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Regional Analysis

Kurdish Blood for Arab Lands?: Prospects for Raqqa

[IRPGF fighters at Tabqa, June 2017]

The founding editor of KurdishQuestion.Com, a beloved British-Kurdish activist and filmmaker Mehmet Aksoy was killed by ISIS in Raqqa while he was shooting a documentary on the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ). Jadaliyya Turkey Page co-editor Ayça Çubukçu was at the Kurdish Community Center in London on September 27, 2017 where the Kurdish community and Kurdish solidarity activists came together to mourn the loss of this remarkable man. She spoke with Mehmet Aksoy’s fellow editors and friends. When asked what Jadaliyya could publish on Mehmet Aksoy and his politics, they suggested it would be best to publish his own ...

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Al Jazeera Targeted in the Gulf Crisis - A STATUS/الوضع Interview with Adel Iskandar

In this interview for STATUS/الوضع, host Malihe Razazan speaks with Adel Iskandar about the future of Al Jazeera following the ongoing confrontation between Qatar and several GCC states led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. With the situation continuing to be moving at a slow burn, it is far from certain what will happen next. Find out more in this Status/الوضع interview with Malihe Razazan. Adel Iskandar is an Assistant Professor of Global Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author, coauthor, and editor of several works including Egypt In Flux: Essays on an Unfinished Revolution (AUCP/OUP), Al-Jazeera: The Story of the ...

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Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council Crisis

[Logo of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)]

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 Cooperation Council (GCC), which is the locus of the present crisis, was established in 1981 by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates ...

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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 University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar and author of Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadat's Egypt (Oxford University Press, 2014). He is ...

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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 second four-year term, promising to target remaining US sanctions. According to Al Monitor, journalists in Gaza are facing an increased crackdown on their freedom of ...

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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 hard-line media saw his win as politically motivated by Trump’s “Muslim ban.” Also making headlines in Iran is former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s new Twitter account ...

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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 revolution,” as National Public Radio, hardly a hotbed of revolutionary desires, dubbed it. Was it Wikileaks that started things rolling? Should Facebook or Twitter get the ...

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Media on Media Roundup (February 14)

[Iranians take to the streets in memory of the 1979 Revolution; Photo by Abedin Taherkenareh/European Pressphoto Agency]

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 experiences of sexual harassment and abuse, using the hashtag #Break_Your_Silence_Speak_Up. Al-Monitor takes on Turkey’s television industry, analyzing whether digital ...

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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 thinking about the ways it can instead extend, qualify, or even explode them. "Rethinking Media Through the Middle East" aims to create an interdisciplinary ...

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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 year, we have been toiling away producing the beta version of Status—a quiet avalanche of media production that goes against the grain in every conceivable way! Some of ...

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واحات العولمة

[لوحة للفنان الليبي معتوق البوراوي]

"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 امتداداً للغرب، ولكن وفق منطق الاستثمار والربح، بعيداً عن التوزيع العادل للثروة، وتداول السلطة، والتنمية الاقتصادية الشاملة، بحيث تبدو المؤسسات والناطحات والبنوك وكلّ ما ...

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The Debate Over Syria Has Reached a Dead End

[A member of the Syrian Civil Defense, the White Helmets, runs in a rebel-held market district in Aleppo, Syria, October 12, 2016. Reuters / Abdalrhman Ismail]

[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 current conditions, such crystallization is invariably open to doubt or plausible counterargument.   Worse still, there has been increasing gravitation toward ...

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Call for Papers: Arab Studies Journal Special Issue

 Visualizing Change: Graphic Arts and Literature in the Contemporary Arab World Guest Editors: Eid Mohamed and Barkuzar Dubbati This special issue focuses on the rise of graphic literature and arts in the Arab world as a means of expression, representation, and political resistance against ideological hegemony. We are interested in scholarly works that examine the intersectionality of the literary and artistic production created before, during, and after the Arab uprisings and the ...

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Full Circles: Hamas Goes to Cairo

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, ...

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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 ...

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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 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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Why Space Matters in the Arab Uprisings (and Beyond)

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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