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James Denselow
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Entries by James Denselow

Insight into the Middle East's Freedom Deficit

(3) Comments | Posted August 5, 2013 | 4:05 PM

Of Empires and Citizens: Pro-American Democracy or No Democracy at All?

Amaney Jamal, Princeton University Press, United Kingdom, 2012

The health of Arab democracy has been sorely tested after the initial hope and optimism that came at the start of the Arab Spring. The grinding, near apocalyptic, conflict in Syria...

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From Mountain People to Partner?

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 6:44 AM

Speaking at a recent Chatham House event former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright was asked her predictions for the Middle East. Ignoring the continued flux of both the Arab Spring the bloody civil war in Syria Albright responded that the modern relationship between Turkey and the Kurds is evidence...

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In the Air With Hillary Clinton

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2013 | 12:43 PM

The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power

(Kim Ghattas, Times Books; 2013)

In this absorbing and highly readable work Kim Ghattas, the BBC's State Department Correspondent, has attempted the ambitious task of combining personal memoir, an on-the-road record of Secretary...

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The Assad Regime -- From Orwell to Conrad

(2) Comments | Posted March 4, 2013 | 4:32 PM

Two years into the conflict in Syria and the mask has slipped revealing that Assad is willing to enter the heart of darkness and take down the state along with his regime.

Living in Syria in the period 2005-2007, one was always struck by the blatant contradictions that characterised Assad's...

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Theatre Review: The Fear of Breathing

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 10:59 AM

Over 16 months into the unrest in Syria and still a true picture of events on the ground is hard to ascertain. Partly this is due to events moving so fast. The conflict, inspired by the regional Arab Spring, was sparked by children writing graffiti on the walls in the...

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Arab Spring - Revolution & Counter-Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted July 16, 2012 | 4:22 AM

"The Battle for the Arab Spring - Revolution, Counter-Revolution and the making of a new era"

(Lin Noueihed and Alex Warren, Yale University Press, 2012)

Reuters correspondent Lin Noueihed and Middle East analyst Alex Warren have written an comprehensive account of the revolution and counter-revolution underpinning the Arab Spring...

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'Sectarianism in Iraq' - Antagonistic Visions of Unity

(2) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 12:37 PM

Sectarianism in Iraq (Fanar Haddad, Hurst, London 2011) is a timely examination of a under-researched and controversial topic that continues to play a central role in shaping the future of the country.

The book's stated aim is to provide the first concerted attempt to analyze the nature of sectarian...

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Syria and the Climate Change Approach

(1) Comments | Posted May 30, 2012 | 11:16 AM

The international community knows that the situation is bad and getting worse but lacks the unity and political capital to do anything about it

When will we arrive at a tipping point in Syria? This is the frequently asked question that followed the early momentum of the uprising in 2011,...

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Reporting from the Centre of the Syrian Storm

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2012 | 4:05 PM

Revolt: Eye-Witness to the Syrian Uprising

One of the biggest challenges to understanding events in Syria over the past year has been the lack of access granted to the international media. The secretive nature of the Syrian state has allowed only for controlled and largely regulated trips...

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Is the New Battleship Film a Recruitment Hit?

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2012 | 8:13 AM

In an ideal world the makers of the latest alien invasion blockbuster want you to watch the film, buy the board game and then join the US Navy.

The film has been fairly compared to the Transformers trilogy and is complete with sweeping shots of military hardware and a...

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Star Wars and Understanding the Arab Spring

(3) Comments | Posted February 28, 2012 | 4:45 PM

The heady optimism of 2011 and the rapid fall of the regimes of Gaddafi, Mubarak and Ben Ali, has been replaced by disappointment in the new military leadership in Cairo, deep divisions in Libya and of course the continued brutal clampdown against protestors in Syria. Western public's confidence in the...

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Online Activism & Revolution in Egypt

(3) Comments | Posted January 25, 2012 | 6:00 PM

It was not Facebook, Twitter or YouTube that brought down Hosni Mubarak. The Egyptian people did that. But this does not mean that social media and internet�based technologies played no role, or that their role was insignificant, as some have alleged. Rather, events in Egypt and countries across the Middle...

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Understanding the Global Revolution

(1) Comments | Posted January 17, 2012 | 12:50 PM

The Leaderless Revolution -- How Ordinary People Will Take Power and Change Politics in the 21st Century (Carne Ross, Simon & Schuster, 2011)

Why It's Kicking Off Everywhere -- The New Global Revolutions (Paul Mason, Verso, 2012)

Frequently described as a "high-flying former diplomat," Carne Ross resigned from the Foreign...

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Understanding the Baghdad Bombings

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2011 | 8:20 AM

Four days after the official US troop presence ended, Baghdad has been struck by bombings that are a reminder that for ordinary Iraqis the horror continues.

Soft, unprotected civilian targets were hit by co-ordinated, simultaneous attacks that were likely planned prior to Shi'a Prime Minister Maliki's Monday decision to...

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Assad: The Man Who Can Bring Down the Syrian Regime

(2) Comments | Posted December 21, 2011 | 11:28 AM

Bashar al-Assad is the man most likely to bring down his own regime. Why? Because if we trace back both the president's reaction to the protests in addition to his previous ten years in charge, we can see that his attempts at reforms have unwittingly creating the environment in which...

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Witnessing Change In Rio's Favelas

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2011 | 7:00 AM

I was recently fortunate enough to visit the sprawling Rocinha favela, one of the largest in Rio, which sits on a stunning hillside in a cove overlooking the Atlantic about a ten minutes drive from Ipanema beach. The Rio Favelas are synonymous in popular fiction with crime and violence, from...

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After Gaddafi, What Next for Syria?

(1) Comments | Posted October 20, 2011 | 7:00 PM

The death toll continues to rise in Syria where nearly seven months of violence has led to the deaths of over 3,000 civilians. The UN Security Council, hit by a double veto from China and Russia earlier in the month, are divided and powerless. Ban Ki-Moon told reporters in Switzerland...

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An Innocent Abroad

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2011 | 1:03 PM

The Other Side of the Mirror (Brooke Allen, Paul Dry Books -- Philadelphia 2011)

Brooke Allen, an American critical writer, attempts in this book the ambitious task of writing a travelogue that opens up the closed state of Syria to an American public. Sadly, what Allen has created is a...

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Arab Youth Energy Fuels Democratic Revolutions

(1) Comments | Posted September 1, 2011 | 12:07 PM

It is hard to put into words the enormity of the events that have occurred across the Arab world in 2011. Mubarak, Gaddafi and Ben Ali have been unseated from power, Saleh and Assad are on the brink, and all other Arab leaders watch on with their own degrees of...

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USA & Iraq: Preparing for the Long Term

(5) Comments | Posted July 15, 2011 | 1:01 PM

Forgotten in the shadow of the Arab Uprisings and facing an undefined 'Iranian threat', Iraq is about to agree to long-term American 'Occupation lite'.

Iraq fatigue has led to a series of critical events in the country being largely ignored. There is of course the continued...

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