151 comments posted · 2 followers · following 1

12 years ago @ The Arabist - Links for 08.09.09 to ... · 0 replies · +1 points

Not all Yemeni insurgents are Shiites - there is growing Sunni presence, due to Saudi influence. See ICG report.

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12 years ago @ The Arabist - Two reviews on "E... · 0 replies · +1 points

Sure, of course some Arabs would like to see al-Andalus be Islamic or Arab again. Like Osama bin Laden and his followers. But this is such a small number of people that it is misleading to talk about it as if it is a widespread phenomenon. All 23 Arab states recognize that Andalusia is Spain. No major newspapers or TV stations talk about regaining it (in fact probably only a few websites talk about it). Morocco has disputes over Ceuta and Mellila (the Spanish enclaves in northern Morocco) and a few islands, but not for religious reasons and with reasonable ground.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - Reviews of books on Eg... · 0 replies · +1 points


these debates over accuracy, analysis and indeed plagiarism have to be aired out in the public. I am not endorsing Brownlee's claims; this is between you two, or your lawyers, to sort out. I noticed in parts that your work draws heavily on certain material I am very familiar with (such as the ICG report on Sinai), I do not remember thinking at the time this was plagiarism (journos do this all the time.) I do not know about the other allegations.

Having read your book cover to cover in detail (perhaps before my comment to you, I don't remember and perhaps I was being polite) I did have many analytical issues with it. I also like certain parts of it and like that you've captured the tone of al-Destur, although it could have been moderated with a less woe-is-us tone about the country. I also work a lot on Islamists and did not think your approach to them was balanced. I did not really understand the need for the latter parts of the book about tourism and Luxor. I have not thought about a full review, so I'll stop there .

Congratulations on the new edition and being a best-seller, I suppose negative reviews or blog mentions don't matter that much. In which case a more toned response might have been in order.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - Zizek on Iran · 0 replies · +1 points

I don't think is a Ahmedenigad Bad / Moussavi Good argument that needs to be made. I have no interest in taking sides in an inner-regime debate. What I find compelling is that thousands took to the streets, that communications were interrupted by the regime because of fear of the protests, that many were brutally repressed and that militias were used for political purposes. Were some partisans of these rival regime cliques? Yes, but not all. Some Iranians are obviously pissed off about something, and from what we know about Iran this is quite understandable. It seems you are the one (like Fahmy Howeidy) who is giving us a caricature of Ahmedinejad as candidate of the poor, as opposed to the candidate of a hardline undemocratic faction within the regime. As for electoral fraud, from eyewitnesses I have spoken to there is clearly some fraud that has taken place. This does not mean Ahmedinejad did not win (since he had a significant lead) but it certainly justifies the Iranian people's anger about the subversion of the electoral process.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - Zizek on Iran · 0 replies · +1 points

While I sympathize with the general argument Dabashi makes (parts of the left were incredibly stupid and morally out of touch over the Iran crisis), I think his piece is pretty bad. Choosing Asaad AbuKhalil and Zizek to illustrate his point was rather odd, since they both condemned the pro-Ahmedinejad left. Arguably Zizek is always superficial, that's his shtik, but he is thought-provoking and I liked the bit about the Tunisian fishermen, or indeed the reminder that in some respects a country like Italy has never been democratic, or is an illiberal democracy today under Berlusconi. One that doesn't torture people (well only suspected radical Islamists), but still there's something rotten about the whole thing, and ordinary people are complicit in it. Dabashi's arguments about AbuKhalil completely miss the point sometimes, like when he criticizes AbuKhalil's mention of the NYT and its "independent observers" in Tehran.

Perhaps the worst piece written by a non-expert on Iran is Alaistair Crooke's (which I linked to recently in the daily links) which basically uses a forced confession as evidence. Dabashi could have focused on that and some of the radical left's positions. Basically I felt a piece criticizing the left needs to be written, but Dabashi did it completely incompetently.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - Zizek on Iran · 2 replies · +1 points

That Rafsanjani is corrupt does not mean Ahmedinejad is not. He's appointed many of his clique, many of them unqualified, for high-level position and has awarded privileged contracts to the Revolutionary Guards.

See: <a href="" target="_blank">

Ahmadi-Nejad came to power with bold populist ambitions but quickly ran into trouble. His plans were immediately tempered by a parliament (majles) whose members, although predominantly conservative, come from a different background and who, in unprecedented action, rejected some of his most important cabinet nominees. Many of the policies abruptly imposed by the new government have been opposed by more technocratic bodies such as the Central Bank and the Management and Planning Organisation, and some subsequently have been reversed. Ahmadi-Nejad�s attacks against private �plunderers� and �corrupt officials� have rattled civil servant and domestic entrepreneurs without triggering concrete change in government openness or accountability. Instead, his appointment of close associates to positions for which they are unqualified, coupled with the award of billion dollar no-bid contracts to the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), have brought charges of cronyism and political favouritism.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - Crackdown on Egypt\'s ... · 0 replies · +1 points

It's part of an increase in harassment of Muslim Brothers, I suppose.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - New Arab Human Develop... · 0 replies · +1 points

Thanks, post updated.

12 years ago @ The Arabist - A short break · 0 replies · +1 points

Very interesting and an outragrous slur by Goldberg. Will post this later, thanks!

12 years ago @ The Arabist - On Marwa al-Sherbiny · 0 replies · +1 points