Financing Terrorism or Survival?

Informal Finance and State Collapse in Somalia and the US War on Terrorism

by Khalid Mustafa Medani
published in MER223

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Stifling Democracy Within Palestinian Unions

by Nina Sovich
published in MER215

In well-furbished offices overlooking downtown Nablus, Shahir Sa'd, General Secretary of the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) sells his vision of the post-Oslo labor movement. "With the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) we could concentrate on workers' issues, rather than struggling with national ones and we could merge the unions under one banner, and we have done that, consolidating 187 unions into 12."

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Economic Reform in Egypt

by Agnieszska Paczynska
published in MER218

Texts Reviewed

Ray Bush, Economic Crisis and the Politics of Reform in Egypt (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999).
Nicholas S. Hopkins and Kirsten Westergaard, eds. Directions of Change in Rural Egypt (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1998).
Marsha Pripstein Posusney, Labor and the State in Egypt: Workers, Unions and Economic Restructuring (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).

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Risking the Strait

Moroccan Labor Migration to Spain

by Gregory White
published in MER218

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"Model Employees"

Sri Lankan Domestics in Lebanon

by Monica Smith
published in MER238

Twenty-two year old Leela made a promise to her family in Sri Lanka: she would earn enough money working abroad as a maid or a nanny to build a new house back home. Living thousands of miles from her husband and young son would be difficult, but Leela thought she would be able to send them money while she was gone. Her absence from Sri Lanka, in any case, would be short. She could not have been more wrong.

Of Specters and Disciplined Commodities

Syrian Migrant Workers in Lebanon

by John Chalcraft
published in MER236

“Lebanon was built with Syrian muscles,” declared an elderly Lebanese in the early 1990s. He was referring to the hundreds of thousands of semi- and unskilled Syrians who have worked in Lebanon on a temporary basis in construction, agriculture, manufacturing and services since the mid-twentieth century.

Iraqi Unions vs. Big Oil

by Shawna Bader-Blau
published in MER243

On February 26, 2007, the Iraqi cabinet passed and recommended for parliamentary approval a new law governing the country’s immense and largely untapped supplies of oil and natural gas. Grasping at straws for any sign of success in Iraq, the law’s international sponsors hailed a major accomplishment for Iraq’s fledgling government. White House spokesman Tony Snow celebrated the oil law’s passage toward Parliament, one of four “benchmarks” the Bush administration has set for the Iraqi government, as a “key linchpin” in Iraq’s recovery. Three months later the oil law is still awaiting parliamentary debate, its ultimate fate in doubt.

Storming the Fences

Morocco and Europe's Anti-Migration Policy

by Elie Goldschmidt
published in MER239

"'Black locusts' are taking over Morocco!" So ran the September 12, 2005 headline of al-Shamal, an Arabic-language Tangier newspaper, describing the forays of masses of in-transit sub-Saharan Africans trying to scale the security fences separating Morocco from the Spanish-ruled enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Moroccan authorities immediately banned al-Shamal for employing this racist language, but the press on both sides of the Mediterranean continued to use terms like “massive invasion” and “plague” to denote the sub-Saharan migrants’ repeated attempts in September and early October to escape from Africa into the territory of the European Union.

The Other Casualties of War in Iraq

by Rebecca Milligan
published in MER239

Labor practices in Iraq are under scrutiny, as contractors hire poor non-Iraqis to work low-wage jobs in a deadly environment. Migrant workers are employed through complex layers of companies working in Iraq. At the top of the pyramid is the US government, which assigned over $24 billion in contracts over 2004–2005. Laborers are often deceived with false promises of lucrative, safe jobs in nations such as Jordan and Kuwait, only to find themselves working in unsafe jobs across the border. Some source countries have banned workers from going to Iraq, but, with little regulation, labor brokers are finding loopholes.

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