This week's editor

Ray Filar

Ray Filar is co-editor of Transformation and a freelance journalist.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Shia crescent: self-fulfilling prophecy

Iran does not have influence over the region’s various Shia actors by default, but is helped by the way the Arab world regimes have historically treated Shia actors in the region. 

A Saudi-Iranian grand bargain

Pundits have long criticised the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) for propagating Wahhabism, its austere brand of Sunni Islam, but have failed to address the underlying regional context.

Lebanon is cracking under the pressure from Syria and Iraq

Hizbullah's attack today on Israeli forces near the Shebaa Farms area contested by Lebanon highlights how the country is a fragile mosaic close to shattering.

(Syrian) black skin, (Lebanese) white masks

Refugees in Lebanon face a violent troika: the state, the Lebanese bourgeoisie, and the weather.

Coping with displacement - Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Lebanon hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees worldwide. The large number of refugees only serves to reveal the troubled political, economic and social problems of the country.

The life of an American freelancer in the Middle East

There is an urgent need to change the narrative of the region and shift focus from bloodshed, terrorism, religious, sectarian and tribal threats to more in-depth coverage on the ground.

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.

Syrian civil society in Lebanon: challenges and opportunities

Instead of empowering Syrian civil society and helping it to build its capacity, the aid community is rendering us more fragile. 

This week's window on the Middle East - September 24, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon.

Anti-Syrian sentiment in Lebanon

Lebanese nationalism has historically been exclusionary - as are all nationalisms - and isolationist, in that it accentuates differences between the Lebanese and other Levantines or other Arabs while downplaying shared attributes and characteristics.

Dispatch from Erbil

US strikes against Islamic State fighters heading towards Erbil will not make a significant impact against a group that can fight across multiple fronts in multiple countries.

Gaza, and an Arab civil war

Behind the Arab rhetoric of unity over Gaza - and Syria or Iraq - lie deep and dangerous fractures.

Ghassan’s memories

Kanafani can make you dream of a free Palestine in a multitude of ways. A Palestine freed through writing, through song, through poetry, through art, or through a rifle. 

Pax Syriana: neither vanquished, nor all-conquering

Why is the Syrian Army, against all predictions, winning the war in Syria? One has to delve into the history of the Syrian state since independence to understand how the military shaped the state and learned to divide its opponents. 

Lebanon and Syria-Iraq: who is more fragile?

The depiction of Lebanon as the most brittle and even artificial nation in its region is based more on myth than reality, says Hazem Saghieh.

Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon: a case study in the global labour hierarchy of gender, race, and nationality

The plight of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon is not just a legal issue that can be solved by reforming the exploitative kafala or sponsorship law. It reflects deeper race and gender prejucides and must be addressed as a social and moral problem.

The fate of Gulf migrant workers is deeply connected to the fate of the Arab uprisings

The more the Gulf states pay a reputational cost in the west for maintaining this system of exploitation, the harder it will be for them to resist demands for serious reform. 

This week's window on the Middle East - April 14, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Contempt and humiliation greet the Pope's visit to the Holy Land.

On Lebanese sovereignty

The issue of what sovereignty means, and how it can be enforced, should not be confined to the defensive sphere alone. Increasing resentment against Syrians in the domestic sphere, and offhand statements about the army versus the law, do not augur well.

Truth is the legacy we want

An op-ed from six youth activists in countries where official truth seeking initiatives are underway or being demanded reveals commonalities in the search for dignity, truth and acknowledgment of crimes. 

This week's window on the Middle East - March 20, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, The continuous battle against sexual harassment in Egypt.

Lebanese media retaliates against politicians' crackdown

A video of a talk show recently went viral in Lebanon in defence of freedom of expression. This should send a warning signal to media outlets across the country about what is taking place behind the scenes.

Lebanon and the Syrian refugee crisis

It wasn’t as if Lebanon didn’t have troubles enough, with a shaky government finally formed last month. But the Syrian refugee crisis is taking a huge toll on a country which desperately needs international support.

Lebanon's shot at utopia

Understanding the shortcomings of Lebanon in the race for Mediterranean oil wealth. Just like Brazil, bad timing might cut the country’s dreams short.

A fragile cold peace: the impact of the Syrian conflict on Israeli-Syrian relations

Is the Syrian crisis threatening to end 40 years of cold peace between Syria and Israel? How long will Syria and its allies pursue a policy of restraint and containment?

This week's window on the Middle East - January 17, 2014

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Corruption in Bahrain.

Lebanon: a year which promises little but foreboding?

The feeling of being hamstrung by international events both out of their control but with direct consequences, combined with domestic political stalemate and factionalism, is all too familiar. 

Beyond a self-fulfilling prophesy: religion and conflict in the Middle East

Primordialism is back with a vengeance when it comes to analysing conflict in the Middle East. However, Libya and Egypt help us put religion in its proper place.

Rebuilding Nahr el Bared

After its destruction in the 2007 conflict, how did residents and architects go about rebuilding one of Lebanon's largest Palestinian refugee camps?

This week's window on the Middle East - December 11, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Lebanon in turmoil.

Lebanon in turmoil

The environment in Lebanon continues to be highly fractured, with geographical enclaves hosting increasingly entrenched conflicts which are spewing out more private groups threatening to create greater national disunity.

This week's window on the Middle East - November 29, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, the Egyptian constitution: the militarized state.

A regional affair

For the citizens of Lebanon and Beirut, the human cost of the attacks is tragic. The complex web of trans-regional motivations and alliances which provides the backdrop to this latest attack also reveals a number of disturbing truths about the region today.

This week's window on the Middle East - October 25, 2013

Arab Awakening's columnists offer their weekly perspective on what is happening on the ground in the Middle East. Leading the week, Egypt's most powerful man tries to tame the media.

The root of the Syrian-Iraqi question

If Saddam Hussein and Hafez Assad had worked towards unlearning the new reality which Sykes-Picot aimed to create in the Arab World, the current deadlock in the Syrian-Iraqi situation would never have happened.

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