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Danny Postel
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Danny Postel is Associate Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies. He is the author of Reading "Legitimation Crisis" in Tehran: Iran and the Future of Liberalism and co-editor of The People Reloaded: The Green Movement and the Struggle for Iran’s Future and The Syria Dilemma. He is a co-editor of PULSE and co-host of CMES Conversations, a series of video interviews with leading Middle East scholars and political thinkers. He blogs for Truthout and Critical Inquiry, and is a Contributing Editor of Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture. His website is here.

Entries by Danny Postel

Syria's Medical and Humanitarian Nightmare: An Interview with Dr. Zaher Sahloul

(1) Comments | Posted May 31, 2016 | 10:09 AM

Since their days as medical school classmates, Bashar al-Assad and Zaher Sahloul have followed rather different paths: one became a war criminal; the other, a humanitarian advocate.

Dr. Sahloul is the immediate past president of and a senior advisor to the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a humanitarian and advocacy organization that provides medical relief to Syrians and Syrian refugees. Last year, SAMS served 2.5 million patients in five different countries. (The organization's vital work is featured in the recent documentary film 50 Feet from Syria, which is available on Netflix.)

Dr. Sahloul is also the founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, a coalition of 14 US-based humanitarian organizations working in Syria. He is an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and is a practicing physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine. He has written about the medical and humanitarian crisis in Syria for Foreign Policy and the Huffington Post, among other outlets.

I conducted this interview with Dr. Sahloul for the Middle East Dialogues series produced by the University of Denver's Center for Middle East Studies on April 26 -- less than 48 hours before the Assad regime's airstrike on the MSF-supported pediatric hospital in Aleppo that killed dozens of patients and doctors, including one of the city's last remaining pediatricians.

Go here to volunteer with the Syrian American Medical Society (you do not need to be a doctor or medical professional) and here to donate to the...

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All the Things that Matter Most: On Jeff Kelly Lowenstein's Marvelous New Book

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2016 | 12:29 PM

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I was deeply honored when Jeff Kelly Lowenstein -- an award-winning journalist, former president of the Ochberg Society for Trauma Journalism, educator, and close friend of many years -- asked me to contribute an introduction to an...
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Toward a People's History of the Syrian Uprising -- A Conversation with Wendy Pearlman

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 2:05 PM

In the increasingly disfigured debate about Syria, it is scarcely even remembered that it all began as a popular uprising--indeed, as a nonviolent and non-sectarian one whose goals were dignity, justice, and freedom from a one-family mafia torture state in power for more than...

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Why Iranian Dissidents Support the Nuclear Deal--In Their Own Words

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 3:55 PM

Cross-posted from In These Times

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Iranian writer Mahmoud Dolatabadi, author of such books as The Colonel, which has been banned in Iran. (International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran)

The debate on the nuclear deal with Iran...

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Remembering the Marvelous Uruguayan Writer Eduardo Galeano

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 1:00 PM

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My heart has been heavy since learning over the weekend of the death of the radical and marvelously lyrical Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, whom I had the enormous pleasure of meeting some 20 years ago.

Galeano was an iconic literary...

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What Do Syrians Want? Q & A on the Syrian Freedom Charter

(1) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 4:33 PM

cross-posted from PULSE

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Planet Syria - كوكب سوريا‎ has declared Tuesday April 7 a global day of solidarity with the people of Syria. In the spirit of this important effort, I present the following interview with...

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A Critical Exchange With Reese Erlich on Syria and ISIS

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2015 | 12:18 PM

Reese Erlich is a foreign correspondent with GlobalPost and reports regularly for National Public Radio (NPR), the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC), and Radio Deutsche Welle. His reporting has earned him multiple awards over the years. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors declared September 14, 2010, "Reese...

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Israelpolitik, the Neocons and the Long Shadow of the Iraq War

(3) Comments | Posted January 31, 2015 | 11:00 AM

This review first appeared in The Drouth ('The Thirst'), a quarterly magazine published in Glasgow (Issue 50, Winter 2014/2015).

The Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War
By Muhammad Idrees Ahmad
(Edinburgh University Press)

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Reviewed...

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Should We Oppose the Intervention Against ISIS? An Exchange of Views

(4) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 2:35 PM

Reposted from In These Times

ISIS (or ISIL, or the Islamic State) sent shock waves through the Middle East and beyond in June when it seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. The organization has now laid claim to a swath of territory "stretching from Baghdad to Aleppo...

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Betrayal and Ambivalence: Syrian Activists Wrestle With ISIS, Intervention, and the Fate of Their Country

(1) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 11:27 AM

This blog was cross-posted from Dissent, where it first appeared.

Conspicuously absent from the debate about ISIS and U.S. intervention--both in the mainstream and in the leftosphere--are Syrian voices. ISIS and U.S. officialdom occupy center stage, leaving the perspectives of Syrian civil society activists and writers out of...

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Syria and the Arab Spring: An Interview With Gilbert Achcar

(0) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 4:58 PM

Gilbert Achcar has been called "one of the best analysts of the contemporary Arab world" (Le Monde) and "the preeminent Marxist scholar of the region" (CounterPunch). He is Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS, University of London. His many books include:

- Eastern...

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Teaching John Stuart Mill in Iran: A Conversation With Political Scientist Norman Finkelstein

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 12:27 PM

Norman Finkelstein is of course best known for his work on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--his books, lectures and media interviews on the subject over the last three decades--and for the considerable controversy it has generated.

Less known is that for...

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For Ike Balbus on His 70th Birthday

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 10:38 AM

My dear friend Ike Balbus, a distinguished political theorist who taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for several decades, recently turned 70. I wrote this tribute to him on that occasion.

I vividly recall my first encounter with the name Isaac Balbus. And what a fateful one...

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The Crisis in Egypt Today: An Interview With Mohammad Fadel

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2013 | 9:09 AM

Mohammad Fadel is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto, where he is cross-appointed in the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Faculty of Law, and the Department of Religion. He has written widely on liberalism, democratic theory, international human rights, and...

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Mission Accomplished? Syria, the Anti-War Movement, and the Spirit of Internationalism

(4) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 2:12 PM

The American peace movement has been celebrating what it sees as its victory on Syria. "The U.S. is not bombing Syria, as we certainly would have been if not for a huge mobilization of anti-war pressure on the president and especially on Congress," writes Phyllis Bennis of the...

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Stumbling to Tehran: A Deeply Flawed Argument for a Very Good Idea

(3) Comments | Posted August 5, 2013 | 12:03 PM

A review of Going to Tehran: Why the United States Must Come to Terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran. By Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann Leverett. Metropolitan Books, 2013. 496 pp.


I vividly recall the excitement those of us in Chicago's No War on Iran...

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Democratic Rhapsody and Anxiety in Post-Revolutionary Tunisia

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2013 | 4:52 PM

"[Tunisian dictator] Ben Ali's departure on January 14, 2011 released a host of formerly unaired and long-suppressed grievances. After decades of repression, many Tunisians are talking openly across the political table -- hearing one another's views in an atmosphere of free debate for the very first time. This process of...

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Hugo Chávez and the Middle East: Which Side Was He On?

(14) Comments | Posted March 13, 2013 | 12:38 PM

Most of the postmortem commentary on Hugo Chávez has focused on his domestic legacy in Venezuela, his wider regional legacy within Latin America, and what we might call his hemispheric legacy -- his "special relationship" with the United States. And for good reason: these were the principal realms in which...

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Iran, the Left and the Non-Aligned Movement: A Guide for the Perplexed

(11) Comments | Posted September 11, 2012 | 12:58 PM

The bafflement about Iran so widespread on the Left has a long history. It's a problem that has vexed several progressives -- Bitta Mostofi, Hamid Dabashi, Muhammad Sahimi, Reese Erlich, Saeed Rahnema, and myself among them.

The recent...

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