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Questioning Social Inequality and Difference in the Arab Region
Selected Presentations from ACSS Conference
Sandy Tolan on Music under Occupation
Interviewed by Malihe Razazan

United States Foreign Policy

Drone Warfare and the Superpower’s Dilemma (Part 2)

[Image source: The Economist]

This is Part 2 of a two-part article. To access Part 1, click here. Historically, the risks of soldier death and injury were ineluctable features of war, and served sometimes to limit or force an end to wars. Risks to soldiers’ lives were altered (but not eliminated) long before the appearance of drones through the development of increasingly long-range weapons. For Americans, the Vietnam War, at the time the longest overseas armed conflict, was a major turning point in terms of the politics of risk and sacrifice. For one thing, the war ended without victory; the phrase “Vietnam syndrome” became a popular way of describing the American public’s antipathy to the blood ...

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Leila Sansour’s Open Bethlehem: Making Palestine Legible and Bethlehem Accessible

[Leila Sansour/Open Bethlehem]

Open Bethlehem. Directed by Leila Sansour. Palestine, 2014 Towards the end of her new documentary Open Bethlehem (Palestine, 2014), filmmaker Leila Sansour discusses her aim to make Palestine “more important and palatable” to the White House and to US citizens. She stands outside the gated capitol of the United States, knowing that the future of her hometown of Bethlehem is directly connected with policies that are in some ways more significantly determined, not in Ramallah, but in Washington. Sansour’s ambition extends a long lineage of Palestinian documentaries that have appealed for broad international support since the Nakba of 1948. Establishing a place for ...

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Israel’s Defeat on the Iran Deal

[Image from]

Since the Iran nuclear agreement was signed on 14 July, Israel has consistently defined it as an existential threat. Demonstrating once again that Israel simply lacks the military capability to eliminate this alleged peril, the Netanyahu government has instead sought to scuttle the accord – since adopted by the United Nations Security Council – by invalidating the American signature on it. In what is perhaps the most intensive and divisive campaign ever undertaken by Israel on US soil, unregistered foreign agent the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Israel’s Congressional allies have spared no effort – including accusations of appeasement and ...

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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 and Barrack Obama, gave televised addresses hailing the agreement that crowned almost two years of intensive negotiations, primarily in Austria, Oman and Switzerland. As ...

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

[Cover of Keith P. Feldman,

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 proliferation of popular, political, and official state-authorized discourse in the US about this “special relationship.” Israel and Palestine matter intimately ...

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Call for Papers: Fragments of Empire after the American Century (Beirut, 13-16 January 2016)

CASAR’s 6th International Conference: Fragments of Empire after the American Century January 13-16, 2016 Beirut, Lebanon  Abstracts are due on 30 April 2015 The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research is now accepting abstract submission for its 6th international conference, titled “Fragments of Empire after the American Century,” which will be held at AUB next January.  The conference will provide a forum to focus on and debate the consequences and residues of imperial (and neo-imperial) presences across the Middle East, as well as the legacies of empire in the so-called metropoles or in ...

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Video: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad and US Ambassador Dennis Ross Debate US Policy in the Middle East

[The following video is of  the Lund Critical Debate Series event American Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Success or Failure, featuring Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad and US Ambassador Dennis Ross. The event took place at Cornell University on 3 March 2015 and was moderated by Aziz Rana.The specific theme was on US policy towards the Arab uprisings.]    Dennis Ross starts at 12:50 Bassam Haddad starts at 30:20    

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Open Letter: Racism, Militarism, Poverty: From Ferguson to Palestine

[Angela Davis speaking in Oakland, California on 3 November, 2013. Image by Daniel Arauz.]

[The following open letter was issued by the below signatories on 4 February, 2015.] We support and congratulate UC Santa Cruz on their selection of Angela Davis for UCSC’s 31st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Convocation The undersigned organizations write in support of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal for his office’s selection and sponsorship of the Black feminist theorist and activist Angela Davis, a luminary of our movements and our region, who delivered a speech on “Racism, Militarism, Poverty: From Ferguson to Palestine” at UCSC’s 31st annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Convocation. The event was attended by 1,000 people with 500 more ...

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Asli Bali on Iranian-US Nuclear Negotiations and What Republican Invite to Netanyahu Means


In the aftermath of Barak Obama's State of the Union Address, and his announcement that he will veto any congressional actions increasing sanctions on Iran, the Republican Party proceeded to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress, making the latter on par with Winston Churchill for the most ever appearances by a foreign dignitary before a joint session of Congress. On Sunday, 25 January 2015, Jadaliyya Turkey Page Co-Editor Aslı Bâli participated in KPKA's Middle East in Focus radio show. Below is her response to hosts Estee Chandler and Nagwa Ibrahim's questions concerning Iranian, US, and Israeli goals and ...

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

[A protest in Chicago, IL for drone strike victims, May 17, 2012. Image by Debra Sweet.]

[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).]   وما الداعي لمعارضة "قانون ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (28 December)

[Mahmoud Abbas speaks before the United Nations. Image by Peter Fedynsky.]

 [This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to by Monday night of every other week.] Palestine/Israel Why I Want Obama to Veto Abbas' UN Resolution on Palestine, Ali Abunimah Abunimah, writing for his blog on Electronic Intifada, critiques a UN resolution setting a deadline on a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. "Clock is Ticking" Till Next Round of Gaza Escalation, and War, ...

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Drone Warfare and the Superpower’s Dilemma (Part 1)

The United States has been in a continuous—or, at least, uninterrupted—state of armed conflict since 2001, and there is no end in sight. The strategies and technologies, as well as the locales of engagement and designated enemies of this “’global’ war on terror” have changed considerably over the past fourteen years. Nevertheless, the US government still relies on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed by Congress on 14 September 2001 (three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks), as ...

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إدوارد سعيد: الإنسانويّة، السورُ الأخير في وجه البربرية

كتبتُ، قبل تسعة أعوام، تذييلاً لـ الاستشراق: ركّزت فيه لا على السجالات العديدة التي أثارها الكتاب منذ صدوره عام 1978 فقط، بل أيضًا على حقيقة أن دراستي لتصورات «الشرق» تعرضت باضطراد لتفسيرات خاطئة. وما يدلّ على تقدمي في العمر أن ردة فعلي عليها بدت أقرب للسخرية منها للغضب. لقد تقبّلت بأسى وفاة اثنين من مرشديَّ ثقافيّاً وسياسيّاً وشخصيّاً هما: إقبال أحمد وإبراهيم أبو لغد، لكنني ازددت تصميمًا على المضيّ قُدماً. تصف سيرتي الذاتية( خارج المكان) العوالمَ الغريبة والمتناقضة التي ترعرعتُ فيها، وتعطي فكرةً عن ...

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IMEU Interview: The Iran Nuclear Agreement and the Question of Palestine

[In the following online interview conducted by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU), Jadaliyya Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani, Palestinian analyst Diana Buttu, and syndicated columnist Rami Khouri respond to questions about the implications of the Iran nuclear agreement for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While welcoming the agreement, they see little prospect of it having a positive impact on broader regional questions] Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU): From what we know about ...

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Foreign Policies Media Roundup (May-June)

[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials related to other countries' foreign policies toward the Middle East. It does not reflect the views of the Foreign Polices Roundup Editors of Jadaliyya. You may send recommendations for inclusion in the Foreign Policies Media Roundup to, mentioning "Foreign Policies Roundup" in the subject line.]   United States: White House Urges Patience on ISIS Fight (19 May 2015) Following ISIS’s ...

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In Response to Mubarak

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 ...

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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 ...

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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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Cornell University Event: Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad and US Ambassador Dennis Ross Debate US Policy in the Middle East (3 March)

  [VIDEO NOW AVAILABLE HERE]   Lund Critical Debate Series presents: American Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Success or Failure Ambassador Dennis Ross (William Davidson Distinguished Fellow and Counselor, Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Professor Bassam Haddad (Director, Middle East Studies Program and Associate Professor, School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, George Mason University) Moderated by Aziz Rana, Cornell Law School Associate ...

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New Texts Out Now: Elisabeth Anker, Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom

Elisabeth R. Anker, Orgies of Feeling: Melodrama and the Politics of Freedom. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Elisabeth Anker (EA): There are two answers to this question. The first is political: the idea for the book came out of anger at both the extensively violent response by the US to the 9/11 events, and the widespread support given to these operations by a vast majority of the US populace. I wondered why a narrative of good and evil mobilized ...

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Evolution and Debates about the Concept of Terrorism

The term “terrorism” has become a permanent fixture in US political vocabulary. However, as recently as the late 1970s this terminology was virtually absent from the rhetorical arsenal of US presidents. Today, people invoke the concept in ways that suggest its meaning is self-evident and consensual. In fact what is and is not described as “terroristic” in the American context is the result of a relatively recent and highly political process of meaning-making. In this process, specific voices and ...

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وما الداعي لمعارضة "قانون القوميّة"؟

إسرائيل أكثر عنصريةً من مجموع قوانينها، ومما تنصّ عليه هذه القوانين وأنظمة تطبيقها وممارستها. بل إن صيغ القوانين القائمة فيها تخفيف شكلي للجوهر وتبرير للسياسات المنبثقة عنه، فالقوانين فيها تجميل منمّق بمفردات ليبرالية للجوهر. وقانون القومية يكشف الجوهر بشكل جليّ. إن الحجّة المركزية التي أنطلق منها في ادعائي المذكور، هي أن القوانين كلّها، كما الدولة الرسمية، تتعامل مع أنها في حلِّ من سبق قيامها والإعلان الرسمي عنها ووثيقة استقلالها، وهي وثيقة إعلان المستعمر الصهيوني عن إنجاز مشروعه، ولا توجد وثيقة مرجعية ...

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Latin America’s Lesson for the United States: Prosecute the Torturers

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on torture has revived debate worldwide about the United States use of torture in the aftermath of 9/11. ­ Some have applauded the report—including organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which have pushed for a full accounting of the use of methods prohibited by US and international law, as well as accountability for those who made such methods official state policy. They also note ...

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