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Letter to the President of NYU Regarding UAE's Denial of Professors at its Abu Dhabi Campus

[This letter was originally posted to MESA on 2 October 2017.] Andrew D. Hamilton President, New York University Dear President Hamilton: We write on behalf of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) and its Committee on Academic Freedom to express our deep concern over the response of New York University to the decision of the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to deny visas to two NYU faculty members who had been invited to teach at NYU’s campus in Abu Dhabi. Your administration’s silence about the cases of these two faculty members, as well as about several other cases, constitutes a betrayal of the ...

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The Changing Face of Street Art in the MENA Region: Diminishing the Voice of the People?

[Ouzville in Progress. May 2017. Image by Camille Reynolds.]

Street art in all of its forms has long been associated with subversive goals and a compelling aesthetic. Created by individuals and communities who strived to push back against oppressive systems of power, contribute to civil and political discourses they were otherwise excluded from, and expand upon the boundaries of artistic expression, street art has always been a highly inclusive, accessible, and often effective method for those in a society to amplify their voice. Political actors across the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region in particular have used street art to articulate dissent and dissatisfaction with oppressive regimes. However, there are also those who ...

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Task Force on Population Movement Yemen Report (May 2017)

[International Organization for Migration. Image from]

[The following report summary was published by the International Organization for Migration on 14 May 2017. For the full report, click here.] The Task Force for Population Movement (TFPM), co-led by IOM and UNHCR is a Technical Working Group of the Yemen Protection Cluster. The TFPM implements an information management tool that gathers data on the status and location of displaced persons across Yemen. As of 01 April 2017, the TFPM has identified, 1,988,946 internally displaced persons (IDPs) (331,491 house- holds) who have been displaced due to conflict since March 2015, dispersed across 21 governorates. For the same period, the TFPM has identified 900,258 ...

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Instruments of Pain: Conflict and Famine in Yemen

[International Crisis Group logo. Image from]

[The following report was originally published on 13 April 2017 by the International Crisis Group. The full report can be found here.] War in denying Yemenis food to eat. This special briefing, the first of four examining the famine threats there and in South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia, urges the Saudi-led coalition not to assault Yemen's most important port, Hodeida, and both sides to immediately resolve deadlock over the Central Bank. I. Overview Yemenis are starving because of war. No natural disaster is responsible. No amount of humanitarian aid can solve the underlying problem. Without an immediate, significant course change, portions of the country, in the ...

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Media on Media Roundup (March 14)


This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup looks at several important dyanmics shaping the MENA region’s mediascape. In Palestine, Arabs took to the streets to protest Israeli legislation that aims to silence mosque loudspeakers. Several Syrian activists protested Jaysh al-Islam representing opposition groups and leading Geneva peace talks, given their increased clampdown on free speech in Ghouta. A Syrian teenager who was the victim of online bullying on Facebook sued the company. Accusing it of failing the to delete the defamatory posts, he nevertheless lost the case against the corporate giant. The Intercept carried out an investigation on a U.S. raid in the ...

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Arabian Peninsula Media Roundup (February 21)

[The city of Sa'ada in the Sa'ada Governorate has been heavily hit by airstrikes in the first four months of the escalation of conflict in Yemen. Credit: OCHA / Philippe Kropf via Flickr]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the Arabian Peninsula and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Arabian Peninsula Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each week's roundup to by Monday night of every week.] Regional and International Relations Somalia ‘plans to file legal complaint against UAE’ over Somaliland base “Farah said Emirati officials had bribed officials in Somaliland to get the deal through.”  Iran discovers major shale oil reserves in western province “The reserves are estimated to hold as much as ...

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Spies for Hire

[Photo by zodman via Flickr]

In July, Simone Margaritelli, an Italian security researcher, boarded a Boeing 777 in Rome headed for Dubai, a city now billing itself as a tech startup hub. He had a big job interview with a new, well-funded cybersecurity company called DarkMatter, whose self-described mission is to “safeguard the most complex organizations,” from government to the private sector, by preventing and fighting malicious cyberattacks and providing secure methods of communication — defensive cybersecurity, rather than offensive, which involves breaking into online systems and devices for espionage or destruction. A friend of a friend had recommended Margaritelli, who ...

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The Dubai Social Contract

Murals Seen in Dubai. Image by Eleonora Dobbles.

Dubai is a city-state with a modern economy built on top of a tribal society. Its particular mix of 21st century globalized business alongside traditions and social structures that date back to a time of nomadic tribes make it a particularly interesting case study to understand how a pre-modern society confronts and incorporates contemporary capitalism. To understand the social contract in a place like this, one must first understand the structure of the indigenous population. The Emiratis, making up around ten to twenty percent of the total population of the country, are part of tightly knit tribal families. These families gain their power through their connections to ...

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Call for Papers: Mobilities and Materialities of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula (Kuwait, 17-19 March 2017)

[Image from official call for papers of the Gulf Studies Symposium (GSS)]

The Center for Gulf Studies at the American University of Kuwait will hold its third Gulf Studies Symposium (GSS) on 17-19 March 2017. The GSS is a meeting of worldwide Gulf scholars and researchers held biennially in Kuwait. Each symposium is based on a particular scholarly theme that is timely both to the region and to the field of Gulf studies. The theme of the 2017 GSS is "Mobilities and Materialities of the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula." CALL FOR PAPERS The 2017 GSS will bring together international and regional scholars to engage in an interdisciplinary discussion on the movement of people into, out of, across, and within the Gulf and Arabian Peninsula in ...

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35 عاما على تشكيل مجلس التعاون الخليجي

[المصدر ويكيبيديا]

 في 25 أيار/ مايو الماضي مرّت الذكرى الخامسة والثلاثون لتأسيس مجلس التعاون الخليجي. احتفى الإعلام الرسمي، وإن في أطر ضيقة، بنشر مقالات وبثّ برامج أشادت بما "حققه العمل الخليجي المشترك من إنجازات في المجالات السياسية والأمنية والاقتصادية والتنموية". وبالمقابل، لم تثر المناسبة اهتمام مواطني بلدان المجلس، فهو تأسس بقرار سياسي اتخذه الحكام دون مشاركة عامة بأي شكل من الأشكال، واستمر طيلة السنوات الماضية شأناً خاصاً بالعوائل الحاكمة وحدها، فيه تَعقد اتفاقاتها وتَحِل خلافاتها وتُناقش أمورها المشتركة. وكما لم يتأسس مجلس التعاون بإرادة شعبية فهو لم يتحول طيلة الخمس وثلاثين سنة الماضية إلى مشروع شعبي ليس متاحاً حتى الآن للمواطنين مناقشة أموره أو التنسيق عبر ...

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New Texts Out Now: Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East

[Cover of Kishwar Rizvi,

Kishwar Rizvi, The Transnational Mosque: Architecture and Historical Memory in the Contemporary Middle East (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Kishwar Rizvi (KR): The idea for this book emerged through my research travels in Europe and the Middle East, where I would encounter monumental mosques that looked historical in design but were built in the past thirty years. I wondered why a community of immigrant Turks in Germany, for example, chose to worship in a neo-Ottoman style mosque that appeared anachronistic and out of place (see Figure One); similarly, why were mosques in Dubai copying the Mamluk architecture of ...

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New Texts Out Now: Eckart Woertz, Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East

[Cover of Eckart Woertz,

Eckart Woertz, Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, paperback edition 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Eckart Woertz (EW): In 2007-08, at the height of the global food crisis, I was living in Dubai, working for the Gulf Research Center. Food price inflation became a hot topic, and in 2008 Gulf countries started to make all these announcements about agro-investments in food-insecure countries like Sudan and Pakistan. So it was an intriguing topic to deal with and it tied into other topics such as development issues, management of sovereign wealth fund assets, heavy reliance on ...

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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 ...

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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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Art and Liberty: Redefining the Canon or the Next Record Sales?

In October 2016, two exhibitions were inaugurated in Cairo and Paris respectively, commemorating an Egyptian surrealist art and literature group, Art et Liberté.  I. Art et Liberté was co-founded by surrealist author Georges Henein in 1939. At the advent of World War II, artists and writers rallied around Henein and painter and writer Ramses Younan in their call for a perpetual revolution in art. The group aimed at gearing public opinion in Egypt away from the notion of modernization—regarded as a ...

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Task Force on Population Movement Yemen Report (March 2017)

 [The following report summary was published by the International Organization on Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix on 15 March 2017. For the full report, click here.]   Task Force on Population Movement | TFPM Yemen | 13th Report – March 2017 The Task Force for Population Movement (TFPM), co-led by IOM and UNHCR is a Technical Working Group of the Yemen Protection Cluster. The TFPM implements an information management tool that gathers data on the status and location 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 ...

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Media on Media Roundup (November 8)

This week’s Jadaliyya “Media on Media” roundup revolves around a number of issues dealing with freedom of expression, dictators on social media, and memes as a political vehicle. A newly published report entitled “140 Characters” claims that Arab gulf states are surveilling, imprisoning, and silencing activists for social media posts, citing testimony from Human Rights Watch that a number of journalists and activists have been tracked down using high-tech social media surveillance. Moreover, with 2 ...

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New Texts Out Now: Nelida Fuccaro, Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East

Nelida Fuccaro, ed. Violence and the City in the Modern Middle East (Stanford University Press, 2016). Jadaliyya (J) What made you write this book? Nelida Fuccaro (NF) This edited volume is the result of a long-standing collective effort. It arises form a conference held at SOAS in February 2013 which I organised with Rasmus Elling as part of an international collaborative project on urban violence in the modern Middle East. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Deutsch ...

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In the Eye of the Storm: Geopolitics and the Safe City

"I like it because it’s safe:" The Role of Fear and Security in Dubai’s Urban Attractiveness A beach is usually a place where people go to relax, get away from the hustle, and forget about their worries. You wouldn’t expect it to be a site of security, and yet inscribed onto the public restroom of an Abu Dhabi beach is an inconspicuous logo for Serco. The British company is probably also responsible for the security cameras that line the underpasses leading to that same beach, and is one of ...

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Study-Trip Report: Building Visions with Glass and Steel

The students of the Master Program "Governing the Large Metropolis" at the University of SciencesPo Paris have released Building Visions with Glass and Steel, an “instant-book” based on their notes and photographs after their fieldtrip to Dubai and Dhabi, last January 2016. This document appears in two versions: a printed book and a web site--both of them richly adorned with their photographs. It is now an integral part of Dubai’s mythology to be presented as a city which has “emerged” ...

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An A-Z of Arabic Propaganda: The British Government's Arabic-Language Output during WWII

Throughout the Second World War, Britain’s Ministry of Information (MOI) produced and disseminated a remarkable assortment of propaganda material in Arabic. The material that it produced was intended to counter pro-Axis sentiment in the Arab World and bolster support for Britain and its allies. This propaganda effort arose largely in response to the German and Italian Governments’ own large scale propaganda campaigns that, with some success (more so Germany than Italy), targeted the Middle East and North ...

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الفيلم الوثائقي تعز بين المطرقة والسندان

يوثق هذا الفليم الاستثنائي لصفاء الاحمد، والذي عرض على بي بي سي العربية بتاريخ ٢٢ شباط/ فبراير ٢٠١٦ رحلتها الشجاعة إلى مدينة تعز في اليمن. وتعيش هذه المدينة تحت الحصار منذ نيسان/ابريل ٢٠١٥، فرضته الميليشيا الحوثية، مما أدى الى نقص حاد في وصول الاغذية، المساعدات الطبية، والوقود، وزاد الأزمة الانسانية المتفاقمة في البلاد جراء الحصار المفروض من السعودية. ويحتاج أكثر من ثمانين بالمئة من السكان إلى مساعدات انسانية بينما تم تشريد مليونين ونصف يمني. أدى الصراع الجاري حول المدينة بين ...

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المجتمع المدني في الخليج العربي: الواقع والاحتمالات. مقابلة للوضع بين انور الرشيد وفاتح عزام

نقاش حول واقع وانشطة وتاريخ حركات المجتمع المدني في منطقة الخليج العربي. أنور الرشيد رئيس منتدى المجتمع المدني الخليجي منذ 2007. يعمل أيضاً كصحفي ومحلل سياسي، وعضو جمعية الصحفيين الكويتيين، وهو مراقب دولي للانتخابات في المنطقة وكان نائب رئيس مجلس مديري شبكة انتخابات العالم العربي. وهو عضو في منظمة حقوق الإنسان الكويتية، ونسّق عدة “مؤتمرات ظل” للمجتمع المدني بالتوازي مع مؤتمرات قادة مجلس التعاون الخليجي  

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