women writing war

SISMEC Event: Women, Writing and War (3/11/2015)

The Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts (SISMEC), in partnership with Civil Vision International (CVI), the University of Arizona Poetry Center, the UA Women’s Resource Center, the UA Department of Gender & Women’s Studies, and the UA School of Middle East & North Africa Studies will be hosting a forum on women, writing and war[…]


Cyberwarfare and the Danger of David’s Sling

Dr. Tim Kirk SONY executives never saw this coming.  Apparently no one else did either, although it happened before:   SONY was warned against releasing “The Interview”, a farcical comedy about assassinating the beloved/despotic North Korean political leader, Kim Jong-Un. Onlookers supposed those North Korean threats against the film referred to a subsequent missile launch demonstration that[…]


10/30/2014: Symposium on Arid Lands Agriculture, Food Security and Health

Date: 30 October 2014 Place: Tucson Marriott University Park Hotel Co-Organizers:  College of Social and Behavioral Sciences/School of Middle Eastern & North African Studies (MENAS)/Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts (SISMEC), College of Agriculture and Life Sciences/ Global Institute for Strategic Agriculture in Drylands (GISAD), Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health Sponsors:[…]


Trajectories of the “ War on ISIL ”

Assessing ISIL’s Local Threat (Musa al-Gharbi) From its inception, ISIL has seized and focused on areas which are ill-defended and where the government presence is generally minimal and largely unwelcome. These areas also tend to be rural and sparsely populated e.g. North (East) Syria, Western Iraq, small areas in North Lebanon)—allowing ISIL to quickly occupy[…]

a Tomahawk cruise missile is launched against Islamic State targets in Syria from the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke in the Red Sea.

10/14/2014 “ISIS & the US: Narratives and Meanings”

SISMEC will be taking part in a brownbag session on contemporary events in Iraq and Syria–with a particular focus on U.S. policies for combatting ISIS. Date: 10/14/2014 Time: Noon-1:30 Place: San Pedro Room (Student Union Memorial Center) Co-Sponsors: The UA College of Arts, Letters and Sciences; the UA Center for Middle East Studies The panel will include:[…]


10/30- 11/7: Visiting Professor Turki Faisal al-Rasheed

SISMEC Board Chairman Dr. Turki Faisal Al-Rasheed will be traveling to the University of Arizona to conduct a series of lectures, speeches and short courses from Oct. 30 until Nov. 7. The visit is in conjunction with the centennial year celebration of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) at the College of Agriculture[…]


Oil for Sovereignty? America, Iraq, and Kurdistan

Christian Sinclair   Much like the dispute in Libya between Cyrenaica and Tripoli, the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) have long been engaged in local disputes over oil sales and revenues. Baghdad, for example, is withholding the KRG’s share of oil revenues, which amount to US7bn for 2014 alone. In July[…]

Sisi supporters

Egypt Turning a Corner: For Better or For Worse?

Dr. Michael C. Hudson On May 26-8 Egyptians went to the polls to elect a new president–a decisive moment in the tumultuous struggles which followed the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in the uprising of 2010-11. The masses had demanded an end to authoritarianism and the beginning of democracy. But in this election they overwhelmingly voted for the general,[…]


Afghan Election Fraud–Who is Responsible?

By Mohammad Shafiq Hamdam Despite security threats and many other challenges, the historic turnout of Afghan voters in the April 5th elections has shown democracy in action.  The Afghan people stalwartly contributed to their first-ever political transition from one elected president to another.  However, legitimate concerns and questions about the impartiality of the electoral bodies[…]


Continuing the Conversation: Afghan-US Student Dialogues

With the arrival of the long-awaited year 2014, the outlook for Afghanistan remains tentative.  Security deals wait to be signed, votes are still being counted from the recent election, and the withdrawal of U.S. troops continues without clarity as to how many will remain.  Though Afghans are concerned for the future of their country, many[…]

Hassan Rouhani

SISMEC EVENT “Iran: Charting New Horizons”

The Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts (SISMEC), in conjunction with the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies (MENAS), the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) and the School of Government and Public Policy (SGPP) at the University of Arizona, will host an event entitled “Iran: Charting New Horizons.” Friday[…]


Uncertainty and Hope in the Afghan Presidential Elections

Uncertainty over the April 5th Afghan presidential elections and the future of the country abounded as Afghans flocked to the polls with a sense of pride and hope.  Concern from Afghans and the international community alike has stemmed from several sources. Given that outgoing president Hamid Karzai was chosen by Afghan leaders to lead the[…]

Talking to Strangers cover

Talking to Strangers

Ambassador David Dunford speaks with SISMEC researcher Christina Sciabarra about his new book with Ghassan Muhsin Hussein entitled “Talking to Strangers.” He discusses the challenges of joining the Coalition Provisional Authority which served as the occupational administration after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Tasked with rebuilding the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Dunford describes the challenges[…]


Iranian Perspectives on the Nuclear Deal

In the months following the interim nuclear deal it negotiated with the P5 + 1, the Iranian government has lost no time in adopting a simultaneously conciliatory and proud attitude on the international stage and in selling the nuclear deal at home.  Internationally, the government has emphasized the peaceful, civilian ends of its nuclear program[…]


Ethics and Methods in Conflict

On Wednesday, January 29 in the University of Arizona Student Union’s Kiva Room, the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts and the University of Arizona School of Journalism convened an interdisciplinary panel to talk about issues for academics, journalists, and researchers working in conflict zones: Ethics and Methods in Conflict panel Featuring[…]


The Middle East & North Africa: Hat Tricks, Power Plays, and Penalties

With 2013 drawing to a close, the MENA region is a volatile mix of peace plans, war strategies, identity consolidation, and individual displacement As the conflict in Syria continues in its third year, the possibility of peace remains uncertain.  With the addition of actors from all over the region and no clearly defined single agenda, the war[…]


Afghanistan 2014: Will the U.S. Exit Strategy Work?

SISMEC, in partnership with Civil Vision International, the UA School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, the UA Center for Middle Eastern Studies, the UA Graduate & Professional Student Council  and Ricoh USA, is pleased to announce a symposium on Afghanistan. The event’s purpose is to spur vital dialogue about U.S. policy and what the future[…]

Protesters throw stones during a clash between supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mursi, at Ramsis square in Cairo

SISMEC Interviews Ashraf Khalil

SISMEC affiliate Hannah Gaber interviews Ashraf Khalil about the current state of Egypt since the coup against Muhammad Mursi, and the apparent trajectory of the country going forward.     Hannah Gaber (HG): Could you start us off by maybe telling us where you are right now and what you’re working on at the moment?[…]

Syrian Islamic Liberation Front

The Islamic Rebel Alliance Against Restoring the Syrian Republic

Earlier today, a statement was released in the name of a number of Syrian rebel factions announcing the severing of all ties with Brigadier General Salim Idris’s Free Syrian Army (FSA), the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the Syrian National Council (SNC), and its parent organization, the Supreme National Coalition (the other SNC). The document is[…]


Doctors Crossing Borders…Out of Somalia

After 22 years, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is leaving Somalia due to consistent attacks on their staff Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders has determined that it   must leave Somalia because it has become too dangerous for their staff to continue working in the failed state.  Increasing attacks against aid workers[…]


From Diyala to Dahiya and Beyond: The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria

After the deadly bombing in the Hezbollah stronghold of Dahiya in southern Beirut, Lebanon that killed close to 30 people and injured up to 400, jihadi media outlets were inundated with posts by members of the al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) praising the attack. In the rebel-held provincial capital of al-Raqqa[…]


Saving democracy or settling scores?

The military claims to be saving democracy, but could it be something else? After a tumultuous year of regional conflict, economic struggles, and political turmoil, the Egyptian military removed President Mohamed Morsi from office and suspended the constitution, placing itself in charge of the state. The military defended its decision to remove Morsi by stating[…]


Ansar al-Sharia International & the Politics of Self Sacrifice

The name “Ansar al-Sharia” (Supporters of Islamic Law) has become ubiquitous, as a number of political Salafist groups, connected primarily by their allegiance to the legal opinions of a select number of controversial clerics of the jihadist bent such as the Jordanian Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, throughout the MENA region, and particularly in Arab Spring countries,[…]

Presidential Election – one small step for the ayatollah, one giant leap for Iranians

Despite choice limitations, Iranians elected a new president and with him comes hope for the future The recent presidential elections in Iran may signal a slow march towards reform, although there is no sign of a new “spring” just yet.  In an election in which over 70% of the country turned out to vote, Iranians[…]