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إسرائيل الثقافة نوشيروان مصطفى: تاريخ مكتوب بدماء The Master Plans of Baghdad: Notes on GIS-Based Spatial History رسالة إلى كامو Media on Media Roundup
[Highway view of the National Archives building. Image by author]

Finding Your Way Around Tehran's Public Archives

Going to archives in Iran—the capital specifically—remains obscure to a great number of PhD students and researchers based outside of the country. Often, senior academics from whom students seek advice have not been to Iran’s archives for ...

[Image from Wikipedia.]

Yemen's War [Ongoing Post]

[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 ...

[نوشيروان مصطفى. الصورة من ويكيبيديا]

نوشيروان مصطفى: تاريخ مكتوب بدماء الضحايا

مات نوشيروان مصطفى (١٩٤٤-٢٠١٧) الذي كان نائباً للسكرتير العام للاتحاد الوطني الكردستاني، ومن ثم أسّس حركة التغيير «گوران». وبموته تطوى صفحة أخرى من صفحات الجريمة التي كتبت بدماء الضحايا، فكانت عرضة للتجاهل والنسيان!  موته يفضح دنس ...

[A Painting by the Iraqi Artist Ahmad al-Soudani]

When I Failed to Say Farewell to You…

It was winter and my Berlin nights were crowded with people yet full of loneliness. I don’t know what year it was. Maybe 2008. I was working as a journalist and producer for a German television station in Berlin.  My schedule used to ...

عن الإستثناء المغربي [On the Moroccan Exception]

[Morocco Protest. Image from]

  لقد كان لافتا للنظر وجود حملة شرسة استعملت فيها كل الوسائل المتاحة من إعلام تقليدي وإلكتروني وكذلك الإعلام الفتاك الجديد ألا وهو سلاح الاعلام الإجتماعي للدفاع عن فكرة واحدة ووحيدة وهي الإستثناء المغربي. إذ يجب الاعتراف باختلاف المغرب كبلد وجغرافيا وتنوع ثقافي وتاريخي عن بقية البلاد العربية فإنه في نفس الوقت من الضروري مساءلة هذا الإستثناء في بعديه السياسي والإجتماعي. من الضروري مساءلة هذا الإستثناء على ضوء العوامل التي أدت إلى انفجار الثورات في البلدان العربية الأخرى. فإذا بين لنا التحليل العلمي الدقيق  انتفاء هذه الأسباب من البيئة السياسية والإجتماعية المغربية، فإننا سنكون سعداء بالإتفاق مع مروجي فكرة الإستثناء المغربي وسيكون جحوداً بل وكفراً بالوطن وقيمه ...

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Iraq Too?

[An Iraqi waving the Iraqi Flag at Tahrir Square. Image from unknown archive]

Many cast doubts that the lung through which Tunisia breathed freedom could give birth to kindred lungs in Arab lands to the east or west. Even after Egypt shook the earth to dethrone its last Pharaoh, doubts were cast again as to the mobility of the phenomenon. Then came Libya, which is on the verge of casting away its dangerously delusional and brutal despot. Tunisia is everywhere. The spirit of the mythical bird, al-Bouazizi, hovers, together with those of other martyrs, in every Arab sky, from Bahrain to Morocco and from Oman to Amman. They said that the flood would not reach Iraq. Its complex history and disastrous past and present kept it at a significant ...

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Yemen's Popular Uprising in Photos

[Image from Yemen Times]

“Thanks, Tunisia!  Congratulations Egypt!  You are the trailblazers of freedom.” The day after Tunisia’s leader fled his country on January 14, a group of Yemeni students at Sanaa University and members of Women Journalists Without Chains, led by Tawakul Karman, marched toward the Tunisian Embassy to show their support for the Arab world’s first popular uprising in 2011.  In recent years, leaders of the Yemeni opposition coalition known as the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) organized street protests in Sanaa and elsewhere around the country. As the wave of revolts spread from Tunisia to Egypt and other countries in the region, the JMP quickly announced ...

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The Arabs in Africa


As Libyans rise up against the 41-year-old dictatorship of Muammar al-Qaddafi, one of the most striking claims of state violence has been the hiring of “African mercenaries” to crush the revolt. Like Hosni Mubarak’s “thugs” (or baltagiya in Arabic, terms that gained widespread currency almost instantly), the mercenaries represent the anti-populist face of violence, those who are willing to take to the streets not for reasons of personal conviction or national duty, but for compensation from the embattled regime. The mercenaries and the thugs provide a contrast to the nonviolent, impassioned politics of the protesters. One point further distinguishes Qaddafi’s ...

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Emergencies and Economics: Algeria and the Politics of Memory

[The crest of the UGTA (The General Union of Algerian Workers)]

On February 24th the Algerian government lifted the state of emergency that has been operative in Algeria for almost two decades. Undoubtedly, this was a response to the changing political tides in the Middle East, as well as popular unrest in Algeria itself. While localized riots have been a common occurrence in the country since 2005, the start of 2011 has witnessed a wave of simultaneous protests in Algeria. On January 8th, the regime announced it would temporarily cuts taxes on sugar and cooking oil in an attempt to quell the protests. But that was before the Jasmine Revolution. After watching events in Tunisia, and then Egypt, Algerians were emboldened, taking ...

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"The Responsibility to Protect": Notes on Libya, Sovereignty, and the UN Security Council

[The UN Security Council in session. Image from]

I am writing on 27 February 2011, when there are calls for the international community to intervene, if necessary with violence, into Libyan affairs. Most recently, and “in a distinct echo of the tactics they pursued to encourage US intervention in the Balkans and Iraq, a familiar clutch of neo-conservatives appealed Friday for the United States and NATO to "immediately" prepare military action to help bring down the regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.” Falling short of some expectations, and exceeding others, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution last night, on 26 February, imposing sanctions on Libya. “Considering that the widespread ...

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من يخاف من أحلام جعفر بناهي؟ [Who is Afraid of Jafar Panahi's Dreams?]

 [Jafar Panahi. Image from unknown archive]

 ست سنوات سجن وعدم مزاولة الإخراج لعشرين عاماً وعدم الاتصال بالصحفين هي بعض الأحكام الصادرة بحق المخرج الإيراني جعفر بناهي (ت. 1960) ومجموعة من زملاءه عن محكمة إيرانية في العشرين من ديسمبر الماضي. والتهمة المساقة هي تشويه صورة إيران والقيام بدعاية مغرضة ضد النظام. نظام يبدو أنه أفلس إلى هذه الدرجة فأصبح يخاف من أفلام بناهي التي تتناول بالدرجة الاولى قضايا إجتماعية. وكأن هذا النظام يريد أن يطلق رصاصة تغتال أحلام جعفر بناهي، الأحلام المستوحاة من الواقع، كما يقول في الرسالة التي وجهها إلى مهرجان البرليناله السينمائي (إنعقد بين  10-20 فبراير 2011). بدت إزابيلا روسوليني، رئيسة لجنة التحكيم الرئيسية في مهرجان هذا العام، تغالب دموعها وهي تقرأ رسالة المخرج الايراني ...

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الشعب هو الحل [The People are the Answer!]

[Image from unknown archive]

  لقد أدى سقوط النظام الديكتاتوري الذي بناه الرئيس التونسي السابق إلى حالة من النشوة في العالم العربي، ليس فقط لسقوط رئيس من أحسن تلاميذ الرأسمالية الدولية ومن أكثرهم شمولية واستبدادا ولكن أيضا لأن الشعب العربي وجد أخيرا المقولة السحرية التي ستحرره من الديكتاتورية ألا وهي:  "الشعب هو الحل". هذه النشوة، التي عاشها العالم العربي، قابلها موقف موحد وغريب في تناغمه بين الحكومات الغربية والأنظمة العربية. فإذا كانت الشعوب الغربية وخاصة المتعاطفين مع الحركات اليسارية مبتهجة بهذا الإنجاز فإن الأنظمة السياسية الغربية عموما عبرت عن نفاق واضح وتساوق لا مثيل له مع الجلاد في البداية ، ثم تنكرت له عندما أدركت أنه ساقط لا محالة. هذا النفاق الذي يأخذ شكل مواقف سياسية ...

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Libya's Significance

[Qaddafi. Image from FoxNews]

With the 42-year reign of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi coming to a seemingly inevitable end, it is worth reflecting on the significance and regional implications of his ouster. Perhaps most importantly, Qaddafi’s removal cannot but result in genuine regime change. Unlike Egypt or Tunisia, Libya does not possess autonomous state institutions or state-sponsored elites with the capacity to force out the leader in order to perpetuate their custodianship of the state. If Qaddafi falls – and absent foreign intervention – Libya’s power elite will either go down with him, or remain masters of institutions and networks that no longer exist, are shattered beyond repair or have lost ...

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Agency and Its Discontents: Between Al Saud's Paternalism and the Awakening of Saudi Youth


Public life has been calmer than usual in Saudi Arabia for the last month. Invigorated by the people’s revolutionary movements in Tunisia and Egypt and anxious about the increasing violence in Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, Saudis have been following the news obsessively, perhaps for the first time in a decade. Salon talk has also shifted to serious discussions of the less than ideal role the Saudi government has played in the historic regional developments we are witnessing today. Within these discussions, predictions of what will happen next in Saudi Arabia vary, but all agree that the future course of events rests on what King Abdullah will do upon his return. In this ...

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Let's Talk About Sect

[Image from]

"This was an affluent crowd, far different from the mostly low-income Shiites who took to the streets to demand a constitutional monarchy, an elected government and a representative Parliament. The air was scented with perfume, and people drove expensive cars," writes Michael Slackman of the New York Times, describing a pro-status quo government self-described "Unity" demonstration held in Bahrain on Monday. With repeated reference to Bahrain's sectarian divide in local and international media (some variation of the tagline "Bahrain has a 70% Shia population ruled by a Sunni ruling family" has rolled along the ticker of almost every ...

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Jadaliyya Interview with Ali Ahmida

[Image from unknown archive]

[Our first Interview is conducted by Jadaliyya Co-Editor, Noura Erakat] In this interview, Ali Ahmida (bio here) discusses how the recent civilian revolt began as a reformist movement and quickly transformed into a revolutionary one demanding regime change. Ahmida also places the opposition forces in their geo-political context in light of Libya's legacy of post-colonial state building. Ahmida concludes by exploring the three possible scenarios in the next phase of Libya's revolt. Please excuse the low quality audio at the outset of Ali Ahmida's comments. The interview is in three 8-minute parts below:    

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Paradoxes of Arab Refo-lutions

Serious concerns are expressed currently in Tunisia and Egypt about the sabotage of the defeated elites. Many in the revolutionary and pro-democracy circles speak of a creeping counter-revolution. This is not surprising. If revolutions are about intense struggle for a profound change, then any revolution should expect a counterrevolution of subtle or blatant forms. The French, Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and Nicaraguan revolutions all faced protracted civil or international wars. The question is not if ...

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And the Late Night Comedians Shall Lead Us

For those of you lucky readers who are able to access Al Jazeera or Al Arabiya on your televisions, you can stop reading now. This is for those of us, in the US, who either have to sleep with our laptops streaming the “real” news or who, for fear that our batteries may die, have to set our cell phone alarm clocks to wake up at 3:00 a.m. to watch reporting of a firefight in Benghazi or the de-powerification of another corrupt politician in (pick one) Palestine, Yemen, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain ...

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The Fabric of Democracy

When disturbed, they usually escape by running and rarely take to flight. (The Common Peacock) In Rogues, his 2003 volume on rogue states,[1] Jacques Derrida looked to Plato's Republic in order to assess the Grecian syntagma of democracy as ‘democracy to come.’ Passages from the Republic referring to ‘democratic man and his freedoms’ hold special relevance; Derrida used it to examine the rise of Islamism in Algeria but I would like to focus on the relationship between clothing, democracy ...

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Oil Supply Disruption Poses a Threat to Asian Economies

[Rana Khoury & Mary E. Stonaker co-authored this post] Why should Singapore – and Asia, more broadly – care about the astonishing upheavals rippling across the Middle East and northern Africa?  While seemingly far away, there is much at stake in this troubled region. The current turmoil should be a wake-up call for Asia to realize that what happens there has a growing impact on its economies and even on security issues. The Middle East is increasingly significant to the Singapore ...

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The Counter-Revolution

Many groups in Egypt are working for political change – progressive and regressive, transparent and dubious – and the stakes are high because the power of the Mubarak regime has not been relinquished in substance. While the army has benefitted most from the revolution—its image has been polished like no time in recent history and its most likely rival, Hosni Mubarak’s son Gamal, has been eliminated–it is by no means clear which direction the Higher Army Council is taking the country. What has become ...

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Algeria's Military Capabilities

The basic Algerian tripartite configuration of a national gendarmerie, the police, and the armed forces (army, navy, air force) mirrors in many ways its French counterparts. As with the French national Gendarmerie, the Algerian equivalent, made up of 150,000 people, serves as a paramilitary force charged with public safety and policing among the civilian population especially outside urban areas. Additional core tasks include counter-terrorism patrols and searches in the countryside as well as urban ...

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Bad Faith at the Book Festival

“Everywhere you look the boycott debate is in the news,” Joseph Dana notes in a recent article on his blog. The most prominent example involves British novelist Ian McEwan, who rejected calls to boycott the 2011 Jerusalem Book Festival after being awarded the Jerusalem Prize. Instead, McEwan, in his acceptance speech last week, offered some words of criticism for Israeli policies, including settlements and the siege of Gaza, while simultaneously paying tribute to “the precious tradition of a democracy of ...

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Exclusive Update from Benghazi: Inside Information on the Opposition Movement

This morning, I spoke to Mohammed Fannoush, an active dissident in Benghazi, who informed me that the liberated cities, in both the East and West, have come together and organized a committee which will serve as a collective organ from which they will continue to unwaveringly fight for the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. Fannoush has been put in charge of communication and urged me and other Arab-Americans to be active in clarifying the situation of the anti-Gaddafi movement in Libya as being nationalist, ...

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Map of Libya According to Qaddafi Imagi-Nation

[This cartoon was prepared after Qaddafi's third speech on February 25, in which he equated Libya with himself . . . ]

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Bahrain Then and Now: Reflections on the Future of the Arab Monarchies

Will Bahrain be the first Middle Eastern monarchy in recent times to collapse? The last one to bite the dust was Iran’s in 1979, following the demise of kingdoms in Libya (1969), North Yemen (1962), Tunisia (1956), Iraq (1958) and Egypt (1952). Like dominoes they seemed to be falling in that era, giving rise to the idea that monarchies were political dinosaurs. But later on, as the remaining monarchies survived, it appeared that the people were more prepared to confer legitimacy on kings than presidents. ...

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Anti-Authoritarian Revolution and Law Reform in Egypt: A Jadaliyya E-Roundtable

[Our first Roundtable is moderated by Jadaliyya Co-Editor Lisa Hajjar] Jadaliyya's Editorial Committee presents an electronic roundtable about the politics of revolution and law reform in post-Mubarak Egypt. The participants—Hussein Agrama, Asli Bali, Samera Esmeir and Tamir Moustafa—have contributed responses to a set of questions we posed to them. The information they provide and the differences of opinion and emphasis among them will, hopefully, stimulate further discussion and debate about these ...

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On International Intervention and the Dire Situation in Libya

Yesterday, the United Nations Security Council held a formal meeting in which they condemned the violence in Libya and threatened to hold violators of international law accountable. At the same time, the Arab League held an extraordinary session in which it suspended Libya’s membership. These measures, and others, come eight days into the Libyan people’s courage and persistence in the face of shoot-to-kill policies by police, military, and mercenary forces as well as the use of helicopter gunships, ...

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