Equal Rights for Arabs in Jewish State: A Goal Unrealizable

An Interview with Azmi Bishara

by Laurie King-Irani | published December 14, 1999

Petition Charges Israel with War Crimes

The Case of the Qana Massacre Survivors

by Laurie King-Irani | published December 8, 1999

Egypt: An Emerging "Market" of Double Repression

by Fareed Ezzedine | published November 18, 1999

Recently, Egyptians have entertained dreams of political reform only to be crushed in October by a cosmetic ministerial reshuffle. President Hosni Mubarak ordered this reshuffle following a plebiscite approving him for a fourth presidential term; a massive wave of pre-election propaganda predictably failed to alter the electorate's persistent apathy.

The Situation in Iraq: Democracy Cannot Be Manufactured at Foggy Bottom or the Pentagon

An Interview with Representative Cynthia McKinney

by Laurie King-Irani | published October 21, 1999

The Oslo Process—Back on Track?

by Joel Beinin | published October 7, 1999

During his meeting with Palestinian Authority President Yasir Arafat on September 23, President Clinton responded to a reporter who asked whether he would like to be the US President who helped achieve a Palestinian state by saying, "The question of the state is one to be resolved in the permanent status talks that have just begun. I think, obviously, the two sides will make an agreement on that or there wonât be an agreement." (New York Times, September 24, 1999). Days later it was reported that, in only its first three months in office, the newly installed Israeli government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak has sought bids for the construction of 2,600 new housing units in various West Bank settlements. The previous government of Benjamin Netanyahu had authorized "only" 3,000 new homes each year. President Clintonâs evasiveness and the accelerated pace of West Bank settlement construction illuminate the nature of the final status talks now underway between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

UNICEF Establishes Blame in Iraq

by Sarah Graham-Brown | published September 21, 1999

UNICEF'S recent reports on child mortality in Iraq provided ready fuel for the ongoing propaganda war over the future of sanctions. Iraq's representative at the UN has spoken of a "genocide" caused by sanctions while US and United Kingdom spokespersons, completely ignoring the sanctions' impact since 1990, have blamed Saddam's regime for Iraq's socio-economic decline.

Deja Vu All Over Again?

Twenty Years Later, Iranian Demonstrations Surprise the US

by Haleh Vaziri | published July 20, 1999

Two decades after Iran's Islamic revolution of 1978-79, another US administration has been surprised by violent demonstrations on the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. The Clinton Administration and members of Congress watched with alarm and some helplessness as Iranian student protests persisted and spread--despite official warnings, the brutality of religiously inspired vigilantes claiming to protect the Islamic Republic's interests and carefully orchestrated counter-demonstrations. The US Department of State has reacted cautiously to these developments, while members of Congress--usually eager to criticize the Clinton Administration's intelligence failures--have remained silent so far.

Report from Iran

by MERIP's Special Correspondent in Iran | published July 15, 1999

International press reports have not done justice to the complexity of recent dramatic events in Iran. What began as a genuine, spontaneous student uprising in defense of press freedoms and political reforms has now been appropriated by extremist religious paramilitaries and vigilantes aiming to discredit the students and provoke a crackdown by anti-reform elements of the regime. Khatami's call for moderation in the wake of street battles between students and security forces was not an "about face" on reform, but a demand consistent with several appeals for calm issued by leading pro-reform figures and groups, including the fledgling student "Unity Council."

Assessing Israel's New Government

by Joel Beinin | published July 6, 1999

When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak presents his coalition government to the Knesset he will receive a vote of confidence from 75 of its 120 members. Seven parties, some with incompatible positions on key issues, support the new government. In addition to Barak's One Israel list (Labor Party plus Gesher and Meimad, 26 seats), the coalition includes the Sephardi-orthodox SHAS (17 seats), the dovish-secularist MERETZ (10 seats), the politically ambiguous Center Party (6 seats), whose leaders include ministers in the previous Likud government; the secular-Russian immigrant Yisrael ba-`Aliyah (6 seats), the pro-settler National Religious Party (5 seats), and the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism (5 seats).

Mubarak in Washington

Assessing the US-Egyptian Bilateral Relationship

by Fareed Ezzedine | published June 30, 1999

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak visits Washington this week at a time when US-Egyptian relations appear to be harmonious. Yet beneath the surface, relations may not be as cordial as they seem. Particularly discordant notes in the current US-Egyptian relationship concern free trade, regional economic integration and Egypt's human rights record. These issues will be high on the agenda during meetings between US and Egyptian officials this week.

Interpreting Israel's 1999 Election Campaign

by Joel Beinin | published April 16, 1999

The current election campaign in Israel is often portrayed as a struggle over the future of peace with the Palestinians. But according to Ephraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, "this great debate is over."[1] Most Israelis believe a Palestinian state is inevitable and that even a Likud government will accept some form of Palestinian political autonomy.

The Demise of the Oslo Process

by Joel Beinin | published March 26, 1999

Following the death of King Husayn and the accession of Abdullah II, the Clinton administration and the International Monetary Fund expressed their support for the new Jordanian ruler by committing $450 million in new aid on top of $225 million committed by the US earlier this year. The US is also increasing its annual grant to the Palestinian Authority from $100 to $400 million. Israel, on the other hand, will not receive the $1.2 billion it was promised at the October 1998 Wye summit. These financial measures are meant to sustain a Middle East peace process that has all but collapsed. King Husayn's death, the fall of Israel's Likud government, the scheduling of early Israeli elections and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to freeze implementation of the Wye accords have rendered progress in the peace process impossible for the foreseeable future. This has led to much speculation about the effects of political changes in Jordan and in Israel on the peace process. Such crystal ball-gazing obscures an underlying reality: the Oslo process was always unlikely to result in a just and stable resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.


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.

McJihad, the Film

by Jacob Mundy | published February 2015

The themes of Adam Curtis’ new documentary Bitter Lake should be well known to those familiar with his body of work: power, techno-politics, science, managerialism and the media. The film uses the contemporary history of Afghanistan to tell a story about how polities in the West have become incapable of understanding the complex and horrible happenings around them. Traditional forms of power in the West and Afghanistan have taken advantage of the fear and confusion to consolidate their control, but at the expense of an intellectually deskilled Western public and a world that is fundamentally less governable. Bitter Lake is more fable than scholarship, but the film is nonetheless a devastating examination of how Western interventions in Afghanistan refract the vacuousness of our own politics.


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.

A Guide for the Perplexed

On the Return of the Refugees

by Samera Esmeir | published April 2014

You have reached the village of Kafr Bir‘im. Enjoy the clean air of the Upper Galilee. Listen to the mountain silence. Observe the elegance of the stone construction in front of you; it is left standing after the 1948 occupation of the village and its consequent destruction. And realize as well that not everything you see is in the past tense.