Near & Middle East
Carbon Jihad

Carbon Jihad

Following the Syrian Day of Rage, on March 15th, 2011, the city of Daraa quickly became the strongest flashpoint. By March 18th, thousands of protesters were roaring across Daraa, leading to a brutal suppression by security forces. When resistance continued into late April, Assad directed thousands of troops to lay siege of the city. More»

Meet the New Israel

Meet the New Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu raised some eyebrows when he expressed a desire for an independent Kurdistan in June. Not only was his speech to a Tel Aviv think tank surprising. It also contradicted current American policy of trying to prevent Iraq from splitting apart. Israeli-Kurdish solidarity isn’t actually new. Israel has maintained military and financial ties with Kurdish separatists since the 1960s.  More»

The British Lieutenant

The British Lieutenant

It’s old news by now. The Cameron government has joined the Obama administration in its air campaign against the self-declared Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, US-led forces are effectively acting on the side of the Assad regime. The attacks, in turn, have united the affiliates of al-Qaeda with the ISIS forces that they had broken with. More»

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

Israel and Philosophy, Part II

“So we’re not ‘against’ these people, and ‘for’ these other people. What are we really ‘for’? A more just political formation, one that would allow for equality at the level of citizenship,” Judith Butler concludes the second part of her conversation with Mark LeVine. “Religion may be extremely important, but I don’t think it should be a prerequisite for citizenship, and certainly not there.” More»

Hijacking the Arab Spring

Hijacking the Arab Spring

You’ve heard it before. Supporters of the Arab Spring always say that Islamists “hijacked the revolution.” The statement gets repeatedly invoked in reference to the crises in Libya and Syria, where the revolts ended up fostering the rise of extremist groups, who dominate the resistance, today. More»

Israel and Philosophy

Israel and Philosophy

Over the course of the past two decades, Judith Butler has become one of the world’s most important intellectual figures, inspiring controversy, not with the flamboyant generalizations of European counterparts like Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou, but with patient rhetorical analyses of both philosophical classics and contemporary political discourse. More»

War on Terror 2.0

War on Terror 2.0

Last Sunday I walked past the Tower of London with friends from abroad. What we saw there compelled (rather than inspired) a lap of the place out of us. Half of the old grassed over moat was filled with ceramic red poppies. Their green stalks being driven into the ground by flocks of volunteers, including army cadets and children. More»

Jihadist Civil War

Jihadist Civil War

When Navy SEALs killed Osama Bin Laden in his Abbotobad compound, they also seized a number of important documents. Among them were communications between senior members of al-Qaida, discussing everything from press releases to financial affairs. Some (not all) of these files were declassified, and seventeen were included in a study by the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point. More»

Gaza and the Holocaust Mentality

Gaza and the Holocaust Mentality

This month, as Germany accepted the mantle of World Cup Champions in football, my home town of Berlin was awash in both World Cup merriment and a sea of contradictions. On the news, pictures of the victorious German team ran alongside headlines about bombings in Gaza, creating an awkward clash of emotion, forcing me to wonder if anyone else was connecting the dots. More»

Judean Death Cult

Judean Death Cult

As I read the article, I started shaking. Tears streamed down my face. It was about an old man in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. On Friday night, eight members of his family, including his sons, daughters and grandchildren, had finished their Iftar meal and sat down to watch a popular television show. A few minutes into it, an artillery shell ripped through their home, killing them all, including children aged six, two, and one. More»

Always in the Way

Always in the Way

As the death toll mounts in Gaza and images of the carnage spill onto our computer screens, anti-war Jews are bombarded with accusations of betrayal, acquiescing to global anti-Semitism and blaming oneself. It’s not the first time violence between Israel and the Palestinians has pitted Jew against Jew. But Operation Protective Edge shows how blind devotion to Israel, for many, trumps all other Jewish concerns.  More»

The Way You Jihad Me

The Way You Jihad Me

The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant triggers a lot of Pakistani anxieties. The group’s activities in northern Iraq crystallize many fears about jihad and revolutionary Islamism. For many Pakistanis, especially if they are liberal elites, ISIS is being seen as the worst-case conclusion to the Taliban-led insurgency. More»