How to Truly Defeat ISIL

In 2011, it was widely assumed that the so-called “Arab Spring” would render groups like al-Qaeda irrelevant, as dissidents would find that they could achieve their goals for reformation through the ballot box rather than needing to rely on violence. I was one of the early and consistent cynics of this thesis. It seemed clear Read more about How to Truly Defeat ISIL[…]

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 Read more about Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring[…]

The Emirs Want You!

Security and Nation Building in the Gulf In move that reflects current  socio-political anxieties of the Persian Gulf monarchies, the UAE following the example of Qatar introduced a draft bill requiring compulsory military service for men between the ages of 18 and 30. The bill can be (conventionally) interpreted as a response to the perceived military Read more about The Emirs Want You![…]

Egypt’s “Deep State” Declares Independence

To be clear, the Egyptian military does not aspire towards total control of the state, with all of the responsibilities entailed thereby—what they want, what they have always wanted, is to be beyond accountability to the civilian population, to have their budget immune to external oversight or reduction, to reserve the right to intercede as Read more about Egypt’s “Deep State” Declares Independence[…]

Better Reputations, Better Results: “Perception Management” in Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain is recruiting a veritable army of Mad Men, ensuring the brutal crackdown of its own citizens over the last two years stays out of international media headlines and the global consciousness. The constitutional monarchy wants the world to forget how it allowed its military to fire upon mourners at a funeral. Read more about Better Reputations, Better Results: “Perception Management” in Bahrain[…]

The American Empire: Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

Generally speaking, change is inevitable—however, most specific transformations are not. Virtually any prediction can be defied; in fact, most are. That people are pretty terrible at forecasting in most (especially sociological) domains does not inhibit many from making grandiose claims about the “inevitability” of American decadence—often relying upon ill-formed analogies with empires past. If only Read more about The American Empire: Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin[…]

Binaries and Code in Discourse of MENA Region

Many in media and academic circles seem to pride themselves on having advanced beyond the “Clash of Civilizations” rhetoric that defined the aftermath of  September 11th (2001).  However, upon analysis is clear that the primary development has been the transformation of these frameworks into euphemistic forms:  consider, for instance, the supposed conflict between the liberals Read more about Binaries and Code in Discourse of MENA Region[…]

The Transcontinental Election Everyone is Kind of Looking At

On this Sunday, Oct. 23, Tunisians will vote for the first time, for real, ever. Ten months after their revolution which sparked the Arab Awakening, les Tunisienes will cast ballots for the Constituent Assembly – the 217 women and men charged with forging a new constitution. Many will read in this election’s coffee grinds regional implications. How Read more about The Transcontinental Election Everyone is Kind of Looking At[…]