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Political Economy

New Texts Out Now: Reinoud Leenders, Spoils of Truce: Corruption and State-Building in Postwar Lebanon

[Cover of Reinoud Leenders,

Reinoud Leenders, Spoils of Truce: Corruption and State-Building in Postwar Lebanon. Cornell: Cornell University Press, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Reinoud Leenders (RL): Since my first encounter with Lebanese politics and society in the mid-1990s, I have been fascinated with the nature and role of the state in this country. This was primarily because I became exposed to a lively array of contradictory narratives on the state when talking to ordinary Lebanese and living in and visiting the country for over a decade. On one and the same day, it was quite conceivable to listen to one politician on the radio slamming the financial drains imposed by ...

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The Case Against Qatar: Host of the FIFA 2022 World Cup

[Logo the International Trade Union Confederation. Image from]

[The following report was published by the International Trade Union Confederation on 16 March 2014] The Case Against Qatar: Host of the FIFA 2022 World Cup Qatar is a government which takes no responsibility for workers. $140 billion of infrastructure is forecast to get Qatar ready to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar’s own estimates are that 500,000 extra workers will be needed in the run up to the World Cup. Frequent contacts with Qatar authorities since late 2011 have shown no political will or progress towards Qatar implementing labour-related commitments of the Qatar National Vision 2030 to reform kafala and ratify a further fourteen ILO conventions. FIFA has said ...

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Call for Papers: Understanding Israeli Practices of Forced Displacement and Settler Colonialism in the OPT (Deadline: 1 May)

[Crop of image of Balata refugee Camp, circa 1950. Image by Vincent Bockstiegel via Wikimedia Commons.]

Understanding Israeli Practices of Forced Displacement and Settler Colonialism in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Journal of Internal Displacement Guest Editor: Lamya Hussain   Deadline: May 1st 2014  Emerging literature on Palestine studies continues to explore the policies and practices of Israel in forcefully displacing Palestinians from their lands. Recent scholarship has placed an emphasis on the West Bank and East Jerusalem area where an estimated 44,100 Palestinians that live across 130 villages in Area C[1] are at high risk of systematic displacement and require humanitarian assistance as a direct result of demolitions. Further, an ...

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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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Conference-New Directions in Palestinian Studies: Political Economy (Brown University, 28 Feb. - 1 Mar.)

Middle East Studies at Brown University presents: Political Economy and the Economy of Politics: New Directions in Palestinian Studies Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1, 2014 Joukowsky Forum Watson Institute for International Studies 111 Thayer Street Providence, RI 02912 There is now a critical mass of innovative scholars in the US, Europe, and the Middle East who work on Palestine and the Palestinians. The field has grown quantitatively and qualitatively, with new lines of inquiry pushing in several new directions simultaneously. New Directions in Palestinian Studies, a series of annual and thematically organized symposia supported by ...

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Call for Papers: Special Issue of Critical Sociology on 'Sociological Imagination in the Middle East'

Call for Papers: Special Issue of Critical Sociology "Sociological Imagination in the Middle East" Beginning in 1969, Critical Sociology has examined social structures, social change, and social problems through the lenses of the critical imagination. Critical Sociology publishes scholarly work on transnational and global sociology, and as a result of its initiatives, Latin American, and African Sociology is now represented in the journal. Recently, the journal has appointed a Middle East and North Africa Editor to attract work from scholars in the region, and to coordinate a special issue, Sociological Imagination in the Middle East. As a social ...

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أهل التحديث يا ليل: عن أساطير التحديث الاقتصادي في مصر القادمة

[جرافيتي شارع يوسف الجندي. تصوير حسام الحملاوي.]

من الملفت للنظر أن نرى، أنَّ بعض التحليلات التي تنتقد أفكار التغيير الثوري في مصر وتروج لوهم التحديث السلطوي القادم تدَّعي بنفسها الواقعية والعقلانية المترفعة فوق التفكير الخيالي الساذج للثوريين أصحاب النوايا الحسنة والتي تقود إلى الجحيم. بينما في حقيقة الأمر نجد أن هذه التحليلات، وما يتنج عنها من مقترحات وتصورات سياسية، لا تزيد عن تفكير خيالي،  تفكير تواق منعزل تماماً عن واقع ما حدث وما يحدث وما يمكن أن يحدث في مصر. واقع عمل مؤسسات الدولة وواقع عمل الاقتصاد السياسي للبلاد وواقع المصالح الاقتصادية والاجتماعية المهيمنة والسائدة والمتضاربة، وواقع الاحتياجات والتوقعات والمطالب الاجتماعية ومآلات الأمور والأوضاع في مصر. هذا التفكير الخيالي يهرب من استحكام الأزمة ...

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الرأسمالية الفلسطينية المتمادية

[رئيس الوزراء الفلسطيني سلام فياض. المصدر أب]

لمحة عامة تكافح غالبية الفلسطينيين الرازحين تحت الاحتلال الإسرائيلي من أجل البقاء على قيد الحياة، وفي الوقت نفسه تشهد فئةٌ متنفذةٌ من الرأسماليين الفلسطينيين ازدهارًا وتناميًا في نفوذها السياسي والاقتصادي والاجتماعي. وغالبًا ما يكون ثمن ذلك الازدهار مشاركتهم في مشاريع التطبيع الاقتصادي. أي أن هؤلاء الرأسماليين الفلسطينيين يتعاملون مع الإسرائيليين كما لو كانوا شريكًا تجاريًا "طبيعيًا" وليس قوةً محتلة ما انفكت تنتهك حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني بلا رحمة منذ ما يزيد على 65 عامًا. يُسلِّط عضو الشبكة طارق دعنا، في هذه الورقة السياساتية، الضوءَ على أساليب هؤلاء الرأسماليين الفلسطينيين في ممارسة نفوذهم السياسي وفرض سيطرتهم الاجتماعية، ويسُوق أمثلةً لمشاريع التطبيع الاقتصادي ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (24 January)

[Fallujah, 2005. Image by US Navy Seabee Museum, via Flickr.]

[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.]  Palestine-Israel Israel's African Asylum Seekers Go on Strike, Ruth Margalit The New Yorker covers the opposition of African migrants in Israel to laws recently passed in Israel carrying harsh punishments for the undocumented. The End of Palestine? An Interview with Norman G. Finkelstein, Jamie ...

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The Armed Conflict in South Sudan: An Interview with Khalid Medani

[South Sudan: Growing violence deepens the humanitarian crisis across the country,©EU/ECHO/ Ludovico Gammarelli. Via Flikr Creative Common]

Two and half years after its birth, the world’s youngest nation-state, South Sudan, is engulfed in a crisis which has escalated into an armed conflict between two factions in the ruling People Liberation Movement. The political protagonists jockeying for power come from the ranks of the rebels who fought against the Sudanese central government in the 1983-2005 civil war. The war resulted in a loss of two million lives and the displacement of four million people in southern Sudan. Fighting broke out on 15 December when South Sudanese President Salva Kiir accused then vice president Riek Machar of attempting a coup. Machar and his supporters have in turn accused Kiir of ...

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New CLUSTER Publications: Learning from Cairo and Archiving the City in Flux

CLUSTER (Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research) aims at establishing a critical space for urban discourse. CLUSTER engages critical theorization while being grounded in professional practice, negotiating the blurred boundaries between formal/institutional regulations and everyday urban informality. On 12-14 April 2013, CLUSTER co-organized with the American University in Cairo, an international symposium entitled “Learning from Cairo” at AUC Tahrir Square. Two new publications, Learning from Cairo and Archiving the City in Flux, based on the conference, and an accompanying website:, were launched on 7 ...

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The Delusions of Representing Male Homosexuality in Beirut

[Graffiti on the walls in Hamra neighborhood of Beirut, circa 2010-2011. Image by Mathew Gagne]

Journalistic and popular accounts have often extolled Beirut as a haven for gay men. These accounts of male homosexuality in Beirut–like this NYT article, this NPR recording, as well as these articles in The Guardian and the Huffington Post–produce a particularly problematic model of queer[1] life in the city. This model uses several sets of binaries to make sense of sexual non-normativity (queerness) in the city without reflecting on who and what this narrow grid excludes. By doing so, the model ends up defining the types of social, sexual and political lives that are visible as queer. However, these binaries alone are never sufficient in theorizing or making sense of ...

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On Power Cuts, Protests, and Institutions: A Brief History of Electricity in Beirut (Part One)

[What follows are some preliminary findings on the history of the electricity sector of Lebanon in general and that of Beirut in particular. Such research forms part of a broader project on the history of struggles over the political economy of Lebanon, within which the issue of electric public utilities was and continues to be central. In this first installment of a three-part series, the origins of the electricity sector will be laid out, as well as the popular and elite mobilizations that sector ...

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عين صندوق النقد الدولي على الريوع النفطية: مثال الكويت

حين زار وفد صندوق النقد الدولي الكويت في أيلول/سبتمبر الماضي، لمناقشة «مواضيع مرتبطة بالسياسات المالية وإدارة الثروات»، جاء حاملاً جملة مخاوف، من بينها احتمال أن تتعرض الكويت لعجز كبير في الميزانية العامة للدولة «بسبب عدم التحكم في الإنفاق العام، وبسبب كلفة وعدم كفاءة الخدمات التي تقدمها في مختلف القطاعات»، علاوة على ما تستنزفه «فاتورة الدعومات الكبيرة ضمن الموازنة العامة». ولتأكيد واقعية هذه المخاوف، أشار الوفد إلى تقلبات سوق النفط العالمي و«توقع انخفاض سعر برميل النفط ليتراوح ما بين 65 إلى 70 دولاراً ...

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'Justifications of Power': Neoliberalism and the Role of Empire

[This article is the second in a three-part Jadaliyya series that looks at Foucault's work in relationship to the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa. Read the first installment here: "The Dangers of Liberalism: Foucault and Postcoloniality in France" by Diren Valayden] “I am like the crawfish and advance sideways.”[1] So Foucault warns us in the Birth of Biopolitics. And indeed, one would need to be an extremely nimble, if not heroic, crawfish to claim that Foucault ...

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Jihadism and Contraband on Tunisia's Borders

 [The following briefing was published by the International Crisis Group on 28 November 2013] Jihadism and Contraband on Tunisia's Borders Executive Summary and Recommendations Tunisia is embroiled in recurrent political crises whose origins in security concerns are ever more evident. While still of low-intensity, jihadi attacks are increasing at an alarming rate, fuelling the rumour mill, weakening the state and further polarising the political scene. The government coalition, dominated by the ...

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الجدل حول مبادرة كيري الاقتصادية: مآخذ ومنافع ومخاطر

اذا رأيت جارك يحمل غرضاً، فاسرع بمساعدته، ولا تخطئ ظنك بأن تجد الجنة في تلك الدار المجاورة. بوب ديلان ”The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest”  منذ اللحظة الأولى لإعلان وزير الخارجية الأميركي جون كيري في أيار 2013 عن إعداد خطة استثمارية عالمية تحت شعار "تنمية الاقتصاد الفلسطيني"،  لم تنقطع التعليقات المؤيدة والمستنكرة والمتسائلة من مختلف الجهات، وخاصة الفلسطينية، حول الدوافع الأميركية ومغزى الخطة ومضمونها. وعند إطلاق المبادرة بصياغتها الأولية بمبلغ استثماري مقترح بـ 4$ ...

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New Texts Out Now: Kamran Matin, Recasting Iranian Modernity: International Relations and Social Change

Kamran Matin, Recasting Iranian Modernity: International Relations and Social Change. London and New York: Routledge, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kamran Matin (KM): My main motivation in writing this book came from my dissatisfaction with existing accounts of the Iranian Revolution. Previous accounts imputed an "exceptional" character to the revolution on the grounds of its religious form. The argument that the revolution was "exceptional" neutralized the ...

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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread? The Politics of Flour in Hashemite Jordan

The recently concluded winter storm recovery efforts provided the Jordanian regime with a welcome respite from the array of issues that currently occupy center stage in public debates. These include—but are not limited to—the Syrian refugee crisis, parliamentary corruption, and proposed “political reforms.” Nevertheless, there is another issue that eludes the notice of journalists and analysts, one significantly more sensitive than the topics capturing daily headlines. As the kingdom’s citizens and ...

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Open Letter to Scarlett Johansson and Oxfam

Scarlett Johansson Actor, Hollywood. Winnie Byanyima Executive Director, Oxfam.  Dear Ms. Johansson and Ms. Byanyima, We are writing to you about the involvement of Ms. Johansson as the Global Ambassador for Oxfam at the same time as she is the Brand Ambassador for Sodastream. Sodastream, as we will show, is an Israeli company that is based on an illegal settlement, illegal according to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949). Not only are we concerned with Ms. Johansson’s ...

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The Palestinian Capitalists That Have Gone Too Far

While most Palestinians living under Israeli occupation are struggling to survive, a powerful group of Palestinian capitalists is thriving and growing in political, economic and social influence. The cost, all too often, is their engagement in economic normalization projects. In other words, they deal with the Israelis as though they were a “normal” business partner rather than an occupying power that has ruthlessly violated Palestinian rights for over sixty-five years.  In this policy brief, ...

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New Texts Out Now: Adam Hanieh, Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East

Adam Hanieh, Lineages of Revolt: Issues of Contemporary Capitalism in the Middle East. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book and what are its key themes?  Adam Hanieh (AH): The book was written over the course of 2011 and 2012 and was intended as a contribution to some of the debates that emerged in these first years of the Arab uprisings. I did not want to write another narrative account of the uprisings themselves. This was partly because these were events ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (December 31)

[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 by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations  Sunni monarchs back YouTube hate preachers: Anti-Shia propaganda threatens a sectarian civil war which will ...

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Toward a Political Economy of the Arab Uprisings (Part Two)

[Part One of this article can be found here.] The Evolution of the Authoritarian Coalition and the Role of the Middle Classes In the initial decades after independence, Arab governments—and especially the republics—introduced policies that led to significant social change. In particular, statist economic policies coupled with welfare programs and subsidies on basic food items and fuel facilitated the rise of proto-middle classes. Public-sector workers, benefiting from job security and social benefits, ...

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