Image from the New York Times

Image from the New York Times

The flawed logic of a Sunni vs. Shi‘a ‘civil war’

A little article I wrote about the Sunni vs. Shi‘a ‘civil war’ rhetoric that seems to be doing the rounds…

A number of recent documentary films (such as Channel Four’s Aleppo’s Children and PBS’ Syria Undercover) have highlighted the nearly unimaginable horror experienced by those afflicted by the ongoing conflict while the Assad regime fights for its life. But it is not only because of human tragedy that coming to terms with the ‘Arab Spring’ and its fallout, in Syria and elsewhere, is a difficult task. The processes of change that are still in motion are manifold and extraordinarily complex and the nature of emerging political realities remains fluid….

read more at ThinkIR


(Mis)Stating Palestine


‘I love it when a plan comes together… ‘

Some six months have passed since the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) September 2011
deadline for achieving statehood recognition from the United Nations General Assembly.

These goals, as articulated by PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in a speech to the GA, have not been met. This should not surprise anyone; the 2011 bid for statehood itself came 13 years after Yasir Arafat made similar proposals in 1988. At that time and under different circumstances, the PLO leadership-in exile had claimed independence when it formally endorsed the “two-state solution” in Algiers and at the United Nations in Geneva.

Read the rest of this article published on e-InternationalRelations.


Protesting in the rain outside the Moqata'a, Ramallah, in January 2012

Re-reading the Myth of Fayyadism: A Critical Analysis of the Palestinian Authority’s Reform and State-building Agenda, 2008-2011

Published by the The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS), Doha, Qatar on 11th April 2012.


Fayyadism is a term coined by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman that has gained widespread usage in the media and the quasi-academic literature emanating from various high-profile English-language think tanks. The term is named after the current prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Dr. Salam Fayyad, formally an economist at the IMF, and is used to describe the raft of political and economic reforms that have been central to the PA’s state-building agenda. Supporters of this agenda from all sides have promoted it in orientalist terms (i.e., as a reasonable method for Palestinians to achieve their national goals), in contrast to uncivilized armed resistance and/or Islamism. This paper argues that Fayyadismdoes not, in fact, constitute a radical new approach to ending the occupation or liberating Palestinians. Rather, Palestinian agency remains contingent on the same basic dynamics as it has since the beginning of the Oslo process. If Fayyadism has had any effect at all on this arrangement of power, it has been to entrench the occupation rather than to end it.

To read the full article click here.


Balata Camp nr NablusMearsheimer, Walt and the missing Palestinians

The two famous American realists argue that the US should stop pandering to Israel over Iran and get serious about the peace process. That’s all well and good, but isn’t their analysis missing something? Published on ThinkIR on the 22nd of March, 2012.

To read the full article click here.


Fayyadism’s end? It is time to return to first principles

It seems like Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s reform and state-building plans for Palestine have just about run out of steam. Isn’t it time to think again – what’s this fight really all about? Published on ThinkIR 17th January, 2012.


To read the full article click here.