Economic sanctions debunked

By Megan Wang|June 18, 2019|Insight|

President Donald J Trump signs an executive order entitled ‘Reimposing Certain Sanctions with Respect to Iran’ on 6 August 2018. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead Hassan Hakimian outlines seven misconceptions behind the idea and practice of economic sanctions The use of economic sanctions to achieve international political objectives has been on the rise in the past century. Since WWI, sanctions have gained increasing pertinence in the complex world

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Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’

By Megan Wang|May 24, 2019|Insight|

Posters and graffiti on refugees’ right of return, Shatila camp, Lebanon   Karma Nabulsi sketches out the known contours of the still secret ‘Deal of the Century’ Shortly after his election to the US Presidency, Donald Trump promised a peace plan for the Middle East. Calling it the ‘Deal of Century’, he claims that it will solve the conflict in Palestine once and for all. Although its public launch has

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Indian camera, Iranian heart

By Megan Wang|March 8, 2019|Insight|

Ranjita Ganesan provides an account of the early collaborative talkies of Abdolhossein Sepanta (1933-37) Every day for some months in 1935, Abdolhossein Sepanta dutifully made the dull commute from Bandra to Andheri in Bombay. By this time the financial capital of India and home of Indian cinema were familiar to Sepanta, a young poet and journalist from Tehran who attended theatre school in his youth. He had studied and worked in

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The Arabic novel: a general introduction

By Megan Wang|December 1, 2018|Insight|

Paul Starkey provides an overview of some of the earliest Arabic novels, noting how political developments in the Arab world have acted as turning points in the region’s literary history Although much imaginative prose writing can be found in Arabic literature of the medieval and pre-modern periods, it is not until the second half of the 19th century that we can speak of an ‘Arabic novel’ in the sense in

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Sanctions are back – with a vengeance

By Megan Wang|October 1, 2018|Insight|

The ‘success’ of the latest bout of US sanctions on Iran hinges on third party responses and domestic conditions in Iran. Hassan Hakimian explains ‘The Iran sanctions have officially been cast’ tweeted President Trump three months after he signed an executive order in May announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. He went on to boast the return of ‘the most biting sanctions ever imposed’, as if sounding

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China’s One Belt, One Road initiative

By Megan Wang|June 1, 2018|Insight|0 comments

The potential future gains (both economic and political) from the OBOR project stand to benefit China and the nations of the Middle East. But the project is not without risks. Sarah Hsu explains China’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) programme has been welcomed in the Middle East. OBOR’s land-based and maritime silk roads cross both over and through the region. The land-based road passes through Istanbul and Tehran, as well

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What to expect from El-Sisi’s second term?

By Megan Wang|April 6, 2018|Insight|0 comments

Increased repression, encroachment into commercial activity and widespread discontent. In the run up to the election, Maged Mandour outlines what we can expect from El-Sisi’s next term With the advent of the Egyptian Presidential election (26-28 March), more accurately described as a de-facto referendum, one can start to piece together the primary features of El-Sisi’s next term. The behaviour of the regime before the elections, during which a number of

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Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: new regional alliances and the Palestinian struggle

By Megan Wang|January 27, 2018|Insight|0 comments

Adam Hanieh lists signs of growing cooperation between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and the ramifications for Palestine The 6 December announcement by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the US embassy to the city has thrown Middle East politics into renewed turmoil. Political and religious leaders around the world have condemned the move, with hundreds of protests organised in major

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Tunisia: seven years later

By Megan Wang|January 27, 2018|Insight|0 comments

Since 2011, Tunisia has been shaped by the instability in Libya, a weak economy, a toughening political environment and a growing strain of authoritarianism. But the vitality of the revolution is not yet completely lost. George Joffé explains It is now almost seven years since Tunisia led the way in the Arab Awakening by forcing an end to the autocratic Ben Ali regime and introducing a democratic political system in

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The persistent challenge of ‘Islamic exceptionalim’

By Megan Wang|January 27, 2018|General|31 comments

Hadi Enayat explains the basis of Islamic exceptionalism and the ways in which it has been debate in light of recent events The notion of national or civilisational ‘exceptionalism’ was first used in connection with the USA to explain everything from its propensity for democracy to its apparent resistance to secularisation. The concept of ‘Islamic exceptionalism’ has a more recent pedigree dating back to the 1990s with the publication of

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