Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Part 1. Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI): Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Protection Against Domestic Violence in Jordanian Law and International Conventions”

By: Laith K. Nasrawin

Abstract: This article addresses the issue of protection against domestic violence in both Jordanian law and international conventions. It does so by defining domestic violence and its various causes, and by exploring the relevant global standards and best international practices for combating it.

The article also deals with the reality of protection against domestic violence in Jordan by referring to the special protection of the family and to the related follow-up by national and governmental institutions, and the relevant national standards.

The Law Regarding Protection from Domestic Violence (Law No. 6/2008) contains protective provisions and other treatments to reduce this phenomenon, but it fails to provide optimal protection against domestic violence. (Optimal protection? Like changing human passions and myths?)

The article proposes a set of recommendations to improve national standards for protection against domestic violence so that Jordan’s laws concerning protection against domestic violence can conform to international standards.

“Sub-Centres of Power in Shiʿi Islam: Women of ʿAlid descent in the Contemporary Near East”

By: Raffaele Mauriello

Abstract: A peculiar characteristic of the Islamic civilization is represented by the Prophet’s family (Ahl al-Bayt), whose history spans over 14 centuries and whose members have played at different times and places an important role in the Muslim world.

The Prophet’s kinfolk are collectively known either as sādat (sing. sayyid) or as ashrāf (sing. sharīf). Within this kinfolk, the ‘Alids claim to descend from the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and his cousin ‘Ali.

(Note 1: Muhammad had 2 boys who died before age 5. He had 4 girls who married to sa7abats, those who emigrated to Yathreb (Al Madina) from Mecca)

It has been argued that the ‘Alids represent a formidable example of the necessity to re-formulate the two categories of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ in accordance with the distinctive features of the Islamic civilization.

In this respect, Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti has coined the terms centri dislocati (‘sub-centres’ or ‘centres in the periphery’) and centro deputato (‘designated centre’) to analyse the role of the ʿAlids as key actors in the dialectical dynamics that define the ‘centre’ and in initiating political, religious, and cultural movements or changes.

This essay argues for the importance of including ‘Alid women in the human geography framework formulated by Scarcia Amoretti. The case study concerns women of a remarkable ʿAlid family of the Shiʿi religious establishment of the Near East, the al-Sadr.

(Note 2: Women in the 7th century had plenty of power and wrote themselves their marriage contracts. They divorced once a clause was reneged upon. This generation of women were taught and learned their rights from Aicha, the beloved wife of Muhammad)

“Refugees and the Case for International Authority in the Middle East: The League of Nations and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East Compared”

By: Laura Robson

Abstract: In the immediate aftermath of World War I, the newly formed League of Nations saw Middle Eastern refugees—particularly displaced Armenians and Assyrians scattered in camps across the Eastern Mediterranean—as venues for working out new forms of internationalism.

Note: The Armenians and minority religious groups who were transferred from Turkey (genocide) were sheltered by the Syrians in Aleppo and Deir Zour, before many transferred to Lebanon, Europe  and USA. They didn’t feel like living in concentration camps since they could leave any time and work in the cities)

In the late 1940s, following the British abandonment of the Palestine Mandate and the subsequent Zionist expulsion of most of the Palestinian Arab population, the new United Nations revived this concept of a refugee crisis requiring international intervention.

This paper examines the parallel ways in which advocates for both the nascent League of Nations and the United Nations made use of mass refugee flows to formulate arguments for new, highly visible, and essentially permanent iterations of international authority across the Middle East.

“The New Arab Left and 1967”

By: Sune Haugbolle

Abstract: In Arab political culture, the Naksa of 1967 (The term Nakba is reserved for 1948 as Israel transferred Palestinians from their villages to neighboring States, like Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, and Gaza) had a number of watershed effects.

Scholars have paid a lot of attention to the decline of secular Arab nationalism, and the concurrent rise of Islamism. Much less research has been done on the way 1967 spurred radical left organizations, also known as ‘the new Arab left’, to organize resistance against Israel as well as gain a foothold in national politics.

This article analyzes what 1967 meant for groups such as P.F.L.P., D.F.L.P., O.C.A.L. and the Syrian Communist Party – Political Bureau, and the wider political culture associated with the new left: its media, journals and art.

Based on readings of this cultural production and new research on the tri-continental movement, revolutionary socialism and Third-Worldism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this article argues that the defeat of 1967 helped to determine the shape of the revolutionary moment that followed.

This moment has had a lasting impact on Arab political culture and is being re-interpreted in interesting ways today by Arab revolutionaries post-2011.

“Islamizing the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict: The Case of the Muslim Brotherhood”

By: Noha Mellor

Abstract: The Arab capitulation in the Six Day War was posited to stimulate the so-called Islamic resurgence in the region since the 1970s, which several scholars see as a sign of Islamic resistance to the Western cultural presence within the Arab world.

This article argues that Islamizing the conflict began well before the 1967 defeat, and that the hegemony of the Islamist discourse has been made possible owing to its penetration into mainstream political and media discourses.

It is also argued that by ‘religionizing’ the Palestinian–Israeli conflict, Islamists provide a new narrative to reshape and reframe the perception of this conflict as being religious rather than political in nature. (Actually, it is the “Christian” Evangelical Zionists that financed and supported politically the establishment of State of Israel)

The article takes the Muslim Brotherhood as a topical case study, demonstrating how its print and digital media highlighted the Islamization of the conflict with Israel, and providing frequent references to the 1967 defeat as evidence of God’s wrath meted out on Arab rulers, not only for abandoning the Islamic State project, but also for oppressing Islamist movements.

Note: Erdogan of Turkey is wrapping himself with the flag of Muslim Brotherhood movement to lead them in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Qatar. This movement was first instituted in Egypt in the early 1920’s.

“In the Shadow of the 1967 War: Israel and the Palestinians”

By: Amal Jamal

Abstract: The 1967 war in the Middle East has had major ramifications on the entire region including Israel. This article focuses on 3 of the major longstanding ramifications, namely the change in the demographic balance between Jews and Palestinians west of the Jordan River, and the challenge that the military regime imposed on the Palestinians in the newly occupied Palestinian territories poses regarding the nature of the Israeli regime as a whole and the reconnecting of Palestinians and citizens of Israel, with their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This article demonstrates how Israeli policies towards Palestinians impacted the disposition of the Palestinian community inside Israel, and how the coming together of Israeli policy changes in the Palestinian struggle for independence and social transformations inside the Palestinian community in Israel have led to different adaptation strategies among the Palestinians to face their in-between reality.

“Syria – From the Six Day War to the Syrian Civil War”

By: Eyal Zisser

Abstract: The story of Syria during the Six-Day War is the story of a state whose leadership was young, inexperienced, reckless, and radical; it sowed fire and reaped a firestorm.

For a while, the war seemed as a turning point in the history of Syria since it led to the rise of Hafiz al-Asad, who gave his country political stability that enabled him to turn it into a powerful and esteemed state at home and abroad.

Asad’s era was marked by freeze, stagnation, and the maintenance of the status quo which became the essence of the Syrian regime’s policies and course of action not only vis-à-vis Israel, but also in its activity domestically, whether in the social, political, or economic sphere.

The ultimate result, as this article argues, was the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, which demonstrated that the appearance of stability and strength projected by the regime was a complete facade.

Note: Syria in that period was the only State with No sovereign foreign debt and was economically independent in matter of foodstuff. It established universal healthcare and free education, even in the universities. 

“From Cooperation to Normalization? Jordan–Israel Relations Since 1967”

By: Ronen Yitzhak

Abstract: This article deals with the relations between Jordan and Israel from 1967 until 2015. The mutual interest of the Hashemite regime and the Zionist movement, namely to oppose the Palestinians, created the first opportunity for cooperation, which developed into economic ties and intelligence exchanges during the reign of the first appointed King by Britain King Abdullah I.

A real strategic alliance between Jordan and Israel was formed in the 1950s, when Egyptian President Gamal Abd al-Nasser, together with other nationalist Arab elements, tried to subvert King Hussein’s regime and topple him.

Israel unhesitatingly came to the side of the Hashemite ruler to protect Jordanian territorial sovereignty. This perception of Jordan informed Israel’s policy, which aimed to aid Jordan in confronting new challenges to the regime.

The fact that Israel has stood by the Hashemite regime through most of its existence indicates a strategic partnership that will sustain, even if the peace treaty were to be revoked one day.

Note: Jordan was created mainly because Britain and the USA expected to chase out the Palestinians after the recognition of Israel. The intelligence agency of Jordan monarchy was trained from its inception to secure Israel and gather intelligence from the neighboring States to back Israel policies. It never changed its objectives till now



Part 1. Ten Myths on Israel: First, Not a Democratic State (by Ian Pappe)

No, Israel Is Not a Democracy

By lan Pappe

From Ten Myths About Israel, out now from Verso Books.

June 12, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Israel is not the only democracy in the Middle East. In fact, it’s not a democracy at all.

In the eyes of many Israelis and their supporters worldwide — even those who might criticize some of its policies — Israel is, at the end of the day, a benign democratic state, seeking peace with its neighbors, and guaranteeing equality to all its citizens.

Those who do criticize Israel assume that, if anything went wrong in this democracy, then it was due to the 1967 war.

In this view, the war corrupted an honest and hardworking society by offering easy money in the occupied territories, allowing messianic groups to enter Israeli politics, and above all else, turning Israel into an occupying and oppressive entity in the new territories.

The myth that a democratic Israel ran into trouble in 1967 but still remained a democracy is propagated even by some notable Palestinian and pro-Palestinian scholars — but it has no historical foundation.

Israel Before 1967 Was Not a Democracy

Before 1967, Israel definitely could not have been depicted as a democracy.

As we have seen in previous chapters, the state subjected one-fifth of its citizenship to military rule based on draconian British Mandatory emergency regulations that denied the Palestinians any basic human or civil rights. (Administrative detention: 60% of Palestinian youths experienced these detentions to quell their dignity)

Local military governors were the absolute rulers of the lives of these citizens: they could devise special laws for them, destroy their houses and livelihoods, and send them to jail whenever they felt like it.

Only in the late 1950’s did a strong Jewish opposition to these abuses emerge, which eventually eased the pressure on the Palestinian citizens.

For the Palestinians who lived in prewar Israel and those who lived in the post-1967 West Bank and the Gaza Strip, this regime allowed even the lowest-ranking soldier in the IDF to rule, and ruin, their lives.

The Palestinians were helpless if such a solider, or his unit or commander, decided to demolish their homes, or hold them for hours at a checkpoint, or incarcerate them without trial. There was nothing they could do.

At every moment from 1948 until today, there had been some group of Palestinians undergoing such an experience.

The first group to suffer under such a yoke was the Palestinian minority inside Israel.

It began in the first two years of statehood when they were pushed into ghettos, such as the Haifa Palestinian community living on the Carmel mountain, or expelled from the towns they had inhabited for decades, such as Safad.

In the case of Isdud, the whole population was expelled to the Gaza Strip. (2/3 rd of Palestinians in Gaza are transferred Palestinians)

In the countryside, the situation was even worse.

The various Kibbutz movements coveted Palestinian villages on fertile land. This included the socialist Kibbutzim, Hashomer Ha-Zair, which was allegedly committed to binational solidarity.

Long after the fighting of 1948 had subsided, villagers in Ghabsiyyeh, Iqrit, Birim, Qaidta, Zaytun, and many others, were tricked into leaving their homes for a period of two weeks, the army claiming it needed their lands for training, only to find out on their return that their villages had been wiped out or handed to someone else.

This state of military terror is exemplified by the Kafr Qasim massacre of October 1956, when, on the eve of the Sinai operation, 49 Palestinian citizens were killed by the Israeli army. The authorities alleged that they were late returning home from work in the fields when a curfew had been imposed on the village. This was not the real reason, however. (Britain PM told Israel to trod on the Palestinians on their advance to Suez Canal)

Later proofs show that Israel had seriously considered the expulsion of Palestinians from the whole area called the Wadi Ara and the Triangle in which the village sat.

These two areas — the first a valley connecting Afula in the east and Hadera on the Mediterranean coast; the second expanding the eastern hinterland of Jerusalem — were annexed to Israel under the terms of the 1949 armistice agreement with Jordan.

As we have seen, additional territory was always welcomed by Israel, but an increase in the Palestinian population was not.

Thus, at every juncture, when the state of Israel expanded, it looked for ways to restrict the Palestinian population in the recently annexed areas.

Operation “Hafarfert” (“mole”) was the code name of a set of proposals for the expulsion of Palestinians when a new war broke out with the Arab world. Many scholars today now think that the 1956 massacre was a practice run to see if the people in the area could be intimidated to leave. (But they already did practice runs in 1948 in Deir Yassin)

The perpetrators of the massacre were brought to trial thanks to the diligence and tenacity of two members of the Knesset: Tawaq Tubi from the Communist Party and Latif Dori of the Left Zionist party Mapam.

However, the commanders responsible for the area, and the unit itself that committed the crime, were let off very lightly, receiving merely small fines. This was further proof that the army was allowed to get away with murder in the occupied territories.

Systematic cruelty does not only show its face in a major event like a massacre. The worst atrocities can also be found in the regime’s daily, mundane presence.

Palestinians in Israel still do not talk much about that pre-1967 period, and the documents of that time do not reveal the full picture. Surprisingly, it is in poetry that we find an indication of what it was like to live under military rule.

Natan Alterman was one of the most famous and important poets of his generation. He had a weekly column, called “The Seventh Column,” in which he commented on events he had read or heard about.

Sometimes he would omit details about the date or even the location of the event, but would give the reader just enough information to understand what he was referring to. He often expressed his attacks in poetic form:

“The news appeared briefly for two days, and disappeared. And no one seems to care, and no one seems to know. In the far away village of Um al-Fahem,

Children — should I say citizens of the state — played in the mud

And one of them seemed suspicious to one of our brave soldiers who shouted at him: Stop!
An order is an order
An order is an order, but the foolish boy did not stand, He ran away

So our brave soldier shot, no wonder

And hit and killed the boy.
And no one talked about it.”

On one occasion he wrote a poem about two Palestinian citizens who were shot in Wadi Ara.

In another instance, he told the story of a very ill Palestinian woman who was expelled with her two children, aged three and six, with no explanation, and sent across the River Jordan. When she tried to return, she and her children were arrested and put into a Nazareth jail.

Alterman hoped that his poem about the mother would move hearts and minds, or at least elicit some official response. However, he wrote a week later:

“And this writer assumed wrongly
That either the story would be denied or explained But nothing, not a word.”

There is further evidence that Israel was not a democracy prior to 1967. The state pursued a shoot-to-kill policy towards refugees trying to retrieve their land, crops, and husbandry, and staged a colonial war to topple Nasser’s regime in Egypt.

Its security forces were also trigger happy, killing more than fifty Palestinian citizens during the period from 1948–1967.

On modern warfare weapons: Actual testing on many pre-emptive wars around the world

Back in 1997, Barbara Ehrenreich went after the human  attraction to violence in her book Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War.

In it, among other brilliant insights, she traced the beginnings of our  modern blood rites not to Man, the Aggressor, but to human beings, the  prey (in a dangerous early world of predators).

In an updated,  adapted version of an afterword she did for the British edition of that book, she turns from the origins of war to its end point, suggesting in her usual provocative way that drones and other warrior robotics may, in  the end, do us one strange favor: they may finally bring home to us that war is Not a human possession, that it is not what we are and must  be.

(To catch Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview in which  Ehrenreich discusses the nature of war and how to fight against it,  click here, or download it to your iPod here.) Tom

War Without Humans Modern Blood Rites Revisited By Barbara Ehrenreich

For a book about the all-too-human “passions of war,” my 1997 work Blood Rites ended on a strangely inhuman note: I suggested that, whatever  distinctly human qualities war calls upon — honor, courage, solidarity,  cruelty, and so forth — it might be useful to stop thinking of war in  exclusively human terms.

After all, certain species of ants wage war  and computers can simulate “wars” that play themselves out on-screen  without any human involvement.

More generally, we should define war as a self-replicating  pattern of activity that may or may not require human participation.

In  the human case, we know it is capable of spreading geographically and  evolving rapidly over time — qualities that, as I suggested somewhat fancifully, make war a metaphorical successor to the predatory animals  that shaped humans into fighters in the first place.

A decade and a half later, these musings do not seem quite so airy  and abstract anymore. The trend, at the close of the twentieth century,  still seemed to be one of ever more massive human involvement in war —  from armies containing tens of thousands in the sixteenth century, to  hundreds of thousands in the nineteenth, and eventually millions in the  twentieth century world wars.

It was the ascending scale of war that originally called forth the existence of the nation-state as an administrative unit capable of maintaining mass armies and the infrastructure — for taxation, weapons manufacture, transport, etc. — that they require.

War has been, and we still expect it to be, the most massive collective project human beings undertake. But it has been evolving quickly in a very different direction, one in which human beings have a much smaller role to play.

One factor driving this change has been the emergence of a new kind of enemy, so-called “non-state actors,” meaning popular insurgencies and loose transnational networks of fighters, none of which are likely to field large numbers of troops or maintain expensive arsenals of their own.

In the face of these new enemies, typified by al-Qaeda, the mass armies of nation-states are highly ineffective, cumbersome to deploy, difficult to maneuver, and from a domestic point of view, overly dependent on a citizenry that is both willing and able to fight, or at least to have their children fight for them.

Yet just as U.S. military cadets continue, in defiance of military reality, to sport swords on their dress uniforms, our leaders, both military and political, tend to cling to an idea of war as a vast, labor-intensive effort on the order of World War II.

Only slowly, and with a reluctance bordering on the phobic, have the leaders of major states begun to grasp the fact that this approach to warfare may soon be obsolete.

Consider the most recent U.S. war with Iraq.

According to then-president George W. Bush, the casus belli was the 9/11 terror attacks.  The causal link between that event and our chosen enemy, Iraq, was, however, imperceptible to all but the most dedicated inside-the-Beltway intellectuals.

Nineteen men had hijacked airplanes and flown them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center — 15 of them Saudi Arabians, none of them Iraqis — and we went to war against… Iraq?

Military history offers no ready precedents for such wildly misaimed retaliation. The closest analogies come from anthropology, which provides plenty of cases of small-scale societies in which the death of any member, for any reason, needs to be “avenged” by an attack on a more or less randomly chosen other tribe or hamlet.

Why Iraq?

Neoconservative imperial ambitions have been invoked in explanation, as well as the American thirst for oil, or even an Oedipal contest between George W. Bush and his father.

There is no doubt some truth to all of these explanations, but the targeting of Iraq also represented a desperate and irrational response to what was, for Washington, an utterly confounding military situation.

We faced a state-less enemy — geographically diffuse, lacking uniforms and flags, invulnerable to invading infantries and saturation bombing, and apparently capable of regenerating itself at minimal expense.

From the perspective of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his White House cronies, this would not do. (Meaning from Israel point of view or the “christian” Evangelical Zionists)

Since the U.S. was accustomed to fighting other nation-states — geopolitical entities containing such identifiable targets as capital cities, airports, military bases, and munitions plants — we would have to find a nation-state to fight, or as Rumsfeld put it, a “target-rich environment.

Iraq, pumped up by alleged stockpiles of “weapons of mass destruction,” became the designated surrogate for an enemy that refused to play our game.

The effects of this atavistic war are still being tallied: in Iraq, we would have to include civilian deaths estimated at possibly hundreds of thousands, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and devastating outbreaks of sectarian violence of a kind that, as we should have learned from the dissolution of Yugoslavia, can readily follow the death or removal of a nationalist dictator.

But the effects of war on the U.S. and its allies may end up being almost as tragic.

Instead of punishing the terrorists who had attacked the U.S., the war seems to have succeeded in recruiting more such irregular fighters, young men (and sometimes women) willing to die and ready to commit further acts of terror or revenge.

By insisting on fighting a more or less randomly selected nation-state, the U.S. may only have multiplied the non-state threats it faces.

Unwieldy Armies

Whatever they may think of what the U.S. and its allies did in Iraq, many national leaders are beginning to acknowledge that conventional militaries are becoming, in a strictly military sense, almost ludicrously anachronistic. Not only are they unsuited to crushing counterinsurgencies and small bands of terrorists or irregular fighters, but mass armies are simply too cumbersome to deploy on short notice.

In military lingo, they are weighed down by their “tooth to tail” ratio — a measure of the number of actual fighters in comparison to the support personnel and equipment the fighters require. Both hawks and liberal interventionists may hanker to airlift tens of thousands of soldiers to distant places virtually overnight, but those soldiers will need to be preceded or accompanied by tents, canteens, trucks, medical equipment, and so forth.

“Flyover” rights will have to be granted by neighboring countries; air strips and eventually bases will have to be constructed; supply lines will have be created and defended — all of which can take months to accomplish.

The sluggishness of the mass, labor-intensive military has become a constant source of frustration to civilian leaders. Irritated by the Pentagon’s hesitation to put “boots on the ground” in Bosnia, then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright famously demanded of Secretary of Defense Colin Powell, “What good is this marvelous military force if we can never use it?”

In 2009, the Obama administration unthinkingly proposed a troop surge in Afghanistan, followed by a withdrawal within a year and a half that would have required some of the troops to start packing up almost as soon as they arrived. It took the U.S. military a full month to organize the transport of 20,000 soldiers to Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake — and they were only traveling 700 miles to engage in a humanitarian relief mission, not a war.

Another thing hobbling mass militaries is the increasing unwillingness of nations, especially the more democratic ones, to risk large numbers of casualties. It is no longer acceptable to drive men into battle at gunpoint or to demand that they fend for themselves on foreign soil.

Once thousands of soldiers have been plunked down in a “theater,” they must be defended from potentially hostile locals, a project that can easily come to supersede the original mission.

We may not be able clearly to articulate what American troops were supposed to accomplish in Iraq or Afghanistan, but without question one part of their job has been “force protection.” In what could be considered the inverse of “mission creep,” instead of expanding, the mission now has a tendency to contract to the task of self-defense.

Ultimately, the mass militarist of the modern era, augmented by ever-more expensive weapons systems, place an unacceptable economic burden on the nation-states that support them — a burden that eventually may undermine the militaries themselves.

Consider what has been happening to the world’s sole military superpower, the United States. The latest estimate for the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is, at this moment, at least $3.2 trillion, while total U.S. military spending equals that of the next 15 countries combined, and adds up to approximately 47% of all global military spending.

To this must be added the cost of caring for wounded and otherwise damaged veterans, which has been mounting precipitously as medical advances allow more of the injured to survive.  The U.S. military has been sheltered from the consequences of its own profligacy by a level of bipartisan political support that has kept it almost magically immune to budget cuts, even as the national debt balloons to levels widely judged to be unsustainable.

The hard right, in particular, has campaigned relentlessly against “big government,” apparently not noticing that the military is a sizable chunk of this behemoth.

In December 2010, for example, a Republican senator from Oklahoma railed against the national debt with this statement: “We’re really at war. We’re on three fronts now: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the financial tsunami  [arising from the debt] that is facing us.” Only in recent months have some Tea Party-affiliated legislators broken with tradition by declaring their willingness to cut military spending.

How the Warfare State Became the Welfare State

If military spending is still for the most part sacrosanct, ever more spending cuts are required to shrink “big government.”  Then what remains is the cutting of domestic spending, especially social programs for the poor, who lack the means to finance politicians, and all too often the incentive to vote as well.

From the Reagan years on, the U.S. government has chipped away at dozens of programs that had helped sustain people who are underpaid or unemployed, including housing subsidies, state-supplied health insurance, public transportation, welfare for single parents, college tuition aid, and inner-city economic development projects.

Even the physical infrastructure — bridges, airports, roads, and tunnels — used by people of all classes has been left at dangerous levels of disrepair. Antiwar protestors wistfully point out, year after year, what the cost of our high-tech weapon systems, our global network of more than 1,000 military bases, and our various “interventions” could buy if applied to meeting domestic human needs. But to no effect.

This ongoing sacrifice of domestic welfare for military “readiness” represents the reversal of a historic trend. Ever since the introduction of mass armies in Europe in the seventeenth century, governments have generally understood that to underpay and underfeed one’s troops — and the class of people that supplies them — is to risk having the guns pointed in the opposite direction from that which the officers recommend.

In fact, modern welfare states, inadequate as they may be, are in no small part the product of war — that is, of governments’ attempts to appease soldiers and their families. In the U.S., for example, the Civil War led to the institution of widows’ benefits, which were the predecessor of welfare in its Aid to Families with Dependent Children form. It was the bellicose German leader Otto von Bismarck who first instituted national health insurance.

World War II spawned educational benefits and income support for American veterans and led, in the United Kingdom, to a comparatively generous welfare state, including free health care for all.

Notions of social justice and fairness, or at least the fear of working class insurrections, certainly played a part in the development of twentieth century welfare states, but there was a pragmatic military motivation as well: if young people are to grow up to be effective troops, they need to be healthy, well-nourished, and reasonably well-educated.

In the U.S., the steady withering of social programs that might nurture future troops even serves, ironically, to justify increased military spending. In the absence of a federal jobs program, Congressional representatives become fierce advocates for weapons systems that the Pentagon itself has no use for, as long as the manufacture of those weapons can provide employment for some of their constituents.

With diminishing funds for higher education, military service becomes a less dismal alternative for young working-class people than the low-paid jobs that otherwise await them. The U.S. still has a civilian welfare state consisting largely of programs for the elderly (Medicare and Social Security). For many younger Americans, however, as well as for older combat veterans, the U.S. military is the welfare state — and a source, however temporarily, of jobs, housing, health care and education.

Eventually, however, the failure to invest in America’s human resources — through spending on health, education, and so forth — undercuts the military itself. In World War I, public health experts were shocked to find that one-third of conscripts were rejected as physically unfit for service; they were too weak and flabby or too damaged by work-related accidents.

Several generations later, in 2010, the U.S. Secretary of Education reported that “75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 to 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record, or are physically unfit.”

(Wonderful news: Drop the Gendarme notion of controlling the world)

When a nation can no longer generate enough young people who are fit for military service, that nation has two choices: it can, as a number of prominent retired generals are currently advocating, reinvest in its “human capital,” especially the health and education of the poor, or it can seriously reevaluate its approach to war.

The Fog of (Robot) War

Since the rightward, anti-“big government” tilt of American politics more or less precludes the former, the U.S. has been scrambling to develop less labor-intensive forms of waging war. In fact, this may prove to be the ultimate military utility of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: if they have gained the U.S. no geopolitical advantage, they have certainly served as laboratories and testing grounds for forms of future warfare that involve less human, or at least less governmental, commitment.

One step in that direction has been the large-scale use of military contract workers supplied by private companies, which can be seen as a revival of the age-old use of mercenaries.  Although most of the functions that have been outsourced to private companies — including food services, laundry, truck driving, and construction — do not involve combat, they are dangerous, and some contract workers have even been assigned to the guarding of convoys and military bases.

Contractors are still men and women, capable of bleeding and dying — and surprising numbers of them have indeed died.  In the initial six months of 2010, corporate deaths exceeded military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan for the first time. But the Pentagon has little or no responsibility for the training, feeding, or care of private contractors.

If wounded or psychologically damaged, American contract workers must turn, like any other injured civilian employees, to the Workers’ Compensation system, hence their sense of themselves as a “disposable army.”  By 2009, the trend toward privatization had gone so far that the number of private contractors in Afghanistan exceeded the number of American troops there.

An alternative approach is to eliminate or drastically reduce the military’s dependence on human beings of any kind.  This would have been an almost unthinkable proposition a few decades ago, but technologies employed in Iraq and Afghanistan have steadily stripped away the human role in war. Drones, directed from sites up to 7,500 miles away in the western United States, are replacing manned aircraft.

Video cameras, borne by drones, substitute for human scouts or information gathered by pilots. Robots disarm roadside bombs. When American forces invaded Iraq in 2003, no robots accompanied them; by 2008, there were 12,000 participating in the war.

Only a handful of drones were used in the initial invasion; today, the U.S. military has an inventory of more than 7,000, ranging from the familiar Predator to tiny Ravens and Wasps used to transmit video images of events on the ground.  Far stranger fighting machines are in the works, like swarms of lethal “cyborg insects” that could potentially replace human infantry.

These developments are by no means limited to the U.S. The global market for military robotics and unmanned military vehicles is growing fast, and includes Israel, a major pioneer in the field, Russia, the United Kingdom, Iran, South Korea, and China. Turkey is reportedly readying a robot force for strikes against Kurdish insurgents; Israel hopes to eventually patrol the Gaza border with “see-shoot” robots that will destroy people perceived as transgressors as soon as they are detected.

It is hard to predict how far the automation of war and the substitution of autonomous robots for human fighters will go. On the one hand, humans still have the advantage of superior visual discrimination.  Despite decades of research in artificial intelligence, computers cannot make the kind of simple distinctions — as in determining whether a cow standing in front of a barn is a separate entity or a part of the barn — that humans can make in a fraction of a second.

Thus, as long as there is any premium on avoiding civilian deaths, humans have to be involved in processing the visual information that leads, for example, to the selection of targets for drone attacks. If only as the equivalent of seeing-eye dogs, humans will continue to have a role in war, at least until computer vision improves.

On the other hand, the human brain lacks the bandwidth to process all the data flowing into it, especially as new technologies multiply that data. In the clash of traditional mass armies, under a hail of arrows or artillery shells, human warriors often found themselves confused and overwhelmed, a condition attributed to “the fog of war.” Well, that fog is growing a lot thicker. U.S. military officials, for instance, put the blame on “information overload” for the killing of 23 Afghan civilians in February 2010, and the New York Times reported that:

“Across the military, the data flow has surged; since the attacks of 9/11, the amount of intelligence gathered by remotely piloted drones and other surveillance technologies has risen 1,600 percent. On the ground, troops increasingly use hand-held devices to communicate, get directions and set bombing coordinates. And the screens in jets can be so packed with data that some pilots call them “drool buckets” because, they say, they can get lost staring into them.”

When the sensory data coming at a soldier is augmented by a flood of instantaneously transmitted data from distant cameras and computer search engines, there may be no choice but to replace the sloppy “wet-ware” of the human brain with a robotic system for instant response.

War Without Humans

Once set in place, the cyber-automation of war is hard to stop.  Humans will cling to their place “in the loop” as long as they can, no doubt insisting that the highest level of decision-making — whether to go to war and with whom — be reserved for human leaders. But it is precisely at the highest levels that decision-making may most need automating.

A head of state faces a blizzard of factors to consider, everything from historical analogies and satellite-derived intelligence to assessments of the readiness of potential allies. Furthermore, as the enemy automates its military, or in the case of a non-state actor, simply adapts to our level of automation, the window of time for effective responses will grow steadily narrower. Why not turn to a high-speed computer? It is certainly hard to imagine a piece of intelligent hardware deciding to respond to the 9/11 attacks by invading Iraq.

So, after at least 10,000 years of intra-species fighting — of scorched earth, burned villages, razed cities, and piled up corpses, as well, of course, as all the great epics of human literature — we have to face the possibility that the institution of war might no longer need us for its perpetuation. Human desires, especially for the Earth’s diminishing supply of resources, will still instigate wars for some time to come, but neither human courage nor human bloodlust will carry the day on the battlefield.

Computers will assess threats and calibrate responses; drones will pinpoint enemies; robots might roll into the streets of hostile cities. Beyond the individual battle or smaller-scale encounter, decisions as to whether to match attack with counterattack, or one lethal technological innovation with another, may also be eventually ceded to alien minds.

This should not come as a complete surprise. Just as war has shaped human social institutions for millennia, so has it discarded them as the evolving technology of war rendered them useless. When war was fought with blades by men on horseback, it favored the rule of aristocratic warrior elites. When the mode of fighting shifted to action-at-a-distance weapons like bows and guns, the old elites had to bow to the central authority of kings, who, in turn, were undone by the democratizing forces unleashed by new mass armies.

Even patriarchy cannot depend on war for its long-term survival, since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have, at least within U.S. forces, established women’s worth as warriors. Over the centuries, human qualities once deemed indispensable to war fighting — muscular power, manliness, intelligence, judgment — have one by one become obsolete or been ceded to machines.

What will happen then to the “passions of war”? Except for individual acts of martyrdom, war is likely to lose its glory and luster. Military analyst P.W. Singer quotes an Air Force captain musing about whether the new technologies will “mean that brave men and women will no longer face death in combat,” only to reassure himself that “there will always be a need for intrepid souls to fling their bodies across the sky.”

Perhaps, but in a 2010 address to Air Force Academy cadets, an under secretary of defense delivered the “bad news” that most of them would not be flying airplanes, which are increasingly unmanned.

War will continue to be used against insurgencies as well as to “take out” the weapons facilities, command centers, and cities of designated rogue states. It may even continue to fascinate its aficionados, in the manner of computer games. But there will be no triumphal parades for killer nano-bugs, no epics about unmanned fighter planes, no monuments to fallen bots.

And in that may lie our last hope. With the decline of mass militaries and their possible replacement by machines, we may finally see that war is not just an extension of our needs and passions, however base or noble.

Nor is it likely to be even a useful test of our courage, fitness, or national unity. War has its own dynamic or — in case that sounds too anthropomorphic — its own grim algorithms to work out. As it comes to need us less, maybe we will finally see that we don’t need it either. We can leave it to the ants.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of a number of books including Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America and Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America. This essay is a revised and updated version of the afterword to the British edition of Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War (Granta, 2011).  To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest TomCast audio interview in which  Ehrenreich discusses the nature of war and how to fight against it,  click here, or download it to your iPod here.

Copyright 2011 Barbara Ehrenreich

Is there a Secret Deal on Drone attacks? And Sealed in Blood…

The C.I.A. has carried out hundreds of strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

On a hot day in June 2004, the Pashtun tribesman was lounging inside a mud compound in South Waziristan, speaking by satellite phone to one of the many reporters who regularly interviewed him on how he had fought and humbled Pakistan’s army in the country’s western mountains. He asked one of his followers about the strange, metallic bird hovering above him.

Less than 24 hours later, a missile tore through the compound, severing Mr. Nek Muhammad’s left leg and killing him and several others, including two boys, ages 10 and 16.

A Pakistani military spokesman was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, saying that Pakistani forces had fired at the compound. “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time.”

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, the former Pakistani president military dictator whose government reached a deal with the C.I.A., allowing it to carry out secret drone strikes in Pakistan.


“Mr. Nek Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a “targeted killing.” The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state.

By 2004, the car thief Mr. Muhammad had become the undisputed star of the tribal areas, the fierce mountain lands populated by the Wazirs, Mehsuds and other Pashtun tribes who for decades had lived independent of the writ of the central government in Islamabad.

A brash member of the Wazir tribe, Mr. Muhammad had raised an army to fight government troops and had forced the government into negotiations. He saw no cause for loyalty to the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani military spy service that had given an earlier generation of Pashtuns support during the war against the Soviets.

Born near Wana, the bustling market hub of South Waziristan, Mr. Muhammad spent his adolescent years as a petty car thief and shopkeeper in the city’s bazaar. He found his calling in 1993, around the age of 18, when he was recruited to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and rose quickly through the group’s military hierarchy.

He cut a striking figure on the battlefield with his long face and flowing jet black hair.

Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.

Kamran Wazir/Reuters. Nek Muhammad, center, was a Pashtun militant who was killed in 2004, in the first C.I.A. drone strike in Pakistan.

In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill Nek in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.

That back-room bargain, described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate.

The deal, a month after a blistering internal report about abuses in the C.I.A.’s network of secret prisons, paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization

 The New York Times. Enlarge This Image

REMOTE Wana, in South Waziristan, where Pashtuns live independent of the Pakistani government’s authority and have given shelter to militants. Enlarge This Image

TARGET Mr. Muhammad, a Pashtun militant leader, reached a truce with the Pakistani military in April 2004. But the truce was a sham and two months later he was killed in a C.I.A. drone strike at Pakistan’s behest. Enlarge This Image

Allah Noor Wazir/European Pressphoto Agency. Tribesmen praying at Mr. Muhammad’s grave days after his killing. Enlarge This Image

The C.I.A. has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike. While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, it became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war.

Neither American nor Pakistani officials have ever publicly acknowledged what really happened to Mr. Muhammad — details of the strike that killed him, along with those of other secret strikes, are still hidden in classified government databases.

But in recent months, calls for transparency from members of Congress and critics on both the right and left have put pressure on Mr. Obama and his new C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, to offer a fuller explanation of the goals and operation of the drone program, and of the agency’s role.

Mr. Brennan, who began his career at the C.I.A. and over the past four years oversaw an escalation of drone strikes from his office at the White House, has signaled that he hopes to return the agency to its traditional role of intelligence collection and analysis. But with a generation of C.I.A. officers now fully engaged in a new mission, it is an effort that could take years.

Today, even some of the people who were present at the creation of the drone program think the agency should have long given up targeted killings.

Ross Newland, who was a senior official at the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Langley, Va., when the agency was given the authority to kill Qaeda operatives, says he thinks that the agency had grown too comfortable with remote-control killing, and that drones have turned the C.I.A. into the villain in countries like Pakistan, where it should be nurturing relationships in order to gather intelligence.

As he puts it, “This is just not an intelligence mission.”

Alex Wong/Getty Images. SPY CHIEFS George J. Tenet, left, director of the C.I.A., and his deputy, John E. McLaughlin, are sworn in before the 9/11 panel in 2004. Enlarge This Image

Many Pakistanis in the tribal areas viewed with disdain the alliance that President Pervez Musharraf had forged with the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They regarded the Pakistani military that had entered the tribal areas as no different from the Americans — who they believed had begun a war of aggression in Afghanistan, just as the Soviets had years earlier.

When the Americans invaded Afghanistan in 2001, Nek seized an opportunity to host the Arab and Chechen fighters from Al Qaeda who crossed into Pakistan to escape the American bombing.

For Mr. Muhammad, it was partly a way to make money, but he also saw another use for the arriving fighters. With their help, over the next two years he launched a string of attacks on Pakistani military installations and on American firebases in Afghanistan.

C.I.A. officers in Islamabad urged Pakistani spies to lean on the Waziri tribesman to hand over the foreign fighters, but under Pashtun tribal customs that would be treachery.

Reluctantly, Mr. Musharraf ordered his troops into the forbidding mountains to deliver rough justice to Mr. Muhammad and his fighters, hoping the operation might put a stop to the attacks on Pakistani soil, including two attempts on his life in December 2003.

But it was only the beginning. In March 2004, Pakistani helicopter gunships and artillery pounded Wana and its surrounding villages. Government troops shelled pickup trucks that were carrying civilians away from the fighting and destroyed the compounds of tribesmen suspected of harboring foreign fighters. The Pakistani commander declared the operation an unqualified success, but for Islamabad, it had not been worth the cost in casualties.

A cease-fire was negotiated in April during a hastily arranged meeting in South Waziristan, during which a senior Pakistani commander hung a garland of bright flowers around Mr. Muhammad’s neck. The two men sat together and sipped tea as photographers and television cameras recorded the event.

Both sides spoke of peace, but there was little doubt who was negotiating from strength. Mr. Muhammad would later brag that the government had agreed to meet inside a religious madrasa rather than in a public location where tribal meetings are traditionally held. “I did Not go to them; they came to my place,” he said. “That should make it clear who surrendered to whom.”

The peace arrangement propelled Mr. Muhammad to new fame, and the truce was soon exposed as a sham. He resumed attacks against Pakistani troops, and Mr. Musharraf ordered his army back on the offensive in South Waziristan.

Pakistani officials had, for several years, balked at the idea of allowing armed C.I.A. Predators to roam their skies. They considered drone flights a violation of sovereignty, and worried that they would invite further criticism of Mr. Musharraf as being Washington’s lackey. But Mr. Muhammad’s rise to power forced them to reconsider.

The C.I.A. had been monitoring the rise of Mr. Muhammad, but officials considered him to be more Pakistan’s problem than America’s. In Washington, officials were watching with growing alarm the gathering of Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas, and George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director, authorized officers in the agency’s Islamabad station to push Pakistani officials to allow armed drones. Negotiations were handled primarily by the Islamabad station.

As the battles raged in South Waziristan, the station chief in Islamabad paid a visit to Gen. Ehsan ul Haq, the ISI chief, and made an offer: If the C.I.A. killed Mr. Muhammad, would the ISI allow regular armed drone flights over the tribal areas?

In secret negotiations, the terms of the bargain were set. Pakistani intelligence officials insisted that they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets. And they insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India.

The ISI and the C.I.A. agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the C.I.A.’s covert action authority — meaning that the United States would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.

Mr. Musharraf did not think that it would be difficult to keep up the ruse. As he told one C.I.A. officer: “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time.”

A New Direction

As the negotiations were taking place, the C.I.A.’s inspector general, John L. Helgerson, had just finished a searing report about the abuse of detainees in the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. The report kicked out the foundation upon which the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program had rested. It was perhaps the single most important reason for the C.I.A.’s shift from capturing to killing terrorism suspects.

The greatest impact of Mr. Helgerson’s report was felt at the C.I.A.’s Counter-terrorism Center, or CTC, which was at the vanguard of the agency’s global anti-terrorism operation. The center had focused on capturing Qaeda operatives; questioning them in C.I.A. jails or outsourcing interrogations to the spy services of Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and other nations; and then using the information to hunt more terrorism suspects.

Mr. Helgerson raised questions about whether C.I.A. officers might face criminal prosecution for the interrogations carried out in the secret prisons, and he suggested that interrogation methods like waterboarding, sleep deprivation and the exploiting of the phobias of prisoners — like confining them in a small box with live bugs — violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

“The agency faces potentially serious long-term political and legal challenges as a result of the CTC detention and interrogation program,” the report concluded, given the brutality of the interrogation techniques and the “inability of the U.S. government to decide what it will ultimately do with the terrorists detained by the agency.”

The report was the beginning of the end for the program. The prisons would stay open for several more years, and new detainees were occasionally picked up and taken to secret sites, but at Langley, senior C.I.A. officers began looking for an endgame to the prison program. One C.I.A. operative told Mr. Helgerson’s team that officers from the agency might one day wind up on a “wanted list” and be tried for war crimes in an international court.

The ground had shifted, and counterterrorism officials began to rethink the strategy for the secret war. Armed drones, and targeted killings in general, offered a new direction. Killing by remote control was the antithesis of the dirty, intimate work of interrogation. Targeted killings were cheered by Republicans and Democrats alike, and using drones flown by pilots who were stationed thousands of miles away made the whole strategy seem risk-free.

Before long the C.I.A. would go from being the long-term jailer of America’s enemies to a military organization that erased them.

Not long before, the agency had been deeply ambivalent about drone warfare.

The Predator had been considered a blunt and unsophisticated killing tool, and many at the C.I.A. were glad that the agency had gotten out of the assassination business long ago. Three years before Mr. Muhammad’s death, and one year before the C.I.A. carried out its first targeted killing outside a war zone — in Yemen in 2002 — a debate raged over the legality and morality of using drones to kill suspected terrorists.

A new generation of C.I.A. officers had ascended to leadership positions, having joined the agency after the 1975 Congressional committee led by Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, which revealed extensive C.I.A. plots to kill foreign leaders, and President Gerald Ford’s subsequent ban on assassinations. The rise to power of this post-Church generation had a direct impact on the type of clandestine operations the C.I.A. chose to conduct.

The debate pitted a group of senior officers at the Counterterrorism Center against James L. Pavitt, the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, and others who worried about the repercussions of the agency’s getting back into assassinations. Mr. Tenet told the 9/11 commission that he was not sure that a spy agency should be flying armed drones.

John E. McLaughlin, then the C.I.A.’s deputy director, who the 9/11 commission reported had raised concerns about the C.I.A.’s being in charge of the Predator, said: “You can’t underestimate the cultural change that comes with gaining lethal authority.

“When people say to me, ‘It’s not a big deal,’ ” he said, “I say to them, ‘Have you ever killed anyone?’

“It is a big deal. You start thinking about things differently,” he added. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, these concerns about the use of the C.I.A. to kill were quickly swept side.

The Account at the Time

After Mr. Muhammad was killed, his dirt grave in South Waziristan became a site of pilgrimage. A Pakistani journalist, Zahid Hussain, visited it days after the drone strike and saw a makeshift sign displayed on the grave: “He lived and died like a true Pashtun.”

Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan’s top military spokesman, told reporters at the time that “Al Qaeda facilitator” Nek Muhammad and four other “militants” had been killed in a rocket attack by Pakistani troops.

Any suggestion that Mr. Muhammad was killed by the Americans, or with American assistance, he said, was “absolutely absurd.”

This article is adapted from “The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth,” to be published by Penguin Press on Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in print on April 7, 2013.

Dan Rockwell wrote: “Only Fools Never Change” and described a personal experience.

He said:

I worked for a boss who greedily grabbed the good projects and gave garbage jobs to others.

She was a real go-getter who came in early and stayed late. I learned she was:

  1. Looking out for number one. It was all about her, even when she was being helpful.
  2. Distrustful. Her distrust made others reluctant to take risks.
  3. Fearful down deep. Disagreements were always taken personally.
  4. Manipulative and easily manipulated by office gossips. Her fear that something bad might get to her boss made her paranoid.

She knew how to get the job done so the boss kept her around, even though the office, for the most part, despised her.

The trouble with greedy go-getters is they get the job done.


The leadership journey is dotted with switchbacks and profound shifts in thinking.

Growing leaders think one way at the beginning and another at the end.

Wise leaders say, “I used to think…, but now I realize…”

Only fools never change.

Switchbacks in leadership thinking:

  1. Finding solutions to finding problems.
  2. Spotlighting self to spotlighting others.
  3. Making statements to asking questions.
  4. Heads down to heads up; from small picture to big.
  5. Enjoying credit for self to giving credit to others.

Bob Burg explains a counter intuitive leadership-switchback in his book, “The Go-Giver.”

Fundamental shift:

Focus on giving more than getting.

Go-getters do well. Go-givers do better!

Great leaders are go-getters when it comes to giving. The first law of the go-getters is the law of value:

Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

The last law protects go-giving from martydom.

The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

Jack Welch said, “Great leaders have a generosity gene.”

What shifts in thinking have you had on your leadership journey?

Bonus material: PDF of all Five Laws of the Go-Giver.

Buy, “The Go-Giver.”



How the wife turns you to sheep?
Note: Actually, I am currently reading “Ayez pitie’ des jeunes filles” (Have pity for the women) by the same author Henry de Montherlant. I will note a few of his sentences and opinions. He seems to write what he thinks aloud. (Sentences in parenthesis are mine, as usual)
Just For Fun

« La glande d’hippogriffe, injectée à un homme vigoureux, lui donne une faiblesse d’agneau. À force d’ennuyer un homme, de le bourrer de soucis, de responsabilités, d’obligations, de scrupules, de décisions à prendre, de retours sur lui-même, on peut arriver à l’ahurir et à le ronger tellement, qu’il n’oppose plus de résistance à une volonté, même quand il la connaît mauvaise.

Les femmes le savent, et c’est pourquoi, introduire une femme quelque part, c’est y introduire le casse-tête : comme les navires de guerre, elles progressent derrière les fumées qu’elles répandent. »

(Pas toutes les femmes quand meme: a considerer le charactere du mari. En tout cas, puisque la sante’ des femme est plus corriace, ca ne nuit pas d’essayer toujours)

Henry de Montherlant – Série Les jeunes filles, tome 4: Les lépreuses

Apparemment, il y a une verite’ pour les vivanrs et une autre pour les moribonds. (Et pourtant, ils mentent tous)

Est-ce folie de se contraindre sans avoir de fortes raisons? (Comme qu’elles raisons?)

Que tout ce qu’ il y a de bien nait par la contrainte volontaire? Une humanite’ qui essaye de justifier ses sueurs (et ses peines pour survivre).

N’ espere pas garder un peu de tenue dans l’agonie: (c’est un ridicule heroique d’une personne franche).

Ne pensez pas a faire de mots historique a l’agonie: (l’histoire est fausse)

Les religions qui vous force a croire en un seul Dieu sont inferieures aux hautes philosophies paiennes.

C’ est un peu trop de survivre pour vouloir savoir tout ce qu’ il entre de mensonge, de calcul, de lassitude, de charite’ dans un “amour” qu’on temoigne.

La souffrance qui se paye en cette vie (injustice sociale) et qui n’est pas prevue dans une vie de l’au-dela, (cette souffrance est-elle le fait d’un imbecile? Comme d’accepter une souffrance une victoire de la volonte’?)

Peut-on ressentir indifferement les sentiments humaines? (Seulement ces sentiments qui ne nous passionnent pas? Mais, quel sentiment peut me passionner?)

Il pouvait la rendre folle de douleur; il lui etait egal de la rendre folle de joie: elle l’avait bien merite’

Prouver aux mecreants qu’ils sont seulement des desespere’? (Le devoir du pretre qui a la fonction d’entendre et d’absoudre les confessions).

Une femme malheureuse veut convaincre l’homme qu’elle aime que lui aussi est malheureux? La maternelle consolation? Surtout quand le bonheur,  l’homme ne le tire pas d’elle? (Quoi, le restaurant fait une cuisine meilleure? Ses copains aiment mieux a boire ensemble?)

“Les charmes de l’horreur n’ enivrent que les forts?”

The Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI) brings you the second in a series of “Peer-Reviewed Article Reviews” in which we present a collection of journals and their articles concerned with the Middle East and Arab world. This series will be published seasonally. Each issue will comprise one-to-three parts, depending on the number of articles included.

Arab Law Quarterly (Volume 31, Issues 3 & 4)


“Two ICC Arbitrations Disturbed by Two Court Orders: The Impact of Ignoring the Power of the ICC Court to Extend the Time Limit for the Award”

By: Mostafa Abu-Hagras

Abstract: The 1994 Egyptian Arbitration Act has conferred the jurisdiction to terminate arbitral proceedings, if the time limit for the award expires, on Egypt’s courts. The Egyptian courts have wrongfully terminated two International Chamber of Commerce arbitration proceedings. Egypt’s Court of Cassation has ultimately reversed the decisions of the Egyptian lower courts, so the two ICC arbitration awards have survived. This article examines the manner in which the Egyptian courts were asked to grant, recognise or refuse to recognise the termination orders, and clarifies how arbitrators, the ICC Court, and parties reacted to them.

“Between Theory(-ies) and Practice(-s): Legal Devices (Ḥiyal) in Classical Islamic Law”

By: Valentino Cattelan

Abstract: By assuming a disconnection between jurists’ doctrines and the reality of social life, Joseph Schacht interpreted ḥiyal (legal devices) in classical Islamic law as ‘the maximum that custom could concede, and the minimum (that is to say, formal acknowledgment) that the theory had to demand’.

Challenging this interpretation, this article argues that ḥiyal were not exclusively the products of commercial customs that were unrelated to the jurists’ ideal law. In actual fact, the diverging contractual theories of the Sunni maḏāhib contributed to the development of diverse ḥiyal practices, whose social acceptance in medieval trade was correspondingly fostered (or rejected) by underlying fiqh doctrines.

“Developing Internet Jurisdiction in B2B and B2C Contracts: Focusing on Iranian Legal System with Comparative Study of American, English and EU Laws”

By: Taher Habibzadeh

Abstract: In the modern world, electronic communications play a significant role in areas of national and international law such as Internet jurisdiction. Private international law provides that the competent court is the court within which jurisdiction the contract is performed, so it is important to know the place of performance of the contract in the case of contracts for digital goods such as e-books or computer software delivered online. It is equally important in the case of electronic services such as e-teaching.

As consumer protection in B2C contracts is important in developing global e-commerce, it is alos important to consider whether the consumer party is able to bring an action against the business party in his own place of domicile or habitual residence. The article analyses these questions and proposes ways in which the Iranian legal system might be developed to address issues of Internet jurisdiction in B2B and B2C contracts.

“Modern Extremist Groups and the Division of the World: A Critique from an Islamic Perspective”

By: Mohamed Badar a, Masaki Nagata b

Abstract: Modern extremist groups have revived the use of certain concepts of Islamic dogma and wilfully misinterpreted them as a means of achieving their own ends. Dae‘sh (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is the most striking example. They have made declarations of takfir (excommunication) regarding Muslim rulers, maintaining that only Dae‘sh land is a dar al-Islam (abode of Islam), and that other lands are dar al-kufr or harb (abodes of unbelief or war), just as the Khawarij sect believed in the 7th century CE.

They do not employ the concept of hijra (migration) in its traditional, defensive sense, but rather as a means of strengthening their own power by recruiting from around the world and launching military jihads- all in order to ‘reclaim’ the dar al-kufr and establish an Islamic state. This article examines the evolution of these terms throughout Islamic history, their misinterpretation by extremist groups, and their modern legal status.

“Does an Islamic Finance Industry Need a Unification of Standards? A Qualitative Discussion”

By: Aminath Amany Ahmed; Azhar Mohamad, Aghilasse Kashi

Abstract: The two main problems faced by the Islamic finance industry in Muslim countries are that of fragmented markets, which give rise to different governing standards, and that of very much region-centric market growth. In this article, using a qualitative approach, we identify the obstacles facing the industry in its quest to unify the differences and implement a uniform standard. We argue that if Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry is to become a leader in the global Islamic finance industry, a key policy must be to reduce the gaps in Islamic finance practices between countries by adopting unified standards.

Unifying standards could enable Muslim countries to accrue greater benefits from the globalization of the Islamic financial sector, and attract more foreign direct investment and portfolio equity flows. It could also enable greater integration of Islamic financial markets, increase diversification opportunities and expand the set of available financial instruments.

“Protection Against Domestic Violence in Jordanian Law and International Conventions”

By: Laith K. Nasrawin

Abstract: This article addresses the issue of protection against domestic violence in both Jordanian law and international conventions. It does so by defining domestic violence and its various causes, and by exploring the relevant global standards and best international practices for combating it. The article also deals with the reality of protection against domestic violence in Jordan by referring to the special protection of the family and to the related follow-up by national and governmental institutions, and the relevant national standards.

The Law Regarding Protection from Domestic Violence (Law No. 6/2008) contains protective provisions and other treatments to reduce this phenomenon, but it fails to provide optimal protection against domestic violence. The article proposes a set of recommendations to improve national standards for protection against domestic violence so that Jordan’s laws concerning protection against domestic violence can conform to international standards.

“Fundamentals of the Real Estate Legislative System and Its Impact on Sustainable Development: Dubai Case Study”

By: Iyad Mohammed Jadalhaq

Abstract: The real estate legislative system is one of the bases of the sustainable development process. This research focuses on the role of the legal system in sustainable development, according to the most prominent and relevant international reports. The UAE ranked forty-first globally in the Human Development Index (HDI). In the World Bank’s ‘Doing Business Report’, the UAE ranked second globally and first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the ‘Dealing with Construction Permits’ indicator. Thus, the Emirate of Dubai is deemed the second-best city in the world in terms of ease of dealing with construction permits. For the ‘Registering Property’ indicator, the UAE ranked tenth globally and first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Despite the UAE’s great achievements in terms of developmental ranking at the global level, there is still more to achieve in the field of development.

British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies (Volume 44, Issue 4 & Volume 45, Issue 1)


“The Rewards of Failure: Persisting Military Rule in Egypt”

By: Robert Springborg

Abstract: The Egyptian military, having been bogged down for almost five years in a losing war in Yemen, had to deal with a crushing defeat in June 1967. Similar defeats elsewhere, such as in Argentina and Greece, have led to militaries being removed from power. In Egypt, however, Nasser salvaged his and the military’s rule by purging elements of the High Command, by repressing the nascent protest movement, and by calling in the Soviets to rebuild and essentially command his armed forces. Half a century later, the military is even more firmly in control of Egypt.

Having ridden out successive challenges to its authority, including Sadat’s attempted civilianization, the global Third Wave of democracy, Mubarak’s effort to establish a family dynasty, the uprising of 2011 and the Muslim Brothers’ one-year interregnum, the Egyptian military’s political persistence is virtually unmatched in the region or indeed, the world. After tracing the historical evolution of military rule from 1967, this article explores the structural bases for the persistence of its power before assessing the overwhelmingly negative consequences of this remarkably protracted military rule of what was once the leading Arab country.

“The New Arab Left and 1967”

By: Sune Haugbolle

Abstract: In Arab political culture, the Naksa of 1967 had a number of watershed effects. Scholars have paid a lot of attention to the decline of secular Arab nationalism, and the concurrent rise of Islamism. Much less research has been done on the way 1967 spurred radical left organizations, also known as ‘the new Arab left’, to organize resistance against Israel as well as gain a foothold in national politics.

This article analyzes what 1967 meant for groups such as P.F.L.P., D.F.L.P., O.C.A.L. and the Syrian Communist Party – Political Bureau, and the wider political culture associated with the new left: its media, journals and art. Based on readings of this cultural production and new research on the tri-continental movement, revolutionary socialism and Third-Worldism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this article argues that the defeat of 1967 helped to determine the shape of the revolutionary moment that followed. This moment has had a lasting impact on Arab political culture and is being re-interpreted in interesting ways today by Arab revolutionaries post-2011.

“Islamizing the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict: The Case of the Muslim Brotherhood”

By: Noha Mellor

Abstract: The Arab capitulation in the Six Day War was posited to stimulate the so-called Islamic resurgence in the region since the 1970s, which several scholars see as a sign of Islamic resistance to the Western cultural presence within the Arab world. This article argues that Islamizing the conflict began well before the 1967 defeat, and that the hegemony of the Islamist discourse has been made possible owing to its penetration into mainstream political and media discourses. It is also argued that by ‘religionizing’ the Palestinian–Israeli conflict, Islamists provide a new narrative to reshape and reframe the perception of this conflict as being religious rather than political in nature.

The article takes the Muslim Brotherhood as a topical case study, demonstrating how its print and digital media highlighted the Islamization of the conflict with Israel, and providing frequent references to the 1967 defeat as evidence of God’s wrath meted out on Arab rulers, not only for abandoning the Islamic State project, but also for oppressing Islamist movements.

“In the Shadow of the 1967 War: Israel and the Palestinians”

By: Amal Jamal

Abstract: The 1967 war in the Middle East has had major ramifications on the entire region including Israel. This article focuses on three of the major longstanding ramifications, namely the change in the demographic balance between Jews and Palestinians west of the Jordan River, and the challenge that the military regime imposed on the Palestinians in the newly occupied Palestinian territories poses regarding the nature of the Israeli regime as a whole and the reconnecting of Palestinians and citizens of Israel, with their fellow Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

This article demonstrates how Israeli policies towards Palestinians impacted the disposition of the Palestinian community inside Israel, and how the coming together of Israeli policy changes in the Palestinian struggle for independence and social transformations inside the Palestinian community in Israel have led to different adaptation strategies among the Palestinians to face their in-between reality.

“Syria – From the Six Day War to the Syrian Civil War”

By: Eyal Zisser

Abstract: The story of Syria during the Six-Day War is the story of a state whose leadership was young, inexperienced, reckless, and radical; it sowed fire and reaped a firestorm. For a while, the war seemed as a turning point in the history of Syria since it led to the rise of Hafiz al-Asad, who gave his country political stability that enabled him to turn it into a powerful and esteemed state at home and abroad.

Asad’s era was marked by freeze, stagnation, and the maintenance of the status quo which became the essence of the Syrian regime’s policies and course of action not only vis-à-vis Israel, but also in its activity domestically, whether in the social, political, or economic sphere. The ultimate result, as this article argues, was the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in March 2011, which demonstrated that the appearance of stability and strength projected by the regime was a complete facade.

“From Cooperation to Normalization? Jordan–Israel Relations Since 1967”

By: Ronen Yitzhak

Abstract: This article deals with the relations between Jordan and Israel from 1967 until 2015. The mutual interest of the Hashemite regime and the Zionist movement, namely to oppose the Palestinians, created the first opportunity for cooperation, which developed into economic ties and intelligence exchanges during the reign of King Abdullah I. A real strategic alliance between Jordan and Israel was formed in the 1950s, when Egyptian President Gamal Abd al-Nasser, together with other nationalist Arab elements, tried to subvert King Hussein’s regime and topple him.

Israel unhesitatingly came to the side of the Hashemite ruler to protect Jordanian territorial sovereignty. This perception of Jordan informed Israel’s policy, which aimed to aid Jordan in confronting new challenges to the regime. The fact that Israel has stood by the Hashemite regime through most of its existence indicates a strategic partnership that will sustain, even if the peace treaty were to be revoked one day.

“The Gulf Arab States and Israel Since 1967: From ‘No Negotiation’ to Tacit Cooperation”

By: Uzi Rabi & Chelsi Mueller

Abstract: This article analyses the Gulf Arab states’ changing posture toward Israel since the June 1967 War. Fifty years on, the ‘three no’s’ of Khartoum have been replaced by the Saudi-coordinated Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normalization in return for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Furthermore, the meaning of ‘normalization’ has been re-defined over the years in accordance with the changing geopolitical circumstances. Mutually beneficial ties between Israel and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have grown up in proportion to their shared interests and shared threat perceptions. In the period from the 1967 War to the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty, the Gulf Arab states, for the most part, boycotted Israel in line with pan-Arab requirements.

While Iranian propaganda during the Khomeini era (1979–1989) depicted Gulf Arab rulers as lackeys of Zionism and imperialism, GCC–Israel ties were anathema. In the 1990s, the GCC lent cautious support to the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, and two of its members, Oman and Qatar, expanded trade relations with Israel in defiance of Arab and Gulf norms.

The emergence of the Saudi–Iranian regional cold war, after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, gave rise to unprecedented levels of tacit security and intelligence cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“Revisiting the 1967 Arab-Israel War and Its Consequences for the Regional System”

By: Raymond Hinnebusch

Abstract: This paper examines the causes and consequences of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war utilizing Waltz’s three levels of analysis: system, state, and decision-makers. It first examines the causes, looking at why the M.E.N.A. regional system, but particularly the Arab-Israeli subsystem, was so war prone; assessing why a certain bellicosity was built into both Israel and several of its Arab neighbours; and examining the calculations and miscalculations by leaders on both sides that led to war. 1967 was a ‘war of vulnerability’ and miscalculation for Egypt but for Israel the war derived from a mix of vulnerability (from vulnerable borders) and opportunity (to acquire ‘defensible’ borders).

This paper then examines why the 1967 war did not lead to peace, but rather to a chain of new wars. Victory in 1967 reinforced Israel’s territorial ambitions; shifted the power balance decisively toward it; and ultimately shattered Arab unity against it; but because the imbalance in Israel’s favour was insufficient to impose a pro-Israeli peace, the result was new wars in which Arab states sought to reverse and Israel to reinforce the verdict of 1967.

“De-Centring Shiʿi Islam”

By: Morgan Clarke & Mirjam Künkler

Abstract: In the introduction to this special issue, we make the case for ‘de-centring’ the study of Shiʿi Islam conceptually, spatially, and sociologically. After first noting the essentialization of Shiʿi identity within the contemporary public sphere, we question its spatialization within the modern world of nation-states and area studies, and contrast the physical and human geography of Shiʿi Islam.

We then turn to the central theme of religious authority. Much of the study of modern Shiʿi Islam has (legitimately) focused on towering clerical figures and the institution of the marjaʿiyya, the summit of the religious hierarchy. We propose a number of ways in which this focus on the marjaʿiyya might be complicated, through attention to the diversity of forms it takes and the ways in which it is mediated.

We point to the need for more bottom-up studies of Shiʿi authority as a complement to the dominant approach of a top-down perspective, as well as greater attention to contexts where the importance of the marjaʿiyya recedes into the background. We also call for further study of the large part of the Shiʿi population to whom the path towards religious authority was long closed off: women.

“Divergent Processes of Localization in Twenty-First-Century Shiʿism: the Cases of Hezbollah Venezuela and Cambodia’s Cham Shiʿis”

By: Philipp Bruckmayr

Abstract: This contribution discusses two striking twenty-first-century cases of the global spread of Shiʿism beyond the Middle East, with a particular focus on accompanying processes of localization. On the arid Guajira Peninsula shared by Colombia and Venezuela, Teodoro Darnott, a self-declared liberator of an indigenous people, has framed Shiʿism as a revolutionary ideology that helps justify the Wayúu people’s struggle for self-determination.

In Cambodia, Shiʿism has recently entered a Muslim community in this predominantly Buddhist country on somewhat different terms. Here, its localization involved a re-emphasis on ancient traditions of the local Cham people that trace the spread of Islam among them to Imam ʿAli. It is precisely the vastly different contexts of the two cases that highlight that the localization of Shiʿism has, in these cases at least, paradoxically gone hand in hand with cultural revival and a quest for the preservation of local culture.

“Making a Centre in the Periphery: the Legitimation of Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah’s Beirut Marjaʿiyya”

By: Morgan Clarke & Mirjam Künkler

Abstract: Lebanon’s Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah (d.2010) enjoyed, in his later years, a high profile as a ‘source of emulation’ (marjaʿ al-taqlīd) for Twelver Shiʿa in Lebanon and beyond. That high profile stemmed in part from his close association with the Shiʿi Lebanese resistance to Israeli occupation, and Hizballah in particular, but also from his avowedly ‘open-minded’ (munfatiḥ) and frequently controversial Islamic legal positions. His supporters claimed that his independent, Beirut-based marjaʿiyya could be more relevant to the contemporary, cosmopolitan world than those of the traditional scholarly centres of Najaf and Qom.

His detractors, however, challenged the scholarly credentials of a man who had left the seminary (ḥawza) at a relatively young age. In the context of the interest of this special issue in ‘de-centring’ our approaches to Shiʿi Islam, he thus represents a valuable case study of how knowledge and authority can be constituted at the margins by one who seeks to challenge the tradition’s status quo, and in particular the hold of the contemporary ḥawza establishment as represented by the schools of Najaf and Qom. In this article I concentrate on his attempts to legitimize his scholarly authority in particular, vital to his claim to the marjaʿiyya.

“Shiʿi Preaching in West Africa: the Dakar Sermons of Lebanese Shaykh al-Zayn”

By: Mara A. Leichtman & Abdullah F. Alrebh

Abstract: While there has been much emphasis on new types of media for the dissemination of Islamic ideas, this article focuses on the conventional Friday khuṭba. Lebanese Shaykh al-Zayn was trained in Najaf, Iraq and was sent by Musa al-Sadr to serve the Lebanese diasporic business community in Senegal. Estranged from the religious politics of the homeland and traditional centres of Shiʿi learning, Lebanese in Senegal depended on Shaykh al-Zayn to teach them about Shiʿi Islam. The Islamic Social Institute he built was the first Shiʿi institution in all of West Africa.

Shaykh al-Zayn quickly gained a following of both Sunni and Shiʿi Muslims, Arabs as well as Africans. This article focuses on the shaykh’s discursive strategies for addressing his unique following. At times, his Friday sermons stressed the particularities of Shiʿi Islamic practice, but more often he highlighted a universal Islam in an effort to appeal to Senegal’s Sunni Muslim majority. In analysing khutbas given in 2003 during the beginning of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, we pay particular attention to the Lebanese shaykh’s engagement with global politics and how his messages were translated for a community in West Africa detached from the Middle East.

“Sub-Centres of Power in Shiʿi Islam: Women of ʿAlid descent in the Contemporary Near East”

By: Raffaele Mauriello

Abstract: A peculiar characteristic of the Islamic civilization is represented by the Prophet’s family (Ahl al-Bayt), whose history spans over 14 centuries and whose members have played at different times and places an important role in the Muslim world. The Prophet’s kinfolk are collectively known either as sādat (sing. sayyid) or as ashrāf (sing. sharīf). Within this kinfolk, the ‘Alids claim to descend from the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima and his cousin ‘Ali.

It has been argued that the ‘Alids represent a formidable example of the necessity to re-formulate the two categories of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’ in accordance with the distinctive features of the Islamic civilization. In this respect, Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti has coined the terms centri dislocati (‘sub-centres’ or ‘centres in the periphery’) and centro deputato (‘designated centre’) to analyse the role of the ʿAlids as key actors in the dialectical dynamics that define the ‘centre’ and in initiating political, religious, and cultural movements or changes. This essay argues for the importance of including ‘Alid women in the human geography framework formulated by Scarcia Amoretti. The case study concerns women of a remarkable ʿAlid family of the Shiʿi religious establishment of the Near East, the al-Sadr.

“Challenging Transnational Shiʿi Authority in Baʿth Syria”

By: Edith Szanto

Abstract: From the early 1970s until 2011, the Syrian shrine town of Sayyida Zaynab flourished as a minor centre of Shiʿi learning. It predominantly served Iraqi Shiʿi refugees, but also temporary visitors from Iran and the Gulf countries. The seminaries viewed it as their responsibility to draw in transient Shiʿa and turn them into students and loyal followers of important marājiʿ al-taqlīd or Shiʿi legal scholars who mainly reside in major centres of Shiʿi learning, such as Najaf, Karbala and Qom. While the seminaries in Sayyida Zaynab aimed at strengthening institutional affiliation among lay Shiʿa, they concurrently aided the questioning of authoritative religious edicts and opinions emanating from Iranian and Iraqi centres of learning and produced local religious authorities.

This article examines two spheres in which central authority was challenged in the shrine town of Sayyida Zaynab. First, it was contested in seminaries where students and teachers debated legal rulings. Second, in contested public Muharram practices such as self-flagellation processions, and the showing and selling of recorded laṭmiyyāt, which are chants performed during ritual mourning gatherings

Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (Volume 80, Issue 3)


“The Arabic of the Islamic Conquests: Notes on Phonology and Morphology Based on the Greek Transcriptions from the First Islamic Century”

By: Ahmad Al-Jallad

Abstract: This paper attempts to reconstruct aspects of the phonology and morphology of the Arabic of the Islamic conquests on the basis of Greek transcriptions in papyri of the first Islamic century. The discussion includes phonemic and allophonic variation in consonants and vowels, and nominal morphology. The essay concludes with a discussion on possible Aramaic and South Arabian influences in the material, followed by a short appendix with remarks on select Arabic terms from the pre-Islamic papyri.

“Why Was the Dome of the Rock Built? A New Perspective on a Long-Discussed Question”

By: Milka Levy-Rubin

Abstract: The existing discussion regarding the motives for building the Dome of the Rock revolves around two suggestions: that the incentive for building was the fierce competition between ʿAbd al-Malik and ʿAbdallah b. al-Zubayr in Mecca, and that it was competition with local Christian monuments that moved ʿAbd al-Malik to building this outstanding edifice. This paper suggests that a third incentive lay in the political and ideological rivalry with Constantinople, which was at its peak during that period. This rivalry drove ʿAbd al-Malik to build a monument that would outdo those of Constantinople, and especially that of the Hagia Sophia. Muslim tradition emphasized that Constantinople had contaminated the site of the Temple and had claimed to inherit its place as God’s throne on earth. The building of the Dome of the Rock, the New Temple of Solomon, was thus meant to redeem the Temple of Jerusalem’s honour as of old against the claims of Constantinople.

“Identification of a Small Fragment of Mani’s Living Gospel (Turfan Collection, Berlin, M5439)”

By: Mohammad Shokri-Foumeshi

Abstract: Heretofore three fragments of Maniʼs Living Gospel – the most important work of Mani – have been recognized in Middle Persian and in Manichaean script: M17, M172/I/ and M644. This article, with a codicological and textological approach, shows that M17 and the new fragment M5439 are two separate pieces of a single manuscript page. The verso-side of M5439 has a new text. Now, after the identification and reading of this damaged fragment, we are able to correct the previous reconstructions and comment on a few Middle Persian words. The text contains a part of the exordium and of the chapter Aleph of the Living Gospel.

“Two Iranian Loanwords in Syriac”

By: Nicholas Sims-Williams

Abstract: This article discusses two Syriac words which have been understood in many different ways by both ancient and modern scholars. The translations and etymologies previously proposed are evaluated and new explanations are offered, according to which both words, sāsgaunā “red” and syānqā “hemi-drachm”, are loanwords from Middle Persian, though unattested in that language.


Comparative Studies in Society and History (Volume 59, Issue 4 & Volume 60, Issue 1)


“Written and Oral in Islamic Law: Documentary Evidence and Non-Muslims in Moroccan Shari‘a Courts”

By: Jessica M. Marglin

Abstract: This article begins from the premise that the margins can shine light on the center, and uses the experience of Jews (thought of as marginal in the Islamic world) in Moroccan courts (similarly thought of as marginal in Islamic history) to tell a new story about orality and writing in Islamic law. Using archival evidence from nineteenth-century Morocco, this article argues that, contrary to the prevailing historiography, written evidence was central to procedure in Moroccan shari‘a courts. Records of nineteenth-century lawsuits between Jews and Muslims show that not only were notarized documents regularly submitted in court, but they could outweigh oral testimony, traditionally thought of as the gold standard of evidence in Islam.

The evidentiary practices of Moroccan shari‘a courts are supported by the jurisprudential literature of the Mālikī school of Sunni Islam, the only one prevalent in Morocco. These findings have particular relevance for the experience of non-Muslims in Islamic legal institutions. Scholars have generally assumed that Jews and Christians faced serious restrictions in their ability to present evidence in shari‘a courts, since they could not testify orally against Muslims. However, in Morocco Jews had equal access to notarized documents, and thus stood on a playing field that, theoretically at least, was level with their Muslim neighbors.

More broadly, this article explores ways in which old assumptions about the relationship of the written to the oral continue to pervade our understanding of Islamic law, and call for an approach that breaks down the dichotomy between writing and orality.

“Alternative Muslim Modernities: Bosnian Intellectuals in the Ottoman and Habsburg Empires”

By: Leyla Amzi-Erdogdular

Abstract: The Habsburg takeover of Ottoman Bosnia Herzegovina (1878–1918) is conventionally considered the entry of this province into the European realm and the onset of its modernization. Treating the transition from one empire to another not as a radical break, but in many respects continuity, reveals that the imperial context provided for the existence of overlapping affiliations that shaped the means by which modernity was mediated and embodied in the local experience. Drawing on Bosnian and Ottoman sources, this article analyzes Bosnian intellectuals’ conceptions of their particular Muslim modernity in a European context. It comparatively evaluates the ways in which they integrated the modernist discourse that developed in the Ottoman Empire and the broader Muslim world, and how they also contributed to that discourse. I show that their concern with modernity was not abstract but rather focused on concrete solutions that the Muslim modernists developed to challenges in transforming their societies. I argue that we must incorporate Islamic intellectual history, and cross-regional exchanges within it, to understand southeastern Europe’s past and present, and that studies of Europe and the Middle East need to look beyond geohistorical and disciplinary divisions.

“’Essential Collaborators’: Locating Middle Eastern Geneticists in the Global Scientific Infrastructure, 1950s–1970s”

By: Elise K. Burton

Abstract: In the aftermath of World War II, a new international infrastructure based on United Nations agencies took charge of coordinating global biomedical research. Through this infrastructure, European and American geneticists hoped to collect and test blood samples from human populations across the world to understand processes of human heredity and evolution, and trace the historical migrations of different groups. They relied heavily on local scientific workers to help them identify and access populations of interest, although they did not always acknowledge the critical role non-Western collaborators played in their studies.

Using scientific publications, personal correspondence, and oral histories, I investigate the collaborative relationships between Western scientists, their counterparts in the Middle East, and the human subjects of genetic research. I comparatively examine the experiences of Israeli and Iranian scientists and physicians engaged in genetic anthropology and medical genetics between the mid-1950s and the late 1970s, noting how they both applied nationalist historical narratives to their genetic data and struggled to establish the value of their local knowledge and scientific labor. I

argue that the Israeli and Iranian experience of transnational scientific collaboration is representative of how Western scientists relegated their collaborators from “developing” regions to a subordinate positionality as collection agents or native informants. Meanwhile, within their own countries, the elite professional identity of Israeli and Iranian scientists granted them the authority to manipulate their research subjects, who often belonged to marginalized minority communities, and to interpret their biology and history within contexts of Jewish and Persian nationalism.

“Levantine Joint-Stock Companies, Trans-Mediterranean Partnerships, and Nineteenth-Century Capitalist Development”

By: Kristen Alff

Abstract: The Levantine business community—the Sursuqs, Bustruses, Tuenis, Khuris, Debbases, Trads, Tabets, Naggiars, and Farahs—created large agricultural estates in the Levant and established company branches in Beirut, Alexandria, Haifa, London, Liverpool, Paris, and Marseille in the mid-nineteenth century. Against both culturalist and new institutional paradigms, I argue that the trajectories of the Levantine firms were much like those of their European counterparts; Dutch and English capitalism—what came to be recognized as modern forms of capitalism—developed out of long-distance trade and relied on forms of coerced and semi-coerced labor as well as other so-called “non-capitalist” or “precapitalist” elements. Beirut-based companies relied on tenant contracts, sharecropping, and other forms of labor control rooted in the Ottoman social formation.

Drawing upon the unexplored private papers of these business families in Beirut and a diverse collection of documents from Istanbul, Beirut, Jerusalem, London, Liverpool, and Marseille in Arabic, German, Ottoman Turkish, and French, this paper examines the parallels and the links between the business practices of the Levantine joint-stock companies and their European partners. It contends that the development of nineteenth-century capitalism relied on several different institutions and relations of production formulated and articulated on both sides of the Mediterranean and in the competition between them. Only after World War I, because of settler-colonialism, the settlement of nomads, and large-scale European capital investment backed by imperial power, did Levantine capital accumulation begin to take a form that was subordinate to Europe.

Contemporary Arab Affairs (Volume 10, Issue 4)


“Reforms in Morocco: Monitoring the Orbit and Reading the Trajectory”

By: Mohamad al-Akhssassi

Abstract: Since 2011, Morocco has been undergoing a series of political, constitutional and institutional reforms, including the issue of rights. These reforms were a response to the February 20 movement that emerged against the background of the Arab Spring. Prompted by this movement and its nationwide protests, the King of Morocco delivered a speech in March 2011 on reform and modernization, resulting in the rapid drafting and adoption of a new Moroccan constitution in June 2011. After a referendum on the constitutional reforms in July 2011, parliamentary elections were held in which a coalition government led by the Justice and Development Party (JDP) came to power. This paper analyzes the context of the 2011 constitution and assesses the trajectory of the constitutional reforms up to 2015.

“The Current Status of Corruption in Egypt”

By: Ahmed Alaa Fayed

Abstract: Given that corruption was one of the primary reasons that pushed the Egyptian masses to rally in 2011, it is important to look at its current status to see whether the levels of corruption have increased, decreased, or remained the same since. This paper overviews the current status of corruption in Egypt according to different national and international perception indices. In an attempt to explain why corruption remains prevalent in Egypt, it looks at the different anticorruption efforts accomplished by the state and non-governmental organizations after 2011.

“Beyond Rentierism: the United Arab Emirates’ Exceptionalism in a Turbulent Region”

By: Osman Antwi-Boateng & Mohammed Binhuwaidin

Abstract: The Arab-Muslim world is often described negatively as undemocratic, intolerant and economically backward. Rare positive commentary about the region is usually reserved for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, based on the belief that their status as rentier states coupled with immense energy resources has enabled them to escape the failures of the larger region. However, this research posits to a United Arab Emirates (UAE) exceptionalism attributed to its internalization of key political, economic, and social norms, and the promotion of such norms as a norm entrepreneur. The attractiveness of the UAE’s accomplishments in the region has made it worthy of emulation and, thus, a soft power.

“Urban Political Culture in the Arab World: the Relationship Between Orientation Towards Democracy and Political Protest”

By: Ben Ahmed Hougua

Abstract: The main hypothesis of this study is based on a causal relation between certain forms of emerging political culture in urban ecology, among the dissatisfied democrats, and the political protest in Arab capitals. This paper’s hypothesis is based on an implicit implication that the modernization factors provided by the capitals’ urban ecology contribute to cultural transformations in emerging generations. These transformations are determined by the adoption of modern value systems represented by independence, self-expression and freedom.

The demographic succession of generations – in addition to the transformations of economic and cultural conditions of socialization within the urban ecology – contributes to the deep and slow transition, and at the same time, to new forms of meanings where modernity plays a significant role in their formulation. Therefore, it is expected that these transformations will take a more visible shape among the young and educated social groups, as they are the most exposed to waves of modernization.

This paper studies the relationship between emerging political culture in Arab capitals and the engagement in political protest. It uses statistical analysis to see if there are substantial differences between the dissatisfied cultural trends and the allegiant trends, in light of demographic, value, moral and political variables. The methodology used is based on a synthesis between the authoritarian/democratic trends and self-esteem for institutional achievement (confidence in democratic political institutions such as parliament and government).

“The Hamas Movement and Its Political and Democratic Practice, 1992–2016”

By: Aqel Mohammed Ahmed Salah

Abstract: The concept of a political opportunity structure contributes to the analysis of the behaviour of political actors and is one of the current central topics that has importance for political systems at the regional and international levels, as well as for political and social scientific research centres. This study falls within the range of studies on ideological movements and political parties, and the political variables that affect the political system and these movements which lead them to adapt their ideology, by changing their position – from one of rejection to one of acceptance – with regard to participation in parliamentary elections. To achieve their aim of getting into power, ideological movements and political parties can adapt to political changes, influence the structure of political opportunities, and exploit ones available to them. This study focuses on the analysis of factors that led to the change in the position of Hamas with regard to democratic practice, from boycotting the first parliamentary elections in 1996 to actively participating in the 2006 elections. It discusses a number of factors: first, the internal organizational factors of the movement; second, the political variables in the Palestinian arena; and third, the internal factors related to the ruling party (Fatah). In light of this, the study principally aims at providing an objective view on the position of Hamas with regard to its political and democratic practice prior to its participation in the Palestinian political system and beyond, using the concept of political opportunities structure. Given that the movement was restricted by its ideology and governed by the political changes that had taken place in the Palestinian political system, it was forced to adapt to the new circumstances that followed the Oslo Treaty by changing its position from opposition and rejection, to political participation.

“The Political Economy of China–Arab Relations: Challenges and Opportunities”

By: Mohamed Hamchi

Abstract: Steady development of China–Arab economic relations has been taking place in a turbulent international environment, especially at political and economic levels. In such a context, this study shifts the attention towards approaching China–Arab economic relations from the perspective of international political economy. It is divided into three sections. The first provides a brief historical introduction to the relations between China and the Arab world. The second examines some of the main challenges that face China–Arab economic relations. The third explores the opportunities in which both parties should invest in order to reach the level of strategic partnership. The study approaches the subject from the perspective of international political economy and concludes with a discussion on how the political can play an incentive role for China–Arab economic relations.

“The Rise of China: Beijing’s Core Interests and Possible Arab Repercussions”

By: Nasser Al-Tamimi

Abstract: China is currently considered to be the world’s largest purchasing power economy, and is the second after the United States by market value- and is expected to become the largest by the end of the next decade. Previous data have shown that the concept of ‘core interests’ from the Chinese point of view may be included with the development of China’s economic and military capabilities. This concept will certainly expand as China grows into a superpower to cover many parts of the world.

With China increasingly dependent on energy imports, the Middle East and Africa and the Maritime Silk Road are expected to become a vital priority for the emerging nation in the future. In the light of this strategic background, this paper attempts to define the concept of ‘core interests’ from the Chinese point of view, and to monitor the most important stages of its application within Beijing’s external trends, highlighting the issues of Chinese policy, especially in East Asia. In the context of expanding China’s global interests, this paper argues that China’s influence in the Middle East will increase, and may be followed by an increased political and military presence, highlighting evidence and a number of trends that support this view.


Global Change, Peace & Security (Volume 29, Issue 3)


“Building Sovereigns? The UN Peacekeeping and Strengthening the Authority of the State in Lebanon and Mali”

By: Jan Daniel

Abstract: This paper contributes to the debate on the recent ‘stabilization turn’ in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping by inquiring into a changing a set of practices by which the UN intends to ‘strengthen the authority of the state.’ Drawing on Piiparinen’s notion of sovereignty-building as an emerging paradigm of conflict management, the study analyses the support for state authority and sovereignty in two modalities of contemporary UN peace operations – UNIFIL II and MINUSMA. While the two analysed missions significantly differ when it comes to the extent of their tasks, or the rules for the use of force, they both highlight the importance of local politics and agency in the implementations of their mandates and the need to strike a compromise between the contending visions on what form of sovereignty should be supported. By doing so, the paper points out the importance of ‘local’ and contextual emergence of the practices of sovereignty-building.

“Responsibility to Protect, NATO and the Problem of Who Should Intervene: Reassessing the Intervention in Libya”

By: Andrea Carati

Abstract: One of the most challenging issues concerning the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is ‘who should intervene’ in case of gross violations of human rights. After the intervention in Kosovo in 1999, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been increasingly considered a legitimate actor to fulfil the duty to intervene for humanitarian reasons. In 2011, the first military intervention inspired by the R2P in Libya reinforced the appreciation of NATO as a viable enforcer of the doctrine.

The paper problematizes the idea that NATO could be a straightforward solution to the problem of who should intervene. NATO’s constitutive nature comprises aspects that are at odds with R2P as a normative scheme. In this regard, the paper delves into three aspects: (a) the controversial issue of ‘delegated authority’ from the UN to NATO; (b) the tension between the universalistic character of the R2P and the particularistic nature of NATO; (c) the military nature of the alliance and its consequent focus on security/military considerations that rarely, or just occasionally, match with humanitarian concerns. Finally, the paper analyses the intervention in Libya assessing the incongruities between NATO’s military operations and the normative framework of R2P.


International Journal of Middle East Studies (Volume 49, Issue 4)


“The Ottoman Quagmire: Malaria, Swamps, and Settlement in the Late Ottoman Mediterranean”

By: Chris Gratien

Abstract: During the late Ottoman period, a large influx of migrants and the expansion of cultivation created opportunities for new settlements in the countryside of Anatolia, Greater Syria, and Iraq. However, settlement often brought misery to newcomers in the form of malaria, especially when it occurred in the lowlands of the Mediterranean. This article traces the contours of the encounter with malaria that arose out of settlement, offering an overview of how the Ottoman state and society confronted the conundrum of the swamp and examining the impact of this confrontation on local political economies. It demonstrates that swamps and malaria were a significant concern for late Ottoman state and society, and that policies adopted to address malaria sometimes facilitated the creation of large estates in the countryside of the Mediterranean littoral.

“Circassian Refugees and the Making of Amman, 1878-1914”

By: Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky

Abstract: In the final decades of Ottoman rule, several waves of refugees from the Russian Empire’s North Caucasus region immigrated to Transjordan, where they founded Amman and other agricultural villages. This article examines the economy of Amman in its formative years as a Circassian refugee settlement. By exploring connections between North Caucasian refugees, Syrian and Palestinian merchants, and Transjordanian urban and nomadic communities, this study posits refugees as drivers of economic expansion in the late Ottoman period.

It argues that the settlement of North Caucasian refugees and their active participation in the real estate market in and around Amman contributed to the entrenchment of the post-1858 property regime in Ottoman Transjordan. Through a study of an upper-class Circassian household and its legal battles, this article also illustrates the rise of refugee elites who benefited from the commodification of land and the construction of state-sponsored infrastructure in the late Ottoman Levant.

“Refugees and the Case for International Authority in the Middle East: The League of Nations and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East Compared”

By: Laura Robson

Abstract: In the immediate aftermath of World War I, the newly formed League of Nations saw Middle Eastern refugees—particularly displaced Armenians and Assyrians scattered in camps across the Eastern Mediterranean—as venues for working out new forms of internationalism. In the late 1940s, following the British abandonment of the Palestine Mandate and the subsequent Zionist expulsion of most of the Palestinian Arab population, the new United Nations revived this concept of a refugee crisis requiring international intervention. This paper examines the parallel ways in which advocates for both the nascent League of Nations and the United Nations made use of mass refugee flows to formulate arguments for new, highly visible, and essentially permanent iterations of international authority across the Middle East.

“Middle East Encounters 69 Degrees North Latitude: Syrian Refugees and Everyday Humanitarianism in the Arctic”

By: Nefissa Naguib

Abstract: In late 2015, approximately 2,000 Syrian asylum seekers made their way into Norway via the Arctic passage from Russia. What ensued are “global moments,” breakthrough events that have reshaped lives and futures for both the refugees and those who aided them, and it is the latter group on which this article focuses. As refugees began arriving in Arctic Norway, Refugees Welcome to the Arctic, an ad hoc grassroots organization, was formed to assist them. This group of ordinary people, most of whom had no previous humanitarian experience, took action in defiance of Norwegian government policies, and providing food became the focus of their efforts.

Refugees Welcome to the Arctic members often described being motived to act by their own traumatic memories of the region’s experience of World War II, a time of deprivation and brutality suffered at the hands of the retreating German army. Food, as an enactment of compassion, is shown to be a powerful means through which people connect in very personal, concrete ways to the humanitarian enterprise.

“Whose Misafirs? Negotiating Difference Along the Turkish-Syrian Border”

By: Seçil Dağtaş

Abstract: This article examines the figure of the misafir (guest) as it personifies the combined domains of everyday and institutional hospitality in Hatay, a contested border province annexed to Turkey from French Mandate Syria in 1939, and home today to over 400,000 displaced Syrians. Based on fieldwork conducted between 2010 and 2012 in Hatay’s administrative capital, Antakya, this articla focuses on the perspectives of the region’s bilingual (Turkish-Arabic) Jewish and Christian populations, and about the official misafir status of the first Syrian arrivals.

It argues that the sudden transformation of Syrians from familial misafirs to governmental misafirs in the early days of the Syrian conflict ruptured the hierarchical domains of reciprocity that have historically shaped the cross-border relations between these communities. In this process, Antakya’s religious minorities recognized and negotiated the limits of their own residence, difference, and citizenship in Turkey, and invoked the living practices of hospitality that exist beside- but also transcend- ethnoreligious and national identities. By examining how historical articulations of religious and national difference along the Turkish–Syrian border are entwined with the figure of the misafir at the interpersonal level, this article contributes to debates on hospitality in scholarship on the Middle East and in migration literature.

“Governance Strategies and Refugee Response: Lebanon in the Face of Syrian Displacement”

By: Tamirace Fakhoury

Abstract: This article discusses how the Lebanese state has responded to displacement from Syria (2011–17), and how the resulting policy formulation processes and discourses have constructed the relationship between the hosting state and the refugee. It focuses especially on how this small state has negotiated its politics of reception and choice of policy tools amid dysfunctional institutions and political disputes. To this end, it uses the lens of Lebanon’s model of sectarian power sharing to understand the polity’s response to mass displacement.

This process has been structured by the defining dynamics of the country’s politics of sectarianism: slack governance, an elite fractured model, and a politics of dependence on external and domestic nonstate actors. The Lebanese model offers broader insights into types of coping mechanisms that emerge in the context of forced migration, notably when a formal refugee regime is absent. The article contends that states lacking a legal asylum framework and grappling with various governance hurdles are likely to draw on the repertoire of their political regime to deal with displacement.

“’People Eat People’: The Influence of Socioeconomic Conditions on Experiences of Displacement in Jordan”

By: Giulia El Dardiry

Abstract: This article explores the ways in which refugee and host experiences of displacement in Jordan between 2010 and 2013 were articulated in a socioeconomic register that coincided with, but was also independent of, both state bio-power and historical cross-border regionalisms. It argues that this register became salient due to a shared understanding of everyday life as characterized by what it terms hunger, a state of depredation where “people eat people” to attain their own well-being.

In pursuing this argument, the article has two goals: to show how Iraqis and Jordanians negotiated the complexities of living together in hunger by censuring individuals—locals and foreigners, rich and poor—who contributed to producing hunger rather than to alleviating it, and by consciously resisting the corrosive effects of hunger on social relations; and, more generally, to challenge universalizing understandings of refugee experiences according to which local tensions between refugees and hosts are derivative of a globalized antiforeigner discourse.

International Relations (Volume 31, Issue 4)


“Writing the World Into Counter-Hegemony: Identity, Power, and ‘Foreign Policy’ in Ethnic Movements”

By: Ali Balci

Abstract: This article is an attempt to develop a theoretical framework about how to study dissident ethnic movements’ foreign policies. Is it possible to speak about foreign policies of ethnic dissident movements, especially when it is considered that they have no characteristics of modern sovereignty such as territory and recognition? For example, do the Berbers in Morocco, the Catalans in Spain, the Balochs in Iran, and the Kurds in Turkey have a foreign policy? If they do, how do we study their policies toward the outside world? Specifically, focusing on the case of the Kurds in Turkey, this article attempts to provide a theoretical framework for how to study dissident ethnic movements’ foreign policy performances. By looking at the effect of the end of the Cold War on the Kurdish nationalists’ imagination of the United States, this article interrogates how the change in their imagination played a role in the construction and reconstruction of the post-1980 Kurdish identity in Turkey. It also draws on the work of poststructural and postcolonial Ernesto Laclau, David Campell, and Edward W. Said in order to develop the theoretical framework.

“Rhetorical Entrapment and the Politics of Alliance Cooperation: Explaining Divergent Outcomes in Japan and South Korea During the Iraq War”

By: Seo-Hyun Park

Abstract: This article is about rhetorical framing and its effects on foreign policy outcomes – specifically in intra-alliance relations. It argues that leaders’ attempts to change the framing of existing security concepts alter the context – and cost – of alliance cooperation. In particular, it highlights the mechanism of rhetorical entrapment as the causal link between initial rhetorical action and the changed context of alliance cooperation. While previous studies of rhetorical entrapment have focused on individual-level reputational costs – such as moral shaming or political backlash when hypocrisy is exposed – this article focuses on the socially constructed nature of political rhetoric and the consequences of language use.

That is, it explores why leaders are compelled to choose certain security rhetoric in the first place and how social resonance and audience receptivity can present unintended political constraints and hidden costs. In this way, the findings from this article contribute to two separate bodies of work in the field of International Relations that have yet to be examined closely in tandem: the role of foreign policy rhetoric employed by leaders as part of their political legitimate strategies, and the domestic politics of alliance cooperation. Through comparative case studies of Japan and South Korea prior to and during the early stages of the Iraq War, this article demonstrate the role of rhetorical entrapment in explaining the politics of alliance cooperation.


Iranian Studies (Volume 51, Issues 1 & 2)


“The Many Deaths of Cyrus the Great”

By: Daniel Beckman

Abstract: This article uses narratives of the death of Cyrus the Great as a test case in order to examine the use of propaganda in the Achaemenid empire. By comparing the accounts found in Herodotus, Ctesias, and Xenophon, it is shown that these Greek historians have captured propagandistic messages created in the courts of contemporary Achaemenid kings. While the Greek works were very much the product of their authors’ literary imagination, nevertheless they preserved substantial evidence about the role of propaganda during the Achaemenid period.

“Rhetoric, Narrative, and the Remembrance of Death in ʿAttār’s Mosibat-nāmeh”

By: Austin Michael O’Malley

Abstract: This paper examines the anecdotes of ʿAttār’s Mosibat-nāmeh as temporal phenomena from the perspective of a reader moving progressively through the text; it is argued that that these anecdotes do not function primarily as carriers of dogmatic information, but as dynamic rhetorical performances designed to prod their audiences into recommitting to a pious mode of life. First, the article shows how the poem’s frame-tale influences a reader’s experience of the embedded anecdotes by encouraging a sequential mode of consumption and contextualizing the work’s pedagogical aims.

Next, it demonstrates that these anecdotes are bound together through formulae and lexical triggers, producing a paratactic structure reminiscent of oral homiletics. Individual anecdotes aim to unsettle readers’ ossified religious understandings, and together they offer a flexible set of heuristics for pious living. Finally, it is argued that ʿAttār’s intended readers were likely familiar with the mystical principles that underlie his poems; he therefore did not use narratives to provide completely new teachings, but rather to persuade his audience to more fully embody those pious principles to which they were already committed.

“Signs from Above: Towards a Comparative Symbology of Bird Imagery in Medieval Near Eastern Popular Prose”

By: Rachel Schine

Abstract: This article presents excerpts from two near-contemporary works of popular prose from the medieval Near East: the Persian Dārāb-nāmeh and the Arabic Sīrat Banī Hilāl. In each, birds or birdlike characters (the sīmorgh and the crow, respectively) that share in having had theriomorphic, mythic significance in regional pre-Islamic traditions, dispense premonitory wisdom to Muslim characters.

Comparing these passages, the article contends that the characterization of these birds brokers a pietistic shift in symbolism between the pre-Islamic and Islamic context, while still maintaining the birds’ mystical significance and sustaining the trope of birds as winged, heaven-sent messengers. This modified association between birds and divine ministry is not only prominent in these two texts, but also in the Qurʾān and varied bestiaries, poetry, and belletristic works that comprise these texts’ cultural network.

“Daryā-ye Nur: History and Myth of a Crown Jewel of Iran”

By: Anna Malecka

Abstract: One of the most exceptional among the world renowned historical treasures is the repository of valuables of the olden shahs of Persia found in the Jewels Museum in Tehran. The outstanding jewel among those kept there is the diamond called Daryā-ye Nur, weighing about 182 carats. The history of this stone, according to the literature on the subject, starts in seventeenth century India, in the city of Golconda. Analysis of primary sources, however, allows for the supposition that this stone may have a longer history.

“Middle Class Urbanism: The Socio-Spatial Transformation of Tehran, 1921–41”

By: Ashkan Rezvani-Naraghi

Abstract: Most of the available literature on Tehran between the two world wars deals with the morphological transformation of the city and the role of the Pahlavi state in accomplishing massive urban projects. In contrast, this article focuses on the reciprocal relationship between the sociality and spatiality of the city. It demonstrates how the consolidation of the discourse of modernity resulted in the development of social and political desires for the production of new forms of social life and spaces.

The article argues that the formation of the modern middle class and its alignment with the Pahlavi state’s reform projects contributed to a twofold process: first, the decline of the traditional forms of social life and spaces and, second, the production and prevalence of alternative forms. This process resulted in the establishment of social dichotomies with vast spatial manifestations, and polarized the city both socially and spatially.

“’Where Do I Go without Money?’: Reza Shah’s Finances in Exile”

By: Shaul Bakhash

Abstract: When Reza Shah died in exile in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July 1944, he left in his account at Barclays Bank a deposit of £110,000 (a considerable amount of money). Yet when he went into exile only three years earlier, Reza Shah feared he would be hard-pressed for money, if not left altogether destitute—and with good reason. He left Iran with a “horde” of progeny, family members, and retainers. Before departing, he had ceded all his enormous wealth in cash and property to his son and successor. He did not remain destitute for long. His son, the new shah, continued to send him money, and for a while, the British paid for a major part of his upkeep. Yet his money anxieties did not cease. This article describes and follows the winding trail of Reza Shah’s finances in exile.

“Race and the Aesthetics of Alterity in Mahshid Amirshahi’s Dadeh Qadam-Kheyr”

By: Amirhossein Vafa

Abstract: Focusing on black women Qadam-Kheyr and Sorur in Mahshid Amirshahi’s novel Dadeh Qadam-Kheyr (1999), this article examines literary representations of the African-Iranian presence, and provides a critique of race and slavery in twentieth-century Iran. In light of the history of the Iranian slave trade until 1928, and the reconstruction of race and gender identities along Eurocentric lines of nationalism in Iran, the novel, under scrutiny, is a dynamic site of struggle between an “Iranian” literary discourse and its “non-Persian” others. The “aesthetics of alterity” at the heart of the text is, therefore, the interplay between the repressed title-character Qadam-Kheyr and the resilient minor character Sorur, each registering Amirshahi’s artistic intervention into a forgotten corner of Iranian history.

“Mesopotamian or Iranian? A New Investigation on the Origin of the Goddess Anāhitā”

By: Alireza Qaderi

Abstract: Arədvī Sūrā Anāhitā, a popular Zoroastrian yazatā, is celebrated in Yašt 5 (Ābān Yašt). Anāhitā is mostly believed to be an Indo-Iranian or Iranian deity who has absorbed influences from the creed and iconography of Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess, in the course of history. The type and the degree of such influences are still under debate. The paper places this goddess into the context of ancient Western Asia.

Findings are presented in two sections: in the first section, the Indo-Iranian, Iranian, and western Iranian origins of Anāhitā are questioned, and in the following section two points are clarified: first, the Mesopotamian origin for Anāhitā is more consistent with historical and archaeological evidence, and second, Anāhitā is the same as Annunit/Annunitum, Sippar—Amnamum’s goddess of war and victory and the avatar of Antu, who was added to the list of his royal patron deities as a result of political and military developments early in the reign of Artaxerxes II.

“Remnants of Zoroastrian Dari in the Colophons and Sālmargs of Iranian Avestan Manuscripts”

By: Saloumeh Gholami

Abstract: Zoroastrian Dari, also known as Behdini or Gavruni, is an endangered Iranian language spoken by the Zoroastrian minority who mostly live in Yazd and the surrounding areas, as well as in Kerman and Tehran. Zoroastrian Dari is a unique Iranian language on account of its historical background and large number of subdialects. This language is only a spoken language and not a written one, but it seems that remnants of this language are attested in the Avestan manuscripts, particularly in the colophons. This paper provides a study of the existence of Zoroastrian Dari in the personal names in the colophons and Sālmargs of the Avestan manuscripts.

“Satire in the Paintings of ‘Mohammad-e Siāh Qalam’”

By: James White

Abstract: A considerable amount of scholarship has been produced on just over sixty paintings of humans and demons, many of which bear ascriptions to the unidentified artist Mohammad-e Siāh Qalam, and which are now mostly housed in albums H.2153 and H.2160 in the Topkapı Palace Library. Although methods of formal comparison have led to general agreement that the paintings can be dated to either the fourteenth century or the fifteenth, strikingly little attention has been paid to the question of what these images depict.

This paper studies the paintings within the context of documentary, legal, and literary material in Persian and Arabic, and identifies a set of common motifs shared between the Siāh Qalam paintings and a number of later images. While it has been supposed by several scholars that the paintings document life in a marginal geographical environment and faithfully reflect the practices of a syncretic culture, this paper suggests that they engage with a field of satirical ideas which were widespread in the Islamic world in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and which parodied common types of behavior that were deemed by some observers to be illicit or absurd.

“The Iranian Community of the Late Ottoman Empire and the Egyptian ‘Crisis’ through the Persian Looking Glass: The Documentation of the ʿUrabi Revolt in Istanbul’s Akhtar”

By: Tanya Elal Lawrence

Abstract: This article focuses on the coverage of the ʿUrabi rebellion of 1881–82 in the Istanbul-based Persian-language newspaper Akhtar. Akhtar was the first periodical to be published in Persian outside the auspices of the Qajar state, and first appeared on 13 January 1876, from the press owned by Mohammad Tāher Tabrizi in the Valide Han in the Ottoman capital. The objective of this article is twofold. First, it aims to interweave the history of the Persian-language publication Akhtar with broader questions of how the Hamidian state strove to situate itself within a changing international order in a bid to affirm its legitimacy and sovereignty.

It then proceeds to examine the ideological leanings of Akhtar set against the complex background of censorship laws implemented by the Hamidian state (1876–1908). To this end, by scrutinizing the reportage of this one specific event—the Egyptian crisis of 1881–82—it attempts to shed light on how the editors of Akhtar successfully maintained the delicate equilibrium of appeasing both its patrons, namely, the Hamidian state and its readership across the region where Persian was spoken. Thus, the article seeks also to highlight the ways in which inter-imperial dynamics lie at the heart of the history of this “Persian” publication.

“Performance Traditions of Kurdistan: Towards a More Comprehensive Theatre History”

By: Mahroo Rashidirostami

Abstract: This study addresses the gap in the contemporary scholarship on Kurdish oral and performative culture by, for the first time, presenting a review of some of the performance traditions in Kurdistan. By describing these traditions, the article demonstrates that performance has for centuries comprised a vital and meaningful element of Kurdish cultural life. Further, it shows that a more inclusive approach to writing theatre histories enhances understanding of Middle Eastern and, in particular, Iranian performance culture—for the Kurds, as an Iranian people and the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East, play an intrinsic part in the culture of the region. All combined, this comprehension fosters a deeper appreciation and fuller picture of Middle Eastern theatre in general, and Iranian theatre in particular.

“Reading Iran: American Academics and the Last Shah”

By: Matthew K. Shannon

Abstract: Despite the nature of American influence in postwar Iran, and despite the fact that Iranian studies has grown into a flourishing field in the United States, scholars have not explored the field’s origins during the Cold War era. This article begins with the life of T. Cuyler Young to trace the critical genealogy within the field as it developed, in cooperation between American and Iranian scholars, during the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. It proceeds to analyze two cohorts of American scholars whose political inclinations ranged from liberal reformism to revolutionary Marxism.

As revolutionary momentum swelled in Iran in the late 1970s, critical scholars broke through superpower dogmas and envisioned a post-shah Iran. However, Cold War teleologies prevented them from fully grasping Iranian realities, particularly Khomeini’s vision for Iran. This article argues that the modern field of Iranian studies in the United States was shaped by multiple generations of critical voices, all of which were informed by historically situated encounters with Iran, and expressed through a range of methodological and theoretical perspectives.


Israel Studies (Volume 22, Issue 3)

“Diversity Within a Show of Unity: Commemorating the Balfour Declaration in Israel (1917–2017)”

By: Elie Podeh

Abstract: The article analyzes the way in which Jewish and Israeli institutions commemorated the Balfour Declaration from its inception to the 100th anniversary in 2017 with particular emphasis on the 1967 Jubilee celebrations. In contrast to the government’s desire to use the event as a vehicle to strengthen the state’s legitimacy and validate the hegemony of the Labor-oriented Zionist leadership, the event reflected political and ideological fragmentation.

“The Purifying Effect of Truth: Jabotinsky’s Interpretation of the Balfour Declaration”

By: Arye Naor

Abstract: Ze’ev Jabotinsky viewed the Balfour Declaration as a commitment to establish the Jewish State in Mandatory Palestine. He believed that public and diplomatic pressure on decision-makers and opinion leaders in Britain could cause that commitment to be fulfilled, either as an independent state or as a dominion within the framework of the British Commonwealth. Personally, he favored the latter. Even as the conflict of interests between Zionism and Britain became increasingly apparent, Jabotinsky maintained his faith in the Zionist connection with Britain—at least up until the publication of McDonald’s White Paper on 17 May 1939.

As he saw it, the obstacle to fulfil the British obligation was the political game that the Mandatory Administration in Palestine played. He put the blame on the local administration, rather than on His Majesty’s government in London. This article presents the interpretation of the Balfour Declaration—and, by extension, the British Mandate—through the eyes of the leader of Revisionist Zionism.

“Visualizing Democracy, Difference, and Judaism in Israeli Posters, 1948–1978”

By: Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler

Abstract: Israeli posters created during the first three decades of statehood express ideas central to constructing national identity. This article argues that posters produced by the state and its official agencies show the complex relationship between democracy and Judaism, as well as gender and ethnic difference. Democracy was represented by manifestations of modernity, progress, gender equality, and ethnic difference; religious symbols and narratives represented Judaism.

These elements were visually integrated in posters, and express the complexities of Israeli democracy, as well as changing attitudes towards difference and Judaism. This article demonstrates that designers enlisted sophisticated means of both abstract and figurative artistic devices to mediate these ideas, making a significant contribution to the construction of Israeli visual culture.

“’We Were Here First’: Guiding Jewish Israeli Pupils at Christian Sites”

By: Orit Ramon, Ines Gabel, Varda Wasserman

Abstract: The article examines the image of Christianity and Christians as expressed in the narratives used to guide Israeli pupils at Christian sites in Jerusalem. Based on an analysis of tour observations and interviews with tour guides and those who prepare the itineraries, it explores how the presentation of Christianity and Christians serves as a means of constructing a modern Israeli identity. It argues that despite the power of Jews in the Israeli state, there is a growing sense of victimhood in Israeli society, one that leads to the introduction of Jewish-Christian polemics into the Zionist narrative, and to the transformation of tours—ostensibly designed to expose students to cultural/religious pluralism—into a means of perpetuating the notion of hostile “others”.

“Angelo Roncalli Nuncio to Paris and the Establishment of the State of Israel”

By: Paolo Zanini

Abstract: The article analyses the attitude of Angelo Roncalli, at that time Nuncio to Paris and successively Pope John XXIII, toward the establishment of the State of Israel. Through research based on various archival sources and personal papers, it shows how Roncalli’s attitude toward Zionism, the Middle Eastern question, and the establishment of Israel wasn’t the fruit of a deliberate political decision, but the result of a cultural and religious openness toward other faiths and cultures, including Judaism.

Due to his background and experience, Roncalli was certainly one of the Vatican’s most sympathetic diplomats toward Jewish illegal immigration to Eretz Israel immediately after WW II, which he primarily considered a humanitarian issue. At the same time, he frequently showed his friendship toward Israel’s envoys and representatives, even if he never took an overt position toward the political aspects of the Middle Eastern crisis.

“The First Israeli Weapons Procurement Behind the Iron Curtain: The Decisive Impact on the War of Independence”

By: Haggai Frank, Zdeněk Klíma, Yossi Goldstein

Abstract: A fundamental question still asked about the circumstances that enabled the IDF to emerge victorious from Israel’s War of Independence concerns the quantity of weapons possessed by the two sides in the conflict. Although the balance of arms at the war’s outset was decisively in favor of the Arab states, the leadership of the newly established state of Israel managed to close this gap. This article highlights the key role played by Czechoslovakia, which had only then begun its transformation into a Soviet satellite state, as the chief arms supplier of the IDF during Israel’s War of Independence. It considers the process by which the relationship was formed and the arms acquired, the key players involved, and the procured arms’ decisive impact on the hostilities.

“Israel in Revolution—Matzpen, the Palestine Conflict, and the Hebrew Nation”

By: Lutz Fiedler

Abstract: The article presents a short history of the Matzpen group, and aims at scrutinizing their history as a possible approach to broader questions of Jewish, Israeli, and general history. Starting with the political origins of the group as split from Israeli communism, it concentrates mostly on Matzpen’s dealing with the Palestine conflict. Based on a socialist “horizon of expectation”, Matzpen struggled for a so-called de-Zionization of Israeli society and simultaneously for the recognition of Israeli Jewry as a Hebrew Nation within the Arab world. It concludes by discussing the central tension arising from the Israeli Left’s struggle for a Hebrew nation and a socialist revolution. It led them to maintain distance from a new collective notion of Jewishness after Auschwitz, which regarded the existence of a Jewish state as a guarantee for Jewish life after the Holocaust.

“Young American Jews and Israel: Beyond Birthright and BDS”

By: Dov Waxman

Abstract: The article examines the attitudes of young adult American Jews towards Israel and their views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Drawing on the Pew Research Center’s 2013 survey of American Jews, the largest in more than a decade, as well as other empirical data, the article rejects the popular claim that young American Jews are emotionally detached and disconnected from Israel. Instead, the article argues that they are actually more engaged with Israel than their predecessors were, but that they are also more critical of Israeli government policies and feel more sympathetic towards the Palestinians than older American Jews.

A number of reasons for these attitudes towards Israel are put forward, focusing on the political orientation, demographic composition, and formative experiences of this younger cohort of American Jews. In doing so, the article seeks to explain the generational differences between younger and older American Jews when it comes to Israel.

“The Silence Address: Silence as it Emerged from Media Commentators and Respondents, Following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 2015 Address at the UN”

By: Michal Ephratt

Abstract: A qualitative analysis of the Israeli prime minister’s “silence address” to the UN General assembly in October 2015 provides a kaleidoscope of Israeli perceptions about silence. The model that emerges from field research grounded theory includes silence as an entity in its own right, silence compared with other entities, and silence as belonging to broader contexts. Quotes from primary sources such as live commentaries covering Netanyahu’s address and written materials include professional journalists’ along with non-professional postings on the Internet, and their analyses are interwoven into the discussion of themes and interrelations.

Journal of Arabic Literature (Volume 48, Issue 3)


“Sight, Sound, and Surveillance in Baʿthist Syria: The Fiction of Politics in Rūzā Yāsīn Ḥasan’s Rough Draft and Samar Yazbik’s In Her Mirrors”

By: Max Weiss

Abstract: Contemporary Syrian literature bears unmistakable traces of more than four decades of authoritarian rule. This article identifies connections among aesthetics, politics, and affect in two Syrian novels, Rūzā Yāsīn Ḥasan’s Brūfā (Rough Draft) (2011) and Samar Yazbik’s Lahā marāyā (In Her Mirrors) (2010). Through literary representations of state security (the mukhābarāt), surveillance—including the structure and function of mirrors and screens, eavesdropping, and security stations—and new conceptions of the political, state power influences cultural production, even as the contemporary Syrian novel offers a critique of authoritarian dictatorship’s immanent relationship to the practice of narration itself.

“’As You Are Now’: Ibn Isrā’īl’s Elegies for His Daughter”

By: Th. Emil Homerin

Abstract: The 7th/13th century Damascene poet Muḥammad Ibn Isrā’īl (d. 677/1278) was noted for his dedicated discipleship to the controversial Sufi ʿAlī al-Ḥarīrī and for his elegant mystical Arabic verse. Based on his belief in Divine Oneness, Ibn Isrā’īl claimed that all of his poems were in praise of God.

This article will closely read two elegies that Ibn Isrā’īl composed following the tragic death of his adult daughter. In them, Ibn Isrā’īl drew from both the classical Arabic elegiac tradition and Muslim beliefs in immortality to forge a rhetoric of transformation, which denies the ultimate finality of his daughter’s death and reaffirms her continued life in God’s presence, where they may yet meet again. Moreover, these elegies for a daughter are indicative of new trends in Arabic poetry in the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods—namely, a focus on more personal matters—only rarely seen in pre-Islamic or classical Arabic verse.

“’It Eclipsed Cairo and Outshone Baghdad!’: Ibn Rashīq’s Elegy for the City of Qayrawan”

By: Nizar F. Hermes

Abstract: Ibn Rashīq’s popularity in the Arab world as one of the most distinguished classical Maghribi poets owes much to what is often called in Arabic school textbooks “Nūniyyat Ibn Rashīq fī rithāʾ al-Qayrawān,” or simply “Nūniyyat Ibn Rashīq.” Ibn Rashīq composed his city-elegy, the nūniyyah, while living in exile to lament the destruction (kharāb) and desolation (khalā̄ʾ) of Qayrawan in the wake of the Hilālī sacking of the city in 1057 CE. A full English translation of Ibn Rashīq’s printed and standardized nūniyyah follows an introductory essay that enumerates salient linguistic and rhetorical features, and offers a manuscript and publication history for the poem.

The essay pivots around the lack of elegiac and nostalgic representation of Qayrawan’s once majestic ‘cityscape’ and iconic worldly buildings in the nūniyyah, finding the mnemonic and nostalgic focus of the Maghrib’s most renowned city-elegy to be rather the loss of the city’s fuqahāʾ (Islamic scholars or jurisprudents).

“Conceiving the Pre-Modern Black-Arab Hero: On the Gendered Production of Racial Difference in Sīrat al-amīrah dhāt al-himmah”

By: Rachel Schine

Abstract: ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s character in Sīrat al-amīrah dhāt al-himmah is but one example of a black hero who figures prominently in a sīrah shaʿbiyyah, or popular heroic cycle, the earliest references to which appear in the twelfth century and several of which remain in circulation today. Like several of his counterparts, not only is he black, but he is also alone among his relatives in being so. The explanation supplied in the text of his mother Fāṭimah’s eponymous sīrah for his “spontaneous” phenotypic deviation makes use of rhetoric also found in various antecedent and near-contemporary belles-lettres sources. Placing ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s case within the context of this literary network illuminates a series of questions concerning the semiotics of race in pre-twelfth-century Arabo-Muslim literature, racially inflected anxieties about control of feminine sexuality, and pre-genetic syntheses of racial and reproductive “sciences.” This paper concludes that ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s blackness is produced through a set of scientific and speculative discourses that go beyond the prominent theories of climate influences and Hamitic genealogy, and that posit instead a racial determinacy that occurs spontaneously, regardless of geography or lineage, through a variety of interventions from and against the maternal body. These include the contamination of seminal fluid, “image-imprinting,” and divine fiat. The concentration of these theories within a single text makes ʿAbd al-Wahhāb’s conception narrative a uniquely apt ground for discussing the broader complex of issues of gender and race in pre-modern Arabic literature.


Journal of Democracy (Volume 28, Issue 4 & Volume 29, Issue 1)

“Iran’s 2017 Election: The Opposition Inches Forward”

By: Abbas Milani

Abstract: Despite all its flaws, Iran’s May 2017 presidential balloting amounted to another small, but genuine, advance for the cause of democracy.

“Iran’s 2017 Election: Waning Democratic Hopes”

By: Ladan Boroumand

Abstract: Wrongly viewed by many media sources as a victory for “reform” and “openness,” the recent presidential election in Iran actually reflected the demoralization and disengagement of the country’s prodemocratic opposition.

“Fighting Terrorism: The Democracy Advantage”

By: Amichai Magen

Abstract: Despite worries that terror groups can turn open societies’ very openness against them, the numbers reveal that liberal democracies enjoy significant advantages in resisting the threat of terrorism.

“Dashed Hopes and Extremism in Tunisia”

By: Geoffrey Macdonald, Luke Waggoner

Abstract: Tunisia is now one of the Arab world’s most democratic countries, but it has also been producing worrisome numbers of recruits for groups such as ISIS. How can this paradox be explained?


Journal of Development Studies (Volume 53, Issues 10-12)


“The Fiscal Politics of Rebellious Grievance in the Arab World: Egypt and Jordan in Comparative Perspective”

By: Pete W. Moore

Abstract: In the aftermath of the 2011 protests, narrow economic arguments for revolt have proliferated. This essay broadens the debate by arguing that states’ latent fiscal weakness is an important source of enduring rebellious grievance in the Arab World. This essay makes this claim through a comparison of fiscal decline and policy response in Jordan and Egypt. Both states have endured fiscal crises and periodic revolt starting in the late 1970s.

Both regimes attempted to manage deepening fiscal weakness through similar coping policies, searching for new sources of revenue, and revising public spending. These measures failed to reverse the decline. Instead, new sources of revenue and shifts in spending deepened inequality in new ways, lowered capacities to curtail public-private corruption, and entrenched labour insecurity. In other words, it is the politics of fiscal weakness which explain the prominence of socio-economic grievance voiced before, during, and after 2011.

“Better Teachers, Better Results? Evidence from Rural Pakistan”

By: Marine de Talancé

Abstract: Most of the existing literature examining the determinants of school quality in developing countries has failed to take into account the crucial role of teachers. This study assesses how teachers contribute to knowledge acquisition in Punjab, Pakistan. The baseline specification used is a gain model with three different levels of fixed effects. It find that teacher quality is strongly correlated with student achievement. Increasing teachers’ wages could improve schooling quality, as could the recruitment of local and contract teachers. This analysis also underlines the importance of reforming training programmes and re-thinking wage policies.

“Financial Factors and Manufacturing Exports: Firm-Level Evidence From Egypt”

By: Youssouf Kiendrebeogo, Alexandru Minea

Abstract: This paper focuses on the effects of financial factors on manufacturing firms’ export participation in a panel of Egyptian manufacturing firms over the 2003–2008 period. Our main results show that financial constraints reduce export participation of Egyptian firms, while financial liquidity improves it. Moreover, financial constraints have a negative impact on alternative measures of export activity, namely, export intensity and the time the firm takes before starting to export. Consequently, adding to the scarce literature on developing countries, our results support an important impact of financial factors on Egyptian firms’ participation in international trade.


Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies (Volume 13, Issue 3)


“’War Is like a Blanket’: Feminist Convergences in Kurdish and Turkish Women’s Rights Activism for Peace”

By: Nadje Al-Ali & Latif Tas

Abstract: Despite the recent outbreak of violence and conflict, peace continues to be high on the agenda of the Kurdish political movement and many progressive Turkish intellectuals and activists. Based on qualitative research we conducted in Diyarbakır, Istanbul, London, and Berlin in 2015–16, we show that Kurdish activists have struggled to make the eradication of gender-based inequalities and violence central to the wider Kurdish peace movement, while Turkish women’s rights activists have increasingly recognized that the war against the Kurds, “like a blanket,” often papers over gender injustices.

Both Kurdish and Turkish activists stress the necessity of understanding that a just and sustainable peace must include gender equality and that gender justice cannot be achieved in times of war. Thus feminist convergences in Kurdish and Turkish activism present peace and women’s rights as inseparable, and generate the potential to challenge nationalist state power and the militarization of society.

“Disreputable by Definition: Respectability and Theft by Poor Women in Urban Interwar Egypt”

By: Hanan Hammad

Abstract: Court records, police reports, and security statistics indicate that theft was the most frequent crime committed by imprisoned Egyptian women in the interwar period- although scholarship has largely focused on their involvement in prostitution. Theft by women was typically an isolated act motivated by urban conditions of poverty, but many women became skilled repeat offenders who worked individually or in teams, taking advantage of the growing transportation networks that linked villages, towns, and cities. The theft examined includes shoplifting, pickpocketing, burglary, laundry stealing, scams, and stealing from domestic employers. Given their low wages, poor and working-class women had difficulty meeting their material needs in a semicolonial capitalist urban economy even when they worked in legal occupations. In addition, the legal work most available to them, in factories or as domestic servants, violated classed and gendered notions of respectability. Theft offered the possibility of material gain without great loss in status if one were captured, since poor and working-class women who lived in Egypt’s growing cities between the two world wars already had difficulty measuring up to the standards of being mastura, a morally and sexually protected member of society.

“Putting Messianic Femininity into Zionist Political Action: The Race-Class and Ideological Normativity of Women for the Temple in Jerusalem”

By: Rachel Z. Feldman

Abstract: The movement to rebuild the Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount/Haram ash-Sharif in Jerusalem has grown significantly since 2000. The Orthodox Jewish “Women for the Temple” group has come to play a central role in this activism. Women for the Temple activists perform a messianic femininity that emphasizes maternal duties and women’s redemptive power in Judaism while challenging male religious authorities and religious law in other areas. Activists define themselves as guardians of domestic space and the House of God (the future Third Temple), and redeemers of the Jewish nation.

This project simultaneously empowers women and enables state violence against Palestinians on Haram ash-Sharif. Scholarship that has examined Israel’s messianic right-wing women’s activism has overlooked their Ashkenazi whiteness and their middle-class privileged status in Israel. The race-class normativity of Women for the Temple allows them to access resources and police protection and facilitates the mainstreaming of the Third Temple movement.

“’One Can Veil and Be a Singer!’: Performing Piety on an Iranian Talent Competition”

By: Farzaneh Hemmasi

Abstract: This article explores the media controversy surrounding the victory of Ermia, a veiled female vocalist, on the 2013 expatriate Iranian talent competition Googoosh Music Academy (GMA). A historically and ethnographically informed “ethnotextual” analysis of a selection of Persian-language television programs, articles and news reports, weblogs, and Facebook posts responding to Ermia reveals how a reality television contestant came to disturb simplistic but powerful binaries of modest/immodest, religious/secular, Iranian/Western, and national/diasporic as she combined signifying elements of these positions into one unsettling figure. The article shows how Ermia’s case gathered political valence through the contentious transnational Iranian mediascape and the televised talent genre’s premise—representing “real,” “ordinary” contestants and fostering audience participation. This article argues that GMA became a space for publicly playing with cultural norms, political participation, and the politics of piety at some distance from the pressures that make publicly living difference so challenging.


Journal of Palestine Studies (Volume 47, Issue 1)


“Taking the Land Without the People: The 1967 Story As Told by the Law”

By: Noura Erakat

Abstract: This paper seeks to show how Israel has deployed Occupation Law in strategic ways to incrementally take the land of Palestine without its people. It argues that Israel has used UN Security Council Resolution 242 to retroactively legitimate those colonial takings in a political framework shaped by U.S. intervention. In themselves, the constituent pieces of the argument are not new and they have been extensively discussed in legal, political science, and historical literature. Rather than consider them as the sum of their parts, this paper attempts to view the issues that have been kept distinct and separate within disciplinary silos as a mutually-reinforcing whole, demonstrating that the United States’ political position made an otherwise bankrupt legal argument effective and showing how the Security Council’s deliberations gave Israel ample room for maneuver in spite of the drafting parties’ original intent.

In examining the relationship between law and political power, the article points to the ways in which the balance of power bears upon the meaning and significance of law in international conflict. Thus, the failure of Occupation Law to regulate the occupation of the Palestinian Territories ultimately reflects the outcome of a political, not a legal, contest: Israel’s legal argumentation that the territories are merely under its administration would have no value were it not for the power politics that shape international relations in the region.

“State Formation from Below and the Great Revolt in Palestine”

By: Charles W. Anderson

Abstract: The Great Revolt (1936–39) represented the most fervent and sustained Palestinian challenge to British and Zionist colonialisms during the thirty years of British rule in Palestine. Although its ultimate defeat has led to negative appraisals of its historical significance, the uprising was in its day the largest mass mobilization in Palestinian history and, at its apex, threatened to overturn the British regime. The rebellion was characterized by considerable organizational ingenuity as Palestinians created novel institutions that embodied their drive for popular sovereignty and an end to colonial domination. This article principally examines two such sets of institutions, the national and popular committees of 1936, and the rebel court system from 1937–39. In doing so, it argues that much like revolutionary peasant-based movements elsewhere in the colonial world, insurgent forces in Palestine embarked on a process of state formation from below. This process aimed to sap the colonial regime of its authority and weaken its capacities while augmenting those of the rebels by integrating broad segments of the population into insurgent frameworks. It further contends that it is the dynamic of state formation from below, and the popular character and leadership of the rebel movement, that lent the revolt its resilience and enabled it to push the colonial state to the wall.

“The ‘Right to Have Rights’: Partition and Palestinian Self-Determination”

By: Leila Farsakh

Abstract: This paper reexamines the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and the extent to which a viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was ever truly possible. Such a reexamination seems all the more pertinent today on the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. It is also seventy years since the UN partition plan to divide historic Palestine and fifty years since UN Security Council Resolution 242, which has been the basis for every peace agreement between Israel and its neighbors but makes no mention of or reference to the Palestinian people. The paper argues that the history of the past fifty years reinforces the claim that a State is central to any attempt to fight Palestinian erasure and ensure “the right to have rights,” as Hannah Arendt put it, but it argues that such an entity needs to be elevated above the nation, rather than made subservient to it if it is to protect the rights of Palestinians and all those living on the land of Palestine.

“The Politics of Commemoration Among Palestinians”

By: Rochelle Davis

Abstract: Thinking about events and dates that Palestinians commemorate, one hundred years after the fateful Balfour Declaration of 1917, reveals a political timeline on which the story of contemporary Palestinian history hangs. Commemoration, as an act, tends to lionize certain events and persons, especially when it is officially created or sponsored. Because Palestinians have long been without an official political entity in Palestine that can produce official commemorative actions, Palestinian commemorations reflect both individual and collective actions that develop and change over time.

This essay analyzes those actions and the different spaces and actors behind them to explicate the politics of commemoration. It posits that the metanarratives of Palestinian history that have developed give primacy to the powers and forces that undermined Palestinian aspirations and actions. As metanarratives, they create frames for understanding history within a political and national discourse of struggle, dispossession, and suffering. And yet, these metanarratives miss the embodied practices of commemoration that define Palestinian life within this struggle. Detailing Palestinians’ commemorations reveals the robust culture that ties commemorations of the past with activism, awareness, and education for the present and the future.

“The First Intifada: Hope and the Loss of Hope”

By: Khalid Farraj

Abstract: In this reflection on the First Intifada (1987–93), Khalid Farraj recounts his very personal experience as an active member of the uprising. In addition to describing the harsh conditions in Israeli detention at the Ansar 3 prison in the southern Negev, Farraj details the ways in which the uprising was organized at the grassroots, fueling the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of Palestinians. He relates his own arrest in March 1988 during a security sweep of Jalazun refugee camp where he grew up and his work as an activist leafleting and disseminating information among the community.

Farraj also provides a glimpse into the workings of the uprising both at the grassroots and at the level of the clandestine local leadership known as the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising (UNLU, al-qiyada al-muwwahida). Despite the letdown subsequent to the Oslo process, which yielded neither self-determination nor liberation for the Palestinians, the First Intifada remains a pivotal moment of Palestinian history, which Farraj looks back on with feeling but without nostalgia. This first-person text was translated from Arabic by Nehad Khader and Maia Tabet. The original appeared in issue 110 (Spring 2017) of Majallat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyya.

“Plus ça Change: The 1922 U.S. Congressional Debate on the Balfour Declaration”

By: Khaled Elgindy

Abstract: This essay looks at the hearing held by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in April 1922 on the subject of a Jewish National Home in Palestine, as well as the broader congressional debate over the Balfour Declaration at that crucial time. The landmark hearing, which took place against the backdrop of growing unrest in Palestine and just prior to the League of Nations’ formal approval of Britain’s Mandate over Palestine, offers a glimpse into the cultural and political mindset underpinning U.S. support for the Zionist project at the time as well as the ways in which the political discourse in the United States has, or has not, changed since then. Despite the overwhelming support for the Zionist project in Congress, which unanimously endorsed Balfour in September 1922, the hearing examined all aspects of the issue and included a remarkably diverse array of viewpoints, including both anti-Zionist Jewish and Palestinian Arab voices.

Mediterranean Politics (Volume 22, Issues 3 & 4)


“Syrian refugees in Turkey: Multifaceted Challenges, Diverse Players and Ambiguous Policies”

By: Fulya Memisoglu & Asli Ilgit

Abstract: Turkey is rapidly transforming into a country of immigration, in addition to its roles as a country of emigration and of transit. Bearing in mind that existing arrangements in this policy area are increasingly replaced by new legal, administrative, and institutional mechanisms, this paper aims to map out these recent changes in Turkish refugee and asylum policy. In this context, the mass influx of Syrian refugees has become an issue of particular concern due to the complex interplay between its security, humanitarian, and socio-economic dimensions and the multifaceted relationship between the growing number of state and non-state institutions. The numerous reports, policy briefs, and analysis generated so far, however, lack a clear analytical framework that would explain both the domestic contestation and the role of various actors in Turkish asylum debate about the Syrian refugees. This paper thus examines different perspectives and approaches of the Turkish state, local, and national NGOs and international organizations regarding the policies addressing Syrian refugees in Turkey.

“Neoliberalism, the State and Economic Policy Outcomes in the Post-Arab Uprisings: The Case of Egypt”

By: Angela Joya

Abstract: Despite the radical upheavals during the revolution of 2011, whereby the Egyptian public rejected neoliberalism and authoritarianism, Egypt has reverted back to the neoliberal model of economic development. This paper discusses the reasons behind the resilience of neoliberalism focusing on the role of dominant economic ideas, the influence of international financial institutions in policy making, and the challenging domestic political environment, which has so far precluded a break from the neoliberal model. The paper ends with a critical assessment of current policies and their broader social implications for different classes and groups in Egypt.

“Social Protest and Nationalism in Western Sahara: Struggles around Fisheries and Housing in El Ayun and Dakhla”

By: Victoria Veguilla

Abstract: The Gdeim Izik protest emerged in response to Moroccan public policy (the distribution of land for construction), and adopted a nationalist line during the course of the action, provoking a heavy-handed response from Moroccan state security forces. This paper analyses the process and places it in the broader context of protest movements that emerge in situations of occupation and authoritarian rule. To that end, the study addresses the reconfiguration of the protest camp in Western Sahara during the 2000s, including protests that were not explicitly pro-independence struggles, to examine how Sahrawi protest actors perceived and assessed this context, and how this assessment influenced their individual and collective action strategies.

“The New Offshore Frontiers of EU Energy Security in the Mediterranean: The Politics of Hydrocarbon Development in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas”

By: Andrea Prontera

Abstract: Many EU Mediterranean countries are developing national plans for offshore hydrocarbon exploration and production. The transformation of the Mediterranean Sea into a new frontier for EU energy security has raised important concerns about the protection of the fragile marine ecosystem of this semi-enclosed sea. Additional issues have emerged where states’ boundaries at sea are not yet defined. This article analyses the emerging international and transnational politics of hydrocarbon development in the Adriatic and Ionian Seas by highlighting the main drivers and effects of the recent relaunch of offshore activities in this region.

“The Art of Bypassing: Students’ Politicization in Beirut”

By: Bruno Lefort

Abstract: This article explores how students experiment with politicization in contemporary Beirut. The objective is to refine the understanding of the interplay between memorialization, identification, and politics in the Lebanese context. Based on ethnographic material and, qualitative interviews, the article argues that politicization, defined as a twofold process of collectivization and conflictualization, is shaped by interactional positioning between students. It relies on identification along patterned storylines framing the cognition and recognition of the self and others. Largely dependent upon affective and memorial dynamics, these experiences of politicization become constitutive for students’ understanding of identity boundaries within the Lebanese plural society.

“Democratization in the Middle East and North Africa: A More Ambidextrous Process?”

By: Philippe C. Schmitter & Nadine Sika

Abstract: Democratization is always an ambidextrous process. On the one hand, it triggers a universalistic set of norms, events, processes and, symbols. On the other hand, democratization involves a much more particularistic set of ‘realistic’ adaptations to the structures and circumstances of individual countries. In analysing the structures and conjunctures of countries in the Arab World during the past decades, scholars looked at them from the perspective of persistent authoritarianism.

This essay exploits democratization theory – as well as its converse ‒ by analysing the universalistic set of events, processes, and symbols of democratization elsewhere in the world, and then identifying the particularistic characteristics of timing, location, and coincidence that seem likely to affect the political outcome of regime change in the countries affected by recent popular uprisings in the Arab World.

“Leavening Neoliberalization’s Uneven Pathways: Bread, Governance and Political Rationalities in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan”

By: José Ciro Martínez

Abstract: Techniques of governance in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan do not follow a single or unifying logic. Despite a more than decade-long shift towards a neoliberal orientation, market-disciplinary policies coincide with important exceptions. This article employs a modified variegated neoliberalization approach to explore one such exception. Specifically, it analyses the recent debate over the country’s bread subsidy to elucidate key elements of Jordan’s socio-economic transformation. The persistence of this long-standing welfare programme is linked to the uneven pathways of Jordanian neoliberalization and two potent political rationalities imbricated in this process.

“Trade Unions and Politics in Cyprus: A Historical Comparative Analysis Across the Dividing Line”

By: Gregoris Ioannou & Sertac Sonan

Abstract: This article is the first comparative study on the historical development of trade unions in Cyprus. It assesses the impact of the historical trajectory and ethnic division on the contemporary condition of the trade unions, which substantially diverge from each other. It compares and contrasts the framework, conditions, and forms of trade unionism across the dividing line, focusing on the current conjuncture and accounts for them using a historical institutionalist approach. It concludes that disparity is likely to persist although recent austerity policies have been posing similar challenges to the trade unions on both sides of the divide.

“Endogenous Versus Exogenous Rules in Water Management: An Experimental Cross-country Comparison”

By: Benedikt Ibele, Serena Sandri & Dimitrios Zikos

Abstract: This paper draws on institutional and experimental economics to investigate the role of exogenous and endogenous rules in irrigation systems. The hypotheses it examines argues that despite the differences between socio-economic and political settings, (1) endogenous rule-crafting can help water users to overcome appropriation and provision dilemmas in water-scarce environments, like in the East Mediterranean countries, and that (2) in market-like water governance systems, institutions other than the market itself are less influential for overcoming appropriation and provision dilemmas than in hybrid governance systems. These hypotheses are being tested comparing the results of field experiments conducted in Jordan, the Republic of Cyprus, and North Cyprus with 70 farmers.

Field experiments simulate asymmetric access to resources and are based on variations of the irrigation game by Cardenas et al. to model and test asymmetric distribution of investment, harvest, and revenue that favours upstream users. Empirical evidence shows that externally imposed allocation rules are able to bring in more equal distribution of revenue among upstream–downstream users but is likely to reduce the volume of investment and revenue, without resolving issues of free-riding.

The authors argue that given the opportunity, water users (small farmers in our experiments) are able to craft their own rules improving the overall performance of the group in terms of investment and revenue, with a parallel improvement of equity in distribution. The implications and policy relevance of such findings are briefly discussed as they contradict typical practices of top-down policy delivery in the selected cases.

Middle East Critique (Volume 26, Issue 4)


The Nour Party: Weathering the Political Storm in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

By: Maha A. Ghalwash, Lawrie Phillips

Abstract: This article addresses the role of the Salafi Nour party in the current Egyptian political arena, examining its ability to survive in a tumultuous environment by investigating three junctures in the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period: the January 2011 demonstrations, the ouster of President Muhammad Morsi, and the 2015 parliamentary elections. The investigation relied on two theoretical approaches.

The first, framing theory, enabled us to investigate the party’s frames and how these were modified in response to unfolding events. Second, because frame ideas frequently are produced and modified through discourse, this article employs discourse analysis to explore these issues. The combination of these approaches allows this article to examine the statements issued by party leaders on their Facebook pages and in their interviews with local newspapers. Based on these analyses, three claims are made cear: First, that the Nour party’s central frame contained two major components, nationalist and Islamist concerns, which were developed in order to expand party supporters.

Second, the development of the party’s major ideas constituted a contested and shared process, with different leaders articulating diverse views. The ensuing disagreements contributed to the contraction of the party’s support base, as reflected in the 2015 parliamentary elections. Third, the party’s ideational trajectory reflects its pragmatism.

Compressing Scales: Characters and Situations in Egyptian Internet Humor

By: Chihab El Khachab

Abstract: This article examines common political assumptions made in Egyptian internet comics, mainstream television discourse, and everyday conversation in Cairo. These assumptions compress local, national, and global scales of analysis into a manageable set of characters (e.g., the President, the People) interacting in everyday situations. Arguing against psychological interpretations, the article highlights the social and historical context within which humor is ‘entextualized’ on par with television and everyday discourse, based on an analysis of a selection of Egyptian internet comics, television moments, and political talk in Cairo between 2013 and 2015.

Of Monarchs and Islamists: The ‘Refo-lutionary’ Promise of the PJD Islamists and Regime Control in Morocco

By: Mohamed Daadaoui

Abstract: The article engages the literature on political parties in semi-authoritarian regimes to examine the state and Islamists’ strategies in the aftermath of the 2011 Arab uprisings in Morocco. The pace of state reforms and the regime’s institutional flexibility pre-Arab spring, the cosmetic reforms in the new constitution, and the 2011 legislative elections so far have insulated the Moroccan regime against any meaningful constitutional and institutional changes. However, the electoral contests produced an opportunity for the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) to enter the Moroccan political scene at the helm of the government.

Using extensive field research and interviews with PJD members, this article argues that the party is pursuing a pragmatic ‘revolutionary’ strategy within the regime’s constitutional rules of the game, aiming to mitigate the authoritarian features of the government while tackling, with limited success, Morocco’s major socio-economic issues. Ultimately, the regime’s control over the political system continues to influence Moroccan politics. The monarchy has a long tradition of managing opposition parties through co-optation and confinement, allowing opposition parties some stake in power, while the king and the palace’s shadow government of advisers are firmly in control.

Beyond Structure and Contingency: Toward an Interactionist and Sequential Approach to the 2011 Uprisings

By: Mounia Bennani-Chraïbi

Abstract: Taking as its starting point the mental earthquake produced by the 2011 uprisings, this article tackles the epistemological questions of causality and contingency in an effort to foster dialogue between comparative political regime studies, the sociology of revolutions, and social movement literature. Based on a comparative analysis of three ‘positive cases’ (Egypt, Syria and Tunisia), and a ‘negative case’ (Morocco), it follows an interactionist and sequential approach to revolutionary situations. Its main objective is to expand the scope of the attempts aimed at reconciling structure and contingency, by focusing on the formation of large coalitions and the spread of mobilization on division or defection from within the repressive apparatus, and on the impact of crisis management by the incumbents.

More specifically, this article highlights the fact that uncertainty affects not only the ‘actors from below,’ but also all the actors present- the challengers as much as the incumbents and their international allies, the ordinary citizens as well as the officers and the recruits.

Iranian Cinema’s ‘Quiet Revolution,’ 1960–1978

By: Ali Mirsepassi, Mehdi Faraji

Abstract: This article analyzes the movies produced in the two decades prior to the 1979 Revolution in Iran. It argues that these films influenced a cultural transformation we call a ‘quiet revolution.’ The Quiet Revolution refers to a new ‘national imagination’ fashioned around the idea of gharbzadegi [Westoxification].

The gharbzadegi discourse grounded an identity based public movement. It countered the autocratic modernization of Iran, in the guise of a ‘spiritual’ or pastoral other. It also positioned its own narrative as the ‘transcendent’ other of secular and modern Iran. This article focuses upon the Iranian New Wave cinema movement. It particularly discusses the works of Daruish Mehrjui, a pioneering Iranian film director of the 1960s and 1970s.


Middle East Journal (Volume 71, Issue 4)


The “Enemy Within”: Citizenship-Stripping in the Post–Arab Spring GCC

By: Zahra Babar

Abstract: This article reviews the impact of the Arab Spring on citizenship rights throughout the Gulf states, drawing on both internal and external dimensions of security that have become inextricably linked with notions of who has the right to maintain their citizenship. In particular, the article focuses on the phenomenon of citizenship revocation as a mode of disciplining behavior considered to be inconsistent with established norms of state-citizen relations in this region.

Qatar and the UAE: Exploring Divergent Responses to the Arab Spring

By: David B. Roberts

Abstract: During the Arab Spring, Qatar tended to support the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates, while the United Arab Emirates opposed them. This article argues that, despite these states’ ostensible similarities, their different political structures fostered contrasting experiences with an ascendant political Islam. Subsequently, the policies reflected each leader’s approach to statecraft: Abu Dhabi crown prince Muhammad bin Zayid Al Nahyan, who steers Emirati foreign policy, reacted with a security-focused check on such groups, while the former Qatari emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani sought to build relations with them.

Justice, Charity, and the Common Good: In Search of Islam in Gulf Petro-Monarchies

By: Miriam R. Lowi

Abstract: The article probes the effects of Islamic doctrine on the allocation of hydrocarbon revenues and vice versa and the significance of this relationship for politics. It explores two areas of (state-directed) distributive activity: government subsidies and charitable giving in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. It demonstrates how both oil revenues and Islamic doctrine are mobilized to consolidate state authority and how both have been manipulated and deliberately interconnected as tools of state power.

The Para-Diplomacy of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq and the Kurdish Statehood Enterprise

By: Yoosef Abbas Zadeh, Sherko Kirmanj

Abstract: Despite not having achieved statehood, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq has been increasingly active in the international arena since the founding of its Department of Foreign Relations in 2005. This article assesses how successful this diplomacy has been at advancing the interests of both the KRG and the Kurdish statehood enterprise. This article then situates the KRG’s foreign initiatives in the growing body of International Relations literature on the foreign policies of non-state actors.

The Iraqi Occupation of Kuwait: New Historical Perspectives

By: Joseph Sassoon, Alissa Walter

Abstract: The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was a critical juncture in both countries’ histories. With unprecedented access to internal Iraqi documents about the invasion of Kuwait, this article underscores how the Iraqi leadership perceived Kuwait, assesses the Iraqi regime’s objectives in Kuwait, and analyzes Kuwaiti resistance to the Iraqi occupation. The article ultimately aims to show that Iraq’s policies of violence and dispossession in Kuwait were similar to tactics the Ba’thist regime had used before against internal opponents.

Middle East Law and Governance (Volume 9, Issue 3)


The Political and Institutional Impact of Syria’s Displacement Crisis: Introduction

By: Marc Lynch

Abstract: Syria’s war has since 2011 generated an exceptionally severe displacement crisis. How has the forced movement of millions of Syrians, both within the country and across borders, impacted political institutions and behavior? This symposium examines the political and institutional impact of Syria’s displacement crisis through a diverse set of methods and original empirical field research. Contributors explore the changes in the nature of Syria’s borders, the effects on Syrian identity, patterns of activism and organization among refugees in Jordan and Lebanon, the dynamics of international attention to Syrian refugees, and the challenges of resettlement in Germany.

Rethinking Borders: The Dynamics of Syrian Displacement to Lebanon

By: Filippo Dionigi

Abstract: Borders and territoriality are key components of modern forms of statehood, yet their relevance appears to be challenged by interstate movements of peoples. This essay proposes a reconceptualization of borders as “thin borders” to develop an analytical framework of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon going beyond a conventional understanding of Westphalian statehood. Looking at historical and contemporary events, the analysis highlights several transborder dynamics influencing the process of refugees’ displacement from Syria to Lebanon. It then illustrates the complex nature of borders as multilayered entities regulating the flow of people from Syria to Lebanon in a way that transcends the idea of national territoriality.

“Standoffish” Policy-making: Inaction and Change in the Lebanese Response to the Syrian Displacement Crisis

By: Lama Mourad

Abstract: With the largest refugee population per capita in the world, Lebanon now officially hosts at least 1.1 million Syrian refugees. Until late 2014, the Lebanese government maintained de facto open borders and little to no regulation of Syrians within its borders. This period has largely been understood as one of state absence: referred to broadly as a “policy of no-policy.” This paper looks at the way in which state inaction played a major role in structuring the responses that did emerge, both “below” and “above” the state, from local authorities and international agencies.

It sheds light on how indirect measures taken by the central government facilitated and encouraged greater local autonomy in governing the refugee presence. This, in turn, further decentralized and fragmented the current set of responses to the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon and legitimized discretionary action by municipal authorities.

Aiding Activism? Humanitarianism’s Impacts on Mobilized Syrian Refugees in Jordan

By: Rana B. Khoury

Abstract: A common narrative of the Syrian conflict suggests that it began with a grassroots uprising and devolved into a violent war between armed actors, leaving civilians to become victims or warriors. A more careful consideration of developments in and around Syria uncovers evidence of continued unarmed mobilization among civilians. Indeed, refugees in neighboring countries like Jordan are deeply engaged in humanitarian, developmental, and political endeavors. In this study, qualitative research and a unique survey together demonstrate that Syrians in Jordan have engaged in abundant activism on behalf of the Syrian cause. Still, the overwhelming militarism and humanitarianism that have characterized the Syrian crisis have had their impacts: activist organization is constricted and configured by security imperatives and, paradoxically, by the aid regime assisting civilians in the conflict. In turn, activism has evolved from grassroots mobilization to a formal and aid-based response to a humanitarian crisis.

Dignity and Humiliation: Identity Formation among Syrian Refugees

By: Basileus Zeno

Abstract: Since 2011, half of Syria’s population has been forced to flee its homes. Much research has focused on the macro-level challenges and post-conflict reconstruction plans. In this article, I focus on the micro-level by examining the dialectic of “humiliation” and “dignity” as a dynamic that shapes and transforms Syrian refugees’ identities through sustained interaction, and sometimes through struggle, with others, who can be pro-regime or pro-opposition Syrians, or pro-refugees or anti-refugees in hosting countries. Methodologically, I use an interpretive approach which focuses on context-specific meanings and their relation to power, seeking multifaceted understandings of refugees’ lived-experience.

This research is based on ethnographic fieldwork and ordinary language interviews conducted in the United States, and semi-structured, open-ended interviews with Syrians in Germany and Turkey. I show that researching participants’ meaning-making in their own settings reveals the dynamics of humiliation and dignity as dialectically interwoven in specific situational contexts and shaped by refugees’ lived-experience in both the country of origin (in the past), and the hosting country (in the present).

The New Grand Compromise: How Syrian Refugees Changed the Stakes in the Global Refugee Assistance Regime

By: Rawan Arar

Abstract: The influx of asylum seekers in Europe in 2015 and 2016 changed the incentive structure of the “grand compromise” – the system of global refugee management in which states in the Global South host most of the world’s refugees and states in the Global North finance refugee hosting abroad. Asylum seekers interrupted the established status quo, and in doing so, created new opportunities for states in the Global South. This article argues that a “new grand compromise” emerged. Major refugee host states in the Global South, especially those with large Syrian refugee populations, were able to leverage the value of their refugee hosting capacity and renegotiate policies to promote state-centric agendas. This article elaborates on the case of Jordan to illustrate how government officials strategically capitalized from the influx of asylum seekers in Europe, making Jordanian resilience and development an integral part of the global refugee response.

Culture or Bureaucracy? Challenges in Syrian Refugees’ Initial Settlement in Germany

By: Wendy Pearlman

Abstract: In 2015 and 2016, Germany received more than 1.1 million asylum applications, some 425,000 of them from Syrians. Significant optimism accompanied the peak of this refugee inflow, with many Syrians praising Germany as a haven offering freedom and dignity, and many Germans taking pride in their country’s humanitarian stance and welcoming culture. Since then, various sources of anxiety have emerged, particularly those related to locals’ concerns about threats to their country’s national culture and newcomers’ frustrations stemming from their dealings with state bureaucracy.

Building on field research in Germany in 2016 and 2017, this article offers a preliminary exploration of these issues, with a focus on refugees’ experience of bureaucracy in the realms as legal status, housing, and work. The article concludes with reflections on how juxtaposition of locals and newcomers’ respective concerns can highlight unexpected spaces for exchange and mutual understanding.


New Left Review (Issue 107)

Erdogan’s Cesspit

By: Daniel Finn

Abstract: Not available

Oriens (Volume 45, Issue 3-4)


The Essence-Existence Distinction: Four Elements of the Post-Avicennian Metaphysical Dispute (11–13th Centuries)

By: Fedor Benevich

Abstract: The essence-existence distinction was a central issue in metaphysical disputes among post-Avicennian thinkers in the Islamic world. One group argued that what a thing is, is different from that which is only conceptual. A rival view would have it that the distinction between essence and existence is real. The purpose of this article is to analyze the philosophical core of the dispute, by isolating the main arguments and their metaphysical foundations. It will study four central issues of the essence-existence debate: (1) the argument that existence is distinct from essence because one can conceive an essence without knowing whether it exists; (2) the argument that if existence were really distinct from essence, existence would itself have to exist, leading to an infinite regress; (3) the question of whether God is responsible for the existence of essences only, or also, for their essential content (this relates to the problem of the ontological status of the non-existent); (4) the problem of whether essences are prior to existence.

The First ‘Proclean’ Section (Chapter 20) of ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Book on the Science of Metaphysics. Is the Pure Good of the Maḥḍ al-ḫayr Aristotle’s First Principle, Intellect in Actuality?

By: Cecilia Martini Bonadeo

Abstract: The first ‘Proclean’ section (Chapter 20) in ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī’s Kitāb fī ʿilm mā baʿd al-ṭabīʿa is titled Fī mā qāla l-ḥakīm fī kitāb īḍāḥ al-ḫayr. ʿAbd al-Laṭīf al-Baġdādī presents his epitome of the Maḥḍ al-ḫayr. He reproduces all the propositions except numbers 4, 10, 18, and 20 in the same order. He adds Proclus’s proposition 54, on the difference between eternity and time (Mā bayn al-dahr wa-l-zamān), which is recalled twice, and passages from Metaphysics Lambda and the pseudo-theology. Using a Farabian model, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf’s aim is to establish the identification between the First Cause, One, and Pure Good, as presented in the Liber de Causis, and the Aristotelian First Principle, Unmoved Mover, and Intellect in actuality, described in his paraphrase of Metaphysics Lambda.

Not surprisingly, however, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf is unable to reach this goal. Dissatisfied with the Avicennian summae, ʿAbd al-Laṭīf gathers in his Book on the Science of Metaphysics, a syllabus of the ancient doctrines, the foundational sources of falsafa plus al-Fārābī. This syllabus inevitably reflects the antinomy of its sources concerning the nature of the First Principle, i.e. the antinomy of the two main doctrines at the origin of falsafa, the Plotinian One and the Aristotelian Intellect in actuality.

The World-Revealing Cup by Mīr Ḥusayn al-Maybudī and Its Latin Translations

By: Reza Pourjavady

Abstract: Mīr Ḥusayn al-Maybudī (d. 909/1504) wrote a Persian treatise on philosophy, titled, The World-Revealing Cup (Jām-i gītī-numā), in which he provided a survey of the views of recent philosophers on various worldly matters. This work of Maybudī acquired some fame in both the Safavid and the Ottoman empires. This is evident from numerous extant manuscripts of it, and from the Persian commentary on it written by the Ottoman scholar ʿUmar al-Challī (fl. 1077/1666). What is more, the text attracted the attention of some European scholars. Sometime after March 1619, a Scottish traveller and Orientalist, George Strachan, who traveled to Isfahan, made an interlinear Latin translation in his own copy of the work. Some years later, a Maronite scholar of Arabic literature, Abraham Ecchellensis (d. 1664), translated the text based on an Arabic version of it available to him, and then in Paris, in 1641, he published the dual Arabic-Latin translation. This article endeavors to demonstrate the significance of this work based on the broad nature of its reception.

Two Hitherto Little-Studied Turkish Translations by Wojciech Bobowski alias Albertus Bobovius

By: Hannah Neudecker

Abstract: In this contribution, I will discuss two Turkish translations made by the famous Ottoman court official, Wojciech Bobowski, alias Albertus Bobovius (d. ca. 1677 CE). One is his translation of the Anglican Catechism (1654), the other his version of the Ianua linguarum by Johannes Amos Comenius (Komenský, 1592–1670), the Czech philosopher, pedagogue, and theologian (1658). Both texts have only survived as manuscripts and neither has been studied in any depth before. I will present the texts, as well as their historical backgrounds, and shed some new light on the life of the translator as well.


Review of African Political Economy (Volume 44, Issue 154)


How far does neoliberalism go in Egypt? Gender, citizenship and the making of the ‘rural’ woman

By: Karim Malak, Sara Salem

Abstract: This paper focuses on civil society in Egypt as a site in which the ‘Egyptian rural woman’ is made by looking at processes of microfinance which often ‘fail’ to realise their stated goals of ‘empowerment’, ‘poverty alleviation’, or ‘social mobility’. Using ethnographic material from a microfinance programme in the Egyptian governorate of al-Minya, such programmes are problematised beyond their stated goals. Instead, such initiatives put in place an infrastructure that links micro-borrowers to the market. Thus, what it means to be a ‘liberated’ woman in the Egyptian context is built on access, participation in, and creation of ‘the market’.


Review of Middle East Economics and Finance (Volume 13, Issue 3)


The Impact of Ownership on Corporate Performance: The Case of the UAE

By: Magda Elsayed Kandil, Minko Markovski

Abstract: This study attempts to identify whether government ownership has an effect on corporate performance, such as Return on Assets (ROA), Price to Book value, and Profits for a sample of 102 listed companies on the UAE stock exchanges, and a subsample of 17 banks listed on the same bourses, over a period of 31 quarters. In the case of the sample of 102 companies, government ownership has a positive impact on some of the corporate performance indicators, as well in the banking subsample. In addition, the analysis evaluates the impact of state ownership on debt accumulated across the two samples. The results indicate that state ownership reduced the need to accumulate debt in general across the larger sample.

Focusing on banks, state ownership facilitates borrowing and accumulating debt. The results point to the positive effect of state ownership on corporate performance. Further, state ownership eases constraints on banks’ borrowing as it boosts confidence in the outlook, facilitating higher ratings and cheaper sources of funding. In the case of the UAE, similar to some other countries, where there is a strong trend toward government ownership in listed companies and banks, it has a positive effect on their performance for the period 2008–2016, i. e., there is a positive relationship between the block-holder ownership and firms’ performance, subject to efficiency control measures.


Third World Quarterly (Volume 38, Issue 10 – Volume 39, Issue 1)


Media development in Syria: the Janus-faced nature of foreign aid assistance

By: Billie Jeanne Brownlee

Abstract: This article intends to provide responses to some of the many unanswered questions about the making and the transformation of the uprising in Syria by exploring a new avenue of research: media development aid. Most academic interest has been oriented towards the role that the new media played at the time of the uprising. Insufficient interest, by contrast, has been directed to the development of the sector in the years predating it. What emerges from this article is that the Syrian media landscape was strongly supported by international development aid during the years prior to the outbreak of the uprising of 2011. By looking at the complex structure of media aid architecture and investigating the practices and programmes implemented by some representative organisations, this article reflects on the field of media development as a new modus operandi of the West (the EU and US especially), to promote democracy through alternative and non-collateral, bottom-up support.

Migration diplomacy in the Global South: cooperation, coercion and issue linkage in Gaddafi’s Libya

By: Gerasimos Tsourapas

Abstract: Despite a recent resurgence in research on the politics of migration, foreign policy analysts have yet to approach cross-border population mobility as a distinct field of inquiry. Particularly within the Global South, scant work has theorised the interplay between migration and interstate bargaining. This article proposes the framework of migration diplomacy to examine how mobility features in states’ issue-linkage strategies, in both cooperative and coercive contexts. Drawing on Arabic, French, and English primary sources, it empirically demonstrates the salience of its framework through an analysis of Libya’s migration diplomacy towards its Arab, African, and European neighbours under Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya and Europe: imperialism, crisis, and migration

By: Lucia Pradella & Sahar Taghdisi Rad

Abstract: This article examines the recent dynamics of European imperialism in Libya in the light of Marx’s theory of the global reserve army of labour. It analyses the limited advance of Western imperialism in Libya in the decade before the 2011 uprisings, the interactions between local, regional, and international forces during and after the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) intervention, and, finally, the evolving migratory patterns from Libya. In this light, the instability along the southern and eastern Mediterranean coastline – a product of the uprisings and the forms of political reactions they unleashed – is simultaneously a security threat and a channel of migratory movements to European capitalism.

When responsibility to protect ‘hits home’: the refugee crisis and the EU response

By: Stefania Panebianco and Iole Fontana

Abstract: While the Syrian refugee crisis unravels at the EU’s doorstep and as the death toll in the Mediterranean continues unabated, questions about the international community’s duty to act on behalf of the afflicted people inevitably arise, thereby fuelling convoluted debates about Responsibility to Protect (R2P). In light of the international community’s inertia and of the EU’s incapacity to adequately manage the worst humanitarian crisis of recent times, this article argues that time is ripe to explore other ways to implement R2P.

There is a ‘missing’ link between R2P and refugee protection and the duty to protect refugees can be framed within the R2P discourse. Building on the idea that asylum is central to the implementation of R2P, the article suggests that the acknowledgment of the linkage between R2P and refugee protection is helpful not only to improve the EU management of the current crisis, but also to uphold R2P when the international community is at a stalemate.

Note: I might re-organize these papers according to their subject matters and post them by extend my comments.




June 2018
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