This week’s episode of The Monitor features two guests discussing issues related to the Middle East. Our first guest, Amr Hamzawy, discusses the Egyptian political scene. Our second guest, Paul Gottinger, talks about the impact of the “War on Terror” on the number of terrorist attacks around the world.
More about this week’s guests:
Amr Hamzawy is a visiting scholar at Stanford University, and associate professor of Political Science at Cairo University. He is a former member of the People’s Assembly in the Parliament of Egypt and the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights. He previously served as a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. His research focuses on democratization processes, political movements and civil society in Egypt as well as contemporary debates in political thought and governance in the Arab world. He holds a B.Sc. in political science from Cairo University, M.A. degrees in developmental studies from the University of Amsterdam and the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague, and a Ph.D. in political science from the Free University of Berlin. You can find him on Twitter: @
Amr spoke at Rice University’s Baker institute last week. You can watch the talk and Q&A session below.
Paul Gottinger is a journalist based in Madison, WI, USA. He can be reached onTwitter @paulgottinger. He recently wrote an analysis of the”war on terror”: “Despite 14 Years of the U.S. War on Terror, Terror Attacks Have Skyrocketed Since 9/11,” which states: “Terror attacks have jumped by a stunning 6,500 percent since 2002, according to a new analysis by Reader Supported News. The number of casualties resulting from terror attacks has increased by 4,500 percent over this same time period. These colossal upsurges in terror took place despite a decade-long, worldwide effort to fight terrorism that has been led by the United States.
“The analysis, conducted with figures provided by the U.S. State Department, also shows that from 2007 to 2011 almost half of all the world’s terror took place in Iraq or Afghanistan — two countries being occupied by the U.S. at the time.
“Countries experiencing U.S. military interventions continue to be subjected to high numbers of terror attacks, according to the data. In 2014, 74 percent of all terror-related casualties occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Syria. Of these five, only Nigeria did not experience either U.S. air strikes or a military occupation in that year.
“The U.S. invasion of Iraq destabilized Iraq and Syria, creating the conditions for the emergence of ISIS, which now controls large parts of the two countries. The invasion of Afghanistan has not been able to wrestle large sections of the country from the Taliban, leaving Afghanistan in state of perpetual war. And the air war to oust Muammar Gaddafi has left Libya in a state of chaos.
“The instability caused by these wars, along with the atrocities perpetrated by U.S.-led forces, which can be exploited for terrorist recruitment, have played a significant role in the increase of terrorism worldwide.”
This week marks the 8th anniversary of the official start of the invasion of Iraq. As has been noted on this show many times, Iraq had been under fairly constant bombardment for over a decade prior to that date but this was an official declaration of war. Even though it was unconstitutional since Congress did not declare war, the people most affected by the war – Iraqi civilians – don’t much care about the constitutionality of the war and continue to suffer as a result of it.
This week also marks the 8th anniversary of The Monitor. Tonight’s guests will be Raed Jarrar and Phyllis Bennis.
Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi-American blogger and political advocate. He has just returned from his last trip to Iraq last week where he spent a month in Erbil participating in a conference on Iraqi media. Raed Jarrar was born in Iraq, and he was in Baghdad 8 years ago during the US-led invasion. Raed immigrated to the US in 2005. He is joining us from Washington, DC.
Blog: Raed in the Middle
Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of “Calling the Shots: How Washington Dominates Today’s UN.”
Quote: “Libya’s opposition movement faces a ruthless military assault. They have already paid a far higher price in lost and broken lives than activists in any of the other democratic uprisings shaping this year’s Arab Spring. They are desperate. So it is not surprising that they have urged, demanded, pleaded for international help, for support from the most powerful countries and institutions most able to provide immediate military aid. [Thursday night] the UN Security Council gave them what they asked for. Or did it? The legitimacy of the Libyan protesters’ demand does not mean that the decision by the United Nations and the powerful countries behind it was legitimate as well. The Libyan opposition, or at least those speaking for it, asked for a no-fly zone, for protection from the regime’s air force, to allow them to take on and defeat their dictatorship on their own terms. Many of us opposed that idea, for a host of reasons including the dangers of escalation and the threat of a new U.S. war in the Middle East. But whatever one thinks about that demand, the Security Council resolution went far beyond a no-fly zone. Instead, the United Nations essentially declared war on Libya.”
Commentary: UN Declares War on Libya
The Monitor – Uprising Edition
Protests continue across the Middle East and The Monitor expands its coverage and in-depth analysis. We revisit Libya this week with our 1st guest, Ali Ahmida. Our 2nd guest, Bill Fletcher, will discuss events in Wisconsin and the topic of labor unions.
Ali Ahmida was born in Waddan, Libya and educated at Cairo University in Egypt and The University of Washington, Seattle. He is a professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of New England, Biddeford, Maine. He is also the author of The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance and Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya.
Bill Fletcher is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and the co-author of Solidarity Divided:The Crisis in Organized Labor and A New Path Toward Social Justice. Fletcher is also co-founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. He just wrote the piece “Modern-day Pirates: the Republicans vs. the Public Sector.”
Fletcher has been a critic of unions as well, see this interview:
On Wednesday of last week, Ray McGovern was arrested and injured by police while silently standing in protest as Hillary Clinton spoke. With no sense of irony, she continued to condemn governments who don’t allow peaceful protests while Ray was dragged out of the room.
You can see video of the incident here:
I have already checked in with Ray and he is recovering well. I’m sure I speak for all when I say “Get well and thank you, Ray.”
Tonight’s show takes a detailed look at ruling against Chevron in Ecuador and events in Libya. Our guests are Greg Palast and Sarah Abdurrahman
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Armed Madhouse” (Penguin Paperback 2007) and has been on The Monitor several times over the years. This time we talk to him about the recent ruling in Ecuador and Chevron’s business practices there. Greg has traveled to Ecuador and seen the damage Chevron caused to the people and environment.
Sarah Abdurrahman is a Libyan-American. She has lived and studied in Texas and joins the show from the East Coast to talk about events in Libya. She also helps keep the Feb 17th Voices feed on Twitter up to date. Read it here: Feb 17 voices (feb17voices) on Twitter
Technology and Progress in Arab World
Uninstalling dictator –
#TUNISIA ████████████████ : done
#EGYPT ████████████████ : done
#LIBYA ███░░░░░░░░░░: in progress