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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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Spilling the beans, Riyadh style

With recent events, the Saudis are involuntarily proving Obama's point: petrodollars and weapons cannot buy them security, but social and political reform just might.

The dilemmas of migration and the alternatives

Force and denial are not going to solve the migrant crisis—instead we must turn to long-term economic, political, and cultural solutions.

Self-immolation in Kurdish Iraq

Why has self-immolation become an alarmingly common trend in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein?

Palestinian unity: a dream buried deep?

Neither Fatah nor Hamas are willing to accept power sharing, and the division between them is no longer merely ideological in nature.

Iraq's vanishing heritage: risks and solutions

Despite the challenges involved in rescuing Iraq's endangered cultural and archaeological sites, a recent conference put forward concrete, long-term solutions.

Desperate people, hazardous escapes

Those fleeing violent conflict or brutal repressive regimes, facing darkness and terror as they journey from home to Europe, deserve compassion—not intolerance, paranoia and hate.

The Arab World: towards bi-polarity?

Maged Mandour

In Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Bahrain, it will be very difficult for revolutionary democratic movements to succeed in such a bi-polar order.

The Armenian Genocide and the law

The law, in particular the Law of Abandoned Properties, became the Ottoman Empire's most important tool during the Armenian Genocide a century ago. Economic interests blinded people to the plight of their fellows who were made to disappear. 

Sudan and Operation Decisive Storm

Major opposition parties in Sudan boycotted the elections that took place earlier this month, but are now supporting the government's decision to join Operation Decisive Storm disregarding the effect this will have on the people of Yemen.

Silence over Sudan’s bombing of civilians

There is insufficient awareness at the international level about the civilian crisis caused by the government in Sudan, and a failure to mobilise around what information there is.

Arab autocracy & revolution

Maged Mandour

Until now, the struggle between autocrats and revolutionaries has been confined within national boundaries. But as the trend shifts towards a pooling of autocratic regimes’ resources, any future confrontation must be regional. 

Where are the people of Syria?

To mark the fourth anniversary of the uprising, the people of Syria tell their stories. 

Afraid of the dark

The lights have gone out in Syria, a symbol for the destruction it has seen. This video, a part of the #withSyria campaign, calls for the international community to step up.

Riding the caliphate interstate with Jeff Steinberg

An interview on the origins of Islamic State and its relationship with regional and global powers.

Jordan vows to avenge Kasasbeh's murder

The murder by IS of Lt Muath Kasasbeh has caused outrage everywhere, especially in his home country, Jordan, which wants a price paid in blood.

The Islamic State's arrival in Gaza

With a never-ending siege on Gaza, the economic capacity of Palestinians has shrunk to an unbearable limit where families struggle to feed their children. A breeding ground is thereby created for extremism and radical ideologies. 

Why we hate our reflections: Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State

Al Saud might be afraid of many things, but the main threat to their survival comes from within their historical legacy, from their own language; from the Islamic State.

Infographic: understanding sectarianism

A very accessible introduction to how we should grasp and portray sect and sectarianism in Syria and the Middle East.

Homage to deformed cities

Gaza. Is there a city beyond the slogans?

The Egyptian lesson: how to strengthen student opposition

In a country choked with ironies, the Egyptian regime might just be building up the new student opposition that it is trying to eliminate.

Arab dictators: between tactical brilliance and strategic stupidity

Maged Mandour

The Arab World is becoming increasingly unstable and the current elites are using severe coercion to remain in power. However, the use of coercion will lead to instability, as the opposition becomes more radicalized and prone to violence.

Making local ceasefires work in Syria

Any approach to Syria should be judged by its ability to stop the daily abuses against civilians. Advocates of local ceasefires must strive for a balance between immediate relief from the daily suffering and commitment to basic rights and the aspirations of Syrians.

Tracing the impact of the Ferguson uprising in Turkey

It seems that the time has come for Erdogan to return the favour and make a similar phone call to Obama. He has an excuse to do so now, which can only spell more heartache.

Israel in the Arab consciousness: friend or foe?

Maged Mandour

The events of the Arab Revolt have dramatically shifted the position of Israel in the region. Arab regimes have moved from rejecting the existence of Israel to accommodation, to implicit cooperation, in some cases, open cooperation.

When the people wanted to bring down the Syrian regime: Hezbollah as a counter-revolutionary proxy

The fruits of heroic resistance are feeding regional interests rather than the people that resisted. The proxy role of Islamic resistance is becoming a bargaining tool in regional diplomacy.

The battle for Mohamed Mahmoud: developing a counter narrative

Maged Mandour

Even though the regime has the upper hand in material repression, it is far from invincible. Its Achilles heel is its ideological weakness, and the creation of a revolutionary mythology may be a first step in the long journey of dismantling its ideological base. 

For history’s sake, the Arab peoples have revolted

Not only did the Arab peoples revolt, but the power of their revolts was so significant and threatening to the regional geopolitical order that the regional powers had to diffuse the collective consciousness at any cost.

The last Arab

Maged Mandour

The signs of the erosion of Arab identity are visible across the region. This identity is directly tied to the nature of the Arab political order: the two go together.

Why not Kurdistan?

As the Iraqi crisis haunts the Kurds, double standards in the principle of self-determination come to the fore.

Can the Arab world defeat ISIS?

Maged Mandour

What will three forces contribute to the defeat of ISIS: Arab autocrats, moderate Islamist groups and secular democratic protest movements - the first initiators of the Arab Revolt? We can discount the first...

When the US chooses terrorism

IS was created by lack of justice, dignity and governance. Instead of tackling these root issues, the US chose to target the outcomes through brutal terrorism to maintain its hegemonic power structure in the region. 

Objectifying female fighters

We must acknowledge women's agency without allocating gratuitous attention to physical appearances or banal insinuations regarding their somehow 'illicit' deviation from conventional roles.

Scottish Green solidarity with the Kurdish people

We must support the people of Kobane in their fight against ISIS and Turkey's plans to install a buffer zone, both of which are plots to assassinate the democratic project in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan). 

Understanding calls for reinstating the Islamic State

Maududi’s writings on implementing Sharia and Qutb’s radical approach contributed to Jihadist movements that have been multiplying like mushrooms since the mid-seventies of the last century.

ISIS airstrikes: between imperialism and orientalism

Maged Mandour

Islamic radicalism is the product of societal developments and it is not directly related to the religion of Islam. The lessons of Iraq are being actively ignored by the US and the west in general. The main tenets of American foreign policy, which have done well for extremism, are unchanged.

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