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Sectarianism

#SaveKessab, #Save Aleppo, and Kim Kardashian: Syria’s Rashomon Effect

[Kessab Armenians attend mass after arrival in Latakia]

 A historic Christian Armenian town situated just a mile from the Turkish border in northwest Syria, Kessab is now among the war’s many casualties. On the morning of 21 March, the town was seized by opposition fighters from three Islamic militant groups: Jabhat al-Nusra, Sham al-Islam, and Ansar al-Sham. For Armenians around the world, the event conjured memories of past traumas as one of two remaining Armenian areas that survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 was depopulated. The last remaining Armenian village in Turkey, Vakıflı, located across the border, is now a safe haven for some of Kessab’s former residents. Three weeks after the capture of Kessab, the event ...

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Month-by-Month Summary of Developments in Syria (Updated)

[ICG logo. Image from crisisgroup.org]

[The following monthly summaries on developments in Syria were compiled and published by the International Crisis Group (ICG). Jadaliyya Reports will update this post each month as subsequent monthly summaries are issued.]  April 2014 Following Feb breakdown of Geneva II negotiations seeking political resolution to conflict, regime intensified push to secure control over areas bordering Lebanon, part of long-running Qalamoun offensive: with backing of Lebanese Hizbollah seized city of Yabroud 16 March, largest remaining rebel bastion in area; 19 March took village SW of Yabroud, 29 March seized another 2 villages near border. Many rebels fled across border to ...

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The Strands of the Military Opposition in Syria: An Interview with Yasser Munif (Part 1)

[Screenshot from the interview]

This interview was conducted with Yasser Munif, by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad. Yasser teaches Sociology and History at Emerson College and has been to Syria a few times in the past year. He starts the interview by discussing the importance of the invisible part of the uprising: namely, the civilian component that has been largely ignored in reporting on the uprising. He then proceeds to provide a breakdown of existing opposition groups on the ground, starting with the political opposition and moving on to the more consequential military opposition. He divides the military opposition into four main groupings: the Free Syrian Army (very loosely defined), the Islamic ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (March 18)

Iran's Hassan Rouhani meets Oman's Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Mascat on 12 March 2014. Image from presstv.ir]

 [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 ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Saudi listing of Brotherhood as terrorist group complicates Gulf ties Yara Bayoumy and Sylvia Westall examine the implications of the Saudi move for GCC relations in general, and Saudi-Qatari relations in particular. How the Middle East has gone cool towards Qatar A news report on ...

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ارفُض، شعبك يحميك

[الناشطة الفلسطينية ميسان حمدان في تظاهرة لمناهضة التجنيد الإجباري]

لقد رأت المؤسسة العسكرية الإسرائيلية منذ النكبة واحتلال فلسطين إلى يومنا هذا، الضرورة  القصوى في الربط بين العسكري والسياسي. ففي آب 1948، عمّم رئيس أركان الجيش، يعكوف دوري، أمراً يعلم فيه أقسام الجيش عن قيام وحدة ”الأقليّات“. قبل أن يشغل دوري ذلك المنصب، كان ولسنوات رئيس فرق ”الهاجانا“ الصهيونية. وأشار دوري في الأمر الذي عمّمه إلى أن قائد وحدة ”الأقليات“ يعيّن بالتنسيق مع القسم السياسي لوزارة الخارجية وينسق معها في كل مهمة ذات أوجه سياسية مناطة به. وجرى تمرير قانون التجنيد الإلزامي عام 1949 وكان آخر تعديل له عام 1986. وينص القانون على أن جميع الإسرائيليين الذين تزيد أعمارهم عن 18 عاماً يجب أن يجندوا، إلا إذا تم إعفاؤهم. ويستثنى من القانون اليهود الذين يدرسون في ...

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An Introduction to Kareem Risan's "The Book of Sectarianism"

[Kareem Risan,

The Euphrates is a long procession Cities pat its shoulders as palm trees weep —Sinan Antoon [1] In these ashen years following the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, Kareem Risan has produced over two dozen art books. Created as one-of-a-kind artifacts, some are bound and can be unfolded, expanded, and positioned upright to be viewed in the round, while others are comprised of separate panels amassed in a portfolio or box. During this long period of charting Iraq’s most recent phase of destruction, Risan has chosen to focus on two major points of entry: the walls of Baghdad, ancient and newly erected, and a map of the city as though viewed through the distant ...

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Violence Against Copts in Egypt

[Crop of cover of working paper from which this text is extracted from.

The Egyptian Orthodox Christian community—the Copts—has been the target of violence and discrimination since the 1970s and especially following the revolution that overthrew Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian state has done little to remedy the situation and has at times enabled the conflict between Muslims and Christians. Achieving religious freedom and equality depends on building state institutions that can guarantee all citizens’ constitutional rights. The Conflict Regime-church relations deteriorated in the 1970s under President Anwar Sadat, who embraced Islam and Islamists as a counterweight to the left.
  Churches are flash points for anti-Coptic attacks. The ...

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The Civilian Administration of the Insurgency in Aleppo

[An overview of the situation in Aleppo as of September 2013. Red areas are under government control.]

While the human and financial means were limited, civilian institutions have nevertheless emerged in a few months in the zones conquered by the insurrection movement in Northern Syria. This experience of reconstructing an administrative system through the bottom-up has enabled to restart the public service system and constitutes the basis for an alternative to the Damascus regime. The management of Eastern Aleppo by the armed opposition thus constitutes both a strategic and a political challenge. The areas controlled by the insurgency in the country’s second city account for probably—the figure is uncertain—over a million inhabitants, and their management represents a ...

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Les villes petites et moyennes dans les revoltes arabes: un etat des lieux

[Image is cover of below issue]

Les villes petites et moyennes dans les révoltes arabes: un état des lieux. Compte rendu de: Karine Benafla (dir.), Dossier « Villes arabes: conflits et protestations », Confluences Méditerranée, 85 (2013), 9-164. Une des dimensions singulières des révoltes arabes est leur territorialité, qui a d'emblée constitué une clé de leur interprétation. Or, cette territorialité est plurielle et se décline en plusieurs moments. Aux révoltes des petites et moyennes villes tunisiennes (Sidi Bouzid, Kasserine), libyennes (Misrata et Benghazi) ou syriennes (Deraa, Homs), et des villes industrielles secondes comme Mahalla al-Koubra ou Suez en Egypte, se sont d’abord ...

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The Iraq That Is Not There: An Interview with Ahmed Habib

[339 Lafayette St. in New York, August 2013]

“Why would I teach my son Arabic, Ali? Iraq is gone, finished.” This is what a friend from Iraq now living in the United States told me a while ago, and I really did not know what to say. Although the specifics of contact with Iraq may differ—it might be about visiting Iraq, talking about it, or about “the region” as a whole—this is not an uncommon sentiment in the Iraqi Diaspora. In the context of this widespread feeling of despair, what is shakomako.net, “an independent digital magazine about everything Iraqi,” to do? What role can its emphasis on resilience play in a mainstream media landscape that speaks a very different language? And where exactly does this dominant ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (October 1)

[Migrant workers in Dubai. Image from Wikipedia]

[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 ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations  UAE Brokers US Visa Deal for Syrian Minister Nasser Charara reports on the mediating role the United Arab Emirates played in securing a US visa to the Syrian foreign minister. Bahrain stung by Obama comment on sectarian tensions Yara Bayoumy writes on the Bahraini authorities’ ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (September 17)

[Wadjda. Image from vimeo.com]

[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 ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations  Saudi goes public over tensions with US Elizabeth Dickinson examines US-Saudi relations in light of developments in Egypt and Syria.  Yemen court clears 5 Saudis over Qaeda-linked plot A news report on the acquittal of five Saudis who were arrested on charges of plotting to ...

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The Strands of the Military Opposition in Syria: An Interview with Yasser Munif (Part 2)

This is part two of an interview as conducted with Yasser Munif, by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad. You can view Part one here. Yasser teaches Sociology and History at Emerson College and has been to Syria a few times in the past year. He starts the interview by discussing the importance of the invisible part of the uprising: namely, the civilian component that has been largely ignored in reporting on the uprising. He then proceeds to provide a breakdown of existing opposition ...

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Beyond 'Tolerance' and 'Intolerance': Deconstructing the Myth of the Islamic Golden Age

Like many other concepts that shape our understanding of medieval history, the idea of a “Muslim Golden Age” is a historiographical construct. It promotes the notion that, until at least the early thirteenth century, the Muslim world experienced an era of unprecedented stability, prosperity, and cultural production. More particularly, it emphasizes that the period between roughly the ninth century and the thirteenth century (sometimes extended to the eighteenth century in order to include the Ottomans ...

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Alevizing Gezi

Berkin Elvan’s funeral services, which were held at the Okmeydani Cemevi on 12 March, once again raised the question of why all six youths killed during the Gezi Protests—or, if we are to approach the Gezi process within a broader framework, why seven out of eight youths killed—were Alevîs. Indeed, the question is not a new one; months prior to Berkin’s funeral, Nagehan Alçı, one of the government’s staunchest supporters in the media, had claimed on a television program that the Gezi Protests were ...

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حوار مع ديبيش شاكرابرتي القانون هو الذي يحمي الأسس الحقيقية للحداثة

ديبيش شاكرابرتي Dipesh Chakrabarty من مفكري الحداثة وهو يدعو إلى فهم جديد لها في سياقاتها المختلفة، ويدعو أيضاً إلى "حداثة بديلة" يتحدث عنها باستفاضة في كتابه ”مواطن الحداثة: مقالات في صحوة دراسات التابع“، الذي صدر حديثاً في ترجمة عربية لمجيب الرحمان وصدر عن ”كلمة“. بالإضافة إلى ذلك، هو مؤرخ متخصّص في تاريخ الأديان، ودرس العنف الطائفي الذي عايشه شخصياً في الهند، كما أنه مفكر يعيد النظر في المقولات السائدة ويفكك التمركز الأوربي فاتحاً الحداثة على إعادة التشكل الكوني خارج المركزية الأوربية. ...

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مختارات من الصحافة العربية 27 كانون الثاني

مختارات من الصحافة العربية (من 12 إلى 25 كانون الثاني 2014)  . دولة بغداد ترحب بكم يكتب عمر الجفال عن التخبط السياسي في العراق وخطورة تبعات العمليات العسكرية في الأنبار بالإضافة إلى تبعات استحداث محافظات وأقاليم جديدة. . نفط أربيل يدفع بالشرق الأوسط نحو صدام محتمل يناقش أحمد رشيد الخلافات بين أربيل وبغداد حول تصدير الأخيرة للنفط وإخفاق المفاوضات وانعكاسات الخلاف على العلاقات مع تركيا والمنطقة. . تعمل ضمن أجهزة شرطة ومطارات وسجون ومسؤولة عن الآف السجناء السياسيين ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (January 14)

[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 ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Saudi isolation could be a threat to the region Samer Abboud argues that the isolation of Saudi Arabia will be ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (November 19)

[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 ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Thaw in US-Iran relations prompts alarm in Gulf states Simeon Kerr analyzes the Gulf states’ anxiety over talks between ...

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Regulating Sex/Religion: Secular Citizenship and the Politics of Diasporic Difference

Jadaliyya is partnering with a number of scholars to form a Humanities Studio that will study, produce, and disseminate critical scholarship on sex, religion, secularism, and citizenship. The studio, part of the University of California Humanities Research Institute’s initiative on Religions in Diaspora and Global Affairs, examines how sexuality and religion come together in the management of diasporic minorities in Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. Rather than take for granted the conventional ...

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New Texts Out Now: Eliane Raheb, Sleepless Nights

Eliane Raheb, director. Sleepless Nights [Layali Bala Noom]. Itar Productions, 2012. Jadaliyya (J): What made you create this film? Eliane Raheb (ER): The idea of executing the Sleepless Nights documentary came gradually. I first read the apology and the confessions of Assaad Shaftari back in 2002, when a local newspaper published them in a three-part series. He answered several questions I had after the end of the civil war. I read his testimony, but I wanted to know more about him and his ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (November 5)

[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 ap@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations John Kerry arrives in Saudi Arabia to smooth ties A news report on the US Secretary of State’s trip to Saudi Arabia in an ...

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New Texts Out Now: Lara Deeb and Mona Harb, Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi‘ite South Beirut

Lara Deeb and Mona Harb, Leisurely Islam: Negotiating Geography and Morality in Shi‘ite South Beirut. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Lara Deeb (LD) and Mona Harb (MH): Leisurely Islam began as a series of conversations about how Dahiya—the area situated to the south of municipal Beirut, where we had each conducted our previous research—and the Shi‘i Islamic milieu centered there were changing in the early years of this century. We ...

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Discourse Polarization and the Liberal Triumph in Egypt

I cannot profess to be more than a close observer of Egyptian politics and history. I hope my Egypt interlocutors allow me to make some observations about what might end up concerning all of us who care about, or teach about, the region. I will focus my observations on the reasons behind the polarized discourse on Egypt, both inside and outside the country, and conclude with commentary about the advent of a new liberalism. These observations are based on more than six weeks of monitoring closely ...

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