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Big Bang or Chaos: What’s Israel Up To?

By RAMZY BAROUD Why did Israel attack Gaza with such brutality? Did Israeli officials think, even for a fleeting moment, that their army’s attacks could halt, as opposed to intensify, Palestinian rockets or retaliatory violence? Indeed, was Palestinian violence at all relevant to the Israeli action? Was the Israeli bloodletting in Gaza solely relevant to […]

‘Unwavering Commitment’ to Inequality

By RAMZY BAROUD Death hovered over Gaza long before locally-made Palestinian rockets struck near the Israeli southern town of Sderot on February 27, killing Roni Yechiah and sparking an Israeli ‘retaliation’ that has already claimed over 120 Palestinian lives. Yechiah’s death was actually the first of its kind in nine months, and understandably so. The […]

Mahmoud Abbas Needs a Miracle

By RAMZY BAROUD Time is running out for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Although both men are still committed to their risky venture of marginalising Hamas at any cost, the latter’s obduracy and recent events in Gaza point to the inescapable conclusion — the undertaking was doomed from the […]

The ‘Known Unknowns’ of the Mugniyah Killing

By RAMZY BAROUD We know well who killed top Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyah on February 12 in Damascus. Although in the US media only journalists like Seymour Hersh have the nerve to point out the obvious, the Israeli media has not shied away from evidence of Israeli intelligence’s involvement in this well-calculated assassination. The major […]

Will Iraq War Define US Elections?

By RAMZY BAROUD As the race for the presidential nominations progresses, the stances of and attitudes towards both Republican and Democratic candidates continue to bring up causes for concern, in terms of their past behaviour, current appeal and general trustworthiness. Republican Mitt Romney’s exit has practically assured Sen John McCain’s victory in his party. While […]

Media Language and War: Manufacturing Convenient Realities

By RAMZY BAROUD In the competitive world of media today, swift and conveniently selective reporting is of prime importance. GoogleNews, for example, claims to scan 4,500 news sources, of which only a few are highlighted as main stories. There are thousands of similar services, all competing to produce a story in the fastest time. Thorough […]

People’s Power in Gaza

By RAMZY BAROUD In a radio interview prior to the US invasion of Iraq, David Barsamian asked Noam Chomsky what ordinary Americans could do to stop the war. Chomsky answered, “In some parts of the world people never ask, ‘what can we do?’ They simply do it.” For someone who was born and raised in […]

The True Miracle of Israel

By RAMZY BAROUD Israelis and their supporters tend to depict Israel as a country of miracles. What else could explain the country’s astonishing "birth" and subsequent survival against all sorts of "existential threats"? How else would Israel develop at such a phenomenal pace, making the "desert bloom" and continually scoring a high ranking amongst developed […]

Guantanamo as a Symbol

By RAMZY BAROUD 11 January marked the sixth year anniversary of the establishment of the Guantanamo detention camp. Mere months after the start of the 2001 United States invasion of Afghanistan, a large cargo plane landed in a US military base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, bringing in a group of hunchbacked, orange-clad, blindfolded, "terrorist" suspects, […]

US Elections: Just Like the Movies

By RAMZY BAROUD The United States political process bears an uncanny resemblance to mainstream filmmaking. Elections and speeches are scripted to the letter, politicians put on a tirelessly rehearsed act, catering endlessly to the whims of the target audience. A successful Hollywood filmmaker can’t afford to risk raising issues in a way that don’t immediately […]

Despite ‘Good News’, Iraq is not Okay

By RAMZY BAROUD In recent months, we have been inundated by media reports bringing good news from Iraq, with countless testimonials to the great improvement in security enjoyed by the country in general and the Baghdad area in particular. This progress is attributed solely to the judicious ‘surge’ of US military presence, and the astute […]

Machiavellian Musharraf

By RAMZY BAROUD The 42-day drama in Pakistan is far from over; the declaration of emergency and the lifting of emergency are part of a charade, behind which exists a complex power play between Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, various camps within the military elite, and the US government. The Pakistani people are the least relevant […]

Politicising Gaza’s Misery

By RAMZY BAROUD Intense debate over Gaza is subsiding as the status quo is delineated — predictably — by those with the bigger guns. But to what extent can human suffering be politicised, turned into an intellectual polemic that fails to affect the simplest change in people’s lives? Hamas’s political advent in January 2006 as […]

On Romney, Mormonism and Islam

By RAMZY BAROUD Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speech on December 6th – in which he tried to ‘explain’ his Mormon faith – was met with a mostly sympathetic reception at George Bush Library in Texas. The speech has been long anticipated, not so much for its relevance to the pressing debate on the defining […]

The True Aim of Annapolis, and Why It Failed

By RAMZY BAROUD The US-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland was neither a success nor failure, if one accepts that its so-called objective was indeed ‘peacemaking’. From a US perspective, the meeting was, at best, a diplomatic manoeuvre on the part of the Bush administration, a last chance for becoming relevant to a region that […]

Palestine: Demoralisation and Absence

By RAMZY BAROUD A once profound and widely read commentator recently claimed he no longer writes about the Palestine/Israel conflict because "Palestinians are killing each other". Feeling his words have ceased to carry weight he simply decided not "to take sides". What should be made of such a reaction? Granted, what has transpired in Palestine […]

A Matter of Opinion

By RAMZY BAROUD What do an organic farmer from Spain, a union worker activist from Brazil and a human rights scholar living in London have in common? They are all individuals who affect substantive change in their communities and they are also individuals who are overlooked by the corporate media. The latter has its own […]

Somalia: What the News Failed to Report

By RAMZY BAROUD The people of Somalia are enduring yet another round of suffering as Ethiopian forces wreck havoc in the capital, Mogadishu. Apparently in response to an attack on one of its units, and the dragging of a soldier’s mutilated body through the city’s streets, an Ethiopian mortar reportedly exploded in Mogadishu’s Bakara market […]

Peace and Democracy

By RAMZY BAROUD After years of marked absence, the Bush administration has finally decided to upgrade its involvement in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The announcement of a Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Maryland has raised red flags for anyone who has learned from past experience how unbalanced and insincere peace efforts actually can lead to […]

A Case for Arab Dignity

By RAMZY BAROUD The ongoing socio-economic and political ills that mar potential progress in Middle Eastern countries can largely be attributed to the ill-defined foreign policy of the United States. Utterly desperate situations have arisen whereby US clients rule with an iron fist, making prospects for a meaningful democracy sit at an all-time low. However […]

Peace Conference is New Case for War

By RAMZY BAROUD The Middle East peace conference proposed by the Bush administration is clearly a smokescreen, aimed at concealing the true intentions of US foreign policy in the region. In the predictable process of rewarding ‘moderate’ allies and chastising ‘extremist’ foes, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will most likely receive the accolades befitting a […]

Policing Truth: The Debate on Palestine, Israel

By RAMZY BAROUD The last time I spoke publicly in the United States before my current tour was nearly four years ago. During that time I travelled the world, passing my message to people in nearly 20 countries. Wherever I went, my calls for justice for the Palestinian people and for global alternatives to racism […]

Burma is Not Iraq

By RAMZY BAROUD The 2003 invasion of Iraq has enabled two important realisations. First, that imperial powers act only to preserve their interests, and second, that humanitarian intervention — i.e. humanitarian imperialism — is touted and encouraged by the media and official circles mostly to circumvent the true self-serving intents of aggression. Granted, many Americans […]

Haider Abdul-Shafi: Passing Undefeated

By RAMZY BAROUD The recent death of Haider Abdul-Shafi could not have come at a worse time. Bearing in mind the grim shortcomings of the Palestinian leadership and the lack of any serious attempt to rectify the situation, the loss of this unique and iconic leader feels all the more acute. Here was someone who […]

Lebanon and Syria: The Politics of Assassination

By RAMZY BAROUD The assassination of Lebanese politician Antoine Ghanem on September 19 is likely to be used, predictably, to further US and Israeli interests in the region.  Most Western and some Arab media have industriously argued that Syria is the greatest beneficiary from the death of Ghanem, a member of the Phalange party responsible […]

Convenient Racism: The ‘Us’, ‘Them’ and ‘Non’ Factors

By RAMZY BAROUD Racism is, among many things, convenient. It provides simplified, definite and ready-to-serve answers to complex and compounded questions. Racists, in turn, come from all walks of life; their motivation and the root causes behind their contemptible views of others may differ, but the outcome of these views is predictably the same — […]

September 11: Relevant Questions

By RAMZY BAROUD Osama bin Laden has once again managed to occupy the stage and to insist on his relevance to the story of September 11, 2001. In his most recent video message, released by Reuters a few days before the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon, bin Laden […]

The Shiite Power Struggle: Hardly Good News for US in Iraq

By RAMZY BAROUD The decision made by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to halt his Mahdi Army’s attacks on occupation forces and Iraqi security is likely to be considered the single most promising breakthrough for the US military in Iraq. Although the move comes ahead of several reports to be presented to the US Congress later […]

US Arabs and Muslims: The Search for Common Identity

By RAMZY BAROUD As the security check line began moving slowly at Washington Dulles airport, one passenger standing a few steps ahead of me appeared particularly uneasy. His dark skin, long beard, trimmed moustache, prayer spot centered on his forehead, and overall demeanor quickly gave away his identity, though he had obviously labored little to […]

Opportunism Trumps in Palestine

By RAMZY BAROUD The rash and self-defeatist behaviour emanating from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his close circle in the West Bank cannot possibly be intended for the benefit of the Palestinian people or for their internationally sanctioned struggle for human rights, freedom and equality. Abbas, and his self-serving Palestinian elites seem hell-bent on […]