dimanche 27 décembre 2020

Liban: Le système est à l'agonie mais la classe politique résiste

Un mouvement inédit au pays du Cèdre s’est soulevé contre la classe politique et pour la fin du système clientéliste. Mais la répression et une spirale de crises ont ébranlé la contestation. 

Propos du politiste Ziad Majed recueillis par Aurélie Carton (en novembre 2020) pour la Chronique d'Amnesty International.

mardi 1 décembre 2020

Le Liban entre explosion et implosion

Le Mucem s’associe à Mediapart pour un nouveau rendez-vous consacré à l’actualité internationale, et plus particulièrement aux bouleversements actuellement à l’œuvre en Méditerranée. Le premier rendez-vous est consacré au devenir du Liban, et interroge les différents scénarios possibles aujourd'hui pour un pays petit par sa taille et sa population, mais grand par sa résonance politique et géopolitique. Une soirée animée par Joseph Confavreux, avec Eric Verdeil et Ziad Majed. 

On the crisis of Islam: In defense of discussion

The murder last month of the French history teacher Samuel Paty, with its atrocious symbolism, marks the latest in a series of terrorist acts perpetrated by young French Muslims, or other Muslims residing in France. As is often the case, it has inflamed emotions to the extreme, rendering it impossible for days or even weeks thereafter to have a reasonable conversation about Islam and related questions.

As secular, democratic intellectuals, descending from the Arab Levant, and from a heritage of which Islam was and is an essential component, we are compelled by this state of affairs to affirm—first of all—that communication between different people, and the thorny examination of complex issues, are the key to disarming the militarization of thought and culture advocated by Islamist nihilists such as Paty’s killer, Abdullah Anzorov, and the many others like him. The more such people succeed in deepening the trenches separating Muslim communities from the world around them, the more they prosper and flourish.

Second, we affirm that this militarization of thought and culture is not limited to these Islamist nihilists alone. Plenty in the West play the very same game, and encourage the Islamists themselves to play it further, for they too seek to deepen the trenches and live in buttressed fortresses, indifferent to all that goes on around them and out on the margins of their settlements.

To read this article by Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, Farouk Mardam-Bey and Ziad Majed, please visit Aljumhuriya

mardi 27 octobre 2020

A propos de la crise de l’islam

Tribune de Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, Farouk Mardam Bey et Ziad Majed, parue dans Le Monde, le 27 octobre 2020.

L’assassinat de Samuel Paty est venu s’ajouter à une série de crimes terroristes commis par de jeunes musulmans français ou résidents en France.  Par son horreur et sa sinistre symbolique, ce meurtre a exacerbé les passions et rendu presque impossible de débattre sereinement de tout ce qui a trait à l’islam et aux musulmans.

C‘est ce qui nous incite, comme intellectuels démocrates et laïques et comme héritiers d’une culture plurielle marquée par l’islam, à affirmer que le débat est plus que jamais nécessaire pour échapper au piège que nous tendent les Anzorov. Ce qu’ils cherchent, ainsi que leurs instigateurs et tous ceux qui justifient leur folie meurtrière, c’est justement à élargir davantage le fossé entre les musulmans et le reste de l’humanité. Et il ne manque pas en Occident des gens qui se plaisent à jouer le même jeu et qui aimeraient vivre dans des citadelles fortifiées, indifférents à tout ce qui se passe alentour. 

mardi 13 octobre 2020

Liban: Récit d'une catastrophe

Rencontre de l'IREMMO sur la situation au Liban, un an après le déclenchement du soulèvement populaire contre la classe politique.

vendredi 4 septembre 2020

Entretien dans "Regards" sur la situation au Liban

Alors que le président de la République française s'est rendu pour la deuxième fois au Liban en moins d'un mois après la gigantesque explosion du 4 août dernier à Beyrouth, 
on fait le point sur la situation du pays avec Ziad Majed.


dimanche 30 août 2020

Foreword to the book Syria: Borders, Boundaries, and the State

The following text is Nassima Neggaz and Ziad Majed's foreword to "Syria: Borders, Boundaries, and the State", edited by Matthieu Cimino and published by Palgrave Macmillan, UK, 2020.
The book gathers a series of papers presented in a conference organized at the University of Oxford in November 2017.

vendredi 21 août 2020

The Crossing of the "Red Line" in Syria: The Use of Chemical Weapons as Turning Point

The following paragraphs are translated excerpts from "Syrie, la revolution orpheline” (Syria, the Orphaned revolution) published in Arabic in December 2013 and in French in March 2014.
In August 2012, Obama responded to the violence of the Assad regime by drawing a single “red line”: that of chemical weapons use. This line clearly indicated that America wanted to avoid intervening directly in the conflict; it also suggested—albeit implicitly—that while the use of “strategic” weaponry would not be tolerated by Washington, the continuation of massacres with traditional weapons would be.

Feeling unthreatened by a possible American intervention, the regime deployed its arsenal in the repression—i.e., ballistic missiles, tanks, and other heavy weapons. It even probed US determination regarding chemical weapons by using Sarin gas on a few occasions, as many medical reports have demonstrated [1].

mardi 14 juillet 2020

dimanche 28 juin 2020

Dans la tête de Donald Trump

Ex-conseiller à la sécurité nationale du président américain Donald Trump et ancien ambassadeur de l’administration de George W. Bush auprès des Nations Unis, John Bolton, publie enfin son livre sur l’actuel chef de la maison blanche (The Room Where it Happened, a White House Memoir, Simon & Schuster, 2020).

Sa sortie a été ardemment attendue et pour cause. Les fuites savamment orchestrées et les tentatives multiples de Trump de bloquer sa parution, auguraient d’un contenu explosif et de récits alléchants et prometteurs pour les lecteurs curieux.  

mardi 16 juin 2020

Abdelbasset Al-Sarout: chronique d'une révolution trahie

Le personnage d'Abdelbasset Al-Sarout incarne probablement le mieux le parcours de la révolution syrienne, ses débuts radieux et spontanés, ses erreurs et ses errements, et finalement ses dénouements tragiques. 

jeudi 4 juin 2020

Le conquérant, le despote et Saint-Jean-d’Acre

Portant sur le siège qu’a imposé Napoléon à Akka (Acre) à la fin du dix-huitième siècle lors de sa campagne orientale, le récit historique accouche dans le roman d’Ala Hlehel «Bon Vent Bonaparte!» (Actes Sud/Sindbad, 2019) d’un univers fictif aussi extravagant que réaliste. Un univers qui lie Napoléon et Ahmad Pacha Jazzâr dans leur banale humanité, et qui raconte leur terrible duel, entouré chacun de personnages réels, mais réinventés par l’auteur et investis dans la trame de la tragédie qu’ont vécu des centaines de milliers de personnes.

mardi 2 juin 2020

Black Lives Matter

If Whiteness is a metaphor for power as James Baldwin put it, Blackness is a metaphor for being exploited, dominated, expropriated, abused and sometimes massacred by people of power for centuries. But It can also be a metaphor for standing up, struggling and fighting for justice, dignity and equality, with all the risks that such a struggle or fight might engender.
Those who are replacing “Black Lives matter” with “All Lives matter” might in some cases have good intentions. In most cases, however, they remind me of the ones who condemn violence in Occupied Palestine or in Syria putting Israeli soldiers and settlers on the same level with Palestinians who are dispossessed of their lands and homes, or Assadist forces on the same level with Syrians who are bombed, displaced and tortured. To put it differently, their argument is similar to responding to feminist slogans that deconstruct masculine domination, by evoking few incidents that targeted men and thus calling for removing any reference to masculinity or to patriarchy when talking about oppressing women.

“Black Lives matter” is a powerful slogan. It is first and foremost about the protection of Black people from police (and other) racist brutality, about solidarity with them (in the US and in our own countries); but it is also about protecting and supporting all those oppressed everywhere, if blackness is understood as a universal political metaphor…
Ziad Majed

In Idlib, Syria

vendredi 15 mai 2020

What Is Behind the Tensions Inside Syria's Regime?

In Carnegie's Diwan regular survey of experts on matters relating to Middle Eastern and North African politics and security, Ziad Majed (among other researchers) analyzes the dynamics of the Assad-Makhlouf rift.
"The tensions inside the inner circle of the Syrian regime reflect three dynamics. The first pertains to the family. Since the Russian military intervention in 2015, followed by the death of Bashar al-Assad’s powerful mother in 2016, the Makhloufs (his mother’s family) have been gradually ousted from positions of authority. The measures against Rami, who once controlled more than 50 percent of Syria’s economy, complete this process—after his brother Hafez and father Mohammed. He is being replaced by businessmen close to Asma, Bashar’s influential wife, in an attempt to enlarge the regime’s clientelistic networks.
The second is related to Russian pressure on Assad. Moscow wants to restructure state institutions, reorganize the army, and centralize the decisionmaking mechanisms under its command, in order to negotiate reconstruction contracts with possible Western and Chinese partners and bring Russian companies and entrepreneurs into a fully controlled theater of operations. To achieve such a situation, Iranian influence within regime circles has to be reduced and Syrian tycoons with monopoles (and Iranian ties) should be sidelined. For Assad, this provides an opening to get rid of his cousin, with his bad reputation, and say he is doing his best to fulfill Russian requirements.
The third can be read through the analysis of the regime’s history and the tensions and defections it faced. After the removal of Rif‘at al-Assad, Bashar’s uncle, in 1984, of Ghazi Kan‘an, the strongman of the security services, in 2005, and of Assef Shawqat, Bashar’s brother in law, in 2012, the Makhloufs are now being targeted. This is not surprising in totalitarian regimes with sectarian, tribal, and familial considerations—often built on the basis of delicate equations.
All this means that the regime will be facing increasing pressure and internal struggles in the coming months. Russia needs official international recognition of its hegemony over Syria and its reconstruction projects. Iran will not agree to be marginalized. And Bashar is mainly concerned with his “reelection” in 2021. Meanwhile, other foreign actors, such as Turkey and the United States, are also reassessing their roles and reshaping relations with their local allies in Syria’s northwest and northeast in preparation for the next phases".

mardi 3 mars 2020

What shall we write about Idlib?

For many months, death has loomed over Idlib. It has rained down on its people, flung by monsters in the form of barrel bombs, missiles, and hellfire; pouring down from the clouds on homes, schools, and hospitals; killing children and paramedics; destroying playgrounds, bakeries, and shelters; turning cities and towns into piles of rubble and smoke.

mercredi 12 février 2020

Syria: The regime of looting and devouring corpses

Myriad are the horrors imposed on Syrians by the Assad regime over the years, throughout its decades in power. It is particularly frightening the amount of violence inflicted upon them (and upon the Palestinians of Syria) during the past seven years. It suffices to recount the names of cities and towns across the map of the country in order to bring to mind the massacres carried out in those places, and the instances of siege, starvation, displacement, torture and killing by barrel bombs or chemical weapons.

lundi 10 février 2020

Du printemps avorté à la révolution d’octobre

Dans son ouvrage «Le printemps de Beyrouth n’aura pas lieu, Analyse de l’œuvre inachevée de Samir Kassir» (FSK, 2019), Julien Ricour-Brasseur explore le travail, l’engagement politique de l’intellectuel beyrouthin et certains épisodes de sa vie durant la décennie qui a précédé son assassinat le 2 juin 2005.