Conspiracy of Near Silence

Violence Against Iraqi Women

by Nadje Al-Ali , Nicola Pratt
published in MER258

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"Sanctions Have an Impact on All of Us"

by Denis Halliday
published in MER209

The following comments are excerpted from a speech delivered on Capitol Hill on October 6, 1998 by Denis Halliday, former UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq, shortly after he resigned his post in protest over the sanctions’ devastating impact on the Iraqi people.

"The Bombing Has Started Again"

by Kathy Kelly
published in MER210

I recently informed an editor of a national news program about a delegation of Nobel laureates who planned to visit Iraq in March. He responded that “Iraq’s not on the screen now that the bombing has stopped.” A puzzling response, since on that very day, the US had bombed seven sites in Iraq.

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Daring Theater Offers Respite from Baghdad’s Misery

by Anthony Shadid
published in MER211

Soon after the tattered curtains part in Baghdad’s Sheherezad Theater, a boisterous Baghdad comes to the fore.

The frenzied strains of an Iraqi pop song herald the appearance of a cross-dressing belly dancer, seductively clad women and a wiggling and jiggling government official, and suggest the presence of drink and drugs in the office of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Animal Resources. On stage come a secretary who works as a pimp, an effeminate deputy minister who loves his wine and women, and his boss, who goes nowhere without an escort of prostitutes.

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Rosen, Aftermath

by Chris Toensing
published in MER257

Nir Rosen, Aftermath (Nation Books, 2010).

In addition to numberless tales of human misery, the post-September 11 US wars in the greater Middle East have produced a veritable library of war reporter’s books. Most of them are formulaic and eminently forgettable, but a few are valuable chronicles that considerably improve the state of knowledge about the traumatic ruptures that war has wrought in the societies caught in the crossfire. Nir Rosen’s Aftermath falls in the latter category.

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Visser, A Responsible End?

by Chris Toensing
published in MER257

Reidar Visser, A Responsible End? The United States and the Iraqi Transition, 2005-2010 (Just World Books, 2010).

There are few keener students of contemporary Iraqi affairs than Reidar Visser. Since the spring of 2006, when he released a lengthy paper on the politics of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Visser has enjoyed growing respect in Western academic and journalistic circles as a close observer of post-invasion Iraq with a talent for debunking the mainstream narrative.

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A War on Multiple Fronts

by Nida Alahmad , Arang Keshavarzian
published in MER257

Lasting from 1980 to 1988, the war between Iran and Iraq was the longest inter-state war of the twentieth century. Yet standard narratives of the war, or of Iranian and Iraqi political history, for that matter, barely discuss the war’s legacy for the structure of the two states in question or the war’s effects upon the exercise of political power.

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Deep Traumas, Fresh Ambitions

Legacies of the Iran-Iraq War

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER257

The seeds of future war are sown even as parties fight and, depleted or on the verge of defeat, sue for peace. The outcome is rarely stable and may be barely tolerable to one side or the other. This rule holds true for the two belligerents no less than for their respective sponsors, keen to protect their strategic interests. Ambitions thwarted are merely delayed, not abandoned; new traumas incurred are entered into the ledger for the settlement of what is hoped one day will be the final bill.

Clipped Wings, Sharp Claws

Iraq in the 1990s

by Joost Hiltermann
published in MER212

Sarah Graham-Brown, Sanctioning Saddam: The Politics of Intervention in Iraq (London: I. B. Tauris, 1999).
Andrew Cockburn and Patrick Cockburn, Out of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein (New York: HarperCollins, 1999).
Scott Ritter, Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem Once and For All (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999).
Tim Trevan, Saddam’s Secrets: The Hunt for Iraq’s Hidden Weapons (New York: HarperCollins, 1999).

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