Near & Middle East

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

“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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

“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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)