"The Regime Has Simply Barricaded Itself in Khartoum"

An Interview with Bona Malwal

by Joe Stork
published in MER172

Bona Malwal was elected to the Sudanese parliament in 1968. He was minister for culture and information from 1972 to 1978 and minister of finance and economic planning for the south from 1980 to 1981. His English-language newspaper, the Sudan Times, was banned when the current regime seized power in June 1989. He now lives in Britain and publishes the Sudan Democratic Gazette. Joe Stork and Gayle Smith interviewed him in Washington in June 1991.

Will the developments in Ethiopia and Eritrea make it more or less difficult to move things forward in Sudan?

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Layoun and Boullata

by Saree Makdisi
published in MER174

Mary Layoun, Travels of a Genre: The Modern Novel and Ideology (Princeton, 1990).

Issa Boullata, Trends and Issues in Contemporary Arab Thought (SUNY, 1990).

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Syria's Torment

by The Editors | published August 10, 2011

There are two political-intellectual prisms through which the recurrent conflagrations of the modern Middle East are conventionally seen. One casts the region’s stubborn ills as internally caused -- by the outsize role of religion in public life, the persistence of primordial identities like sect and tribe, and the centuries-long accretion of patriarchal norms. The other espies the root of all evils in external interference, from European colonialism to the creation of Israel and assorted ventures of the imperial United States.

Human Rights and Elusive Democracy

by Ahmed Abdalla
published in MER174

The practice of human rights cannot wait until all political systems have become democratic. Human rights, in their vast range, can be protected under non-democratic regimes and violated under democratic ones. Still, human rights and democracy, though not interchangeable, can form the most humane relationship of all.

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Hourani, History of the Arab Peoples

by Peter Sluglett
published in MER178

Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (Faber and Faber, 1991).

This is a rich and profoundly satisfying book, the high-water mark of Albert Hourani’s long and influential career as a writer and teacher. Hourani’s gifts as a teacher, and the care and affection he has devoted to his students, are legendary. He has shaped the perceptions and interpretations of the history of the modern Middle East of several generations of students from a wide variety of backgrounds, both in Britain and in the United States.

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Politics and Media in the Arab World

An Interview with Hisham Milhem

by Joe Stork , Sally Ethelston
published in MER180

Hisham Milhem is the Washington correspondent of the Beirut daily al-Safir. Born in Lebanon, Milhem has lived and worked in Washington since 1976. Joe Stork and Sally Ethelston spoke with him in Washington in September 1992.

What are the salient features of the power structure of the Arab media? Who controls it? Who sets the tone?

Any generalization is problematic. We’ve been involved in journalism in Lebanon-Syria and Egypt for more than a century. That is why the Lebanese, the Egyptians and the Palestinians have been predominant in the Arab press.

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The New Orientalism and the Democracy Debate

by Yahya Sadowski
published in MER183

The “collapse of communism” in 1989 and the victory over Iraq in 1991 sparked a wave of triumphal declarations by Western pundits and analysts who believed that all “viable systemic alternatives to Western liberalism” had now been exhausted and discredited. Some then tried to sketch a foreign policy appropriate to the “new world order.” [1] A consistent theme of this “new thinking” was that the peoples of the developing countries must now acknowledge that liberal democracy is the only plausible form of governance in the modern world. Accordingly, support for democratization should henceforth be a central objective of US diplomacy and foreign assistance. [2]

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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.

What Is Wrong with What Went Wrong?

by Adam Sabra | published August 2003

It is no exaggeration to say that Bernard Lewis is the most influential writer on Middle Eastern history and politics in the United States today. Not only has he authored more than two dozen books on the Middle East, he trained large numbers of two subsequent generations of historians of the region. Lewis is a public figure of the first order, publishing widely read articles on Middle Eastern politics. He is perhaps the only scholar of the Middle East to be well-known outside the field -- most academics would be hard pressed to name another historian of the Middle East or the Islamic world, excepting colleagues at their own university. This is ironic, since, as we will see, his interpretation of Islamic history is essentialist and ahistorical. Furthermore, Lewis is greatly respected in US policymaking circles. His opinions on policy matters have been sought by governments run by both major American political parties, and by all reports have been especially heeded by the administration of George W. Bush. An August 29 op-ed by Lewis in the Wall Street Journal concisely states positions which are articles of faith for the Bush administration’s neo-conservatives -- notably that the problems of post-war Iraq are caused by anti-American fascist or Islamist forces seeking to defeat Western Christendom, and that the Westernized former banker Ahmad Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress are the best candidates to govern a stable Iraq in the future.

A New Post-Cold War System?

The Middle East in a Realigned World

by Roger Owen
published in MER184

There was a short period, just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the shape of the emerging post-Cold war system seemed quite clear. The disintegration of the Eastern Bloc would be complemented by further economic and political integration of Western Europe according to the Maastricht Treaty timetable. Other new blocs, like the North American Free Trade Area, were in the making. The whole system was to be regulated by a US-dominated order based on such international institutions as the UN Security Council, the World Bank and a revised General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

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