Blogs and News Sites to Follow

Abu Muqawama was created by Andrew Exum (and now includes Adam Elkus and Dan Trombly as regular contributors). Exum is a former US Army officer and student of the Middle East. Abu Muqawama offers a unique perspective not to be missed. The blog is hosted by the Center for a New American Security.

Al Bab Arab Newspapers is a useful reference of papers throughout the Arab world with the language of each paper provided.

Al Jazeerais one of the preeminent news organizations in the world and provides unique and comprehensive coverage of the Arab world.

Angry Arab News is a news aggregation website that offers unique coverage of the Arab world.

The Arabist is a terrific blend of politics and culture. Founded by Issandr El Amrani in Cairo, “The Arabist” covers everything that is worth covering with wit, humor’s, and passion. A terrific resource.

Arab Media & Society is an academic journal on all things media in the Arab world.

Informed Comment” blog is written by Juan Cole, a professor of history at the University of Michigan. Cole is an interesting and often outspoken blogger who tries to bring history, politics, art, culture and whatever else might interest him to his readers.

Jadaliyya is an ezine published by the Arab Studies Institute in Washington, DC. The ASI also publishes the Arab Studies Journal. Jadiliyya is an excellent source of news, information, and analysis of the Arab world.

Marc Lynch @ FP is written by Marc Lynch (aka, Abu Aardvark), an associate professor of politics and international affairs at George Washington University. This blog, begun under the pseudonym Abu Aardvark and now hosted by Foreign Policy magazine, is one of the best sources for political affairs in the region.

Middle East Channel @ FP is a joint venture of the NAF Middle East Task Force and the Project on Middle East Political Science and hosted by Foreign Policy magazine. This is a terrific news and analysis blog.

Shadi Hamid’s blog at the Atlantic is an ever evolving collection of careful and thoughtful analysis on the region by a Brookings Institute fellow.

Syria Comment is the brainchild of Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma. If there is news or analysis about Syria, Landis has it.

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TWITTER SOS

“SOS: Same thugs from last night have crowded around #Semiramis and attempting to break in again. Both back & side entrances. #Tahrir #Jan28” This was the tweet, yes – tweet, that one of Egypt’s most famous hotels posted Tuesday night. According to USA Today, the Cairo hotel had been ransacked by looters late Monday night and early Tuesday during protests on the anniversary of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.

After attempts to reach the police for help failed, the hotel began sending out tweets in desperation such as “PLEASE SEND HELP #EMERGENCY! WE ARE UNDER ATTACK!” and “SOS If anyone knows anyone in #Military #Police #Government, please send help! Thugs in Lobby #Emergency #Tahrir #Jan28 #Egypt.” It was only after a manager issued the tweets that help finally arrived from Egyptian special forces and a group of protesters who helped push out the assailants.

The fact that the Egyptian hotel went to Twitter with its SOS exemplifies the media revolution that has and is occurring in the Arab World. It raises questions as to why the hotel had to resort to Twitter in such a terrifying and serious situation, the effectiveness of local and hotel security, and how problematic this will be for Egyptian tourism and its economy. As Zweiri and Murphy discuss in New Arab Media, media is “exposing the vulnerabilities of the Arab world, it’s political immobilism, economic stagnation and ideological insecurities.” Aside from these posts reflecting the terrorism and violent protests in Egypt, this showed the country’s need for “safety, stability, and security” as USA Today highlights.

While exposing a small piece of the current situation, the social media site allowed a message to not only be shared immediately, but to be acknowledged immediately. Responses from all over the world were posted resulting in conversation and discussion worldwide and most importantly, help during an emergency – when conventional efforts did not.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/dispatches/2013/01/30/egypt-cairo-tourism-hotel-protests/1876563/

Mahjoob Zweiri and Emma C. Murphy (eds.). The New Arab MediaTechnologyImage and Perception. Ithaca Press. 2011.

Palestinians Rights are being trampled.

The country of Israel after receiving information that the United Nations was going to look into its ongoing illegal settlements in Palestinian land, publically refused to attend their Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of their human rights practices (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013129163929359758.html). Its action was childish and indicative of the “we can do what we want” ideology that the current ruling party seems to believe. As no country has ever unjustifiably missed a UPR, the question arose of what to do with a country that blatantly threatened the legitimacy of the Human Rights Council.

With all the facts on the table, it would be impossible to deny that the country of Israel is violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I cant help but think of the common saying, “An innocent man doesn’t run away”. The boycott of the UPR only stands to legitimize the argument of the Palestinians and in my mind, prove the guilt of the Israeli government. If the situation in Palestine is bad enough that Israel wont even allow a formal review of its pledge to Universal Human Rights I believe that drastic action should be taken to help the Palestinians that obviously are having their rights infringed upon.

In terms of what the Human Rights Council should do, I believe that the countries that comprise the Human Rights Council should place severe sanctions upon the country. If any other country in the Middle East was to do this, the world would be in an uproar. For Israel to deny the review of their countries UPR basically says that they are ignoring Human Rights. As a representative from Egypt has said, we are facing a “Moment of Truth”.(http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013129163929359758.html) What the countries in the council choose to do will set a precedent. I refuse to believe that because a country has certain allies, they have more rights than their surrounding countries. As the Pakistani representative stated “We wonder … whether this kind of cooperative spirit would be extended to some other countries that are not as close to some of the major powers in the world,”(http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/01/2013129163929359758.html)

Israel signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they should honor their agreement and stop their mistreatment of their fellow humans. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued in 1948 after the atrocities that were committed in the Holocaust. (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml)The declaration was meant to prevent these atrocities from ever happening again. You would think that due to the large Jewish population in Israel, the country would be first to condemn the crime, not commit it.

Introduction

The reading for this class has presented us with a broad overview for what the rest of the semester will hold. It has incited arguments to praise as well as condemn the use of the internet and other media outlets in the Middle East. The recent change in the social, political, as well as economic landscape for the people of the Middle East is due partially in part to the surge of media efforts within these nations and around the world. Unfortunately, the censorship within most of the Middle East hinders the common man’s outlet from oppressive leaders. Not to say that every nation in the Middle East acts in this way.

The most prominent use of media within the Middle East that I can recall is from May 1st 2011. When a young man tweeted about helicopters that were abnormal for the area, he unknowingly was the first to break the story of Seal Team 6 and the mission to terminate OBL.

The International Al-Jazeera differs from the Arabic Al-Jazeera in shocking terms. The Arabic Al-Jazeera focuses on the local issues within the region. Unfortunately, the English news station does not as much. The study within the readings shows this.

The other pressing issue that I cannot shake from my head connects to the Suicide Terrorism course which Dr. Roberts also teaches. Without media, terrorism cannot succeed. Unfortunately for the victims, there will and always has been (in recent history) media coverage of terrorist attacks and threats. Terrorism thrives on many things, the media being one in particular.

All of these notions of media in the Middle East scratch but the surface of what the semester and readings will uncover for us. I look forward to developing new and informed opinions about these topics.