Government

2015 Sep 17

New Visions and Strategies for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace

4:00pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

Yenching Auditorium, 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA

The Middle East Seminar presents

Hilik Bar, Member of the Israeli Knesset and Secretary-General of the Labor Party and,
Husam Zomlot, Ambassador-at-Large, Palestine

Moderated by Gudrun Kramer, Head of the Program Supporting Palestinian Refugees, German Association for International Cooperation... Read more about New Visions and Strategies for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace

2015 Sep 09

Being an Armenian intellectual of Turkey in 21st Century: Life and Death of Hrant Dink

4:30pm to 6:00pm

Location: 

CGIS Knafel 262, 1737 Cambridge St, MA 02138

The Seminar on Turkey in the Modern World presents

Tuba Çandar
Journalist and Writer, author of Hrant. Forthcoming in English as Hrant Dink: An Armenian Voice of the Voiceless in Turkey, Transaction Publishers.

Contact: Liz Flanagan
Sponsors: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Center for Middle Eastern Studies

Seven Years of Occupation in Iraq and What For?

August 1, 2010

By Roger Owen

The departure of the last US combat troops from Iraq has been the occasion for much comment in North America. Nevertheless, much of it seems to miss the point. For one thing, it is almost always based on the typically American assumption that things might have gone better with better planning or sounder local knowledge or a different military strategy. But, as I have argued many times before, a modern occupation is bound to run into serious difficulties, however well executed and thought through, and, therefore, should only be embarked upon in the most...

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Thirty Years after Turkey's Last Military Coup

September 17, 2010

By Roger Owen

Thirty years ago on 12 September 1980 Turkey experienced a military coup, its third in twenty years. Designed to put an end to many months of ugly street fighting and killings, it also paved the way for a root and branch attempt to create an entirely new political system by means of its 1982 constitution, banishing all the old politicians and all the old political parties in the interests of introducing a new type of guided democracy under a fresh breed of a-political technocrats.... Read more about Thirty Years after Turkey's Last Military Coup

The Arab World Re-enters History?

January 28, 2011

By Roger Owen

It is rare that public events have the dramatic simplicity of the sudden departure of Tunisia’s late president. As such it belongs to that special category of especially memorable events such as the equally dramatic departure of the Rumanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 when his people also found the courage to turn against him. Although, unlike Ben Ali, he was unable to save his own skin by getting out of the country in time, along with members of his close family and a sizeable amount of his ill-gotten gains.... Read more about The Arab World Re-enters History?

Freedom Means Dignity in the Battle for Midan Tahrir

February 1, 2011

By Roger Owen

Last Friday’s battle for Cairo’s Midan Tahrir will go down as one of the most important events in Egypt’s modern political history. Not only was it a day when the demonstrators fought the city’s riot police to a standstill after Friday prayers, but it also took place in what Nasser and the other leaders of the 1952 military coup had renamed Liberation Square as a symbol of their revolution against the old order. Since then it has been the stage for an open-air theatre involving many dramas consisting of a trial of strength between the regime and its people.... Read more about Freedom Means Dignity in the Battle for Midan Tahrir

National Interest Versus Plural Interests in a Successful Democracy

February 16, 2011

By Roger Owen

Revolutions are always made by people in the name of the people, with the latter imagined as a single entity with a single set of interests. So too in Midan Tahrir, where the anthems sang of the need for Egyptian unity and an end to the "I, I, I" of a leader like Mubarak. This was echoed in the army’s talk of the national interest and the speeches of many politicians young and old.

But if you want to work towards a plural democracy, you also have to develop genuine political parties with different programs that represent the interests of...

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Post-Revolutionary Trials for Corruption in Egypt and Elsewhere in the Arab World: Political, Legal, or Both?

July 12, 2011

By Roger Owen

The city of Boston where I live is going though one of its periodic confrontations with the endemic corruption of its political and administrative systems. Three successive speakers of the Massachusetts lower house have been indicted for taking bribes in exchange for favors. And now comes the trial of Boston’s most notorious criminal, James Bulger, who, apart from his many murders, also managed to corrupt the local agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost twenty years.

Given the blatant illegality of most of Bulger’s crimes, it...

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Year One of the Arab Revolution: Some Pointers to the Future

January 27, 2014

By Roger Owen

The first anniversary of the Arab revolutions presents a mixed picture, the popular movements largely contained in the Arab East but with considerable success to their credit in Egypt and its two western neighbors, Libya and Tunisia. Even if, as always seems to happen in human history, events have not turned out as well as many people might have hoped. All revolutions have to be institutionalized at some stage.... Read more about Year One of the Arab Revolution: Some Pointers to the Future

Blessed Are the Peacemakers in the Arab World's Deeply Divided Societies

February 1, 2014

By Roger Owen

At this time of fierce divisions within most Arab societies there seems little space for those who try to seek to bring the sides together, especially in those countries wracked by all-out civil war. So it has given me particular pleasure to see the comforting face of Lakhdar Brahimi in the news again, a man who, even at the age of eighty, is still pursuing the path of peace and reconciliation as the joint Arab League and United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, against all the odds and in spite of a seemingly never-ending series of problems, road-blocks, and difficulties.... Read more about Blessed Are the Peacemakers in the Arab World's Deeply Divided Societies

The Vocabulary of Revolution

February 1, 2014

By Roger Owen

One of the little discussed aspects of the Arab Uprisings of 2011 is the explosion of new political terms as dictatorships based on rule by fear were replaced by popular forces struggling to find an alternative based on a new constitutional order. Key words to begin with were clearly those very imprecise terms, “revolution” and “democracy.”... Read more about The Vocabulary of Revolution

The Muslim Brothers and Ennahda: Parties or Movements or Can They Be Both?

May 21, 2014

By Roger Owen

Egypt’s Muslim Brothers describe themselves as a “society” and Tunisia’s Ennahda as a “movement.” Yet, due to the particular circumstances triggered by the Arab Uprisings of January 2011, both have also become political parties. And this, in turn, has raised many problems both for them and their members, as well as for the general public.

As is well known, the creator of the Muslim Brothers, Egypt’s Hassan al-Banna, aimed for his movement to act as the conscience of the nation, a stance which worked best in the years when the Brothers were part...

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