The Case Against Qatar | Foreign Policy

Behind a glittering mall near Doha’s city center sits the quiet restaurant where Hossam used to run his Syrian rebel brigade. At the battalion’s peak in 2012 and 2013, he had 13,000 men under his control near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. “Part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), they are loyal to me,” he said over sweet tea and sugary pastries this spring. “I had a good team to fight.”

Hossam, a middle-aged Syrian expat, owns several restaurants throughout Doha, Qatar, catering mostly to the country’s upper crust. The food is excellent, and at night the tables are packed with well-dressed Qataris, Westerners, and Arabs. Some of his revenue still goes toward supporting brigades and civilians with humanitarian goods — blankets, food, even cigarettes. [Read more]

Did We Really Create ISIS? | truthout

It has been alleged in many online circles that Western powers and their allies created the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which, along with the Khorasan Group (an al-Qaeda cell), a US-led coalition is now reportedly battling in Syria. How accurate is this claim? I seek to determine whether a reasonable case can be made for this theory on the basis of Western mainstream reporting – not because it’s more objective (it often isn’t), but simply because it’s where one normally sees such claims dismissed as mere “conspiracy theories.” [Read more]

After Feigning Love for Egyptian Democracy, U.S. Back To Openly Supporting Tyranny | The Intercept

It is, of course, very difficult to choose the single most extreme episode of misleading American media propaganda, but if forced to do so, coverage of the February, 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations in Egypt would be an excellent candidate. For weeks, U.S. media outlets openly positioned themselves on the side of the demonstrators, depicting the upheaval as a Manichean battle between the evil despot Hosni Mubarak’s “three decades of iron rule” and the hordes of ordinary, oppressed Egyptians inspirationally yearning for American-style freedom and democracy.

Almost completely missing from this feel-good morality play was the terribly unpleasant fact that Mubarak was one of the U.S. Government’s longest and closest allies and that his ”three decades of iron rule” — featuring murder, torture and indefinite detention for dissidents — were enabled in multiple ways by American support. [Read more]

The Spectacle of ISIS: Resisting Mainstream Workstations of Fear | truthdig

The use of new digital technologies and social media by ISIS has drawn a great deal of attention by the dominant media not only because the extremists have used them as a form of visual terrorism to graphically portray the beheadings of captured American and British civilians, but also because of its alleged sophistication as a marketing tool. Examining ISIS’s propaganda machine within a neoliberal frame of reference that responds to the latter in the language of the market does more than depoliticize the use of the media as a spectacle of terrorism; it also suggests that the new media’s most important role lies in creating a brand, establishing a presence on Twitter, and producing a buzz among those individuals sympathetic to its violent, ideological vision. For instance, Dinah Alobeid, a spokesperson for social analytics company Brandwatch, told VICE News: [Read more]

Israel’s false peace | Middle East Monitor

What is it about proclamations of “peace” that allows injustice to continue unhindered?

It’s a question applicable to governments, security institutions, media columnists and pro-Israel lobbies who regularly espouse a passion for “peace in the Holy Land”.

While on the surface it appears to be a perfectly normal and laudable aspiration, in the experience of Palestine it is unfortunately riddled with inconsistencies making it alarmingly dishonest. [Read more]

After the war: Jewish-Arab relations in Israel | openDemocracy

“Jewish Israelis usually don’t confront me with their opinions. But now it all comes out,” said Yazid, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, as we sat in a Tel Aviv coffee shop. A few seconds later sirens went off and the waiters hectically guided everyone into a nearby building for shelter. An explosion was heard from above, people waited for another minute and then they returned to business as usual.

It was mid-July and the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip had just begun, and with it a difficult balancing act for Israel’s 1.3m-strong Arab minority. While most Palestinian citizens of Israel stood in solidarity with their brethren in Gaza and their hearts were beating for the victims of Israeli bombardments, the Jewish citizens around them mourned the very soldiers they disdained. [Read more]

Hundreds of US lawmakers warn Kerry over Iranian stonewalling | Times of Israel

A large majority of US House of Representatives members wrote Secretary of State John Kerry expressing their concern Thursday over Iran’s “refusal” to work with the United Nations nuclear watchdog.

With a November deadline fast approaching for Tehran and world powers to reach a deal on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, 354 of the House’s 435 members warned that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been frustrated in its efforts to glean more information about the “potential military dimensions” of Iran’s atomic efforts. [Read more]

Is another Intifada in the works? | Al Jazeera

For the past year, Palestinian, Israeli, US, and UN officials have been warning of the possibility of another Intifada. Perhaps a sign that this is unlikely is that the 14th anniversary of the last uprising – which has literally and figuratively changed the landscape ever since – went by largely unnoticed a few days ago.

That is not to say the warnings are unfounded. There is a very real and growing sense of Palestinian exasperation with their continuously deteriorating situation. They endure daily colonisation, dispossession, apartheid, violence, blockade, and occupation – the longest in modern history. [Read more]


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