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Making and Unmaking of the Greater Middle East
What longer-run dynamics underlie present realities in the Middle East? Kevan Harris traces changing state formations and social compacts, from decaying Ottoman and Safavid empires, through colonization and postwar corporatism to infitah, authoritarian retrenchment and military intervention.
Between Past and Future
Responding to Asef Bayat, Tariq Ali argues that any adequate analysis of the outcomes of the Arab Spring must reckon with Washington’s tight defence of its interests in the region. The dynamics of the revolts located in a long history of Western intervention.
Revolution in Bad Times
Euphoric celebrations of the Arab uprisings have skated over their profoundly ambiguous character. Asef Bayat explains the failure to make a clean sweep of the old order in terms of a self-limiting programme that stems from the discredit of traditional revolutionary models.
Turkey has been hailed in the West as a democratic model for the Islamic world. Cihan Tuğal takes a cool look at the Erdoğan government’s domestic and foreign-policy record, from ‘zero problems’ diplomacy to the blockade of Libya and dirty war on Damascus, airstrikes on Turkish Kurds and silence on Bahrain.
On the Concatenation in the Arab World
From Tunis to Manama, 2011 has brought a chain-reaction of popular upheavals, in a region where imperial domination and domestic despotism have long been entwined. A call for political liberty to reconnect with social equality and Arab fraternity, in a radical new internationalism.
War and the City
As Bush pours extra troops into Baghdad, Pentagon strategists plan for the urban future of warfare. Stephen Graham surveys the emerging network of US military training facilities—Potemkin battlefields and slum simulacra designed to replicate the alleyways of the global South.
Fear and Money in Dubai
On the rim of the war zone, a new Mecca of conspicuous consumption and economic crime, under the iron rule of Sheikh al-Maktoum. Skyscrapers half a mile high, artificial archipelagoes, fantasy theme parks—and the indentured Asian labour force that sustains them.
Mid-Point in the Middle East?
As fears are voiced within the US establishment of impending debacle in Iraq, a survey of the embattled landscape from Baghdad, Ramallah and Tehran to Beirut and Damascus. American control is slipping, Ali argues—but it is too soon to count on imperial defeat.
An Arabian Master
The remarkable life and literary career of Abd al-Rahman Munif, author of the Cities of Salt quintet. Sabry Hafez charts the emergence of Munif’s searing fictions. Evocations of desert traditions, foreign interference, the deformities of despotism and lessons of resistance.
The Novel, Politics and Islam
The astonishing story of the uproar in Egypt over the publication of a Syrian novel set in Algeria—a work of literature as trigger for political crisis and polemical turmoil, two decades after it was written, in a landscape completely transformed. Haydar Haydar’s fiction as tuning-fork of stark dissonances of time and outlook in the Arab world.
The War against Feminism in the Name of the Almighty: Making Sense of Gender and Muslim Fundamentalism
In recent years, some postmodern feminists have warned us about the perils of generalizations in feminist theory that transcend the boundaries of culture and region, while feminist critics of postmodernism have argued conversely that abandoning cross-cultural and comparative theoretical perspectives may lead to relativism and eventual political paralysis.footnote2 As I . . . read more
Domestic Incentives for the Gulf War
Why did the United States fight the Gulf War?footnote* What factors entered into George Bush’s decision to avoid a negotiated solution? The timing of that decision goes some way to answering these questions, and two conflicting theories have been offered: first, that Bush wanted war from the beginning, but couldn’t . . . read more
The Gulf War, Iraq and Western Liberalism
The states of the North Atlantic have, since the days of Palmerston, frequently hoisted the flag of liberalism on their way to war. But rarely since 1945 have the principles of right, law and justice been invoked as strongly as in the call to arms for Desert Storm. The populations . . . read more
Realpolitik in the Gulf
On the morning before Yom Kippur late this past September, I found myself standing at the western end of the White House, watching as the colour guard paraded the flag of the United States (and the republic for which it stands) along with that of the Emirate of Kuwait.footnote* The . . . read more
Narrative, Geography and Interpretation
Whenever a great intellectual and moral presence like Raymond Williams suddenly disappears from his habitual place among us it is natural at first to restore him by various ceremonies and activites of commemoration.footnote* The sense of loss and bereavement that was felt immediately after Williams’s death in 1988 has been . . . read more
Identity, Negation and Violence
As something to be talked and written about, as a phenomenon with nearly hysterical descriptions and pronouncements routinely added to its name as a mobilizing theme for politicians, armies, navies and air forces, ‘terrorism’ has now lost a good deal of its power. A mere matter of months ago thousands . . . read more
A Marxist View of Arabia
Books on the contemporary Arabian peninsula tend to be rather impressionistic. Some are journalistic accounts or travelogues, others superficial narratives which use flowery language to conceal their author’s lack of understanding; others still are the works of orientalists who naïvely believe that their knowledge of medieval Islam is adequate preparation . . . read more
Introduction to Kannafani
World attention was riveted on the Palestinian liberation movement in September 1970 when the hijacking of four jet-planes and the holding of their passengers as hostages was shortly followed by the outbreak of civil war in Jordan, These developments gave the Palestinian struggle greater publicity than it had ever received . . . read more
Kurdistan in the Middle East Conflict
In March 1988 the Western media once again shocked their audience by bringing home horrific stories of the extensive and indiscriminate use of chemical weapons on the civilian population in remote Kurdistan. As two reporters visiting the area put it: ‘Neither side in the Gulf War has ever been particularly . . . read more
On the PFLP and the September Crisis
First of all, I appreciate the fact that you reject bourgeois moralism and obedience to international law. These have been the cause of our tragedy. Now, I would like to answer your questions. I want to talk in general about this kind of operation. I have always said that we . . . read more
Feminist Orientalism and Orientalist Marxism
Mai Ghoussoub’s ‘Feminism—or the Eternal Masculine—in the Arab World’ (nlr 161) is indicative of two fundamental problems plaguing radical analysis of the Middle East: the extent to which it is legitimate for Marxists to throw out their analytical categories and resort to Weberian notions of a ‘collective consciousness’ called Islam . . . read more
The Crisis of the Arab World: The False Answers of Saddam Hussein
The crisis following upon Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait is unique in the contemporary world, above all because of the multiple levels upon which it is being played out. In international terms, it is comparable to the major crises of the post-1945 period—Berlin 1948, Korea 1950, Suez 1956, Cuba 1962, the . . . read more
Class Struggle in the Arab Gulf
Since the 18th century, British imperialism has maintained control over the principalities of the eastern and southern coasts of the Arabian Peninsula; but this imperialist hegemony is now dissolving. As British forces retreat from the Gulf,footnote1 new contradictions are exploding which threaten the position of world imperialism and the local . . . read more
Rethinking the Middle East
For Marxists, using a theory that began as an analysis of capitalist society, precapitalist and colonial societies have presented a dual, dialectically interrelated problematic: problems of the theoretical analysis of such societies, and problems of revolutionary strategy in the colonial societies—where Marxists have too often been guided by globalized schemes . . . read more
A Reply to Hammami and Rieker
The response by Hammami and Rieker to my article ‘Feminism or the Eternal Masculine in the Arab World’ cannot be seen as a straightforward critique of my analysis. Its approach is so contrary to my own, and rejects with such fervour my conception of feminism, social development and what constitutes . . . read more
Feminism--or the Eternal Masculine--in the Arab World
It is difficult to utter your frustrations if a veil seals your lips. Today the yashmak covers the face of Arab women only in rare cases. Yet paradoxically, the more the West comes to terms with the gains of modern feminism, and waxes indignant at the ‘humiliations’ to which Arab . . . read more