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Political Economy

On Our Intervention in Kalam al-Nas: Real Estate Development Will Not Realize the Dreams of the Lebanese

[One of the banners unfolded during the intervention. It reads: “The dream of our city does not lie in real estate development, rather in public spaces and open access to the sea.” Image by the campaign]

On Thursday 26 June 2014, a number of activists from the Civic Campaign for the Preserve of Dalieh infiltrated a live broadcasting of an episode of LBC’s Kalam al-Nas in Downtown Biel’s “Dream Real Estate Expo.” The particular episode tackled the topic of real estate development in Lebanon, and aired live from from Downtown Biel’s “Dream Real Estate Expo.”  This special episode brought together a number of real-estate developers who participated in the Expo, showcasing their high-end large-apartment-type projects. These guests also included a current member of parliament, a former minister, and the event organizers. One of the key ...

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تحت الرادار العلاقات الاقتصادية الإسرائيلية ــ الفلسطينية

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في أعقاب الحملة التي قامت بها إسرائيل في الضفة الغربية بحثاً عن ثلاثة من المستوطنين الإسرائيليين الشباب المفقودين، واستخدمت فيها قسوة لم تُشْهَد منذ الانتفاضة الثانية، مع تكلفة يومية (أي خسارة) لاقتصاد الخليل وحده بلغت 12 مليون دولار، راحت أصوات فلسطينية متنامية تطالب بوقف «التنسيق الأمني» الإسرائيلي ـ الفلسطيني. وكانت قوات أمن السلطة الفلسطينية تنحت جانباً، في حين انتشر الجيش الإسرائيلي في مدن الضفة الغربية وقراها دون اعتبار لمناطق الولاية الأمنية الاسمية المخصصة للسلطة الفلسطينية بموجب اتفاقات أوسلو. وكان التنسيق الأمني، منذ اندلاع الانتفاضة الثانية، هو العمود الفقري في إعادة بناء أمن السلطة الفلسطينية، وذلك لضمان الأمن الداخلي، وإطلاق يد القوات الإسرائيلية للعمل كما ...

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The Beginning of the End of Palestinian Security Coordination with Israel?

[Two Palestinian police standing in front of the Church of the Nativity. Image by James Emery.]

While Mahmoud Abbas’s infamous speech at the conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has sparked widespread condemnation and outrage among Palestinians, it has also provoked renewed questioning of the increasingly suspicious role of the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) security sector. In his speech, Abbas defended security coordination with Israel under any and all circumstances, claiming that such coordination is a “Palestinian national interest.” Meanwhile, he had previously characterized it as “sacred.”  Criticism of the PA’s security coordination with Israel is not new. But recent events demonstrate the egregiousness of the double standard: warm ties ...

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هل خفف العمال السوريون من أزمة الاقتصاد اللبناني؟

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"دعوة لإعادة قراءة الآثار الاقتصادية للهجرة السورية للبنان" لا نتساءل في هذه الورقة عن تأثيرات الأزمة السورية (1) بكل تفاصيلها في لبنان ولكن يقتصر تساؤلنا علي المهاجرين أو النازحين إلى لبنان. هل خفّفوا من آثار الأزمة الاقتصادية اللبنانية أم ضاعفوها؟ يطرح هذا السؤال نفسه في ظلّ الهجمة المسعورة التي يتعرّض لها المهاجرون السوريون في لبنان، وارتفاع معدلات العنصرية لتصل إلى درجة أن تقوم بلديات عديدة بمنع السوريين من الخروج من منازلهم في غير أوقات العمل. فمنذ أيام قليلة قامت بلدية برج حمود ببيروت (انظر الصورة المرفقة) بوضع لافتات تحظر على السوريين الخروج من منازلهم ليلاً، أي في غير ساعات العمل على خلفية حادثة يمكن أن تحدث في أية منطقة أخرى بالعاصمة ...

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New Texts Out Now: Gulcin Erdi-Lelandais, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies

[Cover of Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais,

Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais, editor, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Gulçin Lelandais (GL): The idea of this book was born during a panel session on Henri Lefebvre at the 2011 Congress of the European Sociological Association, during which researchers from Hungary, the UK, France, and Turkey presented their approaches on Lefebvrian concepts like the right to the city, rhythmanalysis, and the production of space in their empirical research. Since I was working on urban transformation in Turkey, I was very interested in the ideas of Henri ...

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Tunisian Heritage is Not for Sale: Privatization Threatens Country’s Historic Sites

[Image courtesy of Nawaat.org.]

In a rather low-key, overlooked way, the Tunisian Minister of Culture, Mourad Sakli, announced yesterday on a radio program on Jawhara FM that the ministry plans on privatizing Tunisian heritage sites. The plan is to have private companies lease the sites for periods of twenty-five to thirty years. The minister justified the privatization plan by referencing the dire state of affairs over at the Tunisian National Heritage Institute. Namely, how the Institute only has six offices (in a total of twenty-four governorates) and that there are staff shortages experienced in each office. The conclusion that he (and his ministry) came to is that the Tunisian ...

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The Art of Resistance: Labor, Debt, and G.U.L.F.'s Guggenheim Campaign

[G.U.L.F.'s guerilla projection on the side of New York's Guggenheim Museum. 24 March 2014. Image from G.U.L.F.]

[This interview is the result of a month-long email conversation between the activists of Gulf Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.) and Jadaliyya's Arabian Peninsula page editorial team.] Nate Christensen and John Warner (NC and JW): Can you give us a brief introduction to your work as artists and activists and to the political actions of G.U.L.F.? Can you describe how your work with G.U.L.F. fits in with your broader artistic visions? Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.): G.U.L.F. stands for Global Ultra Luxury Faction. Our name is important to emphasize at the outset as our artistic vision does indeed have a global dimension that both encompasses and surpasses migrant ...

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Egypt: How Not to Support the Undeserving and Discriminate Against the Poor

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

[The following report was authored by Yahiya Shawkat and published by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights on 10 April 2014]   EIPR Policy Recommendations on New Income Conditions for the Social Housing Project   Introduction On 16 January 2014, the Egyptian cabinet issued new conditions for obtaining subsidised housing units within the Social Housing Programme (SHP) – also known as ―al-Million Wehda” or ―The Million Units. Some of these conditions, such as those relating to age and geographic location of applicants, are as before, though the conditions on income levels are periodically adjusted to reflect inflation. ...

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Dignity Has No Price in Kuwait

[Logo of the Gulf Center for Human Rights. Logo from gc4hr.org]

[The following report was published by the Gulf Center for Human Rights on 23 April 2014] Introduction and Summary Kuwait’s reputation is as one of the most democratic states in the Gulf, the state with an elected parliament and the state in which there is a tolerance of freedom of expression and of assembly. All things are relative, however, and the experiments with democracy in the country have long been combined with distinct and targeted repression. Although Kuwait has sought to avoid dissent by distributing its oil revenue to its relatively small population, there have nevertheless been large-scale street protests and vocal opposition to the ruling family in ...

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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 ituc-csi.org]

[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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The Violence of Climate Change in Egypt

In the midst of the revolutionary battles of recent years, it is easy not to notice that climate change is fundamentally changing the Middle East and North Africa we live in. This gradual transformation, much of it already inevitable, threatens to displace millions, if not tens of millions, and change the region beyond recognition. Business as usual will allow elite classes to profit from the devastation of the majority–but a just future is possible, if we fight for it. The early arrival of summer ...

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What History Books for Children in Palestinian Camps?

Introduction A curious paradox reigns in research and publishing on Palestine and on the Palestinian people. While the post-Nakba importance of education for the Palestinian people is widely acknowledged, and has even given rise to an extensive literature in which many prominent scholars have participated, yet the part played by knowledge of Palestinian history in the field of education has barely been touched on in this literature. Even those writers who have focused on the special educational needs of ...

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عن إقتحامنا لبرنامج 'كلام الناس': التطوير العقاري لن يحقق أحلام الشعب اللبناني

قام ناشطات وناشطون من «الحملة الأهلية للحفاظ على دالية الروشة» "باقتحام" حلقة الخميس 26 حزيران 2014 من برنامج «كلام الناس»، والتي كانت تتناول موضوع التطوير العقاري في لبنان، ببث مباشر للحلقة من معرض ”DREAM REAL ESTATE EXPO“ في البيال (وسط بيروت). وقد صبّت جميع مُداخلات المدعوّين لهذه الحلقة الخاصة من البرنامج، في تصوير الملكية السكنية كحلم جميع اللبنانيين وكحلّ لمشاكلهم السكنية يسعى القطاع العقاري الى تحقيقه. إضافة لذلك تم مُحاولة طرح هذا القطاع على أنه الركيزة الأساسيّة للإقتصاد ...

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Egyptian Investment Law Axing Proxy Litigation Harmful to Citizen Rights

Days before its resignation on 24 February 2014, the Beblawi cabinet announced its intention to amend Egypt's investment law. The change would limit the right to challenge sales contracts of public sector companies concluded between the government and investors, by limiting that right [of challenging these contracts in court] to the two parties to the contract.[1] By the time the government resigned, the proposed amendment was not submitted to the State Council’s legislative department for its review.[2] ...

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المراجعات الاقتصادية الكبرى.. الاختراع الاقتصادي الأخطر في القرن العشرين: الناتج المحلي الاجمالي

في قلب الأزمة الاقتصادية اليونانية، التي هددت حقا البلاد بالافلاس، حولت سلطات الإدعاء رئيس الجهاز الإحصائي الرسمي في البلاد آندرياس جيورجيو للمحاكمة في مطلع عام 2013 وتم فتح تحقيق برلماني. أما التهمة فكانت أنه عدل نسبة عجز الموازنة من الناتج المحلي الإجمالي بعد أن أعلن أن حسابات الناتج المحلي الإجمالي لليونان كان مضخمة ومبالغ فيها بأكثر من قيمتها بالربع على الأقل. قال جيورجيو، الوافد من صندوق النقد، إن مهمته كانت فقط تطبيق المعايير الأوروبية في تقدير وضع الاقتصاد، واتهمته السلطات اليونانية بأنه قدم ...

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هذا البحر لي: قطعة صوتية وكتيب البحث

"هذا البحر لي" هو عرض حيّ جرى في بيروت خلال صيف 2012 تضمَن رحلة على متن قارب صيد من ميناء عين المريسة حتى ميناء الدالية. اعتمد هذا "العرض الإعتراضي" في مضمونه على بحث مديني عن شاطىء بيروت كاشفاً للجمهور ملكية هذه الأماكن وممارسات مستخدميها والقوانين التي تحكمها. "هذا البحر لي" هو جزء من جهد مستمر تقوم به "مجموعة الدكتافون" للربط بين البحث المديني والفن الحيّ من أجل فتح نقاش عن علاقة الناس بحيّزهم العام في لبنان وإمكانية إعادة تصور المدينة. ...

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Stillbirth: The New Liberal-Conservative Mobilization in Turkey

Liberal-conservatism was the dominant intellectual discourse in Turkey for more than three decades. The 1980s was its moment of departure. It suffered a hiatus under the shadow of the Kurdish war in the 1990s, but militaristic brutality also increased its sympathizers. The 2000s was its golden age. Its triumphalism reached an apex during the 2010 referendum. Ever since, its dominance has been crumbling. State versus Society, the Military versus the Civilians, the Authentic Bourgeoisie versus the Old ...

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Gaza in 2020: A Liveable Place?

[The following report was issued by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in August 2012.] Summary By the year 2020 the population of Gaza will increase to around 2.1 million, from an estimated 1.6 million people today. The substantial population growth rate will thus add some 500,000 people to a living area which is restricted and already heavily urbanized. Fundamental infrastructure in electricity, water and sanitation, municipal and social services, is ...

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The Everyday Experience of Humanitarianism in Akkar Villages (Part One)

It is very common nowadays to come across reports discussing the negative impact of the Syrian humanitarian crisis on the Lebanese economy as a whole. On the one hand, there have been several attempts to focus on the victims and their plight, rather than looking at the complex dynamics of humanitarian intervention in the country. On the other, many organizations tend to disguise or justify their own political agenda in their impact assessment reports and fieldwork analyses,[1] which are mostly ...

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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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