"Journalists Are the Eyes of the World" on Guantanamo

by Sheila Carapico | published March 5, 2014 - 9:58am

Lisa Hajjar’s spring lecture tour, entitled “Let’s Go to Guantánamo! An On-the-Ground Perspective on the Military Commissions,” explores secret renditions, black sites, torture, suppression of evidence, clandestineness and what it means to provide “legal counsel” to detainees in the post-September 11 “war on terror” in the absence of procedural fairness or public scrutiny.

State of the Drones

by Lisa Hajjar | published February 13, 2013

During his State of the Union Address last night, President Barack Obama said:

We don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we will need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And, where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans.

Zero Dark Thirty's Losing Premise

by Chris Toensing | published February 6, 2013

Zero Dark Thirty is a movie the CIA wants you to see.

It tells a tale of the search for Osama bin Laden wherein the key lead comes from a man softened up by waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confinement in a coffin-like box and other forms of pain and humiliation. It shows CIA agents extracting subsequent clues by similar means or the threat thereof. It alludes to other evidence supplied by “the Paks” and “the Jords” that was also obtained from detainees under duress. It twice depicts CIA officials asking the higher-ups how they are to find bin Laden when, after Barack Obama’s election, “the detainee program” is taken away.

Fighting Over Drones

by Laleh Khalili
published in MER264

After drones became the American weapon of choice in Pakistan sometime toward the end of the 2000s, a number of US counterinsurgency experts expressed their discomfort with the killer robots in various military-related forums. For these writers, the non-human nature of drones, their blunt force and their distance from the enemy were something of an affront to counterinsurgency dictums about “hearts and minds” and “calibrated force.” The military characterizes counterinsurgency as a series of battlefield tactics (clear, hold, build) and developmental activities intended to persuade or coerce enemy civilians into supporting the counterinsurgent force.

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Anatomy of the US Targeted Killing Policy

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER264

As President Barack Obama geared up for the 2012 campaign, he and his administration were eager to capitalize on their most bipartisan “victory” -- the targeted killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. With the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death approaching, top officials took to podiums to deliver remarks that, while differing in some particulars, were consistent in their message: The targeted killing policy is legal, it is necessary to keep Americans safe, it is effective in eliminating terrorist threats, and it is undertaken with great care to minimize civilian casualties.

Plain Old Murder

by Chris Toensing | published July 30, 2012

Drones are President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice in the war on terror.

Since taking office, he has ordered over 280 drone strikes in Pakistan alone. That’s more than eight times as many as George W. Bush authorized and doesn’t even count the scores of other unmanned attacks in Somalia and Yemen. When the mainstream media reports these operations, it claims that almost all the people killed are “militants” -- members of al-Qaeda or affiliated radical groups.


Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

America's Pakistan

by Zia Mian , Sharon K. Weiner | published March 2012

American policymakers and their advisers are struggling with the question of Pakistan. The last ten years have produced a host of policy reviews, study group reports, congressional hearings and a few academic and more popular books, with more expected as the 2014 deadline for the end of US major combat operations in Afghanistan nears. Much of this literature sees Pakistan as a policy problem and seeks to inform Washington’s debate on how to get Pakistan to do what the United States wants it to do. The literature also reveals the limits of American knowledge and power when it comes to Pakistan.

The September 11 Effect on Anthropology

by Lara Deeb , Jessica Winegar
published in MER261

Conventional wisdom among scholars of the Middle East is that the September 11, 2001 attacks left behind a threatening professional environment. Graduate students and faculty alike speak of hostile infiltrators in their classrooms, inevitably bitter tenure battles and the self-censorship that both can produce. At the same time, in the aftermath of September 11 Middle East scholars anticipated that the perennially spotty job market might improve.

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The Rites and Rights of Citizenship

by Moustafa Bayoumi | published September 9, 2011

On Tuesday I became a citizen of the United States. Almost ten years ago, I was granted permanent residency. Between my Green Card and my naturalization certificate lies the seemingly endless decade of the “war on terror.”

The Grand (Hip-Hop) Chessboard

Race, Rap and Raison d'Etat

by Hisham Aidi
published in MER260

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