Near & Middle East
MSF: We Must Address Humanitarian Failings

MSF: We Must Address Humanitarian Failings

After Médecins Sans Frontières’ withdrawal from the World Humanitarian Summit, its U.S. executive director, Jason Cone, warns against conferences that blur the line between state and NGO responsibilities and calls for better humanitarian responses on the ground. More»

One Fighter’s Recruitment – and Escape – from ISIS

One Fighter’s Recruitment – and Escape – from ISIS

As ISIS swept over large swathes of the eastern province, former FSA fighter Abu Khadija pledged his allegiance, believing the extremists were his best bet to topple the Assad government. Now, after escaping, he wishes he could take it all back. More»

The Great Need Lurking in the Shadows

The Great Need Lurking in the Shadows

Nihad was one of 5,000 Yazidi women and girls kidnapped by the Islamic State group. When she escaped, her suffering followed her to the refugee camps of Iraq. NGOs like Amar try to reach Nihad and other women who face social stigma and suffer psychological trauma. More»

Exposing Government Thugs as They Flee to Europe

Exposing Government Thugs as They Flee to Europe

Independent journalists and volunteer activists have launched an online hunt to track down and expose former militiamen accused of committing crimes during Syria’s war as they head to Europe to seek asylum. More»

Haunting Memories: Escape From Daraya

Haunting Memories: Escape From Daraya

Journalist Rahaf Haboub grew up in Daraya, a Damascus suburb besieged by pro-government forces for more than three years. She and her family fled in fall 2012 after the government targeted the area with airstrikes and barrel bombs – these are her recollections of those harrowing times. More»

From the FARC to the Houthis

From the FARC to the Houthis

Some 3,000 Colombian nationals have gone to fight and, if it comes to it, die in defense of the UAE since 2011. Of this number, at least 300 are now serving in Yemen at the Port of Aden. What distinguishes these men in Yemen from the UAE’s other “guest workers,” though, is that they will be offered citizenship, a rare privilege not often extended to other expatriate communities. More»

Putin in Syria

Putin in Syria

Apparently, the Russians are leaving. Seemingly out of nowhere, Vladimir Putin declared that the operation had “largely achieved” its aims, and Russian forces would be winding down operations in Syria. Not that this means the Russian military base will be dismantled. Far from it. More»

Kurdish Protest Literature

Kurdish Protest Literature

Despite years of criticism, the European Commission is backing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s nascent dictatorship, in order to deal with its self-designated “refugee crisis.” The emerging agreement is that, according to the Turkish proposal, “for every Syrian readmitted by Turkey from the Greek islands, another Syrian will be resettled from Turkey to the EU member states.” More»

The War on Terror is Not Happening

The War on Terror is Not Happening

War has become the absence of politics by other means. As democratic institutions lose their legitimacy, widespread uncertainty is being mirrored by the performance of civilisational showdown. Baudrillard’s arguments in The Gulf War Did Not Take Place have resonance because of how the War on Terror has radically expanded the spectacle of combat.  More»

The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Revisited

The Gulf War Did Not Take Place, Revisited

Jean Baudillard thought that Operation Desert Storm should not be considered a war. Rather, despite containing the material features of one, it was at once real, and a simulation. Baudillard’s logic is that the term “war” was used to legitimise a performance, and it is critical to apply his logic to the War on Terror.  More»

Baghdad Sketches

Baghdad Sketches

Although never in Baghdad for long at a time, I generally had occasion to spend four or five days there every other month. The life in any city is complex and interesting, but here it was especially so. We were among a totally foreign people, but the ever-felt intangible barrier of color was not present.  More»

Iranian American Self-Hatred

Iranian American Self-Hatred

“We were white until the Arabs came and raped our women,” is the sort of thing you’ll hear Iranian Americans say, when expressing their distaste for Islam. A reverse Orientalism in a sense, they will often refer to Arabs–Gulf Arabs, mainly– as ‘locust eaters’ (malakh khor) More»