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Syrian wars of proxy

The Syrian war is not only a proxy war. There is a strong internal dimension to the war in Syria but it has been obscured by various layers and dimensions of outside intervention and agendas. The Syrian regime wants to stay in power at any cost while there was certainly a civil popular opposition in Syria when the uprising first began. There are thousands of reasons for the Syrian people to protest against a family dictatorship that has controlled much of their lives since 1970 but the civil protest movement did not erupt by itself, the Western media narrative notwithstanding.

Restricting academic freedom: a time-honored Israeli tradition

Establishing itself as the mainstay of academic freedom in the region, Israel has used this categorization interminably in reference to its larger position as “the only democracy in the Middle East.” Yet, the nature of academic freedom in Israel, and in the United States regarding those who criticize the colonial-settler state, has long been a part of a historical effort to exclude Palestinians from academic discourse and to stifle criticism of the Zionist entity.

Conditioning ourselves for our forthcoming civil war

With an interesting track record of Lebanese people and entities occupying public venues and establishments for their various agendas, it’s not entirely true that anyone in Lebanon is surprised with recent events such as the occupation of our national electricity company, EDL, or the Tripoli-Beirut highway at Qalamoun. We’re not amused, but we’re also definitely not surprised.

Which Islam?

Western media are aghast: why can’t “Islam” condemn the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and expel it from “Islam.” For Western media, Islam is an office with fancy headquarters where bureaucrats produce fatwas around the clock. In the wake of September 11, Senator Dianne Feinstein used to tour the TV news shows and wonder in anger: why can’t Islam issue a fatwa to end all terrorism? If only things were that easy.

The floating grass of Palestine

After having spent almost a week in Amman to cast people and places for my upcoming novel, what was more interesting than the city itself were the city’s totems of elsewhere, especially Palestine. Juice stands, groceries, restaurants and other establishments had “Palestine” in their name. As a Lebanese national agonizingly forbidden from going to Palestine, I spent 15 minutes every day drinking fresh pineapple juice at Amman’s “Palestine Juice” pretending I was somehow there, until I decided to get as close as possible to this forbidden land instead of just daydreaming.

‘Urban Shield’: where hostility towards minorities meets policing on steroids

Activists in Oakland, California hold a banner during a protest against Urban Shield. September 5, 2014. (Photo: Al-Akhbar English-Adam Hudson)

The 2014 Urban Shield exhibition, a trade show and comprehensive training exercise for US police agencies and SWAT teams, took place September 4 through September 8 in Oakland, California – this expo, which alleges to “improve regional disaster response capabilities and provide a platform for national and international first responders, as well as the private sector, to work efficiently and effectively together when critical incidents occur,” is proudly supported by federal agencies and organizations. The governmental departments and institutions sponsoring Urban Shield include the United States Army, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology, which is the research and technical development arm of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Why the US war on ISIS will fail

Yet another global war was announced by the US. The US has not really ever taken a break from declaring global wars since the end of World War II. Its war on communism was more than that: it was a global war on feminism, secularism, socialism, and even liberalism around the world. It was a war for the imposition of a right-wing reactionary order in developing countries, and for the forceful and undemocratic prevention of free elections in Western Europe. We now know that the US used its financial wherewithal and dirty tricks to prevent the electoral victory of socialists and communists.

The unpublicized impact of a successful BDS action

There is no question as to how immensely successful the Block the Boat protest at the Port of Oakland, led by Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) and arranged with the help of countless organizations, was. Unless you are a supporter of Israel or a journalist at the Oakland Tribune. Thousands of protesters, including an estimated 5,000 who marched on the Port of Oakland on August 16, prevented the Zim Piraeus from unloading by keeping workers from crossing their picket line to enter the port for a historic four days, making it “the longest blockade of an Israeli ship” according to AROC.

ISIS and al-Qaeda: Similarities and differences

There is a fervent Saudi attempt to isolate the phenomenon of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and to regard it as a phenomenon unrelated to elements in contemporary Arab political culture (or to American foreign policy legacy, for that matter).

On destroying the Lebanese public library of architecture

Can something be said too many times? Tripoli is dying. Here you go. Contrary to popular belief, it is not already dead, but dying. Its people are still somehow circulating its decaying streets. Its downtown and old quarters are still trying to pump life into the rest of the city. The Abu Ali river refuses to completely dry up, which uses sewage as disguise before it picks up speed again in winter. The city is not dead, but it definitely is dying. Technically it is not too late, but it’s sad that its end seems inevitable. Its souks, khans, piazzas, mosques, churches and fortress constitute one of the few remaining historical downtowns in the Arab world after wars have been erasing its rivals in sister Arab states. Will we just simply let go of it?

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