Exit Empire: Imagining New Paths for US Policy
As the United States approaches the 2020 presidential election, the Middle East Report addresses the critical struggles to confront domestic political, economic and ideological structures that must be changed in order to redirect the United States away from imperial relations with the Middle East. Demilitarization in the United States and better chances for peace and security for the people of the region will necessitate limiting the profit-driven influence of the weapons and energy industries. And finally, we need to forge new solidarities between diverse political movements in the United States and in the region to challenge the connections between America’s endless foreign wars, its surveillance and repression of Arabs and Muslims and the rise of violence against dissenters at home and abroad.
US sanctions on Iran, along with the COVID-19 pandemic and domestic political restrictions, are shrinking the public sphere in Iran, including sociological research and study. The Iranian Sociological Association, a large organization working all across the country, is a research hub that engages the public and the government in tackling society’s problems. Shahrokni explains how its important role is, however, being undermined by immense internal and external pressures.
Fifteen years after his classic essay for Middle East Report, “Slavery, Genocide and the Politics of Outrage: Understanding the New Racial Olympics” Hisham Aïdi reflects on what has changed, and what has not, in the intertwined dynamics of Islamophobia, solidarity movements and anti-racism in the United States and the Middle East.
Palestine is heading into a disastrous recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic’s paralysis of economic life combined with structural factors specific to the Palestinian economy. Colin Powers explains why the Palestinian Authority is unable to generate the necessary level of revenue to support its citizens, including the pernicious role of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the PA’s misguided choice to hand economic management to Palestinian business elites.
For nearly 50 years, Idir’s music has resonated deeply with his Kabyle listeners: His lyrics not only recall the power of their ancestral traditions, they also serve as a reminder that Kabyle resilience transcends the ages. His music and his novel musicality completely revolutionized Kabyle song, breathing a fresh modernity into the old songs that were sung for centuries in mountain villages.
Since the end of World War II, US policy toward the Middle East has ostensibly been dedicated to protecting the free flow of hydrocarbons to sustain the global economy. In reality, America’s pursuit of energy security has increased insecurity in the region through conflict, militarization and support for neoliberal authoritarians. Jacob Mundy explains why oil for security is a myth and how the current glut of oil presents a dangerous new twist.
Trump’s war on immigration from the Middle East, enacted through multiple executive orders and proclamations since January 2017, is collectively known as the Muslim ban. Eventually approved by the Supreme Court, it hit the Yemeni community particularly hard with overwhelming costs and other hurdles to family reunification. Louise Cainkar explains the evolution of the Muslim ban, its unconscionable effects and what is being done to contest it. This article is from the forthcoming issue of Middle East Report, “Exit Empire – Imagining New Paths for US Policy.”
One of MERIP’s signature issues over the years has been the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict—partly because of its intrinsic interest but largely because so much myth and cant clouds the mainstream media coverage of this subject that independent analysis is particularly necessary. This primer by Joel Beinin and Lisa Hajjar is a good place to start in understanding what is at stake as events unfold.
(Photo of Israeli separation barrier by Alfonso Moral.)