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Terrorism - Counterinsurgency

On the Margins Roundup (August)

[Image of the remnants of a home in a village in northern Somalia. Image by najeeb/Flickr.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Djibouti, and Comoros Islands and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the On the Margins Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to]  Mauritania اعتقال رئيس المبادرة الطلابية بمطار نواكشوط  A Mauritanian student is arrested at the airport, attempting to board a flight to a Palestine conference in Sudan. تراجع التبادل التجاري لموريتانيا ب7.4% في الثلث الأول من 2014 Mauritania’s terms of trade weakened in the first quarter of 2014. Two ...

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The FBI’s War on Fake Terrorism

[Masjid al-Ikhlas, Newburgh, NY. Image by Daniel Case.]

As part of the effort to prevent terrorist attacks, the FBI has a program in which agents recruit undercover informants who then “listen” for developing terror plots. Two new reports show how this preventative program has run amok, possibly entrapping vulnerable people to justify its own existence. Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that most US terrorism prosecutions are “an illusion” created by the authorities. The groundbreaking HRW report was released just after the premiere of a new Al Jazeera documentary, The Informants, which illustrates the human cost of this massive program. This follows yet another report, this one from the New York University School of Law’s ...

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A Practical Solution for Iraq

[Image from]

The rise of ISIS and the declaration of a Caliphate that controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria signals a moment of exceptional danger not only for Iraq and its future existence as a state, but for US national interests. The United States has sacrificed life and limb and invested billions of dollars to save Iraq from dictatorship and help its people build a thriving democracy. Mistakes were made for sure, but our intentions and objectives were always clear: to stabilize and democratize the region. President Obama’s craven policies and his withdrawal from Iraq have squandered the credit and political capital the US held in Iraq and the region. Sending advisors and ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (June 2014)

[A guard stands duty in a tower over Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Image by Joseph Scozzari.]

 [This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions, and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to (click "Submissions" on the main page for more information).] Quick Thoughts: Lisa Hajjar on ...

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Details and Statements On Federal Court Dismissing All Charges Against Sami Al-Arian

[The following statement was issued by Sami Al-Arian's attorney, Jonathan Turley, on 27 June 2014. Below it is a short statement by Al-Arian's family that was included at the end of Turley's statement.] Statemeny by Jonathan Turley It is with a great sense of relief and thankfulness that I can now report that all charges have been dropped against my client Dr. Sami Al-Arian. Minutes ago, United States District Judge Anthony J. Trenga signed the order dismissing the indictment against Dr. Al-Arian. The case was before Judge Leonie M. Brinkema, but it was Judge Trenga who signed the order on Friday afternoon. I have represented Dr. Al-Arian for roughly eight years as we ...

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NPR Interviews Jadaliyya Co-Editor Elliott Colla on ISIS and the Media

[Screenshot from Al-Iraqiya television channel showing and interview with an Iraqi Army officer and the bust of Grand Ayatollah Sistani imploring Iraqis to defend the country]

In this interview with NPR's Brooke Gladstone, Jadaliyya Co-Editor Elliott Colla discusses his essay "Watching ISIS on TV." Colla does a reading from his essay in which he describes his Iraqi in-laws reflecting on their country's frenzied televisions channels' coverage of the conflict. In the second part of the show, Colla offers his commentary about the deregulation of Iraq's media after the US invasion, the fragmentation and polarization of the public, and the entrenchment of sectarianism. 

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Representing Hamas (Part 2)

[Cover of Shlomi Eldar, Lehakir et Hamas (“To Know Hamas

Shlomi Eldar, Lehakir et Hamas [“To Know Hamas”]. Jerusalem: Keter, 2012.  [Part one of this review can be found here.] The Military Complex  Eldar structures his narrative around character profiles of Palestinian activists, mainly Hamas leaders, their assassination by Israel, and the broader Israeli military operations. In order to recount the killing of Ahmed Yassin, the founder and leader of the movement, for example, Eldar has researched the decision-making process leading up to it and the real-time execution of the attack. Through this narrative, we learn that as the Israeli leadership was deciding to assassinate Yassin, it worried that it would set off ...

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Quick Thoughts: Salah Mohsen on 'Price-Tag' Attacks Against Palestinians

[A Palestinian woman and children pass the slogan

[In recent months there has been a noticeable spike in vandalism and violence by Jewish settlers in the occupied territories, extending to Palestinian communities within Israel as well. Jadaliyya asked Salah Mohsen of the human rights organization Adalah to help explain the phenomenon of “price-tag” attacks:]   Jadaliyya (J): What are "price-tag" attacks and how do they differ from other forms of settler violence? Salah Mohsen (SM): “Price-tag” is a polite term for racist terror attacks against Palestinians, committed mainly by Jewish settlers, against Palestinian civilians in the occupied territories, their property, and also Muslim ...

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Iraq: Falluja's Faustian Bargain

[Logo of International Crisis Group. Image from]

[The following report was published by the International Crisis Group on 28 April 2014] Executive Summary As the campaign for Iraq’s 30 April parliamentary elections heated up, so too did Falluja. The situation there has taken a dramatic turn for the worse since late 2013 when the army, after a long absence, returned in response to protests around Anbar province. With the troops on the outskirts, the jihadi ISIL within and the city’s self-appointed military council trying to walk a fine line between the two, Falluja seems poised to repeat the battles of 2004, when it experienced some of the most intense fighting of the U.S. occupation. The potential for miscalculation, ...

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Let's Go to Guantanamo! An On-the-Ground Perspective on the 9/11 Trial

[Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay as drawn from life. Sketch by Molly Crabapple]

In this talk, I focus on the military commission trial for Khaled Sheikh Muhammad and four other men accused of responsibility for the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, a case often referred to as "the trial of the century." The presentation offers a first-hand perspective on what it is like to go to Guantanamo, and an analysis of the critical and contentious issues that this case raises. The government is striving to pursue accountability for the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, but justice is complicated by the fact that all five defendants were held for years in secret prisons and tortured by the CIA, and everything surrounding this case is shrouded ...

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Teaching Arabic in the US after 9/11

[I Want You, image from Chicago Sun-Times]

On 9 May 2013 I was stabbed in front of the US Embassy in Cairo. My attacker was a young college-educated Egyptian man who had come from his village that day to kill an American in “revenge over U.S. policies in the Middle East.” At the time, I was living in Egypt and conducting research as part of my sabbatical from Hunter College of the City University of New York where I teach Arabic. The day I was stabbed, I had come to the Embassy looking to have a translation of my marriage certificate authenticated so that my wife’s Egyptian residency permit might be renewed. After the attack, a few Egyptian journalist friends wrote about the event, partly to rectify some ...

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Lebanese Lawyers and the State: Dispute, Collusion, Cooperation?

[Ifpo Logo.]

Institut français du Proche-Orient المعهد الفرنسي للشرق الأدنى Department of Contemporary Studies Conference Series: "Lebanon, what State for what Citizenship(s)?" “Lebanese Lawyers and the State: Dispute, Collusion, Cooperation?”  Thursday, April 3, 2014, 6 – 8 pm  Institut Francais du Proche-Orient (Ifpo) – Conference Room - (Building G), Damascus Road, Beirut With the participation of:  Melhem Khalaf, lawyer, member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Ghida Frangieh, lawyer, member of the NGO The Legal Agenda Samer Ghamroun, Doctoral Candidate at the Institute for Social ...

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Who Are the Insurgents and Counterinsurgents?

We should not be surprised that the United States will not condemn Israel’s violence, or that it describes such activities as merely a defensive response to indigenous “terrorism” and insurgent forces. Below, I describe how early US history and the nation’s construction of its own political legitimacy compel this stance. As in Israel now, in America, the nation’s origins in colonization by settlement has been suppressed. Further, this suppression has been achieved by displacing the recognition of how ...

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The Informants: Manufacturing Terror

On the surface, the scene unfolds without any hint of intrigue. A young Muslim convert named Darren Griffin meets fellow congregants at a local mosque in northwest Ohio. In addition to sharing the same faith as his new friends, they enjoy similar interests: watching sports, playing video games, working out at the local gym, and discussing international affairs. Except the scene ends tragically with a string of arrests, a national media frenzy, and self-congratulation among federal officials claiming to ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 15)

[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 Saudi Arabia: Sandwiched by jihadists in Iraq and Yemen Frank Gardner examines the challenges posed to Saudi Arabia by the ...

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ليلة سقوط نينوى: احتجاز راوي الحكومة

كما لو أن الملائكة والشياطين هبطوا في الوقت ذاته الى مدينة نينوى. لفّ سماء المدينة غموض مريب ليلة العاشر من حزيران / يونيو. سقطت المدينة بشكل دراماتيكي بيد مسلحي «الدولة الاسلامية في العراق والشام» («داعش») خلال ساعات محدودة، على الرغم من وجود حوالي 56 ألف عنصر أمن متوزّعين بين الجيش والشرطة والمخابرات، وكذلك وجود قائدين يعتبرهما نوري المالكي، رئيس مجلس الوزراء والقائد العام للقوات المسلحة، من الصقور الذين يعتمد عليهما في المهمّات الصعبة. كيف سقطت المدينة هكذا؟ من المسؤول؟ كيف ستستعاد؟ هل سيكون الحل ...

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ابحثوا عن السعودية

فيما يُستأَنَف قرعُ طبول الفتنة مجدداً على امتداد المشرق العربي، ثمة ما يلفت الى الدور السعودي في الفصل الجديد من محنة العراق. ولأن السعودية تجد نفسها اليوم معنيّة بصورة مباشرة بقلب المعادلات الجيوسياسية في المنطقة، فما توافر لديها من معطيات يجعلها طرفاً مستهدفاً في المرحلة المقبلة. ويمكن هنا رصد أهم المعطيات: أولاً: الخسائر المتعاقبة التي لحقت بالسعودية منذ إلغاء الضربة العسكرية الاميركية على سوريا في أيلول العام الماضي، الذي سجّل انتصاراً كبيراً لمصلحة المعسكر الآخر الممتد من ايران مروراً ...

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Quick Thoughts: Zainab Saleh on Iraq

[The recent upsurge in fighting in Iraq has placed that country in the headlines once again. Jadaliyya asked Iraq specialist Zainab Saleh to clarify the background and implications of recent developments]: Jadaliyya (J): Recent events in Iraq have been rather dramatic. What led to these developments? Zainab Saleh (ZS): The fall of Mosul and other Iraqi cities to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) needs to be understood against the combined background of the 2003 US invasion of ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (June 3)

[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 GCC foreign ministers to meet over Qatar agreement The foreign ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council are meeting in ...

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The Black Box of French History

Andrew Hussey, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs. London: Granta, 2014. In 2005, a series of disturbing events occurred in France. In February, the parliament attempted to pass a law to force schools to teach “the positive role of French presence overseas, especially in North Africa.” That same autumn, riots erupted in a number of suburbs northeast of Paris, gradually spreading to other French cities and provoking the government to declare a state of emergency that had ...

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Open Letter to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center

[On 12 May 2014, the Associated Press ran a wire story about a group letter regarding the September 11 Museum film, The Rise of al-Qaeda. The story was since featured in newspapers around the world. Below is the final version of the letter, which hilights the concerns with the film as well as the signatories.]   Via Electronic Mail President Joe Daniels and Director Alice Greenwald National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center 200 Liberty Street, 16th ...

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United States: Send Detainees Home to Yemen (Video)

[The following video was released by Human Rights Watch on 7 April 2014]

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The Terrorism Law in Bahrain: A Tool to Silence Dissidents

[The following report was published by the Bahrain Center for Human Rights 13 March 2014] The Terrorism Law in Bahrain: A Tool to Silence Dissidents Introduction In 2011, the grassroots movement that started in Bahrain demanding democracy, rights and freedoms was met with large scale brute violence by the government. Extreme measures were taken against pro-democracy protesters, and thousands were arrested, systematically tortured and given lengthy prison sentences. The government of Bahrain began to ...

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A Cycle of Insecurity in Egypt's North Sinai

Photos and text by Rob Stothard. Interviews by Rob Stothard and Max Strasser. Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, sandwiched between two old foes, is a territory of vital importance. Bordered by the Suez Canal to the west and Israel and the Gaza Strip to the east, North Sinai is home to a thriving smuggling trade and several notoriously rebellious Bedouin tribes. Since the popular uprising of January 2011 that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the security situation in North Sinai has deteriorated. A ...

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