Tagged: Bahrain

My Book is Finally Out

Check my new book out New Beginning in US-Muslim Relations: President Obama and the Arab Awakening at Palgrave Macmillan official website.

Short description:

This book carries out a comparative study of the US response to popular uprisings in the Middle East as an evaluation of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy commitments. In 2009, Obama publicly pledged “a new beginning in US-Muslim relations,” causing eager expectation of a clear shift in US foreign policy after the election of the 44th president of the United States. However, the achievement of such a shift was made particularly difficult by the existence of multiple, and sometimes conflicting, US interests in the region which influenced the Obama administration’s response to the popular uprisings in five Muslim-majority countries: Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, and Syria. After providing a detailed analysis of the traditional features of both US foreign policy rhetoric and practice, this book turns its focus to the Obama administration’s response to the 2011 Arab Awakening to determine whether Obama’s foreign policy has indeed brought about a new beginning in US-Muslim relations.

Enjoy your reading!

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How to ‘create’ an extremist

This is an excerpt from a recent report produced by the NGO Human Rights Watch. It concerns incidents of turture and mistreatment of detainees in Bahrain. True, the statements offered by former detainees might be lies aimed at discrediting the Bahraini government. However, if only some of this information is true, it is no wonder that some of the people who received these special ‘treatment’ will resort to extremism and violence as a payback against Bahraini authorities and their foreign backers and allies.

“One former detainee told Human Rights Watch that CID officers beat his penis with a hose ‘until I couldn’t feel the pain anymore’ and then forced several fingers into his anus. Two others said CID officers threatened them with rape. One detainee arrested in February 2015 said CID officers threatened to rape his wife and showed him pictures of his son, which they had on their phones. All nine of those detained at the CID said that they remained handcuffed and blindfolded throughout their time there — typically several days — except when they were making videotaped confessions. Five individuals said that they made those confessions in the presence of a masked police officer. Five former detainees said they told the public prosecutor that CID officers had mistreated them in detention. In two of those cases, the individuals said they refused to make confessions to the public prosecutor, who then ordered that they be returned to the CID where they were tortured until they made false confessions.”

You can read the full report here

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Foreign Actors: A Double-Edged Sword Over Contentious Politics In The Middle East

A bit of self-promotion.

Foreign Actors: A Double-Edged Sword Over Contentious Politics In The Middle East is the title of a chapter that I wrote for a forthcoming book published by Palgrave Macmillan: Contentious Politics in the Middle East (September 2015).

While most chapters in this book focus on the role of popular agency in the 2011 Arab uprisings, my chapter takes an opposite perspective and, without neglecting the importance of domestic actors, it seeks to highlight the role foreign actors played in such protests. To prove this point the essay adopts a comparative approach and analyzes the specific cases of Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen. Popular movements arose in a number of Arab countries which shared common calls for socio-economic and political change eventually aimed at achieving better living standards and a greater participation by the people in their nations’ political systems. There has been general agreement that these protest movements were the result of the spontaneous mobilization of independent domestic actors predominantly interested in addressing domestic grievances. However, once the unrest began the response of foreign actors had a decisive influence on the development and outcome of such uprisings. In some cases foreign action supported popular movements and facilitated change whereas, in others, foreign action backed existing regimes and helped to maintain the status quo.

Here is the link to the book webpage. Have a look!