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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 an Iraqi labor delegation that came to New York City in 2009 and only grew in 2011 when social media coverage of the Iraqi protest movement seemed so disconnected from popular and scholarly ...

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خطوط مرسومة على خريطة فارغة: حدود العراق وأسطورة الدولة المصطنعة الجزء الأول

[خريطة لورنس ، 1918.

 قد لا تكون هناك دولة ـ أمة حديثة دُعيت "مصطنعة" أكثر من العراق. وبينما يُقرّ معظم الباحثين بأن جميع الدول ـ الأمم مصطنعة، بمعنى أنّ بشراً أنشأوها، فإن العراق، على ما يبدو، مصطنع أكثر منها كلها. وتبدأ القصة دوماً بمعاهدات السلام التي وُقِّعتْ في أعقاب الحرب العالمية الأولى، والتي وضع أثناءها الأوربيون حدود العراق، وحدود دول عربية مشرقية أخرى، على نحو مزعوم، وتقريباً دون أي أساس. وكما يقول ديفد فرومكين في كتابه المقروء على نطاق واسع "سلام ينهي كل سلام": كانت حقبة اختُرعتْ فيها بلدان الشرق الأوسط وحدودها في أوربا. فالعراق، وما ندعوه الأردن الآن، مثلاً، كانا اختراعين بريطانيين، خطوطاً رسمها سياسيون بريطانيون على خريطة فارغة بعد الحرب العالمية ...

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New Book! Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle In Iraq

Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle In Iraq By Ali Issa E-book: $8.99 Paperback: $11.99   Description Collected from dozens of interviews with, and reports from, Iraqi feminists, labor organizers, environmentalists, and protest movement leaders, Against All Oddspresents the unique voices of progressive Iraqis organizing on the ground. Dating back to 2003, with an emphasis on the 2011 upsurge in mobilization and hope as well as the subsequent embattled years, these voices belong to Iraqis asserting themselves as agents against multiple local, regional, and global forces of oppression. As Vijay Prashad notes in the foreword: "Other ...

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Introducing Fikra Space: Where Iraqi Youth Can Take Fate into Their Own Hands

It is an unusually hot day in February in Baghdad, even for a city where February is usually hot. But everything else is business as usual. Traffic jams. Car horns. Street vendors. Security situation. Chaos. Except for maybe one thing. In downtown Baghdad, Ahmed Ramz, a twenty-two-year-old electronics engineering graduate, is holding an event on microcontrollers. “Microcontrollers are very simple yet very powerful instruments” Ramz starts the event. “They can be built to control any electronic system. They are the future of DIY. And DIY is the future”. Ramz is part of a makerspace called Fikra Space. “Fikra” is the Arabic word for idea, and Fikra Space gathers young ...

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'Lines Drawn on an Empty Map': Iraq’s Borders and the Legend of the Artificial State (Part 1)

[Lawrence Map, 1918. “Lawrence of Arabia, The Life, The Legend,” Imperial War Museum, London, 2005/UK National Archives. From the BBC.]

It may be that no modern nation-state has been called “artificial” more times than Iraq. While most scholars are quick to admit that all nation-states are artificial, in the sense that they are created by humans, Iraq, it would seem, is more artificial than most. The story invariably begins with the post-World War I peace settlements, during which the borders of Iraq, along with those of the other Arab Mashriq states, were purportedly created, more or less out of thin air, by Europeans. As David Fromkin writes, in his widely read A Peace to End All Peace: It was an era in which Middle Eastern countries and frontiers were fabricated in Europe. Iraq and what we now ...

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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (March-April 2015)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. See here for an introduction to this roundup series]  English Articles        ISIS Threatens Twitter Founder And Employees Over Blocked Accounts (1 March 2015) David Mack reports that ISIS supporters called on jihadis around the world "to kill Twitter employees because of the company’s frequent blocking of their social media accounts." ISIS releases several captured Christians: activists (1 March 2015) "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) released at least 19 Christians on Sunday who were among the more than ...

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العراق.. لا عزاء للصناعات المحلية

[صورة للفنانة الأردنية دينا حداديين]

وقفت أم عبّاس قدّام الكاميرا وهي تَعتمرُ خوذة عسكريّة، وقالت بتحدٍّ "من منكم يحمل سلاحاً فليوجه إطلاقاته إلى رأسي.. أنا من صنع هذهِ الخوذة وأُراهن عليها بحياتي"، وتساءلت "لماذا تبقى صناعاتنا مكدَّسة في المخازن فيما الدّولة تستورد مثيلاتها التي لا ترق إلى جودتها بملايين الدولارات؟"  لا تجد السيّدة التي تعمل في مصنعٍ تابعٍ لوزارةِ الصّناعة العراقيّة، والتي لم تتسلّم مرتّبها منذ أكثر من ثلاثة أشهر، إجابة من الحكومة العراقيّة التي أغرقت البلاد بالسلع المستوردة، من دون أي مُراعاة للحفاظ على الصناعات المحليّة وتطويرها. السؤال ذاته يطرحه عمال شركات النسيج الذين يقولون إن الدولة تستورد من الصين وإيران عشرات آلاف "البطانيات" (الأغطية) منخفضة ...

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Event--ISIS: Origins and Illusions (14 April, Princeton University)

Princeton Middle East Society invites you to a panel discussion: ISIS: Origins and Illusions Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 4:30 p.m. Computer Science Building (Room 104) Princeton University, Princeton, NJ Co-sponsored by The Mamdouha S. Bobst center for Peace and Justice Distinguished Panelists Chris Hedges: Pultzer Prize winning journalist, former Middle East Beureau Chief for The New York Times  Eric Davis: Professor of Political Science and past director of the Middle East Studies Program at Rutgers University Bassam S. Haddad: Director of the Middle East Studies Program at George Mason University, and  co-founder of Jadaliyya E-zine ...

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ISIS in the News: Extensive Media Roundup (January-February 2015)

[Editorial Note: This is not a "Best of," only a roundup of significant pieces. See here for an introduction to this roundup series]    English Articles        2014: The Year ISIS Won the Propaganda Battle (31 December 2014) Markham Nolan writes about the ways in which ISIS has been documenting its progress throughout 2014 in a constant stream of propaganda.  Vanguard of Syria’s uprising, now on the run from ISIS, weighs a bleak future 2014: The Year ISIS Won the Propaganda Battle (1 January 2015) Anne Barnard on Syria’s “lost generation” and the former fighters exhausted by the continuous clashes and ...

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Dismantling Iraqi Health Care and its Regional Impacts: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Omar Dewachi and Rania Masri

In this interview, anthropologist and physician, Omar Dewachi, discusses the building, dismantling, and outsourcing of the Iraqi health care system. In addition to examining the impact of migration on Iraqi patients and Lebanese healthcare today, Dewachi historicizes accusations of Iraq's "ungovernability" from the colonial until the present, and places the conversation within a larger context of the impacts of war on healthcare.  The interview below includes four parts that you can click on separately.  Omar Dewachi is an assistant professor of anthropology and global health at the American University of Beirut (AUB). He trained as a medical doctor ...

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Capitalizing Urbanism: On David Kilcullen’s "Out of the Mountains"

[A car bomb in Iraq. Image from Wikimedia.]

“It’s a book about future conflicts and future cities.” David Kilcullen, Out of the Mountains “…the whole fucking city was trying to kill them!” Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down   In his book, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerilla, author David Kilcullen, describes how in 2007, just after “the worst months of the Iraq War” (19), he was drinking expensive cocktails at a fashionable Manhattan hotel with an old Australian army buddy. Kilcullen, an Australian citizen, a leading figure in the field of urban counterinsurgency, an advisor to David Petraeus and Condoleeza Rice, and a star of the liberal interventionist academic-think tank ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (February 2015)

[Crop of image of a Swedish poster calling for a boycott of Israel. Image by Jacob Rask.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions, and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyyastrives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to (click "Submissions" on the main page for more information).] Cornell University Event: Jadaliyya ...

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خطوط مرسومة على خريطة فارغة: حدود العراق وأسطورة الدولة المصطنعة الجزء الثاني

[هذا المقال هو الثاني من سلسلة جزئين حول صنع الحدود العراقية. اضغط/ي هنا لقراءة الجزء الأول بالعربية ]   لا تهدف دراستي لكيف قام الفاعلون المحليون بصياغة تشكّل العراق كدولة ـ أمة بعد الحرب العالمية الأولى إلى إنكار سلطة القوات الإمبراطورية البريطانية، أو العنف الذي سلّطتْهُ على العراقيين أثناء  فترات الاحتلال (1914- 1920) والانتداب (1920-1932)، بل على العكس، أقول إن إحدى نتائج سرد الدولة المصطنعة هو طَمْس العنف الإمبراطوري البريطاني وفي الوقت نفسه إنكار تأثير الأفعال غير ...

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الوقوف على تخوم أرض السواد

في واحدة من مقولاته الأثيرة كتَبَ دريدا أن ”كل القراءات تصاحيف“. ولكن التصْحيف في سياق هذه المقولة يحمل معنى إيجابياً، ويشير إلى لانهائية المعاني، وإلى فرادة وخصوصية كل قراءة، لأنها نتاج تفاعل القارئ مع النص في لحظة وسياق معينين. وتتجسّد هذه المقولات (التي قد تبدو تجريدية ونظريّة لأول وهلة) بالفعل عندما نعود إلى قراءة نص كنّا قد قرأناه فيما مضى لنجد أن قراءتنا تختلف، وأن النص والقارئ قد تغيّرا، قليلاً أو كثيراً، وأن فعل القراءة يترك أثراً جديداً ومختلفاً. ينطبق ما سبق بشكل لافت، بل مؤلم، على العودة، ...

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NYC Event -- Against All Odds: A Night Celebrating Iraq (25 June 2015)

Join War Resisters League & Center for Constitutional Rights for an evening of music, art & activism as we jointly launch Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq, a new book bringing the unique voices of progressive Iraqi organizing on the ground to NYC!  We are honored to have hip hop artist & performer the Narcycist join us & feature the work of Sundus Abdul Hadi, as we all celebrate Iraqi culture, art & movement building! Date and Time: ...

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'Lines Drawn on an Empty Map': Iraq’s Borders and the Legend of the Artificial State (Part 2)

[This article is the second in a two-part series on the making of Iraq's borders. Click here to read Part 1] In attending to how local actors shaped Iraq’s formation as a nation-state after World War I, the point is not to deny the power of British imperial forces, or the violence they unleashed on Iraqis during the occupation (1914-1920) and Mandate (1920-1932) periods. On the contrary, I would contend that one effect of the artificial state narrative is precisely to efface British imperial ...

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فصل من رواية أسد البصرة

" أغوح لماريو بس هو يفهم علينو ! " " أي غوح لجهنم ! " " أي أغوح لجهنم... " رد " أمل " على عمته هيلا بمزيد من الغضب : " أحسنلي من الغوحة ليسرائيل!"  أسرع إلى غرفته صافقاً الباب وراءه بقوة. تحمحم قليلاً كأنه يريد الدخول إلى المرحاض، وهي العادة التي لا تفارق كبار السن، وتشبه الإشارة التي يجب أن تُعطى للتأكد أن أحداً لا يشغل المرحاض في ذلك الحين. وقف أمام المرآة، وعلى الرغم من أنه لا يزال متوتراً، لكنه بدأ بمزاولة تمرينه المعتاد منذ ثلاثة أيام، على ...

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Declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Report on Syrian Uprising, Gulf Intervention, and Potential for al-Qa'ida Gains

The declassifed document below was obtained as part of a document trove secured by the right-wing institution, Judicial Watch. It obtained the report through a May 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The Defense Intelligence Agency authored the report, which dates August 2012. It demonstrates that the Department of Defense was aware that Western powers, Gulf states, and Turkey were fully supporting the opposition. It also notes that if events unraveled, there was the ...

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Dwekh Nawsha: A Christian-Iraqi Militia

[Text by Sinan Antoon, photos by Andy Spyra from November 2014 and March 2015.] The fall of Mosul and other towns on the Nineveh plain in northern Iraq to ISIS this past summer was a monumental tragedy. It forced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to flee their homes. Iraqi Christians, together with Yazidis and Shi‘a, and even Sunnis who opposed ISIS were priority targets. The number of Christian Mosulites was estimated at sixty thousand back in 2003. It was much higher in previous decades. But ...

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Driven by Storms: An Interview with Sadik Alfraji and Nat Muller

Diluting the melancholic longing for unattainable dreams, which will only ever remain dreams, Sadik Alfraji injects the possibility of hope into his latest exhibition, currently on view at Ayyam Gallery Dubai’s Al Quoz outpost. Curated by Nat Muller, who also edited Alfraji’s first monograph, Driven by Storms (Ali’s Boat) stems from a drawing that the Netherlands-based artist received in 2009 from his nephew Ali. Alfraji drew on the aesthetics of Ali’s boat, symbolising a much-desired escape from the ...

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Twelve Years After Iraq Invasion: An Interview with Rijin Sahakian, and “ A Letter to Al-Mutanabbi Street” by Sinan Antoon

On 19 March 2015, twelve years will have passed since the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Today, the country is back in the headlines because of the brutality with which ISIS has been trying to destroy what is left of Iraq’s diverse cultural and human landscape. Since ISIS has moved into northern Iraq, they have displaced over a million people and gone after the cultural heritage that makes Iraq such an irreplaceable locus of world history. They have destroyed mosques, burned thousands of books in the ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (14 March)

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to by Monday night of every other week.] Islamic State The Islamic State's Atrociies--and Our Own, John Feffer Writing for The Nation, Feffer argues that the "public ...

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الدولة الإسلاميّة: نزهة في كهف التنين

بنفس الحدّة التي يقول فيها وائل الحلّاق "إنّ الغالبية العظمى من مسلمي العصر الحديث تتمنّى عودة الشريعة بشكل أو بآخر"، يمكن القول إنّ الغالبية العظمى من قرّاء "الدولة المستحيلة: الإسلام والسياسة ومأزق الحداثة الأخلاقي" سيرون فيه كتابًا في غاية الاستفزاز. تنبّه مترجم الكتاب عمرو عثمان لذلك فكتب في مقدمته بأنّ القارئ "قد يرفض بعض ما يطرحه المؤلّف في هذا البحث وربّما كله". ولا عجب، فكتاب الدولة المستحيلة الذي يشتمل على خلاصات أبحاث وائل الحلّاق في الدراسات الاسلاميّة هو بمثابة ...

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Video: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad and US Ambassador Dennis Ross Debate US Policy in the Middle East

[The following video is of  the Lund Critical Debate Series event American Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Success or Failure, featuring Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad and US Ambassador Dennis Ross. The event took place at Cornell University on 3 March 2015 and was moderated by Aziz Rana.The specific theme was on US policy towards the Arab uprisings.]    Dennis Ross starts at 12:50 Bassam Haddad starts at 30:20    

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