Mass protests and strikes in Lebanon have already toppled the prime minister, but they must go further, writes Simon Assaf.
This was never supposed to happen. A country riddled with sectarian divisions, facing a deeply embedded ruling class at ease using violence, threats and patronage to keep the people in place.
But now an unprecedented movement for change is sweeping Lebanon, with some one in four of the population taking part in the demonstrations, street occupations and strikes — numbers surpassing anything in the country’s history. There is a popular saying that “Hunger is an infidel that does not abide by public morals”.
Donald Trump has learned that the Middle East is a complex and dangerous place where bellicose threats on Twitter count for little.
The US president has been talking up the threat of war on Iran since he came to office, prompted no doubt by Israel and Saudi Arabia, which have long feared the growing Iranian influence in an era of declining American power in the region.
The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and critic of Mohammed bin Sultan (aka MbS), has ripped apart the image the ruling Saudi prince had crafted for himself as a “moderniser”. The details of Khashoggi’s killing — he was enticed into the Saudi consulate in Turkey and butchered with a hacksaw — reads like a script from a horror movie.
Rania Abouzeid represents that new generation of Arab, in this case Lebanese, journalists who in the years before the 2011 revolutions learned to view the region with a hard eye. They were unmoved by political rhetoric and unconvinced by fantastical conspiracy theories.
They learned to trust what they saw, the ordinary people they spoke to, and that sense that the truth is always concrete, even if it is not what you want to hear.
The Battle of Algiers is a war film based on the Algerian War of national liberation (1954–62) against French colonial rule.
Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo, a star of the Italian neorealist cinema, in 1966, it is shot using newsreel-style footage mainly with amateur actors. One of the central characters, Ali la Pointe, was spotted in an Algiers market. Many of the French soldiers were played by Europeans who were on holiday in North Africa.
Foreign intervention is pushing the Middle East into a series of wars with no end in sight.
The war in Syria and Iraq is threatening to spill into a war between the Saudis and Iran, Turkey is preparing to crush the restive Kurdish regions, while the prospect of a defeat for ISIS threatens a deeper and bloodier struggle over its old strongholds.
Donald Trump’s “America First” is fanning trade wars across the Atlantic and Pacific, a confrontation with China over North Korea, and hot wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The complex conflicts pitting global and regional powers against each other mark a military fault line that has terrifying consequences.
Will Trump return to the go-it-alone imperialism of the Bush years, asks Simon Assaf
The crisis for US and Western imperialism can only intensify with the advent of a Trump presidency. The go-it-alone policy Trump advocates, which was pioneered by George W Bush’s “new American century”, failed bitterly in Iraq. According to one commentator the coterie who will be running the new US foreign policy will make Bush’s neo-cons seem like “a bunch of old history professors”.
In August, Darayya, the suburb of Damascus noted for its peaceful protests at the beginning of the 2011 revolution, surrendered following a four-year siege. The Syrian regime is now focusing on crushing the remaining pockets of rebel areas in Homs and Damascus.