Landscapes of intervention

An excellent new edition of Middle East Report (290) on The New Landscape of Intervention; full download details here.

The concept of intervention brings to mind foreign military actions that violate a sovereign jurisdiction. This issue of Middle East Report identifies other, increasingly prevalent, ways in which the lives of people in the Middle East are being shaped by forces beyond their borders. In a context of increasing US retrenchment and neoliberal globalization, powerful states and transnational actors intervene across the region in a variety ways—under the guise of humanitarian assistance, democracy promotion or border security—as well as through new methods like urban planning, infrastructure development, crisis research and health deprivation—what might also be called biopolitical interventions. Even as the 2000’s saw the return of traditional forms of imperial intervention—with the US deployment of military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq in pursuit of a quixotic and unwinnable war on terror—there are increasingly new forms of intervention that must be understood, assessed and mapped.

Contents:

The New Landscape of Intervention – The Editors
The Globalized Unmaking of the Libyan State – Jacob Mundy
Iraqibacter and the Pathologies of Intervention – Omar Dewachi
The Shifting Contours of US Power and Intervention in Palestine – Lisa Bhungalia, Jeannette Greven, Tahani Mustafa
Urban Interventions for the Wars Yet to Come – Hiba Bou Akar
The Palestinian McCity in the Neoliberal Era – Sami Tayeb
Humanitarian Crisis Research as Intervention – Sarah E. Parkinson
The UAE and the Infrastructure of Intervention – Rafeef Ziadah
Israel’s Permanent Siege of Gaza – Ron Smith
Border Regimes and the New Global Apartheid – Catherine Besteman

The Fight for Yemen

The latest issue of the wonderful Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP)’s Middle East Report on ‘The Fight for Yemen‘ is now available online:

The ongoing war in Yemen that began in 2015 has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The scope of destruction and human suffering is catastrophic: hundreds of thousands are dead from bombing, war-related disease and malnutrition and millions remain on the brink of famine without access to drinking water or medicine. While critical awareness of the magnitude of the crisis is growing, the political and economic roots of the crisis and the complex realities of Yemeni political life are often obscured by misunderstandings. Contributors to The Fight for Yemen disentangle the social, political and economic factors that are behind the war, the cataclysmic impact of the war on Yemeni society, particularly its women, and introduce readers to the complex realities within Yemen in order to create a just peace. Middle East Report 289 is partially available on-line with full access to all the articles available to our subscribers.

Contents:

Toward a Just Peace in Yemen – Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Jillian Schwedler
The Saudi Coalition’s Food War on Yemen – Jeannie Sowers
Yemen’s Women Confront War’s Marginalization – Afrah Nasser
Yemen and the Imperial Investments in War – Priya Satia
Ambitions of a Global Gulf – Adam Hanieh
The Saudis Bring War to Yemen’s East – Susanne Dahlgren
American Interventionism and the Geopolitical Roots of Yemen’s Catastrophe – Waleed Hazbun
Roundtable: Three Women Activists Advancing Peace in Yemen – Stacey Philbrick Yadav
Progressive Surge Propels Turning Point in US Policy on Yemen – Danny Postel

Cities Lost & Remade

An editorial from Steve Niva, the new editor of the indispensable Middle East Report introduing the new issue:

The merciless killing by Israeli snipers of over 100 mostly unarmed Palestinians approaching the militarized fence around the Gaza Strip in May of 2018 was significant not simply for what it says about Israel’s callous disregard for Palestinian human rights. Israel’s misleading attempt to legitimate its shoot-to-kill policy in terms of a right to defend its sovereign borders belies the fact that its self-proclaimed “border” around Gaza is simply the outer boundary of an open-air prison of barbed wire fences, fortified gates and no-go zones over which Israel retains full control as an occupying power. The Palestinians being killed at the fence area are not hostile invaders but rather displaced and stateless peoples protesting against the cage Israel has built to keep them both boxed in and out.

Israel’s violence against displaced and stateless Palestinians in Gaza is significant more broadly as a dark exemplar of an unfolding global future: the proliferation of militarized walls, fences, no-go areas and increasingly lethal actions that police the space between the “green zones” of wealth and privilege and the “red zones” of the poor, excluded and stateless around the world. Israel’s militarized population management systems, border security technologies and anti-civilian weapons that are “battle tested” against Palestinians and then sold on the global market have found willing buyers and emulators among those seeking to contain, deter or eliminate unwanted populations. Increasingly militarized systems whether “made in Israel” or not, can be found along the US-Mexico border, Europe’s southern facing border zones, India’s border zone around Bangladesh, as well as the zones outside of gated communities in various global locations.

The articles in this issue of Middle East Report take us beyond these fortified walls and zones to illuminate some of the sources of displacement, dispossession and loss found throughout urban areas in the contemporary Middle East, which often produce the very population outflows that militarized border zones seek to contain. In our age of “planetary urbanization” many cities have become battlegrounds where insurgents seek asymmetrical advantage against opponents who increasingly target cities as if civilians no longer exist—the way Israel labels the entire urban fabric of Gazan society a “terrorist infrastructure” or the urban destruction campaigns undertaken by Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the US against ISIS. At the same time, global capitalist deregulation and privatization has given rise to what global sociologist Saskia Sassen terms “predatory formations” of investors, states and economic elites that target cities for speculative profit and nepotistic rewards, emptying them of their poor or rebellious inhabitants, whether in Amman, Istanbul or Morocco. Some urban inhabitants are forced to flee while others resist, remain and keep alive more just visions of their collective urban past and future whether in Gezi Park, Mosul or elsewhere.

 

Contents:

The Urbanization of Power and the Struggle for the City Deen Sharp

Globalized Authoritarianism and the New Moroccan City Koenraad Bogaert

“The Dubai of…” Yasser Elsheshtawy

Amman Eliana Abu-Hamdi

Alexandria, City of Dispossession Youssef El Chazli

The Destructive Dreams of AKP Urbanism Ayse Çavdar

Abadan Kaveh Ehsani and Rasmus Christian Elling

Generational Dislocations Joanne Randa Nucho

Jerusalem’s Colonial Landscapes of Loss Thomas Abowd

“Mosul Will Never Be the Same” Omar Mohammed

Sur Serra Hakyema