Dr Johan Franzén
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Dr Johan Franzén is an academic whose research focus on the political history of the Middle East, particularly various ideologies of resistance and opposition.


His recent book, Red Star Over Iraq: Iraqi Communism Before Saddam (Columbia University Press), looked at how the Iraqi Communist Party played a crucial part in the modern history of Iraq and the wider region as the main oppositional party and source of protest against a range of different oppressive regimes.


Currently, Dr Franzén is writing a general history of Iraq which aims to show how opposition and protest always has been a central feature of that country’s modern history – right up to the current situation.


He is also interested in how politics in other countries in the region, such as Syria, Egypt, Palestine and Lebanon, has been shaped by various ideologies, revolutions and protest movements.

Entries by Dr Johan Franzén

Stop Denying the Armenian/Assyrian/Greek Genocide!

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2015 | 9:40 AM

A hundred years ago today, 24 April 1915, the arrest of some 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Constantinople (Istanbul) marked the beginning of the Armenian genocide. Throughout 1915, and in some places carrying on for much longer, scores of Christian communities were massacred or rounded up and forced...

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Why Obama's Strategy Against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria Is Likely to Fail

(7) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 11:25 AM

President Barack Obama recently announced a new American campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (al-Dawlah al-Islamiyyah fi al-'Iraq wa al-Sham; ISIS). This campaign, in Obama's words, is designed to "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS (or IS as they have chosen to call themselves since declaring a "Caliphate")....

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The New Libya

(0) Comments | Posted October 10, 2013 | 9:16 AM

News of the abduction of Libya's Prime Minister, Ali Zeidan, recently made the headlines around the world. The former human rights lawyer, who for decades fought against Qaddafi's regime from his exile in Geneva, was being held captive by a militia that supposedly is allied to his own...

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Iraq Ten Years On - Was It Worth It?

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 9:27 AM

Ten years have passed since American and British troops invaded Iraq on 19 March 2003. Much has happened during that decade, not least the downfall of an infamous dictator and the establishment of a democratic political system. A question that seems to be on everyone's mind these days is whether...

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Where Next for Egypt? The Muslim Brothers and the Ghosts of History

(11) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 7:00 PM

Dr Muhammad Mursi's presidential election win on Sunday marks a watershed moment in the modern history of the Arab world. The Muslim Brotherhood, the oldest Islamist organisation in the region which has been banned for most of its existence, now holds the presidency in the most populous and powerful of...

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Egypt: Revolution or Reaction?

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2012 | 7:00 PM

As we approach Egypt's anticipated presidential elections, which are scheduled to take place on 23 and 24 May, an assessment of the 'revolution' that overthrew Hosni Mubarak more than a year ago is in order. The erstwhile optimism expressed by many Western liberal commentators over the democratic nature of the...

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The Case Against Military Intervention in Syria

(21) Comments | Posted March 22, 2012 | 7:00 PM

The recent peace plan to solve the situation in Syria has received the backing of the UN Security Council. This undoubtedly puts additional pressure on president Bashar al-Assad, who had earlier relied on Russia and China to veto any UN resolutions deemed too critical of the Syrian regime....

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Is Revolutionary Libya Turning Into Divided Libya?

(0) Comments | Posted March 7, 2012 | 10:07 AM

The revolution that overthrew and killed Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi, the 'Brother-Leader' who ruled Libya for 42 years, celebrated its anniversary a short while ago. Throughout the military conflict that rocked the oil-rich country western media presented an image of a unified and purposeful Libyan opposition. Yet, less than five months since...

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Egypt: The Dawn of an Islamist Future?

(4) Comments | Posted March 1, 2012 | 6:00 PM

Hosni Mubarak's toppling a year ago amidst massive popular protests raised hope of a democratic transition and a new future for Egypt. Western media and political leaders quickly jumped on the bandwagon of the so-called Arab Spring. But hopes of a rapid transition were soon quashed as it became clear...

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The Fallacy of the Arab Spring

(28) Comments | Posted February 19, 2012 | 6:00 PM

There was no Arab Spring - nor is there necessarily an Islamist Winter. Ongoing events in Syria, and recently across the Middle East, are the last in a long historic process of protest, opposition and revolution. But the outcome will not be democracy as we know it in the West.

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