ISIS and the specter of Zionism

  I’m not saying that Zionism and ISIS are identical or anything as simplistic. But in trying to find generalizing labels for ISIS, such as being a fascist organization, or a totalitarian state and so on, and in the effort to draw parallels between different political experiences one can more subtly propose that ISIS and […]

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State formation and the US

Check this article. While it makes a great point about the fact that state building is a bloody business, and while it goes through numerous (although quite stereotypical) historical instances that makes this point clear (England and Empire, France and the revolution, Germany and the holocaust, etc) it conveniently omits the US case. In fact […]

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Lebanon in Syria

The fates of the modern states of Lebanon and Syria are inextricably linked. It is important to read their history not just as was done conventionally that is Syria never fully recognizing Lebanon as an independent state but also the reverse, as Lebanon, or particular segments of the Lebanese political establishment involving and using Syria […]

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Spectacles of Jadeed TV

The date of this event is not relevant anymore as it is just a template for similar recurring events in the land of the Lebanon. Crumbling under the weight of her make up the talkshow host of “للنشر” (for publication) bullied for about 20min a Syrian woman nursing a baby. The woman turned out to […]

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A wisdom interlude with Imam Ali: The Heart

وقال عليه السلام: أعجب ما في هذا الانسان قلبُه وله مَوادّ من الحكمة وأضداد من خلافها: فإن سخ له الرجاء أذلّه الطمع وإن هاج به الطمع قتله الأسف. إن عرض له الغضب اشتدّ به الغيظ وإن أسعد بالرضى نسي التحفّظ. وإن ناله الزع شغله الحذر وإن اتّسع له الأمن استلبته الغرّة. وإن أفاد مالا أطغاه […]

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Food in Lebanon

A recent scandal has been added to several previous scandals about food quality in Lebanon. But as in the previous cases, the focus was on meat products that are imported and stored in the worst conditions. Few people seem to understand the true extent of the catastrophe that runs deep into a general economic and […]

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Sunni politics in Lebanon

There are three main (intersecting) orientations “mainstream” Sunni politics perceives (or deal with) more radical militant movements such the brief hollywoodean movement of Sheikh Asir, Jubhat al Nusra or Da’esh (ISIS). 1- To secretly feel that they are scoring points against their more traditional political enemy that is Hizbullah 2- To despise them but have […]

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ISIS and the West

ISIS is the expression of different social and political phenomena that must be understood separately. One of them is undoubtedly the significant amount of “Western” fighters of which some elements are also at the forefront of their media campaign. By Western I mean people who have lived and were educated in Western countries (mostly Western […]

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العقل والحياء والدين

وفي الحديث أن جبريل عليه السلام أتى آدم عليه السلام فقال له إني أتيتك بثلاثٍ فاختر واحدةً، قال: وما هي يا جبريل? قال: العقل والحياء والدين فقال: قد اخترت العقل فخرج جبريل إلى الحياء والدين فقال ارجعوا فقد اختار العقل عليكما فقالا: أمرنا أن نكون مع العقل حيث كان من كتاب السؤدد – ابن قتيبة

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Security Guards and Valet Parking

In Lebanon, I’d say half of the population parks the cars of the other half. And when they are not parking cars, valet youngsters roam around the streets with scooter bikes reserving spots for potential customers. You also have another sizable portion, serving as security guards for residential areas, political figures, and other “big projects”. […]

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Zagreb

If you thought Beirut was a complicated place in a complicated (made-up) country, in a chopped-up region, then wait until you travel to one of the Balkan territories where different religions, languages, tribal affiliations are stacked in territories formerly part of different age-old empires. Their entry into “modernity” is paved with tragedies: first joining the […]

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A Poetic interlude with René Char

Le Marteau sans maître (1934) Commune présence Tu es pressé d’écrire, Comme si tu étais en retard sur la vie. S’il en est ainsi fais cortège à tes sources. Hâte-toi. Hâte-toi de transmettre Ta part de merveilleux de rébellion de bienfaisance. Effectivement tu es en retard sur la vie, La vie inexprimable, La seule en […]

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Raï in Jerusalem

The new Christian maronite patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros el Rai, has been making some bold moves since the beginning of his mandate. First his visit to Syria in the midst of the conflict degenerating, and now his decision to visit Jerusalem as the Catholic pope has schedule a Middle East tour, all show that Rai […]

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The myths of democracy

Make no mistake, democratic deliberations will always be inversely related to community formation and actual political action. What we see taking place in Syria, Egypt, and in other countries of the Middle East all bear witness to the fact that there is no such thing as democracy if there isn’t prior to that, a non-democratic […]

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Isolationism or Regionalization?

Recently the Phalangist MP Sami Gemayel has proposed to “amend the preamble of the constitution to stipulate Lebanon’s neutrality towards regional conflicts”. “We request amending the constitution to clearly state that Lebanon must stay neutral towards regional events,” Gemayel said after the weekly meeting of the party’s political bureau. He elaborated: “We are very concerned […]

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The framing of a “research question”

I came across this paper written for a particular Middle East Policy Council. I have never seen a more awkwardly posed question regarding Hizbullah’s political development: Hezbollah’s evolution speaks to a larger question in the literature on nonstate actors, both in the Middle East and elsewhere: Why do some nonstate military groups survive attempts to […]

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