's Attack on the Media Beyond Twitter

A twitter logo on an iPhone display is seen in front of the Turkish flag. Photo by Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images]

On this edition of "Media on the Margins," Malihe speaks with Istanbul-based freelance journalist Alexander Christie-Miller shortly after Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's ban on Twitter went into effect and before the country's elections. On 20 March, during a campaign rally ten days before the local elections, Erdogan said, “We now have a court order. We’ll eradicate Twitter. I don’t care what the international community says. Everyone will witness the power of the Turkish Republic!” That same evening, Twitter users in Turkey were welcomed to a screen message that reads “Twitter is blocked in Turkey by court order.” One week after the twitter ban, ...

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The Terrorism Law in Bahrain: A Tool to Silence Dissidents

[Logo of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Image from bahrainrights.org]

[The following report was published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights 13 March 2014] The Terrorism Law in Bahrain: A Tool to Silence Dissidents Introduction In 2011, the grassroots movement that started in Bahrain demanding democracy, rights and freedoms was met with large scale brute violence by the government. Extreme measures were taken against pro-democracy protesters, and thousands were arrested, systematically tortured and given lengthy prison sentences. The government of Bahrain began to more liberally apply its vaguely defined terrorism law to go after its citizens. Hundreds of individuals, including opposition figures, human rights defenders, peaceful ...

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Joint Statement: NGOs Condemn Escalation of Violence in Bahrain and Reiterate Protestors' Demands

[Logo of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Image from bahrainrights.org]

[The following statement was issued by the undersigned and published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights on 4 March 2014] Joint Statement: NGOs Express Concern over Escalation of Violence in Bahrain and Reiterate the Legitimate Demands of Peaceful Protestors The undersigned NGO’s express in the strongest terms their concern in regards to the escalation of violence in Bahrain and the use of foreign security forces to police peaceful protests under the guise of secretive Gulf security agreements. For the past three years, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have stated that foreign troops have not been involved in suppressing the peaceful protest movement, but the ...

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Is There a Way Out of Here? or, Why I Am With the HDP

[Image via bianet.org]

Since the first days of the graft and corruption crisis, I have found myself thinking about a section from Haydar Darıcı’s masters thesis, completed under Leyla Neyzi’s supervision at Sabancı University. The thesis concerns itself with Kurdish kids incarcerated under the anti-terrorism regulations of 2006, otherwise known as stone-throwing kids (taş atan çocuklar). In interviews conducted in Adana, children between ages of ten to eighteen talked to Darıcı about their politicization, along with migration, repression, poverty, discrimination in the city and in the schools, and thousands more of their burdens; at some point, one of them said: “Adults do not understand ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (March 18)

Iran's Hassan Rouhani meets Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Mascat on 12 March 2014. Image from presstv.ir]

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Saudi listing of Brotherhood as terrorist group complicates Gulf ties Yara Bayoumy and Sylvia Westall examine the implications of the Saudi move for GCC relations in general, and Saudi-Qatari relations in particular. How the Middle East has gone cool towards Qatar A news report on ...

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Press Release: Where is Jamal Al Hammadi?

[Logo of the Alkarama Foundation. Image from alkarama.org]

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 4 March 2014] Jamal Al Hammadi, a teacher of Islamic education from Khor Fakkan abducted on 20 April 2013 by state security services, was last seen 5 February 2014 in Abu Dhabi's State Security prison. A group of detainees recently transferred from this prison facility reported that Jamal was being detained there in very harsh conditions. Jamal is the brother of Fuad Mohammed Al Hammadi, one of the "UAE94", serving a 10-year sentence in Al-Razeen prison following a grossly unfair trial. "Considering the reports of systematic torture in centres of detention in the UAE, we have great ...

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Press Release: Saudi Human Rights Defenders on Hunger Strike after One Year in Prison

[Logo of the Alkarama Foundation. Image from alkarama.org]

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 9 March 2014] Saudi Arabia: On One-Year Anniversary in Prison, Prominent Human Rights Defenders are on Hunger Strike On 9 March 2013, Abdullah Al Hamid and Mohammad Al Qahtani, two prominent Saudi human rights defenders, were sentenced by the Riyadh Criminal Court to heavy prison sentences for inter alia "disobeying the ruler", "inciting disorder", "setting up an unlicensed organization" and having shared "false information presented as facts to official international bodies". On Monday 3 March 2014, they began a hunger strike to protest against the conditions ...

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Committee to Protect Journalists: Second Worst Year on Record for Jailed Journalists

[Logo of Committee to Protect Journalists. Image from cpj.org]

 [The following briefing was written by Elana Beiser and published by the Committee to Protect Journalists on 18 December 2013] Turkey, Iran, and China accounted for more than half of all journalists imprisoned around the world in 2013, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found. In its annual census, CPJ identified 211 journalists jailed for their work, the second worst year on record after 2012, when 232 journalists were behind bars.  Intolerant governments in Ankara, Tehran, and Beijing used mostly anti-state charges to silence a combined 107 critical reporters, bloggers, and editors. Turkey and Iran retained their distinctions as the worst and second ...

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Iraqi Authorities Turn Their Sights on Journalists

[The following briefing was published by Reporters Without Borders on 26 March 2014] Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about the growing hostility that the Iraqi authorities are displaying towards critical journalists. One of latest violations of freedom of information is a warrant for the arrest of Awn Al-Khashlok, the head of Baghdadia TV, and Anwar Al-Hamdani, the host of the station’s “Ninth Studio” programme, on charges of disturbing public order and inciting chaos and ...

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مآلات النزف البطيء: وداعاً سورية دولة مركزية

النصيحة التي قدمها مسؤولون في عواصم غربية عدة إلى صنّاع القرار في بلادهم، أن الصراع السوري مرجح أن يستمر بين خمس وعشر سنوات ولا بد من وضع السياسات الاستراتيجية على أساس احتمالات متوسطة وطويلة المدى وليست قريبة الأجل. وفق المعلومات المتوافرة، تكثّفت في الأسابيع الأخيرة الاجتماعات السياسية والأمنية بين حلفاء المعارضة و «أصدقاء الشعب السوري». عُقدت اجتماعات عربية – إقليمية – أوروبية – أميركية في واشنطن، واجتماعات بين الدول الأوروبية وأخرى بين الدول الأوروبية والجانب الأميركي في واشنطن أيضاً، شارك في هذه ...

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Open Letter to Saudi Minister of Interior Demanding Release of Human Rights Activist al-Qahtani

[The following open letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA)] Your Royal Highness, I write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to express our concern regarding economics professor Mohammad Fahad al-Qahtani.  In March 2013, Dr. Al-Qahtani was sentenced to 10-years in prison and to a travel ban of equal length following the end of his prison sentence for a series of ...

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The Problematic Continuity of Nasserism

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the political scene in Egypt has always incorporated images of Gamal Abdel Nasser, as well as Nasserist vocabulary, politicians, and intellectuals. All of these elements were present in protests supporting the 2000 Palestinian Intifada as well as protests opposing the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States. These Nasserist elements then became part of the “Kefaya” movement and the accompanying spread of political and social protests in the final years ...

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Human Rights Watch Briefing on Saudi Arabia's New 'Terrorism Laws'

[The following briefing was published by Human Rights Watch on 20 March 2014] Saudi Arabia’s new terrorism law and a series of related royal decrees create a legal framework that appears to criminalize virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism. The sweeping provisions in the measures, all issued since February 2014, threaten to close down altogether Saudi Arabia’s already extremely restricted space for free expression. “Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (March 25)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Will the GCC survive Qatar-Saudi rivalry? Dahlia Kholaif examines the impact of the Saudi-Qatari split on the future of the ...

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The State v. Individual: On State Crimes and Judicial Parody in Turkey

Let me make the hardest list of my life, for those who have not followed what has happened in Turkey during and in the wake of the Gezi Protests that began in the summer of 2013. On 1 June, Ethem Sarisuluk, a twenty-six-year-old laborer and activist, was shot in the head by a policeman in Ankara during the Gezi Park protests. He died after spending two weeks in the intensive care unit. On 2 June, Ali Ismail Korkmaz, a nineteen-year-old student, was beaten brutally by a group of men in the city of ...

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Press Release: Crackdown on 'UAE94' Activists Extends to Relatives

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 19 March 2014] Two days ago, Osama Al Najjar, a 25 year-old architectural engineer, was arrested on the road by several men in civilian clothes on his way back home from a visit to his doctor at around 4 pm. Osama is now being held in an unknown location outside the protection of the law. Given the systematic use of torture in detention centres controlled by the Emirati security services, Alkarama solicited the urgent intervention of ...

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Mahmoud Darwish: My God Why Have You Forsaken Me?

While his readers were celebrating his birthday on the 13th of March, the authorities at the Riyad Book Fair confiscated Mahmoud Darwish’s books after members of the Committee for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue complained about “blasphemous passages.” One poem from his 1986 collection Fewer Roses was particularly infuriating as shown in this video. Here is a translation of the poem; a salute to the ever present Darwish and to the freedom of reading.   Mahmoud Darwish My god why ...

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Press Release: Seven-Year UAE Prison Sentence for Qatari Doctor Based on Forced Confessions

[The following press release was issued by the Alkarama Foundation on 9 March 2014] UAE: Qatari Doctor Sentenced to 7 Years in Prison on Basis of Forced Confessions Dr Abdulrahmane Al Jaidah, a Qatari doctor arrested one year ago at Dubai international Airport by the State Security Services, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment following an unfair trial on 3 March 2014 by the Abu Dhabi Federal Supreme Court for "helping an illegal secret organisation". He is currently imprisoned in ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (March 11)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Saudi, UAE, Bahrain withdraw Qatar envoys The three countries announce the withdrawal of their ambassadors to Qatar in order ...

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عن السيد الجديد والمرأة المصرية

  عن السيد الجديد والمرأة المصرية السيسي يمتطي حصاناً أبيض ويرتدي زياً نصفه عسكري ونصفه مدني، ويحمل أمامه امرأة هي مصر، تضع قناعا فرعونياً وترتدي فستان الزفاف الأبيض. وفي الخلفية، الأهرامات الثلاثة، يحمل الأول صورة عبد الناصر والثاني صورة السادات والثالث صورة السيسي، بينما يختفي مبارك من تاريخ الأمجاد المصرية. وفي الخلفية العامة صورة بانورامية لملاحم الجيش المصري. وعلى جنبات اللوحة إعلانات: «عروسة قمر» و«عريس دكر»، وفي الأسفل «هي ده مصر يا أمريكان يا غجر». شاع هذا الرسم لفترة على لافتات كبيرة في ...

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