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Sectarianism

New Texts Out Now: Toby Matthiesen, The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent, and Sectarianism

[Cover of Toby Matthiesen,

Toby Matthiesen, The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent, and Sectarianism. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Toby Matthiesen (TM): I became interested in the issue of sectarianism in Syria and Lebanon, where I studied Arabic and spent several summers. I wanted to understand the historical context of sect-formation and at what times these markers of identity became important in the political process. During my MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies, when I was looking for a dissertation topic, I started to read about the Shi‘a in the Gulf. There was hardly any literature at the time on the Shi‘a ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (January 20)

[Riyadh and Doha have asked the US administration to impose a no-fly zone over Syria. Image from Ronny Przysucha.]

[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 Jeremy Scahill on Paris Attacks, the al-Qaeda Link & the Secret U.S. War in Yemen Amy Goodman interviews Jeremy Scahill on al-Qa‘ida in Yemen and the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Al-Qaida in Yemen uses video to claim responsibility for Charlie Hebdo attack Jason Burke and Monica Mark report ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (December 23)

[Remains of US-made teargas canister in Bahrain. Image from wikimedia.org]

[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 and UAE oil ministers defend Opec response to falling prices The Emirati and Saudi oil ministers affirm that their countries are committed to maintaining current levels of oil production. Egypt's Sisi meets Qatari envoy, signaling possible détente A news report on the ...

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Between Ballots and Boycotts: Bahrain’s Political and Electoral Systems Assessed

[Political cartoon showing the regime celebrating its claimed election turnout figure of 52.6 percent. Image from www.bahrainwatch.org]

[The following is an overview of last week’s parliamentary elections in Bahrain that Ala’a Shehabi wrote for Bahrain Watch on 26 November 2014.]  On Saturday 22 November, Bahrain held parliamentary elections. Bahrain Watch looks at the significance of these elections in relation to the political system as a whole and evaluates the election using basic principles from the IDEA’s Book on International Electoral Standards. We find critical breaches of international electoral standards, in particular, the absence of the “one person one vote” principle, restrictions on independent oversight, and questionable inducements to vote. We also note that due to ...

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New Texts Out Now: Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer, The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication

[Cover of Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer,

Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer, The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication. London: Hurst UK and New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Lina Khatib, Dina Matar, and Atef Alshaer (LK/DM/AA): The idea for the book was born out of an intellectual as well as methodological interest in the relationship between politics and communication in non-Western contexts, and particularly in relation to Islamist movements and non-state actors. When we conceived the idea for the research on which this book is based, Hizbullah had just emerged from the 2006 war with Israel. The group and its media billed the war as a ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (November 4)

[Souad al-Shammary. Image from www.manartv.com.lb]

[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  Qatar and the UK stand together in the fight against terrorism The Qatari prime minister writes an article on the Qatari emir’s visit to the United Kingdom. Emir of Qatar aims to paint positive image of country on UK visit Ian Black reflects on the Qatari emir’s visit to ...

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هل يمكن إنقاذ العراق؟

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صارع صانعو السياسة والصحفيون والخبراء كي يفهموا احتلال تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام للموصل في العاشر من حزيران\يونيو ٢٠١٤، واندفاع المجموعة جنوباً نحو بغداد وانهيار الجيش العراقي أمام تقدمها. إن الطريقة التي فُهمتْ بها هذه الأزمة المتسارعة ستحدد استجابة القادة في العراق، والشرق الأوسط، وفي النظام الدولي. وهي لن تصوغ الرد العسكري الأولي على تنظيم الدولة فحسب، بل أيضاً، وبصورة أكثر أهمية، سياسات على المدى الطويل تهدف إلى معالجة الأسباب الكامنة لنشوء التنظيم واحتلاله لأراض في كلّ من العراق وسوريا. يتضمّنُ شَرْحٌ شائعٌ (ولو أنه مفاجئ) لنجاح تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية العسكري المدهش، العودةَ إلى اتفاقية   سايكس بيكو، وهي صفقة سرية رتبها الدبلوماسي البريطاني ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (September 30)

[An American F/A-18C Hornet aboard the USS George H.W. Bush prior to the launch of operations over Iraq. Image from wikimedia commons.]

[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.comby Monday night of every week.]  Regional and International Relations Saudi Arabia confirms role in strikes against Islamic State in Syria Saudi Arabia announces that the its air force participated in the US-led air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria. US gives 'strong support' to Yemen government despite Shia rebel ...

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Breaking: Yemeni Political Alliances Shift as Houthis Capture Sanaa

On 21 September 2014, the Houthi movement militarily won control of the Yemeni state. This was quickly followed by a Peace and National Partnership Agreement, signed by most significant political players, which will have serious implications for the structure of national politics going forward. I interviewed John Warner, Co-Editor of Jadaliyya's Arabian Peninsula Page. He analyses the local and regional dynamics that led to these important political developments and their future implications. This interview is part of the Arab Studies Institute and its partners' upcoming Audio Journal Project, in progress.

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (September 16)

[US Secretary of State John Kerry at an ISIS coalition-building meeting in Saudi Arabia, 12 September 2014. Image from www.salzburg.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 The CIA's Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories with Agency Before Publication The Intercept published email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and a reporter regarding a story on drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan.  US military helicopter crashes in Gulf of Aden ...

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An Excerpt from Sinan Antoon's "Ave Maria"

[Cover of

[The events of Ave Maria take place in a single day. Two characters from an Iraqi Christian family who are drawn together by the situation in the country under the same roof in Baghdad narrate these events. Youssef is an elderly man in his seventies. He refuses to emigrate and leave the house he himself built and where he has lived for half a century. He still clings to hope and memories of a happier past. Maha is a young woman whose life has been torn apart by sectarian violence. Her family is displaced in the north. She is living temporarily in Youssef's house until she finishes her studies. Maha feels that she has become a refugee in her own country. She and her ...

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It Might Be Too Late To Save Iraq's Christians

[Sinan Antoon. Image from Jadaliyya.]

It Might Be Too Late To Save Iraq's Christians, Says Author Author of a Booker-nominated novel on the plight of Christians in Iraq, Sinan Antoon says the forced eviction of Mosul’s Christians "was coming" for many years. On his Facebook page at the beginning of the week, novelist and professor Sinan Antoon posted a video of an elderly Christian woman who has been recently forced to leave her house in Mosul by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for having declined to convert to Islam. In the remark he attached to the short video, Antoon refers to the anger this elderly woman—who was thrown out of her house at 5am by the ISIS man who denied her retirement ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (January 27)

[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 Saudis Expand Regional Power as Others Falter David Kirkpatrick examines Saudi Arabia’s regional politics. US charges ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (January 6)

[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 Arabia to reopen Baghdad embassy after 25-year chill A Saudi delegation will travel to Baghdad to start ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (December 9)

[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  Why is Saudi Arabia using oil as a weapon? Michael Stephens argues that Saudi Arabia’s decision to lower the ...

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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 Islamic State leader urges attacks in Saudi Arabia: speech Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi calls for attacks on Saudi Arabia in his ...

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New Texts Out Now: Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists

Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab, The Shi‘ites of Lebanon: Modernism, Communism, and Hizbullah’s Islamists. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Rula Jurdi Abisaab and Malek Abisaab (RJA & MA): There were several reasons for writing the book. In the last two decades we had read several books on Shi`i Islamist movements, particularly Hizbullah, which presented secular ideologies and Communism simply as those forces and ideas that the Islamists ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (October 28)

[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   UK police asked to investigate alleged Bahraini hacking of exiles’ computers Privacy International asks the National Cyber ...

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Press Release: Saudi Death Sentence against Shia Leader Is Politically Motivated

[The following press release was issued by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an NGO in the Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, on 15 October 2014.] IHRC strongly condemns today's decision by a court in Saudi Arabia to impose the death penalty against shaykh Nimr al-Nimr. Shaykh al-Nimr is a leading Shia scholar who was arrested for his outspoken criticism of the Saudi monarchy and his calls for equality and reform on trumped up charges of ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (September 23)

[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 Q&A: What's behind MB leaders leaving Qatar? Ismaeel Naar argues that a shift in Qatar’s foreign policy, in order to end ...

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On Dead and Living Characters

Maha George is a young Iraqi Christian woman from Baghdad in her early twenties. I came to know Maha and her family quite well three and a half years ago. She was studying medicine in Baghdad at the time, but had no plans for staying in Iraq. She, like so many, no longer believed that Iraq was her country and planned on immigrating as soon as she finished her studies. The recent events in Mosul and the catastrophic fate of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis (Christians, Yazidis, Shabak, and others) have ...

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Islamic State: Back in Business

[The following article was originally published by Peter Harling in Le Monde Diplomatique, and subsequently republished by the International Crisis Group (ICG).] Emerging in an increasingly chaotic Middle East, IS is profiting from the region’s growing sectarianism, political vacuum and the ambivalence of the West. The so-called Islamic State (IS) — the jihadist movement also known as ISIL or ISIS and by the derogatory acronym Da’ish in Arabic — now controls much of northeast Syria and northwest ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (August 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 State Department Taking Passports Away from Yemeni-Americans The Middle East Research and Information ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (August 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 Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent David Kirkpatrick argues that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the ...

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