Syria 1942

Providing food and clothes to Greek refugees.

    (Credit to Huda's Welten Blog)

"The killer clowns offer the oligarchs something else too: distraction and deflection. While the kleptocrats fleece us, we are urged to look elsewhere. We are mesmerised by buffoons who encourage us to channel the anger that should be reserved for billionaires towards immigrants, women, Jews, Muslims, people of colour and other imaginary enemies and customary scapegoats. Just as it was in the 1930s, the new demagoguery is a con, a revolt against the impacts of capital, financed by capitalists."

From Trump to Johnson: nationalists are on the rise — backed by billionaire oligarchs
“It is worth noting,” [Martin Luther] King said, “that Abraham Lincoln warmly welcomed the support of Karl Marx during the Civil War and corresponded with him freely. … Our irrational obsessive anti-communism has led us into too many quagmires to be retained as if it were a mode of scientific thinking.”

Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx
(Click on Free view when subscription message pops up)
We go there to help them develop, we send them aid, our good-hearted philanthropists have relentlessly poured huge amounts of money in African countries, beautiful celebrities have made historical visits and speeches... so that those dark-and-brown-skinned creatures stop coming here and rely on themselves.

It is obvious that migrants and would-be migrants should invest in building better boats and take with them onboard smaller boats (those ones that they can inflate when the evil water goes angry at them. They should look on ebay and buy some of them. They need them as back up. If they cannot afford bying inflatable boats, they should learn alternating techniques they would employ if there were too many of them on a boat; every half an hour half of them would swim. They would take turns. In that way the boat does not capsize. They should also take intensive swiming classes, go on diet because weight matters when you take a boat, and most importantly, they should carry out a thorough study on the safest sea routes to Europe. For how long will migrants continue to rely on NGOs and the will of the "good-hearted" and "generous will" of the EU? 

"The worst migrant tragedy this year" so far
A bombastic champion of the British empire, UK's 20th Etonian Prime Minister, a hop-ium supplier, now a hero in the tabloid, a representative of arrogance amd chauvinism ... Another outcome of years of mediocrity, celebrity-entertainment, and complicity.

Boris Johnson: Gaffeur, entertainer, Brexiteer, Premier

"The attack on the band [Mashrou' Leila] in its home country started with a series of threats and accusations of blasphemy by Christian fundamentalist groups a few weeks before their August 9 concert in Byblos, a tourist-favourite town north of Beirut that hosts an annual summer festival."

'Blasphemy' laws to punish gay-fronted band

See also

Activists in Lebanon have long fought to end the use of article 534 of the penal code to prosecute consensual same-sex conduct. The law is a colonial relic, put in place by the French mandate in the early 1900s, and punishes “any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature” with up to one year in prison. It has at times been enthusiastically wielded to persecute LGBT people, often affecting particularly vulnerable groups including transgender women and Syrian refugees
Human Rights Watch
China's contribution to Middle East drone and missile proliferation

(Note: The New Arab is a Qatari-owned news outlet)
One of Iran's Beverly Hills 

It is a piece on Aljazeera about a rich enclosed mini-town occupied by Iranian "aristocracy", reflecting obscene wealth in a country with swamps of poverty. Brazil and other countries too come to mind. 

However, for obvious reasons, you wouldn't find on Aljazeera an account of the atronomical amount of wealth squandered by the Qatari monarchy whether on weapons or as money invested in Western cities, including bailing out Western banks, instead of being invested in real development and industrial projects in Arab countries. We know what class interests the Qatari rentier ruling class represents and embodies.

 "باستي هيلز" 
"How women's lives were revolutionised in Tunisia"

Notice the BBC's careful choice of words:

"These Tunisians are not doing at all badly. This is one imagines they are as emancipated as any girl can get"

"He [the first president] gave ... He banned ... He introduced ..."

"He was the liberator of Tunisian women."

Women as passive creatures, victims waiting for a saviour, have no agency of their own.

Now, imagine that someone says that this or that British, French or German leader was the liberator of British, French or German women. It doesn't happen because that not how it happned. But in a country like Tunisia, Egypt or Syria, an "enlighteneed dictator" has to be there to liberate women.

If one looks at the movies, posters, photographs of Iranian university students, upper middle class Egyptian women on the beaches, meetings and social gatherings of the women of the elite, etc., of the 1950s and 1960s (google images would give an idea), a similar pattern to the one described by this BBC "Witness History" took place: "emancipation" of Arab and Muslim women in general women has to come from outside, from an enlightened dicttaor or from enlightened Western missionaries on NGO carousels.

That's why today "enlightened" Western/Westernised bourgeois women applaud Obama meeting with Malala or Amal Clooney's international endeavour. That's why Bashar al-Asad's wife was regarded (and probably still by some) a symbol of an emancipated woman, regardless of the regime's repression and its economic and social policies. That's what emancipation is for them. And similar to Boris Johnson's take on "Islam", no where one finds a link between pre-capitalist social formation and the dominance of capitalist relations; industrialisation or failure of it and bourgeois modernity or a blocked passage to such a modernity; social struggle and class structure. In sum, the path that Western European bourgeois modernity took is unique and does not apply to other societies, especially the Arab/Muslim ones.


"One might have thought that the methods applied in the days of European colonialism and the resulting patterns were a thing of the past. But that would be mistaken. These methods and patterns are now seeing a resurgence, awakening in new and grotesque spasms. We don't even dare hope that these will be the last."

Late colonial convulsions

See also:
A rotten legacy
The Nokdu Flower

A drama about the Donghak Peasant Revolution that took place in late 19th century Korea. It is a drama, so for some historical background, I recommend you have an overview here. They are 24 parts, but it is worth watching it. Themes include: class struggle, war, betrayal, class, psychology, love, the Japanese occupation of Korea, communistic ideals, loyalty to ideas ...
Expand your knowledge

90% off on all Verso ebooks
State violence: Destruction of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Another NYT's biased report
Since the establishment of the High Council for Cyber Security in December 2014, the [Egyptian] regime has acquired increasingly sophisticated technological capabilities, used unprecedented measures to block internet activity, passed restrictive internet legislation and now surveils users and censors content on a scale never seen before. Much of this has been facilitated by Western companies, states and regional allies who have been more than happy to sell potentially repressive technologies to the authoritarian regime, emboldening Sisi’s attempts to eliminate freedom of expression in Egypt. As the regime continues in its “fight against existing and potential spaces where dissent might be possible,” the digital realm has become an increasingly important space for both dissent and its subsequent arrest.

Egypt's Arrested Digital Spaces
The Cabinet Office secretary, David Lidington, speaking on behalf of now ex-prime minister Theresa May, recently told parliament that “there is no legal obligation” on the government to establish an inquiry to assess the extent of Britain’s complicity in war crimes, including abduction (“rendition”), false imprisonment and torture. 

Why is Sajid Javid so rattled by Cage?
An interview with French sociologist Fabien Truong, author of Loyautés Radicales

A Clash of Loyalties in the Parisian Suburbs
"Late in life, William F. Buckley made a confession to Corey Robin. Capitalism is "boring," said the founding father of the American right. "Devoting your life to it," as conservatives do, "is horrifying if only because it's so repetitious. It's like sex." With this unlikely conversation began Robin's decade-long foray into the conservative mind. What is conservatism, and what's truly at stake for its proponents? If capitalism bores them, what excites them?

Tracing conservatism back to its roots in the reaction against the French Revolution, Robin argues that the right is fundamentally inspired by a hostility to emancipating the lower orders. Some conservatives endorse the free market, others oppose it. Some criticize the state, others celebrate it. Underlying these differences is the impulse to defend power and privilege against movements demanding freedom and equality. Despite their opposition to these movements, conservatives favor a dynamic conception of politics and society—one that involves self-transformation, violence, and war. They are also highly adaptive to new challenges and circumstances. This partiality to violence and capacity for reinvention has been critical to their success.

Written by a keen, highly regarded observer of the contemporary political scene, The Reactionary Mind ranges widely, from Edmund Burke to Antonin Scalia to Donald Trump, from John C. Calhoun to Ayn Rand. It advances the notion that all right-wing ideologies, from the eighteenth century through today, are historical improvisations on a theme: the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.

When its first edition appeared in fall 2011, The Reactionary Mind set off a fierce debate, in the New York Review of Books, on academic blogs, and throughout the internet. So intense was the controversy that it became the subject of a profile in the New York Times. Now updated to include Trump's election and the rise of global populism, The Reactionary Mind is more relevant than ever."


The Reactionary Mind by Corey Robin
 "[A]nything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live. And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. It’s magical thinking on steroids."

The mindfulness conspiracy
Sudan

The deal with the military means that the uprising has stopped short from becoming a revolution; it means that the balance of forces has tilted more than ever since the begining of the uprising towards the military leadership and genocidal militia; it means a win for the regional reactionary forces such as the Egyptian regime and the monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE; it means that the opposition has not been able to split the army, produce a revolutionary figure and create revolutionary organisations that could continue the struggle.
"It is rare for a state to be held liable for failures in UN peacekeeping work."

Extend this: Forget UN peacekeeping work. Within the capitalist legal framework, will ever the U.S. regime and its allies be held liable for their crimes and the destructive consequences of those crimes in Iraq since 1991, for example? 

I guess it will never happen. One has to look only at the crimes of the British empire. The chance that the British state will be held liable is almost zero. There is more chance that Bashar al-Asad might one day stand trial, but not the "democratically-elected leaders of the free world."
Unlike Londoners, "Berliners should be able to continue to afford living in the city,” said Michael Müller. “That is why it was and continues to be our intention to buy up apartments wherever we can, so that Berlin can regain control of its property market.”

Luydmila Pavlichenko

See also

Battle for Sevastopol (free to watch on putlockers.me or putlockers.dance), but the English subtitles are atrocious. And with an unrealistic sniper duel.
Britain and beyond

"There is a conspiracy at work here, though it is not of the kind lampooned by critics: a small cabal of the rich secretly pulling the strings of our societies. The conspiracy operates at an institutional level, one that has evolved over time to create structures and refine and entrench values that keep power and wealth in the hands of the few. In that sense we are all part of the conspiracy. It is a conspiracy that embraces us every time we unquestioningly accept the “consensual” narratives laid out for us by our education systems, politicians and media. Our minds have been occupied with myths, fears and narratives that turned us into the turkeys that keep voting for Christmas."

I disagree though with Cook in describing Corbyn's election as the Labour Party leader an "accident". Cook should know that even in the most conservative situations, cumulative processes and contradictions create cracks, fissures, and openings, sometimes big, sometimes small, which lead to this or that figure or movement to emerge.

The Plot

and from the archive

My interview with Jonathan Cook
(Resonance FM Radio 2006)
French State violence at home

I wonder where the "Je suis Charlie" people are.

Je suis sans-papiers/les gilets noirs
Les gilets jaunes? Qu'ils mangent du caviar.

"The French (bourgeoisie) way of life" (NYT)



"Instead of returning the country to its pre-war situation, from the regime’s perspective, reconstruction will help complete the transformative process of Syrian society which was initiated by the war. The regime does not want the old Syria back; it wants a new Syria made of a different, more loyal, social fabric, akin to the one that emerged during the conflict in the areas that remained under regime control. This means that the process of reconstruction will not aim to recreate something that used to be but to perpetuate and complete the transformation that has been occurring over last eight years. The reconstruction, therefore, will emerge as less extensive, inclusive, and expansive than reports and estimates produced by international organizations suggest and will be managed solely by the Syrian government."

Assad's reconstruction
State violence and migration

Many think that with the coming of Trump things have got bad. Before that there is a rose picture of the U.S. as a good force in the world. Digging into history, not the one of the school curriculum, might be a start for questioning.

The article does not tell the whole story, but it provides an idea or two. Also, I would qualify the role of the US regime depending on the country: sometimes the violence was/is significantly stoked by the US, other times it was/is partly caused by American intervenrion and backing of allies.

The violence Central American Migrants Are Fleeing Was Stoked by the US
The Jihadis of British business

We are against authoritarianism, but it should not be at the expense of our " democracy", "shareholders' democracy".
(Unfortunatley, the article is not accessible for free)
Cities in Revolutions

This looks a quality project in documenting the Syrian revolution through what happened in six cities. Example:

Zabadani
"A look at the multiple fronts on which U.S. imperialism is operating — in particular the Middle East, Latin America and the growing confrontation with China — shows widely differing scales of strategic importance, but with some common elements.
One of the most important and too little appreciated facts is the brutal use of economic sanctions against less powerful countries designated as enemy regimes. While a handful of Democratic poli­ticians have spoken in opposition to U.S. invasion,  hardly any have called attention to the murderous effects of sanctions — which as we know from the example of Iraq are not a substitute for war, but preparation for it."

The liberal impartiality/hypocrisy of the BBC

"Theresa May condemns Trump's 'go home' remark"

Here is what racism and Islamophobia look like in the British establishment:

The hard-centre is racist

The Tories' Islamophobia problem

and Angela Merkel, too.

Merking
Stop war, not people /Let's dismantle borders
(A photo I took in Genoa, Italy)


                Genoa, Italy 05 September 2018


Saudi Arabia has the backing of an emerging superpower 

"Showkutally Soodhun, president of Mauritius’ ruling MSM (Militant Socialist Movement) party and the island nation’s former vice president, also praised the Kingdom for taking the lead in the global fight against terrorism." 

Yes, you read it rightly, the leader of "Militant Socialist Movement" party has praised one of the most reactionary regimes in the world.


Greece: Financial terrorism and Tsipras' capitulation

"Syriza became yet another party of the state. This was reflected, not just in the predictable results of their management of austerity (poverty continues to rise, the health system is still undergoing perpetual crisis and shortages, etc), but in the wider conservatism of the government. Though it promised to reform foreign policy, democratise the security forces, and support migrants, Syriza wet in the opposite direction on almost every front. Never before, at least since the dictatorship, has the Greek state's foreign policy been so closely aligned to the US and Israel. Tsipras referred to Jerusalem as Israel's capital before Trump did. On immigration, too, Syriza has been servile, bailing Merkel out with a deal favouring what used to be called  'illegal pushback'. It has deployed security forces against refugee rights movements. The old security state, with its record of corruption and far-right connections, has been protected. The government has passed new repressive laws targeting the very protests and social movements that gave birth to Syriza."

Syriza: The Denouement
Yallah,  we rally behind Trump!

Funnily enough, one article that does put the nuclear deal “violation” in some semblance of context appears on none other than Israel’s Ynet news website and asserts that “the real violation was that of the Trump administration, which decided to pull out of the nuclear deal altogether and renew sanctions on Iran.”


Note: I wonder why Jacobin's editors let slip the "half a million Iraqi children killed by sanctions." Although it is a quote, inaccuracy should be highlighted.

The Corporate Media is Aiding Trump's Saber-Rattling
Historical Drama

This looks a good South Korean TV series

The Nokdu Flower
Extremism

Via Michael Roberts
"Inequality of wealth is more extreme than inequality of income in OECD countries.
On average in the OECD the richest 10% of wealth holders own 53% of all personal (net) wealth, while the richest 10% of income holders own 24% of all personal income.
It's wealth that matters - wealth being property and financial assets less any debt. Most people have little wealth at all.
But note the ratios are much higher in some countries. In the US, the richest 10% of wealth holders own a staggering 79% of all personal wealth, followed by the Netherlands and social-democratic Denmark. The least unequal major country is Japan where the top 10% own 'only' 41% of all personal wealth.

OECD graph (2015)


Beyond Today

Let's not forget what happened 10 years ago when Taliban militants landed on the Isle of Wight and the bravey of our men in defending our country from bearded monsters who wanted to spread their medieval values in Britain by force.

On the deadliest day 5 commandos lost their lives in repelling the invaders. Prince Harry, expressing a steely face, made a resounding speech in which he stated: "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

But the militants kept coming in and a guerrilla war dragged on for weeks. K. still remembers how he lost his comrades. He now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder that makes him smash things in the kitchen sometimes.


A captured Taliban militant, Ahmed Masood, was quite determined: "We fought you four times now. We will keep fighting you until we convert you to our values."


Breaking news

The BBC: "On Tuesday, the UK raised the threat to British shipping in Iranian waters in the Gulf to the highest level."

Iranian boats in Iranian waters were threatening a British ship. The Iranian navy claims that the British ship was carrying weapons of mass destruction that could hit Tehran in 45 minutes.

The Iranian supreme leader, in a speech broadcast on state TV, said: " I strongly believe that the British ship was carrying WMD. I do believe that the British developed them with the knowledge of the 'international community', and they pose a threat to the whole region. We will defend our people and our land with whatever means possible..."

No one was able to very the claim that the British ship was carrying any WMD.

Jeremy Hunt, a would-leader of the free world, was open about it: "We are desparate for a war and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our American, Saudi and Emirati allies against the Mullahs and their way of life, especially in the sea."

——
See also this by Martin Wolf, a liberal who is so fundamentalist that he cannot see beyond his nose. For years he has been drumming and singing about "free market" and "liberal democracy", and he is still unable to question what is wrong with Britain and the rise of English nationalism. He is still full of hate to anything that smells left-wing or even social democratic, let alone socialism.

Note, for example, that he calls Jeremy Corbyn a Trotsky. And that is supposed to be an analysis of theoretical and political quality in a quality paper.
The best of liberal mediocrity

A graphic short story

The Mother
"'O my body! Make of me always a man who questions!' It is a plea that remains as relevant as ever today, as we question the structure of power and oppression in the digital age."
[I]t would be a mistake to judge the particulars of politics with the proverbial "Sunday School" sense of morality that is farthest removed from the abiding concerns of those who habitually lie. States, particularly the most powerful states, lie and these lies are for the best interests of the ruling elites in charge of those states.

The bully who cried wolf
Tunisia

Gay politician is running for president

The article has ignored a crucial background that proves that the anti-homosexuality law is not religious -based law.

"As noted by Tunisian Law Professor Sana Ben Achour, the criminalization of homosexuality in Tunisia began with the passage of 1913 Penal Code, imposed by colonial authorities during the French protectorate.  Previous iterations of the Tunisian penal code, such as the Qanun Al Jinayat Wal Ahkam Al Urfya (قانون الجنايات والأحكام العرفية), issued in 1860’s under the Husainid dynasty, included no provisions criminalizing homosexuality..." [like in today's South Korea's constitution, for example]

In the 1860s by the way Tunisians were Muslims! A similar law was passed by the French in Lebanon. Similar policies were either passed or encouraged by Victorians in the colonies. Even Muslim writers adopted the Victorian language of "perversion" in their literature. The British criminalised homosexuality in India. Only last year India passed a decriminalising law.

Further reading:
Joseph Massad's book Desiring Arabs, (2007/2008)


The history of the empire shows us not only that there is nothing especially “British” about values such as tolerance, freedom, human rights or democracy but that often what we call “British values” were influenced by both empire and resistance to empire. The oft-told story of a benevolent Britain “bestowing” freedom on her colonies when they were deemed ready for it is largely myth. In reality, resistance, often violent resistance alongside famous non-violent movements, was a central part of the story.

From Insurgent Empire to Brexit

Talking about sex and sexuality in Palestine (in Arabic)

Generally speaking, the 1950s nationalist revolutions were much more radical then the 2011 "revolutions".* Similarly, the current writings about religion and sexuality in the Middle East are much less radical than the 1960 and 1970s writings by the Syrians Abou Ali Yassin and Sadiq Jala Al-Azm, for example. 

Although different sexual practices, albeit discreet, are very common, Wilhelm Reich's Sexual Revolution is still relevant for the region. Contemporary writings do not step outside the dominant bourgeois discourse, and they tend to anchor their analyses in a Western-centric persepctive of sexuality, ignoring commodification and sexualisation of the body by capitalism. 

Even from a bourgeois perspective, the tendency is to disassociate the dominance of capitalist relations, i.e. bourgoeis norms and morality, from changes in people's sexual practices and gender relations. After all, that was the context in which modern day sexual relations in the West were shaped.

——
* "If by revolution we mean a radical change in the social system," argues Isam Al-Khafaji, "then these changes [resulting from the nationalist revolutions of the 1950s] qualify for the terminology par excellence. As for the form... these revolutions always came following a period of rising social tensions and, in Iraq and Egypt, mass movements 'from below'." 

"[I]s during arduous struggle to become free by their own efforts" that a people are most likely to acquire those "feelings and virtues" that are conducive to the maintenance of freedom.

John Stuart Mill
Britain

"Nine months after Blair was elected, indie band Cornershop were No 1 in the singles charts with “Brimful of Asha”, a song about a female Bollywood singer. The old certainties seemed to be giving way to exciting new possibilities. By the time Greetings from Bury Park was published, I was convinced that the arc of British history was bending towards tolerance...

I was wrong"
From the archive

This piece needs updating since it was written 70 years ago. Although genetics and AI are far from changing our biological structure, it is not anymore an impossibility. 


Most people know Albert Einstein as a world-famous physicist. He was a socialist, too.


Greece

A very short summary: Capital and a pro-capital oligarchic party presided over a crisis. A leftist party capitalised on that, but capitulated before the power of capital then implemented what it was imposed on Greece by the institutions of capital. Now the old pro-capital party is back in town. You cannot get a full and more beautiful citcle than that.

"Greece is a small and weak capitalist economy; it cannot succeed without success in the rest of Europe; and that applies to a socialist Greece too.  But at least the Greek people would be in control of their own capital assets and labour allocation."


What decides "success" within global capitalism is productivity. Greece can never be France or Germany unless its economic productivity matches the French or German one. And it is not about working long hours; it is about what technology and machines employed.


Completing the vicious circle
"Since the war [in Yemen] began, the UK has sold at least £4.7bn-worth of arms to Riyadh," claims the Guardian.

That is not a lot in terms of GDP, but it still makes a difference for us here in the UK in terms of jobs at least. Our government is just doing business with an ally. Blame the Saudis: had they stockpiled more of what they needed before the war (lawfully!), they wouldn't have put the UK in such a position.

Similarly, don't blame Deutsche Bank for axing jobs. Blame those thousands who will lose their jobs during the coming three years; those who were not smart enough and did not work hard enough to keep the bank stronger and competitive. 
There are similarities between the South Korean protest movement in the 1980s and the regime crackdown and the Arab uprisings since 2011, but one of the differences was that South Korea had already embarked on industrialisation and achieved it. Capitalist relations dominated and thus the struggle for bourgeois democracy was part of that transformation.

The slogans and songs by the current protest movements in Sudan and Algeria come to mind when we read the following: 

Protests inspired by South Korea's "March for the Beloved"

See also

March for the Beloved
One of the differences between a "democratic-led" coalition and an authoritarian-led one is that the first is much better at "surgical strikes"

At least 544 civilians killed in Russian-led assault in Syria
"Let’s get back to those border guards and their contempt for their wards. Where did we last see this shameless conduct on the scale of these recent revelations? Was it not Abu Graib in 2004? And Abu Graib was just one Iraqi prison where American excesses were exposed. One can find more references to extreme cruelty and sadistic acts by American and allied troops (all under earlier administrations) directed against prisoners in Afghanistan.
As much as our naïve public and the noble liberal wing of our press may wish to assign this newly revealed shame to the Trump administration, the ‘problem’ is much deeper."
"Abu Graib at home in America"

And in that backward country which did not want to be civilised and resisted liberation (by American men in arms similar to those who are now looking after migrants), and instead adopted Shia-Sunni sectarianism, spawned ISIS and more ...

"Degrading conditions in Iraqi jails"
Jacob Mundy shows how multiple foreign interventions are perpetuating the ongoing Libyan civil war in the latest iteration of a process of globalized state unmaking that has become familiar across the greater Middle East since 2001 in places like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and most recently in Yemen.

Omar Dewachi traces the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria in war-related wounds—which US military doctors labelled Iraqibacter—to the biological legacy of decades of sanctions, war and intervention in Iraq, and notes that antibiotic resistance is increasingly being found in other militarized intervention zones in the region.

Lisa Bhungalia, Jeannette Greven and Tahani Mustafa argues that the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign against the Palestinians—which gives Israel free reign to violently dispossess Palestinians while simultaneously withdrawing US aid for food, schools and hospitals—has both worsened Palestinian lives and has paradoxically weakened some levers of influence the United States holds over Palestinians.


In a wide-ranging interview, Hiba Bou Akar discusses how urban planning is being used to turn some neighborhoods and urban peripheries in the Middle East into militarized frontier zones between competing political, military and sectarian organizations guided by the dystopian logic of a war yet to come.


Sami Tayeb examines how a multitude of privately financed urban development projects in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are creating a form of colonization that parallels that of Israel. Unlike Israel’s settler-colonial urbanism, however, this form of urban colonization is driven by global, and particularly neoliberal, capitalism, as it consumes Palestine’s remaining agrarian land at an unprecedented rate. 


Rafeef Ziadah investigates the rise of humanitarian logistics hubs such as Dubai International Humanitarian City, which, although ostensibly humanitarian, have become a key mechanism of intervention and increasingly a central element in the projection of power for the Gulf regimes such as the United Arab Emirates. 

Sarah Parkinson describes the growing trend of extreme research—scholarly research conducted in crises zones amongst conflict-affected populations in the Middle East and North Africa—and shows how this research is a mode of intervention that can impose serious harm on individuals, communities, local partner universities and even humanitarian program staff unless serious precautions are taken.


The devastating human and health consequences of intervention by deprivation are noted in Ron Smith’s analysis of Israel’s decade-long siege of Gaza, whose dynamics are similar to the catastrophic sanctions regime imposed by the United States on Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War and the siege warfare utilized by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Catherine Besteman provides an overview of the new form of global intervention that is taking shape in the rise of militarized borders, interdictions at sea, detention centers, indefinite custody and the generalized criminalization of mobility around the world. The Global North—the United States, Canada, the European Union (EU), Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the Gulf states and East Asia—is investing in militarized border regimes that reach far beyond particular territories to manage the movement of people from the Global South. 


Only two articles are free to access. Some academic institutions have subscription with merip.

The New Landscape of Intervention

Radicalise this, expand it

My respect and thanks
The International Monetary Fund 
Also goes by the name "the international mother fucker"

It is more beautiful when it is headed by a feminist/a feminist mother. 

There is no shortage of people who want to lead a criminal institution with a global reach and be proud of it.

I recommend Eric Toussaint's writings
Just compare how the media has been reporting about suicide bombings in Tunisia where one person was killed and 

the 80 migrants killed "by the evil Mediterranean sea"
"The gang treated their fellow countrymen as commodities"

Polish against Polish as if what happened took place in Poland. Not a word by the liberal BBC about the kind of economy that allowed such a gang to operate in the UK since the Poles started coming into the country, and how the UK was allowed to opt out of EU labour laws in a bargain with Germany.

A UK [modern] slavery network
"From the Nazis and the Taliban to Isis’s more recent destruction of Palmyra, there is plenty on the bad guys, but not much space devoted to the more nuanced topic of the damage wrought by the supposed good guys, like the trail of vandalism left by coalition forces in Iraq."

The Imperial War Museum [in London] charts a history of destruction
"Who else would agree to give up a minimum of two hours a week, not counting commuting time, to sit through blood extraction and reinfusion twice, all for a grand total of 50 bucks? The plasma industry that year (2009) made around $10 billion; the same liter of blood I produced for $20 or $30 was worth up to $200, even before it was treated to make medicine. My first graduate summer was thus the first time I understood the machinations of a capitalist economy, not because I read Marx, but because I experienced its exploitation of my own body, literally."

On the Absurdity of Ethical Capitalism
"The border in this sense is a very recent, twentieth century form of racial sovereignty. It is no more inevitable or natural than the existence of concentration camps. The fact, however, that it feels natural, that it has achieved the appearance of 'the way things are', that it seems inevitable, is an indication of how powerful the ideology is."

The border as political fantasy
State violence

Crammed into cells and forced to drink from the toilet in Syrian prisons? No, in American detention centres.

"callous indifference to human life that is normalised among agents", [and among those who knew about and those who pretended that did not know about it.]

Note: here too the dentention centres are called 'concentration camps'. I disagree with that. I think one should read about the British concentraion camps and the Nazi ones, for example, before using such an inaccurate comparison. 

However, given that we are not in Syria or Libya, but in the richest country on earth [though not per capita] and, as the report states, it is not a problem of resources, and with all her bragging of "freedoms", "helping to liberate" Iraqis and Venezuelans, among others, it is an act of barbarism to treat vulnerable people in such a way.

But should we wonder? Just look at the American prisons, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib ...

Crammed into cells and forced to drink from the toilet
"Jinn is a lazy, by-the-numbers drama with no real insight into Jordanian teenage lives, no position on modern Jordanian society and no redeeming artistic vision. 
Bou Chaaya and Matalqa show no knack for directing actors and fail to convey their characters’ existential ennui in a country grappling with a sense of identity. They briefly touch upon class, but never fully explore the subject.
Everything in Jinn feels like a carbon copy of tired American formulas, including the basic arcs of the characters and their inner conflicts, their relationship with one another; and even the brand of horror that blends the grisly with the supernatural. Nothing feels authentic, emotionally real or believable."

Note: kissing in Egyptian movies was not uncommon. One can see that in the 1970s-1980 movies, for example.
Netflix in the Middle East: how Jinn became a nightmare
If you have a kindle, here is a free e-book that looks interesting:

The Strangers Among Us: Tales from a Global Migrant Worker Movement
A very engaging review

The students were furious. For the first week of class, they read the polemical first chapter, which argues that human rights are not eternal universal truths, but rather a set of political claims that emerged in the 1970s amid a crisis of the moral authority of communism. They simply would not believe that their own highest ideals dated not to the Bible or “the golden rule” but to the age of disco. As it turned out, the students had a preconceived notion of what it meant to have their preconceived notions challenged, and it did not include historicizing their own moral commitments. This provoked reflection about what historicizing something means and how legitimacy for moral claims is constructed.

The Inequality of "Human Rights"


Global Poverty

The Science of (Not) Ending Global Poverty