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New Texts Out Now: Ali Issa, Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq

[Cover of Ali Issa,

Ali Issa, Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq. Washington, DC: Tadween Books, 2015. [Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq is co-published with the War Resisters League.]   Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?  Ali Issa (AI): I wrote this book to remedy the glaring lack of awareness of progressive political work and dreams on the ground in Iraq now. This desire came about after I got the chance to be an interpreter for an Iraqi labor delegation that came to New York City in 2009 and only grew in 2011 when social media coverage of the Iraqi protest movement seemed so disconnected from popular and scholarly ...

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How To Not Know about the CIA’s Targeted Killing Program

[Drone during a storm. Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: jeditrilobite, david.evenson.]

The CIA operates armed drones to engage in targeted killing operations in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. That is known. But, to borrow from former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s iconic statement, is it a “known known” or a “known unknown”? Known knowns are things we know we know, whereas known unknowns are things we know we do not know. The third ingredient of Rumsfeld’s rhetorical mélange is the “unknown unknowns”—things we do not know we do not know. The CIA wishes its drone program was an unknown unknown. It strived for years to keep this public secret protected by offering “neither confirm nor deny” responses to journalists’ queries. This non-response is ...

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In Response to Mubarak

[President George W. Bush and Egyptian President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak address the media in Cross Hall at the White House March 5. Source: White House photo by Eric Draper.]

On 10 June the Youm7 website carried a summary of my book Democracy Prevention: The Politics of the U.S.-Egyptian Alliance (Cambridge University Press 2012), translated into Arabic under the title إجهاض الديمقراطية.. الحصاد المر للعلاقات المصرية الأمريكية فى أربعين  عاًما (Dar El Thaqafa El Jedida 2013).  The book draws on interviews with key decision makers and previously untapped written sources to argue that authoritarianism is a transnational phenomenon in which multiple governments participate. Since Washington resumed diplomatic ties with Cairo in the early 1970s, the United States has been a key partner and contributor in the use of repression ...

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Roundtable on Anti-Blackness and Black-Palestinian Solidarity

[Image by Marixa Namir Andrade.]

Moderated by Noura Erakat In the course of resilience against the merciless edge of state violence in the summer 2014, protestors in Ferguson held up signs declaring solidarity with the people of Palestine. In turn, Palestinians posted pictures on social media with instructions of how to treat the inhalation of tear gas. Organically, an analysis emerged highlighting similarities, but not sameness, of Black and Palestinian life, and more aptly, of their survival. But before the violent and tragic events of summer 2014 unfolded, a critique of anti-Black racism among Arab communities in the United States and the Arab world had emerged putting into question the “natural” ...

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Declassified 2012 Defense Intelligence Report on Syrian Uprising, Gulf Intervention, and Potential for al-Qa'ida Gains

The declassifed document below was obtained as part of a document trove secured by the right-wing institution, Judicial Watch. It obtained the report through a May 2014 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The Defense Intelligence Agency authored the report, which dates August 2012. It demonstrates that the Department of Defense was aware that Western powers, Gulf states, and Turkey were fully supporting the opposition. It also notes that if events unraveled, there was the possibility of what was then al-Qa'ida in Iraq (AQI) establishing a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. It further claims that, according to their intelligence, ...

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Saudi Arabia and the War of Legitimacy in Yemen

[A Yemeni child at Mazraq IDP camp in 2009, displaced from his home in Saada during

On 21 April 2015, the Saudi-led war coalition of Arab states announced that “Operation Decisive Storm,” the military campaign against Yemen that started on 25 March, had transitioned to a new, more peaceful phase, codenamed “Operation Restore Hope.” Shortly thereafter, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi delivered his first speech to the nation from exile in Saudi Arabia, repeating many of the same accusations against, and ultimatums to, the Houthis. The bombing resumed mere hours after the coalition’s announcement and, more than a week later, it shows no signs of slowing. It seems that little has changed except for the branding of the war.  But what this new ...

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Black Feminism Is: Reflections on the Black Feminist Think Tank Symposium

Introduction On 20-21 March 2015, hundreds gathered at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor to examine black feminism as an intellectual and political practice and to chart a way forward. As faculty, students, and activists from around the United States and beyond, we shared our frustrations with the isolation and invisibility (or, in some cases, notoriety) we have experienced as black women and women of color in higher education. Twenty years after the path-breaking conference “Black Women in the Academy: Defending Our Name, 1894-1994” held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994, our situation and the position of our field of inquiry have not fundamentally ...

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Event--ISIS: Origins and Illusions (14 April, Princeton University)

Princeton Middle East Society invites you to a panel discussion: ISIS: Origins and Illusions Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 4:30 p.m. Computer Science Building (Room 104) Princeton University, Princeton, NJ Co-sponsored by The Mamdouha S. Bobst center for Peace and Justice Distinguished Panelists Chris Hedges: Pultzer Prize winning journalist, former Middle East Beureau Chief for The New York Times  Eric Davis: Professor of Political Science and past director of the Middle East Studies Program at Rutgers University Bassam S. Haddad: Director of the Middle East Studies Program at George Mason University, and  co-founder of Jadaliyya E-zine ...

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Letter to the UAE Minister of the Interior Concerning Denial of Entry to the UAE of NYU Professor Andrew Ross

[The following letter was issued by the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association on 25 March 2015] His Excellency Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan Minister of the Interior, United Arab Emirates via fax 971-2-4022762 and 971-2-4415780 His Excellency Yussef Al Otaiba Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United States 202-243-2432  Dr. John Sexton President of New York University john.sexton@nyu.edu Dr. Al Bloom Vice-Chancellor of NYU-Abu Dhabi nyuad@nyu.edu Your Excellencies Minister Al Nahyan and Ambassador Al Otaiba, President Sexton, Vice-Chancellor Bloom:  I write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic ...

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After the Elections: Solidarities Old and New

[Poster created by the the Palestine Solidarity Committee of South Africa. Image via Wikimedia Commons.]

It is no exaggeration to say that some of the most positive assessments of the recent election results in Israel have come from within the Palestine solidarity movement. “Positive” is, of course, not quite the right word, since no one serious about justice in Palestine would suggest that there is any bright side to the fact that Israeli voters rewarded Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party for a campaign that was deeply, viciously, and explicitly racist even by the degraded standards of contemporary Israeli political discourse. That said, there has been a strong sense that Netanyahu’s victory represents a clarifying moment, especially for those viewing the results from ...

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Symposium: The Fourth Amendment in the Digital Age (Washington DC, 3 April)

Friday, April 3 | 8:30 am - 4:00 pm | Reception to Follow American University Washington College of Law 4801 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20016 | Room 603 Scholars, policy experts, and practitioners will convene to have an open discussion about how digital searches, government surveillance programs and new technologies are impacting Fourth Amendment protections in criminal cases. The event will also be recorded and live streamed. Please rsvp if you plan to attend or watch online.  8:30-9:00 REGISTRATION AND BREAKFAST 9:00–9:20 INTRODUCTION 9:20-11:00 PANEL 1: New Developments in Surveillance Technology: How the Government Collects, Searches, Stores, ...

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Reading Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary

[The entrance to Camp 1 in Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem.]

“You are holding me because your country is strong enough to be unjust.” Guantánamo Diary, written by Mohamedou Ould Slahi,[i] depicts the continuing incarceration of this Mauritanian national in the military detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The book tracks Ould Slahi’s multiple interrogations on three continents, his secret rendition to Jordan and then removal to Afghanistan, torture, degradation and isolation in Guantánamo, and his ongoing struggle to have his day in court. This is not a feel-good book, although it is, perhaps paradoxically, optimistic. It is also a triumphant book: There is a triumph in the fact that Ould Slahi’s ...

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Quick Thoughts: Ali Vaez on The Iranian Nuclear Agreement

[On 14 July 2015 in the Austrian capital Vienna, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif jointly announced the conclusion of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action between Iran, the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and United States), Germany and the European Union (EU). Later that same day the presidents of Iran and the US, Hassan Rouhani ...

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New Texts Out Now: Wolfgang Kaleck, Double Standards: International Criminal Law and the West

Wolfgang Kaleck, Double Standards: International Criminal Law and the West. Berlin: Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Wolfgang Kaleck (WK): To be frank, I wrote this book out of anger. The promise of international criminal law is universal justice that can contribute to overcoming international crimes and healing the traumata of individuals and of societies. The project of international criminal justice has, however, not been living up to its own claims and is ...

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The Art of Posing

Zones of Contention: After The Green Line. 8 February – 3 May 2015. The Bob & Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. In March 2015, I delivered an invited “Point of View Talk” at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Weatherspoon Art Museum on Zones of Contention: After the Green Line, an exhibit of works by Palestinian and Israeli artists, including a piece by Belgian Francis Alÿs, from which the exhibit draws its title. The ...

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New Texts Out Now: Keith P. Feldman, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America

Keith P. Feldman, A Shadow over Palestine: The Imperial Life of Race in America. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Keith P. Feldman (KF): Edward Said once quipped that in the United States, Israel and Palestine are in so many ways “local, not foreign policy, matters.” I began research for this book in order to understand how this came to be so. Of course, in a certain sense, the answer to such a question is overdetermined by the ...

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Librarians and Archivists with Palestine: 2015 Delegation Report and Solidarity Statement

 [The following was published by Librarians and Archivists with Palestine on 8 May 2015.] May 2015 In April 2015, nine librarians from four countries traveled to Palestine for an in-depth trip to follow up on the work of our 2013 delegation. In 2013, sixteen librarians had met with representatives from academic libraries, cultural centers, community education spaces, family libraries, museums, media centers, special collections, and more. From that delegation, the Librarians and ...

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New Texts Out Now: Vijay Prashad, Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation

Vijay Prashad, editor, Letters to Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. London and New York: Verso, 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you put together this collection? Vijay Prashad (VP): Slowly, surely, the apparent consensus around US support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine seems to be breaking. There was a time when it was impossible to have a rational conversation about Israeli policy in the US, with large sections of people taking the view that criticism of Israel was off-limits. My ...

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Turkey Media Roundup (April 14)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Turkey and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Turkey Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to turkey@jadaliyya.com by Sunday night of every week.] English Hostage Crisis A Murder and Primitive Opposition Commenting on the hostage crisis on 31 March that ended with the murder of the prosecutor and two protesters, Etyen ...

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The Business of Backlash: The Attack on the Palestinian Movement and Other Movements for Justice

[The following report, the executive summary of which is excerpted here. was issued by the International Jewish anti-Zionist Network. The full report may be read here.] Introduction In the United States, criticism of Israel is increasing and support for the Palestinian movement for justice is growing. From the growing number of divestment resolutions by student bodies and academic associations across the U.S., to successful community campaigns to boycott or de-shelve Israeli ...

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Reclaiming Academic Freedom: A STATUS/الوضع Special Segment

In this gripping special segment, host Tareq Radi speaks to Judith Tucker, Ilana Feldman, Nashiha Alam, Lisa Rofel, and Nadia Abu El Haj, who illuminate the challenges of passing academic boycott, as well as the evolution of the tactics of repression affecting both students and faculty. The segment is a culmination of five comprehensive interviews bringing together the narratives of professors and students directly engaged in issues surrounding political speech in academia. The special segment below ...

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Five Decades of Painting and Innovation: An Interview with Samia Halaby

Last month, Samia Halaby’s retrospective, Five Decades of Painting and Innovation, traveled to Lebanon. Organized by Ayyam Gallery, the retrospective was held at the Beirut Exhibition Center, where it was shown from 2 to 26 February. For the Beirut installment, Halaby added nearly two dozen rarely seen drawings and several more paintings, significantly expanding the original list of included works. Lebanon’s Agenda Culturel interviewed Halaby about her artistic practice shortly before the show opened. ...

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What is the Role of Academia in Political Change?: The Case of BDS and Israeli Violations of International Law - from STATUS/الوضع Panels

In addition to a collection of rich individual interviews and special segments, Status also publishes panels and lectures with every issue of the audio journal. For Issue 2.1, we highlight the debate on academic freedom at the December 2014 meeting of the American Anthropological Association, and provide an exclusive audio recording of the panel.  Leading up to the 2014 American Anthropological Association Meeting, over 1,000 anthropologists signed a boycott pledge to protest ...

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Open Letter Urging ‘Docunight’ to Cancel its Participation in Festival Sponsored by Israeli Government

What has quickly brought together a diversity of individuals—including a former Iranian political prisoner, a celebrated Palestinian filmmaker, important public intellectuals, and various professors, activists, students, artists, poets, writers, and cultural programmers? What has brought them together is their commitment to support the growing Palestinian civil-society call for cultural boycott, which is one element in the Palestinian call for  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). This BDS ...

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