Geography Archives: Iraq

  • Social Origins of the Tent Protests in Israel

    It started in mid-July, when Dafni Leef, a Tel Aviv filmmaker, was met with a hike in her rent that she couldn’t afford to pay.  Instead of moving to a new apartment, she moved to a tent on Rothschild Boulevard, the city’s sleekest thoroughfare, and set up a Facebook event calling for her compatriots to […]

  • Cities Pay Millions for First Amendment Violations and Police Violence.  Will Chicago Be Next?

    The US court system has found criminal police conduct (beatings, false arrests, other violence and felonies) at anti-war/anti-G8/FTAA/WTO protests to be so flagrant that payouts to the victims of police illegality and violence have cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. The payouts for unprovoked police violence and illegality, below, do not include what cities […]

  • The Race with Iran: Saudi Arabia’s Sectarian Card

    Four months ago, we returned from a trip to the Middle East and wrote that “the main question engaging people with respect to the Arab Spring is no longer, ‘who’s next,’ but rather how far will Saudi Arabia go in pushing a ‘counter-revolutionary agenda’ across the [region].”  Since then, something of a discussion, if not […]

  • The Future of Arab Revolts: Interview with Samir Amin

      The way Egyptian scholar and researcher Samir Amin sees it, nothing will be the same as before in the Arab world: protest movements will challenge both the internal social order of Arab countries and their places in the regional and global political chessboard. Hassane Zerrouky: How do you see what’s happening in the Arab […]

  • Libya — Lather, Rinse, Repeat — Syria: Liberal Imperialism and the Refusal to Learn

    Two of my favorite quotes come into play here, one by the English poet, Alexander Pope, who explained that “some people will never learn anything . . . because they understand everything too soon,” and George Bernard Shaw, much more resigned and ironic in stating that “we learn from experience that men never learn anything […]

  • Middle East News Roundup: Arab Spring, Royal Summer, Islamist Autumn

    Egypt Amin Saikal (ABC, 29 July 2011): “The Islamist parties [in Egypt] now stand a good chance to win an absolute majority in the parliamentary elections in November, and also contest successfully the presidential election. . . .  According to an Aljazeera public opinion survey, released on July 7, 2011, nearly 50 per cent of […]

  • “Living within Our Means” and Standard and Poor’s Downgrade

    The President, Senators, Congresspersons, media representatives, and many ordinary people speak often, these days, about Washington “learning to live within our means.”  Last Friday, the private rating company, Standard and Poor’s (S&P), said the riskiness of lending to the US had risen because the US was not living within its means (i.e. borrowing too much).  […]

  • Listening to What Iranians Say about Their Nuclear Program Instead of Relying on “Intelligence” and Agenda-driven “Analysis”

    As part of the current and ongoing effort to demonize further the Islamic Republic, there has been an uptick in media stories, drawing on conveniently leaked Western intelligence assessments, highlighting Tehran’s allegedly looming acquisition of nuclear weapons.  One of these stories, from the Associated Press, seems particularly emblematic, so we want to look at it […]

  • Iran and al-Qa’ida: Can the Charges Be Substantiated?

    Last week, the Obama Administration formally charged the Islamic Republic of working with al-Qa’ida.  The charge was presented as part of the Treasury Department’s announcement that it was designating six alleged al-Qa’ida operatives for terrorism-related financial sanctions.  The six are being designated, according to Treasury, because of their involvement in transiting money and operatives for […]

  • Brazil Needs to Quit Haiti

    U.S. diplomatic cables now released from Wikileaks make it clearer than ever before that foreign troops occupying Haiti for more than seven years have no legitimate reason to be there; that this a U.S. occupation, as much as in Iraq or Afghanistan; that it is part of a decades-long U.S. strategy to deny Haitians the […]

  • Oil and the Iranian-Saudi “Cold War”

    One of last month’s most interesting developments in Persian Gulf power politics played out not in the Middle East, but in Vienna, Paris, and Washington.  For these Western cities were the venues for an important series of exchanges that revealed much about the changing balance of power among the Middle East’s major oil producers, including […]

  • The Road to Syrian Democracy: A New Political Party Law to End One-Party Rule

    A new political party law has been drafted in Syria and is now posted online for public debate.  It is due for ratification by parliament next August.  If it passes, the law would effectively end one-party rule in Syria, which started when the Baathists came to power, through military coup, back in March 1963.  In […]

  • After the “West”

    The notion of the “west”, like any such construct, has various associations depending on who is using it, where and in what circumstances.  Many people (especially in other parts of the world) tend to associate the “west” with military campaigns and foreign interventions by Nato and its leading states, the United States and Britain.  More […]

  • Turkey Cools Down Tempers over Syria

    As Monday dawned, Turkey kept its fingers crossed in keen anticipation of the nationwide address by President Bashar al-Assad on the situation in Syria.  Ankara sent an open message ahead of Assad’s speech that if he failed to announce reforms even in a third attempt, he would “miss a big chance” to preserve power. Turkey […]

  • Capitalism and Imperialism

    The anti-colonial struggle in the third world countries had brought together workers, peasants, agricultural labourers, artisans, middle class intellectuals, and even the national bourgeoisie into one camp, demanding decolonisation.  This was a reflection of the fact that colonialism, or imperialism (if one uses the term in an inclusive sense to refer to all stages of […]

  • Imperialism and the European “Left”

    But revolts, to become revolutionary advances, will have to overcome many obstacles: on the one hand they will have to overcome the weaknesses of the movement, construct a positive convergence of its components, formulate and implement effective strategies; on the other they will have to defeat the interventions (including military interventions) of the imperialist triad. […]

  • Iraq: It’s Still about Oil

    Provocative suggestion: Obama’s increasingly desperate efforts to abrogate Bush’s Dec 31 withdrawal deadline and continue the military occupation may reflect, among other considerations, the need to protect the US drilling companies’ business. . . . American drilling companies stand to make tens of billions of dollars from the new petroleum activity in Iraq long before […]

  • Syrian Opposition’s “Day of the Clans”

      Today, with the declaration of “Day of the Clans,” it becomes obligatory for one to distance oneself from the dominant reactionary forces within the Syrian opposition.  It is clear that the same reactionary forces that have been at the heart of the Iraqi opposition under occupation are there in the Syrian opposition.  What about […]

  • Turkey’s Not-So-Subtle Shift on Syria

    An old story from Istanbul in the Ottoman era mentions a Turkish imam who killed a Christian and confessed the crime, whereupon he was advised by the judge to talk things over with the mufti who told him privately that a good Muslim never admitted felony against infidels and he should simply recant his confession.  […]

  • Muslim Brotherhood and US Representatives at Syrian Opposition Conference in Antalya, Turkey

      So Syrian opposition groups met in Antalya.  I closely followed that conference and read about their deliberations and received reports about it. There are Syrian leftists who argue with me constantly that I should not reduce the Syrian opposition to lousy Khaddam or lousy Ma’mun Humsi (a tool of Hariri Inc.) or lousy war […]