Weekly Media Digest (19 April)

Curated Reading List

SyriaUntold brings you a new edition of our digest. We want to share with you the features, investigative pieces and long-form essays that we read and thought would interest you.

19 April 2019

copyright: Yaser Safi

An independent media platform advancing critical perspectives on Syria and Syrians.

Here we go again: Saving Muslim Women and Queers in the Age of Trump (Mada Masr)

Nadine Naber analyses western perceptions about liberating Muslim women. She examines some predominant stereotypes and argues they are used as a tool for racial discrimination, rather than feminist liberation.

“The Trump administration’s idea of protecting American women from foreign nationals reflects longstanding anti-Arab/anti-Muslim discourse that has been used for decades to justify US imperialism. It is an imperial feminist and queer strategy similarly deployed by many European countries and Israel that presents white western Europe, Israel and the US as safe havens for women’s rights and LGBTQ people (and therefore democratic and just).”

After the ‘War of Annihilation’ Against ISIS (Time)

Victor J. Blue travels to Raqqa and Mousel. His haunting images reveals the price of liberating the two cities from ISIS.

"It took a year of sustained combat to pry the two cities from their grasp. In addition to marshaling thousands of Iraqi Army and Syrian rebel ground troops, the U.S.-led coalition embarked on a relentless campaign of airstrikes to dislodge the ISIS fighters. In the process, nearly all of the city of Raqqa and the Old City of Mosul were destroyed. More than a year later, they remain in ruins, and the possibility that they will be rebuilt remains in doubt."

Apocalypse now: Why Arab authors are really writing about the end of the world (Middle East Eye)

In this article, Lina Mounzer looks at the emerging trend of publishing dystopian novels in Arab literary circles. The reasons behind this trend are not the Arab Spring she argues, but rather the western media interpretations of it.

“The Anglophone media has embraced these books, as well as this narrative: that they have all been born out of a post-revolutionary landscape and, although they deal with futuristic societies, use metaphorical approaches to speak about the current dystopia of the "Arab world".”

A path back from the ruins of ISIS (The Washington Post)

As the west debate what to do with the hundreds of foreign nationals who joined ISIS in Syria and the fate of their families, this is the story of Sevil Novruzova, a Dagestan Russian lawyer who took it upon herself to fight to repatriate families of ISIS fighters back home.

“It is believed that around 400 fighters have been brought back to Russia, most serving time in prison. More than 100 of their wives, and an equal number of children, have also returned. Rights workers and analysts say the system is far from transparent but have nevertheless lauded the Kremlin’s efforts.”

Can Russia, Iran, China agree on division of roles in Syria reconstruction? (Al-Monitor)

Igor A. Matveev analyses the competing interests of the two allies of the Syrian regime and discusses the situation on the ground.

"In sum, amid widespread speculations about growing economic rivalries between Iran, Russia and China in Syria, Moscow and Tehran are seeking to divide their spheres of interests and build government-to-government, government-to-business and business-to-business relationships with Syrian partners. While the Russians are more focused on mineral resources, transport infrastructure and the production of fertilizers, the Iranians prioritize trade, real estate and the agricultural and construction sectors. The Chinese, for their part, still limit their efforts to the electricity sector and some manufacturing industries."

Inside The Shadow War Fought By Russian Mercenaries (Buzzfeed)

Mike Giglio’s investigate the Wagner Group. The group is fighting in Syria,  and is said to have close ties to the Kremlin. He examines the political and social ramifications of mercenaries fighting in the war-torn country.

“When Wagner soldiers and their local allies launched their notorious attack in February 2018 against US and Kurdish forces based at the Conoco oil field near the Euphrates river in eastern Syria, some, like Kofman, saw it as an example of the limits of Russia’s mercenary model.”

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