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In this article (partially adapted from an interview in Marxist Left Review 19, but rewritten and updated) Achcar begins by situating 2011 within a global crisis of the neoliberal stage of capitalism. He also notes the specific features of the region, and comments on the defeat of the workers' movement and the left in Egypt, and then turns to prospects in Algeria. Sudan, Lebanon and Iraq.
This article elaborates on earlier protests before 2019, focusing on 2011 and noting 'dozens of protests' (which crossed sectarian lines) against political corruption and calling for revolution at Tahrir Square, Baghdad, between February 12 and the 'day of rage' on February 25 2011. On this day the government of Nouri Maliki shut down media coverage, accusing the protesters of being followers of the banned Baath Party of Saddam Hussein or supporters of Al Qaeda. On February 25 2011, 30 demonstrators were killed by security services and many injured. But the main focus of the article is on the use of Facebook and You Tube to publicize, comment on and justify the protests. The blogs and comments studied were predominantly by young men, including some in the US and Canada.
A detailed account and analysis of the 'spontaneous and leaderless protest movement' that was strongest in Shia-dominated provinces, but spread across Iraq. Ali notes how protests in Baghdad in early October 2019 against the removal of a popular general, who had led the fight-back against ISIS, were also fuelled by anger at failures of basic services, such as water and electricity, and the pervasive political corruption. These demonstrations developed into a demand for a new political system to replace the US- imposed regime based on ethnicity and religious divides. The article then sets the 2019 movement in the context of earlier waves of protest, starting with the 2009 protests in Iraqi Kurdistan and the Sunni-majority protests in 2012-13 against their exclusion from political power. It also emphasizes the role of a new generation of protesters since 2015.
The author explores the introduction of conscription in the Gulf States through the lens of promoting national identities and instilling a spirit of sacrifice.
See also: Alterman, Jon and Margo Balboni, Citizens in Training: Conscription and Nation-building in the United Arab Emirates, Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) - Middle East Program, 2017, pp. 57.
https:// csis -website-prod.s3.amazonws.com/s3fs-public/publication/180312-Alterman-UAS-conscription.pdf
This report analyzes the broad implications of introducing conscription for the wider society, such as the militarization of nationalism, gendering citizenship and social hierarchy.
Account by participants of transnational team which went to Iraq to try to intervene between the two sides in the 1991 Gulf War. (See also Robert J. Burrowes, ‘The Persian Gulf War and the Gulf Peace Team’ in Moser-Puangsuwan and Weber, Nonviolent Intervention Across Borders, pp. 305-18 – 209 below.)
Bennis, a Fellow at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies and expert on Middle East and US foreign policy, examines critically the US doctrine of pre-emptive war and willingness to bypass the UN in the context of the global mobilization against the US-led 2003 attack on Iraq.
See also: Bennis, Phyllis, 'February 15, 2003, The Day the World Said No to War', Institute for Policy Studies, 15 Feb 2013.
Celebrates the mass global protests, but focuses in particular how opposition of Germany and France to the war enabled the 'Uncommitted Six' in the UN Security Council - Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Pakistan - to resist pressure from the US and UK and to refuse to endorse the war.
Chapters on Christian Peacemaker Team, Voices in the Wilderness project in Iraq, Peace Brigades International and the International Solidarity Movement. Descriptions by participants of work done by these groups, who runs them and what is involved in joining them.
This analysis, written at an early stage of the 2019 protests, comments on the combination of longstanding grievances and the recent sources of anger, such as repression of protests calling for jobs for university graduates in September, which led to the mass eruption onto the streets of 'unemployed and underemployed youth' in Shia majority areas. It notes that there was little immediate response in Sunni-majority areas, because of the recent violence of the war against ISIS and fear of being targeted as pro-ISIS, or as supportive of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. The author also examines why Shia protesters reject the existing political parties and often criticize Iran's role in Iraqi politics.
One year after the outbreak of mass protests in October 2019, the authors note that thousands turned out to mark the anniversary, but that this time the protests were brief. The Covid-19 lockdown, 'protest fatigue' and suspicion of infiltration of the movement have combined to reduce active support. The main focus of this analysis is a survey commissioned by Chatham House of over 1,200 Iraqis to gauge public opinion about the October 2019 protests. It finds that 83 per cent of those surveyed believed most or all the demonstrations were justified, and only 10 per cent strongly disapproved, and suggests that most Iraqis support the main complaints of the activists.
The author argues that social mobilization in Iraq, especially since 2011, has been politically significant, but not seriously analyzed. Her focus is to investigate 'nonviolent means to promote social and political change in violent contexts', which Iraq amply illustrates. She compares waves of protest since 2011 and concludes that cyclical violence and political dysfunction are a major limitation on the effectiveness of protest, but that social mobilization also holds out the possibility of more positive political change.
This brief but interesting commentary was written after the first week of protests in October 2019, in which 100 people were killed and over 6,000 injured. Dawood discusses the immediate causes of the protests and the longer term failings of the government under Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, elected as a compromise candidate between two Shiite coalitions a year earlier. The author notes that opposition groups like the Communist Party and the Sadrist movement (followers of the radical Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr) were not involved, but that the lack of leadership among the protesters (even within cities) was a weakness in making credible demands for change. Nevertheless, the government (despite its immediate authoritarian reaction) was making concessions by offering economic reforms and pressing for passage of anti-corruption bills before parliament.
Reports on how Yazidi women in refugee camps in Iraqi Kurdistan are finding ‘a way to fight back’ through learning how to box, after the trauma they endured under ISIS. Illustrated by striking photographs of the ‘Boxing Sisters.’
Grimm compares the rising in Sudan, Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon with 2011, whilst also indicating why these countries were not part of the 2011 wave of movements. He also suggests lessons learned from 2011 and considers what the European response should be.
Compares protests in Iraq and Lebanon after seven weeks, noting the youth of demonstrators and their demands: for jobs and housing, investigation of corruption and the resignation of their governments. Jenkins also observes that so far the movements have bridged religious divides. But he is cautious about prospects for success and notes the brutal repression of protesters in both countries.
By examining the wars in Rwanda, in the former Yugoslavia, across the Middle East and in the former Soviet Union, Kaldor discusses the elements and dynamics of structural violence that determined the nature of these wars. She argues that these wars were predominantly determined by military and criminal factors, as well as by the presence of an illegal economy and human rights’ violations. She also argues that the underlying causes of these conflicts lie in the relationship between military and civilian victims, and in the changed perception of threat by the Western powers.
Kelly participated in the Gulf Peace Team and later co-founded Voices in the Wilderness, breaking sanctions against Iraq. See also: ‘Kathy Kelly and Milan Rai, ‘Voices in the Wilderness: Campaigning against Sanctions on Iraq 1995-2005’, in Clark, People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements) , pp.143-49.
This on the spot report provides an overview of the popular uprising up to mid-December 2019, and to the resignation of Prime Minister Mahdi. (Though he was to stay on in a caretaker government until parliament could agree a replacement.) The authors note the scale of violence against the protesters and the role of Iran-backed militias in shooting at them, as well as increasing international concern.
The authors look back to 2011 and the varied outcomes in four different contexts which shaped the possibility of and the reactions to mass protest. These are: the Maghreb (Tunisia and Morocco); Egypt; the Levant (Syria and Iraq) - states created out of the Ottoman Empire and then dominated by the colonial powers Britain and France; and the Gulf Arab monarchies. They then discuss 'whither the second wave?' in relation to Sudan, Algeria, Labanon and Iraq and draw some provisional conclusions.
An early book on the second wave of popular rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East, with chapters on Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, bringing out similarities and differences between the movements.
The authors examine how far peace movements can stop wars, summarizing a number of attempts to do so in the past – for example in the 1905 conflict between Norway and Sweden – as well as more recent better known movements: against the Vietnam War, and against the Iraq wars of both 1991 and 2003. Their case studies include the movement to resist US support for the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s, and the Women in White in Liberia 2002-2003.
Stephan, co-author of Why Civil Resistance Works, examines the new threat posed by ISIS and its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate based on an extreme and violent interpretation of Islam. She suggests how civil resistance can help to contain ISIS and undermine its appeal and ability to recruit.
An examination of how the anti-Iraq War movement in the UK tried to secure press coverage as part of their campaign. The focus is on local anti-war groups and their relationship with the local press and examines such questions as the influence of the social composition of the movement on their approach to the media. Taylor also assesses how local journalists and media viewed the campaign.
Features brief but interesting comments by three scholarly experts on the Middle East on parallels and differences with 2011 and the implications of Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and the Lebanon being at the forefront in 2019.
A Guide to Civil Resistance
The online version of Vol. 1 of the bibliography was made possible due to the generous support of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict (ICNC). ICNC is an independent, non-profit educational foundation that develops and encourages the study and use of civilian-based, nonmilitary strategies aimed at establishing and defending human rights, democratic self-rule and justice worldwide.
For more information about ICNC, please see their website.
The online version of Vol. 2 of the bibliography was made possible due to the generous support of The Network for Social Change. The Network for Social Change is a group of individuals providing funding for progressive social change, particularly in the areas of justice, peace and the environment.
For more information about The Network for Social Change, please visit their website.