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Political Economy

More than Money on their Minds: The Generals and the Economy in Egypt Revisited

[President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi at a military gathering in December 2014. Source: Official Facebook Page of the Spokesperson of the Egyptian Armed Forces.]

Following the July 2013 power takeover by Defense Minister and later President Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, the economic activities of the Egyptian military have been reportedly on the rise. For many, that trend only meant that the military under Sisi was preparing to do what it has long done under previous leaders, namely use its political privileges to make money and run easy profits. Indeed, the military establishment has always been a major player in Egypt’s economy. Its leaders have traditionally sought to use their institution’s economic interests to enhance the military’s resources and access to patronage. Yet the military’s more recent intervention in the economy ...

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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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البروليتاريا الفلاحية والإقطاع الجديد : أسئلة الريف المفكك

[

بينما كان القطار المكيف المتجه إلى الوجه القبلي يشق طريقه مخترقا حقول ريفية شاسعة على جانبي الطريق، كان رفيقي في المقعد المجاور يُبدي تبرمه من عدم لحاقه بالطائرة المخصصة له، فهو وكيل شركة متعددة الجنسيات تعمل في مجال صناعة مواد البناء، ولها مصنعها الضخم في قلب الصعيد، فالوكيل لا يحتمل طول ساعات السفر في هذا الطقس الحار، حيث القطار المزدحم يقلل من برودة المكيف، كما أن المناظر الطبيعية مُملة - في نظره -؛ فهي متكررة وغير مثيرة، ولكن القطار - في لحظة الصدق- يتعطل قليلا فتزداد معاناة الوكيل، في ذات الوقت الذي تتحول نافذة القطار إلى نافذة اجتماعية تعكس بناء المجتمع الريفي المحيط ؛ فالوكيل الذي لا يحتمل الطقس الحار في القطار المكيف يشاهد من النافذة الزجاجية السميكة فتيات ...

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Report: Criminal Revenues and Warlords in Syria

The Netherlands Institute for International Relations (Clingendael) features a paper authored by Omar Abdulaziz Hallaj entitled The Balance-Sheet of Conflict: Criminal Revenues and Warlords in Syria, written for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre (NOREF). The paper argues that as forms of territorial control have changed, the Syrian political economy has transformed alongside them, and examines the implications of this process for peacebuilding. The first section covers the collapse of the social contract in Syria at the start of the war, particularly in terms of the role played by bribery and patronage in the years preceding the conflict. The second section ...

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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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تاريخ النشاط السياسي واقتصاده السياسي في المغرب: مقابلة للوضع بين زكية سليم وسامية الرزوقي

تلقي زكية سالم في هذه المقابلة الضوء على الفروق الدقيقة التاريخية للنشاط الاجتماعي النسوي في المغرب. تتضمن المقابلة التالية أربعة أجزاء، بحيث يمكنكم أن تنقروا عليهما بشكل منفصل. بوسعكم أن تقرأوا أيضاً النص العربي المدوّن المرافق. زكية سليم أستاذة مساعدة في علم الاجتماع ودراسات النساء والجندر في جامعة رتغرز حيث تدرِّس الحركات النسوية، الجندر، العولمة، الحركات الاجتماعية، الامساواة العالمية، وما بعد الكولونيالية. تشمل اهتماماتها كباحثة العرق، والامبراطورية والاقتصاد السياسي والحرب على الارهاب، وسياسات ابتنمية، والحركات والمجتمعات الاسلامية، والشرق الاوسط والعلاقات الامريكية. إن كتاب سليم"بين النسوية والاسلام" يوضح تداخل الانظمة العالمية للحقوق والبدائل ...

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World Social Forum: Where is the Struggle against Capitalism?

[Image from the 2015 World Social Forum in Tunisia. Image by CIDSE - together for global justice/Flickr]

The 2015 World Social Forum (WSF) opened its doors for the second consecutive year in Tunisia. Since 2001, this open space represents an alternative to the World Economic Forum at Davos and declares its anti-globalization approach in the fight against capitalism and neoliberalism. At each session, participants and visitors express ideas and personal experiences to make their voices heard and learn how to improve their capacity for self-governance. This year, participants were quick to voice their criticisms. Disappointed Forum-goers were clearly much greater in number this year than the last. Many including the WSF Steering Committee are perhaps ...

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The Economy of Mental Health: Inequalities in Access to Care in Morocco

[Image of Morocco's Minister of Health, Houssaine Louardi, during a press conference. Image by Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage/Flickr]

In 2005, Morocco’s Ministry of Health (Ministère de la Santé) carried out its first-ever epidemiological survey of mental illness in the country. As a Bulletin de Santé later reported, the study found that about fifty percent of the population had suffered from at least one minor psychiatric ailment over the course of their lives: … one in two Moroccans presents with at least one significant sign of impaired mental health, regardless of its degree of severity, ranging from a simple nervous tic or occasional insomnia to more serious manifestations of anxiety or depression.[1] This number lies within range of the global average, and is not terribly surprising ...

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Quick Thoughts on the Saudi Transition and Beyond: A STATUS/الوضع conversation with Toby Jones

With the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, there is much press speculation about change in the Kingdom. In this Quick Thoughts interview for Status, Toby Jones parses through these debates and highlights the more salient points, identifying how this transition should be analyzed beyond hyperbolic prognostication. Toby C. Jones is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University. He has lived and worked extensively in the Middle East, including several years in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. During 2008-2009 he was a fellow at Princeton University's Oil, Energy, and the Middle East project. From 2004 to early 2006 Jones worked as the Persian Gulf political ...

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The Right to Food Safety: Rights-Based Dialogue as a Springboard towards State-Building

The stances taken by Lebanon’s Public Health Minister Wael Abou Faour in November 2014 took the country by surprise. Departing completely from the norm, Abou Faour published lists of actual businesses that have persisted in producing or selling food unfit for consumption, or not conforming to health standards. Fellow Ministers and others from outside the cabinet criticized Abou Faour, accusing him of adopting a policy of defamation that could have a negative impact on Lebanon’s economy.[1] In response, Abou Faour argued that it was the state’s duty to warn citizens against looming threats, and therefore, to denounce those businesses even at the risk of ruining their ...

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A Compound in Common: The Case of “Little Duweiqa,” Haram City

[Empty homes in Haram City. Photo Nicholas Simcik Arese]

While the eyes of the world focused on the intermittent occupations of Cairo’s Tahrir Square, in the four years since the Egyptian uprising of 2011, a different kind of social action has persisted at the city’s periphery. On 13 August 2010 and in February 2011, during the eighteen days leading to Hosni Mubarak’s fall, a group of 231 resettled slum dweller families from the impoverished Duweiqa district of Cairo abandoned their allocated twenty three square-meter homes to squat liveable ones in Haram City, a budget gated-community marketed by developers and development practitioners as a new best-practice “cooperative” public-private partnerships for low-income housing. ...

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Visualizing Impact: The Long Run & On the Brink

[Image crop from infographic below.]

[The following infographics were originally published by Visualizing Impact.] The Long Run This graphic shows the struggle that the region's youth must counter in their struggle to reach the age of independence.  The weight of multiple social and economic factors in the region have kept youth from finding a first job and ultimately reaching the financial security to afford to marry and become independent from their families. Created in collaboration with Silatech, our hope is that this graphic will start news conversations about this critical challenge facing a generation.     [Click image to enlarge.] On the Brink To show the ...

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The Right to Democratic Dissent: A View from Greece

One of the normative impulses of Eurozone orthodoxy has been to forestall the element of dissent, and to establish an uncritical and authoritarian doctrine: namely, that neoliberal austerity is the only possible “game in town”.  For five years, the peoples of Greece and other countries of the European South have been experiencing the implications of a compulsory economization of the political terrain: rampant inequalities, dispossession of public space, dismissal of social rights. The role of EU ...

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The Constant and the Changing 2015: The Gulf and the Other

[The following is the 2015 executive summary of the Gulf Centre for Development Policies' third annual report The Constant and the Changing.] In the third annual volume of The Constant and the Changing publication series, the Gulf Centre for Development Policies renews its call for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to address the chronic disorders that ail their development trajectory. The objective of this series of publications is to contribute to finding a path toward building independent ...

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Besieged: The Economic Impact of the Israeli Siege on Gaza

The second in a series of infographics on the Palestinian economy, "Besieged" highlights the scale of the economic impact of the Gaza blockade. Aided by their Egyptian counterparts, Israeli authorities heavily restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the territory, whilst Palestinians are denied access even to their own natural resources, including farmland, fishing waters and valuable offshore gas reserves. While Palestinians in Gaza face a 45% unemployment rate, Israeli ...

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A Stolen Yield: The Cost of Israeli Restrictions on Palestinian Farming

5 June 1967 marks the start of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip. Today, nearly half a century later, the occupation continues to have a devastating impact on the daily lives of Palestinians. A graphic example of this impact can be seen through the Israeli restrictions exerted on the Palestinian economy. The infographic "A Stolen Yield" highlights the economic losses faced by Palestinian farmers, amounting to at least $2.2 billion each year. These losses result ...

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المسألة الزراعية ومأساة العمالة المصرية الريفية في ليبيا

في أغلب الأحيان تم توصيف شهداء مجزرة داعش بليبيا على أنهم "مصريون أقباط" وفي بعض الاحيان أضيفت كلمة "فقراء". ولم يكن لانتماء كافة الشهداء لريف جنوب مصر أي مدلول بخلاف مسألة الفقر التي هي بدون شك أكثر انتشاراً بريف جنوب مصر من سواها من المناطق. لكن غاب عن النقاش إلى حد بعيد علاقة المأساة بأزمة القطاع الزراعي المصري، أو ما يمكن ان نسميه بتوابع التحول النيوليبرالي للزراعة المصرية، والذي بدوره خلّف آلافاً من القوى المعطلة في الريف. وتشير دراسة عبد المولى اسماعيل إلى أن المتضررين من قانون ...

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Black Feminism Is: Reflections on the Black Feminist Think Tank Symposium

Introduction On 20-21 March 2015, hundreds gathered at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to examine black feminism as an intellectual and political practice and to chart a way forward. As faculty, students, and activists from around the United States and beyond, we shared our frustrations with the isolation and invisibility (or, in some cases, notoriety) we have experienced as black women and women of color in higher education. Twenty years after the path-breaking conference “Black Women in the ...

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Those Who Want To Build, Those Who Want To Fight: The World Social Forum with a North African Twist

Holding the World Social Forum (WSF) in Tunisia, for the second time, is doubly significant. It is right on target, since Tunisians have toppled a neoliberal dictator. It is also a painful reminder of capitalism’s power, as Tunisian neoliberalism (along with the dictator’s entourage) is still intact. Not only are the main contours of Ben Ali’s policies still in place, his top bureaucrats are in command. Moreover, they have come back through elections. Voters replaced them for a secular liberal-Islamic ...

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Video: Laleh Khalili on Sinews of War and Trade

In this lecture,  Laleh Khalili draws on her recent experience of travelling on a container ship from Malta to Jabal Ali, and the research she has thus far conducted on her project on the formation and transformation of ports and transport infrastructure in the Arabian Peninsula to give her lecture. The lecture, which is preceded by an "Introduction" and concluded with a "Vote of Thanks," follows the format of such lectures at the SOAS, University of ...

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New Texts Out Now: David McDonald, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South

David McDonald, editor, Rethinking Corporatization and Public Services in the Global South. London: Zed Books, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? David McDonald (DMD): After three decades of privatization, we observe a growing worldwide trend of governments taking back control of services, or creating new forms of public services, with the overall number of public enterprises globally on the increase. Corporatization is one of the most popular forms of this renewed interest in ...

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Implications of Qatarization: Qualitative Assessment and Possible Policy Responses

[The following report presents the status of localization efforts in Qatar's labor force and proposes recommendations to achieve better results based on an ongoing Qatarization study supported by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The study, which is carried out by FIKRA Research and Policy, aims to understand the experience of young Qataris as they transition from education to employment, and how youth choices contribute to the labor market in Qatar. While the report has not been published ...

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Bio-Istanbul: A Speculative, Segregationist, and Sustainable Urbanism

Ekolojik (ecological), yeşil (green), doğal (natural), or akıllı (smart): these are the new concepts increasingly emphasized in brochures advertising real estate projects in Istanbul. Stamped with the seal of “sustainability” (sürdürülebilirlik), a terminology that signalled its entry into the vocabulary of Turkey’s urban policies in the early 2000s (Pérouse 2011), do these projects really reflect new forms of urban design and spatial production in the metropolis of Istanbul? In order to ...

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Stanford Event: Joel Beinin on Workers and Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia (21 January 2015)

CDDRL’s Program on Arab Reform and Democracy (ARD), in partnership with the Arab Studies Institute (ASI), presents: Workers and Revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia Featuring: Joel Beinin Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Stanford University Date and Time: Wednesday, January 21 12PM-1:30PM *Lunch will be served* Location: Goldman Conference Room (4th floor East Wing) Encina Hall Stanford University Abstract Arab workers participated prominently in the popular uprisings ...

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