The Roots of Social Rebellion? Social Movements.

The Roots of Social Rebellion? Social Movements.

Historic change eventually comes via small and modest beginnings. The current revolts in Brazil and Turkey actually started in low-key fashion at least one decade ago. Had they been spotted earlier, there would be less befuddlement about explaining the genesis of the...
Tunisia Must Not Fail

Tunisia Must Not Fail

In early 2011, all eyes were on Tunisia as the country toppled Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali’s authoritarian regime after months of civil unrest, kicking off the so-called Arab Spring. Almost three years later, Tunisia has fallen off most people’s radars, virtually...
Tunisia and the IMF: Ennahda’s Mana From Washington (Part Two)

Tunisia and the IMF: Ennahda’s Mana From Washington (Part Two)

Cross-posted from the Colorado Progressive Jewish News. Read Part 1. “I get by with a little help from my friends.” — Lennon, McCartney News reports suggest that Tunisia and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are ‘very close’ to coming...
Purge of the Marabouts: Salafists Target Tunisia’s Islamic Heritage

Purge of the Marabouts: Salafists Target Tunisia’s Islamic Heritage

Cross-posted from the Colorado Progressive Jewish News. 1. From Timbuctou to Tunis, marabout desecration Fueled with Saudi and Qatari money and arms as they are throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Salafist Islamic radicals on the move in Mali hijacked the...
Tunisia Boils Over

Tunisia Boils Over

Once again, Tunisians’ anger has overcome their fear. Spurred by a political assassination, tens of thousands have taken to the streets to protest the state into which their country has fallen. The same sense of decency and dignity that propelled them to the...
Tunisia Two Years On: The Crisis Deepens

Tunisia Two Years On: The Crisis Deepens

Cross-posted from theColorado Progressive Jewish News. The signs are everywhere ‘Place Janvier 14,’ ‘Ave. Janvier 14,’ etc. More often than not they replaced ‘Place Ben Ali’ and did so within hours after the announcement that his...
Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Dueling Monarchies

Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Dueling Monarchies

The demise of secular autocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa has heralded a renaissance for Islamist parties in the region, igniting a rivalry for the hearts and minds of the Sunni world between the Gulf powers of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. These...
The Brownshirts of the Arab Spring: Tunisia’s Salafists (Part 2)

The Brownshirts of the Arab Spring: Tunisia’s Salafists (Part 2)

Cross-posted from the Colorado Progressive Jewish News. Read part 1. Ennahda’s Non-response to the Salafist Offensive How has the transition Tunisian government responded to this wave of attacks? Virtually not at all. While calling for ‘dialogue’...
The Brownshirts of the Arab Spring: Tunisia’s Salafists (Part 1)

The Brownshirts of the Arab Spring: Tunisia’s Salafists (Part 1)

Cross-posted from the Colorado Progressive Jewish News. All Is Not Well in Tunisia Although it — the Arab Spring — began in Tunisia, much of the media attention here in the United States has moved on to Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and Syria, where in some ways...
The Political Economy of the Maghreb Spring and Its Aftermath

The Political Economy of the Maghreb Spring and Its Aftermath

Cross-posted from Colorado Progressive Jewish News. Notes to a presentation at the Magreb Center, Washington, DC, April 24. Thank you to the Magreb Center – for Nejib Ayachi for inviting me back. Pleasant surprise. I would note that not accidentally, this panel...
Tunisia at a Crossroads

Tunisia at a Crossroads

At exactly 1:02 pm on December 17, 2011 — one year to the minute that Mohammed Bouazizi lit the match that set both himself and the region aflame — a giant portrait of Zine Ben Ali was rolled out in downtown Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia, and burnt to the ground....
A Year after Tahrir

A Year after Tahrir

In the mid-1990s, the Iraqi intellectual Isam al-Khafaji published a brace of articles lamenting the decay of “Arab thought in a dismal age.” Al-Khafaji glumly surveyed the Arab cultural scene, which, though bubbling with vitality at the edges, was...