By George Breslauer and Robert Birgeneau Last month the American Anthropology Association (AAA), at its annual meeting, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. In coming months, that resolution will be put to a ballot vote of the entire membership of the association, which numbers some 15,000 anthropologists. We urge UC … Continue reading »
Can total war in the Middle East be prevented?
Three weeks ago, Russia started to directly intervene in Syria. The proxy war between Russia and Iran on the one hand, and the United States and Saudi Arabia on the other, threatens to turn into an actual war. Having lost control over its “victories” in the last fourteen years, the U.S. would rather keep this … Continue reading »
Nuclear Framework Agreement: What to make of this deal with Iran?
The art of brinkmanship combined with right personalities on the stage have produced a promising framework agreement that speaks volumes about the fruits of diplomacy and engagement. Though there is no perfect and/or pretty arrangement, but from a non-proliferation standpoint, the P5+1 agreement is a good deal. The surprisingly detailed and thorough terms set out … Continue reading »
Diplomacy with Iran: A win-win situation
It is easy to be cynical about diplomacy with Iran, considering the complexities of U.S. domestic politics and the relentless defiance that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani faces from his own domestic hardliners. We should not allow, however, conservative camps in either country to rock the diplomatic boat, much less sink it. Why? Because sanctions are … Continue reading »
U.S. strategy on ISIL: What’s the endgame?
In a speech to the world from the White House on Sept. 10, 2014, President Obama authorized renewed airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to defeat and dismantle the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL), as well as the deployment of 475 additional military advisers to Iraq, bringing the number of American troops in that … Continue reading »
Lebanon’s 2014 Presidential Elections: When Local and Regional Power Arenas Collide
The original version of the article was published in French and Spanish in Afkar/Ideas42 Lebanon’s presidential elections were supposed to be held by May 25, 2014, the day the six-year term of President Michel Sleiman came to an end. However, the two contending political coalitions – the pro-Syrian March 8 and the anti-Syrian March 14 alliances – … Continue reading »
The trap of ‘democratization’ as ‘wishful thinking’: The state of the art in the Arab world
The global policy and academic worlds expect the Arab world to democratize. But is this expectation helping today? Are political systems in the contemporary developing world inevitably heading towards democracy, and will democracy triumph as an end product of the 21st century? Democracy studies, and more specifically the branch of transitology research, have in recent … Continue reading »
Coup, denial and myth-making
One of the most remarkable things about the military coup d’etat in Egypt is the combination of denial and myth-making it has prompted. The U.S. government denies that a military coup even took place. American law requires cessation of certain forms of economic assistance to countries that have suffered coups, and the Obama administration wishes … Continue reading »
Some scattered reflections on the termination of Osama bin Laden
It will take a while before we know what the event really means for us. As I write, virtually everything that can properly be said is equivocal. The only unequivocally good part: the Osama assassination pushed the Windsor nuptials off the news. The unequivocally fun part: enjoying the pundit class’ angst trying to keep “Obama” … Continue reading »
The coming generation of Osamas
Bin Laden’s death does not make one iota of difference to the dynamics of global terrorism. Osama was the 17th child of a man who had 57 children – and who would have had more if he had not died in an air crash. If we are to confront terrorism then we must look up … Continue reading »
The end of the West’s duplicity in a transforming Middle East?
Post co-authored by Beverly Crawford and Nora Reikosky. Like the collective gasp of horror heard round the world on 9/11, we now hear a global sigh of relief at the news of Osama bin Laden’s demise. President Obama tells us that we can all breathe easier now. But can we? Will Osama’s death mark an end … Continue reading »