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Violent Transitions

Speaking to a delegation of Latin dignitaries in 1962, President John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” His words ring prophetic as regimes in Egypt, Syria and Yemen who refuse to cede to the peaceful demands of their people find themselves locked in a deadly dance.

Arabs who have decided to seize their own destiny are confronted with regimes that are willing to use any means necessary to retain power. As Arabs struggle to overthrow their regimes, we will explore ways of averting violence, the virtues and drawbacks of international intervention and the sacrifice tens of thousands of Arabs are making for their freedom.

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The allure of war: the motivations of Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria

Broadly speaking, religious motivations are the primary draw for Jordanian volunteers in Syria.

Divide and conquer: offer Jabhat al-Nusra access to the Syrian peace talks

Jabhat al-Nusra’s split from al-Qaeda offers the west a unique and crucial opportunity to create a fully inclusive and strengthened transition in Syria.

Iraq 13 years on

As life goes on in Baghdad, plans need to be put in place to make people’s lives more bearable. Planning should not wait until the war ends, because in Baghdad, as in much of Iraq, war is now the new normal.

Regeni and cosmopolitanism: the false question of national belonging

"Where are you from? - Italy." "Ah, you have Regeni. We have thousands of Regeni in Syria."

Syrian detainees may be central to future negotiations - but they can’t wait that long

Rather than wait for the next round of negotiations, it is imperative that governments and international bodies continue to pressure the Syrian regime.

The political economy of the Arab Spring: searching for the virtuous circle

No matter how tragic the short and medium-term consequences of some of the uprisings, their outbreak might eventually lead the Arab world to enter steadily the trajectory to democracy and good governance.

Why most Syrian men are not joining ISIS

It is by recognising the role masculinities and gender expectations play in societies that we can fully understand and hope to address violence.

The "Coptic issue" and the cycle of suffering

Mina Fayek

To single out the mistreatment of Copts and the failure of the state to protect them, as a “Coptic issue”, is a wrong diagnosis of the problem.

The fluidity of identity among Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria

Jordanian volunteers in Syria come from diverse ideological backgrounds that do not necessarily align with the groups they join.

The persistence of elite control in Syria

If lasting political change is to occur in Syria, the experience of its neighbours must be heeded.

Silence in the media brings more destruction to Turkey

The Kurds are now asking world media to inform ‘Superman’ of yet another attack on their homeland in Turkey.

The covert drone war in Yemen

The United States’ covert drone war in Yemen - at least 15 years old now – continues. European countries are directly and indirectly involved.

The Libyan GNA: the rise and impending fall of the Libyan political agreement

A viable Libyan state that will restore normalcy and security to the daily lives of its citizens must be given the same priority as the international community’s immediate desire to combat Daesh. 

Demolitions in the West Bank

The Bedouin and rural communities in the Jordan Valley are remote from the conflict, yet key victims of a campaign of oppression.

Yazidi women sold as sex slaves

IS militants are now resorting to social media to sell sex slaves online. 

Continuous catastrophe, yet still we seek accountability

Commemorating the Nakba and protecting refugee camps are entwined and equally critical endeavors: without historical accountability, without identifying perpetrators and victims, there is no redemption.

Defeating the Islamic State will take more than gunpowder

Attempting to defeat IS without beginning to address the political and structural failures that have led to these circumstances borders on the ridiculous.

Iran’s military objectives in Syria and Russia’s contradictory positions

As the US and Russia speak of a mutual agreement over Syria, Iran and Assad are continuing their ruthless slaughtering of the Syrian people.

ISIS and Israel on the Golan Heights

The Yarmouk Valley is run by ISIS – and left alone by Israel. This is a testament to the complex, cynical and calculated machinations of the actors in this conflict.

Can Sisi stop Egypt’s implosion?

Maged Mandour

Neither Sisi nor anyone else can bring stability to the country without radical social transformation, to address the key issues that brought about revolt in the first place.

Christians among the victims in an unstable Yemen

Christians and Yemen’s other dwindling minorities are now being targeted with little hope of protection from a divided, dysfunctional, and deteriorating state.

Palestinian refugees fleeing Syria: an argument for protecting humanitarian law in US politics

The extremist goals of those who seek to abolish such laws reflect a deeply problematic ideology, in which guilt by association is a celebrated norm.

On the spectacle of violence

Maged Mandour

Violence and repression are becoming more severe, and are symptomatic of the failure of Arab leaders to build a hegemonic vision they can use to control the citizenry. 

Palmyra and propaganda

Those who unthinkingly applaud the Assad regime for recapturing Palmyra run the risk of looking as though they care more for Roman ruins than Syrian lives.

Politics, racism and Israel/Palestine

If we need to be vigilant against the evil of antisemitism, we need to be equally vigilant against the kind of virulent racism which is gaining ground in Israel.

The untouchables: Egypt’s petty security officials

Maged Mandour

The regime has unleashed a wave of repression that it can no longer control. Power now lies in the hands of those that police local communities: Egypt’s new untouchables, the petty security officials.   

Giulio Regeni, Egypt, and the deafening silence of Europe

Giulio Regeni's case is not only about academic freedom, but about the responsibility of EU states to protect their citizens: silence cannot be the response to his torture and murder.

Why airstrikes on ISIS in Libya could worsen the situation in Tunisia

Concerns that bombing ISIS in Libya might destabilise Tunisia were tragically confirmed last week, as ISIS militants assaulted military and security facilities in Ben Guerdane, killing more than 50 people.

Why many young Arabs join violent radical groups

The key to combating extremism is prevention. But what are the conditions that lead youth to become radicalised?

Shame on those who try to justify Giulio Regeni’s assassination

Claims that Regeni’s supervisors bear responsibility for sending him into danger are outrageous, betraying both ignorance of the facts and a severe lack of empathy.

Coalition air strikes and the Sunni 'endgame' in Syria, Iraq

The pattern of strikes by the disjointed US-led coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve remains the best and most reliable public indicator of intentions and future operations in the short-term.

On Israel flattening Beirut: there is nothing new under the sun

The infamous Haaretz op-ed restates an 11-year-old thesis known as the "Dahiya Doctrine," developed and implemented during the 2006 Lebanon War and the 2014 Gaza assault.

The current situation in Yemen: causes and consequences

The conflict will not lead to a clear victory: there will need to be some difficult compromises. Meanwhile, the destruction continues and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and Islamic State terrorists are exploiting the situation.

To the shores of Tripoli

Great Britain and Italy are preparing to send ground troops to Libya, and American troops will likely be involved eventually – ironic developments given western intervention helped create a failed state in Libya in the first place.

Reflections from Arab Spring to refugee crisis in Europe: an argument for measure and the rule of law

As we must find ways to deal with economic migration in all its variations and the effects it has on society and economy, we must offer a rights-based welcome to those who qualify for asylum.

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