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Killing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr

It’s hard to believe that Saudi Arabia, currently heading up the UN Human Rights Commission, started 2016 with the beheading of 47 prisoners. When was the last time the head of a global human rights commission executed 47 people in one day? The crude symbolism of who was executed and who wasn’t was supposed to[…]

An Egyptian anti-government demonstrator

Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring

Nine months before Mohammed Bouazizi’s self-immolation, the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University hosted a symposium on Arab media. Much (and not much) has changed in the region’s media landscape since. Understanding the structural and functional characteristics at a historical juncture ahead of the uprisings can help us comprehend what precipitated (and inhibited) the ensuing changes. The[…]

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How Putin Outmaneuvered Obama in Syria & Ukraine

It’s hardly their first priority with the threat of war looming, but Ukrainians will be paying a lot more for their heating oil next winter. Not only has Russian supplier Gazprom rescinded its wholesale discount to Ukraine, but the termination of consumer heating oil subsidies is a condition of the IMF loan negotiated by the[…]

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Global repercussions of U.S. strikes in Syria and the role of China

During the U.S. debate on military strikes on Syria in response for the chemical attacks on the Damascus suburbs, SISMEC Director Leila Hudson was interviewed by reporter Ao Huang of the Shanghai daily Oriental Morning Post about the global repercussions of U.S. strikes and in particular the role of China.  Here is an English transcript[…]

Syria: Doing the Right Thing

SISMEC Director Statement Putting the question of Syrian military strikes to Congress can be interpreted either as a humiliating backdown by President Obama or a considered, principled and dynamic maneuver in the face of domestic and international challenges. If Congress chooses to turn and walk away from the red line on chemical weapons use, it[…]

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A Tale of Two Consulates

Even Coppola couldn’t whip this one up… It’s been the weirdest of times, for sure. L’affaire Petraeus has shed some light on the military-intelligence complex that generally avoids the myopic scrutiny of the public. It’s not the lack of transparency nor the vicious post-election politicizing, but rather the feckless improvisation behind the skirts of the[…]

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Syrian Hunger Games

May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor… The Assad regime’s contempt for the international community’s limp response to its continuing atrocities is not only arrogant but coldly calculated. A former brigadier general in the Syrian army, Akil Hashem, asserts that: “According to my sources, the regime actually regulates how many should be killed per[…]