Near & Middle East
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»

Thatcherite Wahhabism

Thatcherite Wahhabism

Saudi Arabia is facing a systemic overhaul. Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman recently indicated as much during an interview with The Economist, by answering “most certainly” to a question about whether or not Saudi Arabia is facing “a Thatcher revolution.”  More»

Some Alternative Courses in Iraq

Some Alternative Courses in Iraq

Because of the gravity of the situation in Iraq and of its consequences for Iraq, the United States, the region, and the world, the Iraq Study Group has carefully considered the full range of alternative approaches for moving forward. We recognize that there is no perfect solution and that all that have been suggested have flaws. More»

Waiting for Nimr to Die

Waiting for Nimr to Die

Saudi Arabia finally executed Shi’ite cleric and political dissident Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday. Regional tensions have escalated dramatically after Nimr’s death led to violent protests at the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, causing a diplomatic crisis. The question is why this happened now. More»

Decolonising "Islamofascism"

Decolonising “Islamofascism”

“Islamofascism” is nearly three decades old now. Entering popular usage following the 9/11 attacks, it has most recently been repurposed to fit Islamic State. The term was first coined by Malise Ruthven in a 1990 article in The Independent. Ruthven wrote that “authoritarian government, not to say Islamofascism, is the rule rather than the exception from Morocco to Pakistan.”  More»

Consequences of Continued Decline in Iraq

Consequences of Continued Decline in Iraq

If the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe for Iraq, the United States, the region, and the world. Continuing violence could lead toward greater chaos, and inflict greater suffering upon the Iraqi people. More»

Diyarbakır is Burning

Diyarbakır is Burning

An image remains in my mind that encapsulates Turkey’s second election day this year. Especially within the pro-government AK Parti (AKP) strongholds of Istanbul, such as Beykoz. As we sat in the café of the regional elections centre, watching television, and waiting for the vote count to slowly arrive, every time a Turkish or Kurdish member of the left-wing HDP (People’s Democratic Party) delegation rose from their seat, the police in the room would laugh. More»

The Bedou are Wogs

The Bedou are Wogs

After our journeys in South Africa and Abyssinia, it was suggested to my husband that a survey of the Hadhramout by an independent traveller would be useful to the Government; so in the winter of 1893 – 94 we determined to do our best to penetrate into this unknown district.  More»

AKP is Authoritarian

AKP is Authoritarian

The AKP’s growing neoliberal authoritarianism can be viewed most succinctly within the period between 2015’s two elections. Suruç’s re-opening of Kurdish guerrillas’ conflict with the state was used by the AKP as an opportunity to punish Kurdish citizens for their subversion of voting norms.  More»

Democratic Militarism

Democratic Militarism

Several Turkish and Kurdish cities are successful recruiting grounds for ISIS, in particular the capital Ankara and the majority-Kurdish city Adıyaman. Despite the AKP government heavily publicising their raids and arrests of alleged ISIS members, lax border controls are obvious.  More»

Letter to an ISIS Militant, Part I

Letter to an ISIS Militant, Part I

As the US-led coalition (France, United Kingdom, the unofficial assistance of Russia) expands its war against Islamic State, it is worth revisiting the work of Albert Camus. More»