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Middle East

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    The US, Israel, and the War on Iran: Don’t Let Them Fool Us Again! Rami El-Amine February 10, 2012

    The end of 2011 saw the beginnings of a shift to a more overt and aggressive policy by the US and its allies towards Iran. This shift was not the result of any new threat being posed by Iran but by the need for the US to maintain a sizeable military presence in the oil rich region after withdrawing from Iraq. The Arab revolutions are also a major factor in this shift, particularly for the US’s Gulf Arab allies and Israel. Saber rattling around Iran heightens sectarian tensions in the region and, therefore, weakens the revolutionary wave which threatens the Gulf Arab monarchies. Israel, on the other hand, is leading the push for an attack because it deflects attention away from its continued denial of land and rights to Palestinians at a time when it is coming under increased international criticism.

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    Khaleeji Capital, Not Just about the Oil Konstantin Kilibarda January 11, 2012

    A Review of CAPITALISM AND CLASS IN THE GULF ARAB STATES
    by Adam Hanieh

    Palgrave Macmillan, 2011

    Adam Hanieh’s Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States (2011) is an indispensable text for anyone interested in the Middle East. This groundbreaking study traces the historical trajectory of capital, class and state formation in the Gulf and its role in shaping global capitalism since WWII. According to Hanieh, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – established in 1981 by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – effectively institutionalizes the preference of Gulf elites for neoliberal strategies of internationalization and financialization. He coins the term “Khaleeji Capital”, which is derived from khaleej, meaning gulf, "but goes beyond a geographic meaning to convey a common pan-Gulf Arab identity that sets the people of the region apart from the rest of the Middle East.”
     

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    From the Arab Revolutions to the Occupy Uprisings, the Winter of Our Discontent Hena Ashraf December 21, 2011

    A few weeks ago on the train my mind drifted to Mohammed Bouazizi and a great sorrow descended over me. I thought of how his tremendous sacrifice on the 17th of December 2010 was the literal spark that set the fire for uprisings around the world. I thought of how an ordinary Tunisian street vendor profoundly affected the lives of millions of people everywhere with his tragic protest.

    His self-immolation captured the immense anger and frustration that millions experience on a daily basis. By setting himself on fire in front of the local governor's office, Bouazizi showed the world that he could no longer endure the harassment and humiliation he suffered at the hands of corrupt local authorities. His example shows how revolutions start from the ground up, from ordinary people who are fed up of being pushed around. His actions set off revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and throughout the Arab world, as well as in Greece, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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    Yemen Wrestles with Revolution Safa Ahmad October 2, 2011

    Editor’s Note: What follows is an account of the unfolding Yemeni revolution by Safa Ahmed, a Middle East based journalist who travelled to Yemen in June and July of 2011. At the time, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh barely survived an assassination attempt and fled to Saudi Arabia for treatment. On September 23, Saleh managed to return to the capitol San’a. The United States and the Saudi governments immediately criticized his return, yet, clearly, he would not have been able to return without their consent. Within only a few days of his return, more than 100 Yemenis, mostly democracy protestors, were dead.

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    “America, your 9/11...is our 24/7”*, Ten Years of Fighting State Violence Arab Resource and Organizing Center September 9, 2011

    Imagine one day, you oversleep your alarm clock by a few hours. You wake up, and the world is a different place. You leave your house and your neighbors look at you with suspicion. You walk down the street and racial slurs are shouted in your direction. Your sister is harassed at her workplace. Your brother, a lawful resident, is forced to give his fingerprints to immigration. Your cousins are made refugees in their homeland (again). Confused, you turn on the news and see two planes have hit the World Trade Center. Your world has changed forever.  

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    A People's History of the Egyptian Revolution Rami El-Amine and Mostafa Henaway July 7, 2011

    No matter how it unfolds, the Egyptian revolution will go down in the history books as a defining moment in the 21st century. Millions of Egyptians brought down one of the world’s most repressive regimes, that of the US-backed Hosni Mubarak, in just 18 days. Their bravery, perseverance, and tactfulness in the face of the regime’s brutal crackdown not only triggered uprisings across the Arab world but inspired and influenced protests against government austerity in the US, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Despite the fact that it is only a few months old, it’s important to begin piecing together a people’s history of the revolution to convey what happened and how it happened so that the lessons from this critical struggle can be disseminated.

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    The State of the Struggle: Revolution and Counter-revolution in the Arab World Lamis Andoni and Nora Barrows-Friedman June 20, 2011

    Since the spark of popular revolt electrified Tunisia in January of this year, uprisings continue to spread across the Middle East and North Africa as civil society wages pitched battles against repressive dictatorships and monarchist regimes. Largely unarmed masses from Syria to Yemen have faced down lethal attacks from state forces as they demand basic freedoms, workers’ rights, and an end to Western influence. Leaders have been driven out in Egypt and Tunisia and have left neighboring politicians shaking in their boots.

    Left Turn contributing editor Nora Barrows-Friedman interviewed analyst and Middle East commentator Lamis Andoni for a perspective on how Middle Eastern and North African civil society movements have initiated, expanded, and given peoples across the region the motivation to rise up to join this “Arab Spring.”

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    End of an Era: The Arab Intifada of 2011 and the Decline of Empire Bilal El-Amine March 11, 2011

    Photo by Hossam el-HamalawyPhoto by Hossam el-Hamalawy

    The sun is quickly setting on the rule of tyrants in the Arab world. Revolution is on the agenda from Morocco to Bahrain. After decades of passivity in the face of dictatorship, the Arabs are rising up like a waking giant to demand their freedom.

    Tunisia was billed as a citadel of stability and an economic miracle. Just a few months ago, the most anyone hoped for was that its ailing president-for-life, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, would not bequeath the country to his wife or son-in-law. No one even dreamed that the Tunisians would become the vanguard of the Arab revolution.

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    18 Days that Shook the World Khaled Dawoud March 11, 2011

    Photo by Matthew CasselPhoto by Matthew CasselSunday, January 30

    The sounds of the jet fighters circling Tahrir Square while I was sitting glued to the TV screen in my apartment in Manhattan, New York, were horrifying. Once, twice, three times, four…my heart and my nerves were simply breaking down. It didn’t take much thinking. I had already been considering heading to Egypt as soon as I saw the developments on January 25.

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    Lebanon on the Edge...Again! Rayan El-Amine December 1, 2010

    The pressure cooker that is Lebanon is once again about to boil over. This time the cause is imminent indictments by a UN-initiated Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), an international court tasked with investigating the assassination of the former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The indictments are expected before the end of the year and all signs indicate that Hezbollah members will be named. This is what the US and its Lebanese and Arab allies are hoping for since it will help de-legitimize the popular Shiite resistance group in Lebanon.

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