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Iraq

Dwekh Nawsha: A Christian-Iraqi Militia

[The Dwekh Nawsha militia on the road to the front line in the Nineveh plain, north of Mosul, Iraq. It is the armed wing of the Assyrian Patriotic Party formed to protect Christian villages. It fights alongside Peshmerga forces against ISIS. As of November 2014, the militia had forty fighters, with about two hundred volunteers waiting to join. Photo by Andy Spyra.]

[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 dictatorship, the devastating UN/US economic sanctions imposed on Iraq between 1990 and 2003, and the sectarian militia violence of post 2003 had whittled down their numbers and ...

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

[Detail of Sadik Alfraji's

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 atrocities of his native Iraq, to construct a dreamlike environment that allows Ali to travel. Here both artist and curator speak about the inception of Driven by Storms, ...

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

[U.S. Marines patrol the streets of Al Faw, October 2003. Photo by Ted Banks from Wikimedia Commons]

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 library at Mosul and, in the past few weeks, desecrated some of the country’s most significant ancient archeological sites. This week, Malihe Razazan speaks with Rijin ...

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

[Graffiti in Tunisia featuring the Palestinian flag. Image by Wael Ghabara.]

 [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 OIL@jadaliyya.com 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 spectacle" nature of Islamic State's atrocities have drawn them much attention, but do not necessarily make them more reprehensible than US atrocities in the ...

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الدولة الإسلاميّة: نزهة في كهف التنين

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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 "دغدغة" جديدة لتنّين الشريعة القابع في كهف تراثنا الإسلاميّ الفسيح. أطروحة كتاب الحلّاق بالغة البساطة: مفهوم "الدولة الاسلامية" مستحيل التحقق وينطوي ...

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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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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Featured in The Guardian

[Sinan Antoon. Image via Yale University Press]

[The following profile of Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon was written by Farid Farid andpublished in The Guardian on 3 March 2015.] “How do you write about a country that is disintegrating?” says Sinan Antoon, on the line from his office at New York University. His words have taken on a more affective valency in recent days, as the notorious militants from Islamic State (Isis) released footage showing the graphic destruction of Assyrian and Akkadian artefacts in Mosul’s central museum. Talking about the litany of massacres and destructions that the well-funded group has left in the wake of its territorial expansion across Iraq and Syria, Antoon, who ...

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Beyond Authenticity: ISIS and the Islamic Legal Tradition

The Atlantic thinks ISIS is Islamic. President Obama and countless others disagree. As the debate rages on with no shortage of interlocutors, one must stop to ask, what is the utility of making such pronouncements? Is the simple binary of whether ISIS is Islamic or not an effective way to discuss and understand the various questions at stake concerning the Islamic tradition, its authenticity, continuity and change? In response to this basic question, Muslims globally have gone on the defensive, denying any relationship between the religion and the group. Whether it be the eighteen-page open letter issued by prominent Muslim clerics globally, the statement of the twelve ...

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Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Reading and Book Signing (24 February, London)

[The cover of The Corpse Washer. Image from Yale University Press]

In Conversation: Sinan Antoon Winner of 2014 Saif Ghoibash Prize for Arabic literary Translation for The Corpse Washer 6:30-9:00 pm Waterstone’s Picadilly (4th Floor), 203/206 Picadilly, London W1J 9HD Sinan Antoon will be in conversation with Paul Blezard, from the judging panel. The event will also feature: * A reading from the novel, The Corpse Washer, a Q&A, followed by book signing and a reception *  Special performance by virtuoso oud player Khyam Allami. * This is a free event, but please reserve your place by e-mailing: picadilly@waterstones.com For more details click here.

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Manufacturing Silence: On Jordan's ISIS War, Arab Authoritarianism, and US Empire

[Royal Jordanian Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircrafts fly alongside a US Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft while waiting to connect for fuel over Jordan on 19 October 2009.]

On 24 December 2014, ISIS reported and the US-led coalition confirmed that a Jordanian fighter pilot, Mu‘ath al-Kassasbeh, had crashed in Syria and was now in ISIS custody. On 3 February 2015, ISIS released a video showing its own members murdering the pilot by immolation. The Jordanian regime vowed revenge. Some Jordanians took to the streets in grief and anger. The Jordanian Armed Forces, for its part, intensified its bombing campaign in Syria. Media outlets and Middle East analysts have expended considerable energy assessing whether and how Jordan’s war on ISIS in the aftermath of the Kassasbeh capture and death represents a game changer. It is difficult to find a ...

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الأقلام: ذاكرة أخرى لثقافة في العراق

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ترى كم تاريخٍاً للثقافة في العراق "وهل العراق بدع من البلدان ليكون له تواريخ ثقافية عديدة!؟" شخصياً لا أدري؛ مادام أن للثقافة تاريخياً شخصياً: تاريخ أفراد بعينهم، كثيرون يعضون على نواجذهم قائلين، لأنفسهم ربما، أن الثقافة شان ذاتي، بول ريكور، مثلاً، يشدد في مدونته الكبرى، أن الذاكرة شان السرد، إنما تتعلق بذات تتكلم وتتذكر وتحكي، لكنه لم يقل مطلقاً: اننا أمام طوفان من التواريخ، لكني أرى، للأسف، ان الثقافة ربما تكون سجلاً ضخماً يشكل، بمجموعه، طوفاناً من التواريخ الشخصية للمثقفين في العراق. أتصور أننا، هنا، إزاء سيل عارم من الأمزجة والمصائر الشخصية التي تدعي، بحق أو سواه، أنها بصدد إنتاج الثقافة في بلادنا. السنوات السالفة، بدء من 9، 4 تكشف عن ترسخ هكذا توجه؛ ...

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مجانين بغداد يروون سيرتها

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لا تختلف قصص فقدان العقل في العراق عن مثيلاتها في العالم، لها أساطيرها ونجومها اللامعون، ولأبطالها حكايات لا تنتهي. هؤلاء الذين تركتهم عقولهم لتتنزّه في البرازخ الضائعة لفترة طويلة، لهم أسبابهم، والسلطة في العراق - بكلّ أشكالها - عملت على تكوين الصور النمطيّة حولهم. لكن الجنون في العراق تغيّر بين نظامين سياسيين: أحدّهما أمعن في الديكتاتورية حتّى دجَّن مجانينه، والآخر أمعن في الفوضى والخراب حتّى رفضه مجانينه.  ما من خلاص لم يجد الكثير من العراقيين بمواجهة سلطة دكتاتورية عاتيّة مثل نظام صدّام حسين، في التسعينيات على وجه الخصوص، إلا الجنون "خيارا" أخيرا للتمسك بالحياة – ولو بنصف عقل - حتى طفحت العاصمة بمجانينها. فكان أن جنّ المثقفون على تخوت ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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

“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 ...

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

[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 ...

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Loving the Lens: ‘American Sniper’ as Movie and Event

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood. USA, 2014. There is a lull at the moment in the clamor around Clint Eastwood's controversial film American Sniper, as award season ends and the movie's powerful box office stamina pushes the DVD release into the summer. This moment perhaps offers an opportunity to consider what—if anything—might or should be said about it as a piece of cinema. Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper in the title role, has to have been the most written about movie in the United ...

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New Media and the Spectacle of the War on Terror

US-based artists of the Arab diaspora who have explored the interventionist potential of new media have often done so within the context of the American spectacle: a reality in which life is reduced to mere representation and social interactions and civic engagement are mediated through mass media and mass consumption. This reduction of life into a flow of imagery that renews itself as it permeates the public realm has been scrutinized in art since the 1960s, when the celebratory veneer of the post-war ...

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London Event: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Sinan Antoon Reading and Book Signing (February 24)

In Conversation: Sinan Antoon Winner of 2014 Saif Ghoibash Prize for Arabic Literary Translation for The Corpse Washer Sinan Antoon will be in conversation with Paul Blezard, from the judging panel. The event will also feature: A reading from the novel, The Corpse Washer, a Q&A, followed by book signing and a reception Special performance by virtuoso oud player Khyam Allami. This is a free event, but please reserve your place by e-mailing: ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (21 February)

[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 OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Chapel Hill Shootings The Race Hate We All Know, Nima Azmi Azmi, former president of the Harvard Muslim Law Students Association, writes for ...

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ISIS Kills Gays: A History of Violence

Hands shove them forward, bound and blindfolded. Then comes the step when the stone beneath them stops and nothing is there. The photographs appall but they have the solidity of things you can see; they suggest but cannot summon the feel of one terrifying lurch in darkness when all that is solid falls away. Death is what happens when you are there, alone, and the world disappears. ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which now styles itself just the Islamic State. Many ...

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Representing Iraq and its Diaspora: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Samir and Sinan Antoon

In this interview, Samir, an Iraqi filmmaker, discusses what has influenced and shaped his aesthetic, spanning from various film techniques to the shifting terrains of Middle East politics. During the interview, Jadaliyya co-editor Sinan Antoon asks Samir to reflect on history and memory in Iraq, examining the ways in which these themes have contributed to representations of Iraq and its diaspora. Samir's latest film, Iraqi Odyssey (2014), has been nominated for the Swiss Film Award.  Please find ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (29 January)

[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 OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.] Law From Inside Prison, a Terrorism Suspect Shares His Diary, Scott Shane The New York Times covers a recently published diary of Mohamedou Ould ...

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