Conflicting Fundamentalisms and Shia Political Power

December 10, 2016

For the US to understand the changing power dynamics in the Middle East, Iran’s historical arc and its guidance of Shia fundamentalism need to be understood. Since the election of Michel Aoun as president on November 1, a two-year political stalemate in Lebanon has concluded. His election...

It Takes a Historian to Understand the Middle East, Doesn’t It?



It’s Not a Sunni-Shiite Conflict, Dummy

January 30, 2015

Atiaf Zaid Alwazir outlines ten reasons why the conflict in Yemen is not sectarian. Last week in Yemen, my young cousin in the second grade ran inside after an explosion shook the windows. “I don’t mind when the house shakes, I just don’t want to die in it,” he said out of breath. “You...

Death Sentence Could Inflame Tension Across the Middle East

January 23, 2015

The fate of a Shiite cleric hangs over the Gulf like a sword of Damocles. Last October, Saudi Arabia’s Special Criminal Court sentenced Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, a popular Shiite cleric and outspoken political dissident, to death. This was not an ordinary criminal trial, even considering...

Understanding War in Afghanistan: Politics, Culture and Social History

October 14, 2014

The war in Afghanistan should be studied in relation to political culture, political economy and broader national and regional history. After the formation of the modern nation-state between 1880-1929, Afghanistan has witnessed at least seven major conflicts. Starting from the war of state...

The Battle for Iraq

July 01, 2014

Sunni tribes have a right to stand against Maliki, but colluding with ISIS may prove to be a fatal mistake. As Iraq teeters on the brink of civil war, the media narrative to explain the “ISIS” insurgency shows a narrow view of current events. Although the involvement of the Islamic State of...

Iraq and the New Westphalia

June 15, 2014

Economic and sectarian roots of Iraq’s civil strife must be remembered amid new democratic projects. Iraq held nationwide elections on April 30, while Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki only won a plurality of seats in the Iraqi parliament. The elections were hailed as a nation-building step,...

The Fallout From Syria: Hate Speech in Indonesia

March 25, 2014

Jihadi groups propagate an anti-Shia narrative to mobilize Indonesian militants to fight in Syria. A hate speech regulation is desperately needed in Indonesia to contain the damaging effects of jihadi propaganda, as this narrative is increasingly used to mobilize Indonesian Muslims against the...

Iraq: Sectarianism, Oil and the War in Syria (Part 1/2)

March 17, 2014

Maliki treats the breakdown of order in Iraq as a challenge to his rule. Iraq has certainly experienced a turbulent decade. The US-led invasion in 2003 which culminated in the ouster of long-time ruler Saddam Hussein was a game-changer in Iraq's history. Subsequent efforts by the Coalition...

Iraq: The Struggle for Truth in Fallujah

March 08, 2014

Maliki's war cry over fighting al-Qaeda is a clear subversion of the truth. As violence in Fallujah escalates to near-unprecedented levels, the entire narrative of the fighting seems to evade a number of key points. Namely, this fighting was not precipitated by the capture of Sunni strongholds by...

Load More