Middle East Research and Information Project: Critical Coverage of the Middle East Since 1971

protest

Voices from the Middle East: The Future of the Hirak Movement in Algeria

Is the Algerian state using the COVID-19 crisis and the suspension of weekly street protests as an opportunity to put an end to the Hirak social movement? What is the Hirak doing now? How is the government responding to the pandemic? Muriam Haleh Davis interviews the Algerian journalist Selma Kasmi to find out.

The Making of a “Resistance Parliament” in Iran and the Challenges Ahead

Iran’s parliamentary elections in February handed the conservative supporters of the Supreme Leader a major victory. Abedini and Armin explain how and lay out why the regime is poorly positioned to deal with popular discontent, crushing US sanctions and the spreading coronavirus.

Regional Authoritarians Target the Twittersphere

Saudi Arabia’s illicit infiltration of Twitter turns out to be only the tip of the iceberg of regional regime’s efforts to wrest control of political discourse on social media.

Regional Uprisings Confront Gulf-Backed Counterrevolution

Wealthy, ambitious and emboldened by US acquiescence, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have emerged as key protagonists in thwarting popular movements.

Resurgent Protests Confront New and Old Red Lines in Jordan

In response to multiple waves of protests, including a surge of protests in 2019, the Jordanian state has worked hard to establish and enforce five red lines for the protests not to cross in order to rein in the potential impact of unified protests across the kingdom.

Thinking Critically About Regional Uprisings

In order to broaden our frameworks for thinking critically about the new round of uprisings, MERIP editorial committee member Jillian Schwedler asked a number of critical scholars for their perspectives on how we should be thinking about regional protests and what is often overlooked or misunderstood.

Cracks in Tunisia’s Democratic Miracle

Less than a decade after the 2011 uprising that ousted a dictator, the election of an anti-establishment president amidst popular turmoil indicates that many Tunisians reject the narrative that all is well with Tunisia’s new liberal democracy.

Dhiban as Barometer of Jordan’s Rural Discontent

Dhiban shares with much of rural Jordan a long history of seismic societal shifts and gradual economic marginalization. This history forebodes continued unrest in underdeveloped areas as long as economic problems remain unaddressed.

From Protesta to Hirak to Algeria’s New Revolutionary Moment

But protesters have not gone home, and many have vowed to stay until the underlying structure of rule in Algeria changes and its ruling elite–known as Le Pouvoir (the power)–are expelled from power. The protesters are demanding that an entirely new system–which some call a new revolution–be put in place.

Lebanon’s Thawra

This uprising is demanding justice beyond sectarian, class, religious or cultural divides. In the clarity brought about by the uprising, the regime’s politics of division has been challenged by the uprising’s politics of solidarity.

Iraqis Demand a Country

Chanting “We want a country,” the youth-led protesters of Iraq are demanding nothing less than a new country as the uprising goes beyond narrowly defined political demands concerning electoral politics and legal reforms.

Protest Camp as Counter-Archive at a Moroccan Silver Mine

Eight years ago, residents of Imider in Morocco’s rural southeast shut down a silver mining company’s water pipe on a nearby mountain to protest the damages to their health and livelihoods. This direct action turned into the longest sit-in protest encampment in Moroccan history. Perched on a rugged mountain top, the camp has become a living archive of decades of struggle manifested in documents, drawings, poetry and songs.

Uncovering Protection Rackets through Leaktivism

The small Gulf Arab state of Bahrain is using digital-era tools of surveillance, deception and repression to quell popular dissent. But a group of well-meaning tech-savvy geeks are mobilizing new digitally enhanced methods to expose who is behind this repression and how it operates today.

The Egyptian Revolution’s Fatal Mistake

Early in the 2011 Egyptian revolution, activists and protesters battled their way into state security archives around the country. But the revolutionaries handed over the documents to the army, who later took power. Inside the state security archives were the blueprints for uprooting the police state and making lasting structural change.

Disavowing Israeli Apartheid

Lara Sheehi 06.22.2019

The decision by the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy’s (IARPP) to hold their annual conference in Tel Aviv, Israel cannot be written off as simply a misunderstanding, ignorance of global issues or unconscious enactment: it’s a disavowal of current reality.

Precarious Teachers Strike for Public Education in Morocco

Zakia Salime 05.2.2019

Over the past three years, striking and demonstrating teachers have mobilized against their new precarious status as contract-labor under government privatization reforms implemented in 2016. The teachers’ struggle is bound up in the broader fight by Moroccan unions against the government’s neoliberal reforms targeting the public sector as a whole. Whether these protests will renew the momentum of the 2011 February 20 movement will depend upon the government’s response and the ability of the protesters to sustain and broaden the scope of their mobilization.

Protesting Politics in Algeria

Since February 22, 2019, Algerians have mounted massive protests in cities across Algeria. While calling for President Bouteflika’s resignation has been a focal point of demonstrations, the protests are more broadly a political contestation against a byzantine, status-quo politics upheld by an elite that is out of touch with the worsening realities in the country.

Making the Economy Political in Jordan’s Tax Revolts

The Jordanian citizenry remain unwilling to pay more taxes. The old system no longer works, but the way forward demands that Jordan’s leaders address the need for substantive reforms in both the economic and political systems that currently govern Jordanian lives. Any new social contract between the ruler and ruled cannot function by raising taxes while withdrawing services to struggling lower and middle classes.

The Manufactured Controversy About Ilhan Omar and the Israel Lobby

The firestorm that greeted newly elected Congresswoman (D-MN) Ilhan Omar’s tweets about the Israel lobby’s clout in Congress reveals as much about her critics as it does about the rising tide of progressive politicians who no longer show deference to establishment prohibitions on criticizing Israel.  Having lost the moral argument about Israel’s brutal occupation of the Palestinian people, Omar’s critics pounced on the allegedly antisemitic tone of her comments rather than address her criticism of the US’s one-sided support for Israel.  We asked several commentators to reflect on this largely manufactured controversy and what it tells us about the current limits of debate about Israel in the US today. 

Protesting Clerical Welfarism in Iran’s Pious City

Mehdi Faraji 01.28.2019

Protests in Iran’s holy city of Qom reveal that social fragmentation in Iran runs so deep that even within a community as intimately related to religious learning and the state as Qom, the divisions and boundaries go beyond easy distinctions between regime and opposition, hardliner and reformer or secular and pious. The uneven nature of Iranian society, which is being exacerbated by international sanctions and ever-expanding modes of privatization and deregulation, has worked its way into all sectors of a society that is at once cognizant of this condition and also still divided.

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