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Regional Analysis

Full Circles: Hamas Goes to Cairo

Hamas supporters out on parade. Credit to openDemocracy on Creative Commons.

During the past week, a Hamas delegation paid an official visit to Egypt, which these days is news in and of itself. During its time in Cairo, the delegation also met with former Fatah warlord Muhammad Dahlan, which is even bigger news. The Hamas delegation was led by Yahya Sinwar. A leader of Hamas’s Martyr Izz-al-Din Qassam Brigades – who served more than twenty years in Israel’s prisons until released in a 2011 exchange – Sinwar was recently elected to lead the movement in the occupied Gaza Strip, its main power base. Soon thereafter, a further round of internal elections choosing a successor to Hamas Politburo chief Khalid Mashal produced former Palestinian ...

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Syria’s Rebels, Before and After Aleppo: A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Bassam Haddad and Aron Lund

In this conversation for STATUS/الوضع, host Bassam Haddad talks to Aron Lund about the state and status of Syria’s rebels, more than five months after the battle for Aleppo. Lund addresses the aftermath of the rebels defeat in east Aleppo in December 2016 and the significance of this loss for the opposition in general as well as the armed groups. Bassam also asks Lund to elaborate on what he thinks explains the pattern of mergers and factionalism among rebel groups over the years. The conversation ends with Lund addressing the manner in which he conducted research and what most surprised him along the way.  This conversation is divided into four parts. Select ...

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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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Creative Insurgency in the Arab World - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Marwan Kraidy

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Katty Alhayek speaks with Marwan Kraidy about his new book The Naked Blogger of Cairo, which tackles creative insurgency and the Arab uprisings. Marwan M. Kraidy is the Anthony Shadid Chair in Global Media, Politics and Culture, and Founding Director of the Project for Advanced Research in Global Communication (PARGC) at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, where he is also affiliated with the Middle East Center. An expert in global communication and a specialist in Arab media and politics, he also researches the relationship between culture and geopolitics, global media industries, theories of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Alex Lubin and Marwan M. Kraidy, eds., American Studies Encounters the Middle East

Alex Lubin and Marwan M. Kraidy, eds. American Studies Encounters the Middle East. Durham: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Alex Lubin and Marwan Kraidy (AL and MK): In 2011, just as the so-called “Arab Spring” was underway, the Center for American Studies and Research at the American University of Beirut hosted an international conference to explore historical and contemporary connections between the United States and the Middle East. The conversations at the conference ranged from historical analyses of the role of Muslim immigrants in the United States to the contemporary United States geopolitical ...

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Why Space Matters in the Arab Uprisings (and Beyond)

[1945 map of Beirut]

Many non-scholarly and scholarly accounts on the societies, culture, and political economy of the Middle East post-“Arab Uprisings/Spring” still deal with cities and regions as mere repositories of social, cultural, political, and economic action—despite the spatial turn that has informed social sciences and humanities for more than three decades ago now. Indeed, they often overlook the shaping roles of the built and natural environments in the production of events unraveling in cities and regions of the Middle East. We thus read about cities and regions as backgrounds and contexts for processes and practices, rather than environments that have determining impacts ...

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New Texts Out Now: Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad, eds. Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World

Karim Makdisi and Vijay Prashad, Land of Blue Helmets: The United Nations in the Arab World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Karim Makdisi (KM): This book was in the pipelines for a very long time! It began with my renewed interest in the politics of the UN following Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon and Israel’s various Gaza wars. Before that I had been working at the UN regional commission for West Asia (ESCWA), based in Beirut. I had an inside view of how the UN was trying to deal with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, George Bush’s threats to make the UN irrelevant, and most importantly then the ...

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رؤية

[مصدر الصورة اف ب]

1-- تجتاح الحرب،التي تقترب من نهاية عامها السادس، سورية من أقصاها الشرقي إلى أقصاها الغربي ومن شمالها إلى جنوبها. وهي لم تعمل على تفكيكها وحسب، بل أدت إلى تدمير الكثير من مدنها وقراها واحتلال مناطق عديدة منها من الطامعين من أطراف وجهات مختلفة. في آذار2011 بدأت في البلاد انتفاضة شعبية طمحت لتحقيق الحرية والكرامة والعدالة، وأعلنت عن تمسكها بوحدة سورية وإصرارها على وحدة شعبها. إن تدخل قوى إقليمية قريبة وبعيدة وقوى دولية ذات سطوة وقدرة كبيرتين، في هذا الصراع الداخلي، حوله من تحرك داخلي سلمي، وطني الطابع وسوري الأهداف، إلى حرب بين أطراف هذه القوى، ساحتها الأرض السورية وطعامها دم ولحم السوريين، وهدفها السيطرة على البلد ذي الأهمية الاستراتيجية من أجل هدف أكبر هو اقتسام ...

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New Report: UNDP's Arab Human Development Report 2016

The sixth Arab Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme is entitled “Youth and the Prospects for Human Development in a Changing Reality.” The report provides an evidence-based overview of youth challenges and opportunities since 2011. The report is organized in eight chapters: the first on youth and human development, the second on values, identities, and civic participation, the third on education and transition to work, the fourth on inclusion and women empowerment, the fifth on access to health services, the sixth on war and violent conflict, the seventh on exclusion, mobility and migration, and the eighth on youth empowerment. The full ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mostafa Minawi, The Ottoman Scramble for Africa: Empire and Diplomacy in the Sahara and the Hijaz

Mostafa Minawi, The Ottoman Scramble for Africa, Empire and Diplomacy in the Sahara and the Hijaz (Stanford University Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Mostafa Minawi (MM): I did not set out to write this book. I was not particularly interested in questions of diplomacy, international Law, or even empire. I was interested in the lived experiences and life worlds of Ottomans during a time of transition from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries. I started following one man who lived through this turbulent world, a Damascene Ottoman living in Istanbul by the name of Sadik al-Mouayad Azmzade. As I followed this man on his trips to ...

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Eastern Approaches

Why local tribal calculations will determine what happens outside Syria’s heartland. With much of the world’s attention on western Syria, especially the fighting in Aleppo, there has been less interest in eastern Syria, much of whose population is of Arab tribal background.   There is an increasing view that the Syrian regime and Russia feel that the conflict in Syria can be won militarily. Their focus for now is on the major western population centers stretching from Damascus to the Turkish border, and southwards to Jordan. However, for any victory to be complete the Assad regime will have to develop a strategy for eastern Syria as well.  Though ...

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Media On Media Roundup (July)

[This is a monthly roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on media and communication in the Middle East and North Africa and reflects a wide variety of opinions.] The month of July has seen a great deal of media-related discussion. News of the ​coup attempt in Turkey and its fallout, the release of ​Pokemon GO, ​celebrations of Ramadan and ​the Syrian civil war have all been topics of significant debate and deliberation throughout the month. This month's roundup features some compelling pieces with subjects ranging from an insightful discussion about the differences between Egyptian and Colombian comic ...

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Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council Crisis

It is tempting, and not entirely inaccurate, to dismiss the escalating crisis between Qatar and a number of its neighbors as a petulant princely playground spat. Extending this tempting logic, one could conclude that decisive victory by each of the protagonists would be the optimal outcome. Yet the dispute also reflects deeper dynamics in Arab and regional politics that are shaping the increasingly turbulent and violent realities of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Cooperation Council The Gulf ...

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What is Happening between Qatar and the GCC? A STATUS/الوضع Conversation between Bassam Haddad and Abdullah Al-Arian

In this conversation with Bassam Haddad, Abdullah Al-Arian discusses the roots of the confrontation between Qatar and several GCC states, and identifies some of the differences in their posture toward some of the various issues in the Arab region. He also explores the reasons behind the timing of the current escalation and the implications of this crisis for some of the region's conflicts.    Abdullah Al-Arian is an assistant professor of history at Georgetown ...

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Media on Media Roundup (May 17)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup covers several important stories affecting the Middle East and North African mediascape. A ransomware cyberattack named #WannaCry, which initially affected European institutions, is allegedly spreading to the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE named as the most vulnerable targets. As Iranian presidential elections near, conservative parties embrace social media platforms in their electoral campaigning and current President Rouhani looks to win a ...

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Media on Media Roundup (March 8)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup looks at several issues facing the MENA mediascape. The Iraqi army found Daesh’s media center hidden in an upscale Mosul neighborhood following their recapture of the city, where the group broadcast its Al-Bayan radio station. Facebook shut down the page of Palestinian Fatah organization after they posted a picture of former leader Arafat holding a rifle. In Iran, several news outlets reacted positively to Asghar Farhadi’s second Oscar win, whilst ...

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The ‘Arab Spring’ Never Happened (in English)

To investigate the trials and tribulations of the phrase “Arab Spring” for English-language audiences since 2010, it may be useful to start with a Google search—or, rather, a quick history of Google search results. If one looks at the top results for English-language searches using the term “Arab Spring” from 2010-2012, here is what you get:   A few things jump out, foremost among them the celebratory tone, accompanied by the desire to locate and attribute the credit for this “year of ...

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Media on Media Roundup (February 14)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup addresses several issues affecting the MENA mediascape. Iran marked the anniversary of the 1979 revolution this Friday, and the New York Times showcased some memorable posters from the procession, some of which thanked Americans who opposed the “Muslim ban.” According to Human Rights Watch representatives, Saudi Arabia intensified its attacks on journalists and activists in 2016. Also in Saudi Arabia, young women are taking to social media to report ...

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Beirut Conference: Rethinking Media Through the Middle East

Organized by the Media Studies Program at the American University of Beirut in collaboration with the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and AUB’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies--American University of Beirut on 12-13 January 2017. Within the field of media studies, Middle Eastern media is often treated as a domain of interest only to area specialists. If knowledge about Middle Eastern media usually serves only to supplement dominant frameworks and paradigms, we are interested in ...

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Status/الوضع Launched! A New Bilingual Audio Platform and Issue 3.2!

This holiday season, the Arab Studies Institute (ASI) is pleased to announce the official launch of its most ambitious project to date! Meet Status الوضغ Audio Magazine!! A bilingual Arabic and English audio site with interviews and programs about the region unrivaled in their depth and scope. This first “official” issue on our spanking new interactive and fully customizable website includes twenty interviews with forty-one guests on twenty-two topics! But first for the backstory! For a little over a ...

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واحات العولمة

"واحات العولمة"، عبارة ملائمة لوصف بعض المدن الخليجية، وتعني أنها مدن عائمة أومعلقة لا تربطها جسور بالهوامش العربيّة، ذلك أنّ الطفرة الحداثية في هذه المدن وُلدت ولادة قيصرية بسبب الثروة النفطية، وليست نابعة من سيطرة مستقلة على الثروات الطبيعية، من السياق أو المحيط وحركيّة الفعل الذاتي الإنتاجي لأبناء المجتمع عبر اندماج في المحيط العربيّ، بقدر ما هي نابعة من اندماج شرائح معيّنة من سكّان هذه "الواحات" في الاقتصاد العالمي، وحصولها على حصص كالسلطة وجزء من الثروة، ومن إصرارها على أن تكون ...

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The Debate Over Syria Has Reached a Dead End

[Arbic translation can be accessed here.] By now, those following the heart-wrenching news from Syria have been saturated with data, analysis, information, and misinformation on developments there since 2011. Many of us have adopted our disparate narratives. This is the case whether we have been observing Syria over the past two decades or whether we suddenly started paying attention in 2011. Unfortunately, in light of the contentious nature of received knowledge on the country, especially under the ...

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Engaging Books Series: Stanford University Press Selections on Knowledge Production

 ENGAGING BOOKS SERIES Stanford University Press Selections On Knowledge Production  This is a new series that features books by various publishers on a given theme, along with an excerpt from each volume. The first installment involves a selection from Stanford University Press on the theme of Knowledge Production. Other publishers’ books will follow on a monthly basis.      Table of Contents Field Notes: The Making of Middle East Studies in the United ...

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What is Trending on Social Media in the Middle East? - A STATUS/الوضع Quick Thoughts Program with Laila Shereen Sakr

This interview is a regular feature of the Quick Thoughts program on Status/الوضع. It offers insight into subjects that dominate online discussion in the Middle East. With every episode of the show, we will talk to Laila Shereen Sakr, who monitors, collects, and analyzes social media trends for R-Shief. In this episode, Laila draws our attention to interesting changes happening to online spaces including the dwindling of "bridge figures" who traverse the various online echo chambers, the ...

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