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Yemen's War [Ongoing Post]

[Image from Wikipedia.]

[This is an ongoing post that will be updated regularly. It was first published on 6 December 2016. The updates appear at the bottom.] The conflict in Yemen seems set to intensify as 2016 draws to a close. The deposed president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi returned to Aden from exile in mid-November after his government was reestablished in the southern city. This move, alongside a renewed ground campaign and the continued aerial bombardment throughout northern Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, prompted Ansar Allah—the movement commonly known as the Houthis—and the faction of the General People’s Congress party loyal to Ali Abdullah Saleh, to establish ...

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Spies for Hire

[Photo by zodman via Flickr]

In July, Simone Margaritelli, an Italian security researcher, boarded a Boeing 777 in Rome headed for Dubai, a city now billing itself as a tech startup hub. He had a big job interview with a new, well-funded cybersecurity company called DarkMatter, whose self-described mission is to “safeguard the most complex organizations,” from government to the private sector, by preventing and fighting malicious cyberattacks and providing secure methods of communication — defensive cybersecurity, rather than offensive, which involves breaking into online systems and devices for espionage or destruction. A friend of a friend had recommended Margaritelli, who ...

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The Dubai Social Contract

Murals Seen in Dubai. Image by Eleonora Dobbles.

Dubai is a city-state with a modern economy built on top of a tribal society. Its particular mix of 21st century globalized business alongside traditions and social structures that date back to a time of nomadic tribes make it a particularly interesting case study to understand how a pre-modern society confronts and incorporates contemporary capitalism. To understand the social contract in a place like this, one must first understand the structure of the indigenous population. The Emiratis, making up around ten to twenty percent of the total population of the country, are part of tightly knit tribal families. These families gain their power through their connections to ...

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Call for Papers: Mobilities and Materialities of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula (Kuwait, 17-19 March 2017)

[Image from official call for papers of the Gulf Studies Symposium (GSS)]

The Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait will hold its third Gulf Studies Symposium (GSS) on 17-19 March 2017. The GSS is a meeting of worldwide Gulf scholars and researchers held biennially in Kuwait. Each symposium is based on a particular scholarly theme that is timely both to the region and to the field of Gulf studies. The theme of the 2017 GSS is "Mobilities and Materialities of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula." CALL FOR PAPERS The 2017 GSS will bring together international and regional scholars to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion on the movement of people into, out of, across, and within the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula in ...

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35 عاما على تشكيل مجلس التعاون الخليجي

[المصدر ويكيبيديا]

 في 25 أيار/ مايو الماضي مرّت الذكرى الخامسة والثلاثون لتأسيس مجلس التعاون الخليجي. احتفى الإعلام الرسمي، وإن في أطر ضيقة، بنشر مقالات وبثّ برامج أشادت بما "حققه العمل الخليجي المشترك من إنجازات في المجالات السياسية والأمنية والاقتصادية والتنموية". وبالمقابل، لم تثر المناسبة اهتمام مواطني بلدان المجلس، فهو تأسس بقرار سياسي اتخذه الحكام دون مشاركة عامة بأي شكل من الأشكال، واستمر طيلة السنوات الماضية شأناً خاصاً بالعوائل الحاكمة وحدها، فيه تَعقد اتفاقاتها وتَحِل خلافاتها وتُناقش أمورها المشتركة. وكما لم يتأسس مجلس التعاون بإرادة شعبية فهو لم يتحول طيلة الخمس وثلاثين سنة الماضية إلى مشروع شعبي ليس متاحاً حتى الآن للمواطنين مناقشة أموره أو التنسيق عبر ...

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New Texts Out Now: Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

[Cover of Kishwar Rizvi,

Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kishwar Rizvi (KR): The idea for this book emerged through my research travels in Europe and the Middle East, where I would encounter monumental mosques that looked historical in design but were built in the past thirty years. I wondered why a community of immigrant Turks in Germany, for example, chose to worship in a neo-Ottoman style mosque that appeared anachronistic and out of place (see Figure One); similarly, why were mosques in Dubai copying the Mamluk architecture of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Eckart Woertz, Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East

[Cover of Eckart Woertz,

Eckart Woertz, Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, paperback edition 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Eckart Woertz (EW): In 2007-08, at the height of the global food crisis, I was living in Dubai, working for the Gulf Research Center. Food price inflation became a hot topic, and in 2008 Gulf countries started to make all these announcements about agro-investments in food-insecure countries like Sudan and Pakistan. So it was an intriguing topic to deal with and it tied into other topics such as development issues, management of sovereign wealth fund assets, heavy reliance on ...

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Art Dubai: The Shifting Architectures and Expedient Geographies of the Art World

[Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah 2015, courtesy: The Studio, Dubai.]

Museums have historically acted to tether artworks and artifacts to territorial conceptions of place. Meanwhile, as conduits to the flow of artworks across borders according to the imperatives of a globalized market, international contemporary art fairs might seem to obey an opposite logic, operating as deterritorializing forces that uproot works of art from their native geographies. Yet assigning museums and art fairs neatly to different sides of a binary that pits rootedness against a world of unhomed objects and convergent cultures obscures a more complex and dynamic reality. If large brick and mortar institutions are restructuring to satisfy new economic ...

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Place as Provisional: Site-Specific Art Commissions in Sharjah

[Carey Young. Body Techniques (after Parallel Stress, Dennis Oppenheim, 1970), 2007.]

Two metaphors, both equally decrepit, are alternately deployed in discussions of “place” in the Gulf Arab states: on the one hand, the notion of a tabula rasa, and, on the other hand, an attachment to a codified narrative of historical and cultural sitedness. Rem Koolhaas exemplified the former stance in his pronouncement in 2007 that the topography along the Persian Gulf provides “the final tabula rasa on which new identities can be inscribed: palms, world maps, cultural capital, and financial centers.”[i] The latter attitude is conveyed by al-Manakh, the self-described inaugural guide to architecture and urbanism in the Gulf, which distinguishes Sharjah by its ...

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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 states based on sustainable development, a democratic political culture, and the integration between Gulf Countries.  The four key disorders may be summarized as ...

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AMCA Statement on Artistic Freedom in the United Arab Emirates

[Logo of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey]

[The following statement was issued by the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey on 29 May 2015] The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art in the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) condemns the entry ban UAE authorities have imposed on artists Walid Raad and Ashok Sukumaran and calls on UAE-based art institutions, including in particular the Guggenheim Museum, to convey their disapproval to UAE authorities and vocally dissociate themselves from the action. AMCA further calls on international arts organizations to condemn the complacency of art institutions that seek to benefit from the affluent Gulf region while condoning ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 12)

[The Obama administration is thought to have promised to provide the Gulf Arab states with a ballistic missile defense system to appease their fears of Iran’s nuclear deal. Image from US Missile Defense Agency.]

[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.] Crisis in Yemen Al-Qaida in Yemen says US drone killed man who claimed Charlie Hebdo attack A senior member of al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula dies in a US drone strikes. UPDATE 1-Senegal to send 2,100 troops to join Saudi-led alliance Senegal announces that it will send troops to Saudi Arabia. Gulf-trained fighters arrive ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 8)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup revolves around a number of issues dealing with freedom of expression, dictators on social media, and memes as a political vehicle. A newly published report entitled “140 Characters” claims that Arab gulf states are surveilling, imprisoning, and silencing activists for social media posts, citing testimony from Human Rights Watch that a number of journalists and activists have been tracked down using high-tech social media surveillance. Moreover, with 2 ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nelida Fuccaro, Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East

Nelida Fuccaro, ed. Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J) What made you write this book? Nelida Fuccaro (NF) This edited volume is the result of a long-standing collective effort. It arises form a conference held at SOAS in February 2013 which I organised with Rasmus Elling as part of an international collaborative project on urban violence in the modern Middle East. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Deutsch ...

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In the Eye of the Storm: Geopolitics and the Safe City

"I like it because it’s safe:" The Role of Fear and Security in Dubai’s Urban Attractiveness A beach is usually a place where people go to relax, get away from the hustle, and forget about their worries. You wouldn’t expect it to be a site of security, and yet inscribed onto the public restroom of an Abu Dhabi beach is an inconspicuous logo for Serco. The British company is probably also responsible for the security cameras that line the underpasses leading to that same beach, and is one of ...

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Study-Trip Report: Building Visions with Glass and Steel

The students of the Master Program "Governing the Large Metropolis" at the University of SciencesPo Paris have released Building Visions with Glass and Steel, an “instant-book” based on their notes and photographs after their fieldtrip to Dubai and Dhabi, last January 2016. This document appears in two versions: a printed book and a web site--both of them richly adorned with their photographs. It is now an integral part of Dubai’s mythology to be presented as a city which has “emerged” ...

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An A-Z of Arabic Propaganda: The British Government's Arabic-Language Output during WWII

Throughout the Second World War, Britain’s Ministry of Information (MOI) produced and disseminated a remarkable assortment of propaganda material in Arabic. The material that it produced was intended to counter pro-Axis sentiment in the Arab World and bolster support for Britain and its allies. This propaganda effort arose largely in response to the German and Italian Governments’ own large scale propaganda campaigns that, with some success (more so Germany than Italy), targeted the Middle East and North ...

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الفيلم الوثائقي تعز بين المطرقة والسندان

يوثق هذا الفليم الاستثنائي لصفاء الاحمد، والذي عرض على بي بي سي العربية بتاريخ ٢٢ شباط/ فبراير ٢٠١٦ رحلتها الشجاعة إلى مدينة تعز في اليمن. وتعيش هذه المدينة تحت الحصار منذ نيسان/ابريل ٢٠١٥، فرضته الميليشيا الحوثية، مما أدى الى نقص حاد في وصول الاغذية، المساعدات الطبية، والوقود، وزاد الأزمة الانسانية المتفاقمة في البلاد جراء الحصار المفروض من السعودية. ويحتاج أكثر من ثمانين بالمئة من السكان إلى مساعدات انسانية بينما تم تشريد مليونين ونصف يمني. أدى الصراع الجاري حول المدينة بين ...

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المجتمع المدني في الخليج العربي: الواقع والاحتمالات. مقابلة للوضع بين انور الرشيد وفاتح عزام

نقاش حول واقع وانشطة وتاريخ حركات المجتمع المدني في منطقة الخليج العربي. أنور الرشيد رئيس منتدى المجتمع المدني الخليجي منذ 2007. يعمل أيضاً كصحفي ومحلل سياسي، وعضو جمعية الصحفيين الكويتيين، وهو مراقب دولي للانتخابات في المنطقة وكان نائب رئيس مجلس مديري شبكة انتخابات العالم العربي. وهو عضو في منظمة حقوق الإنسان الكويتية، ونسّق عدة “مؤتمرات ظل” للمجتمع المدني بالتوازي مع مؤتمرات قادة مجلس التعاون الخليجي  

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (October 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 Objections Halt U.N. Inquiry of Yemen War Nick Cumming-Bruce reports on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to halt a UN ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (July 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 Relations Are Arab Oil Monarchies divided over Iran Deal? Juan Cole examines the Gulf states’ divided position over the nuclear deal ...

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Discussion: Gulf Youth and the City (17 June 2015, AGSIW)

Gulf cities have followed similar paths of urbanization and architecture shaped by state planning and commercial development. While local differences exist, all reflect the demands of government and business, with little attention paid to civic requirements and public spaces. Recent events across the globe, from the Occupy movements to the 2011 Arab uprisings, have brought the role of cities in political life to the forefront. However, with few exceptions, Gulf cities are known more as glittering global ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (May 26)

[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 attack: Islamic State claims Shia mosque bombing The Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria claims the attack ...

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Sharjah Biennial 12: Nikhil Chopra's Use like Water

Use like water is a nine-day performance by Indian artist Nikhil Chopra. It starts as a journey he undertakes through the deserts and seaside areas of the UAE and Oman and culminates with a performance, re-presenting his travels to audiences in Sharjah during the biennial's opening week. Chopra explores the layers beneath the region's shiny veneer by focusing on nature and how relationships developed over the centuries. The performance's surprising ending is also meant to send a message as to how things ...

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