North-Africa West-Asia https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/14806/all en Call for participants: Tunisia, Middle East Forum https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/opendemocracy/call-for-participants-tunisia-middle-east-forum <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl" style="text-align: right;">يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن مشاركين لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط لتونس.</p><p>openDemocracy is looking for participants for the Middle East Forum for Tunisia.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">Middle East Forum</a> is a project that encourages emerging young voices to express themselves, exchange views and be heard. The project provides participants with a series of workshops to develop writing skills, media presence, and digital security as well as a free discussion space where they have the capacity to debate constructively. Participants in the forum host speakers, acquire skills, share knowledge, and give feedback to one another. </p><p dir="ltr">We are currently looking for 7 participants in or from Tunisia to join the project. If you are interested in participating in this project and developing your journalistic skills read the information below and send in your application. </p><h2 dir="ltr">Participants:</h2><p dir="ltr">We expect that each participant will have the opportunity to achieve the following benefits:</p><ul><li>- Career-related experience</li><li>- Practical and increased practice-based knowledge of journalistic writing, debate, social media </li><li>- Training which enhances digital security and the handling of human rights issues</li><li>- Increased knowledge and experience on how to create an online journalistic presence</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Participants will be expected to:</h2><ul><li>- Adhere to policies, procedures, and rules governing professional behavior;</li><li>- maintain a punctual and reliable working relationship, abiding by the scheduled sessions and number of articles agreed to;</li><li>- communicate regularly with the facilitator, particularly in situations where the participant may need to adjust the terms of the working relationship (e.g., to reschedule a meeting/session);</li><li>- respect the opinions expressed and confidentiality of the group;</li><li>- take the initiative to volunteer for tasks or projects that the participant finds interesting.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Requirements</h2><p dir="ltr">In addition to these general expectations, the participant will also be required to meet the following requirements during the program:</p><ul><li>- Meet a minimum commitment of 12 sessions; </li><li>- develop a working relationship with the facilitator, such that he or she can adequately serve as a mentor;</li><li>- actively engage in debate, with a focus on the topics and how the discussions unfold;</li><li>- actively take notes during each session, to be shared amongst the group;</li><li>- actively engage and participate in developing an online space for debate;</li><li>- actively produce a minimum of one article per month, based on the discussions that take place;</li><li>- understand how to and actively promote your work;</li><li>- evaluate and monitor your own success in terms of reach;</li><li>- upon completion of the program, reflect upon and write about your experience during the program.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">Who can apply?</h2><p dir="ltr">You can apply for the position if you fall under any of the following:</p><ul><li>Between the age of 21 - 30;</li><li>Are an aspiring journalist or blogger;</li><li>Possess knowledge in the specific region of the program;</li><li>Have an excellent command of Arabic and/or English.</li></ul><h2 dir="ltr">How to apply?</h2><ul><li>- Send in a sample piece of 1000-1500 words in Arabic or English of something that interests you - a conversation that took place that struck a chord, an observation from your surroundings, a cultural event, an interesting initiative, your point of view on the politics of the region or why you would like to take part in this program.</li><li>- Your resume.</li></ul><p>Deadline for applicaiton: September 15th. </p><p class="direction-rtl"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">منتدى الشرق الأوسط</a> هو مشروع يشجّع الأجيال الصاعدة الشابّة على التعبير عن نفسها وتبادل الآراء وإيصال صوتها. يقدّم المشروع للمشاركين سلسلة من ورش العمل لتطوير مهاراتهم في الكتابة والحضور الإعلامي والأمن الرقمي كما يوفّر المشروع فضاء للمناقشات يمنح المشاركين فرصة التحاور بطريقة بنّاءة. يستضيف المشاركون في المنتدى متحدثين ويكتسبون مهارات ويتشاركون المعلومات ويعبّرون عن رأيهم بعمل زملائهم.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">نبحث عن 7 مشتركين من تونس&nbsp;للانضمام إلى المشروع. إذا كنت مهتماً بالمشاركة في المشروع وبتطوير مهاراتك الصحفية، تابع القراءة وأرسل طلبك. </p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong><span>المشتركون:</span></strong></h2> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>سيحظى كلّ مشترك بفرصة اكتساب الأمور التالية:</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة مهنية</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; معرفة عملية بالكتابة الصحفية والمناظرات ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تدريب يعزّز الإلمام بالأمن الرقمي والتطرّق إلى قضايا حقوق الإنسان</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إلمام إضافي وخبرة في كيفية تعزيز الحضور الصحفي على الإنترنت</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>يُتوّقع من المشتركين</strong>:</h2> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; احترام السياسات والإجراءات والقواعد الملائمة للسلوك المحترف</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; المحافظة على علاقة عمل دقيقة وموثوقة والالتزام بالجلسات المعيّنة وبعدد المقالات المتفق عليه</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التواصل بانتظام مع الميسّر، وتحديداً في المواقف التي يحتاج فيها المشترك إلى تعديل شروط علاقة العمل (مثلاً، تغيير موعد الحصة/الاجتماع)</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; احترام السرية والآراء المعبّر عنها ضمن المجموعة </p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; أخذ المبادرة للتطوّع لمهمات أو مشاريع يجدها المشترك مثيرة للاهتمام</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>المتطلّبات:</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">بالإضافة إلى المتطلبات العامة، يجب أن يلتزم المشترك بالتالي خلال البرنامج:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الالتزام بحدّ أدنى من الحصص يساوي 12حصة</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير علاقة عمل مع الميسّر للعب دور المرشد بشكل صحيح</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; المشاركة بالمناظرات بنشاط والتركيز على المواضيع وكيفية تبلور النقاش</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تدوين الملاحظات فعلياً خلال كلّ حصة وتشاركها مع المجموعة</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الانخراط في تطوير فضاء إلكتروني للمناظرات والمشاركة فيه</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كتابة مقال واحد على الأقلّ في الشهر، استناداً إلى المناقشات التي حصلت</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; فهم كيفية تحسين عملك وتطبيق ذلك</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تقييم ومراقبة نجاحك استناداً إلى اتساع نطاق تأثيرك</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التفكير في تجربتك والكتابة عنها لدى إتمام البرنامج</p> <h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>مَن المرشّحون لهذا التدريب؟</strong></h2> <p class="direction-rtl">يمكنك التقدّم بطلب إذا:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كنت بين سنّ 21 و30؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; كنت تطمح لتصبح صحفياً أو مدوّناً؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك إطّلاع واسع على المنطقة المحددة للبرنامج؛</p> <p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تتكلّم وتكتب العربية و/أو الإنكليزية بطلاقة. </p> <p class="direction-rtl"><strong>كيف يمكن التقدّم للتدريب؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">أرسِل نصّاً من&nbsp; 1000 – 1500 كلمة باللغة الإنكليزية أو العربية عن موضوع يهمّك، مثلاً حوار أثّر فيك أو مراقبتك لمحيطك أو حدث ثقافي أو مبادرة مثيرة للاهتمام أو وجهة نظرك حول سياسات المنطقة أو سبب اهتمامك بالمشاركة في البرنامج بالاضافة الى سيرتك. </p> <p class="direction-rtl">الرجاء إرسال جميع الطلبات والمستندات المرتبطة بها إلى موقع <a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net"><strong>nawa@opendemocracy.net</strong></a> والموعد النهائي للتقديم هو 15 سبتمبر.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tunisia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Tunisia Opportunities at openDemocracy Mid-East Forum openDemocracy Sun, 13 Aug 2017 15:17:59 +0000 openDemocracy 112777 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Call for applications: Tunisia Facilitator, Middle East Forum https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/opendemocracy/call-for-applications-tunisia-facilitator-middle-east-forum <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl" style="text-align: right;">يبحث موقع openDemocracy عن ميسّر لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط&nbsp; في تونس.</p><p>openDemocracy is looking to hire a facilitator for the Middle East Forum in Tunisia.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>The&nbsp;<span><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/arab-awakening/middle-east-forum">Middle East Forum</a></span>&nbsp;is a project that encourages emerging young voices to express themselves, exchange views and be heard. The project provides participants with a series of workshops to develop writing skills, media presence, and digital security as well as a free discussion space where they have the capacity to debate constructively. Participants in the forum host speakers, acquire skills, share knowledge, and give feedback to one another.</p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">We are currently looking for a facilitator to coordinate a group of 7 participants from Tunisia. openDemocracy has a standard of expectation from our participants as well as from each individual facilitator.</p><p>This is a freelance role, 35 days of work spread over 11 months with a salary of $109 per day.</p><p><strong>In general, facilitators will be expected to:</strong></p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Ensure a safe space for all the participants to express themselves freely;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Host debates but allow for the creative process to take its due course;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Cultivate a good working relationship with the participants, and serve as their mentor;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Maintain a good line of communication with the participants, and be available for any questions;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Be responsible for training the participants, providing them with the tools necessary to complete the program successfully, and the ability to organise other professional trainers where needed;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Outline learning objectives for the group;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Oversee and support the participants’ work, and assist where necessary;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Provide constructive feedback and suggestions to enhance the participant’s learning experience.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Requirements</strong></p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">We are looking for people who are passionate about journalism and its potential to change the world, and have:</p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Expertise in the specific region of the program;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Experience in debate moderation;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Prior experience of digital publishing and social media;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- A background in journalism and journalistic writing;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Fluency in both Arabic and English - able to write and edit;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Knowledge of online security, computer systems and office-related software;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Possess strong interpersonal and communication skills.</p></li></ul><p><strong>Specific responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:</strong></p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Finding, screening and selecting seven candidates for the program;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Meeting the commitment of 15 sessions;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Actively developing an online space for debate;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Developing a working relationship with the participants, such that you can adequately serve as their mentor;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Actively moderating debate;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Managing communication with participants;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Ensuring that notes for each session are being taken. Share notes with all participants;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Editing articles written by the participants in both Arabic and English;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Liaising with the project coordinator and editor;</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Writing progress reports;</p></li></ul><p class="western" lang="en-GB"><strong>Who can apply?</strong></p><p class="western" lang="en-GB">You can apply for the position if you fall under any of the following:</p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Previous experience as a journalist or editor</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Currently completing or recently completed post-graduate studies in related field</p></li><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">- Possess expertise in the specific region of the program</p></li></ul><p class="western" lang="en-GB"><strong>How to apply?</strong></p><ul><li><p class="western" lang="en-GB">Send in a sample piece of&nbsp;<strong>1000 words</strong>&nbsp;in Arabic or English of why you believe you are suitable for this role and your resume</p></li></ul><p>Please send your application documents to&nbsp;<span><a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net">arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net</a></span>&nbsp;by the&nbsp;<strong>28th August 2017.</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>دعوة إلى تقديم الطلبات لمنصب ميسّر لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط في مصر</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">يبحث موقع&nbsp;<strong>openDemocracy</strong>&nbsp;عن ميسّر لمنتدى الشرق الأوسط&nbsp; في تونس.</p><p class="direction-rtl">منتدى الشرق الأوسط هو مشروع يشجّع الأجيال الصاعدة الشابّة على التعبير عن نفسها وتبادل الآراء وإيصال صوتها. يقدّم المشروع للمشاركين سلسلة من ورش العمل لتطوير مهاراتهم في الكتابة والحضور الإعلامي والأمن الرقمي كما يوفّر المشروع فضاء للمناقشات ويمنح المشاركين فرصة التحاور بطريقة بنّاءة. يستضيف المشاركون في المنتدى متحدثين ويكتسبون مهارات ويتشاركون المعلومات ويعبّرون عن رأيهم بعمل زملائهم.</p><p class="direction-rtl">نسعى إلى توظيف ميسّر لتنسيق عمل مجموعة من 7 مشاركين من تونس.</p><p class="direction-rtl">ثمة معايير يتوقع موقع&nbsp;<strong>openDemocracy</strong>&nbsp;من المشاركين ومن كلّ ميسّر احترامها.</p><p class="direction-rtl">هذا منصب حرّ (<strong>freelance</strong>) يتضمّن 35 يوماً من العمل ممتدّ على فترة 11 شهراً.</p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>بشكل عام، تضمّ مهام الميسّر التالي:</strong><strong>&nbsp;</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تأمين منبر آمن لجميع المشاركين للتعبير عن آرائهم بِحرية؛&nbsp;<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; استضافة مناظرات والسماح للعملية الخلّاقة أن تأخذ مجراها المناسب؛<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; بناء علاقة عمل جيدة مع المشاركين وتأدية دور المرشد؛<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الحرص على تأمين التواصل السليم مع المشاركين والتوفر للإجابة عن جميع أسئلتهم؛<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تحمّل مسؤولية تدريب المشاركين ومدّهم بالأدوات اللازمة لإتمام البرنامج بنجاح وبالقدرة على تأمين مدرّبين محترفين آخرين، إذا دعت الحاجة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; وضع أهداف التعلّم للمجموعة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الإشراف على عمل المشاركين ودعمهم ومساعدتهم لدى الحاجة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تقديم تعليقات واقتراحات بنّاءة لتحسين التجربة التعلّمية للمشاركين.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>متطلّبات الوظيفة:</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">نبحث عن أشخاص شغوفين في مجال الصحافة ويؤمنون بقدرتها على تغيير العالم. يجب أن يتحلّوا بالمهارات التالية:</p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;إطّلاع واسع على شؤون المنطقة المحدّدة للبرنامج؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة في إدارة المناقشات؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; خبرة سابقة في النشر الرقمي والتواصل الاجتماعي؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تخصّص في الصحافة والكتابة الصحافية؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; طلاقة في اللغتين العربية والإنكليزية والقدرة على الكتابة والتنقيح في اللغتين؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; معرفة في أمن الإنترنت وأنظمة الكمبيوتر والبرمجيات المكتبية؛</p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; امتلاك مهارات متقدمة في التواصل والتعامل مع الآخرين.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>تضمّ مسؤوليات الميسّر التالي، على سبيل المثال لا الحصر:</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إيجاد 7 مرشحين للبرنامج وفحص مهاراتهم والاختيار من بينهم؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; القدرة على الالتزام بحضور 15 جلسة؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير فعلي لفضاء إلكتروني للمناظرات؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تطوير علاقات عمل مع المشاركين للنجاح في دور المرشد؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; إدارة المناظرات بشكل نشط؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; القدرة على التواصل مع المشاركين؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; الحرص على تدوين الملاحظات في كلّ جلسة وتشاركها مع جميع المشاركين؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; تنقيح المقالات التي يكتبها المشاركون باللغتين العربية والإنكليزية؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; التنسيق مع مدير المشروع والمحرّر؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; صياغة تقارير عن سير العمل وتقدّمه.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>مَن&nbsp;</strong><strong>المرشّحون لهذه الوظيفة؟</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">يمكنك التقدّم بطلب للحصول على الوظيفة إذا:</p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك خبرة سابقة كمحرّر أو صحافي؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; أتممت دراسات عليا في مجال مرتبط أو إذا كنت في طور إتمام هذه الدراسات؛<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; لديك إطّلاع واسع على المنطقة المحددة للبرنامج.<strong></strong></p><h2 class="direction-rtl"><strong>كيف يمكن التقدّم للوظيفة؟</strong></h2><p class="direction-rtl">أرسِل نصّاً من 1000 كلمة باللغة الإنكليزية أو العربية تفسّر فيه الأسباب التي تجعلك مناسباً لهذا المنصب، بالإضافة إلى سيرتك الذاتية.<strong></strong></p><p class="direction-rtl">الرجاء إرسال جميع الطلبات والمستندات المرتبطة بها إلى موقع&nbsp;<a href="mailto:arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net"><strong>arabawakeningteam@opendemocracy.net</strong></a>&nbsp;والموعد النهائي للتقديم هو ٢٨ أغسطس ٢٠١٧.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tunisia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Middle East Forum North-Africa West-Asia Tunisia Opportunities at openDemocracy Mid-East Forum openDemocracy Mon, 10 Jul 2017 11:23:07 +0000 openDemocracy 112104 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Erdoğan: prophetic leader or political suicide? https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/daniel-petcu/erdo-prophetic-leader-or-political-suicide <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If Erdoğan persists in his callous quest, it will only be a matter of time before he succumbs to increasing economic pressure that will threaten to leave the country destitute.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32085687.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Depo Photos/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32085687.jpg" alt="Depo Photos/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved." title="Depo Photos/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Thousands of people attend the July 15 ceremony at Bursa city to mark the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt. People gathered in public squares and at ceremonies across Turkey to mark the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt which saw 249 people die when military personnel attempted to overthrow the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of July 15, 2016. Depo Photos/ABACA/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>It has become commonplace to label Turkey as an autocracy following the despotic policies of its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.</p> <p>A wave of ideological purges succeeded the failed coup d'etat of June 2016 that was instigated by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces, the Peace at Home Council.</p> <p>Among the motivating factors behind the coup appear to be a combination of an increasing feeling of eradication of secularism within the country, and Turkey's declining influence on the global political stage.</p> <p>The supposed spearhead of this entire operation has been namechecked as Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish religious figure who was previously an ally of the president until he withdrew his support amidst the 2013 Turkish corruption scandals. Unsurprisingly, Erdoğan has also turned Gülen into the <a href="http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/erdogan-faces-new-protests-over-corruption-scandal/article/364759">scapegoat</a> for the inception of judicial investigations into said scandals, seeing the whole affair as a joint venture between Gülen and “international forces”, particularly the United States.</p> <p>However, it is highly likely that such accusations serve as pretenses for the president to consolidate his grip over the country in an attempt to erode the influence of Kemalist ideology and revert to Islamic rule, thus effectively merging the state and religion, as was the case during the Ottoman Empire.&nbsp;</p> <p>Kemalist ideology had impacted Turkey drastically. Ataturk's set of reforms demonstrated an endorsement of western values and customs that not only radically changed Turkish life, but also opened the door to economic partnerships between Turkey and countries belonging to the Occident.</p> <p>For example, one prominent principle present in Kemal's thought was that of Revolutionism, which emphasized the importance of the termination of old institutions and the necessity to replace said institutions with ones that contribute to modernization through scientific and intellectual progress.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, despite Kemal's benevolent policies, Erdoğan's philosophical doctrine denotes a reversal of Kemalist beliefs. For example, he has stated on numerous occasions that he <a href="http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Edogan-Women-are-not-equal-to-men-should-accept-motherhood-as-societal-role-382701">does not believe</a> in the equality between men and women due to Islamic teachings that define the role of the woman as motherhood and therefore there can be no equality due to men and women's diverging natures.</p> <p>Last year, Erdoğan <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/06/turkish-president-erdogan-childless-women-deficient-incomplete">publicly encouraged</a> women to bear at least three children, saying that women who are childless are “incomplete”, and this may well be extended to infertile women. Consequently, fertility and motherhood are fundamental bases upon which women are divided socially into ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’, which represents a most atavistic mentality. Furthermore, he reiterated the necessity of having children by asserting that women’s ability to enter the job sector ought not to act as a hindrance to their starting a family.</p> <p>Despite his repeated remarks of denial, it is clear that Erdoğan has delusions of grandeur with regards to wishing to be seen as a sultan, especially after he oversaw an extensive <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11380281/Turkeys-president-is-not-acting-like-the-Queen-he-is-acting-like-a-sultan.html">revival of Ottomanism</a>, for example hosting the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in his 3.1 million square feet palace surrounded by men dressed as Ottoman soldiers. The president highlighted his intention of hosting world leaders in a similar fashion in the future.</p> <p>The situation became even more turbulent when the president, in his quest to make himself the spiritual successor to Suleiman the Magnificent, used the coup in order to goad the United States into conceding to his demands namely that of <a href="http://aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkish-prosecutors-seek-life-sentence-for-fetullah-gulen/396307">extraditing</a> Gülen, who currently resides in Pennsylvania and has been accused of treason.</p> <p>Drastic actions that aimed to offend the US serve as nothing but a ploy to force the latter to bend the knee. This has manifested itself via the arrest of a Turkish-born, US-based NASA scientist and Andrew Brunson, an American pastor ludicrously <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/05/pastor-turkey-jail-plea.html">accused</a> of being a CIA operative tasked with organizing last year’s coup and the similarities between these foolhardy anti-US operations and the move to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-germany-journalist-idUSKBN16A2GD">detain German journalists</a> serve as a double political suicide, with Deniz Yucel a Turco-German political correspondent working for <em>Die Welt </em>being accused of having ties to Kurdish groups.</p> <p>Aside from the detention of German journalists, corporate investment in Turkey has been suspended indefinitely due to the <a href="http://www.dw.com/en/turkey-claims-daimler-basf-and-other-german-companies-support-terror/a-39763199">accusations</a> brought forward by Erdoğan's government that several giants such as Daimler have ties to the Gülen movement, thus significantly affecting Turkey's ability to attract foreign capital for the foreseeable future.&nbsp;</p> <p>That said, this may serve as retribution for the <a href="https://www.dailysabah.com/politics/2017/07/31/germany-calls-for-cessation-of-accession-funds-to-turkey">lack of compensation</a> for Turkey's aiding in housing millions of refugees, with only 700 million Euros having been delivered so far out of the 6 billion that were agreed upon by Germany.</p> <p>Halfway through this time-span, Germany has not even come close to paying half of the pledged money as a sign of gratitude for Turkey's willingness to keep within its borders an abundance of refugees.&nbsp;</p> <p>In this respect, Erdoğan possesses the high-ground for he has upheld Turkey's promise of sheltering refugees and thus saving Europe further escalation. He could thus use this situation and associated agreement as a bargaining chip in order to get Germany to fall in line.</p> <p>Yet the president is forcing his luck in thinking that he possesses the upper hand in this quarrel with Germany for the latter may use Erdoğan’s purges, specifically the imprisonment of German nationals, as an excuse for ceasing payment with regards to their bilateral agreement on dealing with the refugee crisis.</p> <p>In the meantime, President Erdoğan has set his sights on Russia and the Arab League, as a result of his aggressive stance towards the EU and the United States.&nbsp;</p> <p>While the recent <a href="http://uk.businessinsider.com/turkey-agreed-to-buy-russias-s-400-missle-system-concerns-about-nato-2017-7?r=US&amp;IR=T">deal</a> struck with Russia to buy the S-400 defense system may strengthen Turkey's position from a military standpoint, potential negotiations with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain would be much more tempestuous due to Turkey's warm ties with Qatar, which has been accused of being affiliated with and offering financial support to organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood.</p> <p>Qatar-Turkey <a href="http://time.com/4870421/turkey-erdogan-qatar-crisis-gulf-visit/">relations</a> are so watertight that the former has permitted a deployment of Turkish troops, the removal of which has been requested by the quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain in order for tensions to diffuse.</p> <p>So, what might be made of this cumbersome affair?</p> <p>Erdoğan is most certainly not a prophetic leader but rather a perfect example of a leader committing political suicide. In his relentless quest to transform himself into a sultan-like figure, Erdoğan does not only risk alienating other major economic powers, but his very own people who would not take too kindly to their leader's wish to reverse social and political organization to an atavistic form of rule.</p> <p>Turkey is in an extremely frail position given that it is losing western allies and tensions are continue to build within the Arab League surrounding the Qatar terrorism allegations.&nbsp;</p> <p>Therefore, if Erdoğan persists in this callous quest, it will only be a matter of time before he succumbs to increasing economic pressure that will threaten to leave the country destitute.&nbsp;</p><p> Throughout human history, religious dogma has always compounded social, cultural and intellectual progress and in the increasingly interdependent world that we live in, it would be extremely asinine to seek to implement archaic policies that have a stagnating effect.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/khairuldeen-al-makhzoomi-adel-albdeewy/qatar-MiddleEast-power-US-SaudiArabia-Iran-Turkey-Egypt-GCC-gulf">Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/john-dalhuisen/what-will-it-take-for-world-to-break-its-silence-on-turkey">Is the world finally breaking its silence on Turkey?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pelin-kadercan/trauma-of-attempted-military-coup-as-observed-from-college-campus-in-istanbul">The trauma of the attempted military coup as observed from a college campus in Istanbul </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/umut-ozkirimli/fear-and-loathing-in-turkish-academia-tale-of-appeasement-and-complicity">Fear and loathing in Turkish academia: a tale of appeasement and complicity </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/serdar-m-de-irmencio-lu/can-mosques-and-minarets-be-tools-for-democracy">Can mosques and minarets be tools for democracy?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/od-russia/lamiya-adilgizi/turkeys-fight-against-gulen-in-south-caucasus">Turkey’s fight against Gülen in the South Caucasus</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/homeland-that-wants-to-kill-us">“A homeland that wants to kill us”</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/tun-aybak/sultan-is-dead-long-live-ba-y-ce-erdogan-sultan"> The Sultan is dead, long live “Başyüce” Erdogan Sultan! </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Turkey Democracy and government Economics International politics You tell us Daniel Petcu Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:40:35 +0000 Daniel Petcu 112909 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Kurdistan referendum: why now is the wrong time https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/kavar-kurda/kurdistan-referendum-barzani-iraq-kurdish <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>It appears that the referendum is arguably nothing more than a bargaining chip used by President Barzani, whilst also covering itself as a clever ploy to lull the suffering Kurdish population away from the on-going problems.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32274377.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Suhaib Salem/Reuters/Press Association Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32274377.jpg" alt="Suhaib Salem/Reuters/Press Association Images. All rights reserved." title="Suhaib Salem/Reuters/Press Association Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="292" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A member of Kurdish security forces stands guard in Sinjar region, Iraq August 2, 2017. Suhaib Salem/Reuters/Press Association Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Numbering around 40 million, Kurds hold the infamous title as the largest ethnic group in the world without a country. Split between Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey, and with sizable diasporas around the world, one set of Kurds seem to be closer to achieving the long elusive goal of independence.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 1991 the Kurds in Iraq have operated under de-facto autonomy. However, Iraqi Kurdistan, revered across the world for its bravery and supposed secularism in an unstable region, is now subject to a never-ending list of problems.</p><p dir="ltr">Nevertheless, that has not stopped President Masood Barzani from calling a referendum to secede from Iraq. Whilst, undeniably, this is the moment all Kurds have been dreaming for, such drastic actions could prove disastrous and damage everything the Kurds have laboured for strenuously up till now.</p><p dir="ltr">Post 2003, oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan underwent an economic boom, drawing in investors all over the world. With ostentatious buildings under construction, an increasing tourism sector, and the erection of democratic structures, Kurdistan’s future looked bright and prosperous.</p><p dir="ltr">However, since the arrival of ISIS, the region has suffered a massive influx of refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs), complicating things for the small 5 million population of the area. Bearing in mind the rapidly increasing food prices, power cuts and constant demonstrations, there is no denying the cataclysmic disarray across the blemished region.</p><p dir="ltr">This dire situation is amplified as economic mismanagement and corruption are treated with impunity. Iraqis considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world, with Kurdistan arguably sharing a brunt of the blame. Thousands of <a href="http://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/09032017">ghost workers</a> across the region are an example of this corruption.</p><p dir="ltr">Moreover, for several months, the government has <a href="http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/economic-crisis-leader-iraqi-kurdistan-government-pay-partial-salaries-1168845275">failed to pay</a> the salaries of workers, including the valiant Peshmerga (the Kurdish army). Not only has this led to mass social unrest, it has also left the people with low morale and apathy. Coupled with the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/03/what-s-behind-the-drop-in-oil-prices">drop in oil-prices</a>, an unwillingness for Baghdad to allocate funds to the region and an outstanding <a href="https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21701773-despite-string-military-successes-kurds-are-nowhere-near">$20 billion debt</a>, Kurdistan is not the bubbling metropolis it was once set out to be.</p><p dir="ltr">Considering these inapt circumstances, one must really question how the Kurds intend on funding such a costly project with an already broken economy and minimal funds?</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2013, not only has President Barzani unlawfully extended his premiership, but the Kurdish parliament has also been <a href="http://ekurd.net/referendum-kurdistan-parliaments-2017-07-12">dissolved</a>, making any mandate to push forth a referendum ultimately undemocratic.</p><p dir="ltr">To make matters worse, the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has been at constant odds with the opposing Change Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The inability for the parties to cooperate functionally in unity poses serious questions for stability in the region in any scenario of independence, with their Peshmerga already infamously divided. </p><p dir="ltr">On top of the fact that there are currently a number of <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/pt/originals/2017/07/kurdish-referendum-disputed-areas-iraq.html">disputed areas</a> between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish government making things even more problematic, the only country who has openly showed actual support for Kurdish secession is Israel.</p><p dir="ltr">Whilst any ally would be welcomed, in the Middle East, such partnership could be disastrous on how the Kurds are further perceived by their hostile borders.</p><p dir="ltr">Seceding from Iraq in any case, would have to be done in an amicable case. But with constant quarrels between the two and Baghdad previously <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/tr/business/2014/05/iraq-kurdistan-region-budget-dispute-economic-effects.html">refusing</a> to pay Kurdistan’s constitutional allocated budget, this will be difficult. This does not bode well for the Kurds’ future, if we bear in mind the fierce opposition from numerous other Shia and Sunni groups.</p><p dir="ltr">With minimal allies in a country where sectarianism is rife, the likelihood of Kurds splitting in such a delicate time is only more likely to separate the country and bring about more conflict.</p><p dir="ltr">The Shia dominated government has constantly been accused of <a href="http://carnegie-mec.org/2016/03/03/sunni-predicament-in-iraq-pub-62924">repressing</a> the Sunni minority and now reports of Feyli Kurds in Baghdad being <a href="http://www.rudaw.net/mobile/english/kurdistan/130820174">attacked</a> also make this referendum that much more sensitive.</p><p dir="ltr">Beyond this, with mixed communities in disputed areas and Hashd Al-Shabi only gaining more fervour and dominance across the country, the likelihood of more conflict once ISIS disappears is only stronger, and likely to encourage other minorities in the area to rebel.</p><p dir="ltr">Beyond these barriers stand the border countries of Turkey, Iran and Syria. All countries have a sizable Kurdish population and have a long history of oppressing Kurds. All three are also adamant in Iraq’s borders remaining intact. The reason being that the successful independence of Iraqi Kurdistan will diffuse to other regions, causing revolts and instability.</p><p dir="ltr">Added to the fact that the Syrian war has also been favourable for Kurds in Syria, the two major powers of Turkey and Iran both have reasonable fears. President Erdogan <a href="https://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/2017/06/14/turkey-says-krg-independence-vote-threatens-iraqs-territorial-integrity">stated</a> that the referendum “is a threat to the territorial integrity of Iraq and is a wrong step”.</p><p dir="ltr">Whilst in the same vein, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has highlighted opposition, <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2017/06/iran-opposition-iraqi-kurdistan-krg-independence-referendum.html">arguing</a> that the Kurdish referendum is “opposed to the independence and identity of Iraq”.</p><p dir="ltr">With the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) also <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/inpictures/2017/08/tensions-build-iraq-iran-border-170803075834091.html">stepping up attacks</a> on military personnel in Turkey and Iran, any possibility of Kurdish secession is a major danger to them.</p><p dir="ltr">Nevertheless, both are Kurdistan’s biggest trade partners, and in the event of an unwanted secession both Turkey and Iran have the option of blockading the region and ending all trade, leaving a premature naive Kurdistan starved and suffocated, with no means to build its utopia.</p><p dir="ltr">The Kurdistan region has more problems it can count and independence certainly won’t solve any of those, but rather blow them up. Beyond that, all the border countries are clearly opposed to any referendum and the USA has also shown <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-kurdish-independence-syria-us-delay-tillerson-a7893486.html?am">opposition</a>, highlighting that international support is also limited.</p><p dir="ltr">In any case, it appears that the referendum is arguably nothing more than a bargaining chip used by President Barzani against the Iraqi central government, whilst also covering itself as a clever ploy to lull the suffering Kurdish population away from the on-going problems.</p><p dir="ltr">Whilst the Kurds have undoubtedly suffered and every nation has the right to self-determination, now is the wrong time for such deluded fantasies. Considered a beacon of light by some in a tarnished region, this could very quickly go sour and mimic the failed South Sudan.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/zaid-al-ali-luay-al-khateeb/kurdish-referendum-iraq-kirkuk-kurdistan">The possible devastating outcome of a Kurdish referendum</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iraq </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iraq Conflict Democracy and government Economics International politics Kurds Kurdistan referendum Kavar Kurda Thu, 17 Aug 2017 11:39:35 +0000 Kavar Kurda 112893 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Gaza border controls: frustration, despair and death https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/louise-brown/gaza-border-controls-frustration-despair-and-death <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This summer how many people will drive, walk, or take a train and barely realise that they have crossed a border?&nbsp; How many people will know about the 2 million residents of Gaza that don’t have that right?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31913327.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31913327.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="298" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Palestinians gather in front of the gate of Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza during a protest against the blockade calling for reopening of the crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip July 3, 2017. Picture by: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>On which side of the border were you born?&nbsp; On the side of high security walls, of permits, of strict military controls and interrogation?&nbsp; Or on the side of freedom of movement?&nbsp; The feeling of getting up one morning, pulling on some trainers and running from home into another country seems so liberating that I decided to do it. I’m setting off from my house in Catalunya in the cool hours of the morning to run 111 km north, ending in the Pyrenees with a hot, hard climb&nbsp; to Le Perthus a small French town just over the border. </p><p>Article 13 of the Declaration of Human Rights recognises the human right of freedom of residence and movement, to leave any country and to return.&nbsp; So many people around the world do not enjoy this fundamental right.&nbsp; </p> <p>Described by various world leaders as a “prison-camp or open air prison for its collective denizens”, Gaza is home to 2 million people who do not have the right to freedom of movement.&nbsp; Gaza residents are contained by a high security 60 km wall along the border with Israel, a high security fence along the Egyptian border and a blockade of Israeli warships along its coast.&nbsp; There are two border gates for people.&nbsp; The Rafah border crossing in the south is completely closed for most of the year and when it does open, crossing is limited and very strictly controlled.&nbsp; The Erez Gate crossing point in the north is the only way out of Gaza all year round but less than 1% of the population succeed in leaving each year.</p> <p>Why are seriously ill patients left to die in Gaza when the required medical treatment is available in a Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem?&nbsp; Why are immediate family members prevented from visiting convicts in Israeli prisons?&nbsp; Why is the Gaza economy being crushed by arbitrary restrictions on trades people?&nbsp; Why is the future of so many students blocked by denying them the opportunity to study abroad?</p> <p>Gaza residents can only cross the border if they have a permit approved first by the Palestinian authorities and ultimately by the Israeli military.&nbsp; The permits fall under four categories all with strict criteria: Health, economy and employment, movement of population for various needs and senior Palestinian officials.&nbsp; The process is arbitrary, non-transparent, lengthy and frustrating.&nbsp; &nbsp;Even if the applicant meets the criteria for a permit to leave Gaza, the permit may be refused at any time with the simple motive of “for security reasons”, without any further explanation.</p> <p>International humanitarian law requires Israel, the occupying force, to ensure the Palestinian population’s access to medical treatment but many residents in Gaza suffer from the lack of medication and medical resources. &nbsp;&nbsp;A patient can only apply to go to a Palestinian hospital in East Jerusalem for “life-saving” or “life-changing treatment” if that treatment is not available in Gaza.&nbsp; Medical teams can apply to go for medical training only if that would improve the medical response for Gaza residents in cases of life-threatening danger.&nbsp; Families can apply to visit a seriously ill first-degree relative for a maximum of 1 week. Children who are ill or who have special needs can apply to go on “exceptional organised day trips of a humanitarian nature”.</p> <p>Hind Shaheen has breast cancer.&nbsp; The necessary treatment is unavailable in Gaza due to the ten year blockade but her application to cross the Erez Gate in order to receive the treatment in Jerusalem has been turned down three consecutive times, without explanation.&nbsp; She has lost hope.&nbsp; Lack of essential medication, resources and training mean that the five-year survival rate for breast cancer in Gaza are 30% compared to 86% in Israel.&nbsp; In Gaza the postcode lottery is a harsh reality.&nbsp;</p> <p>Sausen Kadih, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last June.&nbsp; She was at first cleared to undergo treatment in a Ramallah hospital, but in the past month the permits were not issued and her request was denied by the Israeli army.&nbsp; Here, as in many other similar cases the international humanitarian law which requires Israel, the occupying force to ensure the Palestinian population’s access to medical treatment is not respected.&nbsp; </p> <p>A report from the World Bank states that the Gaza economy has reached “the verge of collapse” with employment at 41%.&nbsp; The general rule is that employment of Gaza residents in Israel is not approved.&nbsp; There are 5000 permits available for trades people to go across the border which last a maximum of 3 months.&nbsp; The trade must be in goods approved by the civil policy and the entry must contribute to improving the Gaza economy. There are 500 permits for senior Palestinian businessmen which last up to 6 months.&nbsp; A limited number of emergency medical teams may work in the Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem.</p> <p>Permits are available for other various needs.&nbsp; First degree relatives may apply for a permit to attend a funeral, a wedding or to visit detainees in Israeli prisons. &nbsp;However, prison visitors are also subject to the Israeli Prison Service rules and are limited to one visit every two months.&nbsp; Permits can also be applied for by journalists, for legal needs, to attend an embassy interview, to attend work meetings and conventions and by athletes participating in official team activities. It is worth noting that the head of the Palestinian Olympic team was denied a permit to leave Gaza in 2016 to join his team in Brazil.</p> <p>In June 2017, the Israeli authorities issued a statement that all Palestinian families of Gaza prisoners jailed in Israel are banned from visiting.&nbsp; Dia al-Agha has been held in an Israel prison for 26 years.&nbsp; His 67-year old mother had not been allowed to see her son for a year and every time she applies for a permit it is rejected. “I don’t know why I get rejected. I am 67 years old. What security threat am I to Israel? All I want is to see him and make sure he is well. I don’t know how long I will live. Any visit can be my last. I am scared of dying without seeing him.” </p> <p>Awad was imprisoned for 19 years for attempting to cross the borderline between Gaza and Israel. His father died during the 2007 ban on prison visits and was never able to visit his son.&nbsp; His mother, 64, worries that due to her deteriorating health she will soon no longer be able to endure the long, tiring visitation process that often starts at 5am, involves humiliating strip searches, and finally finishes at around 4pm.</p> <p>Some permits are available for those holding VIP1 or VIP2 documents and key positions in the Palestinian Authority.</p> <p>It must be emphasised again that even though the applicant fulfills the criteria above, permission is often denied without any reason given. &nbsp;The application could be turned down due the month’s quota being reached, or because the application process has taken so long that the reason for going has expired.</p> <p>This summer how many people will drive, walk, or take a train and barely realise that they have crossed a border?&nbsp; How many people will know about the 2 million residents of Gaza that don’t have that right?&nbsp; And if they do know, how many of you will stop and think of that infringement to freedom?&nbsp; That is the aim of my 111km run through the border this summer to highlight how the arbitrary border controls in Gaza lead to despair, avoidable deaths and contribute to the decline in the economy. The freedom of crossing borders in Europe is in contrast to the daily frustration and impotence of the Gaza residents when their lives and livelihoods depend on passing through unnecessarily strict border controls.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/magdalena-l-carolina-l/i-am-proud-to-keep-resisting-fighting-occupation-in-he">“I am proud to keep resisting”: fighting the occupation in Hebron</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/stephen-mccloskey/gaza-ten-years-of-economic-blockade">Gaza: ten years of economic blockade</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/israa-khater/gaza-in-transit-what-after-gcc-crisis"> Gaza in transit: what after the GCC crisis?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alex-delmar-morgan/gaza-trauma-unit">Mental help: the story of Gaza’s trauma unit</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Palestine </div> <div class="field-item even"> Israel </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Israel Palestine borders humanitarian crisis occupation Gaza Louise Brown Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:30:00 +0000 Louise Brown 112793 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Claiming rights under the kafala system https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marie-jos-l-tayah/claiming-rights-under-kafala-system <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How can domestic workers organise when the legal system places them at the complete mercy of their employers?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Untitled.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">May day parade Lebanon 2017. Photo by Marie-José Tayah. All rights reserved.</span></p><p>The Middle East plays host to the largest number of migrant domestic workers in the world. National statistical sources <a href="http://ilo.org/global/topics/labour-migration/publications/WCMS_436343/lang--en/index.htm">collated by the ILO</a> estimate that 1.6 million migrant domestic workers are working in the Levant and countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). <a href="https://www.ituc-csi.org/gcc-legal-and-policy-brief">Another estimate</a>, from the International Trade Union Confederation, puts the number even higher at 2.5 million. These women traditionally hail from Asian countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and India, however Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya and Uganda have also emerged as new countries of origin.</p> <p>The admission, residence and exit of migrant domestic workers are governed by the <em>kafala</em> system, a private sponsorship scheme for temporary migrant workers. <a href="http://www.ilo.org/beirut/publications/WCMS_552697/lang--en/index.htm"><em>Kafala</em></a> ties the work and residence permits of a domestic worker to a specific employer; makes residence permit renewal the responsibility of the employer; and makes employment termination, transfer from one employer to another, and exit from the country contingent on the sponsor’s approval. It is a system that leaves workers at the complete mercy of their employers. </p> <p>Further, domestic workers continue to be excluded from the scope of national labour laws with the argument that domestic work cannot be regulated like other sectors without violating the sanctity of the employer’s household. Employment contracts thus regulate the employer-agency-worker relationship; however these documents carry little weight without adequate inspection mechanisms. Even where standard unified contracts exist – such as in Kuwait, Jordan, and Lebanon – agreements negotiated bilaterally with countries of origin supersede them, promoting a race to the bottom in the working and living conditions of domestic workers from different nationalities and encouraging stereotypes about the quality of the work performed by women from certain countries.</p> <p>As a result, domestic workers are overworked, underpaid and cheated by brokers and recruiters. They face considerable barriers to accessing justice and their embassies and consulates do not have the resources or capacity to respond to the volume of complaints. Furthermore, when domestic workers – faced with unfair laws, barriers to justice, and employer impunity – decide to leave the homes of their employers they are declared “absconded” and become susceptible to arrest, long periods of detention, excessive fines, and finally deportation and blacklisting. </p> <p>Over the past 10 years, international organisations and NGOs in the Middle East have launched advocacy campaigns, submitted legislative proposals, and offered a variety of legal and socio-medical services to migrant domestic workers. These initiatives were rarely guided by the priorities of domestic workers, in part because very few spaces exist for domestic workers in the Middle East to articulate their concerns. The result has been a plethora of well-intentioned but incongruent programmes and services for domestic workers. This is progressively changing. Inspired by images on Facebook and Instagram of domestic workers taking the streets across the world, domestic workers across the Middle East are consolidating in nationality-based or sectorial organisations to make their demands heard. </p> <p>The following is a description of the barriers to domestic workers’ unionising in the Middle East; a review of emerging models of collective voice outside the union model; and a discussion of the role of the International Domestic Workers’ Federation (IDWF) in reconciling the organic social dynamics of organising among migrant domestic workers with classical trade unions. </p> <h2>Barriers to the unionisation of domestic workers in the Middle East</h2> <p>Freedom of association is generally restricted in the Middle East. Trade unions and strikes are banned in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Only workers’ committees are allowed, although not for women migrant domestic workers. Domestic workers can join existing unions in Lebanon and committees within union federations in Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain (<a href="http://ilo.org/global/topics/labour-migration/publications/WCMS_436343/lang--en/index.htm">ILO, 2015</a>). Across the Levant and the GCC, domestic workers are not allowed to run for union-elected positions on account of their migration status. </p> <p>Domestic workers in Lebanon succeeded in establishing their first sectorial union in the Middle East in 2015 under the umbrella of the National Federation of Employees’ and Workers’ Unions in Lebanon (FENASOL). The union remains unrecognised by the Lebanese Ministry of Labour, but is reported to count over 500 members. It was formed through an ILO-led process involving women migrant domestic workers; four NGOs (i.e., Nasawiya's Anti-Racism Movement, Insan Association, Frontiers Ruwad (FR), Kafa (Enough Violence &amp; Exploitation); the National Federation of Employees' and Workers' Unions in Lebanon (FENASOL); and the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF). The 20-month process, completed in January 2014, had three main objectives: (1) raise domestic workers' consciousness to encourage active participation in advocacy campaigns; (2) promote collaboration between domestic workers, unions, and NGOs over priorities and interventions; and (3) create synergies with the global domestic workers' movement (<a href="http://www.ilo.org/dyn/migpractice/docs/346/MJ.Tayah%20Domestic%20Workers%20Unions%20Lebanon2.pdf">Tayah, 2014</a>). </p> <p>The 80 participating domestic workers provided the critical mass required to establish the domestic workers’ union in January 2015. Over the past two years the union has concluded agreements with trade unions in the countries of origin, such as the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) and the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU), to extend protection to domestic workers across the migration cycle. These agreements, unfortunately, lack focus and are not supported by implementation protocols.</p> <p>The union has also expended substantial energy campaigning for recognition by the Lebanese authorities, but has yet to define a policy position and strategy on domestic work outside of the generic anti-<em>kafala</em> slogans. Union engagement at the policy level is hampered by the sector’s fragmentation across recruiters and brokers at origin and destination; multiple government agencies; origin country embassies; a multitude of policy spaces (national, binational, regional, interregional, global); and transnational policy issues that are at the crossroad of care, migration and employment regimes. All of these require a high level of technical knowledge that FENASOL, in spite of its heightened awareness to the challenges in the sector, still lacks. </p> <p>Elsewhere, in May 2017, the Arab Trade Union Confederation (the Arab office of the International Trade Union Confederation) supported establishing a national committee of migrant workers as part of the General Federation for Jordanian Trade Unions (GFJTU). The committee is headed by the president of the federation and composed of the presidents of the construction, garment, public services and municipality workers’ unions. It aims to represent migrant workers, including domestic workers. The General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions (GFBTU) had also set up a committee for migrant workers that will include a focus on domestic workers. These are welcome developments, but the trend toward migrant committees rather than domestic workers’ committees risks stymieing sector-based organising and undermining the principle of equality between migrants and nationals in their working conditions.&nbsp;</p> <p>Practical, organisational, and political barriers frequently prevent domestic workers from joining domestic workers’ unions and migrant workers’ committees where they are permitted to do so in the Middle East.</p> <p><strong>Practical barriers</strong> include workplace isolation and restrictions on mobility, such as the denial of a leave day outside the home; bans on driving; long and unpredictable working hours; and the withholding of personal documents. Further, the fear of employer reprisal through contract termination (which may lead to deportation) is also commonly cited as a deterrent against organising efforts. Outreach efforts are further limited due to the absence of gathering areas such as parks and churches/temples in the GCC, which often greatly facilitate ad hoc forms of solidarity among domestic workers. </p> <p>Gender dynamics, conflicts of interest and the inability of migrant workers to comply with strict union reporting requirements constitute <strong>organisation- and union-level deterrents for domestic workers.</strong> Men dominate the leadership structure of trade unions in the Middle East, and as a consequence they have largely been unable to welcome (women) domestic workers into their ranks. Trade unionists in the region are also employers of domestic workers, especially in the countries of the GCC. Finally, leaders of the domestic workers’ communities wear multiple hats: they are leaders in their migrant communities and leaders in the sectorial union. Their activism on the migration front is incongruent with strict trade union reporting requirements. The domestic workers’ leaders who worked with FENASOL and became the founders of the Domestic Workers Union of Lebanon have since moved on to form the Alliance of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon. They continue to recognise the importance of the union but prefer the flexibility of organising around both sectoral and national lines. </p> <p>Additional organisational barriers include low salaries, time limitations and language barriers. Low salaries mean that domestic workers are unable to pay membership dues and are unlikely to pay for transportation to attend union activities. Where the leave day is respected and tolerated by employers, domestic workers are also much more likely to rest rather than to spend their free time with the union. Language barriers in Middle Eastern countries – where domestic workers hail from over 12 countries of origin – are also an obstacle to sector-wide strategies.</p> <p>More broadly, national level <strong>politics</strong> serve as another layer of obstacle for domestic worker organising. Population politics – migrants make up half the population of the GCC and over 90% of the population of certain countries like the UAE and Qatar – and the pressing issue of integrating refugee populations into labour markets of countries like Lebanon or Jordan are always thin lines to tread. On top of that, unions are often associated with certain political parties, and in some countries there is a growing rift between independent trade unions and government-supported trade unions. These dynamics greatly complicate organising in the region as these tensions are often instrumentalised to exclude domestic workers from unions and policy agendas. </p> <h2>The association model for collective voice in the Middle East </h2> <p>Domestic workers can set up or join trade unions but they can also adopt the association model of organising (e.g. community-based organisations), and/or experiment with arrangements straddling the association and union models (<a href="http://www.wiego.org/sites/default/files/publications/files/Bonner-Organising-for-empowerment-2010.pdf">Bonner, 2010, pp. 10-15</a>). There are many examples of migrant workers’ associations organising around gender, race, nationality and/or occupation in the Middle East. These associations have adopted union characteristics (e.g., paying membership fees) but do not have union powers. </p> <p>In 2011, the Anti-Racism Movement in Lebanon established the Migrant Community Centre as a meeting space for migrant workers, and offered trainings in online activism, self-defence, computer skills, and grassroots advocacy. The MCC is now host to the Alliance of Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon, which is starting to receive attention. On Labour Day 2017 it led the Migrant Workers’ Parade, reading out a statement under the slogan “Kafala kills” that denounced the deportation of domestic workers who give birth in Lebanon and the deaths of migrant domestic workers that are not properly investigated. Photos of the parade and the workers’ demands featured on the evening news and in major national newspaper outlets. In follow-up to the parade, the alliance and concerned NGOs are planning a meeting with the Ministry of Labour to discuss potential strategic partnerships on and with domestic workers.</p> <p>Other associational models in the region include Migrante International – the global alliance of Filipino Overseas Workers (OFWs) – which counts as a national chapter in Saudi Arabia. Migrante International receives complaints of OFWs in distress and their families and seeks redress for their grievances. It also regularly conducts research and fact finding missions and embarks on corresponding advocacy campaigns. The Sri Lankan Women’s Society in Lebanon organises around gender and nationality, although it is an association of mostly domestic workers, and The Domestic Workers Solidarity Network in Jordan represents Ethiopian, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Sri Lankan and Filipina domestic workers. The network organises worker literacy programmes and legal clinics. </p> <p>The Middle East has also experimented with hybrid forms of organising. With Anti-Slavery International (ASI), the Lebanese NGO ‘KAFA (enough) Violence &amp; Exploitation’ supported the establishment of a self-help group of Nepalese women working as domestic workers in Lebanon (NARI) in 2012. NARI members are affiliated to GEFONT, becoming trade unionists at origin and civil society activists at destination. NARI advocated for the establishment of a Nepali embassy in Lebanon.</p> <h2>IDWF: A middle out approach to organising in the Middle East?</h2> <p>The IDWF is a membership-based “global union of domestic workers” with 62 affiliates in 50 countries, and almost 501,000 individual domestic workers as members. Most of its members are trade unions or national trade union federations while the rest are membership-based associations and worker cooperatives. IDWF’s objective is to build a strong, democratic and united organisation to protect and advance domestic workers’ rights everywhere. IDWF has been present in the Middle East since 2017. </p> <p>Given the web of challenges facing the labour movement generally and domestic workers specifically in the Middle East, the IDWF is investing in ‘middle-out’ approaches to organising where the emphasis is on building strong, membership-based organisations of domestic workers until unions are legally, organisationally and culturally able to host them and integrate them within their ranks/leadership. At the same time, IDWF works with unions in the region to lay the groundwork for formal unionisation. </p> <p>Specifically, IDWF supports networks of domestic workers in defining: vision and mission statements; leadership structures, bylaws, and election systems; and membership fees, payment methods, and benefits. It also helps with developing recruitment drives. The establishment of membership-based organisations outside the union structure prepares a critical mass of domestic workers to hit the ground running when trade unions are ready to host them. </p> <p>In working with trade unions to lay the groundwork for formal unionisation, IDWF, in collaboration with the ILO, is using the My Fair Home (MFH) campaign to raise the awareness of trade unionists to the working and living conditions of domestic workers, as well as to encourage them to invite the workers in their own employ to discussions on trade union premises. When trade unions join the campaign their members pledge to: pay fair wages to domestic workers (at least the minimum wage); ensure fair working hours and rest periods; negotiate the terms of employment with the domestic workers themselves and to set those terms in writing; ensure access to decent healthcare and a home free from abuse, harassment and violence; provide a safe, secure and private bedroom; and safeguard domestic workers’ right to spend their free time wherever and however they choose.</p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/Untitled%202.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">My Fair Home campaign pledge cards in FENASOL. Photo by Marie-José Tayah. All rights reserved.</span></p><p>In March 2017, FENASOL joined the MFH Campaign. FENASOL affiliates from sectors as diverse as hotels and restaurants, garment and construction took the pledge to respect domestic workers' rights in their own homes. The General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions joined the MFH one month later.</p> <p>EMBED VIDEO: <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unxFCI13-Sw">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unxFCI13-Sw</a></p> <p>IDWF’s affiliates in Asia and Africa have broadly national memberships. IDWF is encouraging these affiliates in the countries of origin to extend membership to co-nationals and co-workers abroad, especially to places where such individuals are not allowed to join trade unions. IDWF union affiliates in Africa, for example, are beginning to lobby their governments to negotiate MoUs with the countries of destination that promote protections for domestic workers abroad in addition to facilitating labour market access.</p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td colspan="2" valign="top"> <p>Selected IDWF affiliates in countries of origin for domestic workers in Asia </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Bangladesh</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>National Domestic Women Workers Union (NDWWU) </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Indonesia</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Jaringan Nasional Advokasi Pekerja Rumah Tangga (JALAPRT) - National Network for Domestic Workers Advocacy</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; SPRT SAPULIDI, Sapulidi Domestic Workers Union, Jakarta</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Serikat PRT Tunas Mulia, (Tunas Mulia Domestic Workers Union)</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; KOY, (Yogyakarta Domestic Workers Organisation)</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Serikat PRT Merdeka Semarang, (Merdeka Domestic Workers Union)</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; SPRT Sumut/North Domestic Workers Union in North Sumatra</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Nepal</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Home Workers Trade Union of Nepal (HUN)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Sri Lanka</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Domestic Workers Union (DWU)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>India</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Gharelu Kaamgar Sangathan (GKS)</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM)</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; National Domestic Workers Federation (NDWF) – 15 union affiliates</p> <p>-&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Philippines</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>United Domestic Workers of the Philippines (UNITED)</p> <p>UNITED has the following chapters:</p> <p>1. Murphy Domestic Workers Association- UNITED</p> <p>2. Roxas Domestic Workers Association- UNITED</p> <p>3. Samahan ng mga Manggagawasa Tahanan ng Payatas- UNITED</p> <p>4. Veterans Domestic Workers Association- UNITED</p> <p>5. San Dionisio, Paranaque Domestic Workers Association –UNITED</p> <p>6. Samahan ng mga Nagkakaisang Manggagawa sa Tahanan ng Amparo-UNITED</p> <p>7. Bagong Silangan Domestic Workers Association- UNITED</p> <p>8. Tunasan Domestic Workers Association of Munitilupa- UNITED</p> <p>9. Poblacion Domestic Workers Association of Muntilupa –UNITED</p> <p>10. Amytiville Subdivision Domestic Workers Association- UNITED</p></td></tr></table><p>&nbsp;</p><table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tr> <td colspan="2" valign="top"> <p>Selected IDWF affiliates in Countries of Origin for Domestic workers in Africa </p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Benin</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Syndicat des Employés d’Hôtel et de Maison (SYNEHM)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Cote d’Ivoire</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Syndicat des Travailleurs/ses Domestiques et des Travailleurs/ses de l’Economie Informelle de la Côte d’Ivoire</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Kenya</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Senegal</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>National Hotel Trade Catering, Cafe, Bar and Allied Workers (domestic and informal)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Tanzania</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Conservation, Hotel, Domestic and Allied Workers Union (CHODAWU)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Uganda</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Uganda Hotels, Food, Tourism, Supermarkets and Allied Workers Union (HTS-Union)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td valign="top"> <p>Zanzibar</p> </td> <td valign="top"> <p>Conservation Hotel Domestic and Allied Workers Union (CHODAWU-Z)</p> </td> </tr> </table> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <h2><strong>Conclusion: a non-traditional sector in a non-traditional context needs to think outside the box, not dig its heels in</strong></h2> <p>There is a general obsession with structure when discussing the organising of domestic workers in the Middle East. This causes us to lose sight of context, of how migration, care and employment regimes and their institutions intersect, and of existing ad hoc forms of solidarity. Development actors working in the sector want quick and simple models of organising for replication across the region without considering both the intended and unintended consequences of their interventions. They are either opting for trade unions models or civil society models of organising, and establishing their respective fiefdoms in one or the other of these two realms.</p> <p>The two systems are not, however, mutually exclusive. They each bring an added value to workers in the sector and must work in conjunction with one another until the opportunity to build a strong sectorial union for domestic workers presents itself in each national context. Migration and domestic work are hot topics that attract the attention of many donors. Organising domestic workers in the Middle East should not be understood as an activity fitting of project lifecycles and donor time frames. Organising is a bottom-up, long-term and ever-transforming process, especially in domestic work, a highly technical subfield that straddles borders and policy areas. </p> <p>To push token representation from domestic workers’ communities into unions transforms the latter into a golden cage for workers, one that that is totally dependent on funding and technical assistance from donors because it lacks the knowledge and momentum of committed and knowledgeable workers. It is one thing to create a structure and another to create a social dynamic or organising within that structure. Similarly, the rush to set-up migrant or domestic workers’ associations in complete isolation from the labour movement transforms these associations into support groups that work apart from other sectors of the economy and leaves them excluded from important policy discussions that have significant implications for the sector. </p> <p>Organising is an organic and naturally evolving process that is shaped by how the political, economic and demographic situation in a country develops. Organising also requires solidarity building between labour and diaspora, labour and NGOs, across sectors and borders. It took 22 years for the Jamaica household workers' association to register as a formal union; 25 years for the national domestic workers’ movement in India to organise domestic workers into state-level unions; almost 10 years for domestic workers’ organisations to consolidate in a regional grouping in Central and South America; and 30 years to organise globally. To do it right takes time.</p> <p><em>All view expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of the institutions with which she is affiliated.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>References</strong></p> <p>Bonner, C. 2010. <em>Domestic workers around the world: Organising for empowerment</em> (Women in Informal Employment: Globalising and Organising, WIEGO).</p> <p>ILO. 2014. <em>Cooperating out of isolation: The case of migrant domestic workers in Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan</em> (Beirut). </p> <p>ILO. 2017. <em>Employer-migrant worker relationships in the Middle East: Exploring scope for internal labour market mobility and fair migration</em> (Beirut). </p> <p>ILO. 2015. <em>Global estimates on migrant workers: Results and methodology</em> (Geneva). http://ilo.org/global/topics/labour-migration/publications/WCMS_436343/lang--en/index.htm</p> <p>International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). 2014. <em>Facilitating exploitation: A review of labour laws for migrant domestic workers in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries</em> (Brussels). </p> <p>International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF). 2017. Caught at the crossroads: Nepalese domestic worker activists in Lebanon fight kafala's ruthlessness, heartless human traffickers and a network of corrupt officials, available at: <a href="http://idwfed.org/en/updates/caught-at-the-cross-roads-nepalese-domestic-worker-activists-in-lebanon-fight-kafalas-ruthlessness-heartless-human-traffickers-and-a-network-of-corrupt-officials">http://idwfed.org/en/updates/caught-at-the-cross-roads-nepalese-domestic-worker-activists-in-lebanon-fight-kafalas-ruthlessness-heartless-human-traffickers-and-a-network-of-corrupt-officials</a> [accessed on 19 May 2017]. </p> <p>Tayah, Marie-José. 2014. Organising through research: The story of a participatory action research with women migrant domestic workers, NGOs and Unions in Lebanon (Geneva, ILO).&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery North-Africa West-Asia Marie-José L. Tayah Domestic Workers Speak Thu, 17 Aug 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Marie-José L. Tayah 111539 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Morocco: time for self assessment in the Palace https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/hassan-masiky/morocco-time-for-self-assessment-in-palace <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Amid the tense political environment in Morocco, now is the time for the Palace to assume its responsibility towards the people.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-32130717.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-32130717.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A demonstration in the town of Al-Hoceima, Morocco July 20, 2017. Picture by: YOUSSEF BOUDLAL/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved</span></span></span>Morocco is like a large boat with small holes. If the captain and the crew do not plug the holes in time and firmly, they will get bigger and the vessel will sink.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p><p>As the social mood in the northern region of the Rif remains tense and the political environment in the rest of the Kingdom stays edgy, now is the time for the Palace to take stock of the state of the nation and assume its responsibility for drafting a plan to meet people’s basic social and political demands. </p><p>Hence, for those “officials” who want to protect the Monarchy, there is no way around presenting to the King the extent of the crisis and charting new radical solutions to tackle the ever growing social discontent engulfing the nation. </p><p>Since the beginning of the Rif’s protests, Morocco has entered a new political era where all national institutions are targets of criticism. The ruling “elite” can no longer cover up a system riddled with mediocracy, incompetence and impunity without facing a popular backlash. </p><p>These new realities coupled with an absence of a credible and popular political leadership have put the Palace in the eye of the storm. After years of discrediting opposition organizations, The Makhzen (a group of elite institutions that govern Morocco) stands alone faced with the task of forging a response to a complicated and potentially volatile socio-economic crisis. </p><p>For many Moroccans applauding King Mohammed VI’s last Throne Day speech was a nationalistic duty, particularly in the aftermath of the tensions in the Rif. They want to show support and love for a leader who remains popular and a symbol of unity. However, can these same Moroccans afford to continue discounting the Palace’s role in creating a political and social&nbsp;atmosphere where&nbsp;countless citizens feel abandoned and ignored by a “fake” political leadership that seeks Royal approval over popular accountability?&nbsp; </p><p>Many Moroccans do not doubt their King’s sincerity. They believe his stated calls to hold the politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, judges and security officials accountable. The dilemma arises when the public understands the Royal directives to clean house but does not see any results. </p><p>The average Moroccan is losing trust and faith in a system that turns a blind eye to widespread and blatant corruption and illegal self-enrichment of bureaucrats and local elected officials. The Moroccan government has yet to show that in fact an anti-corruption purging ever happened.&nbsp;In fact, with few exceptions, the same public faces and names who put the nation in this predicament remain in high positions running the same schemes. </p><p>It is hard to blame the public for feeling disheartened when some of the personalities whom the King criticized in his speech were either appointed or “placed” by people close to the Palace. The problem resides in a system that puts loyalty before aptitude. </p><p>Actually, The King has called in the past for a similar review of the performance of public officials. However, these investigations rarely led to a persecution or imprisonment unless the target has fallen out of favor with someone close to the Palace. This lack of accountability is hurting the standing of the Royal institution and driving a wedge between the public and the King. </p><p>Several of the high-ranking officials who make name recommendations to the King for key positions chose fiends, loyalists and family over qualifications. Because of this flaw process, various personalities holding key functions are incompetent and unfitting for the jobs they hold. Hence, it will be hard to go after such protected “elite” despite King Mohammed’s best efforts. </p><p>Attracting and keeping competent and conscientious talent remain elusive in many quarters of the Moroccan government and the public sector where cronyism and nepotism is prevailing. It remains difficult for the honest public servants to remain employed as they either join “the rest” or leave for the private sector or overseas. For the ones who would denounce irregularities, staying away from public service is the answer.</p><p>In the name of protecting the Monarchy, elements close to the Palace have gutted the country of opposition leaders, independent political parties, nonpartisan non-government organizations, autonomous social organisms and a true independent press. </p><p>It has been visibly evident from the recent failure to address the riots in the Rif and the increase in social and political opposition that the King is not being served by some of the people close to him. This current group of governing officials has set up a nepotistic hierarchy that has been serving them well but has hurt the Royal institution. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mayssae-ajzannay-ben-moussa/morocco-popular-movement-in-rif-suppressed">Morocco: the popular movement in the Rif suppressed</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/statement-of-solidarity-with-protests-in-northern-morocco">Statement of solidarity with the protests in Northern Morocco</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/imad-stitou/mohsen-fikris-death-exposes-history-of-oppression-and-protest-in-moroccos">The death of Mohsen Fikri and the long history of oppression and protest in Morocco&#039;s Rif</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Morocco </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Morocco Democracy and government Hassan Masiky Tue, 15 Aug 2017 17:00:50 +0000 Hassan Masiky 112792 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Critical voices in critical times: the partition of India – lessons learned, an interview with Rajmohan Gandhi https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/linda-herrera/critical-voices-in-critical-times-partition-of-india-lessons-le <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi distills the vital lessons from the past, the complicated legacy of independence and partition, and the enduring relevance of nonviolent resistance.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Rajmohan Gandhi copy.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Rajmohan Gandhi copy.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="409" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Gandhi with grandchildren Rajmohan and Tara. Delhi, circa March 1942. From the back cover of Rajmohan Gandhi’s, Why Gandhi Still Matters (Aleph, 2017)</span></span></span>Since the Arab uprisings of 2011, the world has witnessed a stream of popular protest movements, the acceleration of extreme inequality, precarity and migration, unhinged populisms, and a planetary tipping point.&nbsp;What vocabulary, concepts and ideas are needed to make sense of the present moment?&nbsp;This column, informed by principles of critical pedagogy, engages the ideas and works of critical thinkers, artists and activists. It provides a space to&nbsp;think with the thinkers&nbsp;and deliberate about&nbsp;praxis, ways of understanding [or reading] our world and putting affirmative ideas into practice.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Seven decades ago, the Indian subcontinent witnessed the euphoria of independence, stirred with the devastation of partition. Some 17 million people took part in what would be called, “the greatest migration in human history.” During that formidable movement of humanity, up to half a million people were killed. Many eyewitnesses recall the horrors of “<a href="https://www.dawn.com/news/1169309">murder, rape, and shattered families</a>,” while still others recollect magnanimous acts of ordinary people who helped, sheltered and protected their fellow travelers, country people, and human beings. </p><p>I can think of no better way to kickoff this inaugural column of Critical Voices in Critical Times than with Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, historian, former parliamentarian, international peace activist, and retired University of Illinois professor. As an astute student and eyewitness of history, professor Gandhi has a skill for distilling the vital lessons of the past. His latest book, <em>Why Gandhi Still Matters </em>(Aleph, 2017), deals with the complicated legacy of independence and partition, and the enduring relevance of nonviolent resistance (ahisma and satyagraha), Gandhi’s “gift to the world”. </p><p>This interview (<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cp9zk0uMZMw">with accompanying video</a>) originally took place in Egypt in November, 2012 during the turbulent post-revolution period [1]. At the time, several countries of the North Africa and West Asia region were emerging from the energy and highs of the popular uprisings, only to come crashing down to environments of heightened sectarianism, geopolitical entanglements, and counter revolutions. During our talks, it was tempting to pry Professor Gandhi for advice and predictions, but he would have none of that. Instead he said, “There are many foolish things in the world, and I do not want to add to the foolishness by making some suggestions. But I can certainly relate as a student of history of India and Pakistan.” </p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/cp9zk0uMZMw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><strong><em>Q: </em><em>What factors led to the partition of India in 1947?</em></strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>While the British were ruling in the subcontinent, the Indian people and their political figures made the mistake of not building enough of a relationship with one another. They all tried to build a relationship with the imperial power. So, the political parties where the majority were Hindus tried to build a relationship with the British. The political parties where the majority were Muslims tried to build a relationship with the British. Each group tried to build a special relationship with the Empire. The Indians did not build good enough relations with their fellow Indians. So that’s one reality to understand. </p><p>The other thing is the Muslim minority. As India was approaching independence, [they] felt that with independence comes democracy, and with that comes one person one vote. The Hindus being a majority, the Muslims felt they might face persecution at the hands of the Hindu majority. The Hindu majority will remember past history when there were Muslim monarchs ruling the Hindu majority. There would be some kind of discrimination against the Muslims. </p><p>This was the political reality. And this was a feeling that led to the demand by some people for the Muslim majority parts of India to be made into a separate country. </p> <p>This was not an essentially religious campaign but it soon acquired a religious aspect. When some political figures said that <em>Islam</em> was in danger, this appeal became quite strong. And it was well received by some sections. So yes, religion was very strongly imported into the political discussion. That created a very deep divide and created passions on both sides. </p><p>As the world knows, in the end in 1947, there were great incidents of violence. Maybe half a million people were killed. Hindus were killed, Sikhs were killed, Muslims were killed. So, one can certainly say that importing religion into politics at that stage worsened the situation and led to very great tragedy. </p><p>But simultaneously, a great number of ordinary people, whether they were Hindus, Muslims, or Sikhs, protected fellow human beings. Muslims protected Hindus. Hindus protected Muslims. This happened on a very large scale. It is the under-reported story of that time. </p><p><em>Q:</em><em> In hindsight, how could </em><em>have </em><em>the partition and the tragic sectarian violence been avoided? </em></p> <p>I already made this remark about each side trying to build a special relationship with the British rather than making a good relationship with fellow Indians, so that was the real tragedy. [In addition], when a section of the population feels aggrieved or disappointed, if those problems are not addressed in time, it’s more difficult later. </p><p>The Indian National Congress (est.1885), the Party in which my Grandfather [Gandhi] was actively associated, had many Muslim figures and it has some Muslim leaders also. It was not a Hindu party, but it certainly was a party where the majority of leaders were Hindus. I think one can state that at various points, the Indian National Congress might have been more sensitive to the apprehensions of the Muslim minority. The Congress might have taken steps to meet their genuine grievances. So, when the psychological moment was missed, then it became more difficult later on. But equally on the other side, there were extreme demands and not a willingness to accept something that would have been an honorable compromise for all. </p><p>I would just call it a failure of statesmanship, really. But also a failure of statesmanship because there were very strong pressures at the grassroots. So, there were great pulls. It was not so easy. But some psychological moments were missed. </p><p>And I have to also say that the British Empire pursued a very vigorous policy of divide and rule and made matters more difficult. The independence movement, which was aimed at the removal of the British Empire, was not taken very well by the British. When the Viceroy in India went to London in 1945 or 46 and met Winston Churchill, Churchill said to him, “Make sure that you divide India into three, four, five pieces. Make sure you do that”. The Imperial power played an unfortunate role. </p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>[1] This interview is an excerpt from the dialogue between Mohamed ElBaradei and Rajmohan Gandhi that took place in Cairo, Egypt on November 19 and 20, 2012, coordinated by the author. She would like to acknowledge the co-interviewer, Dr. Magdy ElAbady. For more information on the ElBaradei-Gandhi encounter see <a href="http://www.democracydialog.com/">www.democracydialog.com</a>. </p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> India </div> <div class="field-item even"> Pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Pakistan India Civil society Democracy and government independence colonialism non-violence Linda Herrera Tue, 15 Aug 2017 12:14:50 +0000 Linda Herrera 112872 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sisters in solidarity: the communal care of domestic workers in the Middle East https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/sara-khatib/sisters-in-solidarity-communal-care-of-domestic-workers-in-middle-east <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Jordan has recognised domestic workers in local labour laws, but many workers are still stuck in dire situations with few good options available to them.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/16345940905_888a78debd_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Sunrise in Amman. Florent Lamoureux/Flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/flrent/16345940905/in/photolist-qUrdKk-WRQXy3-Wrmxtd-TUed1P-qKVpuQ-MxrRHG-U3c2Bo-s4CjHU-MYcxUu-M312XZ-MRpobf-MWjPX8-anKMJc-LYLsm4-MTeshd-rNTVkW-s4KkyM-U6T2Yg-rR53CL-CU35fk-UAZKBZ-M7vLqx-LKi2c5-MLfh55-Mw7Tuw-MYteTh-Wt4zeD-MznDzj-gj9qdt-LeCdhs-U6PM66-M8R7uj-rnTEHs-MBWzmS-M7vpjK-M1DNqe-skCfpU-aobQnJ-8zKdss-PDn37L-yDnjiC-nvndvE-M315Bh-ziUPhV-7zVWqE-7zVWmE-7zVWuJ-7zSaQp-7A6sD1-yDugD4">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>Since the 1970s, domestic workers have been migrating to the Middle East for work, often enduring exploitation, abuse, and even human trafficking in the process.</p> <p>Domestic workers may pay high recruitment fees to labour brokers, essentially paying for a position that will trap them in debt bondage. Vague employment contracts – or contract terms that change once they arrive in the country – allow for abuses such as excessive hours, the denial of requests for time off, dangerous working conditions, forced labour, and wage theft to occur. And migrant workers in Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries are subject to the <em>kafala</em> (sponsorship) system, which ties work and residency permits to a single employer who consequently has near-absolute power in the employer-employee relationship.</p> <p>Migrant domestic workers often face extreme isolation in the workplace, i.e. their employer’s household. They often experience verbal, physical, and sexual violence, as well as inappropriate housing and sleeping conditions, and are therefore denied their dignity and their safety. If they are undocumented, they are even more vulnerable to exploitation.</p> <p>There are also Jordanian women and Syrian refugee women who work as domestic workers, but do not gain their positions through recruitment agencies. They are day workers, and their work is not governed by written contracts. They are not subjected to the <em>kafala</em> system, since they are not linked to one employer by a work permit, but they suffer from other problems: low wages, instability at work, the absence of contracts, among others. They are not unionised, as Jordanians’ right to organise and to form trade unions is very restricted.</p> <p>An estimated 80,000 migrant domestic workers – mostly from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Bangladesh – currently live in Jordan. Domestic workers were historically excluded from Jordanian labour law, until 2009, when the <a href="https://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/45676/84920/F-1672011876/JOR45676%20Eng.pdf">amendments to the law</a> included domestic workers. However, the rights of domestic workers continue to be violated and there have been no significant improvements regarding the regulation of employee-employer relationships. There are not enough tools and procedures to enforce the law, and domestic workers still suffer from <em>kafala</em> practices and various forms of discrimination. For example, they are not registered in the social security system; they are neither allowed to get married during the employment period nor have children (which means they cannot take maternity leave); they are excluded from the minimum wage for Jordanians; and their wages are decided in a bilateral agreement between Jordan and the sending countries. </p> <p>Workers' unfamiliarity with Jordanian labour law makes it difficult to access the justice process. In addition, employers fail to understand and accept the nature of the contractual relationship that stipulates the rights and obligations of both employers and employees, and instead adhere to the exploitive <em>kafala</em> system and the slavery-like practices that come with it. </p> <p>It was within this context that in 2014, the Solidarity Center took the initiative to create the Domestic Workers Solidarity Network in Jordan. This was the first initiative of its kind in the country and one of few such initiatives in the region. The network, whose motto is “Sisters in Solidarity”, aims to serve and support domestic workers through awareness-raising activities, legal assistance through the Legal Clinic Initiative, and roundtables in coordination with the Adalah Center for Human Rights Studies. The network also strives to detect cases of forced labour and other forms of labour trafficking and severe exploitation, and refer them to the proper authorities. </p> <p>The network has so far reached out to almost 400 domestic workers, and around 150 are involved, active, and continually looking to expand our membership. The majority of our members live independently because they work on a part-time basis. Their employers do not know about their activism outside working hours. It is difficult, if not impossible, to reach domestic workers who are locked in the employers' homes, and if they were lucky enough to be allowed to leave their employers wouldn't let them participate in activities that raise awareness of their rights. Until the law in Jordan changes to make it safer for migrant domestic workers to organise, the Domestic Workers Solidarity Network members need to be careful about being too public about their activities. </p> <h2>Knowledge is power</h2> <p>Many migrant workers receive no training prior to their departure and often have limited information about the country of destination, the local customs, and the conditions and nature of their work. On other occasions, workers are described one job, which turns out to be dramatically different when they arrive on site, far from their support networks and with little knowledge of their rights. In worst-case scenarios, unscrupulous labour brokers deceive migrant workers and traffic them into situations of forced labour.</p> <p>Lacking awareness of the regulations, laws, procedures, and services available to domestic workers who find themselves in exploitative situations, many workers leave the workplace to escape violence and improper working conditions. They usually go to their embassy or to the recruitment agency that brought them to the country. However, given their weak position and subjection to the <em>kafala</em> system, they are usually returned to the employer to work under the same exploitative conditions. </p> <p>In other cases, an abused worker may escape her employer-sponsor and go underground, working without a passport or without valid work and residency permits on an hourly or daily basis. In this case, the worker is breaking the law and runs the risk of being tracked by the police, detained, and deported. She then becomes an easy target for black-market brokers of work permits and at risk of greater exploitation.</p> <p>Towards the end of last century, ‘human trafficking’ began to be recognised as a serious crime, and the United Nations negotiated international conventions to address it. These conventions require member states to incorporate international standards into their domestic legal frameworks. Jordan was one of the first states in the Middle East to cover domestic workers by local labour laws. Jordan also issued a special regulation on domestic workers in 2009, as well as a law to prevent human trafficking. In addition, the country established a special unit to combat human trafficking within the Criminal Investigation Department and, by the end of 2015, the government established a shelter for victims of human trafficking, among other legislative and procedural advancements.</p> <p>To provide workers with the information to protect themselves and to understand their rights, the Domestic Workers Solidarity Network holds awareness-raising sessions that focus on labour legislation to clarify the nature of contractual relationships in domestic work, under Jordanian labour law and domestic worker regulations. It runs programmes to educate workers on the terms and conditions of their contracts, and how to terminate a contractual relationship or change employer through legal channels. In addition, the network coordinates with the <a href="http://www.idwfed.org/en">International Domestic Workers Federation</a>, which supports efforts to communicate with workers, coordinate and organise efforts on the ground, and conduct outreach to workers before they leave their home country.</p> <p>Network members learn about and discuss how labour violations and breaches in human rights can be identified and dealt with, and how to refer problems to authorities, security centres, embassies, and legal-aid centers. The network stands with workers that have been victimised in the workplace and helps them exercise their legal rights. The network also supports workers who are in conflict with the law and helps them, to the extent that is possible, resolve legal matters. </p> <p>And with the support of Jordanian and international NGOs, the network has trained domestic workers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka to become leaders and ambassadors in their labour communities in raising awareness and providing support, guidance, and labour solidarity in accordance with available legal procedures.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span>CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span>MARISSA BEGONIA<br />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span>MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span>ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span>VICKY KANYOKA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span>MYRTLE WITBOOI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span>RUTH KHAKAME</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span>LULU OMAR</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span>MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span>MARÍA ROA,&nbsp;ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span>LOURDES ALBÁN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span>VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span>PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ok-seop-shim/let-s-write-contract-and-call-me-house-manager-experiences-of-workers-coo">Let’s write a contract and call me house manager: experiences of a workers’ cooperative</a><br /><span>OK-SEOP SHIM</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lana/from-runaway-domestic-worker-to-organiser-in-singapore">From runaway domestic worker to organiser in Singapore</a><br /><span>LANA</span></p><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery North-Africa West-Asia Sara Khatib Domestic Workers Speak Tue, 15 Aug 2017 07:00:00 +0000 Sara Khatib 111951 at https://www.opendemocracy.net For a secular interpretation of prophethood https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/muhammad-amir-nasher-naam/for-secular-interpretation-of-prophethood <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The conception of secularism has developed in a prolonged and convoluted historical path and has been so diversified that it often implies multidimensional, ambiguous and contradictory notions. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mohammed-amir/secularism-prophet-islam-syria"><strong>[عربي]</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Drawing-of-tomb-mosque-of-Prophet-Muhammad-in-Medina-Saudi-Arabia.-874x492.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Drawing-of-tomb-mosque-of-Prophet-Muhammad-in-Medina-Saudi-Arabia.-874x492.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Drawing of tomb mosque of Prophet Muhammad in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Text in Arabic. Serves as souvenir of pilgrimage to mosque of Muhammad in Medina, includes spaces for names of witnesses attesting to completion of pilgrimage – 3-6-2011 (Hoover Institution Archives Poster Collection/Fair use. All rights reserved to the author].</span></span></span>This series of opinion articles on the relationship between secularism and authoritarianism is the outcome of a collaboration between <a href="http://www.syriauntold.com/en">SyriaUntold</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/lebanese-model-improvable-precondition-to-prevent-authoritariani">openDemocracy’s NAWA</a>].</strong></p> <p>When we speak today about a secular interpretation of the Prophet, the issue at hand isn’t Islam in its destined eventuality, but rather Islam in its genesis, at the moment of its inception and emergence on the historical scene. Interpretation is therefore not a search for novel meanings to be devised and attached to the old faith as a cosmetic accessory. It is rather an attempt to discover its original meanings, and to trace their transformations and destinies. That is, to discern what has come “first,” and to handle it as malleable and susceptible to interpretation.</p> <p>The conception of secularism has developed in a prolonged and convoluted historical path, like a sprawling tree with far-reaching twigs. This conception has been so diversified that it often implies multidimensional, ambiguous and contradictory notions.</p> <p>However, as we trace the branches and twigs, we would arrive at the tree trunk, political secularization (regardless of its gradations), and the root, intellectual secularization (regardless of how radical it may be). Accordingly, the question arises of whether the secular interpretation of the Prophet is going to be politically or intellectually secular? The answer is both, politically and intellectually.</p> <p><strong>Intellectual secularization</strong></p> <p>The earliest symptoms of intellectual secularization were manifested through the Prophet’s position on the sources of truth, which he didn’t limit to revelation. In addition to the Divine source, he referred to the soul trails and spiritual experience within the realms of intuition and feeling, rendering man himself the witness and the judge: “Man shall bear witness against himself” [Qur’an 75:15]. Other sources of truth include roaming the world and contemplating past experiences of mankind — what we call history — as well as looking upon nature: the land, the sky, and the cosmos. Followers of the Prophet would soon venture with this spirit of intellectual secularism to transform astrology into <a href="http://islamsci.mcgill.ca/RASI/BEA/Farabi_BEA.htm">astronomy</a>.</p> <p>The position of Prophet Muhammad was similar to that of western scholars who were subject to nefarious inquisitions. We know that the concept of intellectual secularism in Europe has only crystallized through questioning the sources of truth, the path to it, and the means with which to verify it. The attempted answers would soon generate a bitter struggle between the Church, whose source of truth was confined to what’s in the Bible, and scientists, who considered the “<a href="https://harpers.org/blog/2009/07/galileo-reading-the-book-of-nature/">Book of Nature</a>” as equally authoritative.</p> <p>As noted by José Casanova, the conflict between the church and the new science, symbolized by the trial of Galileo Galilei, “was not about the substantive truth or falsity of the new Copernican theories of the universe as much as it was about the validity of the claims of the new science to have discovered a new autonomous method of obtaining and verifying truth. […] Thus, the attempts of all the pioneers — Galileo, Kepler, and Newton — to enthrone the ‘Book of Nature’ was a legitimate, separate but equal, epistemological way to God, along with the ‘Book of Revelation’[i].” The position assumed by the scientists of the renaissance was very similar, if not identical, to that of Prophet Muhammad.</p> <p><strong>Political secularization</strong></p> <p>As for political secularization, its symptoms were manifested through the Prophet’s insistence on the principle of separation of powers. Returning to the first, unmistakable meaning in the Prophet’s persona, we would notice the diversity of the Prophet’s worldly decisions, in accordance to the multiple manifestations of his prophethood. We would also notice that the <a href="http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e0550#Medinanperiod">Medina era</a> was more appropriate for these manifestations to be demonstrated. <a href="http://www.oxfordislamicstudies.com/article/opr/t236/e0550#PeriodoftheMeccanrevelations">In Mecca</a>, he mostly played the role of the Prophet, whereas in Medina he went on to play three major roles: Muhammad the Prophet, Muhammad the Judge, and Muhammad the Leader. That these three roles were distinguishable is at the very core and heart of secularism.</p> <p>It is perhaps in this point that Prophet Muhammad is different from Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t achieve a standing as high as to put into practice a separation of powers, although he did call for it – his message could be likened to Muhammad’s Meccan era.</p> <p>Although most Islamic scholars have noted this separation of powers, they didn’t go as far as to render it a fundamental basis of Islamic governance, where it would be doctrinally rooted, culturally promoted and ultimately considered a binding principle with clear legal foundation and implementable laws for rulers and sultans.</p> <p>As he acted in a judicial capacity, the Prophet made clear to his companions that he separated his religious authority from his judicial power, judging by the clues, evidence and proof available to him. Moreover, to further emphasize the principle of separation of powers, he went to the extent of telling them that he may even misjudge, but only according to the evidence at hand, which ought to be duly assessed and respected. In a <em><a href="https://www.quora.com/Which-hadith-books-are-most-authentic-in-Islam">sahih hadith</a></em> [a correctly verified report on the Prophet’s words and deeds], he said: “I am but a man, and those with a dispute come to me. Perhaps some of you are more eloquent in arguing their case than others, and I rule for that person based on what I hear from him. Therefore, if I rule in the favor of anyone at the expense of his brother’s right in anything, then they should not take from that, because it is a piece of hellfire.”</p> <p>He also made clear that, as he led the army, he separated his religious authority from his military command, and that he followed the rules of warfare and schemed plans and stratagems. During <a href="https://www.britannica.com/event/Battle-of-Badr">the Battle of Badr</a> [624 AD], according to Ibn Hisham’s <em>sira</em> [one of the Prophet’s biographies], “Al-Habbab Ibn Al-Mundhir Ibn Al-Jamouh said: ‘O Messenger of God, this place where now we are, has God revealed it unto you, that we should neither advance nor retreat from it, or is it a matter of opinion and strategy?’ He said ‘No, it was a matter of opinion and strategy’, whereupon Al-Habban said: ‘This is not the place to camp, O Messenger of God, but take us on, until we come unto that one of the large wells which is nearest the enemy. Let us camp there and destroy the wells that lie beyond it, then make for ourselves a cistern. We will thus fight the enemy, and all the water will be ours to drink and they will have none.’ The Prophet said: ‘Excellent opinion.’ He and his soldiers went on until they reached the nearest well to the enemy and camped there.”</p> <p>Additionally, in the famous <em>sahih hadith</em> about the pollination of palm-trees, he affirmed: “If a question relates to your worldly matters, you would know better about it, but if it relates to your religion, then to me it belongs.”</p> <p>In sum, the Prophet has always delineated when he acted as a mufti, when as a leader, and when as a prophet, without any of these manifestations interfering with, prevailing over or exploiting the other. He upheld and exhibited the principle of separation of powers, especially the separation of his religious authority from other authorities.</p> <p><strong>Prophethood As a prelude to secularization</strong></p> <p>Seeking to explain to the west <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/sep/14/looking-at-salman-rushdies-satanic-verses">the overwhelming reaction</a> that swept the Muslim world following the publication of Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Satanic Verses’ (1988), German orientalist Annemarie Schimmel (1922-2003) wrote her book ‘<a href="http://www.guernicus.com/academics/pdf/brmuhammed.pdf">And Muhammad Is His Messenger</a>’, in which she explores some aspects of the love and reverence Muslims have for their Prophet.</p> <p>Based on rigorous examination of books written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, Schimmel details the works of many scholars and poets who have demonstrated tremendous love and infatuation with Muhammad. She dedicates an entire chapter for <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Muhammad-Iqbal">poet Muhammad Iqbal</a> (1877-1938), whose poetry exudes an exceptionally overwhelming and most profoundly rooted love for the Prophet.</p> <p>Given his deep understanding and familiarity with Prophet Muhammad’s truly unique personality, Iqbal was the Muslim who revealed some of the least addressed dimensions of his life. Notably, he suggested that the finality of prophethood was a prelude to secularism. In 1928, he wrote that “the Prophet of Islam seems to stand between the ancient and the modern world. In so far as the source of his revelation is concerned he belongs to the ancient world; in so far as the spirit of his revelation is concerned he belongs to the modern world. In him life discovers other sources of knowledge suitable to its new direction. The birth of Islam, as I hope to be able presently to prove to your satisfaction, is the birth of inductive intellect. In Islam prophecy reaches its perfection in discovering the need of its own abolition. This involves the keen perception that life cannot for ever be kept in leading strings; that, in order to achieve full self-consciousness, man must finally be thrown back on his own resources[ii].”</p> <p>With its ambitious Nietzschean spirit, as well as its impressive understanding for its time, this analysis of the finality of prophethood paved the way for a new understanding of the Prophet’s character, and of his unparalleled role and status not at the local level, but on the universal level at large. In ‘<a href="https://luckybooks.online/book/B61E21E6420F9C3AEB03?a_aid=dude&amp;chan=newdesign_v2_redir_d3004_3&amp;search=Patterns+in+Comparative+Religion">Patterns in Comparative Religion</a>’, Mircea Eliade (1907-1968), one of the most prominent scholars of religion, reiterates Iqbal’s argument as if he were quoting it. “He places Muhammad at the transition point between the second and third (last) period in mankind’s spiritual development. The history of the human mind […] is a process of general secularization. In this vision, Muhammad stands on the threshold of the triumph of religion (Christianity) and the new secular age[iii].”</p> <p>It is remarkable that Christian priests in the Middle Ages discerned this secular aspect of Islam, which is why Christian literature has always portrayed Prophet Muhammad as a materialistic prophet. The prompt and immediate justification of this allegation was ostensibly grounded in <a href="https://www.thespiritofislam.com/islam-christianity/5-muslim-paradise-and-christian-heaven.html">Islam’s exaggerated picturing of a sensual paradise</a>. This criticism is in fact leveled at the whole Islamic tradition, which is more reconciled and familiarized with the earthly world. This tradition has been based on a prophetic character who is famously <a href="https://thecorner.wordpress.com/2008/06/19/women-perfume-and-the-coolness-of-my-eyes-exploring-a-profound-hadith/">quoted</a> as saying “Made beloved to me from your world are women and perfume, and the coolness of my eyes is in prayer.”</p> <p>Indeed, the philosophical roots of secularization in Christendom could be traced to Muslim thinkers, most notably <a href="https://www.britannica.com/biography/Averroes">Andalusian philosopher Averroes</a>. The dispute over his legacy in the 13th century, or what was called <a href="http://www.muslimphilosophy.com/ip/rep/B012.htm">the suppression of Averroism</a>, sparked the beginnings of an intellectual secularization movement, centuries before political secularization.</p> <p>Turning to Muhammad Iqbal, do we find a work or position by him encapsulating a practical application of his aforementioned understanding and analysis? Yes, we do, and astoundingly so. This Muslim thinker, who was brimming with religious zeal and pride, and who referred to Islam as the greatest means of rationality and balance for humanity, has been among the few Muslim figures to show understanding of the <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2014-11-19/myth-caliphate">abolition of the caliphate by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk</a>.</p> <p>Unlike most Muslim poets and scholars who were astonished and dumbfounded on that day, Iqbal stood alone against the current, praised the first secular movement in the Muslim world, and commended the diligence with which the post-Ottoman republic was founded. “Let us see how the Grand National Assembly has exercised this power of <em><a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/ijtihad">Ijtihad</a> </em>[“original interpretation” in Islamic jurisprudence] in regard to the institution of <em>Khilafat</em> [Arabic for “caliphate”],” he wrote, asking, “Should the Caliphate be vested in a single person?” His answer was “Turkey’s <em>Ijtihad</em> is that, according to the spirit of Islam, the Caliphate or Imamate can be vested in a body of persons, or an elected Assembly.”</p> <p>Iqbal then says: “Personally, I believe the Turkish view is perfectly sound. It is hardly necessary to argue this point. The republican form of government is not only thoroughly consistent with the spirit of Islam, but has also become a necessity in view of the new forces that were set free in the world of Islam[iv].”</p> <p>Moroccan PM <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/03/saad-eddine-el-othmani-morocco-deadlock-170320053214750.html">Dr. Saadeddine Al-Othmani</a>, one of the country’s most prominent Islamists, has authored a few years ago a book entitled ‘The Prophet’s Behavior With Regards to the Imamate’ [‘<em><a href="http://ia902605.us.archive.org/8/items/tsrfat/tasarofat.pdf">Tasarrufat Ar-Rasul Bil-Imamah</a></em>’ (2002), available in Arabic only]. Al-Othmani’s text is actually an Islamist case for secularism. Regardless of the author’s secularist intentions or lack thereof, the diversity of the Prophet’s actions, between being a prophet, a judge and a leader, leads only to this conclusion.</p> <p>However, the long historical experience of rulers and politicians, and the immense intellectual efforts made by their cohorts against secularism, have produced but one understanding of the Prophet. Regrettably, he has been rendered exemplary of the integration rather than separation of powers, and his misinterpreted actions have become the justification for an opportunistic and demagogic conflation of them. A Muslim ruler’s first and foremost concern is entrenching his grip over all authorities without defined boundaries. Even those who claim to be secular rulers maintain all powers as intertwined, muddled and deformed, where one could hardly find a distinction between the executive, judicial, legislative, political or religious authorities. They are all rendered theatrical puppets, lulling us at times and terrorizing us at others.</p> <p>Since the French Revolution, Christianity has managed to rationalize secularism, initiate a secular interpretation of its faith, thus resolving the secular-religious debate once and for all. It only required one biblical phrase that doesn’t exceed half a line: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Meanwhile in the Islamic world, secularism is still approached haphazardly, and so is the principle of separation of powers. Instead of exploring the vast potential available to us to interpret Islam and its prophethood secularly, with much less artificiality and arbitrariness, we have preferred to remain woefully steadfast and unyielding.</p> <p>[i] José Casanova, <em>Public Religions in the Modern World</em> (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2011), 25. </p><p>[ii]&nbsp;Muhammad Iqbal, <em>The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam</em> (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2012), 100-101.</p> <p>[iii] Alija Izetbegović, <em>Islam Between East and West</em> (Calicut, Islamic Book Trust &amp; Other Books, 2013), 193.</p> <p>[iv] Iqbal, 124-125.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/omar-kaddour/lebanese-model-improvable-precondition-to-prevent-authoritariani"> Lebanese model an improvable precondition to prevent authoritarianism</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/hammoud-hammoud/on-duality-of-laicism-and-dictatorship-and-rise-of-political-">On the duality of laicism and dictatorship and the rise of political Islam</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mohammed-amir/secularism-prophet-islam-syria">تأويل النبي علمانياً</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Syria Secularism islam Political Islam Through Syrian eyes Muhammad Amir Nasher An-Naam Mon, 14 Aug 2017 12:23:30 +0000 Muhammad Amir Nasher An-Naam 112849 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Dubai and Gwadar: the silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/tariq-al-shammari/dubai-and-gwadar-silent-economic-war-in-gulf-of-oman <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The expansion of Gwadar port in Pakistan is a game-changing venture that would reformulate the economic agenda of the entire region.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><a href="http://nation.com.pk/national/10-Jul-2016/gwadar-another-dubai-emerging-on-world-map-chinese-media"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-30796593.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-30796593.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="317" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A free zone co-built with China in construction at the Gwadar port in Pakistan. Picture by Xinhua/Sipa USA. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Many economic analysts believe</a> that Gwadar is another Dubai emerging on the world’s map. The controversial issue here is that an economically powerful Gwadar threatens the strategic influence of Dubai in the region. This challenging point, recently, has caused a silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman between two groups of countries. Pakistan, China and Qatar on one side. India and the UAE on the other. </p><p><a href="http://www.dubai.ae/en/Lists/Articles/DispForm.aspx?ID=133&amp;category=Visitors">Dubai</a> is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf. It is the largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Dubai has invested in infrastructure to overcome its poor natural resources and become a global business, trade and tourism hub. Thus, Dubai has emerged as a multi-cultural city and enjoys to receive millions of leisure and business visitors each year from around the world. </p> <p><a href="http://www.arabianbusiness.com/dubai-economy-set-treble-by-2015-149721.html">The major revenue of Dubai</a> comes from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Large construction projects, iconic skyscrapers and sports events are other means of income for Dubai. The world’s tallest building called the Burj Khalifa is located in this emirate. </p> <p>It is clear that the area where Dubai is located can offer <a href="http://www.internationaltrade.co.uk/articles.php?CID=1&amp;SCID=&amp;AID=1608&amp;PGID=2">a distinct geographical advantage to businesses</a>. There are two major commercial ports in Dubai, Port Rashid and Port Jebel Ali. <a href="http://www.worldportsource.com/ports/review/ARE_Port_of_Jebel_Ali_1423.php">The latter one</a> is the biggest man-made harbor in the world and the biggest Middle East port. It is home to over 5,000 companies from 120 countries. </p> <p>However, Gwadar port is a serious rival to Dubai. <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world/china-watch/business/china-rebuilds-port-in-pakistan/">Gwadar port is considered a strategic location</a>, giving China and Central Asia access to the Gulf region and the Middle East. Gwadar port will become the main sea gate for Central Asia. It will also become easier to send products from Xinjiang and central Asian countries to other regions. “The corridor will help reduce transport time for goods from Gwadar port to western China and central Asian regions by about 60 or 70 per cent,” <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world/china-watch/business/china-rebuilds-port-in-pakistan/">Vice Premier of China Ms Liu Yandong said</a>. </p> <p>On 10 April 2016, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/big-chinese-pakistani-project-tries-to-overcome-jihadists-droughts-and-doubts-1460274228">talking to <em>The Washington Post</em></a>, Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Port Holding Company said that his company could spend a total of $4.5 billion on roads, power, hotels and other infrastructure for the industrial zone of Gwadar. He also added that the company also plans to build an international airport and power plant for Gwadar.</p> <p>‘<a href="http://www.dubaiinvestmentforum.ae/">Dubai Investment Forum’</a>, a platform aiming to persuade local and international investors will be held in October under the patronage of Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Undoubtedly, this Forum is so crucial for the future of Dubai to continue its development as now it has a strong rival named Gwadar.</p> <p>India is another key player in this regional battle. <a href="https://www.thequint.com/blogs/2017/02/21/chabahar-and-gwadar-struggle-for-power-between-india-and-pakistan-china-iran-cpec-obor">The Chabahar-Gwadar adversary</a> is due to the fact that the ports are at a distance of about 72 km from each other. Both India and Pakistan have been attempting to undermine each other in the region and the development of the two ports is bound to add to the animosity.</p> <p>America’s relations with India should also be seen <a href="https://www.thequint.com/blogs/2017/02/21/chabahar-and-gwadar-struggle-for-power-between-india-and-pakistan-china-iran-cpec-obor">in this context</a>. Recent agreements signed between the US and India validate the fact that a rising China is a threat to the regional balance of power. The US is also concerned about the rise of Chinese economic power in the region. Dr. Ahmed Albanna, UAE Ambassador to India declared that <a href="https://www.thenational.ae/a-great-game-begins-as-china-takes-control-of-gwadar-port-1.381352">China’s investment for expanding Gwadar port</a> in Pakistan will have negative impact on the UAE’s interests.</p> <p>Qatar officials understand the importance of Gwadar as a great game-changer in the region and they planned to invest &nbsp;15% of the “China–Pakistan Economic Corridor” (CPEC), a collection of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout&nbsp;Pakistan, so that to put pressure on Dubai and the UAE as <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/uae-arranged-hacking-qatari-media-washington-post-170717004353563.html">the animosity between the two country</a> has recently became more harsh.</p> <p>To sum up, the geoeconomic and geopolitical situation in South Asia is changing swiftly. This can be credited to the fact that the emerging powers in the region are redefining their presence. China, Pakistan and Qatar are formulating the economic agenda of the region based on the geo-economics of Gwadar port while India and the UAE are strongly against this prospect and attempt to thwart their plan by persuading the USA and European countries to invest in Dubai. </p> <p>Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have natural oil resources and Qatar has natural gas resources but the UAE has no special resources and is mostly dependent on its tourism and transportation revenues. Thus, with regard to the large investment by Saudi Arabia for attracting tourism by <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-red-sea-islands-luxury-tourism-resorts-holiday-no-conservative-kingdom-rules-egypt-a7873301.html">turning 50 Red Sea islands into luxury tourism resorts</a> and the silent economic war in the Gulf of Oman, the UAE is the big loser of the this great game since Dubai will have no tourism and transportation privileges ten years from now.&nbsp; </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/khairuldeen-al-makhzoomi-adel-albdeewy/qatar-MiddleEast-power-US-SaudiArabia-Iran-Turkey-Egypt-GCC-gulf">Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/tommaso-segantini/qatar-Saudi-US-MiddleEast-geopolitics-power">Qatar crisis: a broader consolidation of power</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United Arab Emirates </div> <div class="field-item even"> Pakistan </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Pakistan United Arab Emirates Economics International politics Tariq al-Shammari Mon, 14 Aug 2017 07:59:47 +0000 Tariq al-Shammari 112791 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Strikes, protests and Egyptian nights of curfew https://www.opendemocracy.net/nawa-giuseppe-acconcia-mona-abaza/strikes-protests-and-egyptian-nights-of-curfew <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A conversation about journalism and research in times of uprising and repression on the fourth anniversary of Egypt's Rabaa massacre.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Rabaa_protesters(1).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Rabaa_protesters(1).jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>August 2013 Rabaa massacre. Wikicommons/Mosa'ab Elshamy from 6th of October, Egypt. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>This is another interview in a series on the dilemmas and contradictions researchers encounter in undertaking research in the Middle East. The idea of interviewing social scientists on the processes of the production of knowledge has been inspired from Michael Burawoy’s concept of &nbsp;‘public sociology’, which he initiated and was followed by other sociologists who carried out further interviews with social scientists in ‘Global Dialogue’. </em></p> <p><em>These interviews will attempt to focus on questions of methodology, equally, on the obstacles encountered by researchers when undertaking fieldwork in enduring political upheavals. It will also attempt to highlight the multiple and varied trajectories and voices which a younger generation of social scientists in the Middle East have been confronting. </em></p> <p><em><strong>Mona Abaza (MA)</strong></em><em><strong>: </strong></em><em>How did you get interested in Arabic culture? You had a number of other jobs before going into academia?</em></p> <p><em><strong>Giuseppe Acconcia (GA):</strong></em> I began travelling in the Middle East on long expeditions with my family when I was very young. Our first trip was to Syria in 1999 and I loved this country. Then I decided to write my Italian degree thesis on the reformist movement in Iran and I worked in the political section of the Italian Embassy in Teheran to that end. I really enjoyed studying Iranian civil society and often returned to that wonderful country after my graduation. All my first job experiences were informed by my interest for the Middle East. Since 2005, I decided to learn spoken Arabic after having studied standard Arabic at college. That same year, I began working for think tanks and NGOs focused on human rights and Euro-Mediterranean cooperation. In 2009, I finally decided to leave my job and move to Egypt.&nbsp;</p> <p>In Cairo, initially I worked as an Italian language teacher at the Italian School, at the Italian Cultural Institute (Zamalek) and at the American University. Later I began work as a journalist at the English-speaking newspaper, al-Ahram weekly. My editor in chief was the great Egyptian writer, Youssef Rakha (author of the “The Book of the Sultan's Seal”, 2016). When the events in Tahrir Square began to unfold I was still in Italy for the new year holidays. I landed in Cairo on the night of January 29, 2011 (four days after the first demonstrations), in the company of a friend working for the World Bank. They advised us to sleep in the airport. And we did. The next day, we thought the safest way to get to Downtown Cairo and join in was to take an ordinary taxi with some Egyptians. </p> <p>Benjamin, my friend, mentioned that his house had just been attacked by unknown looters that very night. On our way back home, in Heliopolis, it was the first time I remember noticing something that was to become much clearer in the ensuing months - that is the way thugs had infiltrated Popular Committees. As the scholar Hatem Hassan defined them, these local Committees are “self-defence groups heterogeneous in their tactics, organisation, and efficacy”. In other words, this is the way in which ordinary citizens organise at the micro-level to respond to the absence of police and security personnel. &nbsp;</p> <p>On this occasion – they tried to stop the taxi on the grounds that we were foreigners, but our Egyptian fellow-travellers asked them to give us a break, and in the end they let us go. I was fascinated by this unique way of mobilizing a local neighborhood and later found that a similar mobilization was up and running in my vicinity too. I was living behind the Odeon Cinema, close to Talaat Harb Street. <span class="mag-quote-center">It was following the revolutionary dreams of so many comrades that I learned all I know about reporting in a context of widespread political mobilization.</span></p> <p><strong><em>MA: </em></strong><em>Your research in Egypt has been on social movements and the 2011 uprisings. How did you get interested in these topics?</em></p> <p><em><strong>GA:</strong></em> I guess that the real change in direction for my studies, together with my love for the region as a whole, was intimately related to the so-called "Arab Spring". It was following the revolutionary dreams of so many comrades that I learned all I know about reporting in a context of widespread political mobilization. I spent my time following the events of grassroots mobilization, witnessing the violence of the police battling against the aspirations of the younger generations. As a scholar I have often drawn upon my previous experiences in the 2011 protests to enhance my study of this interesting region in a context of potential political transformation. That of course was also where the trouble started…</p> <p>That year, from February 2011 onwards until June 2016, I became a correspondent for the Italian left-wing newspaper <em>il Manifesto</em>, covering Tahrir Square events. Between 2011 and 2015 I also reported extensively for European mainstream and specialized media. I was arranging constant interviews and meetings with activists and experts, and I began to use this overall access to form some rather original insights into political developments in Egypt, gradually arriving at a better understanding of these events that I daily witnessed.&nbsp;I met great people, including journalists and bloggers such as Ahdaf Soueif, Wael Abbas, Hossam el-Hamalawi, Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mahiennour el-Masri while these incredible events were under way.</p> <p>I decided to opt for a PhD after finishing my Masters in Middle Eastern Studies, in the politics department at SOAS. Looking on from abroad for a while as these events unfolded, I soon thought that I had to spend more time in Egypt. I had been reading Foucault, Gramsci, Beinin and Tripp, and I was convinced that among the most interesting outcomes of the 2011 events, there was the rise of a working-class-based social movement. Several opportunities to report back from events in Suez and Mahalla al-Kubra only <a href="https://www.madamasr.com/en/2016/01/05/feature/economy/strikes-and-labor-protests-hit-state-owned-companies/">confirmed</a> for me the <a href="http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/64634">central relevance</a> of the <a href="http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/49130/Egypt/Politics-/Wave-of-strikes-Egypt-Labour-fights-back,-capital-.aspx">workers' movements</a> in Egypt, despite puny coverage of the strikes by Italian mainstream media.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>It was especially difficult to meet up with activists in Suez for my focus groups (2014-2015). I remember that when I left the microbus that brought me from Cairo to the outskirts of the town, the driver looked at me with some suspicion and asked me where I was heading to. No sooner had I found a place to sleep downtown but I became aware that the local branch of the Amn el-Dawla was monitoring me closely. After having been informed about my presence by the hotel owner, scared by my foreign passport, they even paid visits to my room very early in the morning and again in the afternoon, asking incessant questions. </p> <p>I tried to be obliging and to talk in Arabic as much as I could, but I was very afraid. Once I managed to link up with the strikers and various Revolutionary Socialists I wanted to meet, we repaired to a garden where they used to spend their “revolutionary nights” together. </p> <p>Later that particular night we even visited army headquarters because the sister of one of them had an art show in the local theatre. I was surprised that, when there were no clashes, this area was regularly visited by ordinary citizens heading to the theatre or sports facilities. Military personnel never asked me or my activist friends for identity cards or other documents. </p> <p>This for me was one of the most unforgettable nights in the aftermath of the revolution. I only ever experienced that same kind of atmosphere when, in that same year I had the chance to meet up with football Ultras in Port Said. So, we spent our evenings watching Bassem Youssef TV-programmes and everybody felt very happy. <span class="mag-quote-center">So, we spent our evenings watching Bassem Youssef TV-programmes and everybody felt very happy.</span></p> <p>Back in Suez, close to the port, the police continued to ask me many questions and even briefly detained me. On that occasion, I remember, I felt I had to conceal my identity. I just told them that I was an Italian sailor, looking for a job.</p> <p><strong><em>MA:</em></strong><em> Tell me about more of your experiences, after the military coup. </em></p> <p><strong><em>GA: </em></strong>After the military coup in 2013, I was going daily to Rabaa al-Adaweya to cover Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins calling for the defence of the legitimacy of former president Mohammed Morsi. My reading of the August massacre, when the sit-in was “cleared” by security personnel, is that this will be remembered as one of the most ignominious attacks on human rights in Egyptian history. It was very hot and Ramadan. I often had iftar with the demonstrators, and I spent many hours in the Media Centre close to the Rabaa mosque. I was joined by many other Italian photographers and other colleagues. </p> <p>The day of the assault on the sit-in, I was woken by a phone call from the Muslim Brotherhood politician, Jihad al-Haddad, who said that they knew the police were going to attack them. I joined Medinat Nassr at ten o clock. And I witnessed scenes of shocking devastation. I knew some of the people who were killed on this day. At that time I was living in Agouza and I remember that my flatmates were very afraid for me. They were strict respecters of the curfew, very aware of the minor thugs hanging around our house.</p> <p>Meanwhile, I was deciding that it would have been really great to begin a general study of the patterns of mobilization and demobilization of the Egyptian oppositionists both before and after the Tahrir Square occupation, and in both urban and peripheral contexts. Ultimately I settled on a focus on the Popular Committees in the Cairo district of Sayeda Zeinab and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) in Mahalla al-Kubra. They seemed to me from what I had witnessed to manifest the most interesting outcomes of the uprisings. And I did publish two ethnographic books of reportage and commentary on the Egyptian 2011 uprisings in Italian: <em>La primavera egiziana</em> (Infinito, 2012) and <em>Egitto. Democraziamilitare</em> (Exòrma, 2014). <span class="mag-quote-center">My reading of the August massacre... is that this will be remembered as one of the most ignominious attacks on human rights in Egyptian history.</span></p> <p><strong><em>MA:</em></strong><em> In what ways did this path you took become a struggle?</em></p> <p><strong><em>GA:</em></strong> As a journalist and a scholar, I have had to manage very complicated situations in very different contexts, both in Egypt and Northern Syria. For example, it is true that in times of political repression, it is difficult to do research in Egypt. But it was also very complicated to work there as a journalist, especially during the 2011 uprisings. </p> <p>On the morning of February 2, 2011, for example, together with other Italians, we were suddenly surrounded by a group of baltagyys (thugs) in Shubra on our way home to Westel Balad. They were carrying chains and swords. Later they delivered us to the <em>Mukabarat</em>. When it was time to let us go they questioned me particularly keenly about my Iranian visas. I remember that a Canadian intervened on my behalf asking for the release of all of us. In this case, the security personnel only briefly detained us, bringing us back to downtown Cairo the same evening, leaving us along the Corniche of the Zamalek district, where intense clashes between demonstrators and the police were still taking place. </p> <p>On another occasion, in June 2015 in Northern Syria, I was arrested together with other Italian and French journalists, going back to Turkey after conducting fieldwork research with YPG-YPJ fighters. In the end we were expelled by the Turkish authorities. It is one of their priorities to prevent the coverage of what is going on in Rojava and the Kurdish areas of Turkey. <span class="mag-quote-center">After the 2013 military coup in Egypt, I became aware that my fieldwork research could cause major problems for my Egyptian activist friends and interviewees.</span></p> <p>After the 2013 military coup in Egypt, I became aware that my fieldwork research could cause major problems for my Egyptian activist friends and interviewees. This was especially true in relation to some very sensitive issues that I was tackling over the last six years, in my studies of Egyptian leftists and the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions (EFITU) in Mahalla al-Kubra. The attitudes of the unionised workers locally towards my research changed rather markedly after the 2014 political repression. Even experienced trade unionists began to be concerned about the long arm of the Egyptian authorities and infiltration by the Security Services (<em>Mukabarat</em>). This was especially evident after the so called <em>Tamarrod </em>(rebel) campaign – the petition signed by different strands of the opposition that demanded that Mohammed Morsi should step down. This mobilization paved the way for the June 30, 2013 Cairo protests and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/07/03/how-egypts-generals-used-street-protests-to-stage-a-coup/?utm_term=.8f8d5e440b3a">the arrest of the first ever elected Egyptian president</a>, Mohammed Morsi. This was a point of rapid deterioration. It was exactly at that time that the forces of reaction gained the upper hand and were particularly dangerous to any researcher or journalist working in the country. </p> <p>Later the military junta set about sealing the success of their military coup by <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/giuseppe-acconcia-joel-beinin/egypt%E2%80%99s-new-interim-government-is-not-leftist-coalition">trying to co-opt</a> some leftist figures (for example, Kamal Abu-Eita) into the interim government and thereby demobilize the working class. I remember one day, while my brother was visiting me, we were coming back home from Mahalla to Cairo by microbus, and discussing the day with the activists. In the course of this I referred to Shaimaa el-Sabbagh by name. She was an Egyptian activist and poet killed close to Talaat Harb Square by the police on January 25, 2015. On arrival in Cairo, the driver told a policeman that we were talking politics and he duly set off after us. Luckily, we had just enough time to grasp the first available taxi out of there. <span class="mag-quote-center">On arrival in Cairo, the driver told a policeman that we were talking politics.</span></p> <p><strong><em>MA:</em></strong><em> What problems do you see for foreigners generally hoping to do research in Egypt?</em></p> <p><strong><em>GA:</em></strong> In general, in the last six years, foreigners in Egypt have felt a growing atmosphere of mistrust. The 2011 uprisings were portrayed by the mainstream media as a foreign-led conspiracy. This, despite the fact that in 2011 at least, many Middle Eastern activists appeared to have very poor connections with anti-regime movements in other countries.</p> <p>On the one hand, it is true that one of first accounts to highlight the presence of the Egyptian uprisings was Gene Sharp's books on Tahrir Square. His ideas of non-violent resistance were widely publicized in 2011, alongside the latest generation of cyber-activism techniques disseminated by Wael Ghonim, and those other tactics of non-violence allegedly studied by Egyptian political activists in workshops on the mobilization against the Milosevic regime in the former Yugoslavia. On the other hand, one of the main targets of the Egyptian military junta has been to prevent the formation of any kind of transnational solidarity among activists, especially if they are socialists or communists.&nbsp;This has been done in different ways: depicting all foreigners as potential spies; generating a chauvinistic sense of xenophobia; stigmatizing both youth and labour protests as fundamentally against the national interests. </p> <p>The public media has depicted all foreigners as possible spies listening out for the private political sentiments of ordinary Egyptians in the local cafes. Especially since 2013 it has been increasingly difficult to work as a journalist and a researcher without being harassed or threatened with the police. Many of my colleagues have been expelled from Cairo airport or advised to leave the country. <span class="mag-quote-center">Put simply, the disappearance must be publicly reported as soon as it is discovered.</span></p><p><strong><em>MA:</em></strong><em> What can researchers do about these dangers?</em></p> <p><strong><em>GA:</em></strong> I know that after the torture and murder of Giulio Regeni, there is a better understanding of the dangers that foreign journalists and scholars might face in Egypt. This is a first step: to be aware of the possibility of being targeted and misrepresented by the security forces and confronted by a range of threats. It is clear now that in the case of an arrest, a standard reaction should be to provide an immediate response from the close circle of people who first become aware of the disappearance of a researcher and also from national and local diplomatic authorities. Put simply, the disappearance must be publicly reported as soon as it is discovered. </p> <p>A quick reaction increases the possibility of a positive conclusion to events. Now and in more general terms, Scholars at Risk is tackling the need to protect scholars involved in fieldwork research in countries where they might encounter major threats during their work. This might help in the future to avoid any underestimation of the risks that scholars can be faced with during their research, especially in authoritarian regimes.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://rsf.org/en/news/shawkan-completes-fourth-year-prison-taking-photos">Shawkan completes fourth year in prison</a> for taking photos - <em>Reporters without borders</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/giuseppe-acconcia/regeni-victim-of-regime-of-fear">Regeni: victim of a regime of fear</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-elena-chiti/criminal-victim-policeman-judge"> The criminal, the victim, the policeman, the judge </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-nada-t/multiple-entanglements">Multiple entanglements</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/wfd/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-benjamin-geer/surviving-sociology-in-egypt-and-elsewhere">Surviving sociology in Egypt and elsewhere</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mona-abaza-karim-yassin-goessinger/sitting-on-top-of-egyptian-civilisation"> Sitting on top of Egyptian civilisation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/leila-zaki-chakravarti-mona-abaza/ethnography-in-time-of-upheaval-egypt-before-and-af">Ethnography in a time of upheaval – Egypt before and after the ‘Arab spring’</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/leila-zaki-chakravarti/remembering-contesting-and-forgetting-aftermath-of-cairo-massacres">Remembering, contesting and forgetting: the aftermath of the Cairo massacres</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government International politics Mona Abaza Giuseppe Acconcia Mon, 14 Aug 2017 07:53:59 +0000 Giuseppe Acconcia and Mona Abaza 112841 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Iraq after ISIS: continued conflict or rebuilding beyond ethno-sectarian identities? https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/andrea-teti-pamela-abbott-munqith-daghir/iraq-after-isis-continued-conflict-o <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ignoring priorities that have popular support in Iraq risks undermining post-ISIS attempts to build a stable country, with knock-on effects at a regional level.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="Body"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32005258_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-32005258_0.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>An Iraqi soldier talks with civilians waiting to be evacuated in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, on July 10, 2017. Khalil Dawood/ Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>As the defeat of ISIS/Daesh looms large both in Syria and in Iraq, attention turns to post-ISIS settlements: while in Syria the Assad regime seems set to remain in power with Russian support, how Iraq’s diverse political forces – which mostly self-identify along Shi’a, Kurdish, and Sunni lines – will address the deep divisions highlighted by ISIS’ rise to prominence remains a more open question.</p> <p class="Body">Post-ISIS nation-building will certainly require negotiation between political elites, most of which ground their legitimacy in sectarian identity, but the long-term stability of any settlement they reach depends crucially on their ability to address popular priorities and national (non-sectarian) interests. </p> <p class="Body">However, recent evidence from <a href="http://www.arabtrans.eu/work-packages/">nationwide public opinion surveys</a> shows that these priorities are not always determined by ‘identity’, as is often assumed, but are often shared across communities. For example, data suggests that in crucial areas, including security, people’s location is at least as important as identity, and that people want stability, jobs, decent services, and an end to corruption whatever their ethno-religious identity. <span class="mag-quote-center">People’s location is at least as important as identity... people want stability, jobs, decent services, and an end to corruption.</span></p> <p class="Body">Basing either domestic politics in Iraq or foreign policy towards it on ‘identitarian’ assumptions is likely to miss popular demands and priorities. Indeed, the fact that people’s concerns are not determined by their identity alone provides an opportunity to forge a socially, economically, and politically inclusive post-conflict settlement. The divisive consequences of both Saddam Hussein’s ‘Sunni-centric’ regime and the ‘Shi’a-centric’ central government which emerged in the wake of US-led regime change provide cautionary tales about the price of failing to find such an inclusive settlement, both at home and abroad.</p> <h2 class="Body"><strong>Inclusive growth</strong></h2> <p class="Body">The Arab Transformations Survey, the latest empirical information from nationwide public opinion survey dates from June 2014, just before the fall of Mosul, and covers Iraq plus five other countries – Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. In 2014 Iraqis saw internal security and the economy as the two greatest challenges facing their country, with corruption a close third. More extensive analysis of the data suggests that for some time concerns about security have been common across the sectarian divide and higher in the central than the other regions. It also suggests that Sunnis are more concerned about totalitarianism than Shi’ites though in all regions many more people are concerned about corruption, internal security and/or the economic situation than consider authoritarianism a major challenge in their country. How such concerns will have been affected by the experience of ISIS occupation remains to be seen, particularly in ISIS-occupied areas.</p> <p class="Body">In 2014, people across Iraq were pessimistic about the country’s economic predicament and dissatisfied with prospects for its development. In no group or region did more than about 40 per cent of respondents expressed confidence in the future of the economy, but dissatisfaction was particularly high in the case of Sunnis, both in the Kurdish-majority northern areas and in the centre. Beyond regional or ethno-religious differences, however, such markedly low levels of satisfaction signal the urgent need for inclusive development nationwide.</p> <p class="Body">Regional and ethno-religious differences are important, but what is more important than variations between such areas and identity groups is that a considerable majority of the population nationwide were unhappy with the country’s economic performance and lacked confidence in the federal government’s work to improve it. While certainly posing a challenging political task, this dissatisfaction emphasises the importance of an inclusive post-ISIS economic settlement. The long-term stability of any political settlement must be underpinned by growth that is – and is perceived to be – inclusive across regional and sectarian lines. </p> <h2 class="Body"><strong>Corruption</strong></h2> <p class="Body">Corruption is perceived as pervasive: between 88 and 98 per cent identify it as a problem regardless of regional location or religion. Indeed, for half of respondents nationwide it was corruption which motivated them to support or take part in protests during the 2010-11 Arab Uprisings, followed by economic factors (demand for improved basic services 43%; economic problems 30%) and political factors (demanding more political freedom 25%; opposition to authoritarian leader, 23%). By contrast, even the highest levels of confidence that government will work towards tackling corruption – among Shi’ites in the Central and Southern regions, at 50 per cent and 40 per cent respectively – remain troublingly low. </p> <p class="Body">While politically sensitive and practically complex, tackling corruption is likely to both boost economic growth and generate considerable legitimation for the federal government and the political forces supporting it. </p> <p class="Body">Few social or political institutions command much trust in Iraq, often including religious leaders. However, the demand for an inclusive, representative government remains strong, providing opportunities for stable long-term solutions to Iraq’s problems. Trust in central government<strong> </strong>varies significantly along both sectarian and regional lines but is low nationwide, being highest among Shi’ites in the Central Region (32% ) and the South (37%) compared to at most half these levels for Sunnis in other regions. </p> <p class="Body">Low levels of trust in political leaders, however, do not translate into a lack of confidence in an inclusive form of government. Iraqis clearly favour a parliamentary form of government in which all parties – religious and secular, right and left – take part (91% among Southern Shi’ites, 83% among both Central Shi’ites and Northern Sunnis). Despite the comparatively significant drop, a clear majority of Central Sunnis (64%) still also favoured such a system. </p> <p class="Body">These data highlight the problems of central regions but also show that despite the intense and complex problems Iraq faces and the difficulty of reaching a negotiated compromise, a politically and economically fair and inclusive settlement would be well received by Iraqis of all religions and in all regions and would improve social, economic, and political resilience. </p> <p class="Body">Even before the ISIS take-over of Mosul respondents nationwide were concerned about violence: two thirds or more worried about war, terrorism, civil war, and sectarian violence. In any post-ISIS scenario, government must both ensure security <em>and </em>gain the people’s trust. <span class="mag-quote-center">In any post-ISIS scenario, government must both ensure security&nbsp;and&nbsp;gain the people’s trust.</span></p> <p class="Body">Iraq’s problems and politics are often viewed through sectarian lenses. However, nationwide public opinion survey data challenges received notions about the relative weight of sectarian identity in explaining respondents’ perceptions of key social, economic, and political issues. These regional variations point to the crucial importance of local conditions <em>alongside </em>identity.</p> <p class="Body">This has significant implications for post-ISIS nation-building in Iraq: it is not just ‘identity’ which politicians must represent, but people’s interests. In particular, for any negotiated settlement to be stable in the long term it must address popular demands for both economic and political inclusion. Herein lies both a challenge to conventional ways of perceiving Iraqi politics and an opportunity – if it can be grasped – to build bridges across sectarian lines.</p> <p class="Body">&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body"><em>See the full briefing <em>in <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315797280_Iraq_After_ISIS_Continued_Conflict_or_Rebuilding_Beyond_Ethno-Sectarian_Identity_Arab_Transformations_Policy_Brief_No_7">The Arab Transformations Policy Briefs. No.7</a> from </em>the University of Aberdeen. The research on which the article is based was funded by the European Union under FP7.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iraq </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia Iraq Conflict Economics International politics Munqith Dagher Pamela Abbott Andrea Teti Sat, 12 Aug 2017 13:13:44 +0000 Andrea Teti, Pamela Abbott and Munqith Dagher 112829 at https://www.opendemocracy.net What do people in the Arab countries want? Conceptions of democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/andrea-teti-pamela-abbott/what-do-people-in-arab-countries-want-conceptions-of-democracy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Arab respondents mostly reject the EU brand of formal liberal democracy in which elections are essential, but civil and political rights remain decoupled from unprioritised social and economic rights.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/3771488.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/3771488.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Deputies support ratification of new constitution for Tunisia, January 26, 2014. Demotix/Mohamed Krit. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Findings from the <a href="http://www.arabtrans.eu/">Arab Transformation survey </a>carried out in 2014 in six developing Arab states, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco &nbsp;and Tunisia suggest that the EU assumption of democratisation as a value shared with Arab states is misplaced. Few respondents wanted the EU brand of ‘thin’, procedural democracy in which civil and political rights remain decoupled from social and economic rights. Furthermore, few respondents thought the EU had done a good job of facilitating a transition to democracy in their country or had much appetite for EU involvement in the domestic politics of their countries. <span class="mag-quote-center">Few respondents thought the EU had done a good job of facilitating a transition to democracy in their country or had much appetite for EU involvement in the domestic politics of their countries.</span></p> <p>The EU, like other western powers, was quick to portray the 2011 uprisings as a popular demand for liberal democracy – procedural democracy and political rights. However, while the uprisings were intensely political, a demand for regime change, they were not primarily a demand for democratisation, or at least for the ‘thin’ definition promoted by the EU. </p> <p>Protesters were more concerned about social justice, economic security and employment. In response to the uprisings, the EU revised its policies and claimed that it would encourage ‘deep democracy’. It also promised to listen to Arab voices. However, analysis of policy documents reveals that the EU model of democracy remained substantively unchanged and did not respond to popular demands for social justice and economic rights.</p> <p>In particular, it systematically underestimates not only the role of social justice and economic rights in sustaining and ‘deepening’ democracy but also the importance of inclusive economic development for security. Democracy without inclusive economic growth is not going to prevent conflict in the region. Furthermore, the EU continues to cooperate with authoritarian regimes on democracy and human rights rather than trying to establish the domestic conditions for democratisation.</p> <p>By 2014, when the Arab Transformations survey took place, out of the six countries covered only Tunisia was on a path to democracy. The economic and social conditions that drove the 2011 uprisings had if anything deteriorated, with high unemployment and worsening social inequalities. While most citizens who were surveyed agreed that ‘democracy as a system may have its problems but is better than other systems’, the proportion that <em>strongly</em> agreed with this proposition was much lower – as low as 18% in both Tunisia and Iraq.</p> <p>Meanwhile, a majority disagreed that democracy and Islam were incompatible. There is relatively strong support for the view that there should be a separation between politics and religion, ranging from nearly three quarters in Egypt to 49 per cent in Morocco.&nbsp; However, in Libya, Morocco and Jordan a narrow majority prefer a religious party. And there is considerable variation between the six countries when it comes to the extent that all laws should be based on Shari’a, varying from two-thirds of people thinking this should be the case in Libya to just 17 per cent in Tunisia.&nbsp; The surprisingly low support for democracy in Tunisia – the one country that has moved from an anocracy to a democracy since 2011 – is probably a reflection of both the heightened expectations and fractious reality since the fall of Ben Ali. <span class="mag-quote-center">Democracy without inclusive economic growth is not going to prevent conflict in the region.</span></p> <p>However, there is strong support across the region, although somewhat lower in Tunisia, for all family, criminal and property law being based on Shari’a. Support is highest in Jordan and Libya, with over 90 per cent of people supporting it for all three types of law. In Iraq over 90 per cent support it for family law and property law and in Egypt and Morocco over 80 per cent ,with between 50 and 60 per cent supporting it for criminal law. Even in Tunisia 78 per cent support Shari’a as a basis for inheritance law, 60 per cent for family law and 33 per cent for criminal law. Support for non-Muslims having fewer political rights than Muslims varies across the countries from a high of 50 per cent in Libya to a low of 11 per cent in Egypt; 13 per cent support ths in Iraq, 16 per cent in Tunisia, 20 per cent in Morocco and 42 per cent in Jordan.</p> <h2><strong>So what political system do they want?</strong></h2> <p>The Arab countries &nbsp;do not necessarily want the type of liberal democracy promoted by the EU; people are open to more than one type of government being suitable for their country, and there is relatively strong support for other systems in some countries. This is likely to be at least in part because they have been told for years by authoritarian rulers that they have democracy already because they have the right to vote in elections.&nbsp; Yet few people think that elections are completely free and fair in their country, with the notable exception of Tunisia, and even here only 59 per cent do so.</p> <p>What, then, do people in the six countries think about when they say that democracy is the best system despite its faults?<strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>Providing for the welfare of citizens - inclusive development, the provision of basic services and full employment - is seen as important by a majority of citizens, varying from nearly two thirds in Morocco to half in Libya.&nbsp; Inclusive growth and the provision of basic services are both seen as important by a sizable minority and full employment is also nominated by a noticeable minority of respondents. &nbsp;In Iraq and Jordan over 40 per cent of citizens think that a democracy fights corruption, as do a noticeable minority in the other countries.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 12.05.48.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-08-12 at 12.05.48.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>Fig.1. is a useful illustration of similarities and differences between countries when it comes to the question of what is meant by ‘democracy’. In none of the six countries do all respondents consider electoral process as something essential to the concept. In the two countries that have been most torn apart by internal and external conflict – Iraq and Libya – we find a (bare) majority of the population list elections as essential , and the same can be said for political rights. <span class="mag-quote-center">However, in all countries a significant proportion of people include welfare rights as essential characteristics of democracy.</span></p> <p>However, in all countries a significant proportion of people include welfare rights as essential characteristics of democracy and they are mentioned more frequently than elections or political rights in all countries with the exception of Libya and very noticeably so in Egypt, Jordan and Motocco. What does emerge quite clearly is that there is no strong demand for procedural democracy as promoted by the EU. In general, Arab citizens are much more concerned about the economic situation, corruption and inequalities, and in the case of Iraq and Libya also &nbsp;security, than they are about authoritarianism. When people in MENA say that democracy is the best system despite its faults or that it is suitable for their country, it is not a political system they have in mind but a way of life. MENA citizens would like to live decent lives in decent societies, with good economic and welfare support and freedom to engage in politics, if they wish to do so, without fear of arrest, assault or social exclusion. The two sides of their image of the decent society are related to each other insofar as lack of resource and access to necessary goods, services and support excludes people from the society of their fellow citizens. </p> <p>To the extent that European countries, which are democracies of various kinds, are able to offer their citizens decent life-opportunities, they are role models to be copied, but the precise way in which they select their governments is not the most important thing about them.</p> <p>This has two consequences. The first, already recognised in European policy, is the need to work with non-state civil society organisations as well as with governments. This may entail training the populace in advocacy for their own positions and their critique of government policy, which will not endear Europe to governments, but it is the only way to change values sustainably. The EU can establish common ground with MENA partners by focusing on the main concerns of citizens – an economic order that is more just and less corrupt and guarantees socio-economic rights.</p> <p>When it becomes an issue of EU aid and support, all countries prefer financial aid – to create jobs, to train people for them or more generally to support education, health etc. There is little appetite for explicit or direct interference in national policy, and they are not impressed so far by the EU’s influence on democratisation.</p> <p class="Body"><em>See the full briefing in <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315837128_What_do_the_People_Still_Want_Conceptions_of_Democracy_Arab_Transformations_Policy_Brief_No_1">The Arab Transformations Policy Briefs. No.1</a> from the University of Aberdeen. The research on which the article is based was funded by the European Union under FP7.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/andrea-teti-pamela-abbott/perceptions-of-eu-foreign-policy-in-mena-region">Perceptions of EU foreign policy in the MENA region </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/andrea-teti-pamela-abbott-munqith-daghir/iraq-after-isis-continued-conflict-o">Iraq after ISIS: continued conflict or rebuilding beyond ethno-sectarian identities?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia EU MENA Pamela Abbott Andrea Teti Sat, 12 Aug 2017 11:33:52 +0000 Andrea Teti and Pamela Abbott 112828 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Perceptions of EU foreign policy in the MENA region https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/andrea-teti-pamela-abbott/perceptions-of-eu-foreign-policy-in-mena-region <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In Arab countries, the EU is not seen as providing stability or promoting democracy. Asked what policies the EU should prioritise, survey respondents wanted 'economic support' and 'economic development'.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-10238661.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-10238661.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>PM David Cameron during a walk through the streets around Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, February 2011. Tim ireland/PA Archive/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Findings from the 2014 <a href="http://www.arabtrans.eu/">ArabTrans</a> research in six MENA countries – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia – shed light on what citizens think of the EU and whether its policies address their concerns. The EU recognised at the time of the Arab Uprisings that its policies had failed the people of the region and in 2011 it declared an intent to focus on promoting deep and sustainable democracy and inclusive economic development. </p> <p>However, in practice the EU did <em>not</em> adapt its policy to address popular demands for social justice and economic rights but continued to promote a narrow procedural definition of democracy, to support authoritarian rulers and to implement liberal economic policies that have proved not to support economic development. This inability to address the structural causes of economic and political polarisation pose a serious risk to the Union’s long-term goals in the region. <span class="mag-quote-center">The emerging consensus is that the EU is more interested in stabilising its borderlands…&nbsp; than in democratization.</span></p> <p>The emerging consensus is that the EU is more interested in stabilising its borderlands and creating a ring of tranquillity around itself to protect its own security, peace and stability than in democratization, the promotion of human rights and inclusive economic development among its southern neighbours. </p> <p>EU policy achievements have been modest, limited to some improvement in economic governance structures in Morocco, some improvement to state structures in Jordan and Palestine and some convergence of energy regulations between the EU and the southern states. It has certainly not achieved its aim of creating a ring of tranquillity and security on its southern borders.</p> <p>It has not been able to prevent the deteriorating security situation in the region, and in 2015 it indicated that security was going to be the main priority in its relations with its southern neighbours over the next few years.&nbsp; Its focus is on controlling the flow of migrants to Europe and the defeat of ‘Islamic State,’ as well as counter-terrorism and counter-radicalisation measures.</p> <p>Meanwhile, our findings suggest that what MENA citizens want is social justice, economic rights, and the eradication of corruption rather than strictly, explicitly or exclusively western-style (neo)liberal democracy. </p> <h2><strong>Perceptions of the EU’s role in stabilising the region</strong></h2> <p>Asked for the countries with which they would like to see their own country form closer relations, respondents rarely nominated the countries of the EU . In response to an open question respondents nominated a total of 58 countries between them, but only seven per cent of respondents nominated an EU member state, with the three most frequently mentioned being Germany (2.5%), France (2.3%) and the UK (1.6%); nine other EU countries were mentioned, by less than one per cent of respondents each. </p> <p>By way of contrast, the US was nominated by 6.3 per cent of respondents, Turkey by 7.7 per cent, Russia by 2.4 per cent, China by 2.6 per cent and Iran by 1.4 per cent. When asked specifically with which <em>European</em> state<em> </em>they would like their country to have closer relations, 53 did not name any and only 39 per cent named an EU member state. In total, 16 member states were nominated, with only Germany (13.4%). and the UK (11.3%) achieving double digits. Regardless of the intentions or merits of EU policies, it would appear that the majority of respondents have little </p> <p>appetite for closer relations with either the EU as a whole or its component parts.<strong></strong></p> <h2><strong>Perceptions of the EU’s role in promoting democracy and development </strong></h2> <p>Overall, one respondent in three did not think the EU should have any involvement in their country’s policy or did not know in what policy it should be involved, and only 13 per cent said that the most positive thing the Union could do would be to support democratisation (with some variation by country, ranging from four per cent in Egypt to a quarter of one per cent &nbsp;in Iraq).&nbsp; On the other hand, support for economic development, with promoting economic development being the most frequently nominated response in all countries, ranged from 31 per cent in Egypt and Iraq to 64 per cent in Tunisia.<span class="mag-quote-center"> Overall, one respondent in three did not think the EU should have any involvement in their country’s policy.</span></p> <p>The EU is not seen as having had a very positive influence on the development of democracy. This does vary by country, ranging from 47 per cent in Libya to just six per cent in Egypt.&nbsp; The US is viewed in much the same light, suggesting that the lack of support for western powers’ involvement in the promotion of democracy is not specific to the EU.</p> <h2><strong>Perceptions of EU development assistance</strong></h2> <p>Only 24 per cent evaluated the impact of these programmes positively and exactly the same proportion overall thought their impact had been negative. Libyan respondents were the most positive by a considerable margin, at 35 per cent, and the Egyptians were the least positive (only 3.4%). </p> <p>When asked to name the two most important things the EU could offer to support their country, various kinds of financial support were most frequently mentioned, with 56 per cent of respondents naming support for at least one of ‘basic services’, ‘jobs’, ‘investment’&nbsp; and/or loans and grants.</p> <p>Given the security situation in 2014 it is not surprising that citizens in Libya and Iraq were more likely to suggest security support. It is interesting to note that ceasing to support Israel was relatively low as a priority, given that nearly three quarters thought Israel had a destabilising effect on the region. This is probably indicative of the priority citizens give to improving their economic situation. It may also be because citizens have given up on the likelihood of the EU and the West more generally actually taking any effective measures to resolve the Palestinian question.</p> <h2><strong>The mismatch between EU policy and what MENA citizens want </strong></h2> <p>There seems to be a considerable disjuncture between the declared intentions behind EU policy and what people in the region see as their priorities This disconnection is likely to be at the root of the poor reputation the EU enjoys amongst regional respondents. </p> <p>The problem lies partly in the goals and instruments of the EU’s policies themselves. The facts that respondents have a generally poor opinion of the EU’s efforts at democracy promotion and that democracy ranks very low among areas on which respondents would like to see the EU focus are not results of a culturally determined or religiously mandated aversion. Rather, they seem to be related on the one hand to a mismatch between the conception of democracy contained in EU documents and the conception of it which the survey data suggest is held by MENA public opinion, and on the other hand to respondents’ socio-political priorities more generally. While the former focuses on formal institutions and processes, for the latter the substantive aspects of democracy – inclusion, social justice, etc. – are also important and cannot be separated from the more formal or procedural considerations.</p> <p>At present its policy of normative leadership is not working: the EU is not recognised as a force impelling the region towards democracy nor even as a force that helps to maintain stability in the region. If the EU wants to increase its influence it must be seen to offer what the people feel they need, and this is<em> not</em> the implementation of electoral procedures. <span class="mag-quote-center">If the EU wants to increase its influence it must be seen to offer what the people feel they need, and this is<em> not</em> the implementation of electoral procedures.</span></p> <p>Policy will obviously need to be tailored to the needs and views of the receiving country (in the light, probably, of the history of relations with the donor country or countries). </p> <p>But whatever rhetoric of democracy appears in the official documents, the EU might do better in practice to pay less attention to encouraging the use of the systems and mechanisms (which in any case differ from country to country) through which democracy has grown up in European countries and more to supporting or introducing the conditions under which free politics can flourish. These are economic security, inclusive development (making sure all strata benefit from economic improvements), social inclusion (the reconciliation of groups with diverse histories and goals), the rule of law (including its underlying assumptions of fair and equal dealing), political ‘voice’ and the ability to change governments without bloodshed. </p> <p>Not every country which holds formally correct elections can validly claim to foster all of these conditions.&nbsp; </p><p class="Body"><em>See the full briefing in <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315836881_Perceptions_of_the_EU_in_MENA_Public_Opinion_Arab_Transformations_Policy_Brief_2">The Arab Transformations Policy Briefs. No.2</a> from the University of Aberdeen. The research on which the article is based was funded by the European Union under FP7.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/andrea-teti-pamela-abbott/what-do-people-in-arab-countries-want-conceptions-of-democracy">What do people in the Arab countries want? Conceptions of democracy</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> EU </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia EU MENA Pamela Abbott Andrea Teti Sat, 12 Aug 2017 10:35:12 +0000 Andrea Teti and Pamela Abbott 112826 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Humanitarian crisis worsens in Gaza https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/anoushka-canagaretna/humanitarian-crisis-worsens-in-gaza <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The over 10 year-long blockade of Gaza is having a devastating impact on the lives of people living in the strip, affecting healthcare, water systems, and the ability to live and work. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Gaza photo.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Gaza photo.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="266" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A farmer is using irrigation which has been severely affected by the electricity crisis. Photo credit the Agricultural Development Association (PARC).</span></span></span>Families in Gaza are living on as little as three hours of electricity per <a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/page/gaza-strip-electricity-supply-tracking">day</a>. Gaza’s only power plant completely shut down in April due to lack of fuel and has barely been functioning since. In June, the Israeli Authorities halved the power supply to Gaza, at the Palestinian Authority’s request to reduce payments. Once again, ordinary Palestinians are suffering the consequences of an over 10 year-long blockade and ongoing political tensions. This is having a devastating impact on the daily lives of people, affecting healthcare, water systems and the ability to live and work. </p><p>The <a href="http://web.cfta-ps.org/default.aspx">Culture and Free Thought Association</a>, a Gaza based charity for children and young people, has said that the electricity situation has worsened since 2006 when Israeli Forces launched missiles at the power plant. They report that since then, “electricity has been used as a measure of collective punishment in the Gaza Strip”. Israeli human rights organisation <a href="http://www.btselem.org/">B’Tselem</a>, warns that <a href="http://www.btselem.org/press_releases/20170613_gaza_electricity">“the situation in Gaza will deteriorate further, making the area virtually unliveable</a>”. </p> <p>Only <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2016/11/22/water-situation-alarming-in-gaza">3% of the water in Gaza is suitable for consumption, with just 10% of the population having access to safe drinking water</a>. This is due to high salinity and damaged sewage systems following repeated military offensives, which are now unable to function with the lack of electricity and are pumping raw sewage into the sea.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>William Bell, Christian Aid’s Acting Head of the Middle East recently visited and reports: “95% of the tap water is nearly as salty as sea water. It’s searingly hot here but you can forget about air con and fans. Forget communications; internet and mobile phones signals come and go without warning. Swimming is banned because raw sewage is being pumped into the sea as the water pumps cannot cope without electricity. Few are allowed to leave this bit of land and I know of patients who have died waiting for permits to access treatment”.</p> <p>Gaza’s health care system is at crisis point, with hospitals dealing with significant power outages that seriously endanger lives. They are currently operating on half of the medical supplies usually provided by the Palestinian Authority. The <a href="http://www.pmrs.ps/">Palestinian Medical Relief Society</a> reports that the Palestinian Authority has recently reduced the salaries of its employees in the Gaza Strip and <a href="http://www.phr.org.il/en/">Physicians for Human Rights Israel</a> warns that “health rights are being held hostage by political infighting”. </p> <p>The power shortage is having severe effects elsewhere. The <a href="http://site.wac.ps/en/">Women’s Affairs Centre</a> are reporting "loss of livelihoods, income and self-employment opportunities” caused by the inability to conduct essential tasks such as communication, refrigeration and washing. Water is only pumped to houses every three days and individuals never know when the electricity will be available, with many people having to wake up in the middle of the night to use the power when it can be accessed. </p> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Yxo-ZCV-V7s" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>The <a href="http://pchrgaza.org/en/">Palestinian Centre for Human Rights</a> advise that the electricity shortage “will reduce the work of water wells and pumping stations to <a href="http://pchrgaza.org/en/?p=9186">60% and desalination plants to 80% of their capacity</a>”. Farming communities are also significantly affected, with the power outage threatening production and food security. <a href="http://www.pal-arc.org/">The Agricultural Development Association (PARC)</a> says that many farmers have been forced to stop working. Some have had to sell their land to avoid high expenses, while others bear the high cost of buying generators and fuel to keep production going, which has a serious impact on the market as they have to increase their prices. </p> <p>Last month saw the people of Gaza enter the 11th year of a land, sea and air blockade imposed by Israel and partly by Egypt, which restricts and largely prevents entry and exit for individuals –&nbsp; <a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-crossings-operations-status-monthly-update-june-2017">stifles import and export for all</a>, and purposefully cuts Gaza off from the natural resources it is entitled to. Subjected to three increasingly destructive military offensives over the last eight years, over 50,000 people remain internally displaced after their homes were destroyed. They are still prevented from rebuilding homes due to the severe restrictions imposed by the blockade on the entry of reconstruction materials into Gaza. </p> <p>We must hold Israeli Authorities and all other duty-bearers – including the international community – to account for longstanding and increasing violations against Gaza’s civilian population. &nbsp;That is why Christian Aid is calling for the UK Government to take action to lift the blockade. <em>To add your voice sign the </em><a href="https://www.map.org.uk/campaigns/health-and-dignity">petition</a><em> by </em><a href="https://www.map.org.uk/campaigns/health-and-dignity">Medical Aid for Palestinians</a><em>.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/stephen-mccloskey/gaza-ten-years-of-economic-blockade">Gaza: ten years of economic blockade</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/israa-khater/gaza-in-transit-what-after-gcc-crisis"> Gaza in transit: what after the GCC crisis?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alex-delmar-morgan/gaza-trauma-unit">Mental help: the story of Gaza’s trauma unit</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Palestine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Palestine Conflict Israel occupation Gaza Anoushka Canagaretna Fri, 11 Aug 2017 07:00:58 +0000 Anoushka Canagaretna 112794 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “I am proud to keep resisting”: fighting the occupation in Hebron https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/magdalena-l-carolina-l/i-am-proud-to-keep-resisting-fighting-occupation-in-he <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Hazem Abu Rajab’s family was forcibly displaced from its home in Hebron’s old city by Israeli settlers. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/IMG-20170804-WA0012.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/IMG-20170804-WA0012.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>From right to left: Hazem Abu Rajab, 27; Saleh Abu Rajab, 11; Mohammed Montaser Abu Rajab, 17 </span></span></span>For those well versed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is no secret that Israeli settlers have been encroaching upon Palestinian lands for decades. Yet the case of the Hazem Abu Rajab family is exceptional in that the settlers have gone as far as to forcibly displace the family from their own home. On Thursday morning, 25th of July, settlers, accompanied by the Israeli police, took over the top two floors of the family’s house, forcing the family out of this section of their home. The house is situated between area H1 and H2, so that one part exists outside a military checkpoint and the other inside, which for the family means it is unsafe to use one of the entrances of their house. </p><p>The dispute over the Abu Rajab’s house started on the 27th of November 2012, when settlers for the first time occupied two top floors of the house, claiming they bought it. However, according to Hazem Abu Rajab, the house is owned by many people, making it impossible to sell without the approval of every single owner. The family took the matter to court that ruled that the family had the right to keep their home, so the settlers were thrown out until the final verdict takes place. </p> <p>Despite the court’s decision, the settlers came back to occupy the house once again. Over 50 settlers came to take over the house, arriving before the return of the male inhabitants. The men returned just in time to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEJTr5yTN-com">start filming</a> and attempting to push the unwanted visitors out the door, but by then the settlers had already reclaimed most of the house. The attempt to occupy the ground floor and first floor was unsuccessful as the settlers faced steadfast resistance from the Abu Rajab family. Eventually, the settlers were evacuated by the soldiers from the two remaining floors in order to avoid injuries. According to Hazem, with the current situation, 4 families consisting of 15 people altogether have to fit in these two floors. In the evening on the 25th of July, the family contacted their lawyer, who sent a complaint letter to the Israeli defense minister and to the chief of police demanding the evacuation of settlers. </p> <p>During a visit to the Abu Rajab house, we had the opportunity to talk to Hazem Abu Rajab, thanks to Badee Dwaik, an activist from Human Rights Defenders group. Dwaik was visiting the family in order to donate a camera to the eldest brother, Hazem Abu Rajab, as part of the group’s documentation project “Capturing Occupation.” The group promotes citizen journalism efforts among the people living in Hebron, to assist them with documenting and publicizing their lives under the occupation. </p> <p>Hazem is 27 years old, married with one child, and is the one that represents his family in the court. Hazem was telling us about the situation, ownership issues, and the general struggles of living in the house partially occupied by Israeli settlers. Hebron’s Old City is one of the most difficult places to live for Palestinians due to the number of Israeli settlements and the oppression that these entail. Therefore, many Palestinians move out of this area fearing for their children’s safety. However, for Hazem it is impossible to even imagine leaving as his family has been living there for 60 years. He says that they will keep on resisting this injustice and that they are ready to die if necessary. When asked about the safety of the children, he simply responds “God can take care of everybody.” </p> <p>As an experiment, on Thursday the eldest brother of the family attempted to use the entrance to his house on the Israeli side, and was warned by the Israeli soldiers that this was unsafe for him. The home has been around for about 600 years, since Ottoman times, and has been owned by the family for generations. Now they are unable to utilize over 60% of their home. “I am proud to keep resisting” says Hazem, the eldest brother. They believe that one day their house will be returned to them and are pushing the matter in court, but it is a long and slow process. Yet for the family, this is the only way at their disposal to legally get back their house, despite it being illegally poached off them in the first place. For many Palestinian families living in the region, events like this one are the unfortunate reality of living under the occupation, and the only way to counter such unfair measures are a long and hard battle under the legal system. </p> <p>While speaking about the events in Jerusalem, Hazem further points out that there is a connection between the situation in Jerusalem and the occupation of their house in Hebron. He believes that it is not coincidental that the occupation of their house is taking place now, when all the national and global attention was fixed upon the Al Aqsa crisis throughout the last two weeks, producing the perfect opportunity for the settlers to take over the house. He also assumes that it is possible that the house will stay occupied for a while, before any action is taken by the Israeli court due to the Palestinian victory in Jerusalem - what he describes as “a compromise” in regard to Israeli- Palestinian power relations. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/matthew-vickery/palestinian-labourers-on-israeli-settlements-are-not-just-occupied-theyre-exploited">For Palestinian labourers, settlement work is a nuanced form of forced labour</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/eyal-weizman/vertical-apartheid">The vertical apartheid </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alex-delmar-morgan/gaza-trauma-unit">Mental help: the story of Gaza’s trauma unit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/samia-khoury/50-years-of-occupation-will-not-kill-hope-for-free-palestine">50 years of occupation will not kill hope for a free Palestine</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/carly-krakow/politics-of-water-access-under-occupation-is-international-law-sufficien-palestine-israel">The politics of water access under occupation: is international law sufficient?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Palestine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Palestine Civil society Conflict Israel occupation human rights Carolina L Magdalena L Thu, 10 Aug 2017 09:50:32 +0000 Magdalena L and Carolina L 112766 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Time to rethink UK’s engagement with Saudi Arabia https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/sherine-el-taraboulsi-james-firebrace/time-to-rethink-uk-s-engagement-with-sa <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The UK has long been criticised for its close relationship with Saudi Arabia but it is time to rethink it.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-32284478.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-32284478.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People hold a wheelchair recovered from under the wreckage of a house at the site of a Saudi-led air strike on an outskirt of the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen August 4, 2017. Picture by: NAIF RAHMA/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Many Yemenis increasingly see the UK’s arms sales in recent years as a vote in favour of the war in their country, – a sign of its complicity. While trade and arms deals have brought in billions in recent years, the deals are damaging the UK’s international reputation. </p><p>As the Yemeni crisis deteriorates from bad to worse and the country faces the worst cholera outbreak in history, it is time for the UK to rethink its foreign policy approach with Saudi Arabia. Failure to do so runs counter to the UK’s interests and could potentially compromise its long-term security and commercial gains, as well as its ability to influence the peace process within the Middle East. </p><p>The UK is able to play an important role as mediator by pushing for peace in the region and this requires a rethink of UK engagement with Saudi Arabia. </p><p><strong>A three-point proposal which UK government must consider:</strong></p><p><strong>1. The UK must suspend all arms sales that have the potential to be used against civilians until a sustainable peace in Yemen is achieved.</strong> Since the beginning of the conflict, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/16/third-of-saudi-airstrikes-on-yemen-have-hit-civilian-sites-data-shows">one in three Saudi airstrikes have hit civilian sites in Yemen</a>. Over 10,000 people have been killed and at least 40,000 injured in the conflict. Besides the human toll, Saudi’s airstrikes have also resulted in the demolition of Yemen’s already limited infrastructure with the destruction of roads, bridges and factories. We need to start by banning helicopters and fighter jets, along with their guided missile systems. </p><p>Despite the UK’s donation of £85 million over the past year, its humanitarian commitment to the conflict is fundamentally compromised by arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The High Court has recently rejected claims that the Government is acting unlawfully by failing to suspend the sale of UK arms to Saudi Arabia. The UK should not be contributing to the death toll in Yemen but, with this court ruling, it has come uncomfortably close to complicity, with UK military and companies implicated in the operation of Saudi’s bombing sorties. Nevertheless, every country has the right to defend itself. Restrictions should only be applied to arms that can be used to attack targets in Yemen but not to defensive arms which the Saudis need to protect themselves against Houthi cross-border attacks. </p><p>Unless the UK government reviews its arms trade interests, it is damaging its international moral standing and the humanitarian principles that must be protected.&nbsp; But this is not just about morality. It is also about the UK’s security and commercial interests to exert every pressure to end a war that has led to Al-Qaida and ISIS thriving in ungoverned spaces.<strong></strong></p><p><strong>2. The UK must call for better international surveillance at Yemeni ports.</strong> The current Saudi-led coalition has been blocking shipments of humanitarian supplies <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-iran-houthis-idUSKBN16S22R">for fear of the Iranian supply of weapons to the Houthis</a>. Saudi Arabia has accused Iran of supplying weapons to Shiite rebels in Yemen and urged the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Tehran for violating an arms embargo. Ensuring that Iran does not supply weapons to the Houthis should not result in expanding a humanitarian crisis, recently described by the UN as the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. As a result of the blockade, 7 million people have been pushed to the brink of famine. </p> <p> The UK must exert pressure on Saudi Arabia through the UN Security Council to allow food and medical supplies to reach people in need. Satellite technology is key to increasing the effectiveness of surveillance at minimal cost. Opportunities for arms smuggling need to be shut down and vital international shipping lanes protected from disruption.</p><p><strong>3. The UK must decisively push for an independent investigation of violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Yemen by both sides to the conflict. </strong>Amnesty International recently stated that <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2015/09/yemen-the-forgotten-war/">all parties to the continuing armed conflict in Yemen have committed war crimes</a> and other serious violations of international law with impunity. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has bombed hospitals and other civilian infrastructure and carried out indiscriminate attacks, killing and injuring civilians so much so that in August 2017, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said it had lost “confidence in the Coalition’s ability to avoid such fatal attacks”. </p><p>Failure to hold parties to the conflict accountable to IHL only allows the current absence of accountability to continue unchallenged, compromising the UK as a peace broker in the negotiations. </p><p>These proposals are ambitious but consistent with the UK’s public recognition that there is no military solution in Yemen. Peace is the only way forward and the UK needs to raise the game urgently. Past approaches have simply not worked. The scale of Yemen’s unfolding disaster and economic collapse, with all its humanitarian and security implications, call for immediate action. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alex-moorehead-waleed-alhariri/us-secrecy-and-transparency-in-use-of-lethal-f">US secrecy and transparency in the use of lethal force</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/bonyan-jamall/details-surviving-war-in-yemen">The details: surviving the war in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maysaa-shuja-al-din/iran-and-houthis-between-political-alliances-and-sectaria">Iran and Houthis: Between political alliances and sectarian tensions</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/war-in-yemen-two-years-old-and-maturing">The war in Yemen: two years old and maturing?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/helen-lackner/in-yemen-war-goes-on-and-on-and-on">In Yemen, the war goes on and on and on...</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Yemen Conflict International politics United Kingdom Saudi Arabia war You tell us James Firebrace Sherine El-Taraboulsi Wed, 09 Aug 2017 10:21:24 +0000 Sherine El-Taraboulsi and James Firebrace 112759 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The possible devastating outcome of a Kurdish referendum https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/zaid-al-ali-luay-al-khateeb/kurdish-referendum-iraq-kirkuk-kurdistan <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An attempt to establish a Kurdish state including Kirkuk is likely to result in a truncated and economically devastated mini-Kurdistan.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-30365446.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-30365446.jpg" alt="Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Kurdish soldiers stand at the gate of an oil pumping station in western Kirkuk province in Iraq, on March 2, 2017. The outflow of oil from Iraq's Kirkuk oil field stopped Thursday after Kurdish forces entered a Baghdad government-owned pumping station near the city of Kirkuk and prevented workers from pumping oil, an Iraqi oil official told Xinhua. Xinhua/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is planning for a referendum to separate from Iraq later this year. This could easily lead to further ruin for ordinary people. </p><p>As both sides to the dispute push forward with increasing amounts of hubris, policy makers and observers should reflect on both the causes and the risks of the current trajectory.&nbsp;</p> <p>As is often the case in Iraq, this particular crisis could easily have been avoided if only the country’s political class had been capable of being slightly more mature. Instead, both sides suffer from a tendency to overreach and unhealthily rely on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/End-Iraq-American-Incompetence-Created/dp/0743294246/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1497970009&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=peter+galbraith+end+of+iraq">external advisors</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Control over oil resources is at the center of the dispute. Prior to 2003, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) – which is led by the current president of the Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani – had a modest ambition: its main demand was merely that oil and gas revenues should be shared equally by Baghdad. That position was reflected in a draft constitution that the KDP prepared in 2002, and which represented what it then considered to be its maximalist position. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong class="mag-quote-right">it is precisely that tendency to compare itself to wealthy, democratic and stable western democracies that is causing the KRG to overreach once again</strong></p> <p>After the US-led invasion however, Erbil received advice from foreign parties that it should be solely responsible for exploiting its own resources, regardless of what the rest of the country thought. </p><p>Some of those advisers have since benefited handsomely. Never having revealed at the time that they had acquired a&nbsp;<span><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/world/middleeast/12galbraith.html">financial stake</a></span>&nbsp;in oil fields, they needed their advice to be adopted to reap their financial rewards. &nbsp;</p><p>The KRG’s negotiators followed through and exploited the chaos surrounding the 2005 constitutional drafting process to introduce their newly preferred wording in the draft constitution.&nbsp;</p> <p>In what soon became a notorious turn of phrase, Article 112 of the final constitution stated that “current fields” are to be managed jointly by Baghdad and the regions, the implication being that ‘new fields’ would be managed solely by the regions.&nbsp;</p> <p>That strategy was supposed to introduce a period of glory, but instead it has contributed to political and economic ruin. Article 112 was nothing less than a poison pill: as the Kurds (and Americans) in the constitutional drafting chamber were well aware, the provision was introduced without the full understanding of the rest of the negotiators let alone of those people who were not in the chamber whatsoever.</p> <p>Baghdad’s position was and has always been that oil policy should be centralized so as to extract a maximum price for its oil resources. Despite the fact that the constitution was approved by 80 percent of voters in the 2005 referendum, Baghdad was never likely to accept Erbil's interpretation, which meant that a conflict was inevitable.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the first years after the new constitution entered into force,&nbsp;oil prices were at US$65, which translated into a huge bonanza for everyone. Every year, Baghdad transferred a very significant portion of a historically high federal budget to Erbil. Almost no questions were asked on how that money was spent and no significant efforts were ever made to audit the KRG’s accounts. &nbsp;</p> <p>Record numbers of tourists from the rest of Iraq were travelling to Kurdistan, which translated into a huge transfer of money to Kurdish businesses. </p><p>Meanwhile, the KRG commissioned a number of international oil companies to begin exploiting oil resources in accordance with its interpretation of Article 112. Some of the oil was sold locally, and some was exported via trucks. Baghdad was willing to turn a blind eye to that practice so long as it remained informal. &nbsp;</p> <p>Kurdistan’s economic boom was short lived. In late 2013, the KRG inaugurated a pipeline to carry oil exports through Turkey. Baghdad’s international oil policy was being undermined by what it considered to be the emergence of a rival oil producer within its own borders. </p> <p>In response, Baghdad refused to transfer the KRG’s share of the federal budget so long as it pursued its own independent oil policy. The KRG’s references to Article 112 left Baghdad unmoved. To make matters worse, Iraqi tourists dried up after ISIS’ invasion of Mosul, and even oil prices&nbsp;dropped by close to two-thirds.&nbsp;</p> <p>The KRG has since kept to its guns, but the economic cost has been huge. The KRG is now up to <a href="https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21701773-despite-string-military-successes-kurds-are-nowhere-near">US$30 billion in debt</a>, public universities are closed, the KRG is unable to pay its foreign investors and has been on the losing side of an increasing number of commercial arbitration cases. Poverty and economic migration have increased dramatically.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the meantime, the KRG’s political institutions have all but collapsed: the KRG’s regional president is refusing to step down from his position despite the fact that his legal term expired years ago (first in 2013 and then in 2015 when a&nbsp;<span><a href="https://www.brookings.edu/opinions/kurdistans-slow-rolling-coup-detat/">two year extension expired</a></span>), the parliament was suspended in 2015 after an opposition group grew too critical, the region’s security forces (the Peshmerga) remain as divided as they were decades ago, and the regional budget is not subject to any meaningful auditing process.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong class="mag-quote-left">The KRG’s constitutional negotiation strategy was supposed to introduce a period of glory, but instead it has contributed to political and economic ruin.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The KRG desperately needs a solution to this ongoing crisis (far more than Baghdad does), and it has very few good options. </p><p>Its proposed solution is to proceed to a referendum on Kurdish independence, a course that has once again been recommended by <a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/06/15/masoud-barzani-why-its-time-for-kurdish-independence/">foreign advisers</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Some have equated the Kurds’ aspirations to past and current attempts at achieving independence in <span><a href="http://www.rudaw.net/english/opinion/160620171">Quebec, Catalonia and Scotland</a></span>. </p><p>But it is precisely that tendency to compare itself to wealthy, democratic and stable western democracies that is causing the Kurds to overreach again.&nbsp;</p> <p>Barzani has said that the independence referendum is designed to free Kurdistan from “<span><a href="oppression and occupation">oppression and occupation</a></span>” but it is unclear how an independence referendum could lead to more freedom for ordinary Kurds.&nbsp; </p><p>Credible international financial institutions will not offer a future Kurdish state any relief from its current debt, considering that the Kurdish government has no books that can be audited.&nbsp;&nbsp; </p> <p>Worse, security is extremely likely to deteriorate for the KRG. The future Kurdish state that the KRG hopes to establish includes Kirkuk, which is religiously and ethnically mixed, as well as areas that have been emptied of their populations since the start of the war with ISIS in 2014. &nbsp;</p> <p>Not only will a referendum be close to impossible to organize in those areas, but Baghdad will never relinquish sovereignty over Kirkuk, which means that violence is inevitable.&nbsp;</p> <p>The KRG cannot possibly hope to match the resources that are at Baghdad’s disposal, and no one is likely to come to the KRG’s aid when a conflict eventually breaks out (Turkey and Iran have already aggressively opposed the decision to hold a referendum).</p> <p>The KRG’s internal divisions are also likely to worsen as resources decline. Another internecine round of fighting between the region’s various actors could easily break out (the first having occurred in the 1990s).&nbsp; </p> <p>The final outcome of an attempt to establish a Kurdish state including Kirkuk is likely to be a truncated and economically devastated mini-Kurdistan, with internal borders separating family run political parties from each other.&nbsp;</p> <p>A Kurdish referendum could also lead to divisions within the rest of Iraq, including the establishment of an anarchic Shia state in the south, and a rogue Sunni state in the west. In current circumstances, comparisons with Quebec and Scotland appear obscene at best. A comparison with&nbsp;<span><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/39107125">South Sudan</a></span>&nbsp;appears far more appropriate.&nbsp;</p> <p>The KRG should seriously reconsider its position in favor of an outcome that at the very least will avoid conflict. A clear option would be for it to insist, as a condition for suspending the plan to hold a referendum, on the establishment of a federal mechanism through which all parties administer, market and sell oil internationally, as well as a second mechanism that will guarantee the equitable distribution of financial resources. &nbsp;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Kirkuk’s future should be negotiated and based on compromise: its population is far too divided to allow for a simple majority outcome to determine its future.&nbsp;Many parties have argued that it should be reestablished as its own federal region. That option should be seriously explored as a possible peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis.&nbsp; </p> <p>In a region where tensions are high and arms are in abundance, negotiated solutions are preferred not because they necessarily satisfy everyone, but because they can avoid conflict. &nbsp;</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iraq </div> <div class="field-item even"> Iran </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Turkey Iran Iraq Conflict Democracy and government Economics Geopolitics Luay al-Khateeb Zaid Al-Ali Fri, 04 Aug 2017 10:39:07 +0000 Zaid Al-Ali and Luay al-Khateeb 112297 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Egypt: an obsession with the state https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/egypt-opposition-social-class-sisi-revolution-military <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The view that social struggle should be repressed is hindering the opposition. Unless the view of the state and its coercive apparatus changes, the chances of wide scale social transformation are limited.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31735775.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31735775.jpg" alt="AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="328" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A homeless man sleeps during a hot summer day in the holy month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt, June 18, 2017. Graffiti on the wall reads " Sisi is a hero, You saved us, Long life to Egypt." AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Ever since the 2011 eruption, the protest movement has vehemently attempted to refute the accusation that its goal is to tear down the state. This accusation continued from 2011, reaching its height with the coup of 2013, where all forms of protest were categorized as attempts to trigger a process of state collapse.</p> <p>Many, especially those with urban middle class origins, rationalize their support for the military regime, despite its many economic and security blunders, as necessary to prevent state collapse. The phrase, “better than Syria and Iraq” are uttered whenever oppositional forces attack the regime or when justifications for state violence and repression are needed. </p> <p>The logic of ‘you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette’ seems to prevail. A logic that is implicitly accepted by the bulk of the opposition, with some notable exceptions such as Dr Amr Hamzawi, ex-presidential candidate Khaled Ali, and movements like the Revolutionary Socialists and the 6 April youth movement. However, the vast majority voice support for the state, and especially its coercive apparatus, albeit with a qualification of the need for reform and transparency of operations.</p> <p>Thus, the obsession with the state extends beyond the regime’s core base of support and includes the large segments of the opposition, which is a phenomenon that is in need of closer examination.</p> <p>Unlike other opposition movements with declared goals of wide scale change, the bulk of the Egyptian opposition has accepted a theoretical definition of the state in a Leviathan and Hobbesian sense; the only barrier protecting men from each other in a full war, of all against all, is the state.&nbsp; </p> <p>The coercive apparatus of the state is idealised as a protector against chaos, and the conception of the state as an independent entity that operates separately from society is accepted. A paternalistic view of the state is adopted, as a protector of an infantile society, which without proper guidance will tear itself apart. </p> <p>However, behind this rhetoric of fear of social chaos, one could argue that the real angst is that of social revolution and the possibility of change in class structure and the method of capital accumulation; change that would affect the urban middle and upper classes. </p> <p>This view can be attributed to short- and long-term causes, some obvious and others subtler. </p> <p>The more obvious reasons for this fear of state collapse are regional developments; from the 2003 invasion of Iraq till the eruption of the Arab mass protest movements and their aftermath. </p> <p>Other more recent examples, most notably Syria, Libya and Yemen, only served to reinforce the view that stability, even a tyrannical one, is preferable to change that could potentially bring chaos, social strife and civil war. </p> <p>The experience of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq – the dismantling of the state and what followed in terms of the sectarianisation of the political system and the devastating civil war – had a traumatic effect on Arab collective psyche. The state came to represent that last barrier holding the forces of chaos at bay. </p> <p>This simplistic logic ignores the role Arab elites played in setting the stage for these devastating civil wars that followed, as well as their roles in creating cults that praise the military as agents of stability, or their contribution to the creation of advanced class and social conflict.</p> <p>Another short-term cause for this view of the state stems from the chaotic period between 2011 and 2013, when there was a degree of heightened social conflict and the possibility of genuine reform of the political system. </p> <p>During this period, numerous subaltern groups started to appear and have a direct impact on political and social life. The most notable examples are the Salafi movement, which was out of sight during the Mubarak years, and the urban poor who played a prominent role in clashes with the security forces during the first transitional period. </p> <p>The prospect of loss of control and of majority rule created a sense of urgency among the urban middle class, who in a position of privilege in the political system heavily repressed these emerging groups, embracing the cult of the state, glorifying its coercive apparatus.</p> <p>The increasing power of the Muslim Brotherhood, with its rural base, was seen as a threat to class structure in Egypt, and only pushed the urban middle class and the protest movement anchored in that class, to embrace coercion and state violence under the guise of preventing state collapse. Within this context, the preservation of the current class structure was the goal, not the protection of the state apparatus as such.</p> <p>A deeper dynamic is related to the reformist nature of the protest movements; their conception of the state’s role in the process of social transformation. Unlike other movements for social change, the Egyptian protest movement did not seek to take over the state, nor did it challenge the state’s existential legitimacy. </p> <p>On the contrary, it only wished to reform certain aspects of the state. It sought to liberalize without triggering a wider process of social transformation. Thus, the paternalistic view of the state is ideologically consistent with the goals of the protest movement: maintaining the integrity of class structure and the exploitive relationship between the different classes. </p> <p>Finally comes the stranglehold of Nasserism, which still plays a significant role in the intellectual development of the urban middle class and its views on the role of the state. The Nasserists view social and class struggle as an alien Marxist invention and the natural state of society is one of harmony with the military playing a leading role. </p> <p>The view of the military and state hovering above, and not a part of society, still holds. Their primary function being the repression of social conflict, which is seen as inherently alien and destructive. As such, the cult of the state and the justification for the use of repression go hand in hand.&nbsp; </p> <p>Based on the above one could argue that the cult of the state is an integral part of the Egyptian political ideological scene. It stems not only from fear of social chaos, but also from the nature of a big segment of the opposition with its limited goals and the view of the state as the guardian of society. </p> <p>This view that social struggle should be repressed is hindering the opposition. Unless the view of the state and its coercive apparatus changes, the chances of wide scale social transformation are limited. </p> <p>One only needs to remind state worshipers that a successful social revolution, from France to Russia and Iran, is the concentration rather than dilution of state power as it embarks on the mission to shape society to its will. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/laying-foundations-for-totalitarian-state">Laying the foundations for a totalitarian state</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/classconflict-nationalism-redsea-egypt-military-repression">On the absence of Arab intellectuals: a class under siege</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/pain-and-torture-state-violence-in-egypt">Pain and torture: state violence in Egypt</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/maged-mandour/military-inc-class-formation-collapse-of-egyptian-economy">Egypt&#039;s Military Inc.</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Egypt </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Egypt Civil society Conflict Culture Democracy and government Revolution Egypt in the balance Chronicles of the Arab revolt Maged Mandour Fri, 04 Aug 2017 09:55:21 +0000 Maged Mandour 112697 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How Europe is bending the arc toward justice https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/richard-dicker/how-europe-is-bending-arc-toward-justice <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Universal jurisdiction has come a long way since it first jolted to world attention with the detention of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/512px-thumbnail.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/512px-thumbnail.jpg" alt="lead " title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Baltasar Garzon, who in 1998 made unprecedented use of universal jurisdiction to attempt to try Augusto Pinochet for crimes committed abroad. Wikicommons/Ministerio de Cultura de la Nación. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Armed conflicts that have given rise to horrific war crimes in <a href="https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/syria">Syria</a>, <a href="https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/iraq">Iraq</a>, <a href="https://www.hrw.org/middle-east/n-africa/yemen">Yemen</a> and <a href="https://www.hrw.org/africa/south-sudan">South Sudan</a> are all beyond the reach of the ‘court of last resort’, the <a href="https://www.hrw.org/topic/international-justice/international-criminal-court">International Criminal Court (ICC)</a>. But domestic courts in Europe are stepping into the void and giving the victims some hope. </p> <p>The ICC was created to take on crimes that shocked the conscience of humankind where national courts failed to do their job. But by making consent from the states almost a necessary precondition for invoking the court’s authority, governments gave this court only limited power. With obstruction and division at the United Nations Security Council, the council was blocked from “referring” Syria to the ICC.</p> <p>Near-absolute impunity has dominated on the ground at the price of unimaginable human suffering in Syria. But even with impunity ascendant there&nbsp; &nbsp;and no international court with the necessary authority available, the trials of low level armed insurgents and returning members of ISIS in the national courts of several European countries highlights an important trend. Swedish, German and French courts are using what’s known as universal or extraterritorial jurisdiction to take up cases against those believed to have committed serious crimes in Syria. This trend is especially significant when neither the ICC or the domestic courts where the crimes occurred are available. </p> <p>In February, a court in Stockholm convicted a Syrian rebel of killing seven captured members of the Syrian armed forces – a war crime – in 2012 and sentenced him to life in prison. The convicted man, Haisam Omar Sakhanah, had applied for asylum in Sweden. Prosecutors used video recordings of the killings to demonstrate that, despite the defense claims that the executions followed a court verdict, the time lapse – a mere 41 hours – between apprehension, trial and execution was deemed too short to be credible. </p> <p>Universal jurisdiction has come a long way since it first jolted to world attention with the detention of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in London on an arrest warrant issued by a Spanish judge nearly 20 years ago. Its use still generates controversy, but even in the face of real setbacks in several countries, the principle has evolved into an effective legal tool in the fight against impunity. Driven by violence and slaughter, the millions of Syrian refugees &nbsp;<a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2015/06/19/mediterranean-migration-crisis/why-people-flee-what-eu-should-do">who put their lives at risk</a> in small boats and on long overland treks to reach hoped-for safety in neighboring countries and Europe have provided a powerful spur to these universal jurisdiction cases. &nbsp;</p> <p>As they gave accounts of serious crimes they had experienced or witnessed to investigators in Sweden, Germany and France, the authorities began looking at individuals who had made their way to Europe, but who may also have been responsible for crimes in Syria. With prosecutors using their domestic laws and courts to fill the accountability void, two essential structural developments have powered this positive trend. </p> <p>First, at the national level, The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Germany, among others, created specialized war crimes units mandated specifically to investigate and prosecute those accused of grave crimes. The staff in these units are able to draw on <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/09/16/europe-national-courts-extend-reach-justice">institutional experience and lessons about investigating and prosecuting international crimes</a>. This, in turn, enhances the efficiency and proficiency of investigations and allows ongoing accumulation of expertise concerning these cases. Politically, the creation of these units also conveys a national commitment to take these prosecutions seriously. </p> <p>These countries had incorporated these same international crimes into their domestic law and assumed an obligation to prosecute. In the last year civil society organizations, together with Syrian activists and victims, have been working hard to bring cases to court. In March, a German civil society organization, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, together with Syrian torture survivors and lawyers, submitted a criminal complaint against six high-level officials of the Syrian Military Intelligence Service to the German Federal Prosecutor. The victims said they had been tortured or witnessed torture in the prisons of the intelligence services. The prosecutor responded positively and, using the approach of “structural investigations,” took evidence from the victims even though the accused were not on German territory.&nbsp; </p> <p>A French-based civil society group, the International Federation for Human Rights, FIDH, acting on behalf of a relative of the victims, referred the case of the forced disappearance of two Franco-Syrian nationals to the prosecutor of the specialized war crimes unit in Paris. This complaint cited a father and son who had been arrested by the Syrian Air Forces Intelligence Service in November 2013 and were never seen again. The complaint requested an immediate judicial investigation into the events of their disappearance. </p> <p>But the development of the specialized units is hardly a panacea. Prosecutions by national courts using universal or extraterritorial jurisdiction face daunting obstacles. Gathering evidence in the midst of an armed conflict abroad is dangerous, expensive and time consuming. Protecting witnesses and victims and their family members is enormously difficult. </p> <p>In some European countries investigators face an overwhelming flow of incoming tips and information from Syrian refugees. The units need more analysts who have expertise in Syria. They need translators to interview refugees and to reach out effectively to refugee communities. Greater outreach and information to the diaspora is necessary, but not sufficient to expand the docket from low-level suspects to former regime officials or armed forces commanders. So far, only insurgents and returning members of ISIS<em>, </em>relatively ‘low hanging fruit’, have been in the dock. </p> <p>The units, not surprisingly, require continued and stepped up support from their governments. This includes the funding and resources necessary to enable the investigators and prosecutors to do their job. The governments that created the units should support them and other governments should consider creating these units or comparable entities.</p> <p>The second key <em>structural</em> development driving this trend, in dynamic synergy with the specialized units, was initiated by European Union. In June 2002, the EU Justice and Home affairs (JHA) Council called for the creation of a network of investigators and prosecutors from each member state to increase cooperation in cases of grave international crimes. In May 2003, the EU went further and called for the network to hold regular meetings. The decision also recommended that EU states set up specialized war crimes units and emphasized the importance of collaboration between national immigration and law enforcement authorities.&nbsp; </p> <p>In the last 15 years, the network has evolved into an invaluable forum for national investigators and prosecutors to develop additional expertise, discuss their experiences, share best practices, and exchange information on <a href="https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/09/16/long-arm-justice/lessons-specialized-war-crimes-units-france-germany-and">specific cases</a>. The network holds twice yearly meetings attended by delegations from nearly all EU member states plus Switzerland, Canada and the United States. Beyond the actual meetings, the network has strengthened the all-important working relationship between national war crimes units. In light of today’s events, these EU decisions, adopted at a very different international moment, seem farsighted, even visionary. </p> <p>Amid conditions characterized by brutal armed conflicts with devastating effect on civilians, the European Commission also needs to go further in supporting its network. Rather than decreasing the network’s budget as it has done, the Commission should strive – even in difficult financial times— to increase funding so that its small secretariat could do more to assist the work of participating prosecutors and investigators. </p> <p>With more funding the network secretariat could convene ad hoc meetings with member states that do not have specialized war crimes units to aid their national efforts. With additional funds the network secretariat could convene more meetings focused on specific countries as needed. Given a world situation marred by more crimes and more impunity, this is hardly the time to decrease resources for this network. </p> <p>In sum, the individual investigators and prosecutors, the specialized units, the network and its secretariat need support – financial and institutional – now more than ever from their governments, from the European Commission, from nongovernmental organizations and refugee communities. The decisions by the EU governments to establish these units and to create a network of focal points have helped to bend the arc of history further toward justice. The scale and gravity of crimes shocking the conscience of humankind today require those in authority to strive to bend that arc even further.&nbsp; </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/node/357">Justice in the world&#039;s light</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/article/the-arrest-of-augusto-pinochet-ten-years-on">The arrest of Augusto Pinochet: ten years on </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia Conflict International politics Richard Dicker Tue, 01 Aug 2017 17:46:28 +0000 Richard Dicker 112642 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Morocco: the popular movement in the Rif suppressed https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mayssae-ajzannay-ben-moussa/morocco-popular-movement-in-rif-suppressed <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p lang="en-US">For nearly nine months now, the Al Hoceima region in north east Morocco has been the scene of ongoing popular protests.<a href="المغرب: حراك الريف السلمي يُقمع"><strong>العربية </strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p lang="en-US"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31549173_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31549173_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Moroccans take part in a demonstration against official abuses and corruption in the town of Al-Hoceima, Morocco early June 3, 2017. Picture by YOUSSEF BOUDLAL/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved</span></span></span>The protests began on the night of Mohsin Fikri's death, and soon turned into a popular movement. Mohsin Fikri, was a fish seller killed in a garbage container by the authorities on October 28, 2016. This incident was the first spark for a wide popular movement, in which various segments of society have participated. The movement has and continues to call for peaceful protest. </p> <p lang="en-US">After authorities confiscated his goods and threw them into the garbage truck, the fish seller climbed into the truck to retrieve it where he was crushed without mercy as <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGbJXwdphVg">a video that circulated online shows</a>.</p> <p lang="en-US">Immediately after, the hashtag #Than_Mo (crush him!) was widely used on social media, referring to what the policeman in the video says as he orders the garbage truck to crush the fish seller. Those involved were sentenced to only 8 months in prison in a case in which a citizen was brutally killed by the authorities. This verdict was deemed unfair by a large segments of the Moroccan public opinion. </p> <p lang="en-US">The incident of the fish seller exposed corruption in the country and increased the pressure already present in the region. Al Hoceima, and the Rif in general suffer from marginalization at various levels. This made the demands for an end to the marginalization of the region find immediate resonance among the public.</p> <p lang="en-US">With time Nasser Zafzafi emerged as a symbol of the movement. Zafzafi along with some of the victim’s friends, had gone to the local governors house at midnight demanding an immediate investigation into the murder.</p> <p>The peaceful popular movement in Al Hoceima and its surroundings repeated the slogan: freedom, dignity, and social justice. However, the current Moroccan government, formed in April, was not responding to the calls from the streets.</p> <p lang="en-US">A committee from the popular movement drafted demands that include a number of legitimate social and economic demands needed in the region, such as health care, education and the completion of already promised projects. However, these demands are yet to be met with the government still negotiating.</p> <p lang="en-US">The protests were met with repression. Since the beginning, a number of activists have been arrested. Protests were to take place during the month of Ramadan. On the 26th of May, a day before the start of Ramadan, sermons were read in the mosques in Al-Hoceima city calling for a halt of the protests saying that these would constitute an act of sedition. </p> <p lang="en-US">These sermons provoked the Nasser Zafzafi to confront the speaker and this move prompted the authorities to issue an arrest warrant against him. Soon after, he was joined by a group of activists such as Mohammad Al Asrihi, who was covering the news of the movement on the news website <a href="http://rif24.com/">Rif24</a> and Salima Al Zayani who was the only woman in the popular movement committee since its beginning in November 2016. Some of the detainees were taken to the city of Casablanca and held at the Okasha prison while other were kept in the local prison in Al Hoceima.</p> <p lang="en-US">The arrests of the activists increased the tension on the streets. People would go out to the streets on a daily basis after Iftar to remind the authorities that they are not giving up on their demands, and adding two new ones: an end to the militarization of the region and the release of all detainees. The arrests of the activists were followed by arbitrary arrests and the use of violence to disperse the protests.</p> <p lang="en-US">On Eid al-Fitr, June 26th, the families of the detainees were joined by large numbers of residents of Al-Hoceima, despite the security cordon around the city and the authorities banning residents from the environs to enter the city. They went out to protest the unusual situation in the region: the intensive military presence and political arrests which increased and exacerbated the situation. The authorities responded with violence, beating protesters, banning transmissions and arresting anyone trying to document the violence, and an excessive use of tear gas. The number of detainees reached 150, some of them were released later.</p> <p lang="en-US">Before the arrest of the activists, a million people’s march was planned on 20 July, a symbolic date commemorating the battle of Anoual, when Ben Abdelkrim Al-Khattabi won against the Spanish army in 1921. People were adamant on making the march happen despite the repression they faced two days before the organization, and the prevention of people from entering Al-Hoceima to participate in the march. </p> <p lang="en-US">However, despite all the obstacles some solidarity activists were able to come to Al-Hoceima to participate alongside residents. However, the plans changed because of the repression, and the march dispersed into several protest points distributed over the neighborhoods of the city. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AlarabyTVNetwork/videos/1976905432594603/">Tear gas was used, protesters were beaten, and more than 200 people were arrested</a>. </p> <p>The violence resulted in a 20 year old man entering into a coma. He is now in a military hospital in the capital Rabat still in a critical condition.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mayssae-ajzannay/morocco-hoceima-protests-rif-repression"> المغرب: حراك الريف السلمي يُقمع</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/imad-stitou/mohsen-fikris-death-exposes-history-of-oppression-and-protest-in-moroccos">The death of Mohsen Fikri and the long history of oppression and protest in Morocco&#039;s Rif</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/statement-of-solidarity-with-protests-in-northern-morocco">Statement of solidarity with the protests in Northern Morocco</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Morocco </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Morocco Rif Al Hoceima protests Mayssae Ajzannay Ben Moussa Tue, 01 Aug 2017 09:26:50 +0000 Mayssae Ajzannay Ben Moussa 112627 at https://www.opendemocracy.net What next for Turkey’s opposition? https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/djene-bajalan-michael-brooks/Justice-turkey-opposition-Erdogan-CHP-AKP-Kurdish-Berberoglu-Kilicdaroglu <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The CHP leadership have to ask themselves which they find more distasteful: Erdoğan’s autocracy or concessions on Kurdish rights?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31991716.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31991716.jpg" alt="NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Protesters with the "adalet" or "justice" march passed through the towns of Tavsancil and Gebze as they approached their end point in Istanbul, Turkey on 7 July 2017. Opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been walking from Turkey's capital, Ankara, to Istanbul in protest of ongoing purges and the jailing of elected officials. NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>On July 9, Turkey’s&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/09/turks-stage-largest-show-of-opposition-for-years-in-istanbul">25 day-long ‘Justice March’</a>, in which a procession of thousands of Turkish citizens slowly made their way from Ankara to Istanbul, came to an end in a peaceful mass rally.</p> <p>Despite a heavy security presence and fears that the protest might end in violence, it passed without a hitch. This was no small feat. A year after an abortive July 2016 putsch, the country remains under a state of emergency and, as a result, mass demonstrations are prohibited. </p> <p>However, whether out of fear or some other inscrutable political calculation, Turkey’s elected-despot Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, chose not to deploy force to this act of public defiance.</p> <p>Turkey’s Justice March is – or at least has the potential to be – a transformative moment for the opposition with regards to Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has dominated Turkish political life since it rose to power in 2002.</p> <p>In the aftermath of last years’ failed coup attempt, Erdogan’s administration <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40612056">fired and/or imprisoned</a> thousands of public servants; from military officers and judges to academics and high school teachers, they are all paying the price. To many this response looks far more like a purge than a legitimate response to a very real assault on Turkish democracy.</p> <p>These aren’t the only steps being taken towards the deepening of autocracy. In April, Erdoğan’s long held ambition to transform Turkey’s largely ceremonial presidency into the locus executive power came to fruition. In an ill-tempered and divisive plebiscite,&nbsp;Turks <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/16/erdogan-claims-victory-in-turkish-constitutional-referendum">voted</a> 51% to 48% to adopt Erdoğan’s constitution&nbsp;<em>alaturca</em>. </p> <p>Ruling from a newly constructed palace, which casts a menacing shadow over the Turkish capital, Erdoğan’s position as Turkey’s de facto sultan is unassailable.</p> <p>Thus the apparent success of the Justice March has been, at the very least, an important morale boost for Turkey’s opposition. But, the specific controversy leading up to the march reveals one of the largest barriers holding Turkey’s democratic forces back: the “Kurdish issue.” &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>The immediate trigger for the protest, which was called for by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) – Turkey’s largest opposition party – was the imprisonment of one of its parliamentary deputies, Enis Berberoğlu. </p> <p>In June, a Turkish court convicted him on charges that he had leaked images to the press of Turkish intelligence services supplying weapons to Syrian rebels,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/14/turkish-opposition-mp-jailed-25-years-latest-political-crackdown/">sentencing</a> him to 25 years in jail. </p> <p>In response, CHP leader, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kemal_K%C4%B1l%C4%B1%C3%A7daro%C4%9Flu">Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu</a>, a former Turkish bureaucrat whose physical appearance and understated public persona earned him the moniker, <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/06/ghandi-kemal-kilicdaroglu-chp-justice-march.html">Kemal Gandhi</a>, called for the public to march in defiance of the sentence.</p> <p>With many affected by the wave of arrests, the call struck a chord with large segments of the Turkish public. In a piece for the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/07/opinion/turkey-kemal-kilicdaroglu-erdogan.html"><em>New York Times</em></a>, Kılıçdaroğlu does an excellent job of summarizing the state of affairs that carried many 280 miles across the Anatolian steppe at the height of summer. </p> <p>Yet, conspicuously lacking from the CHP leader’s piece was any direct reference to the plight of Turkey’s Kurdish minority. This absence is all the more striking given that, since 2015, <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/07/11/turkey-state-blocks-probes-southeast-killings">violence</a> between Kurds and the Turkish authorities claimed hundreds, if not thousands, of lives, devastating towns and cities across Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. </p> <p>Indeed Erdoğan, who one time sanctioned <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/31/turkish-peace-talks-kurdish-militants-pkk">talks</a> with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has over the last few years harnessed anti-Kurdish sentiment to help him consolidate power.</p> <p>However, this silence becomes more understandable when one considers that the CHP, as well as many of its supporters, have often been deeply suspicious of the Kurdish movement. While secular-nationalist Turks are implacably opposed to Erdogan’s brand of Islamism, they, like the AKP, regard Turkey’s Kurdish question in highly simplistic terms, either as a security issue or one of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/turkey/071220161">economic underdevelopment</a>.</p> <p>Hence, there is a degree of irony in the CHP’s search for justice, considering their complicity in passing the very law that paved the way for Berberoğlu’s prosecution. Historically, Turkey’s parliamentarians enjoyed special immunity from prosecution, an important protection for opposition lawmakers given Turkey’s history of authoritarianism. </p><p>However, in May 2016, a few months prior to the failed coup, the Turkish parliament passed legislation, supported by the CHP, to&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/20/turkish-mps-vote-lifting-immunity-from-prosecution">remove these protections</a>. At the time, the target was the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). This set the stage for a wave of mass arrests of Kurdish activists, including HDP’s co-leaders, Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, who have been languishing in jail since&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/04/turkey-arrests-pro-kurdish-party-leaders-mps">November 2016</a>.</p> <p>In effect, Erdogan removed the HDP from Turkey’s political arena. In doing so, he eliminated one of the main centres of political opposition, one whose success had denied the AKP a parliamentary majority in the July 2015 elections. The failure of the CHP to support the HDP proved disastrous last year; they are now alone facing a greatly empowered Erdoğan.</p> <p>For the CHP, as well as Turkey’s opposition more generally, overcoming the animosities with the Kurds is imperative.&nbsp;Erdoğan was, in part, able to consolidate his electoral power-base by making <a href="http://carnegieeurope.eu/2009/12/01/kurdish-opening-in-turkey-origins-and-future-event-1494">strategic concessions</a>&nbsp;to Kurdish opinion. In fact, there was a time when Erdoğan won <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/06/us/politics/06obama-text.html">praise and plaudits</a> for his relatively progressive stance on Kurdish rights. That time may have long since passed. But the Kurdish question remains vital for the future of Turkey’s democracy.</p> <p>Should the CHP truly wish to shake the AKP's vice-like group in Turkish body-politic, they must reach out to Turkey’s Kurds. For that, serious self-reflection is critical. The CHP leadership, as well as secular-nationalist Turks, have to ask themselves which they find more distasteful: Erdoğan’s autocracy or concessions on Kurdish rights?</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/mehmet-ugur/unesco-s-normative-failure-case-of-g-lmen-and-zak">UNESCO’s normative failure: the case of Gülmen and Özakça</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/john-dalhuisen/what-will-it-take-for-world-to-break-its-silence-on-turkey">Is the world finally breaking its silence on Turkey?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pelin-kadercan/trauma-of-attempted-military-coup-as-observed-from-college-campus-in-istanbul">The trauma of the attempted military coup as observed from a college campus in Istanbul </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/umut-ozkirimli/fear-and-loathing-in-turkish-academia-tale-of-appeasement-and-complicity">Fear and loathing in Turkish academia: a tale of appeasement and complicity </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/serdar-m-de-irmencio-lu/can-mosques-and-minarets-be-tools-for-democracy">Can mosques and minarets be tools for democracy?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/od-russia/lamiya-adilgizi/turkeys-fight-against-gulen-in-south-caucasus">Turkey’s fight against Gülen in the South Caucasus</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ece-algan/media-in-turkey-before-during-and-after-referendum">Media in Turkey before, during and after the referendum </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/homeland-that-wants-to-kill-us">“A homeland that wants to kill us”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deniz-yonucu/turkey-s-united-front-against-kurds-and-democracy">Turkey’s united front against Kurds and democracy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/omer-tekdemir/ala-turca-presidency-old-wine-in-new-bottles-in-kurdish-case">The Ala-Turca presidency: old wine in new bottles in the Kurdish case</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Turkey Civil society Conflict Democracy and government Michael Brooks Djene Bajalan Mon, 31 Jul 2017 15:03:45 +0000 Djene Bajalan and Michael Brooks 112616 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Jerusalem: securing spaces in holy places https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/beverley-milton-edwards/jerusalem-israel-palestine-UN-spaces-in-holy-alaqsa <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>There are actors involved in all sides of this dispute who must now encourage enduring dialogue for conflict prevention. Jerusalem should remain the city of peace not conflict.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32194293.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32194293.jpg" alt="NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Palestinian Protest Against Security Measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque. 25 July 2017. NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p><p>A fatal attack on 14 July 2017 at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound and the ensuing crisis between Israel and the Palestinians highlights the ongoing challenge of securing holy places in deeply divided cities such as Jerusalem. </p><p>Israeli security measures have led to growing international concern but there is an apprehension that this will do little in the long-run to resolve the challenge of freedom of faith in a shared religious space.</p><h2><strong>Spaces in holy places &nbsp;</strong></h2><p>For billions of worshippers across the globe – whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim – Jerusalem is a sacred and holy space. It is regarded as the city of peace. For Muslims the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock compound in the heart of the Muslim Quarter in Jerusalem’s&nbsp;<a href="http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/">Old City</a>&nbsp;is considered the third most holy after Mecca and Medina. </p><p>Al-Aqsa is the site of the first&nbsp;<em>qibla</em>&nbsp;(direction of prayer), and according to tradition the place to which the Prophet Mohammed journeyed on winged horse and ascended to heaven.</p><p>Before assuming Muslim sanctity Jewish custom ascribes the site as the place where First and Second Jewish temples existed.&nbsp;Jewish law prohibits Jews from entering the compound and praying there, as it is considered a holy of holies. But Al Aqsa’s Western Wall is a remnant of the Jewish temple that millions of Jews pray at.&nbsp;</p><h2>Symbolism</h2><p><span>Both Palestinians and Israelis attach enormous importance to Jerusalem. For Palestinians the city, including its holy shrines, lie at the core of their national identity and internationally recognized rights to self-determination. Unity over holy sites such as al-Aqsa transcend politically partisan elements. </span></p><p><span>For the best part of a century Palestinians have rallied to protect the Al-Aqsa compound. But it has also been the site of contest and conflict with Israel since it occupied the eastern half of the city in 1967. In 2000, following a visit by then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to Al-Aqsa, Palestinian protest erupted and morphed into the Second Intifada.</span></p><p>Indeed, when Israel captured Jerusalem in June 1967 it declared the city the unified capital of the state. Israel cleared space in the Moghrabia area close to the Western Wall and it has since become a busy site of pilgrimage and prayer. </p><p>Nevertheless the international community has continued to refuse to recognise the Israeli claim to Jerusalem preferring to locate their Embassies in Tel Aviv.&nbsp;</p><h2><strong>Securing</strong></h2><p>The spiral of violence and protest between Palestinians and Israeli forces since the deadly incident has exposed the lack of truly meaningful dialogue, cooperation and concern between Israel, the Palestinians and Jordanian custodians of the Al-Aqsa compound. </p><p>Israel’s unilateral security steps had included a decision to install metal detectors and security cameras. This is in addition to the stringent security measures that Israel has permitted itself to regularly employ against Muslim worshippers, and in particular Palestinians, in exercising their religious rights of freedom.</p><p>For decades the ritual of Friday prayer at al-Aqsa has given rise to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/1989/04/15/world/for-the-first-time-israel-restricts-palestinians-freedom-of-worship.html?mcubz=0">Israeli security</a>&nbsp;measures to limit access of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This has included the prohibition of entry for certain age groups, particularly younger males and flying&nbsp;<a href="https://muftah.org/jerusalem-religious-freedom-palestinians-remains-elusive/#.WXb6E4TyuUk">checkpoints</a>&nbsp;and identity card checks in the crowded and narrow alleys of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City that lead to the gates by which worshippers can enter.</p><h2><strong>Status quo&nbsp;</strong></h2><p>Jerusalem has long been a contested city. In modern times the city’s governing authorities had worked within a ‘<a href="https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/israelpalestine/status-status-quo-jerusalem-s-holy-esplanade">status quo</a>’ framework for the management of the sites such as the Al-Aqsa mosque.&nbsp; </p><p>Critics of Israeli policy around the al-Aqsa compound contend, however, that there is evidence of an incremental assertion of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.palestine-studies.org/jq/fulltext/195210">Israeli sovereignty</a>&nbsp;on parts of the site. Nevertheless Israel contends with a major security dilemma at and around the compound as it abuts the Western Wall and manages the demands of radical Jewish groups seeking access to Al-Aqsa.</p><h2><strong>Sharing</strong></h2><p>The international community has long held Jerusalem and its holy places to be of importance. Shortly after the United Nations was formed, and as it played its part in the attempt to resolve the conflict between the Zionist movement and the Palestinians, it sought to identify holy spaces and proposals to share them for all. Despite long- disagreements over some sites, the al-Aqsa mosque compound was designated as one such space.</p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57237#.WXYcg4TyuUk">UN</a>&nbsp;is again seeking to play a role in finding a formula that will curb the current crisis. Yet they have resorted to timeworn slogans and exhortations in their declarations calling for restraint and a preservation of the status quo. All parties involved on the ground in Jerusalem will receive this as ineffective cant. </p><p>UNESCO, has, however, emerged to play an increasingly important part in how the al-Aqsa site, along with others in Jerusalem, can be managed. Some&nbsp;<a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-unesco-jerusalem-jewish-sites-occupying-power-palestinian-heritage-christian-muslim-united-a7717046.html">Israeli politicians</a>, however, are increasingly sceptical of the organization. Religious leaders including those from other faiths, have also intervened.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802965as%20he%20appealed%20for%20%E2%80%98moderation%20and%20dialogue%E2%80%99">Pope Francis</a>, has spoken of his “trepidation” at “the grave tensions and violence” in Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa.&nbsp; He called for moderation and dialogue that would lead to reconciliation and peace.</p><p>But in Jerusalem, Israeli politicians and government officials have stressed their security concerns. For their part Palestinian Muslim religious officials and Jordanian custodians of the holy place have continued to condemn Israel as an occupying power. </p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://travelwirenews.com/israel-playing-with-fire-at-al-aqsa-mosque-arab-league-282884/">Arab League</a>&nbsp;has weighed in calling Jerusalem a “red line” and accusing Israel of “adventurism” and warning that further Israeli measures on Al-Aqsa could escalate to a “crisis with the Arab and Muslim world.”&nbsp;</p><p>Current events highlight that sharing the city, and in particular its holy places, has never been more challenging. It also reveals the near absence of trust between security and religious officials on all sides involved. The reversal, by the Israeli government, of a decision to install&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/24/world/middleeast/israel-jordan-aqsa-temple-mount-violence.html">metal detectors</a>&nbsp;at al-Aqsa is to be welcomed. It will defuse the current crisis. </p><p>Yet there are actors involved in all sides of this current dispute that US politicians, the government, and other organizations must now engage with to encourage enduring dialogue for conflict prevention. Ultimately Jerusalem should remain the city of peace not conflict.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/carly-krakow/politics-of-water-access-under-occupation-is-international-law-sufficien-palestine-israel">The politics of water access under occupation: is international law sufficient?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/matthew-vickery/palestinian-labourers-on-israeli-settlements-are-not-just-occupied-theyre-exploited">For Palestinian labourers, settlement work is a nuanced form of forced labour</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/stephen-mccloskey/gaza-ten-years-of-economic-blockade">Gaza: ten years of economic blockade</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/eyal-weizman/vertical-apartheid">The vertical apartheid </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alex-delmar-morgan/gaza-trauma-unit">Mental help: the story of Gaza’s trauma unit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/efraim-perlmutter/football-kicking-players-on-fiftieth-anniversary-of-1967-wa">The football kicking the players, on the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 war </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/samia-khoury/50-years-of-occupation-will-not-kill-hope-for-free-palestine">50 years of occupation will not kill hope for a free Palestine</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/yair-svorai/palestine-imperial-failures-and-their-consequences-occupation-israel">Palestine: Imperial failures and their consequences</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/stephen-mccloskey/visit-to-west-bank">A visit to the West Bank</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/sam-bahour/paypal4palestine">#PayPal4Palestine</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Israel </div> <div class="field-item even"> Palestine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Culture </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Palestine Israel Conflict Culture Democracy and government International politics Religion religious right Right to the city Beverley Milton-Edwards Mon, 31 Jul 2017 14:27:15 +0000 Beverley Milton-Edwards 112604 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Vicariously offended: the Dawkins controversy and the absence of Muslim voices https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/amir-ahmadi-arian/vicariously-offended-dawkins-controversy-and-absence-of-mus <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The only way to have a leverage in current debates around Islam is to have many strong and effective voices, to the extent that Muslim voices become indispensable. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Richard_Dawkins_sthlm.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/Richard_Dawkins_sthlm.JPG" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Richard Dawkins on stage in Stockholm, December 2015. Picture by Anders Hesselbom (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.</span></span></span>The cancellation of public speeches due to the fraught views of speakers on sensitive issues has become a staple of our daily news. We appear incapable of addressing the problem in a meaningful, straightforward way, and the negotiations over the line that separates hate speech and criticism so often fail. This time, the controversy emerged around the cancellation of Richard Dawkins’s speech at a live public radio event in Berkeley, due to his tweets and comments about Islam. </p><p> To be clear, I have zero sympathy with Dawkins’s views. When it comes to Islam, I find him deeply prejudiced and, for a scientist, surprisingly dismissive of facts. He has called Islam (and not Islamism, as he claims in his <a href="http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2017/07/21/richard-dawkins-open-letter-to-the-people-who-canceled-his-event/">letter</a>) the greatest force of <a href="https://twitter.com/richarddawkins/status/307366714105032704?lang=en">evil</a>, the most evil religion in the <a href="http://www.dwryan.net/English/Dreje.aspx?jimare=4376&amp;paiwandidar=10">world</a>, has condescendingly asked for a <a href="https://twitter.com/richarddawkins/status/624104581253963776?lang=en">feminist revolution</a> in the Muslim world without bothering to google it for five minutes and learn that it began a long time ago. His interventions have done little more than pouring salt into deep wounds of our troubled world, widening an already dangerous fissure, and providing fodder for the extremists of all sides. The issue here is not the content of his views, but denying him a platform to express them.</p> <p>In the statement released by the radio station we read: ‘he had offended and hurt – in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.’ That is the main reason for the cancellation. To me, the most problematic part of the phrase is the word ‘people’: who are the ‘hurt and offended people’? who is representing them? The question is never asked, because it is apparently commonplace to assume Muslims are being hurt by the slightest criticism of their religion. This is the view shared by many on left and right, and the fight is over whether the rest of the world should hurt them or not. </p><p>Hailing from the Muslim world, I have naturally been surrounded by Muslims of all backgrounds throughout my life. Whenever a controversy of this kind emerges, I have a hard time spotting the ‘hurt and offended’ people. They are out there, of course, but I doubt if they make up any meaningful portion of Muslims. I also doubt that the most of the offended ones care so much about Dawkins as to campaign to deplatform him. Like other people, most of Muslims are too busy to care what Dawkins says or believes, and among those who do care, most of them are willing to listen to him and read his books and debate him. The voices of those Muslims, however, is often absent from such debates. </p> <p>What we usually see in these cases is a community of progressives being offended on behalf of Muslims, opposing the conservatives who go out of their ways to offend Muslims. Those we know as ‘Muslims’ (which, by the way, includes countless secular people who happen to have been born somewhere in the Muslim world), have become a buffer for a struggle among Westerners, the subject of fights between left and right, college students and conservative agitators, FOX NEWS and MSNBC, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. They are talked about all the time, but we hardly hear their voices or see their faces.</p><p>In her book <em>On Violence,</em> Hanna Arendt offers a sharp criticism of Jean Paul Sartre’s introduction to Frantz Fanon’s <em>Wretched of the Earth.</em> Fanon’s book is packed with ideas about decolonization of the so-called third world. He puts forth a mix of brilliant intellectual insights and a militant call to arms. Arendt believes that Sartre cherrypicks the passages that encourage violence, takes them out of context, and deploys his impressive dexterity with words to create a poetical aura around them: ‘Violence, like Achilles’ spear, can heal the wounds it has inflicted’, ‘Sons of violence: at every instance, they draw their humanity from it’, etc. Sartre irresponsibly projects his idealized notion of the struggle of the oppressed upon Fanon. The image of Fanon in Europe, probably to this day, is more tied to Sartre’s rendition of his work than the work itself. </p><p>This is an example of what Arendt calls the ‘disinterested leadership’: European intellectuals who want to fight their conservative enemies or aggressive governments, and in the process assume the leadership of a movement that has no tangible bearing on their lives, and damage it by their inclination for idealization and romanticization. ‘Natives of all underdeveloped countries unite!’ can only come from someone in Sartre’s position. No actual leader of any anti-colonial movement anywhere in the world has ever labored under such a grand illusion. </p> <p>What is happening in America today with regard to Muslims is not that different: progressive Americans are up against conservative Americans. On the former front the Muslim voices make up a tiny minority, on the latter they are nonexistent. This is a perfect example of the leadership of the disinterested: if the Islamophobe-in-chief and his acolytes get their way, the people fighting over Dawkins’s right to speech will not be affected. During the travel ban debacle we all witnessed who the potential victims will be: those brown-skinned immigrants who happen to carry Middle Eastern passports, those accented voices that desperately try to prove their innocence, those frail-bodied grandparents and terrified children that have to explain why they will not pose security threat to America. </p> <p>The ‘offended Muslim’ do exist, obviously, and they can get violent: from the Rushdie affair to Danish cartoons, the evidence is overwhelming. The problem is that a very small minority of Muslims have hijacked the image of an entire community and dominated the Western imagination. All other Muslims get lumped in with them as the ‘hurt and offended people,’ and their voices are hardly heard. </p><p>A large factor, of course, is the shockingly distorted and unjust portrayal of Muslims by the mainstream media. All the patterns and structures Edward Said teased out in his book <em>Covering Islam </em>are well and alive after more than thirty years. It is not just FOX: you will be hard-pressed to find a Muslim eating cookies on CNN or reading a sci-fi novel on NBC or discussing the stock market on ABC. They are called on only in the wake of a terrorist act, and even then not to analyze, but to apologize. In this climate, demanding fairness from the media is a total fantasy. </p> <p>The only way to have a leverage in current debates around Islam is to have many strong and effective voices, to the extent that Muslim voices become indispensable. We need a dozen Reza Aslans from all across the spectrum, articulate sensible voices capable of challenging the army of professional Islam-haters on air. </p> <p>It is no longer a matter of intellectual contribution or media hype. The Trump administration is hell-bent on targeting Muslims, and the possibility of being persecuted based on religion or country of origin is now all too real. The stakes are too high, and the struggle shouldn’t be left to the disinterested. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/amir-ahmadi-arian/leaving-stings-in-wounds-of-others-donald-trump-and-american-foreig">Leaving stings in the wounds of others: Donald Trump and American foreign policy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/amir-ahmadi-arian/trump-muslim-ban-tale-of-stillborn-migration">Tale of a stillborn migration</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/amir-ahmadi-arian/trump-satire-comedy-night-show">The ubiquitous, ineffective laughter</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia United States Democracy and government freedom of expression Debate islam You tell us Amir Ahmadi Arian Mon, 31 Jul 2017 13:10:17 +0000 Amir Ahmadi Arian 112615 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Race to the sea: Qatar and the balance of power in the Middle East https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/khairuldeen-al-makhzoomi-adel-albdeewy/qatar-MiddleEast-power-US-SaudiArabia-Iran-Turkey-Egypt-GCC-gulf <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>If the Qatari crisis is not managed rationally, then it is likely to compound the present risks in the regional balance of power, with consequences for all states in the region.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32014647.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="State Department/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-32014647.jpg" alt="State Department/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="State Department/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during a bilateral meeting with the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah at Dar Salwa July 10, 2017 in Kuwait. Tillerson is meeting leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council in an attempt to end the isolation of fellow member Qatar by a Saudi led coalition. State Department/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The Qatari crisis is no passing issue in the strategic alignment of forces in the Middle East with three main axes competing for regional hegemony. The three main axes in the region, led by Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are likely to express their goals and interests differently, leading to increased competition and dispute.</p> <p>The main goal of each of the axes is the containment of the others, including the more-or-less non-aligned states such as Iraq. If the Qatari crisis is not managed rationally, then it is likely to compound the present risks in the regional balance of power, with consequences for all states in the region.</p> <h2>The three axes</h2> <p>The first of these axes consists of Iran and Syria, as well as non-state actors such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and forces affiliated with the Popular Mobilization Units in Iraq. Iran is the main directing and controlling force in this axis, supported politically, economically and militarily by the Russian Federation. </p> <p>The second axis consists of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Yemen (under the leadership of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi), in addition to some non-state actors such as Jaysh al-Islam (Islamic Front). However, Saudi Arabia is the main force in this axis with Egypt as the second pillar. Unlike the prior group, this axis is supported by the United States of America. </p> <p>The third axis is perhaps the most complex and most embroiled by the recent crisis of diplomatic relations in the region; it is composed of Turkey, Qatar and several non-state actors such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and various radical Takfiri salafist groups. In a recent speech by Dr. Anwar Gargash at Chatham House, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs made the connection between Qatar and the radical Takfiri salafist groups more clear: “The US State Department [has] said openly in its 2015 country terrorism report that ‘entities and individuals within Qatar’ had financed Al-Nusra,” a regional affiliate of Al-Qaeda. He further noted that, “In Libya, Qatar has supported the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and Ansar ashSharia. In fact, Qatar’s go-between with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group is now-head of the Qatari special forces.”</p> <p>Although Turkey is a major regional power, leadership in its axis is rotated with Qatar as a result of a comparative advantage between each country in different aspects of leadership; Turkey with its military-human surplus is matched by Qatari finances to form the current integrated leadership structure. This axis is similar in many ways to the Saudi Arabia-Egypt bloc, as they are both supported by the United States and also part of the Sunni world of Islam.</p> <h2>Criss-crossing alliances</h2> <p>Although each of the three main axes in the Middle East have their own interests and goals, this has not stopped cooperation and engagement across blocs on certain issues. Recent examples of reciprocity have occurred primarily between the first axis (Iran) and the third (Turkey), notably facilitated by the increasing engagement of Russia with both parties on Middle East issues from Syria and the Kurds to economic relations.</p> <p>The Iranian - Turkish rapprochement, in particular, has figured prominently in many geopolitical issues yet to be resolved in the region, such as the fight against terrorism, the Kurdish Independence Referendum - just recently both Turkey and Iran warned against such a vote, and international efforts to ease the war in Syria.</p> <p>As for the Iranian - Qatari rapprochement, recent resolutions have covered interests from energy and military operations to foodstuffs, the most important being the management and sharing of the world’s largest gas field. </p> <p>Meanwhile, in the face of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) blockade that banned Qatari planes from their airspace, Iran opened its maritime and airspace and also supplied food to Qatar. In both instances, the Iranian-Qatari rapprochement has had ramifications for the wider web of relations in the region.</p> <p>The recent warming of relations between Turkey - Qatar and Iran has highlighted the differences and contradictions between the goals of these two axes and that of Saudi Arabia. Despite mutual American support and common Islamic affiliation, both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have fundamentally different visions and objectives towards Qatar and Iran.</p> <h2>United States' serious dilemma</h2> <p>The United States is particularly aware of the consequences of an exacerbation of the conflict between its primary partners in the region, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. American options are hamstrung in this quarrel among allies. </p> <p>To abandon Qatar in such a crisis would be damaging both for the loss of an important pillar in the Middle East and the opportunity it would provide to the Russians looking to reach warm waters. And the United States is aware that Qatar, with the help of Russia, Turkey and Iran, is capable of creating a gas monopoly with consequences for global economic growth.</p> <p>The bigger picture here is that an exacerbation of an inter-ally conflict could result in the disintegration of US-led alliance in the region into two discrete groups, one of them being (the Muslim brotherhood) with Qatari capital and Turkish manpower and the other (Wahhabi) with Saudi capital and Egyptian manpower.</p> <p>In the eyes of the US State Department, any threat to GCC security is a threat to US national interest. Gulf security is a long standing part of American national security since President Jimmy Carter, who outlined in his 1980 State of the Union Address: </p> <blockquote><p>“An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” </p></blockquote> <p>Given the US position, American policy planners are watching the events in the Gulf anxiously, particularly as it relates to Iraq.</p> <p>Managing the inter-ally Qatari crisis has therefore put the United States in a serious dilemma, since strong action in favor of either side must be weighed against repercussions for the 10,000 American personnel in Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base, the largest US military base in the Middle East. </p> <h2>Iraq geopolitics </h2> <p>Iraq is located in the middle of the three axes: Iran from the east, Saudi Arabia from the south-west, and Turkey from the north. In the face of competition and heated conflict between these axes, Iraq is in both a position of weakness and strength, with both threats and opportunities in consideration. </p> <p>The recent destruction of the country is at odds with its historic centrality to the region, making it both a prized possession and a vulnerable partner to each axis. All three axes are looking for influence in Iraq. And based on their collective geo-strategic perspectives, Iraq can function as both a crucial client state and buffer zone.</p> <p>In an interview with former Ambassador Alberto Fernandez, President of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks at Broadcasting Board of Governors, he outlined the needs of the Iraqi state in the near future. </p> <blockquote><p>“The key is to strengthen the institutional integrity and efficiency of the Iraqi state, all of its institutions and its appeal to all of its citizens. Strengthening Iraq as a government and as a society makes the interference of hostile foreign powers more difficult.”</p></blockquote> <p>The reality is that there is a crucial window following the liberation of Mosul to consolidate gains and tighten control over Iraq. Competition for influence in Iraq threatens to carve the nation along sectarian, ideological, and material lines. The fragile national unity faces its greatest challenge if Saudi Arabia and Iran enter a zero sum game for influence. The brunt of their proxy war is likely to fall squarely on Iraq and its people.</p> <p>The US is concerned that Iran will go on the political offensive in Iraq. With the liberation of Mosul, Iran may well conclude that it no longer benefits from any US presence in Iraq. Iran has a vast array of means to exert pressure on the main Iraqi political decision makers, especially through its non-state actors. In addition, Iran’s strategic and historical relations with Shiite political forces gives it a foothold to direct the Iraqi people towards its own bloc. </p> <p>As for Saudi Arabia, the country has its own means of keeping Iraq from aligning too closely with Iran. The kingdom could passively refrain from supporting the reconstruction of the liberated areas, or actively support groups and parties intent on destabilizing the peace and impeding the political process in Iraq. More broadly, the Saudis may pressure other countries of the Arab and Islamic world against providing support to Iraq. </p> <p>Finally, Turkey also possesses the means of exerting pressure in the Iraqi political arena. The Ataturk Dam on the Euphrates River, one of the largest in the world, is owned by Turkey. </p> <p>Last year The New York Times reported on a story, “Turkish Dam Project Threatens to Submerge Thousands of Years of History,” that discussed the near completion of several Turkish dam projects, in particular the Ilisu Dam. The consequences for water levels in parts of Iraq appear to be significant, with marshes drying and the agricultural industry as a whole declining. Using water as a political card may play in Turkey’s favor with Iraq. </p> <p>Similarly, Turkey may use the Kurdish issue and its bloc’s ties with Massoud Barzani, President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, to its advantage vis-a-vis Iraq. Barzani's demands for independence may be pushed by both Qatar and Turkey. Although Turkey is opposed to Kurdish independence, this doesn’t rule out Erdogan’s willingness to use the possibility to pressure the Iraqi government. </p> <p>Qatari money is also at play and has been spent on armed groups making it possible for the country to stand up to any national reconciliation process in Iraq or any project that may stand in the way of its interests. The US department of treasury stated in 2014 that, </p> <blockquote><p>“Qatar – are soliciting donations to fund extremist insurgents, not to meet legitimate humanitarian needs. The recipients of these funds are often terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusrah Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).” &nbsp;</p></blockquote> <p>In addition, Dr Anwar Gargash pointed out in a speech at Chatham House that, “Just this year, the state of Qatar paid a ransom of approximately $1 billion to free a group of Qatari falconers in southern Iraq. Multiple sources confirmed to the Financial Times that $700 million was paid to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and to the Shia militias which they control,” evidencing once more Qatar’s willingness to fund extremist groups in the region. </p> <p>The Qatari crisis, and the broader diplomatic imbroglio it has caused, has provided the impetus to the race for control of Iraq. Given the geopolitical value of Iraq and the opening presented to the various blocs in the region after the liberation of Mosul, competition for the future balance of power in the Middle East is already underway between Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/tommaso-segantini/qatar-Saudi-US-MiddleEast-geopolitics-power">Qatar crisis: a broader consolidation of power</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Qatar </div> <div class="field-item even"> Iraq </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia </div> <div class="field-item even"> Egypt </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> <div class="field-item even"> Russia </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> United Arab Emirates </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> <div class="field-item even"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Yemen </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Yemen Syria Turkey United Arab Emirates United States Russia Iran Egypt Saudi Arabia Iraq Qatar Conflict Democracy and government Economics International politics Geopolitics Adel Albdeewy Khairuldeen Al Makhzoomi Sun, 30 Jul 2017 14:42:33 +0000 Khairuldeen Al Makhzoomi and Adel Albdeewy 112477 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Defying conventional wisdom and ‘getting real’ with Iran https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mehrdad-khonsari/defying-conventional-wisdom-and-getting-real-with-iran <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The process of reviewing the new US administration’s policy on Iran has been greatly hampered by out-of-date preconceptions and wanton comments on the part of some senior officials interested in scoring points with certain domestic constituencies. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31433054.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31433054.jpg" alt="" title="" width="420" height="268" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Iranian president Hassan Rouhani attends a news conference in Tehran, Iran, on May 22, 2017. Picture by: TIMA AGENCY/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>While President Trump has so far desisted from carrying out the campaign promise he made to tear up the nuclear agreement, there is no question that Washington’s language towards Iran has become increasingly more provocative and hostile since his accession. What is unclear at this point is who exactly is the new administration’s aggressive talks directed against? Is it the people of Iran who by all accounts are perhaps the most American-friendly people in the Middle East? Is it the popular, reform-oriented government of president Hassan Rouhani who negotiated the nuclear agreement, ended Iran’s isolation and removed the threat of another costly and unwanted Middle Eastern war? Or is it the hardline, doctrinaire elements supported by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps with very little public support that nonetheless continue clinging on to every vestige of real power in the country? </p><p>For some time now, a real battle is being waged between the supporters of the recently elected government and the hardliners who are unwilling to let go of the economic and political stranglehold they have had over the nation for the past 38 years. Their rejection of a call for ‘national reconciliation’ which has the support of president Rouhani and former president Mohammad Khatami – ostensibly the most popular political figure in the country, has redefined the political map in Iran and has placed the supporters of national reconciliation in the front line of opposition to powerful quarters who remain bent on monopolizing political and economic power within their unpopular and shrinking constituencies. The future fate of the country is today very much dependent on the outcome of this important battle. </p><p>Khatami’s popular call for national reconciliation, with its proven track record in other countries, has come at a time when key constituencies within Iran, including the youth, the intelligentsia, the traditional clerical hierarchy as well as the majority of the current ruling establishment, appreciate the urgent need to redefine Iran’s position on key internal and external priorities through peaceful dialogue and away from violence and disorder. </p><p>While the Iranian people will themselves decide the outcome of this internal debate, it also makes sense for the new US administration, to adopt a more sophisticated approach by exhibiting greater sensitivity to events on the ground and more importantly placing a lid on their wholesale outbursts that fail to distinguish between potentially friendly progressive forces and their dangerous hardline adversaries. </p><p>The US instead of punishing away all Iranians can benefit - like the EU - by encouraging investments in what is believed to be the world’s largest foreign investment capital market. This can be achieved by removing barriers for Iran’s private economic sector not controlled by revolutionary organizations to also play a leading role in marginalizing the hardliners while actively tackling dominant issues such as economic decline and youth unemployment. </p><p>From a regional perspective, the US, also needs to take note of the fact that "evolutionary Iran" (i.e. with radicalism on the wane and political moderation on the rise) is much more on the right side of history than most others —regardless of how many arms they buy. Coupled with this is the important consideration that the failure of democracy in the aftermath of the "Arab Spring" should in no way be interpreted to mean that the future of the region is tied to perpetual autocracy. Hence looking to the future, for the sake of peace and stability, it is critical for the US to give much greater credence to seeking diplomatic solutions and maintaining a balanced position between all parties that takes into consideration their legitimate interests.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/farhang-jahanpour/iran%E2%80%99s-unresolved-conflict-between-reformers-and-fundamentalists"> Iran’s unresolved conflict between reformers and fundamentalists </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/moujan-mirdamadi-ali-seyedrazaghi/significance-of-rouhani-s-win-iran-reality-or-il">The significance of Rouhani’s win: reality or illusion?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ehsan-abdoh-tabrizi/iran-s-presidential-election-cynical-moderate-versus-representati">Iran’s presidential election: the cynical moderate versus the representative of the deep state</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iran Mehrdad Khonsari Fri, 28 Jul 2017 09:47:43 +0000 Mehrdad Khonsari 112580 at https://www.opendemocracy.net No, Channel 4: Islam is not responsible for the Islamic State https://www.opendemocracy.net/peter-oborne/no-channel-4-islam-is-not-responsible-for-islamic-state <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>“I am a longstanding admirer of Holland. However, the arguments he makes in his film are intellectually dishonest.”</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-1804200.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-1804200.jpg" alt="lead lead " title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A British soldier on evening patrol as oil wells burn in southern Iraq in 2003. David Cheskin/Press Association archive. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Unlike most historians, Tom Holland writes books which bring the past to life. This makes him a national treasure. But I am baffled by his recent documentary about Islamic State (IS), <em>Isis: The Origins of Violence.</em></p> <p>It argues that the extreme violence of self-proclaimed IS should be interpreted in significant ways as a manifestation of Islam itself.</p> <p>Holland suggests, for example, that the Ottoman army which captured Constantinople in 1453 was a precursor to IS. He thus connects IS to Sunni Islam's most distinctive political institution, the Caliphate.</p> <p>He also links IS to texts from the Quran and states that IS atrocities are directly inspired by the teachings of Islamic holy scripture. He uses the Prophet Muhammad himself, who is regarded by all Muslims as the perfect human being, to help explain the genocidal violence of IS in the twenty first century.</p> <p>Holland compares verses and stories told about the Prophet as "mines waiting to go off, improvised explosives, and they can lie there for maybe centuries and something happens to trigger them, and you get this". On <a href="http://www.channel4.com/programmes/isis-the-origins-of-violence/on-demand/63137-001">the basis of these arguments</a>, Holland implicitly demands that Islam itself should reform.</p> <p>We have often heard variations of this thesis – that Islam and Western liberal civilisation cannot coexist – from the English Defence League, Donald Trump's ideologists, neoconservative think tanks, tabloid newspapers and far-right parties in continental Europe.</p> <p>But it's less common from one of our more admired public intellectuals, amplified on what appears to be quite an expensive Channel 4 TV production.</p> <p>This is why I believe that a sceptical analysis of the claims made in <em>Isis: The Origins of Violence</em> is needed.</p> <p>(The film was broadcast on Channel 4 to acclaim on 17 May. I delayed this article because of the atrocities in Manchester and London during the general election campaign, and then the attack on Finsbury Park Mosque. It would have been insensitive to discuss at that time and better to wait until time had passed.)</p> <h2><strong>Baathist origins of IS</strong></h2> <p>I am a longstanding admirer of Holland. However, the arguments he makes in his film are intellectually dishonest.&nbsp;He fails to include information which does not fit his thesis and, just as bad, distorts facts which appear to support it.</p> <p>The first problem is Holland's account of the origins of IS, for which he ignores the two most important facts. The spark for the group's creation was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and its brutal aftermath.</p> <p>Saddam Hussein's Baathist army was disbanded by the Coalition, but its warriors did not disappear. Stripped of their livelihood, many subsequently turned into bitter enemies of the United States and the new regime in Baghdad.</p> <p>These fighters entered into an alliance with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Salafi jihadist and leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Although Zarqawi was killed by a US air strike in 2006, his bloodthirsty organisation swiftly evolved into the Islamic State we know today.</p> <p>Many of its future leaders were held in Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca prison camps, where they established the contacts and evolved the strategy of conquest that exploded across the Middle East a few years later.&nbsp;</p> <p>This background explains why experts <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/middleeast/army-know-how-seen-as-factor-in-isis-successes.html">have estimated</a> that one-third of IS commanders were former Baathist soldiers. Experts say that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's two principal lieutenants are <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-baghdadi-success-idUSKBN19E1MI">Iyad al-Obaidi and Ayad al-Jumaili</a> - former Iraqi army officers under Saddam. As far as these commanders are concerned, Islamic State is a Baathist renaissance project, a secular enterprise aimed at winning back the status and power of which they were stripped in 2003. <span class="mag-quote-center">'Faith, even in its extreme form, is just one of many means to an end. Islamic State's only constant maxim is the expansion of power at any price' - Christoph Reuter, Der Spiegel journalist</span></p> <p>In the words of Der Spiegel journalist Christoph Reuter, whose <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-files-show-structure-of-islamist-terror-group-a-1029274.html">revelatory study of IS</a> is required reading: "There is essentially nothing religious in its actions, its strategic planning, its unscrupulous changing of alliances and its precisely implemented propaganda narratives.</p> <p>Faith, even in its extreme form, is just one of many means to an end. Islamic State's only constant maxim is the expansion of power at any price."</p> <p>Yet Tom Holland's account of Islamic State contains no reference to the Baathist origins of IS.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Saudi Arabia and Wahhabism</strong></h2> <p>An equally significant omission concerns Saudi Arabia. As the former MI6 officer Alastair Crooke <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-wahhabism-saudi-arabia_b_5717157.html">has explained</a>, it is impossible to get to grips with IS without knowing about the deal struck after World War One between the House of Saud and the followers of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, founder of the Islamic movement known as Wahhabism.&nbsp;</p> <p>Wahhab <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=B6mKCwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PA79&amp;dq=al-wahhab+beliefs&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjj-ZyiiZ_VAhUiJcAKHS9lCaAQ6AEIKjAB#v=onepage&amp;q=al-wahhab%20beliefs&amp;f=false">believed</a> that Muslims needed to return to an all-absorbing focus on the One God, and that the widespread preoccupation with the Prophet Muhammad (except as simply the greatest of the various prophets) or his companions, or his wives, or the "saints" and martyrs, amounted to idolatry.</p> <p>He <a href="https://www.bookdepository.com/Encyclopedia-Islamic-Civilization-Religion-Ian-Richard-Netton/9780700715886">maintained</a> that Islam had to be cleansed of all accretions (beyond devotion to the One God) and that Muslims faced a choice: either they give up their idolatrous habits (such as celebrating The Prophet's birthday), or be put to death, with all their property and family falling forfeit.</p> <p>Wahhabis, and the then-minor tribal leader Ibn Saud, pursued this doctrine through a <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EEEFsVYLko4C&amp;pg=PA101&amp;dq=wahhabi+sack+of+ta%27if&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjy0YqEvZDVAhVBK8AKHW6JCXEQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&amp;q=wahhabi%20sack%20of%20ta&#039;if&amp;f=false">campaign in 1802</a> of death and destruction, killing thousands in Karbala and plundering and looting the holy shrines, before repeating the exercise in Taif.&nbsp;</p> <p>Finally, Mecca and Medina <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EEEFsVYLko4C&amp;pg=PA101&amp;dq=wahhabi+sack+of+ta%27if&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjy0YqEvZDVAhVBK8AKHW6JCXEQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&amp;q=wahhabi%20sack%20of%20ta&#039;if&amp;f=false">gave themselves up</a> to Ibn Saud's occupation. It was a cleansing by sword and by fire.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Series of contradictions</strong></h2> <p>The Book of Monotheism, the best known text written by Wahhab, stands as a primary source of teaching for IS recruits.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/584px-Harry_St._John_Bridger_Philby.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/584px-Harry_St._John_Bridger_Philby.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="709" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Harry Saint John Philby in an undated photo (Wikicommons). Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>There was another explosion of Wahhabism after World War One, but a British official, Harry Saint John Philby (father of the spy Kim Philby) offered Abd al-Aziz – then the ruler of Nejd – the prospect of a formidable prize: become king of all Arabia in succession to the Ottomans.&nbsp; </p><p>Wahhabism would be Abd al-Aziz's tool, but he required the backing of the British government to shore up his dominance.&nbsp;To do this he needed to make his movement look more like a modern state (Philby advised him on the best approach), and his army of head-choppers and shrine destroyers needed to be reined in. The British <a href="http://www.ibtauris.com/books/humanities/history/regional%20%20national%20history/asian%20history/middle%20eastern%20history/what%20the%20british%20did%20two%20centuries%20in%20the%20middle%20east">helped</a> with the latter, and British machine guns and planes were used to kill most of Abd al Aziz's Ikhwan brotherhood in 1929.&nbsp;Philby subsequently converted to Wahhabism and joined (then King) Abd al Aziz's court.</p> <p>The contradiction between the worldly cynicism of the pro-western Saudi royal family, and Wahhabi fundamentalism is profound. The real target of IS is not, as Holland suggests in his documentary, the West. Instead, the rise of Islamic State can, in part, be understood as <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alastair-crooke/isis-aim-saudi-arabia_b_5748744.html">an explosion of Wahhabi fury</a> against the corrupt Saudi royal family.</p> <p>To sum up, IS is a deadly combination of the military expertise of former Baathist generals and murderous Wahhabi beliefs. Yet <em>Isis: The Origins of Violence </em>does not mention Baathism, Iraq, Wahhabism or Saudi Arabia.</p> <p>This failure leads Holland into a series of contradictions. For example, Holland stands at the Mar Mattai monastery in northern Iraq, looking south towards Mosul. He notes that 1,200 years ago this region was "the beating heart of Christendom".&nbsp;</p> <p>He says that "Christians of the lands out there were enjoying a golden age". He says there are only a handful of monks left at the monastery, and that if they were to venture down to either of two Muslim villages beneath him, they would be killed "on the spot". He says that for the first time in 1,500 years, mass is not heard in Mosul. "And the reason for that," he says, "is that over there, those lands that were once the Christian heartland are now the Islamic State."</p> <p>He frames the decline of the Christian population in terms of an unmistakable dichotomy between Christianity and Islam.&nbsp;But what <em>Isis: The Origins of Violence</em> does not mention is that 1,200 years ago, the lands he calls "Christian heartlands" were ruled by Muslims.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 14.34.29.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 14.34.29.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="287" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screen shot: Holland at Mar Mattai looking south towards Mosul.</span></span></span>The period when Christians enjoyed the prosperity that he correctly mentions was also the period when they were under the rule of the very Islamic power upon which IS pretends to model itself. (The black banner that IS flies was once the flag of the Abbasid Caliphate.) </p><p>The era he calls a Christian "golden age" is widely known in the region itself as the <a href="http://www.fasebj.org/content/20/10/1581.full">Islamic Golden Age</a>.</p> <p>It is true that this peaceful coexistence was at times uneasy. The arrival of Saladin, a Sunni Kurd who would go on to found the Ayyubid Dynasty after conquering vast amounts of territory, caused the monks to flee in the twelfth&nbsp;century, but the monastery soon returned to its former prominence. Then the Mongols partially destroyed it at the end of the thirteenth century. It was left abandoned until 1795 when (under Ottoman rule) it was renovated and fence walls built around it. In 1845, additional wings were added.&nbsp;</p> <p>Christianity did not vanish from Mosul because the region has become Islamic. It vanished because it came under the rule of an authority without religious tolerance. It is IS alone, not Islam, that is to blame for the desperate situation faced by the Christians of northern Iraq.</p> <p>Yet Holland fails to ask how the monastery enjoyed a resurgence under Ottoman rule. Remember that, according to him, the Ottoman Caliphate was a precursor of Islamic State. For his thesis to be consistent, the Ottomans should have destroyed the monastery and driven the monks away after 1453. But the opposite happened: the Ottomans allowed Christians to reinhabit the monastery and restore it to its former splendour.&nbsp;<span class="mag-quote-center">The Ottomans allowed Christians to reinhabit the monastery and restore it to its former splendour.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>The Ottoman Caliphate was not intent on persecuting Christians within their domains. The Ottomans saw Christians, like the Jews (many of whom also flourished under Ottoman rule) as "people of the book" and therefore to be protected.</p> <p>As pre-eminent historian (and severe critic) of Islam Bernard Lewis put it, the position of Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire was&nbsp;"very much easier than that of non-Christians or even of heretical Christians in medieval (Catholic) Europe". </p> <h2><strong>Failure of scholarship</strong></h2> <p>Holland fails to point all this out to his audience. To have done so would have obliged him to acknowledge that Islam does not pose a more substantial threat to unbelievers than, say, Christianity.&nbsp;</p> <p>I am a Christian, I belong to the Church of England and attend church regularly.&nbsp;I regret to say that I could easily have made a documentary about Christianity and violence on the same lines as Holland's work on Islamic State and Islam.</p> <p>I could have dug out verses from the Bible in which God orders death for non-believers. I could have found gruesome verses about homosexuals and the punishment of adulterers, then quoted these out of context.</p> <p>I could have taken viewers back to the Middle Ages, to compare the slaughter perpetrated by Crusaders when they took Jerusalem in 1099 with the restrained entrance of Caliph Omar to the city 450 years earlier in 637; or Saladin a century later in 1187.</p> <p>I could have gone to Srebrenica, the site in 1995 of the only genocide in Europe since World War Two. I would have shown that the massacre of Muslims there was carried out by Christians, as Justin Welby, the Archbishop&nbsp;of Canterbury, pointed out on BBC Radio's Today programme after the London Bridge atrocity.</p> <p>I could have gone to the churches planted by the Serbs along the Bosnian-Serbian border in the last few years as a warning to Muslims to keep away. I could have shown how <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/17/srebrenica-elects-mladen-grujicic-mayor-serb-denies-massacre-genocide">Mladen Grujicic</a>, the Christian mayor of Srebenica, who denies that genocide took place in his town, was invited to President Donald Trump's first prayer breakfast in Washington in February.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Counquest_of_Jeusalem_(1099).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/640px-Counquest_of_Jeusalem_(1099).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="264" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>An 1847 oil painting by artist Emile Signol of crusaders taking Jerusalem in 1099 (Wikicommons.)</span></span></span>I could have shown how Christian churches turned a blind eye to the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews, while noting that Martin Luther's virulent anti-Semitism helped sow the seeds of future horror. </p><p>I could have demonstrated that the Rwandan genocide two decades ago was carried out with the active complicity of local church leaders.</p> <p>But this kind of assault on Christianity would have been selective and therefore unfair. When I reported from Srebenica earlier this year, I was careful not to blame Christianity. It would have meant ignoring the wonderful and too often sacrificial work carried out by churches throughout the world, the good they do in countless ways, the eternal truths that I believe we Christians embody.</p> <p>I could even have carried out the same ruthless exercise with Buddhism, a religion normally associated with non-violence.&nbsp;A few weeks ago, I went to Myanmar to document the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims. I could have used the term Buddhist violence, given the dreadful role currently being played by Buddhist monks in generating hatred against Muslims.&nbsp;</p> <p>But that too would have been unfair. Too many other factors are involved.</p> <p>Holland has no similar scruples. This is not just a failure of scholarship. It means that, perhaps without intending to do so, Holland is vindicating IS's claim to be&nbsp;a legitimate representative of Islam.</p> <p>Think about it.</p> <p>IS claims legitimacy on the grounds that it is acting in the name of Islam. The <a href="http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/">vast majority of serious scholars and religious authorities</a> dispute this, insisting that Islam is a religion of peace. These scholars say that IS acts contrary to the teachings of the prophet. Then along comes an internationally respected British historian who suggests that the group's claims can be justified.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Muslim voices</strong></h2> <p>Holland is only able to pursue this line of argument by being selective with the facts as well as his use of Muslim voices. Two scholars, Shiraz Maher, deputy director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and a member of the War Studies Department at King's College London, and Jordanian Salafist Abu Sayyaf appear in the film. Both, Abu Sayyaf more strongly than Maher, support the thesis that the bloodthirsty actions of IS can find justification within mainstream Islam.</p> <p>Fair enough. But Holland had a serious duty to be balanced, especially in a film as controversial as his. Why has he made no attempt to do so?</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 14.41.53_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 14.41.53_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="300" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screengrab: Abu Sayyaf answering Holland's questions about IS. </span></span></span>There are <a href="http://www.lettertobaghdadi.com/">countless mainstream Muslim voices</a> who argue on authoritative theological grounds that Islamic State does not represent in meaningful form the Quran or the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. They have no voice in this film. </p><p>Bear in mind that Holland's underlying target is not Islamic State: everyone, bar a few fanatics, agrees how evil it is. Instead it is Islam itself, which Holland holds in part responsible for IS atrocities.</p> <p>Holland ought to have rigorously put his thesis to the test against at least one such scholar, if not more. By not entertaining an opposing opinion, Holland diminishes his own argument.</p> <p>How did Holland get away with it? In the days when I used to present "authored documentaries" (the term used by media executives to describe TV polemics) on Channel 4, it was an unbreakable editorial requirement to present the alternative point of view.</p> <p>The only circumstance in which this rule was breached was when the opposing side refused to be interviewed or give a statement, in which case this refusal would be made clear to the audience. One can therefore assume that Holland made no attempt to approach any Muslim voice who argued that Islam is a religion of peace. <span class="mag-quote-center">By not entertaining an opposing opinion, Holland diminishes his own argument. How did Holland get away with it? </span></p><h2><strong>Search for the hadith</strong></h2> <p>Holland plays fast and loose with the words of the Prophet himself in order to help his case that Islam is inherently violent.&nbsp;He says, over pictures of the Mar Mattai monastery and the surrounding hills, that:</p> <blockquote><p>‘Fourteen hundred years ago monks like Father Yousif provided Muhammad himself with a model of holiness.&nbsp;Islam, though, would give monasticism a novel spin. "Our monasticism," the Prophet is reported as saying, "is&nbsp;jihad&nbsp;in the cause of God. Our monasticism is the crying of&nbsp;allahu akbar&nbsp;on the hilltops."’</p></blockquote> <p>Earlier in the programme Holland tells viewers that in the Quran,&nbsp;jihad&nbsp;did not mean violence but simply "the effort required to be a good Muslim". Yet here he quotes a hadith, attributed to the Prophet, in the context of a discussion of IS violence towards Christians.&nbsp;</p> <p>The implication – and far too much of the film works through suggestion rather than rigorous argument – is that the persecution of monks such as Yousif, and the attack on Sinjar in August 2014 that immediately follows the quotation in the film, are a natural result of, and not divergences from, the Prophet's teaching.</p> <p>I was perplexed at the credentials of the hadith cited by Holland. It did not appear to match any of the hadiths attributed to the Prophet. So I emailed Holland, asking him to "provide me with the exact Arabic or even English hadith sources where you got your version in which the terms rahbaniyya (monasticism), jihad, and takbir are mentioned".</p> <p>In his response he failed to provide me with a hadith which matches the one cited in the film.</p> <p>He did, however, direct me to <em>Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity: Militant Devotion in Christianity and Islam</em>, in which, he said, the late Thomas Sizgorich examined "the influence of monasticism on the evolution of religiously sanctioned violence in early Islam".</p> <p>I searched as hard as I could, but I could find no hadith in Sizgorich's book which matched the one used by Holland.</p> <p>However, Holland did helpfully refer me to page 180, where the following hadith is quoted: "Wandering monasticism was mentioned in the presence of the Prophet of God, and the messenger of God said, "God gave us in its place&nbsp;jihad&nbsp;on the path of God and the&nbsp;takbir&nbsp;from every hill."' <span class="mag-quote-center">'There is no hadith which contains the three words ‘monasticism' (rahbaniyya), ‘jihad'&nbsp;and ‘takbir'&nbsp;(a term for the crying of ‘Allahu Akbar') together' - Michael Mumisa, author of studies of classical Islamic literature and PhD scholar at Cambridge University </span></p><p>At this point I consulted Michael Mumisa, author of numerous studies on classical Islamic literature and Special Livingstone PhD scholar at Cambridge University. He told me that Holland's hadith does not exist: "There is no hadith which contains the three words ‘monasticism' (rahbaniyya), ‘jihad'&nbsp;and ‘takbir'&nbsp;(a term for the crying of ‘Allahu Akbar') together," he said.</p> <p>This matters because Holland uses his hadith to suggest that Islam in some way corrupted the Christian idea of monastic holiness for violent purposes. This is a serious claim: if asserted then it should be rigorously sourced and established.</p> <p>I'm also disturbed that Holland introduces the words Allahu akbar&nbsp;instead of takbir, the word actually used in the Sizgorich hadith.</p> <p>To be fair, the meaning of the two phrases is all but identical. Holland would doubtless argue that he used the term to be more explicit to non-specialist audiences.</p> <p>However, he must know that the phrase has come to signify violence as a result of its recent use by militant jihadists. To use it in this context is inflammatory. Hadith literature is very detailed and distinguishes between safe hadiths, dubious hadiths and fabricated hadiths. In this delicate territory rigour, accuracy and fairness is paramount.</p> <p>The hadith which Holland pointed me towards first appeared in the late eighth&nbsp;century in the Book of Jihad, believed to have been written by Ibn al-Mubarak, a warrior-scholar who fought against the Byzantines.</p> <p>If indeed it was him who produced this collection of hadiths, then it was as part of propaganda literature to justify these wars on religious grounds. Scholars, including Mumisa, doubt it was ever uttered by the Prophet.</p> <p>But Holland tells his audiences none of this. Instead his film encourages its audience to assume that the Prophet himself condoned violent jihad.</p> <h2><strong>Selective information</strong></h2> <p>This is not the only time that Holland presents selective information.</p> <p>Take this atmospheric piece to camera, delivered from a railway carriage as it rattles past Vienna, with reference to the Ottoman attempts to take the city:</p> <p>"We've just gone through Vienna. Muslim armies came this far twice. We've passed the town where they massacred everyone. The further east across Europe you go, the more people remember things like this. It's nightmarish and it's supposed to be. ISIS has a user's manual, it's called the Management of Savagery. We need to massacre others, it says. Hostages must be eliminated in a terrifying manner."</p> <p>It seems to me that Holland is doing something deliberate here. He is seamlessly linking IS violence in the twenty-first century to the atrocities committed in the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the late seventeenth century.</p> <p>But Ottoman attempts to conquer Vienna only begin to make sense when placed in the context of a long series of conflicts that began in the early fifteenth century and intensified after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, with massacres on all sides.</p> <p>As Joachim Whaley <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/germany-and-the-holy-roman-empire-9780198731016?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">made plain in a recent magisterial history</a> of the Holy Roman Empire, the primary issue wasn't religion. Rather it was the threat posed first to Venice and then to the Habsburgs by the establishment of an eastern empire. After all, the Ottomans were originally regional commanders in Anatolia, who took control themselves and then expanded north-westwards. They were Muslims whose first conquest was the territory of their own Muslim overlords.</p> <p>However, Holland confirmed to me that the town where “they massacred everyone" is Perchtoldsdorf in lower Austria. Details are scant, but somewhere between 300 and 1,000 are thought to have been killed there in 1683.</p> <p>But Holland fails to tell TV viewers that there were Habsburg atrocities too. After the Battle of Buda in 1686, for example, the Habsburgs took the town back from the Ottomans, who had held it for 150 years. They slaughtered 3,000 Turks, selling thousands more as slaves and killing half of Buda's Jewish population as well.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/512px-Esztergomi_rondella_(Buda).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/512px-Esztergomi_rondella_(Buda).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="308" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Detail from the 1686 Battle of Buda depicted by artist Frans Geffels (Wikicommons). Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>There's no mention of any of this by Holland. To have provided this kind of context is essential to any serious understanding of the Ottoman/Habsburg struggle. Holland does not even attempt to provide it. To have done do would have wrecked his thesis. </p><p>Indeed, during this bloodthirsty period of European history far worse massacres were carried about by European armies against each other. <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yeXYMV3CZ0IC&amp;pg=PA23&amp;dq=thirty+years+war+germany+population&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwj3lPuGo-bUAhXMJcAKHZVOCMIQ6AEINDAD#v=onepage&amp;q=thirty%20years%20war%20germany%20population&amp;f=false">Historians think</a> that during the seventeenth-century Thirty Years War, Germany's population may have sunk by around one quarter.</p> <p>This means that the Ottoman massacre outside Vienna can only be understood in the context of such contemporary horrors as the sack of Magdeburg in 1631, when the Imperial Army destroyed a Protestant city, reportedly slaughtering 20,000 out of 30,000 inhabitants. Any responsible historian would provide that background. Holland does not. Once again, to have done so would have undermined his thesis.</p> <h2><strong>Truth distortion</strong></h2> <p>I am also troubled by Holland's use of the term "Muslim armies" rather than the more accurate but less inflammatory "Ottoman armies".</p> <p>Such labels support his argument that Islam has long been at war with other religions. But again, this distorts the truth. The Ottoman empire was a multi-ethnic, multi-religious empire which often protected minorities. For example, the Jews who survived the Austrian armies at Buda fled, if they could, back into Ottoman territory where they were much safer than under the Habsburgs.</p> <p>Holland does not mention that tens of thousands of Hungarian nationalists led by Imre Thokoly, who wanted to resist Habsburg imperialism, fought with the Ottomans at Vienna in 1683. Perhaps more than half of the Ottoman army was <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674061767">made up of Christians rather than Muslims</a> – Greeks, Armenians, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Serbs fighting alongside Arabs and Kurds as well as Turks and other Muslims.</p> <p>The film also fails to mention that the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna were in an alliance, very much of convenience, with Louis XIV, the (Christian) French King.</p> <p>Ian Almond <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674061767">has written</a> that these factors reflected&nbsp;how "little use terms such as 'Muslim' and 'Christian' are to describe the almost hopelessly complex web of shifting power relations, feudal alliances, ethnic sympathies and historical grudges" that have characterised European history.</p> <p>For centuries, the Ottomans did have a famous practice of&nbsp;devşirme,&nbsp;which was the conscription and forced conversion of Christian boys in conquered territories, but it is surely wrong to suggest that Ottoman violence was "Muslim" and alien to Europe.</p> <p>Though converted, many men who rose to prominence came from old aristocratic Orthodox families. There were Christians in many provincial armies and navies, such as a contingent of Serbs who fought at the Battle of Ankara in 1402.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet Holland misleadingly labels the Ottoman army outside Vienna as "Muslim". Once again, had he been truthful with TV viewers, his thesis that Islamic State's murderous origins can be traced to the Ottoman Caliphate would have been undermined.</p> <h2><strong>What is missing</strong></h2> <p>There are still more serious issues with this documentary.</p> <p>He does not explain the difference between Islamic State and al-Qaeda. This distinction is important, especially if the extent of IS's isolation is to be understood. He fails to examine evidence that Islamic State has been supported by allies of the west.</p> <p>He creates a Christian-Yazidi-Shia-versus-Sunni narrative, which means he pays too little attention to the thousands of Sunni Muslims who have been murdered by IS.</p> <p>He fails to stress how often Islam has been synonymous with tolerance rather than violence. He devotes a great deal of attention to the recent IS-linked terrorist attacks in Paris without once mentioning the legacy of appalling French colonial atrocities in Algeria as a possible factor in the terrible IS attacks.</p> <p>He says the "core of ISIS strategy" involves radicalising Muslims in the west. Untrue: its core strategy has been, at least until the recent series of devastating setbacks in northern Iraq, in building a territorial Islamic state.</p> <p>He does not mention the latest research (for instance the work of <a href="http://www.hurstpublishers.com/book/jihad-and-death/">Olivier Roy</a> and <a href="https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/turning-to-political-violence-marc-sageman/1124704438">Marc Sageman</a>) showing that IS recruits tend to know little about Islam, and are often drifters with a background in drugs and petty crime.</p> <p>This lack of connection with Islamic movements, of course, makes them more dangerous because potential terrorists are difficult to detect. But it undermines Holland's central contention that Islamic State's origins can be found within the tenets of Islam.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-20935546.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/PA-20935546.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="290" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Young British Muslims launch social media campaign against ISIS using #notinmyname. September, 2014. Sean Dempsey/Press Association. All rights reserved.</span></span></span></p> <h2><strong>A presenter's responsibility</strong></h2> <p><em>Isis: The Origins of Violence</em> is well made, with strong camera work, first-class editing and an edge of drama mixed with dark moody music. The settings in monasteries, in devastated cities and by the pyramids are excellent. I have never seen a better presentation of the horror which befell the Yazidis. Holland himself is a gifted and passionate TV performer.</p> <p>He has, so far as I can discover, received excellent reviews for this work in the mainstream press. The Guardian <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/may/17/isis-the-origins-of-violence-a-brave-documentary-that-will-start-many-a-fight">called</a> it ‘brave and thoughtful' and predicted that it might win a BAFTA, while Douglas Murray in The Spectator <a href="https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/05/british-broadcaster-brave-enough-discuss-islamic-violence/">praised</a> the "scholarly truthfulness" of what he called a "deep and seriously important programme".</p> <p>I can't agree. It is not good enough to make an argument mainly by stringing together a series of sequences or anecdotes, no matter how traumatic and upsetting the subject, and then come to a conclusion.</p> <p>A responsible presenter needs to put forward the counter-argument, present its case fairly, and then refute it. On the rare occasions that Holland alludes to counter-arguments he then brushes them aside.</p> <p>This lack of balance is especially serious because Holland's film engages directly with the ancient argument that has taken on new intensity since Samuel P Huntingdon evolved his <a href="http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Clash-of-Civilizations-and-the-Remaking-of-World-Order/Samuel-P-Huntington/9781451628975">"clash of civilisations"</a> thesis that Islam is inherently incompatible with, or even at war against, the west.</p> <p>Numerous scholars, activists, journalists and politicians have bought into variants of this thesis: Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, Douglas Murray, Melanie Phillips, Geert Wilders, Pam Geller, Michael Gove, Tommy Robinson, Donald Trump and many others.</p> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 15.13.28.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/500209/Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 15.13.28.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="249" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot. Community march in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska protesting against ISIS. Flickr/Lion Multimedia production. </span></span></span>There are, however, many eloquent and powerful voices on the other side, including the majority of Islamic scholars and Imams. </p><p>Before I wrote this article, I asked Holland whether his film would have had greater strength, authority and balance if he had interviewed at least one of these experts so his audience could have heard the other point of view.</p> <p>Holland replied that "we were not making a film about whether or not ‘Islam' sanctions violence - an issue on which, as we make very clear in the film, there is a huge spectrum of opinion."</p> <p>He continued: "Specifically, we were exploring whether there was anything within Islamic scripture and tradition that ISIS (&amp; militant Salafi-Jihadists more generally) felt justified them in their treatment of non-Muslims. Abu Sayyaf, both in his own right, and as a close ally of al-Maqdisi [editor's note: a leading Jihadi theorist], whose stature as&nbsp;one of the most important radical Muslim thinkers alive today I hardly need to spell out, was a vital witness to this. To provide intellectual and historical context, we also made sure to include Shiraz Maher, himself a Muslim, and author of the definitive study of Salafi-Jihadism. I cannot think of a documentary on ISIS that has featured two such intellectually distinguished interviewees."</p> <p>"This was a film," Holland insisted, "as its title plainly signified - on the historiography of violence, not on Islam&nbsp;tout court."</p> <p>I think Holland goes much further than he claims in his reply. He is not just arguing that IS violence is the tragic consequence of an epic misunderstanding of what Islam teaches: if he was saying no more than that, then he and I would find ourselves, as we often do in other circumstances, in warm agreement.</p> <p>Instead he locates the origins of IS violence in Islamic scripture and Islam's most distinctive political institution, the Caliphate. Surely he is asserting that Islamic State is partly right and that there is something dark in the heart of Islam which makes the religion a threat to the rest of us?</p> <p>It's not just me that thinks this. So, for instance, does The Spectator writer Douglas Murray. In his <a href="https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/05/british-broadcaster-brave-enough-discuss-islamic-violence/">favourable review</a> referred to above – which <a href="https://twitter.com/holland_tom/status/865311863717986304">was retweeted</a> without demur by Holland – Murray said that Holland was arguing that Islamic State's "most important inspiration is a version of Islam whose roots can be traced to the origins of the religion, its foundational texts and the behaviour of Muhammad".</p> <p>Holland is, it goes without saying, entitled to advocate his view. The strength with which he holds it gives the documentary its strength and authenticity.</p> <p>The fundamental problem is that the facts which undermine or mitigate against Holland's thesis are excluded. Opposing voices are excluded.</p> <p>And there is an unnerving paradox here. Holland's interpretation of Islamic State's relationship with Islam is, as he himself acknowledges, rejected by the vast majority of Muslims.</p> <p>But it is one with which Islamic State itself murderously agrees.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em>Additional reporting for this piece was provided by Richard Assheton, </em><em>a British writer and researcher who has recently graduated with a master's in World History&nbsp;from Cambridge University. He studied the resistant photojournalism of Chileans under General Pinochet. Next year he hopes to write a postcolonial travel book about The Gambia.</em></p> <p><em>The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. Thanks to the author and Middle East Eye for permission to republish this article, <a href="http://www.middleeasteye.net/essays/no-tom-holland-islamic-state-did-not-come-islam-367524521">originally published</a> on July 25, 2017. </em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/uk/peter-oborne/we-dont-need-to-wait-for-chilcot-we-were-lied-to-heres-evidence">We don&#039;t need to wait for Chilcot, Blair lied to us about Iraq. Here&#039;s the evidence.</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/peter-oborne/siege-of-damascus-account-of-everyday-life-in-syria%E2%80%99s-savage-war">The siege of Damascus: an account of everyday life in Syria’s savage war</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/take-back-our-media">Let&#039;s take back our media</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> Can Europe make it? North-Africa West-Asia uk Peter Oborne Thu, 27 Jul 2017 16:02:30 +0000 Peter Oborne 112564 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Elections do not mean democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/aman-madan/elections-Jordan-democracy-USforeignpolicy-Trump-MiddleEast-King%20Abdullah <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Elections are not a bad thing. But for the sake of our own commitment to honesty, let us not deceive ourselves into believing that Jordan is democratizing.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-30829474.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Sachs Ron/CNP/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-30829474.jpg" alt="Sachs Ron/CNP/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="Sachs Ron/CNP/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>United States President Donald J. Trump, right, and King Abdullah II of Jordan, left, shake hands after conducting a joint press conference. April 5, 2017. Sachs Ron/CNP/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>A heightened sense of entitlement and an overarching belief in one’s own view of the ‘right path,’ are certainly indispensable prerequisites when attempting to implement policies that have resulted in nothing other than failure.</p> <p>For the last year, the United States, undeniably not immune to this pronounced sense of self, has worked alongside the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to move the desert kingdom toward ‘democracy.’&nbsp;</p> <p>Democracy is certainly a laudable goal, and one that people everywhere should strive for. In its singularity, democracy epitomizes freedom of expression, the agency to choose who and how one will be represented, and above all an unyielding respect for human rights. </p> <p>Democracy in Jordan, or at least the path toward it, has not been the recipient of those byproducts, but rather has been characterized by illusions masquerading as genuine forms of structural change—illusions enough to satisfy the United States and certainly enough to qualify the monarchy for millions in defense contracts.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Since 2003, Jordan’s secret security force has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/magazine/sleep-away-camp-for-postmodern-cowboys.html?pagewanted=2&amp;_r=0&amp;hp">received</a>&nbsp;over 3 billion US dollars in the form of defense aid &amp; military bases</p><p>Since 2003, Jordan’s secret security force — the General Intelligence Department — has <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/magazine/sleep-away-camp-for-postmodern-cowboys.html?pagewanted=2&amp;_r=0&amp;hp">received</a> over three billion US dollars in the form of defense aid and military bases in partnership with the Department of Defense have emerged in cities all across the country.&nbsp;</p> <p>With the Trump administration’s recent decision to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/29/world/middleeast/rex-tillerson-bahrain-weapons-sales.html">remove</a> human rights conditions in exchange for arms sales to Bahrain, and the administration’s recent unprecedented realignment with Saudi Arabia and UAE, governments in the Sunni Muslim world seem more comfortable today than they did in the eight years of the Obama administration, leading many to believe that democracy building has merely become empty rhetoric.&nbsp;</p> <p>The most recent maneuver to ‘<a href="http://petra.gov.jo/Public_News/Nws_NewsDetails.aspx?lang=2&amp;site_id=1&amp;NewsID=305515&amp;Type=P">democratize</a>’ Jordan has arrived in the form of decentralization and municipal elections. Like the Washington Consensus in the late twentieth century and by extension, the seemingly permanent institutionalization of the neoliberal model, decentralization and democracy under the guise of ‘local empowerment’ have become the new rallying cry of western democracy enthusiasts.&nbsp;</p> <p>But is decentralization a necessary precursor to a strong Jordanian democracy and are elections necessarily a strong indicator of the democratic vitality of a nation-state?&nbsp; </p> <p>Not necessarily, but they certainly can be. Legitimacy of the democratic process—institution building, elections, and the proliferation of political parties—are good things, but it is the context in which they exist which makes them either good or&nbsp;<em>not so good</em>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Jordan’s only organized political opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, has been consistently demonized by the monarchy. In 2013, King Abdullah&nbsp;<a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/jordan/2016-05-03/king-and-islamists">referred</a>&nbsp;to the group as a “Masonic cult . . . run by wolves in sheep’s clothing.” </p> <p>Following verbal attacks, the group’s offices were <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/jordan/2016-05-03/king-and-islamists">closed</a> by authorities in Mafraq, Karak, and Madaba — home to one of the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, an important point given that Palestinian - Jordanians are more likely to support the group. </p> <p>In 2016, the government shut down the group’s headquarters under the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/04/jordan-closes-muslim-brotherhood-headquarters-amman-160413114049536.html">premise</a>&nbsp;that the group had failed to “obtain legal authorisation” for its activities.&nbsp;</p> <p>Corruption in the kingdom is still widespread, and many Jordanians agree that decentralization will not make headway in reducing what many perceive as a widespread epidemic. </p> <p>On a cursory level, if corruption has been a longstanding status quo, creating more positions in the form of local elections does not eradicate systemic issues, but rather both perpetuates them and deceptively attempts to cover those issues under the guise of progress. This empty progress, for many Jordanians, is insulting to both their intelligence and their dignity.&nbsp;</p> <p>How can democracy exist in any substantive capacity — and that too when the United States attempts to impose it? After all, the United States’ record of democracy building has proven disastrous.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-left">Jordan’s embracement<strong>&nbsp;</strong>of democratic values have been more rhetoric than genuine commitment</p> <p>Since the last ten years, the military has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/274825">yielded</a>&nbsp;significant power, often at the expense of the parliament and local decision makers. On a local level, Jordan’s push toward a constitutional monarchy, and the eventual&nbsp;embracement<strong>&nbsp;</strong>of democratic values, have been more rhetoric than genuine commitment. </p> <p>In January of 2017—just seven months ago—the GID&nbsp;<a href="https://freedomhouse.org/article/jordan-release-wrongfully-detained-government-critics">arrested</a>&nbsp;several former government officials and members of the teacher’s union for social media posts critical of the systemic and widespread issues of corruption in the Kingdom. </p><p>Certainly no one can, or rather should, contend that this pattern of repression is one indicative of an eventual embrace of true democracy.&nbsp;</p> <p>Elections are not a bad thing. They should happen, and whether Jordanians take part in them is their decision entirely — we cannot rob them of that agency. But for the sake of our own commitment to honesty — if not for Jordanians — let us not deceive ourselves into believing that Jordan is democratizing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Jordanians — at least some — will go to the polls in August. They will cast their votes for local representatives and they will hope that at least this time their vote might mean something.&nbsp;</p><p>"<em>This content has been made possible by the&nbsp;<a href="http://pulitzercenter.org/" target="_blank">Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting</a>, for which Aman is a student fellow.”&nbsp;</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/olivia-cuthbert/new-chapter-for-feminism-in-jordan">A new chapter for feminism in Jordan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/olivia-cuthbert/protesters-say-jordanian-law-dealing-with-honour-crimes-is-license-to">Protesters say Jordanian law dealing with ‘honour’ crimes is a “license to kill&quot;</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/nicolai-due-gundersen/nationalism-in-jordan-king-and-tribe-or-love-of-country-part-tw">Nationalism in Jordan: king, tribe, or country? Part two </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/nicolai-due-gundersen/nationalism-in-jordan-king-and-tribe-or-love-of-country-part-on">Nationalism in Jordan: king, tribe, or country? Part one</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/in-s-osman/10-years-on-jordan-s-anti-terrorism-law-and-crackdown-on-dissent">10 years on: Jordan’s anti-terrorism law and the crackdown on dissent</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/heba-al-nasser/civil-society-20">Civil society 2.0</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/allure-of-war-motivations-of-jordanian-foreign-fighters-in-syria">The allure of war: the motivations of Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/fluidity-of-identity-among-jordanian-foreign-fighters-in-syria">The fluidity of identity among Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/florian-guckelsberger/breaking-new-ground-in-jordan">Breaking new ground in Jordan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/nazli-tarzi/dreams-of-return-find-new-meaning-on-zaatari%27s-third-anniversary">Dreams of return find new meaning on Zaatari&#039;s third anniversary</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Jordan </div> <div class="field-item even"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia United States Jordan Democracy and government International politics Democracy elections Aman Madan Thu, 27 Jul 2017 09:58:00 +0000 Aman Madan 112493 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Hay’at Tahrir al Sham’s gamble: the failure of blood https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/hayattahriralsham-syria-idlib-turkey-AhraralSham-FSA <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As HTS grows at the expense of others, opposition representatives will continue to lose negotiating power in the Astana and Geneva talks, leaving Assad and Russia only one option with which to end the war.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31098964.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31098964.jpg" alt="AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Smoke rises from an emergency service point after an airstrike at the rebel-held village of Maar Zita in Idlib province, Syria April 27, 2017. AMMAR ABDULLAH/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>On July 19, 2017, the rebel factions Ahrar al Sham (Ahrar) and Hayat Tahrir al Sham (HTS) engaged in some of the fiercest <a href="http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/afp/2017/07/syria-conflict-opposition-idlib.html">infighting</a> that Greater Idlib has experienced during the Syrian Civil War.&nbsp;</p><p>This old conflict has been brewing just beneath the surface since before the&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/a/uwIsi" target="_blank">formation</a>&nbsp;of HTS, which came as a response to rebel failures and the decrease in international support for moderate rebel groups in 2016. Following it's formation, HTS pursued a two-pronged&nbsp;<a href="http://imgur.com/a/BbQC5" target="_blank">approach</a>&nbsp;towards achieving its dream of a grand merger: cooperating with Free Syrian Army groups in joint offensives and using violence and the threat of violence to pressure smaller groups into joining the fold.</p> <p>The failure of this strategy was clear following the lost <a href="https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/4/23/syrian-regime-forces-hama-offensive-moves-towards-khan-sheikhoun">Hama</a>, <a href="http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Voices/2017/03/27/Al-Qaida-on-the-rise-again-hits-Assad-where-it-hurts/3251490626638/">Damascus</a>, and <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/fighting-intensifies-syrian-golan-heights-170626033648183.html">Quneitra</a> offensives, along with <a href="https://www.enabbaladi.net/archives/160002">rejection</a> of HTS by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups in southern Syria.</p> <p>As HTS realized that their military actions were not successful in attracting additional factions, the group began taking an increasingly violent stance towards non-aligned rebel groups in Idlib.</p> <p>On May 12, amid fears of a Turkish-backed united FSA front, HTS <a href="https://www.enabbaladi.net/archives/149301">ordered</a> Friday’s sermons in Idlib to denounce Turkey and the FSA groups that fight in Turkey’s Euphrates Shield operation. Five days later, Ahmed bin Ghalib, a Saudi HTS commander, <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/864946673079996417">“vowed to eradicate Ahrar al Sham.”</a>&nbsp;</p> <p>On May 31, in a sign of internal dissent, former Nour al-Din al-Zenki commander and current HTS leader Hossam al-Atrash <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/869965832918532096">stated</a> that all groups should dissolve and unite under the Interim Government’s Defense Ministry.&nbsp;</p> <p>Eight days later HTS made its first major attack since January when it <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/872887156683018240">attacked</a> FSA and Faylaq al Sham units in the town of Maraat al-Numan, killing FSA Colonel Tasyeer al-Samahi.</p> <p>Violence in Idlib continued on June 13 when HTS <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/875079990043435009">kidnapped</a> two FSA commanders – Nidal Haj Ali and Ahmed al-Mousa. HTS Political Chief Zayd al-Attar <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/874962458825412612">announced</a> his resignation the following day, and on June 20 at least five former Ahrar al-Sham units <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/877252782113382400">defected</a> back to Ahrar in further indications of internal division over HTS’s aggressive actions.</p> <p>Finally, on July 8 al-Modon <a href="http://www.almodon.com/arabworld/2017/7/8/%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B0%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B2%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%83%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A-%D9%82%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A7">reported</a> that the Turkistani Islamic Party and clerics Abdullah Muhaisini and Abu Mariyah Qahtani were mediating between HTS and Ahrar as tensions rose along the Bab al-Hawa border crossing.</p> <p>However, attempts at mediation repeatedly failed as the increasing tensions exploded on July 19. HTS General Leader Abu Jaber justified these attacks in an audio message that day, claiming that Ahrar <a href="https://twitter.com/IbnNabih1/status/887628996061663232">“refused to merge with us and sold out to foreign interests”</a> – a reference to Ahrar’s close ties with Turkey and its <a href="http://web.stanford.edu/group/mappingmilitants/cgi-bin/groups/view/523">participation</a> in Euphrates Shield.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ahrar appeared to hold the upper hand following the first day of fighting, capturing several towns from HTS. However, on July 20 HTS <a href="https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanMM3/status/888002606999719937">reiterated</a> its position that it would only accept a full merger and launched a new wave of attacks, making quick work of Ahrar strongholds and <a href="http://syriadirect.org/news/hardline-islamist-coalition-control-of-idlib-province-prompts-border-closure-halts-humanitarian-aid/">seizing</a> all of the Idlib/Turkey border crossings by July 23.</p> <p><a href="https://medium.com/@_alhamra/blow-by-blow-breakdown-ahrar-al-sham-and-hayat-tahrir-al-sham-clashes-in-free-idlib-8b7f246f2ff">At</a> <a href="https://maps.southfront.org/19-armed-groups-defected-from-ahrar-al-sham-during-tensions-with-hayat-tahrir-al-sham/">least</a> nineteen armed groups have joined HTS since July 19 – <a href="https://maps.southfront.org/19-armed-groups-defected-from-ahrar-al-sham-during-tensions-with-hayat-tahrir-al-sham/">reportedly</a> including 7,000 fighters from Ahrar’s Badia Division – with many local forces defecting after HTS captured their towns.</p> <p>Despite the apparent military success of HTS, the most recent round of infighting has called into question the strength of HTS’s “coalition” label.</p> <p>On July 20, after only one day of fighting, Nour al Din al Zenki <a href="https://twitter.com/badly_xeroxed/status/888001864637325313">broke</a> from HTS, <a href="https://twitter.com/AbuSulaymanMM3/status/888002072003715072">claiming</a> that the new attacks were launched by Jolani and Abu Jaber without the approval of the Shura Council and that Zenki had only joined HTS with the promise that infighting would cease.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even the HTS-aligned cleric Abdullah Muhaisini <a href="https://twitter.com/IbnNabih1/status/887746962661007361">declared</a> that the new infighting was haram and confirmed that the Sharia Council gave no approval for it. Zenki’s and Muhaisini’s statements imply that Abu Jaber and the former leaders of Jabhat al Nusra still act with impunity within the organization, despite the fact that former Zenki leaders held the high positions of <a href="https://twitter.com/Charles_Lister/status/878368906221674496">Deputy Political Chief</a> and <a href="http://en.eldorar.com/node/4121">President of the Consultative Council</a>.</p> <p>On July 20 another HTS group, Quwa al Markaziya, <a href="https://twitter.com/badly_xeroxed/status/887997551680659458">defected</a> to Ahrar and an unnamed Uzebek group <a href="https://mobile.twitter.com/morasul_ahrar/status/888030346180251651">announced</a> that, while remaining a part of HTS, it would not fight Ahrar. This, as well as Zenki’s defection, demonstrates that while HTS appears to have won the Idlib war, it has done so only through force and an <a href="https://twitter.com/ThomasPierret/status/888850316887805952">unwillingness</a> of many Ahrar fighters to fight HTS.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fighters and <a href="https://twitter.com/Elizrael/status/888132100347527168">civilians</a> throughout the region still adamantly <a href="https://twitter.com/JohnArterbury/status/887719636980178944">oppose</a> HTS’s ideology and policies, and any union with HTS will not be amicable.</p> <p>Thus, the recent infighting is a clear indication of the failure of HTS’s attempted middle-ground policy. Abu Jaber and Jolani have abandoned the carrot for full license of the stick and will never again be able to masquerade as a welcoming, uniting force in Idlib.</p> <p>HTS’s only chance now to achieve a complete merger with Ahrar and the dozens of FSA factions throughout the region is to violently force them into submission – a course which will cement their pariah status both within Syria and the international community.&nbsp;</p> <p>Yet this possible merger may have been aided by the United States when the Trump Administration <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-usa-syria-idUSKBN1A42KC">announced</a> the end of the CIA’s arming program on July 19.</p> <p>If the formation of HTS was a partial response to the perceived abandonment by the international community, then the actual abandonment of moderate factions by the United States will only serve to further force moderates into HTS.</p> <p>In January, choosing to unite with HTS offered a clear decision between choosing a unified domestic opposition that will aggressively pursue war, or remaining outside in order to seek stronger ties with international backers and a more diplomatic approach to resolving the overall conflict.&nbsp;</p> <p>Unfortunately, it appears that most factions no longer hold a choice in this matter, but the effects will remain the same.</p> <p>As HTS grows at the expense of others, opposition representatives will continue to lose negotiating power in the Astana and Geneva talks, leaving Assad and Russia only one option with which to end the war.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/josepha-ivanka-wessels/white-phosphorus-over-raqqa">White phosphorus over Raqqa</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/whatever-happened-peace-arms-oil-war-proxy-syria-middle-east-military-industrial">Whatever happened to peace? Arms, oil and war by proxy</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/david-morrison/red-lines-can-we-be-sure-that-assad-was-responsible">Red lines: can we be sure that Assad was responsible?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/shilpa-jindia/syria-US-war-left-revolution">To stand up for the powerless in Syria, the Left must embrace complexity</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/joseph-daher/towards-inclusive-and-pluralistic-citizenship-in-syria">Towards an inclusive and pluralistic citizenship in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/will-murray/why-strike-syria-trump">Why strike Syria, Trump?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/allure-of-war-motivations-of-jordanian-foreign-fighters-in-syria">The allure of war: the motivations of Jordanian foreign fighters in Syria</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/gregory-waters/divide-and-conquer-offering-jabhat-al-nusra-access-to-syrian-peace-tal">Divide and conquer: offer Jabhat al-Nusra access to the Syrian peace talks</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item even"> Turkey </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Russia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Russia United States Turkey Syria Conflict International politics Violent transitions Arab Awakening: violent transitions Gregory Waters Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:38:38 +0000 Gregory Waters 112523 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Qatar crisis: a broader consolidation of power https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/tommaso-segantini/qatar-Saudi-US-MiddleEast-geopolitics-power <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Despite the real tension and rivalries, there is far more that unites Qatar and surrounding countries than what separates them.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31409477.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/PA-31409477.jpg" alt="Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved." title="Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved." width="460" height="358" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>L-R : Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, US President Donald Trump, Saudi King Salman Bin Abdelaziz (or Abdul Aziz) Al Saud, Jordan's King Abdullah II Bin Al Hussein, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, attend Arab and Muslim leaders summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2017. Balkis Press/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>In "<a href="http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=28113">Morbid Symptoms</a>", Lebanese academic Gilbert Achcar argues that the Arab uprisings that started in 2011 took the form of a "triangular conflict between one revolutionary pole and two rival counter-revolutionary camps".</p> <p>As the democratic revolutionary components of the uprisings were unable to effectively organize and take the lead of the opposition, Achcar writes, they were relegated to the margins, while the Gulf-backed Islamist and jihadist organizations took over, dominating the opposition.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thus, the situation that emerged in many countries was one of a clash between two reactionary camps: the national governments on one side, and the various counterrevolutionary opposition groups on the other, both "equally inimical to the emancipatory aspirations of the "Arab Spring"", which squeezed and marginalized the groups asking for freedom, democracy, and equality.</p> <p>Within this framework of analysis, which I think is a relatively accurate interpretation of the Arab uprisings, the recent Gulf crisis represents an internal feud among counterrevolutionary actors.</p><p class="mag-quote-right">the recent Gulf crisis represents an internal feud among counter-revolutionary actors</p> <p>The recent schisms between Qatar and other important regional players, led by Saudi Arabia, were caused, chiefly, by a Saudi-led settling of scores with Qatar. Doha's independent foreign policy (in particular, its support for the Muslim Brotherhood), its ties with Iran, and its regional influence through Al-Jazeera and other news organizations, which gave a platform to activists and intellectuals sympathetic towards the Arab uprisings, were difficult to tolerate for the Saudis.</p> <p>In particular, Qatar's ambiguous role and multiple alliances during the Arab revolts since 2011 irritated Saudi Arabia, which was staunchly opposed to any alteration of the regional balance of power.</p> <p>Therefore, emboldened by Trump's visit, and led by the reckless bin Salman, the Saudi regime, supported by other surrounding countries, decided to reaffirm its authority and put Qatar in line through an abrupt and violent set of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-08/air-travel-sugar-and-port-access-sanctions-levied-on-qatar">sanctions</a> and a <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/arab-states-issue-list-demands-qatar-crisis-170623022133024.html">list of unreasonable demands</a>. </p> <p>Dutch-Palestinian scholar Mouin Rabbani&nbsp;<a href="http://palestine.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/26776/qatar-saudi-arabia-and-the-gulf-cooperation-counci">argued</a>&nbsp;that Trump (knowingly or unknowingly) "effectively extended [King] Salman&nbsp;<em>carte blanche</em>&nbsp;to remake the region in accordance with their joint vision of durable security and stability", giving Saudi Arabia a boost of confidence to "reassert its leadership role", which in the "immediate term ... meant bringing Qatar to heel."&nbsp;</p> <p>How the crisis will unfold is still very much uncertain at this time. According to Rabbani, "the situation is sufficiently tense that a rash move or miscalculation could have unforeseen consequences". As Washington gives contradictory signals, the Qatar crisis could be "headed for either catastrophic escalation or speedy resolution."</p> <p>However, the internal rift between Gulf States should not obscure their ultimate shared goals: to maintain the political and economic status quo in the region. As academic and activist Adam Hanieh&nbsp;<a href="https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/06/qatar-saudi-arabia-uae-crisis-middle-east">writes</a>, Gulf countries'&nbsp;"interest in preserving their regional position and their long-standing political structures ... outweigh[s] the potential benefits of fracturing the project".</p> <p>Despite the real tension and rivalries, whose potential consequences and further escalation cannot be underestimated, there is far more that unites Qatar and surrounding countries than what separates them: they have similar, regressive political and economic systems controlled, in large part, by family dynasties and religious clans, and have been fully integrated into the US (and Israeli) regional arrangement for patrolling the region.</p> <p>In fact, Hanieh notes, "the West and Israel want to see the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] hold together, as it has served their interests so well over recent decades". </p> <p>Also, Qatar never embraced the aspirations of the protesters in the Arab world. It supported the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya and the US-backed Saudi massacre in Yemen, as well as the brutal repression of protests in Bahrain. </p><p>In Syria, Qatar played a key role in hijacking of the uprisings in 2011 by&nbsp;<a href="http://stopterrorfinance.org/stories/510652383-funding-al-nusra-through-ransom-qatar-and-the-myth-of-humanitarian-principle">funding</a>&nbsp;extremist jihadi factions. In Tunisia and in Egypt, Qatar backed the Islamist factions of the opposition whose ideologies and programs converged with Doha's strategic interests, supporting them in their transition to power.</p> <p>Overall, "there are no principled political positions involved in these alliances", Hanieh continues, but only "a pragmatic assessment by each state of how best to further their regional influence, always within the framework of reordering the region in a way amenable to their collective political and economic power".</p> <p>Like other actors in the region, Qatar, while it&nbsp;<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/nov/29/qatari-poet-jailed-arab-spring">jailed</a>&nbsp;protesters domestically, worked to capitalize on the protests since 2011 to advance its political and economic interests and to increase its influence in the region.</p> <p>The Gulf crisis can be seen as a consequence of a broader consolidation of power in the region led by a ruthless&nbsp;<a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/israel-calls-saudi-arabia-ties-state-visits-170622082111519.html">Saudi-Israeli-US axis</a>, aimed at reinforcing the status quo, isolating Iran, and fending off the threat of future popular mobilizations, rather than an ideological or genuine political struggle over principles or long-term objectives.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As Hanieh puts it, "each state had a common interest in this counterrevolutionary process, but their responses differed", and "contradictory and rapidly changing constellation of alliances formed around the GCC’s common interests and their internal rivalries."</p> <p>While the Saudi-led boycott campaign of Qatar should be opposed and its hypocrisy exposed, and Al-Jazeera, with all its flaws (like any other news outlet), defended, those who support the progressive values of the Arab awakening must not put their trust in the hands of Qatar as a champion of democracy and human rights.</p> <p>Qatar's alignment with Western ambitions of control of the region, its repressive political order and exploitative economic system, and its foreign policy record, certainly do not represent a way forward for the emancipation of the populations of the Middle East. </p> <p>Despite occasional, opportunistic support by the region's governments, the peoples of the Middle East can only rely on themselves to bring about change and to challenge the region's autocratic governments, reactionary opposition groups, and imperialist powers.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dilip-hiro/enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my">The enemy of my enemy is my...? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/ebrahim-deen-na-eem-jeenah/behind-saudi-qatari-spat-and-fragmentation-of-gcc">Behind The Saudi-Qatari spat and the fragmentation of the GCC</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia </div> <div class="field-item even"> United Arab Emirates </div> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> <div class="field-item even"> Qatar </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Israel </div> <div class="field-item even"> Iran </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Iran Israel Qatar United States United Arab Emirates Saudi Arabia Conflict Democracy and government International politics Geopolitics Tommaso Segantini Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:55:36 +0000 Tommaso Segantini 112491 at https://www.opendemocracy.net المعارض الروسي دافيدس: الأسباب التي تجعل المجتمع الروسي صامتاً معقدّة https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/Syria-untold/Russia-Syria-opposition <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">أجرى موقع “حكاية ما انحكت” مقابلة مع&nbsp; سيرغي دافيديس لفهم موقف المجتمع المدني الروسي من الصراع في سوريا. وهذا الحوار هو نتيجة شراكة بين موقع “حكاية ما انحكت” و<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia">موقع أوبن ديموكراسي في روسيا</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/jpg_1." rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/jpg_1." alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>سيرغي دافيديس يشارك في مظاهرة ضد القمع السياسي في موسكو، بتاريخ 6 أيار ٢٠١٧ (إيفان بيلتسكي/ الاستخدام العادل. جميع الحقوق محفوظة للمصّور)</span></span></span><a href="https://twitter.com/sergei_davidis?lang=en">سيرغي دافيديس</a>، معارض سياسي ومدافع عن حقوق الإنسان في روسيا وهو عضوٌ في <a href="https://memohrc.org/">مجلس مركز حقوق الإنسان التذكاري</a>، بالإضافة إلى كونه عضواً في مجلس التنسيق الاتحادي <a href="http://5dec.ru/">لحزب 5 ديسمبر</a>.</p> <p><strong>لقد مرّت أكثر من ست سنوات والمدنيون السوريون يتعرّضون لعنفٍ لم يسبق له مثيل، فلماذا لا يتحدث المجتمع المدني الروسي عما يحدث؟ هل هناك مبادرات تضامنية روسية لا تتم تغطيتها في الإعلام؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">لا أعتقد أنّ هناك أيّة مبادرات تضامنية ذات أهمية خاصّة لا يعرف عنها العالم. في بعض الأحيان، هناك لحظات تضامن منفردة وأحياناً هناك شعارات تضامن بشكلٍ عام في مظاهرات المعارضة، خاصةً خلال تلك المتعلّقة بأوكرانيا.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">ولكن كانت هناك مظاهرة (في موسكو) حضرها ما بين ألفين إلى ثلاثة آلاف شخص بعد قرار الكرملين بنشر قواته في سوريا (في عام ٢٠١٥). وكانت هناك محاولة لعقد مظاهرة تضامنية في ذروة المعارك في حلب في تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر ٢٠١٦، وكان لهذه المحاولة صدىً خاصاً في المجتمع، غير أنّ سلطات المدينة لم تسمح بقيام تلك المظاهرة. في ذلك الوقت، كانت هناك بعض أعمال الاحتجاج في بعض المدن الروسية، على الرغم من أنّها لم تحشد الكثير من الأشخاص. كما أنّ هناك بعض التضامن مع الشعب السوري على شبكات التواصل الاجتماعي الروسية، غير أنّها هادئة إلى حدٍّ كبير.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">أعتقد أنّ الأسباب التي تجعل المجتمع الروسي صامتاً بشأن هذه المسألة معقدّة، وربما لا يمكن تفسيرها على نحوٍ شاملٍ، غير أني أظن العوامل الآتية هي الأهم:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– إنّ تغطية الوضع في سوريا من قبل وسائل الإعلام خاضعة لسيطرة الدولة. إن أشارت هذه التغطية إلى قيام أعمال عنف ضد المدنيين السوريين، فيتم تحديد هذه الأعمال على أنّ مرتكبيها هم من تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية أو التحالف (الذي تقوده الولايات المتحدة). ويتم تصوير روسيا على أنها المدافع عن المدنيين.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– طبيعة الصراع في سوريا لا تتناسب مع الانقسام القائم بين الغرب الديمقراطي ونظام بوتين الأوتوقراطي.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– هناك نقص عام في المعلومات المتاحة في روسيا حول الوضع في سوريا. بسبب تعقيد الوضع، هناك صعوبة كبيرة للمواطنين الروس أولاً لمعرفة ما يجري حقاًّ، خاصةً على أساس المعلومات المتاحة، والتي هي مجزأة وغير متوازنة، وثانياً لمحاولة فهم من يجب دعمه ولماذا.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– السياق السوري بحدّ ذاته بعيد ثقافياً وغير مفهوم عند المواطنين الروس (مقارنةً مع أوكرانيا)، ومستوى التعاطف مع الشعب السوري متدنٍّ.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– يعتبر الشعب الروسي تهديد الإرهاب الإسلامي حقيقياً، ويأتي في المقام الأول تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية (داعش). كما يجد الجمهور الروسي صعوبة في التمييز بين الحرب ضد داعش وغيرها من الصراعات العسكرية داخل سوريا.</p> <p><strong class="direction-rtl">ماذا عن المعارضة الروسية للحكومة الحالية؟ أين هي من الصراع السوري؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">ترى المعارضة الحقيقية للسلطات الروسية، أي المعارضة غير النظامية، حرب بوتين في سوريا بشكلٍ سلبي. وهذا صحيح لما يسمّى بالمعارضة “الليبرالية” أيضاً، فضلاً عن قسمٍ كبيرٍ من المعارضة الوطنية الروسية واليسار الروسي. غير أنّ الأطروحات الرئيسية للجماعات المعارضة الروسية هي عملية وليست إنسانية، فروسيا تستخدم الأموال لتمويل حربٍ بعيدة وغير ضرورية، أي الأموال اللازمة لحلّ العديد من المشاكل الداخلية.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">ومع ذلك، فإنّ فكرة قيام نظام بوتين بشنّ الحرب في سوريا لدعم بشار الأسد ولمعارضة الغرب وتلبية طموحاته الجيوسياسية بدلاً من مواجهة تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية وغيره من الجماعات الإرهابية، يُنظر إليه على أنه شبه بديهي من قِبل المعارضة.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong><strong class="direction-rtl">هل اللامبالاة تجاه سوريا مرتبطة بطريقةٍ أو بأخرى بسوء حالة الحريات المدنية في روسيا اليوم؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">من الصعب الحكم على العلاقة بين الاثنين بالضبط، ولكن لا شكّ أنّ هناك رابط بشكلٍ ما. كحدٍّ أدنى، تأخذ العديد من المشاكل المتعلقة بالحقوق والحريات في روسيا الكثير من وقت المجتمع الروسي الذي هو، من حيث المبدأ، على استعداد للتعبير عن قلقه حيال هذه القضايا المحلية، والتي لا تترك المجال بالتالي للمشاكل التي تحدث بعيداً عن روسيا. وعلاوةً على ذلك، فإنّ القيود المستمرة على حرية التجمّع والتعبير تحدّ من قدرة الفرد للتعبير عن موقفه للآخرين.</p> <p><strong class="direction-rtl">إلى أي مدى يمكننا أن نعزو اللامبالاة (الروسية المدنية) تجاه القضية السورية إلى اللامبالاة العامة تجاه الصراعات النائية، وإلى أي مدى يمكننا اعتبارها دليلاً على وجود دعم واسع النطاق لسياسات الحكومة الروسية في سوريا؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">كلاهما موجودان هنا، ولكن لفهم مساهمتهما، علينا القيام بمقارنة عندما ضمّت روسيا شبه جزيرة القرم وعدوانها تجاه أوكرانيا. وفقاً لاستطلاعات الرأي، فإنّ هذه الإجراءات من جانب السلطات الروسية كان لها دعم أكبر بكثير من المجتمع. ومع ذلك، فإنّ الاحتجاج على عدوان الدولة وتضامن الشعب الروسي مع الشعب الأوكراني كان ظاهراً بشكلٍ ملحوظٍ في المجتمع الروسي. لذلك، عندما نتحدث عن سوريا، فإن دعم الشعب الروسي لإجراءات السلطات الروسية كان فعلياً غير حاضر. والواقع هو أن هذه اللامبالاة لصراعٍ بعيدٍ وأجنبي ومعقّد بشكلٍ لا يُصدّق هي السرّ.</p> <p><strong class="direction-rtl">إلى أي مدى تتوفر مصادر موثوقة ومتنوعة باللغة الروسية عما يحدث في سوريا؟ ما هو التصوّر العام لتغطية وسائل الإعلام الروسية للصراع السوري؟ ماذا عن الرأي السائد عن كيفية تغطية وسائل الإعلام الغربية للصراع؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">من الصعب القول، على الأقل في روسيا، ما هي المصادر الموثوقة تماماً التي تغطي الأحداث في سوريا. ولكن بالطبع، من المستحيل التحدّث عن تنوّع مصادر المعلومات في روسيا. في وسائل الإعلام الرسمية، والتي هي إلى حدٍّ ما المصدر الرئيسي للمعلومات لغالبية المواطنين الروس، التغطية دعائية ومتحاملة بشكلٍ كامل.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">في وسائل الإعلام القليلة المعارضة وعلى الإنترنت، يقوم التنوّع على دحض المعلومات الرسمية، فهناك محاولات للفت الانتباه إلى الخسائر الروسية، وإنفاق الأموال على الحرب، والسياسة الخارجية، والفشل العسكري لبوتين والأسد، بدلاً من محاولة رسم صورة حقيقية وشاملة لما يجري في سوريا.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">لا يمكن للمشاهد الروسي عملياً الوصول إلى صورة الصراع السوري التي تراها في الصحافة الغربية السائدة. فهذا النوع من المعلومات (ليس فقط في علاقتها بسوريا، ولكن من حيث كمية الاهتمام المعطى) ليس متاحاً باللغة الروسية، بما في ذلك في وسائل الإعلام المعارضة. الصورة التي تراها في وسائل الإعلام الرسمية والمؤيدة للحكومة الروسية، تختلف اختلافاً رئيسياً عن نظيرتها الغربية، وهذا ينطبق على تغطية الصحافة البديلة كذلك.</p> <p><strong class="direction-rtl">هل هناك ممثل مدني سوري أو مثقف أو فنان تمكّن من الوصول إلى الجمهور الروسي؟ بسبب العلاقات التاريخية بين نظام الأسد والاتحاد السوفياتي السابق، أقام عددٌ كبيرٌ من السوريين في روسيا وبعضهم يتكلم الروسية بطلاقة. ما هو دور هذه الجالية السورية في روسيا والخارج؟ وهل لها أي تأثير على كيف يتم تقديم ما يحدث في سوريا للشعب الروسي؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">لا أستطيع التفكير في أي أمثلة ناجحة <a href="https://www.svoboda.org/a/27375320.html">ناشد</a> فيها السوريون الجمهور الروسي، أو بأي دور قام به السوريون الناطقون بالروسية. المثال الوحيد الذي يمكنني أن أفكر فيه هو، ربما، التصريحات التي أدلى بها محمد فارس وهو أول رائد فضاء سوري. قام فارس بمهمة في محطة مير الفضائية في عام ١٩٨٧، وانضم إلى المعارضة في عام ٢٠١٢، غير أنه فرّ إلى تركيا في نهاية المطاف. في تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر ٢٠١٥، ناشد فارس الشعب الروسي لدعم الحرب ضد الأسد، وكان لهذا النداء صدىً معيّن في المجتمع الروسي.</p> <p><strong class="direction-rtl">يزعم البعض أن الإسلاموفوبيا (أو رهاب الإسلام) لعب دوراً في الحدّ من التعاطف الروسي مع القضية السورية (مقارنةً مع القضية الأوكرانية). إذا كان الأمر صحيحاً، فهل ينظر الروس إلى سوريا بنفس الطريقة التي ينظرون بها إلى الشيشان، وهل يتشاركون نفس الأحكام المسبقة بزعمها قضية “إسلامية”؟ ماذا عن المسلمين الروس؟ هل لهم صوتهم بخصوص ما يجري في سوريا أم أنّ التعبئة تقتصر على المتشددين الإسلاميين؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">أنا لا أعتقد أن الإسلاموفوبيا تلعب دوراً حاسماً في فهم لامبالاة المواطنين الروس تجاه سوريا. هي تلعب دوراً معيّناً، لكن في الحقيقة، لا يريد المجتمع الروسي أن يفهم المواجهات الداخلية أو يهدر طاقته على التمييز بين إرهابي من داعش أو إرهابي آخر ينتمي إلى جماعة تقاتل في سوريا، لأن هناك خطر كونهم على خطأ. ولكن تبيّن مقارنة سوريا مع الشيشان أن الإسلاموفوبيا ليست عاملاً رئيسياً في هذه المعادلة. كان مستوى التعاطف مع الشعب الشيشاني خلال الحروب الشيشانية الأولى وحتى الثانية أعلى بكثير. وربما كان ذلك بسبب بالتقارب الجغرافي والثقافي والتاريخي لروسيا مع الشيشان (والخسائر والهجمات الإرهابية والمشاركة الجماهيرية في الأعمال العسكرية من جميع أنحاء روسيا، ولأن الحرب كانت فعلياً قريبة جداً).</p> <p class="direction-rtl">أنا لست على دراية كافية بما يشعر به المسلمون الروس حول هذا الوضع، لكن ما أعرفه أن مواقفهم محدّدة بشكلٍ أساسي من خلال علاقتهم بالسلطات الروسية. يميل مؤيدو النظام إلى دعم مواقفه، بما في ذلك الحرب في سوريا، في حين يعمد المعارضون إلى التعاطف مع داعش. ولكن على حدّ علمي، لم يقم المسلمون الروس بأي محاولات لدعم المدنيين السوريين (أو التظاهر) ضد الأسد أو ضد دور روسيا في الحرب.</p> <p><strong class="direction-rtl">في أوروبا، أصبح الانحياز للنظام السوري اتجاهاً مشتركاً بين قطاعات واسعة من اليسار التقليدي (تحت شعار “مناهضة الإمبريالية”) واليمين المتطرّف (بسبب رهاب الإسلام وعلى أمل الحدّ من الموجات غير المرغوب فيها من اللاجئين من خلال “دعم” الدكتاتوريات “العلمانية” المستقرة). كما أنّ عدداً متزايداً من صناع القرار يعيدون تأهيل نظام الأسد بحجة أنه، من وجهة نظرهم، أقل الشريّن (كون الأخير متمثّلاً بالجهاد السنّي)، كما أنّ تعاونهم يساعد على استعادة الأمن والاستقرار العالميين. هل هناك أيّ أوجه تشابه بين أوروبا والمشهد السياسي الروسي؟ وإذا لم يكن كذلك، فكيف يختلف المشهدان فيما يتعلق الأمر بسوريا؟</strong></p> <p class="direction-rtl">تعتمد السلطات الروسية و”الخبراء” ووسائل الإعلام التي تدعمهما عناصر من الخطابات القائمة في أوروبا. لكن مع غياب السياسة والمناقشة العامة في مفهومها الغربي، تبقى هذه الحجج أدوات لدعم إجراءات السلطات الروسية، بدلاً من أن تكون موضوعاً لمناقشة سياسية ومدنية موضوعية.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">ويستند الدعم المُعْطى لنظام الأسد والعملية العسكرية في سوريا على موقف السلطات الروسية العام، الذي يتقاسمه إلى حدٍّ كبير جزء شاسع من المجتمع الروسي وإن بشكلٍ غير فعّال. ويمكن تفسير هذا الموقف على النحو الآتي:</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– هذا النوع من الدعم هو أكثر وسيلة فعّالة وطبيعية لمحاربة داعش والجماعات الإرهابية الأخرى، مع وجود فرصة حقيقة لإبقائهم بعيداً عن حدود روسيا.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– إن نظام الأسد هو نظام منتخب قانونياً وديمقراطياً، والذي يعمل على تحقيق سيادة سوريا ويدافع عنها ضد العدوان الخارجي والإرهاب الدولي و<a href="http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/03/18/why-the-color-revolutions-failed/">الثورات الخارجية</a>، مما يعطيه الغطاء القانوني والأخلاقي.</p> <p class="direction-rtl">– المشاركة في العملية العسكرية في سوريا من خلال دعم نظام حليف في الشرق الأوسط يسمح لروسيا بمعارضة عدوها الجيوسياسي، أي الغرب، وعلى وجه الخصوص الولايات المتحدة، فضلاً عن إظهار قوة وأهمية روسيا، واختبار معداتها العسكرية الجديدة، وإعطاء الخبرة العسكرية العملية للجيش الروسي.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/syriauntold-editors-of-opendemocracy-russia/why-are-russians-indifferent-to-syrian-conflic">Why are Russians indifferent to the Syrian conflict?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Syria </div> <div class="field-item even"> Russia </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Russia Syria Arabic language Syria Untold Wed, 26 Jul 2017 07:33:44 +0000 Syria Untold 112522 at https://www.opendemocracy.net المغرب: حراك الريف السلمي يُقمع https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mayssae-ajzannay/morocco-hoceima-protests-rif-repression <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p class="direction-rtl">يعرف إقليم الحسيمة، الواقع في الشمال الشرقي للمغرب احتجاجات منذ ما يقارب 9 أشهر، منذ م<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/imad-stitou">قتل بائع السمك محسن فكري </a>في حاوية للنفايات في 28 أكتوبر من سنة 2016 . <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mayssae-ajzannay-ben-moussa/morocco-popular-movement-in-rif-suppressed"><strong>English</strong></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p class="direction-rtl"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31549173.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31549173.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Moroccans take part in a demonstration against official abuses and corruption in the town of Al-Hoceima, Morocco early June 3, 2017. Picture by YOUSSEF BOUDLAL/Reuters/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>هذه الحادثة كانت الشرارة الأولى لبداية حراك شعبي واسع شاركت فيه مختلف فئات المجتمع خاصة و أنه كان حراكا سلميا و ما يزال يرفع شعار: سلمية سلمية . </p><p class="western" dir="rtl"> الحادثة التي تعرض لها بائع السمك فضحت الفساد الذي تعرفه الدولة و أججت الاحتقان الذي تعرفه منطقة الريف التي تعاني من التهميش على عدة مستويات ما جعل المناداة بمطالب حقوقية ضرورة آنية لرفع التهميش و إنهاء معاناة المنطقة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> تم فتح التحقيق في قضية مقتل محسن فكري، و حوكم على إثرها 11 شخصا بسبب الشطط الذي تم التعامل به مع مقتل بائع السمك بعد مصادرة بضاعته و تعريضها للإتلاف من قبل السلطات ما جعله يصعد في حاوية النفايات لاستعادتها ليتم سحقه داخلها دون أي رأفة وقد تم تداول <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGbJXwdphVg">مقطع فيديو</a> يصور لحظة حدوث حادثة الطحن .</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> وبعدها مباشرة تم تداول هاشتاغ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%A9_%D9%84%D9%84%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%82%D9%84%D9%8A%D9%86?source=feed_text&amp;story_id=1381349348647784">#</a>طحن_مو بشكل واسع على شبكات التواصل الإجتماعي فايسبوك و تويتر، و هي العبارة التي نطق بها أحد رجال السلطة عندما صعد محسن فكري إلى شاحنة النفايات. لكن حكم القضاء في حق المتورطين في مقتله كان غير منصف في نظر الرأي العام المغربي لأنه حكم عليهم بثمانية أشهر سجنا فقط في قضية تعرض فيها مواطن للقتل بشكل بشع من قبل السلطات.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> بدأت الاحتجاجات التي تحولت إلى حراك شعبي منذ ليلة مقتل محسن فكري، حين خرج الناشط ناصر الزفزافي الذي تحول مع الوقت إلى رمز للحراك من صفوف الشعب و توجه إلى منزل عامل الإقليم ليخرجه من منزله بعد منتصف الليل مطالبا إياه مع مجموعة من أصدقاء و زملاء القتيل بفتح تحقيق فوري في الحادثة و معاقبة كل الجناة. تزعم ناصر الزفرافي لهذه الخطوة تبعه تزعمه لكل الخطوات التي جاءت بعدها إلى حدود اعتقاله بداية شهر يونيو الماضي.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> و قد عرف الحراك الشعبي السلمي بالحسيمة و نواحيها سلسلة من الاحتجاجات الرافضة لسياسة التهميش و الفساد التي تطال المنطقة،تحت شعار: حرية،كرامة،عدالة اجتماعية. إلا أن الحكومة المغربية الحالية التي تشكلت في شهر أبريل الماضي لم تستجب لصوت الشارع و ظلت غائبة عن ما يجري في المنطقة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> قامت لجنة الحراك الشعبي بتسطير ملف مطلبي يضم سلسلة من المطالب الاجتماعية و الاقتصادية المشروعة التي تلزم المنطقة، كمستشفى للسرطان و مؤسسة جامعية، استكمال مشاريع متوقفة... لكن الملف المطلبي بقي معلقا رغم محاولة الحكومة للتفاوض حوله.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> تم التعامل مع الاحتجاجات بنهج مقاربة أمنية قمعية منذ بدأت سلسلة الاعتقالات في حق نشطاء الحراك الشعبي، الذي تزامن مع شهر رمضان،شهر الصوم المقدس عند المسلمين. إذ كانت الخطبة التي تمت قراءة نصها في المساجد بمدينة الحسيمة بتاريخ 26 من شهر مايو الماضي قبل يوم من بداية رمضان تحرض المصلين بالتخلي عن الاستمرار في الإحتجاج لأنه من الفتنة، ما استفز الزعيم ناصر الزفزافي فتواجه لفظيا مع الخطيب لأنه يلصق بالحراك و النشطاء تهما مجانية لا صحة لها، إلا أن هذه الخطوة دفعت السلطات إلى إصدار مذكرة اعتقال باسمه و بعدها باسم مجموعة من النشطاء الآخرين كمحمد الأصريحي الذي كان يغطي على موقعه الالكتروني الإخباري <a href="http://rif24.com/">ريف٢٤</a> أخبار الحراك. وسليمة الزياني التي كانت المرأة الوحيدة التي تواجدت في لجنة الحراك منذ بداياته في شهر نوفمبر من سنة 2016، حيث تم اعتقالهم و منهم من تم اقتياده إلى مدينة الدارالبيضاء لإيداعهم سجن عكاشة و منهم من أبقوه في السجن المحلي بالحسيمة.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> الاعتقالات التي طالت هؤلاء النشطاء زادت من الاحتقان الذي يعرفه الشارع، ما جعل السكان يخرجون بشكل يومي بعد الإفطار في شهر رمضان للتأكيد على عدم التخلي عن مطالبهم المسطرة في الملف و إضافة مطلبين أساسيين و هما رفع العسكرة عن المنطقة و إطلاق سراح المعتقلين خاصة أن التهم الموجهة إليهم لا دلائل ضدها تدينهم، و تلى اعتقال النشطاء اعتقالات عشوائية و استعمال للعنف لتفريق الاحتجاجات.</p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> يوم عيد الفطر الموافق لـ 26 يونيو من الشهر الماضي خرجت عائلات المعتقلين و كل سكان الحسيمة، رغم التطويق الأمني للمدينة و منع سكان النواحي من الالتحاق بالمدينة عبر وضع حواجز أمنية، للاحتجاج على الوضع الغير العادي بالمنطقة من تواجد عسكري مكثف و الاعتقالات السياسية التي زادت من تأزيم الوضع، لكن تعامل السلطات مع المتظاهرين كان عنيفا إذ كان هناك ضرب و منع للتصوير بتقنية المباشر و اعتقال كل من يحاول أن يوثق ما يجري من عنف، و تم ضرب المحتجين و استعمال قنابل الغاز المسيلة للدموع لتفرقة المتظاهرين ما تسبب باغماءات في صفوف المحتجين في ما بينهم أطفال و بلغ عدد المعتقلين يومها 150 معتقلا تم الافراج عن بعضهم لاحقا بكفالات مالية كبيرة. </p> <p class="western" dir="rtl"> قبل أن يتم اعتقال النشطاء كان مقررا تنظيم مسيرة مليونية يوم 20 من يوليو الحالي لما يمثله هذا التاريخ من رمزية تاريخية و هي ذكرى معركة أنوال التي انتصر فيها القائد الريفي بن عبد الكريم الخطابي على الجيش الاسباني سنة 1921. الشعب أصر على تحقيق هذه المسيرة المليونية رغم كل القمع الذي لاقته يومين قبل تنظيمها بمنع أفراد من الانتقال من مدن أخرى إلى الحسيمة للمشاركة في المسيرة، و إنزال أمني مضاعف للذي كان موجودا، و تطويق للساحة التي كانت ستعرف انطلاقة المسيرة و كل مداخل المدينة و الشوارع الرئيسية و منع سيارات الأجرة من نقل السكان من النواحي. إلا أنه رغم كل هذا استطاع بعض المتضامنين الحضور إلى الحسيمة للمشاركة و خرج السكان رافعين شعارات كـ (الموت و لا المذلة) (عاش الريف و لا عاش من خانه).. إلا أن المسيرة بسبب القمع لم تستطع أن تتم كما كان مبرمجا لها و تفرقت على نقاط احتجاجية موزعة على أحياء المدينة، و تم<a href="https://www.facebook.com/AlarabyTVNetwork/videos/1976905432594603/"> استعمال قنابل الغاز المسيلة للدموع و تم ضرب المحتجين و اعتقال أكثر من </a><a href="https://www.facebook.com/AlarabyTVNetwork/videos/1976905432594603/">200 </a><a href="https://www.facebook.com/AlarabyTVNetwork/videos/1976905432594603/">شخص</a> . و نتج عن هذا العنف دخول شاب عشريني في غيبوبة و يرقد حاليا في المستشفى العسكري في العاصمة الرباط في حالة حرجة بين الحياة و الموت.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/imad-stitou">استشهاد محسن فكري يكشف تاريخ طويل من الغضب في الريف المغربي</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/imad-stitou/mohsen-fikris-death-exposes-history-of-oppression-and-protest-in-moroccos">The death of Mohsen Fikri and the long history of oppression and protest in Morocco&#039;s Rif</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/statement-of-solidarity-with-protests-in-northern-morocco">Statement of solidarity with the protests in Northern Morocco</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Morocco </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Morocco Civil society Democracy and government social justice protest Arabic language ميساء أجزناي بنموسى Tue, 25 Jul 2017 14:20:22 +0000 ميساء أجزناي بنموسى 112492 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Gaza: ten years of economic blockade https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/stephen-mccloskey/gaza-ten-years-of-economic-blockade <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Supporting BDS will hasten an end to the siege on Gaza and help lance a running sore in the Middle East and international relations. It deserves your support.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/Around Bureij (2).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/Around Bureij (2).jpg" alt="Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved." title="Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved." width="460" height="460" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Maghazi Refugee Camp. Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The tenth anniversary of Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip has been marked by a glut of new reports from human rights organisations alerting the world to a deepening humanitarian crisis in the territory. Perhaps the starkest warning has come from the <a href="https://www.icrc.org/en/document/Gaza-power-fuel-crisis">International Committee of the Red Cross</a> in suggesting that "a systemic collapse of an already battered infrastructure and economy is impending."&nbsp;</p> <p>What distinguishes this crisis from the disasters and emergencies that normally push civilian populations to the edge of catastrophe is that it is not the result of a hurricane, flood, tsunami, drought or famine but the calculated policy of the Israeli government.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-right">this crisis is the result of the calculated policy of the Israeli government&nbsp;</p> <p>As Harvard scholar Sara Roy, who has meticulously <a href="http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/200821">researched</a> the impact of Israel’s policy-making on Gaza for thirty years suggests, “What is happening to Gaza is catastrophic; it is also deliberate, considered and purposeful.” Roy argues that Gaza has been subjected to ‘de-development’ meaning that it has been "dispossessed of its capacity for rational and sustainable economic growth and development, coupled with a growing inability to effect social change". So, what we are witnessing in Gaza today is the ‘logical endpoint’ of this policy; "a Gaza that is functionally unviable".</p> <p>In its public pronouncements on Gaza, Israel insists that the blockade is a security matter designed to keep Hamas, the Palestinian political group with a militant wing, at arm’s length. In its more off-guard moments, however, Israel has revealed its true hand in Gaza. </p><p>United States government <a href="http://ca.reuters.com/article/topNews/idCATRE7041GH20110105">cables</a> leaked to Wikileaks show that the Israeli government kept the US embassy in Tel Aviv briefed on the blockade and on "multiple occasions" said their policy aimed "to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge."&nbsp;</p> <p>This appears to have been Israel’s blockade policy from the outset as the BBC <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-19975211">reported</a> an Israeli government adviser, Dov Weisglass, as having said in 2006: </p><blockquote><p>“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.” And, in 2012, an Israeli court forced the release of a government ‘red lines’ <a href="http://gisha.org/updates/1825">document</a> which detailed “the number of calories Palestinians in Gaza need to consume to avoid malnutrition.”</p></blockquote> <p>The Israeli human rights organisation <a href="http://gisha.org/about/about-gisha">Gisha</a>, which won the legal battle to have the red lines document published, argues that “the research contradicts Israel's assertions that the blockade is needed for security reasons.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The chilling calculation behind the ‘red lines’ policy underlines the extent of Israel’s deception in publicly suggesting that the blockade is a security measure while privately, and quite methodically, inflicting collective punishment on an already desperately poor population, mostly comprising refugees. &nbsp;</p> <p>On visits to Gaza’s eight refugee camps, I’ve seen stunted children clearly undernourished and underweight, living in desolate, concrete environments devoid of any greenery or safe spaces to play. The camps are concrete blocks heaped upon each other constrained in their expansion on the ground by Gaza’s tiny area of 360 square kilometres which is home to 1.8 million people; a population density akin to that of Manhattan or Tokyo.&nbsp; </p> <p>Around 70 percent of Gazans are refugees and, according to the <a href="https://euromedmonitor.org/en/article/1730/Gaza..-100-000-hours-of-isolation">Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights</a>, food insecurity in the territory is at 72 percent and unemployment at 43.2 percent. &nbsp;</p> <p>This economic crisis has created serious mental health problems in Gaza. Sara Roy quotes the Gaza Community Mental Health Program which has found that “forty percent of Palestinians are clinically depressed, a rate unmatched anywhere in the world” with Gaza’s Shifa Hospital receiving “up to 30 patients every month who have attempted suicide.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Israel imposed the blockade on Gaza in 2007 following the return of a Hamas government in elections in 2006. The US and EU followed Israel’s lead in refusing to accept the legitimacy of the election result. International pressure contributed to an internal Palestinian power struggle which resulted in Hamas assuming control of Gaza and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority governing the West Bank. &nbsp;</p> <p>While Israel had withdrawn its settlements from Gaza in 2005, it remained the territory’s occupying power under international law by controlling its borders, airspace and coastline. </p><p>As Sara Roy <a href="http://www.palestine-studies.org/jps/fulltext/200821">suggests</a>, the 2005 withdrawal reflected “Israel’s desire to rid itself of any responsibility for Gaza while retaining control of it.” &nbsp;She regards the core goals of Israel’s disengagement as seeking:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><p>“to internally divide, separate, and isolate the Palestinians – demographically, economically, and politically – so as to ensure Israel’s full control both direct (West Bank) and indirect (Gaza Strip) – over <em>all </em>Palestinian lands and resources”.</p></blockquote> <p>The imposition of strict border controls tightly limiting the movement of goods and people across Gaza’s borders by Israel has been compounded by the closure of smuggling tunnels into Gaza by General Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who seized power in Egypt through a military coup in 2013.&nbsp;</p> <p>The tunnels were an economic lifeline for Gaza and the passenger terminal at Rafah into Egypt, which became the only means for most Palestinians of leaving Gaza, has opened only intermittently under Sisi. &nbsp;</p> <p><a href="https://euromedmonitor.org/en/article/1730/Gaza..-100-000-hours-of-isolation">Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights</a> found that less than 50 percent of requests to exit Gaza for medical treatment through Israel’s Erez Crossing were approved in 2016 and 43 cancer patients were refused permission to cross to seek treatment in the first half of 2016. &nbsp;</p> <p>With only a trickle of Palestinians securing passage through the Rafah crossing, these closures can be a death sentence for patients in need of medical assistance. They also deny opportunities for employment and study overseas which, for the majority, are the only escape routes from poverty.</p> <h2><strong>The compounding pressures of war</strong></h2> <p>The social pressures of poverty, isolation and economic inertia caused by the blockade have been compounded and exacerbated by three Israeli military operations in Gaza since 2008, which have collectively <a href="http://euromedmonitor.org/uploads/reports/Gaza-100_thousand_hours_of_isolation_en.pdf">claimed</a> the lives of 3,745 Palestinians and wounded 17,441.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/Ministry of Interior adjacent Zeitoun school.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Zeitoun School. Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/Ministry of Interior adjacent Zeitoun school.jpg" alt="Zeitoun School. Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved." title="Zeitoun School. Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved." width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Zeitoun School. Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The most recent operation, ‘Protective Edge’, was a 51-day onslaught in July and August 2014 that <a href="https://unispal.un.org/DPA/DPR/unispal.nsf/0/90164F24E91DC62A85257D490067170F">killed</a> 2,131 Palestinians, of whom 1,473 were civilians, 501 were children and 257 women. There were 71 Israeli casualties; 66 soldiers and five civilians.&nbsp;</p> <p>The infrastructural <a href="https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-two-years-2014-hostilities-august-2016">damage</a> caused by ‘Protective Edge’ was devastating with: 78 hospitals and clinics damaged; 7 schools destroyed and 252 damaged; 17,800 homes damaged or completed destroyed; and half of the open-field crop areas damaged or destroyed. Just 46 percent of the $1.59 billion pledged by donors for reconstruction in Gaza has been received and a constant source of crisis is the greatly reduced electricity supply which impacts on all aspects of daily life in Gaza. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-left">wreckless and petty politicking by the PA will add to the bitterness of internal relations in Palestine</p> <p>The World Health Organisation (2017) has <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2017/Gaza-fuel-electricity/en/">said</a> that the worsening electricity outages are “threatening the closure of essential health services which would leave thousands of people without access to life-saving health care.”&nbsp;</p> <p>This crisis has been compounded by the Palestinian Authority’s <a href="https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/charlotte-silver/gazas-electricity-supply-hits-all-time-low">decision</a> this summer not to pay the full fuel bill to Israel for Gaza’s electricity supply in an attempt to weaken Hamas and wrest back control of the territory. </p><p>This wreckless and petty politicking by the PA will add to the bitterness of internal relations in Palestine and further delay overdue elections in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It leaves the prospects for much needed Palestinian unity and strategy at a low ebb.</p> <h2><strong>Unhappy anniversaries</strong></h2> <p>This has been a year of significant and painful anniversaries for Palestine. It is the centenary of the <a href="http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745399430&amp;">Balfour Declaration</a> in which the British Foreign Secretary in 1917, Arthur James Balfour, declared “with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” Theresa May has celebrated the centenary with ‘pride’ and seems unconcerned with the continued marginal existence of Palestinians on their own land.</p> <p>Robert Fisk was closer to the mark when he <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/balfour-declaration-israel-palestine-theresa-may-government-centenary-arabs-jewish-settlements-a7607491.html">described</a> the Balfour Declaration as the “most mendacious, deceitful and hypocritical document in modern British history.” &nbsp;</p> <p>2017 is also the 50th anniversary of the <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/06/50-years-israeli-occupation-longest-modern-history-170604111317533.html">six day war</a> in 1967 when Israel seized control of the&nbsp;West Bank, East Jerusalem,&nbsp;Gaza Strip, as well as the Syrian&nbsp;Golan Heights, and the Egyptian&nbsp;Sinai Peninsula. This annexation has continued apace since then with the settlement of 600,000 colonists in settlements across the West Bank that <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2017/06/israel-occupation-50-years-of-dispossession/">Amnesty International</a> describes as illegal under Article 49 of the Geneva Convention.&nbsp;</p> <p>These unhappy anniversaries are as much a result of the collusion and mendacity of western powers as they are of the relentless colonialism of Palestinian land by Israel which should compel us all to take action and oppose the siege and construction of settlements.&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/Jabalia 1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/549460/Jabalia 1.jpg" alt="Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved." title="Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved." width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Jabalia Refugee Camp. Stephen McCloskey. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Gaza’s creaking infrastructure and impoverished population cannot countenance another decade of siege and war, and Israel has shown itself unwilling to respect its human rights obligations as the territory’s occupying power.</p> <p>Only external pressure will change Israel’s policy toward Gaza which is why Palestinian civil society has reluctantly called for international support of the <a href="https://bdsmovement.net/">Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions</a> (BDS) movement. This is a non-violent, vibrant and truly global movement for freedom, justice and equality in Palestine inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement.&nbsp;</p> <p>BDS urges action to pressure Israel to respect international law and is supported by trade unions, churches, academics and grassroots movements across the world. Supporting BDS will hasten an end to the siege and help lance a running sore in the Middle East and international relations. It deserves your support.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alex-delmar-morgan/gaza-trauma-unit">Mental help: the story of Gaza’s trauma unit</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/samia-khoury/50-years-of-occupation-will-not-kill-hope-for-free-palestine">50 years of occupation will not kill hope for a free Palestine</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/alaa-tartir/trump-in-middle-east-context-and-consequences">Trump in the Middle East: context and consequences</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/carly-krakow/politics-of-water-access-under-occupation-is-international-law-sufficien-palestine-israel">The politics of water access under occupation: is international law sufficient?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/victoria-brittain/legal-obligations-on-palestinian-rights">Legal obligations on Palestinian rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/yara-hawari/un-report-confirms-that-israel-is-guilty-of-apartheid-and-endorses-bds">UN report confirms that Israel is guilty of apartheid, and endorses BDS</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/north-africa-west-asia/samah-jabr/adding-insult-to-injury-when-israel-and-britain-celebrate-historical-traum">Adding insult to injury: when Israel and Britain celebrate the historical trauma of Palestinians</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Israel </div> <div class="field-item even"> Palestine </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Conflict </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Palestine Israel Conflict Democracy and government Economics Equality International politics occupied territories human rights occupation Stephen McCloskey Tue, 25 Jul 2017 12:25:20 +0000 Stephen McCloskey 112485 at https://www.opendemocracy.net UNESCO’s normative failure: the case of Gülmen and Özakça https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/mehmet-ugur/unesco-s-normative-failure-case-of-g-lmen-and-zak <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In the face of institutional failure in defending democracy and basic rights, civil society action is the last line of defence.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31569915.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562712/PA-31569915.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Academic Nuriye Gulmen (L) and primary school teacher Semih Ozakca (R), who were sacked by a decree-law during the state of emergency, are pictured on the 74th day of their hunger strike on May 21, 2017 in Ankara, Turkey. Nuriye and Semih were arrested by a court decision on the 76th day of their hunger strike on May 23. Picture by Altan Gocher/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>I have been struggling with myself as to whether I should write this note. I have come to the conclusion that I should, given the risk that two education professionals on hunger strike for 138 days in Turkey may die any minute. My decision has also been influenced by the fact that the international organisation that I expect to defend academic freedom and the teaching staff – the UNESCO – has failed to do anything in their support. Even if the UNESCO had intervened with the Turkish government behind closed doors, this information was not made available to me when I asked UNESCO as to whether they have taken any action. </p><p> Education professionals Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça were dismissed from their jobs by state of emergency decrees in Turkey. They went on a hunger strike 138 days ago (as of 24 July 2017) with a simple demand: “I want my job back”. The Turkish police has attacked the hunger strikers and their supporters almost on a daily basis with teargas and truncheons. As the hunger strikers persisted despite police brutality, on 23 May 2017, Turkish courts have detained Gülmen and Özakça on terrorism charges! </p> <p>A group of concerned academics in the UK has initiated a <a href="https://www.change.org/p/urgent-action-dismissed-educators-on-hunger-strike-in-turkey">petition</a> calling on UNESCO to intervene with the Turkish government. We asked UNESCO to ‘mobilize all other UN agencies and all UNESCO partners’ and call on the Turkish government to reinstate dismissed academics and teachers not involved directly in the botched coup. The petition has been signed by 8,760 signatories. </p> <p>UNESCO’s Chief of Section for Higher Education has been kept informed and updated about the petition and the life-threatening conditions of the hunger strikers. Nevertheless, UNESCO has remained silent and failed to respond to several email communications on the matter. This is in stark contrast with the <a href="http://bianet.org/english/politics/187462-urgent-call-from-un-for-gulmen-ozakca-on-hunger-strike?bia_source=rss">UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention</a> and the <a href="https://bianet.org/english/human-rights/187788-council-of-europe-calls-for-release-of-gulmen-ozakca">Council of Europe</a>, both of which have called for the release of the hunger strikers. </p> <p><a href="http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/about-us/who-we-are/introducing-unesco/">UNESCO’s declared purpose</a> is to ‘increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights’ and foster and maintain intellectual solidarity. Its failure to act against the unlawful dismissal and detention of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça will be remembered as shirking of its responsibilities and a betrayal of the principles and norms that the organisation is supposed to uphold and foster in the general and higher education fields. This is particularly concerning in the age of creeping authoritarianism and wide-spread attacks on human rights.</p> <p>Since the failed coup attempt in July 2016, the Turkish government has purged more than 150,000 public-sector employees, including over 5,000 academics. Of those purged, more than 90,000 have been arrested and over 45,000 have been detained. The unprecedented purge targeted a wide spectrum of political dissent, including academics and teachers critical of the authoritarian regime. Those dismissed are excluded from the labour market by blacklisting their national insurance numbers, their passports are revoked, and so far have had no recourse to domestic legal remedies. The appeal commission established recently (almost one year after the coup) is not expected either to cope or to act independently. </p> <p>One academic who signed the Academics for Peace declaration, Mehmet Fatih Traş, has committed suicide after his contract at the university was terminated, and his job applications to several universities were turned down on the grounds that he is a security risk. Another academic, Mustafa Sadık Akdağ, also committed suicide leaving a note indicating that he could no longer bear the burden of being accused of terrorism.</p> <p>In the face of institutional failure in defending democracy and basic rights, civil society action is the last line of defence. I plea with academic and non-academic readers of Open Democracy to let Gülmen and Özakça know that they <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DCdayanisma/photos/a.676150622541811.1073741827.676138889209651/814570682033137/?type=3&amp;hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE">are not alone</a>; and to express their dismay with UNESCO’s stance by writing to the <a href="mailto:p.wells@unesco.org">Chief of Section for Higher Education</a>.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/john-dalhuisen/what-will-it-take-for-world-to-break-its-silence-on-turkey">Is the world finally breaking its silence on Turkey?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/pelin-kadercan/trauma-of-attempted-military-coup-as-observed-from-college-campus-in-istanbul">The trauma of the attempted military coup as observed from a college campus in Istanbul </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/umut-ozkirimli/fear-and-loathing-in-turkish-academia-tale-of-appeasement-and-complicity">Fear and loathing in Turkish academia: a tale of appeasement and complicity </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Turkey </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Democracy and government </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> North-Africa West-Asia North-Africa West-Asia Turkey Civil society Democracy and government Turkish Dawn human rights Academic freedom Mehmet Ugur Mon, 24 Jul 2017 11:41:50 +0000 Mehmet Ugur 112472 at https://www.opendemocracy.net