By SARAH IRVING*
Islam Under the Palestine Mandate: Colonialism and the Supreme Muslim Council, Nicholas E. Roberts, I.B.Tauris (2017)
In the dangerous and inaccurate popular narratives on Palestine, religion – a black-and-white tale of Islam versus Judaism – is often given priority of importance. Religious identities are taken as the simple, unquestioned driving force behind the actions of Palestinians throughout history.
A closer look, of course, reveals the flaws in this image. During the Ottoman period, the people of Palestine might have been more likely to identify themselves in terms of their family, neighbourhood, city or profession, depending on which identity the situation called for at a particular time. Continue reading
What on earth has descended upon the Middle East? Forget Isis… it’s down to the aim of the Anglo-American “coalition” to weaken Arab armies, a leading Syrian adviser tells ROBERT FISK. Note that Fisk, with his usual Eurocentric prejudice, uses the word “regime” to refer to the government of the Syrian Arab Republic.
Dr Bouthaina Shaaban | Getty
(Oct. 31) – Why such an epic explosion of violence? It feels strange to ask these questions of Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, one of President Bashar al-Assad’s close advisers and former translator to his father, Hafez. Her office is spotless, flowers on the table, her female secretary preparing a morning round-up of the world’s press on the Middle East, the coffee hot and sweet. At one point, when she spoke of the destruction in Syria and the mass attacks on the region’s Arab armies, it was difficult to believe that this was Damascus and that a few hundred miles to the east Isis have been cutting the throats of their hostages. Indeed, Shaaban finds it difficult even to define what Isis really is. Continue reading