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Mark Levine

Entries by Mark Levine

An Open Letter to the Obama Administration on Egyptian State Violations of Human Rights

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 1:06 PM

In an unprecedented statement, over 40 senior academics including more than a dozen former presidents of the most important professional association for scholars of the Arab and larger Muslim world, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), have signed a letter to U.S. President Obama and Secretary State John...

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Romney's Poisoned Gift to Obama, and to the American People

(6) Comments | Posted September 20, 2012 | 3:43 PM

Barack Obama has been handed a gift.

It's not a gift he really deserved, given how he's governed during his first term. But it's a gift the American people deserve -- the gift of truth.

When Mitt Romney told a group of über-wealthy donors that his "job isn't to worry...

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The Awful Blowback of Benghazi No One Will Learn From

(3) Comments | Posted September 14, 2012 | 2:54 PM

"Does Mideast Democracy Complicate Diplomacy?"

This was the headline of the New York Times' "Room for Debate" section in the wake of the attack that killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in Benghazi. Not "Is Arming an Insurgency that Includes Anti-American Jihadis Who Will Unquestionably Wind Up Attacking You a...

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After Pussy Riot, Artists Need to Stand for Each Other, Everywhere

(15) Comments | Posted August 19, 2012 | 4:51 PM

It's impossible to know yet whether the wave of international support received by the Russian punk collective Pussy Riot during their just-completed trial affected the verdict in any way. But it's clear that the plight of the three young women who each now face the remainder of two years' imprisonment...

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History's Shifting Sands

(1) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 3:33 PM

The revolutions sweeping the Arab world indicate a tectonic shift in the global balance of people power.

For decades, even centuries, the peoples of the Arab world have been told by Europeans and later Americans that their societies were stagnant and backward. According to Lord Cromer, Viceroy and author of...

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How Long Will the U.S. and Europe Keep Repeating the Same Mistakes in the Middle East?

(22) Comments | Posted February 24, 2011 | 4:08 PM

It took until Hosni Mubarak was safely in Sharm El Sheikh and newly free Egyptians were celebrating in Tahrir Square before President Obama finally came out firmly for democracy in Egypt, no qualifiers attached.

Obama's words were eloquent indeed; even more so than his 2009 speech in Cairo. As he...

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Two Days in Tahrir Square

(9) Comments | Posted February 16, 2011 | 12:09 AM

The 48 hours between the expected and actual resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak were a tsunami of emotion, expectation, fear and ultimately indescribable jubilation.

I arrived at Tahrir a little later than normal on Thursday, at around 4. I had spent the day trying to manoeuvre around Cairo by...

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Obama: Say the D-Word

(26) Comments | Posted January 28, 2011 | 11:55 AM

It's incredible, really. Cairo is burning and the President of the United States can't bring himself to talk about democracy in Egypt, or the Middle East more broadly. He can dance around it, use euphemisms, throw out words like "freedom" and "tolerance" and "non-violent" and especially "reform," but he can't...

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Time for Obama to Say Kefaya

(10) Comments | Posted January 25, 2011 | 7:19 PM

The democracy protests that swept Tunisian President Zine el Abedine Ben Ali from power are going viral, but sadly President Obama and other Western leaders seem immune. Indeed, it is quite likely that the president and his colleagues in Europe are as frightened of the potential explosion of people power...

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Capital's War Against WikiLeaks

(1) Comments | Posted January 1, 2011 | 11:04 PM

When your Swiss banker throws you overboard, you know you've made some very powerful enemies.

Long famed for hiding money for everyone from Nazis and drug lords to spies and dictators, the Swiss government's banking arm has decided that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are just to hot even for it...

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If WikiLeaks Is Too Dangerous for iTunes, Then So Am I

(28) Comments | Posted December 23, 2010 | 12:42 PM

Et tu, Apple?

It was hard enough getting through the holiday season already. What with Master Card, Visa, PayPal and, all ending their relationships with WikiLeaks, it's become almost impossible for someone who cares about free speech, press freedoms and government and corporate accountability to function in society, never...

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WikiLeaks: Call of Duty

(8) Comments | Posted December 10, 2010 | 11:35 AM

Please note: The original version of this article ran on my al-Jazeera column on December 9, available here, with links to other relevant articles:

For professional historians, the publication of the vast trove of diplomatic cables is a bittersweet affair. No one outside of the Washington establishment...

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How Much Longer Will the US Get 'Poned' by Israel? Until it Changes the Rules of the Game

(127) Comments | Posted November 26, 2010 | 12:00 PM

If you don't have a child between 7 and 13 years old, you're probably furrowing your brow right now, wondering what the word "pone" could possibly mean.

It hasn't made it into respectable dictionaries yet; but it's taken over the elementary schoolyards and playgrounds where I live. And there's no...

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Nowhere Left to Run?

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2010 | 3:05 AM

It has been a strange political season. It began sitting in Istanbul with Swedish friends, digesting the news that the rabidly anti-immigrant Swedish Democrats had won an unprecedented 5.6 percent of the vote in the country's parliamentary elections. Analysts immediately began to predict that the election would mark "an entirely...

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No More Rage Against the Machine?

(0) Comments | Posted November 8, 2010 | 1:00 PM

Dishearteningly unsurprising.

This somewhat awkward phrase is, to my mind, the best description of the emotional and moral impact of Wikileak's release of 400,000 classified US military documents.

In the wake of the GOP "landslide" in the US mid-term elections, most pundits and commentators have moved on from this all-too-troubling...

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Whatever Happened to 'Just Say No'?

(149) Comments | Posted October 12, 2010 | 11:09 AM


That's the best the US could do.

The Israeli government ends a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction -- it was in fact only a a partial freeze, but that's another story -- and immediately cement and bulldozers start spreading across the West Bank. Did anyone really expect better?


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Sonic Peacemakers Go Where the Rest of Us Fear to Tread

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2010 | 11:05 AM

In a fascinating, must-read for anyone interested -- or more importantly, engaged -- in Western policy-making in the Middle East, Bilkent University Professor Sean McMeekin's new book, The Berlin-Baghdad Express: The Ottoman Empire and Germany's Bid for World Power, takes us on a tour of one of modernity's grand follies:...

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It's Time for Truce in the 'War on Terror' so the Real War on Terror Can Begin Before It's Too Late

(7) Comments | Posted August 18, 2010 | 1:11 PM

How can we process the idea of 20,000,000 people homeless and six million facing immanent starvation, with little or no locally produced food available for the next two years, at least?

How do you quantify feeding and housing 20,000,000 people--the seven zeros make the sheer scope of the disaster far...

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Beyond Hypocrisy in the Middle East

(75) Comments | Posted July 9, 2010 | 4:23 PM

Almost two millennia ago, the great Chinese military leader and strategist Zhuge Liang admonished his fellow military men that "When hypocrisy sprouts, even if you have the wisdom of ancient warrior kings you could not defeat a peasant, let alone a crowd of them."

He might have well added that...

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General McChrystal and the Wages of Hypocrisy

(2) Comments | Posted June 26, 2010 | 1:06 PM

Of the many questions surrounding the sudden career implosion of General Stanley McChrystal, the one to which no one has yet been able to offer a satisfactory answer is, Why?

Could it really be that one of the gurus of 21st century counterinsurgency and black ops, the man responsible for...

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