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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

New Texts Out Now: Sami Hermez, War is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon

Sami Hermez, War is Coming: Between Past and Future Violence in Lebanon. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Sami Hermez (SH): I wrote this book because I felt there was a ...

[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 ...


Omar Suleiman, the CIA's Man in Cairo and Egypt's Torturer-in-Chief

[Omar Suleiman speaking to world leaders. Image from LIFE]

On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was annointed vice president by the tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in a (futile?) attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain  his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favored by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism and willingness to talk and act tough about Iran, and he has been the CIA’s main man in Cairo. Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among “Iran nexters” in Washington, not to mention among other ...

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Dead-Enders on the Potomac

[Weighing the

Every US administration has its mouthpiece in Washington’s think tank world, its courtier that will slavishly praise its every utterance. For the blessedly bygone Bush administration, that echo chamber was the American Enterprise Institute and the neo-conservative broadsheets in its orbit. For the Obama administration, it is the National Security Network, an operation founded in 2006 to bring “strategic focus to the progressive national security community.” With one US-backed Arab despot dislodged and dodging Interpol, and another facing an intifada of historic proportions, many eyes looked to Washington, hopeful that President Barack Obama might reprise his ballyhooed ...

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Why Mubarak Won't Go

[Image source: unknown]

After a long day full of (pleasant) surprises and marked gains by Egyptian protesters, President Hosni Mubarak shocked observers with a speech that made little sense from the perspective of many audiences who are watching the situation carefully in Egypt. In what should have been a farewell speech by the 82-year old Egyptian president, Mubarak announced that he will appoint a new government that will respond to the demands of the protesters, except for the most important one: Putting an end to 30 years of Mubarak’s rule. The speech, full of expressions that signal Mubarak’s desire to continue his ‘mission’ as president (e.g. “I will continue…”), fell well short of ...

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“Our Assessment Is That the Egyptian Government Is Stable”: Thinking of Cairo from New York (Updated)

Tahrir Square, Cairo [BBC]

As Jadaliyya's Tough Niece reminds us (My Mother and My Neighbor's Dog on the Tunisian Revolution and Its Aftermath), there has been a lot of fairly uninformed stuff written in the blogosphere about Tunisia and its aftermath, rhapsodies about the revolutionary role of social media and overconfident assessments about what will happen next. I hesitate to contribute to this outpouring. And yet I find it impossible not to write something about Cairo, something for Cairo, just before the breaking of dawn on a day that promises to bring the biggest wave of protest so far. Seeing photos of the thousands upon thousands of people rallying in Midan Tahrir, reading accounts ...

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Tunisia's Glorious Revolution and its Implications

[Image from unknown archive]

Last December 17th disturbances erupted in Tunisia after Mohamed Bouazizi, a young unemployed high school graduate who was condemned to sell fruits and vegetables on a street stall for a living, immolated himself in protest after authorities had beaten him and impeded him from exercising his unlicensed activity. His act crystallized and incarnated the Tunisians’ feelings of humiliation and lack of justice to which they had been subjected by one of the most brutal Arab authoritarian regimes that strived on infamous corruption and nepotism. A spontaneous nationwide uprising ensued, resulting in the downfall of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali who was serving his ...

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The Other Coup?

[Flag of Lebanon]

Lebanon has not had a government since January 12th , when ministers allied to the March 8 opposition movement withdrew from Cabinet, precipitating the collapse of the Sa`ad al Hariri led majority government. For months prior to the collapse of the Hariri-led government, the cabinet had been at a stalemate and had not been performing its constitutionally defined duties towards Lebanese citizens. The reason for that stalemate was the inability of the majority and the opposition to come to an agreement over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon which received its mandate from the United Nations Security Council in 2007 and is housed at the International Court at the Hague. This ...

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The Tunisian Revolution: Initial Reflections [Part 2]

[Image from unknown archive]

[This is the second and last installment. See Part 1 here]  The revolution in Tunisia was a response to a sense of closed possibilities. Nowhere do we see any identifiable “structure of opportunities” that could have made it possible. Everywhere we see the opposite—absence of any opportunities whatsoever. The pre-revolutionary climate displays a scene of extreme desperation and exasperation. And it is precisely that scene that was so poignantly allegorized in the protest-suicide of a young man after the police took away from him the last meager resource he had for leading a decent life. Revolution here is triggered in a closed political cosmos. Obviously, regime’s ...

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It’s Not The Morality Police, Stupid

[Al Hai'a Headquarters in Mecca: Image From occident.blogspot.com]

It is becoming increasingly more common to blame Saudi Arabia’s social, economic, and political ills solely on Wahabiyya and its official enforcers, the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, also known as al hai’a, al mutawa’a, or simply the morality police. In Washington D.C., London, Beirut, Damascus, or Riyadh, we learn that Saudi Arabia is stuck in the Dark Ages because of the conservatism and “backwardness” of Wahabiyya. That is, until king Abdullah assumed the throne in 2005. Since, we have heard more and more about this man’s struggle against the religious and conservative camps to eradicate the so-called stagnancy that has plagued ...

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Why, What, Where To, and How? Tunisia and Beyond

[Image from author's archive]

[Admittedly, I wrote this post before Bin Ali fled, and before the Tunisian protests escalated. It was kind of interrupted by the events on the ground and, so, not much due jubilation here. I added some references posthumously but kept its pre-government collapse spirit at the expense of dampening the mood: Where to? . . . even if dictatorships fall. Where to? Oh, I don’t provide an answer]   The problem is that once it happens [when a dominant form of oppression collapses], it might happen for the wrong reasons, but everyone will claim victory. Everyone will be a hero. And a new "team" will probably proceed to disempower the majority, except in softer ...

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Tunisia Unraveling: "I Got You" Was Two Decades Too Late Mr. Zein al-`Abideen

[Image from The Guardian]

Last night (Thursday, January 13th) Zein al-`Abideen Bin `Ali addressed the Tunisian people and said: انا فهمتكم, “I got you,” or more literally, “I understood you.” I started writing this post while watching his address, and titled it “Too Late.” But I did not imagine what would transpire directly after the speech, at least not the speed in which it took place. Watching the brutal Tunisian regime unravel at 9:30 pm (2:30 pm, Washington DC time) from the Syrian capital, Damascus, is surreal to say the least. As most readers know by now, after nearly two weeks of social protest in which more than 66 protesters were killed, the Tunisian regime began gradually to ...

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Islam in American Barrios & Prisons: Converts Reclaim Moorish Spain, Reject Church

[Image by SpearIt]

For those in the US typically designated as “Latino” or “Hispanic,” the historical legacy of Islam plays a role similar to that in the African-American context. As the term “Moor” was embraced by various African-American leaders to unite poor, disenfranchised blacks with the glory of Islam, the connection to Moorish Spain provides a powerful tool to re-imagine Latino identity. Converts learn that popular Latin American terms like ojala (“may God will”) derive from the Arabic allah and that their African ancestors used to chant “Allah, Allah, Allah,” which in Spain became “Ole, Ole, Ole.” Such connections offer evidence of Islam’s influence on Spanish pedigree, regardless ...

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Palestinian Refugees and the Peace Process: Caught between Israeli Xenophobia and Palestinian Political Expediency

[Image from zajel.org]

2011 will mark the 63rd year of the Palestinian refugee crisis. Driven out of their homes during the course of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinian refugees fled to neighboring Arab countries and territories where they expected to remain for only a short period until the end of military conflict and the restoration of calm that would facilitate their collective return. However, that “short period” has become an indefinite timetable as the newly established Israeli state defined itself as a Zionist one that necessitated a Jewish majority in order to maintain its Jewish character. In an effort to maintain its demographic majority, established initially by displacement ...

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Let's Not Forget About Tunisia

Now that world attention has irresistibly moved on to the next hotspot, Egypt, it is crucially important not to forget Tunisia. In the very same manner that revolutionary change in Tunisia has spread to Egypt and Yemen and, hopefully, will continue to travel to other parts of the Arab world, any setback in Tunisia may set in motion a reverse effect and may prove counterproductive in the long run. Failure is no less contagious than freedom. While our hearts and minds are with our brothers and sisters in ...

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Saudi Arabia's Silent Protests

Riyadh feels a little less stale since the Tunisian people toppled their dictator-president Zine El Abidine Bin Ali on 15 January 2011. In cafes, restaurants, and salons (majalis), friends and colleagues greet me with a smug smile, congratulations, and a ‘u’balna kulna (may we all be next). On my daily afternoon walks, I overhear Saudis of all ages and walks of life analyzing the events that led to the overthrow of the Tunisian regime. Everywhere I go, people are hypothesizing on whether the same could ...

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Egypt Now: Moving to the Next Level as Protests Continue (Updated)

[This post will be regularly updated: 7:10 am, San Francisco; 5:10 pm, Cairo]   Egypt is ablaze with protesters' passion, from north to east to south, with signs that the streets are no longer in the government's control, though the regime has not yet deployed the army fully, or, worse, the various special forces at its disposal.   At this point, Alexandria is nearly fully under the protesters' control with very few government officials/police (of any sort) in sight--upwards of 300,000 to ...

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Impromptu: A Word

We were told, time and again, that “revolution” and “the people” were obsolete terms, irrelevant in a post-revolutionary world, especially in the Arab world. This, after all, was a place where the burden of the past weighed so heavily and the cultural DNA somehow preconditioned those who carried it to feel more at home with tyrants and terror. Too many trees were killed theorizing about the region’s inhospitability to democracy. “Reform” was the most one could hope for. Revolution? No way! That was the ...

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Cartoons: Tunisia and Recent Events

Original cartoons for Jadaliyya by Khalil Bendib.    [Jadaliyya is inaugurating its cartoon and arts sections. We encourage the submission of cartoons and other art work. Email your material to post@jadaliyya.com]                     

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Protests and Economic Development in Jordan

For the second week in a row, a diverse array of Jordanians mobilized in the streets of Amman and other cities to protest economic conditions in Jordan. Similar to last week’s Jordanian Day of Anger, the recent protests were organized and followed through with despite government attempts to appease popular discontent in the days preceding the planned protests. Contrary to last week’s mobilizations which focused on rising prices, protesters this week were much more direct in decrying “policies that ...

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What Happens in Tunisia Stays in Tunisia

Hope is in the air—or so it seems. The overthrow of (now) former Tunisian President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali has created some guarded optimism among close observers of Arab politics inside and outside the region. The people of Tunisia have rid themselves of 23 years of Ben Ali’s rule, paving the way for an opportunity for meaningful political change in a region that once seemed so resistant to democratic development. The events in Tunisia also tempt us to ask whether what we are observing in Tunis is a ...

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The Tunisian Revolution: Initial Reflections [Part 1]

At the moment it is abundantly easy to sense everywhere in the Arab World elation at what appears to be one of greatest events in modern Arab history. A genuine popular revolution, spontaneous and apparently leaderless, yet sustained and remarkably determined, overthrew a system that by all accounts had been the most entrenched and secure in the whole region. The wider implications beyond Tunisia are hard to miss. Just as in the case of the Iranian revolution more than three decades ago, what is now ...

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Jordan's "Day of Anger"

On Friday, January 14th 2011, protests of varying sizes were held across Jordan as part of a call for a “Jordanian Day of Anger.”  While undoubtedly a response to the failed promise of economic reforms enacted in Jordan over the past twenty years, the call specified the series of government increases in the price of gasoline, diesel, and gas. Government control of these commodity prices are some of the last vestiges of the social safety guarantees offered by the Jordanian state in the face of ...

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Lebanese Ideology and Boutros Harb: Separate, But [ Kind of] Equal

For over a week now, the debate on a draft law proposed by Lebanese Minister of Labor and former presidential candidate Boutros Harb has been heating up. If passed by the Lebanese state, this law would make it illegal for a period of 15 years for Christians to sell land, apartments, houses or commercial property to Muslims, and vice versa. The draft law has won the support of the Maronite Patriarch, Samir Geagea, Amin Gemeyal, and Future party MP Ahmad Fatfat. Harb has stated that the law is meant to ...

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وحدة عداء المسافات الطويلة [The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner]

 يبدو أنه سيحقق وقتاً جيداً اليوم. الميل الأول انتهى. ٥ دقائق. يعدو ويعدو ويعدو. تنطلق أفكاره. يفكر أنه فعلاً محظوظ ليتم اختياره للمشاركة بالسباق. يفكر أن صحته تتحسن، ونفسيته تتحسن. يفكر أن هذا كله لن يعني شيئاً بعد بضعة أشهر. ينظر مرة أخرى إلى الساعة. حان وقت الغيار الثاني. الغيار الثاني صار أسهل. أصبح أكثر قدرة على السيطرة على جسده. في البداية كان يشعر أن جسده عدوه. أنه في معركة دائمة معه. أن جسده يخذله في أي فرصة تسنح له. أما الآن فجسده قطع خط الحصار وأصبح حليفه. كأنهما رفيقان في تنظيم، يتعاونان ...

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"ما خفي كان أعظم: عن "خائف إلى الأبد [Sayed Kashua - Forever Scared]

” إنني أخاف من السيارات، من الكلاب، من الأفاعي، أخاف من الطائرات، والمروحيات، من الدبابات والجنود. أخاف من العمليات الإرهابية. أخاف من اليهود، أخاف من العرب، واخاف أن يضعونا يوماً ما في مخيمات لللاجئين.“ (سيد قشوع، صحيفة هآرتس، 2002) بهذا الإقتباس يبدأ أول مشهد في الفيلم الوثائقي ”خائف إلى الأبد“ (2009) وهو من إخراج الإسرائيلية دوريت تسمباليست (العنوان بالانجليزية يختلف عن العنوان العبري للفيلم وهو ”خائف منذ الطفولة“) ومدته 50 دقيقة تقريباً ويعرض في الكثير من المهرجانات الأوربية هذ العام. يأخذنا الشريط ...

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