An Interview with Iraqi Lawyer, Sadiq Al Timimi, on the Current Crisis in Iraq

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Sadiq al-Timimi, from a painting. Sadiq al-Timimi, from a painting.

Sadiq Al Timimi is a well-known lawyer from Baghdad, Iraq, specializing in constitutional law. He has written the internal codes for several human rights and non-governmental organisations in Iraq, and is a regular contributor to the Iraqi press, writing on issues such as constitutional law and civil society. I spoke to him on August 6th and 7th 2014.

Donnchadh Mac an GhoillSadiq, in the first place I’d like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview for Zero Anthropology.

Sadiq Al Timimi: You’re very welcome.

D: You began to practice as a lawyer about ten years before the US invasion in 2003?

S: Yes, nine years before.

D: Was there a lot of political interference in the law at that time?

S: It was accepted that to be appointed a judge, you had to be a member of the…

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101 Things We Learned from WikiLeaks’ Podesta Emails

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

US voters have been given a rare, even unprecedented opportunity to look at the machinery inside an electoral campaign and a foundation, as presented by the insiders themselves. Being afforded this privilege motivated one columnist to assert: “Those voting for Hillary Clinton, defending Clinton and supporting Clinton without reading the information reported by WikiLeaks are intellectually no different than those who criticize climate science without ever having read the science” (Denver Post, 2/11/2016). Where access to the “power elites” is typically denied to virtually anyone, thanks to WikiLeaks it is now granted to virtually everyone.

What follows is a list of the 101 stories that caught my attention during the month-long release of the Podesta emails, published by WikiLeaks. Are there only 101 things to be learned? There are likely thousands more—this is by no means a comprehensive account, but more of a personal snapshot. Ideally, one would…

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The Babysitter

How refreshing to see the human side of the world’s premier death delivery service.

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Big Chief, Big Daddy, Big Babysitter to the World

If “winning hearts and minds” is at the top of your global campaign agenda for strategic communication, then you need to insert yourself into some of the most intimate, domestic, and familial places of restive, hungry, and increasingly angry populations. Getting all domestic is what the US military has been doing in its social media and “visual operations” for the past few years, as seen in a wide array of photographs uploaded to the US Department of Defense’s Flickr “photostream,” which I have been studying since early 2014 (see part 1 in this series of photo essays). The trick is to achieve superiority by being at once both engaged and removed. Being engaged shows you actively involved in the uplift and upkeep of other peoples’ lives, thus coming down the mountain to these peoples’ very low station in life. However, you…

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Bare Feet

The message is in the details.

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Encoding Poverty, Backwardness, and Dependency in US Military Imagery

Bare feet. Ever since I was a small child, I have been made aware of how not wearing shoes was symbolically loaded with ideas of poverty, backwardness, primitiveness, or being low class. Images of barefoot people in newspapers and magazines almost always showed villagers in Africa or the Pacific–or Hippies and West Virginians in the US. Stores in Canada routinely posted signs: “No shoes, no service”. Bare feet were, at least for a long time, quietly yet mightily stigmatized in much of Western culture. Like all things “primitive,” this form of bareness symbolizing underdevelopment and an inferior culture (or lack of culture, and lack of development), could also be romanticized: bare feet in the grass, on the sand, symbolizing freedom and child-like innocence, and thus nostalgia for things of the past. Bare feet could also symbolize the exact opposite…

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How to Make Extremism Mainstream and Fake a Debate about Islamophobia

Should be required reading for all people calling themselves journalists.

ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY

Is there a genuine debate taking place about Islamophobia? When and why did the “concern” about Islamophobia reach the highest levels of government in North America and western Europe? On which particular goal do all governmental parties fundamentally agree in this alleged debate? What does the nature of the debate, and the interests that are vested in the debate, reveal about the ultimate goals and values of the key parties concerned? Those are just some of my questions about Islamophobia.

Now for some questions about extremism. In a recent speech after the latest London Bridge terrorist attack, UK prime minister Theresa May stated: “While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is—to be frank—far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society”. She is…

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BDS, the AAA, and Academic Imperialism

The insidious nature of ideological conformity…

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We Disagree to Agree

Support for a particular cause can come from numerous sources and points of view, each representing different interests. Similarly, people can arrive at the site of a demonstration, united in protest against an injustice, having arrived there from many different routes (whether the routes are understood in terms of physical transportation, or different social positions, i.e. “walks of life”). One might be in agreement about the basic point made by another speaker, but disagree entirely with that speaker’s reasoning. The wrong path can be taken to the right conclusion, seen from one person’s perspective—or a momentary coincidence of agreement between two otherwise very different perspectives. That would seem to partly describe my reactions to the arguments made by some US anthropologists in favour of the American Anthropological Association showing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, against Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. Here are…

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The “Science” of Global Domination

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While it is an odd mix of physics, biology, and geometry that has captured the communications strategy of military planners, the messages themselves are very telling about how such planners go about envisioning US global domination, and the parts to be played by others in assuring that dominance. Some thus speak about the “center of gravity” in “hybrid wars”—writing in Military Review, Colonel John J. McCuen declared: “We in the West are facing a seemingly new form of war—hybrid war. Although conventional in form, the decisive battles in today’s hybrid wars are fought not on conventional battlegrounds, but on asymmetric battlegrounds within the conflict zone population, the home front population, and the international community population” (McCuen, 2008, p. 107). Everyone is a target population. How do you combat resistance to such a monumental ambition to dominate all of us? By using us against ourselves. Thus here is…

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