The Fiscal Politics of Rebellious Jordan

by Pete Moore | published June 21, 2018

Over the first weeks of summer, a surge of popular protest reminded the world that political contestation is alive and well in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, a country often described as a haven of tranquility in the strife-torn Arab world. It started with a call for a June 6 general strike by a coalition of professional associations and labor unions in opposition to the regime’s proposed amendments to the income tax law. But when the moment arrived a range of groups, formal and ad hoc, transformed it into days-long nationwide demonstrations demanding repeal of the tax law, reversal of price hikes on fuel and electricity, and dismissal of the prime minister.

Puerto Rican Decolonization, Armed Struggle and the Question of Palestine

by Sara Awartani
published in MER284

Lolita Lebrón, 24 years after unfurling the Puerto Rican flag and opening fire in the US House of Representatives in 1954, [1] once again cried out against Puerto Rico’s colonial status in 1978. “The liberation movement of the Nationalist Party of Puerto Rico,” declared Lebrón, “conscious of its historic responsibility to the Fatherland, aspires to, advocates and work through [sic] all means of struggle possible—including armed revolution, if it were necessary to constitute Puerto Rico as a free, sovereign and independent republic in accordance with the Principles of Nationalities.” [2]

The Afterlives of Torture

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER283

Donald J. Trump ran for president on a platform that included a pledge to bring back the torture technique of waterboarding and “a hell of a lot more.” On the campaign trail, Trump told his supporters: “We have to fight so viciously and violently because we’re dealing with violent people…We have to fight fire with fire…or we are not going to have much of a country left.” [1] Clearly, he was operating on the premise that these techniques work, that the kinds of people subjected to waterboarding and other forms of custodial violence in the “war on terror”—namely, Muslims—deserve it, and that the cancellation of the George W.

Trump's Drone Surge

Outsourcing the War Machine

by Steve Niva
published in MER283

President Donald Trump entered office in early 2017 having campaigned on an “America First” foreign policy that promised a creed of isolationism and “anti-globalism” at odds with his predecessor’s overseas military interventions and costly entanglements. “We cannot be the policemen of the world” Trump said at the first presidential debate. “We cannot protect countries all over the world.” [1] Noting the over $3 trillion spent on recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Trump asserted: “We’re destroying our country.”

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER283

The arrival of the Donald J. Trump presidency shook the foundations of US domestic politics but also rattled the Middle East. The chaotic administration regularly sends mixed messages and sows confusion as the president’s erratic tweets and off-the-cuff comments contradict statements by administration officials. Trump is confident of his own brilliance, but in the region he is viewed as either shrewd and ruthless or as a buffoon (but by no means a harmless one). Yet even with his chronic dishonesty, Trump is seen by many across the region as ironically more honest than previous US administrations.

Yemen Dispatch

by Stacey Philbrick Yadav | published January 30, 2018

The eruption of fighting by rival factions in Yemen’s southern city of Aden on January 28 provides distressing additional evidence that Yemen’s war is best understood as a series of mini-wars reflecting the intersection of diverse domestic drivers of conflict and Gulf regional fragmentation. [1] Eyes are turned to Aden and the conflict between the government of displaced President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, on the one hand, and the UAE-backed secessionist Southern Transitional Council on the other, which the government has accused of staging a coup. At the same time, there are at least six distinct zones of conflict around the country, each with its own antagonists and external patrons.

Talhami, American Presidents and Jerusalem

by Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud
published in MER282

Ghada Hashem Talhami, American Presidents and Jerusalem (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2017).

From the Editor

by Chris Toensing
published in MER281

As the baleful administration of President Donald Trump bumbles from one scandal to the next, a set of deeply disturbing patterns have emerged in the domestic politics and foreign policy of the United States.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER280

The surprise election of Donald Trump as president of the United States has already had a dramatic and troubling impact on the domestic politics and foreign policy of the US, and it is sure to affect international relations around the world. Trump is the very caricature of the most negative aspects of the US at its worst—celebrity culture, xenophobia, bigotry, sexism, greed, arrogance and ignorance. Certainly, his corruption, his erratic personal behavior and his seemingly cozy relations with the alt-right and Russian President Vladimir Putin have combined to create an unprecedented situation in the White House. It would be a mistake, however, to focus solely on Trump himself. Doing so risks reducing real and alarming agendas to a personality-driven phenomenon.

From the Editor

published in MER279

At a State Department ceremony on September 14 the United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding promising $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the ten years from 2019 to 2028. As the White House was quick to point out, it is the largest single military aid package ever pledged by the US to any country, demonstrating President Barack Obama’s “unshakable commitment to Israeli security.”