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Natural Resources

Djerba, Tunisia: Garbage Disposal, the Environmental Crisis, and the Awakening of Ecoconsciousness

[An Italian restaurant-owner chains herself to a traffic sign to protest the burning of trash in front of her property in Djerba. Image via mosaiquefm.]

Djerba is an island in the south of Tunisia, often referred to as “the island of dreams.” In Homer’s Odyssey, Djerba is the enchanting land of the lotus-eaters; the land whose flowers charmed the companions of Odysseus and made them forget all thoughts of return. Today Djerba is one of Tunisia’s top tourist destinations. Home to al-Ghriba, Africa’s oldest synagogue, the island annually attracts hundreds of Jewish pilgrims from all over the world. Djerba also boasts fifteen centers of thalassotherapy and is branding itself more and more as a bio-friendly destination. For the past few weeks, however, tension has been mounting in the island over what seems to be the worst ...

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New Texts Out Now: Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Revolt

[Cover of Pascal Menoret,

Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Revolt. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Pascal Menoret (PM): I started working on the urbanization of Riyadh in 2001. I initially came to the city to teach French as a second language, and I was blown away by the place. With its single-family houses, its endless grid of avenues, and its absolute reliance on cars, the landscape of Riyadh looked very American to me. Yet it was a Greek urbanist, Constantinos Doxiadis, who designed the city, and a French company, SCET International, who revised its master plan. How did these people end up working ...

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Soma Katliami Tanikliklari (Interview with Selcuk Kozagacli with English Subtitles)

[Still image from the video]

Soma Katliamı Tanıklıkları Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği Başkanı Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Soma'daki madenin çalışma prensiplerini, olayın neden kaza değil cinayet olduğunu anlatıyor. Rödovans sistemi nedir, Soma'da olanlarin sorumluları kimlerdir, katliamı hazırlayan düzen nasıl bir şey, hükümet sistematik problemleri nasıl örtbas edebilir, bunları merak edenlerin izlemesi gereken bir röportaj. Selçuk Kozağaçlı, President of the Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD), was among the lawyers violently detained in Soma by the police on Saturday. Here he speaks about the conditions that paved the way for last week's mining disaster and explains why it should be referred to as a ...

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New Texts Out Now: Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond

[Cover of Valeska Huber,

Valeska Huber, Channelling Mobilities: Migration and Globalisation in the Suez Canal Region and Beyond. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Valeska Huber (VH): The origins of this book lie in my general interest in the history of mobility, particularly as it connects to justice and equality. Does globalization—in the present day or historically—mean that everyone can move at an ever-quicker pace? I wanted to unpack this story for the period around 1900 by showing that of course not everyone travels with the same speed; instead, there are very different mobilities and many issues of regulation and ...

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EIPR Report Reveals $10 Billion Lost in Corrupt Gas Contracts as Daily Blackouts Spread in Egypt

[Logo of Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. Image from]

[The following report was published by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights on 13 March 2014] Egypt lost $10 billion in gas revenues from 2005-2011, according to a report launched yesterday by EIPR. Contracts signed during the Mubarak years allowed the export of billions of cubic metres of underpriced gas to Jordan, Spain and the Israeli state. Some of the individuals behind these deals were convicted of corruption. EIPR's new report uses court data to quantify the revenues lost to Egypt by exporting under-priced gas. One of the report’s findings is that during the six year period (2005-2011) of selling gas abroad for a very low price, Egypt lost more than ...

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New Texts Out Now: Claire Beaugrand, Amélie Le Renard, Roman Stadnicki, Villes et dynamiques urbaines en péninsule Arabique / Cities and Urban Dynamics in the Arabian Peninsula

Claire Beaugrand, Amélie Le Renard, and Roman Stadnicki (eds.), "Villes et dynamiques urbaines en péninsule Arabique / Cities and Urban Dynamics in the Arabian Peninsula." Special issue of Arabian Humanities 2 (2013). Jadaliyya (J): Can you first tell us about Arabian Humanities, and why you chose to publish this collection of essays in this particular journal? Claire Beaugrand, Amélie Le Renard, and Roman Stadnicki (CB, ALR, and RS): Arabian Humanities is a newly launched, peer-reviewed online journal covering academic research on the Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula, in all disciplines of the social sciences (ranging from archaeology to contemporary ...

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Ethiopian and Yemeni Migrants under the Saudi Crackdown

[Migrant Rights. Image from]

[This report was originally published by Migrant Rights under the title of "Spotlight on Ethiopian and Yemeni Migrants" on 6 December 2013.] The Saudi crackdown has impacted migrants across a spectrum of nationalities, but here we focus on two groups facing particularly adverse reverberations of Saudi’s unrelenting crackdown, in part due to pre-existing predicaments and mismanaged policies of their origin countries. Saudi’s deportations compounded the pre-existing humanitarian crisis at the Yemen-Saudi border, a frequent crossing-point for economic migrants prior to post-nitaqat securitization.  Over fifty-one thousand Ethiopian migrants arrived in North ...

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جولة عبر محطات خط سكة حديد درعا ـ حيفا

[مصدر الصورة أرشيف الكاتب]

[مرّت في الرابع من أكتوبر/تشرين الأول ذكرى افتتاح خط السكّة الحديدية الواصلة بين المدينتين حيفا ودرعا في العام 1905. كانت انطلاقة هذا الخط في عهد الدولة العثمانية جزءاً من مشروعها الحداثي لتعزيز سلطتها عبر ربط المناطق الاستراتيجية في هذا الشق من امبراطوريتها المتداعية حينذاك. حمل القطار معه تغييرات حياتية اجتماعية واقتصادية وسياسية شتى إلى المدن والقرى التي مر بها وساهم في تطورها وتطور أهلها. إلا أنه، كما هو الحال في بقاع أخرى، كان أداة وظفها الاستعمار لبسط سيطرته ونفوذه في الأراضي التي احتلها. ولم تكن أرضنا استثناء في حقبة الاستعمار البريطاني في فلسطين والاستعمار الصهيوني الذي واكبه وأعقبه، كما يبيّن المقطع التالي من كتاب "الخط الحديدي الحجازي/ تاريخ ...

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Vineyards of Colonial Algeria: A History of French or Algerian Wine?

[1910 postcard displaying an image of wine shipments departing from Oran, Algeria for France. Image from Wikimedia Commons.]

The history of wine production in Algeria during French colonial rule reflects the role of food and drink in enhancing, building, and contrasting national identities, and in mirroring the power relationship that connects the colonized to the colonizer. Algerian wine represents a particularly interesting example of the gap between the role that the colonizer intended for wine to serve and the ambiguous consequences of wine production in French Algeria. Wine also offers an acute illustration of the multi-faceted perception and relation to wine production among the native Algerian elites and peasantry. From 1830 to 1962, France exercised a large control over Algerian ...

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No British Petroleum Gas Project without Our Consent (Video)

[Natural gas flare. Image originally posted to Flicker by Tod Baker]

The Mosireen media collective has completed a new video entitled “Idku: No BP Gas Project Without Our Consent”. It deals with the response of Egyptians from the fishing town of Idku to plans by multinational firm British Petroleum (BP) to build a gas processing plant on their shores. The video features interviews with local residents, who explain that waste dumping in Idku’s waters by oil and gas companies has driven away fish and polluted agricultural lands, threatening the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers alike. The video notes BP’s record of environmental abuse, as well as its support for authoritarian regimes in Azerbaijan, Algeria, Columbia, and of course, ...

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Theorizing the Arabian Peninsula Roundtable: Capital and Labor in the Gulf States: Bringing the Region Back In

[This is one of seven contributions in Jadaliyya's electronic roundtable on the symbolic and material practices of knowledge production on the Arabian Peninsula. Moderated by Rosie Bsheer and John Warner, it features Toby Jones, Madawi Al-Rasheed, Adam Hanieh, Neha Vora, Nathalie Peutz, John Willis, and Ahmed Kanna.] (1) Historically, what have the dominant analytical approaches to the study of the Arabian Peninsula been? How have the difficulties of carrying out research in the Arabian Peninsula shaped the ways in which knowledge is produced for the particular country/ies in which you have worked, and in the field more generally? My work has focused on the political ...

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The Infrastructure of Israeli Settler Colonialism (Part 1): The Jordan Valley

[Palestinian woman (Nadya al-Kurd) pointing to section of her house squatted by Israel settlers. Image by Suemyra Shah]

Since its establishment, Israel has distinguished the persons under its civil and military jurisdiction based on religion. Throughout Israel Proper and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), comprised of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, Israel applies a different set of laws to its Jewish and non-Jewish inhabitants respectively. By bifurcating Jewish nationality from Israeli citizenship, the State is able to afford demonstrable and significant privilege to Jewish persons even beyond Israel's undeclared borders (hence the reference to Israel Proper) at the expense of the political and socio-economic wellbeing of its non-Jewish citizens. ...

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Sharing the Nile Waters According to Needs

A ministerial-level meeting in Khartoum including Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan to establish mechanisms for further investigations of the consequences of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) downstream has concluded, on Tuesday 26 August. The gathering took place two months after Egypt and Ethiopia had issued ajoint communique that stressed the importance of the contested water of the Nile River for the two countries and outlined general principles for future moves to resolve disagreements. The ...

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Miners and the Ottoman State: Ryan Gingeras Interviews Donald Quataert

With the official death toll having exceeded three hundred, the Soma mining disaster has raised new questions about the conditions and rights of laborers in Turkey. Amidst the darkly farcical internet circus surrounding the rescue efforts, public outcry, and official reaction to this catastrophe, one of the more surreal moments has been the Prime Minister’s citation of nineteenth-century mining disasters as examples of the natural and inevitable nature of mining accidents in general. This statement, ...

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Abdullah Al-Tariki: A Profile from the Archives

”A Profile from the Archives“  is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Abdullah Last Name: Al-Tariki Father’s Name: Hammoud Mother’s Name: Lo’lo’a Date of Birth: 1919 Date of Death: ...

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ACRI Petitions High Court: Restore Water to East Jerusalem

[The following press release was issued by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel on 25 March 2014] For some three weeks now, tens of thousands of residents of Jerusalem neighborhoods east of the Separation Barrier have been without running water. In response, local residents, community leaders and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) have filed a petition to the High Court of Justice. In the petition, ACRI Attorney Karen Tzafrir noted that most of the homes in the neighborhoods of Ras ...

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Ghaniyeh bil miyah (Riche en eau): Un film sur la réforme de l’eau au Liban

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Where the Tigris Flows: Water Security in Post-War Iraq and Turkey

Media coverage of Iraq in recent years has been dominated by the horrifying images of the American occupation, its impacts, and its aftermath. Sometimes lost among the political turmoil are the stories of how daily life continues and persists and how it is affected by the issues of the day. What will be the legacy of the past decade in the eyes of the future? One issue that has gained attention from scholars of the Middle East in recent years is ecology. Historians have come to view the relationship ...

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Drug Trafficking in Northwest Africa: The Moroccan Gateway

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, West Africa has become a pivotal platform and crossroads for terrorism, drug and human trafficking, crime and insurgency. However, in analyzing drug trafficking in the Sahel, it is paramount to also look at the role and geographical location of Morocco, where Moroccan drug barons are increasingly linked to their African and Latin American counterparts. Indeed, the Moroccan kingdom plays an important role between the African continent and Europe. The ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nelida Fuccaro, Histories of Oil and Urban Modernity in the Middle East

Nelida Fuccaro, editor, Histories of Oil and Urban Modernity in the Middle East. Special issue of Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (April 2013). Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this issue? Nelida Fuccaro (NF): It was my interest in the urban history of oil producing countries, combined with the availability of stimulating interdisciplinary research on oil cities, a topic that is relatively new to Middle Eastern studies. I find this research very appealing. ...

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The New European Union and Mauritania Fisheries Agreement: Between Sustainability and Vested Interests

On 29 May, the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament voted to reject a new European Union-Mauritania fishing agreement, negotiated in July 2012. The grounds for rejection were that the new clauses regarding licensing for European fleets to fish in Mauritanian waters would be neither profitable nor to the benefit of either party.  The waters off the coast of Mauritania are some of the richest and most biologically diverse in the world. As a result, they are of great importance to European ...

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Hydropolitics and the Hajj: An Ottoman Pre-History of Saudi Geological Imperialism, With Michael Christopher Low

In Ottoman History Podcast Episode 101, Chris Gratien interviews Michael Christopher Low to discuss his current research on the history of water infrastructure, disease, and the ecological transformations of the Arabian Peninsula over the past two centuries. As Toby Jones argues in Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia (2010), Saudi power has always been predicated on the state’s ability to wield technical expertise and master the environment. The two pillars of Saudi ...

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البنية التحتية للاستعمار الاستيطاني الإسرائيلي (الجزء الأول): وادي الأردن:

منذ تأسيسها، دأبت السلطات القضائية الإسرائيلية بفرعيها المدني والعسكري على التمييز بين الأشخاص بناء على الدِّين. فعلى امتداد إسرائيل في أراضي 48 والأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة التي تتضمن الضفة الغربية بما فيها القدس الشرقية وقطاع غزة تطبق إسرائيل مجموعة من القوانين على سكانها اليهود تختلف عن تلك المطبقة على غير اليهود. تستطيع الدولة تحمّل تلك الامتيازات الضخمة والواضحة للأشخاص اليهود حتى فيما هو أبعد من حدودها المعلنة (لهذا السبب تمت الإشارة إلى إسرائيل في أراضي 48) وذلك على حساب الصالح السياسي ...

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Assarag: Habitat and the Imazighen of Morocco

(If the photo slide show does not appear above, please click here.) [The photos and text presented here are the result of my work in five Amazigh (also known as Berber) communities or distinct architectural ensembles in the south of Morocco.] My work in Morocco began in May 2002 when I was invited by a former high school friend of Moroccan descent to photograph his father's native village, Timkatti. This place of mud and stone is located in the Ida Ou Tannane region about forty miles north of Agadir. ...

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