War All The Time

War All The Time

The truck bombing in Mogadishu and appalled everyone who heard about it. Indeed, the level of carnage was horrific. But far fewer people know what lies behind the misery of Somalia than heard of this fresh atrocity. More»

The Great Terrorist

The Great Terrorist

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. More»

Leaving the West

Leaving the West

Among Turkish media commentators and academics, we are observing an increasing tendency to question Erdoğan’s policy of reorienting Turkey away from the West towards positions and a vernacular that appeal to the “Islamic street.” More»

Latest entries
Syria Studying Proposal to Amend Nationality Law

Syria Studying Proposal to Amend Nationality Law

BEIRUT – Nationality was a controversial topic in Syria even before the influx of foreign fighters, the fleeing of 5.2 million people from the country and the increasing restrictions on freedom of movement for Syrian nationals. More»

Europe at War

Europe at War

A few months ago, Europe was a prosperous country, full of wealth, comfort, and enjoyment of all kinds. Its many millions were engaged in quiet occupations which employed their energies happily. “They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.” More»

Cairo to Tel Aviv

Cairo to Tel Aviv

One of the questions to be asked of a translated novel is ‘why was this translated?’  The answers can range from the author’s perceived importance, to providing foreign readers with cultural insight, or to publishing economics. More»

Life After May

Life After May

The Conservative Party Conference was a joke with a flat punchline. The Chancellor tried to cover up his government’s weaknesses by hurling mud at Jeremy Corbyn, while Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg stole the spotlight. But it all came to a head with Theresa May’s speech. It is clear this state of affairs can’t go on forever, but when the end comes the Tories will still have to find a way to turn around their party. More»

The Division of Syria and Recent Changes in Aleppo

The Division of Syria and Recent Changes in Aleppo

The division of Syria has not undergone any changes, since the time of Volney. To the pashalik of Aleppo  belongs Aintab, Badjazze, Alexandretta, and Antakia. Damascus comprehends Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablous, Bostra, Hums, and Hama. More»

Unified Rebel Army Is Too Little, Too Late

Unified Rebel Army Is Too Little, Too Late

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Dozens of Syrian opposition groups merged last month to form a unified army, at a time when rebel factions are increasingly divided and have suffered a string of defeats at the hands of pro-government and extremist forces. More»

The American Way of Murder

The American Way of Murder

Nothing so perfectly illustrates the singular position of the United States among industrialized democracies as the propensity of its citizens to shoot each other in groups four or more. More»

Handcuffed to Memory

Handcuffed to Memory

We live in confining times. Prison narratives proliferate and disappear quickly. Yet only the occasional narrative, such as Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary (2015), receives sustained attention and then due to its obvious political import. Prison writing is difficult because it forces a double confrontation, both with state and self. More»

National Struggles

National Struggles

There are signs all over the world that the national question is still unsettled. The spectacle of police trying to block the Catalan referendum has clarified this much in Spain. But it’s far from the only example. In northern Iraq, the Kurdish people have voted for independence. More»

Pro Wrestling and the Accidental Avant-Garde

Pro Wrestling and the Accidental Avant-Garde

It is quite difficult to suggest that pro wrestling is, or can be, legitimately avant-garde. Barthes’ assertion is true, that “In wrestling, nothing exists except in the absolute, there is no symbol, no allusion, everything is presented exhaustively…”, More»

‘I Came for the Jihad’: Women Tell of Life in the Islamic State

‘I Came for the Jihad’: Women Tell of Life in the Islamic State

AIN Al-ISSA – In a dank and dingy room in a camp for internally displaced persons in northern Syria, a striking woman wearing mascara and a long black chador steps through a broken door frame. More»

Namaste Y'All

Namaste Y’All

When you pay close attention to the way people use bumper stickers in the United States right now, it becomes apparent that they usually serve a countercultural purpose. Because the perception of which culture needs to be countered varies widely, however, it is emphatically not the case that a coherent counterculture, whether left or right-wing, can be discerned from them. More»