İyad el-Baghdadi | إياد البغدادي Profile picture
Not that Baghdadi. President, @Kawaakibi. Founder, @IslamandLiberty & @ArabTyrantMan'ual. @Civita_ Fellow. @Munathara Board. Islamic libertarian. 🇵🇸🇳🇴🇦🇪
Bill Jackson III 🖥 🦅🌊🗽 🇺🇸 ✊🏽🌊 Profile picture eDo Profile picture Sue Strong 🇺🇸🇦🇺🇨🇦🇳🇿🇬🇧 #BidenHarris2020 Profile picture Jeffrey Rubinoff Profile picture Birger Leth Profile picture 36 added to My Authors
24 Nov
Loujain Al Hathloul, the Nobel-nominated Saudi women's rights activist, stands trial tomorrow. Here's a very important thread ahead of that. Please read & share.
Loujain is an influential, brave Saudi women's rights activist who was arrested in 2018 along with other Saudi women's rights activists. She was accused of a bunch of trumped up charges, most seriously treason. These charges have absolutely no basis. theguardian.com/world/2020/nov…
Loujain and the other women were tortured by beatings, electrocution, waterboarding, and sexual harassment. MBS's right-hand man, Saud Al Qahtani, was present during her torture. She was asked to sign forced confessions. We do not know if she did.
theguardian.com/global-develop…
Read 12 tweets
23 Nov
This is absolutely delusional from Blinken, Biden's pick for Sec of State. The normalization agreements are the end of the land-for-peace paradigm, and therefore the end of any little leverage the Arab side had. This makes them the end of Palestinian statehood and the 2SS.
The end of the 2SS is the end of liberal Zionism, because the only alternative to a 2SS under current conditions is a one-state apartheid reality (in other words, the undeclared status quo).
Liberal Zionism requires a *real* Palestinian state, and Palestinians will not accept any less regardless how much you try to crush them into accepting it. Ideologues can stop being ideologues, we cannot stop being Palestinian.
Read 5 tweets
20 Nov
White Evangelicals
Right-wing Israelis
Gulf counter-revolutionary princes

Quite the alliance.
United in their commitment to stopping history in its tracks.
Exactly this. The Israeli right thinks they can shepherd this alliance of convenience towards their goals, but what they can't see is that it'll burn them worst.
Read 4 tweets
17 Nov
The worst thing that happened to the MENA over the last 200 years was colonialism, and the absolute worst effect of colonialism was the ideology of the ethnic nation-state and the various nationalisms that it produced. We have been bleeding for over 100 years.
The majorities are afraid of the minorities and think that suppressing them is the best way to avoid their "separatism". Meanwhile the minorities are afraid of the majorities and think that keeping them living under a boot is the best way to avoid their hegemony.
The result is over a century of nationalisms and counter-nationalisms, of hatred and counter-hatred, of ethnic cleansing and genocide, of creating hierarchies for human worth among children of the same region who had lived side by side since the beginning of written history
Read 7 tweets
12 Nov
As a rule, radicalized people who can find a powerful actor to act out violence on their behalf will invest in that powerful actor rather than commit the violence themselves. The Hindutva and the CCCP run governments, if you're partisan to their ideology you invest in them.
Meanwhile, there is no Islamist government equivalent among Sunni Islam (people point at Erdogan but so far he's more a cynical Turkish politician than a pan-Islamist militant populist). For this reason if you're an Islamist extremist you have to take matters into your own hands.
This false idea that Muslims are uniquely radicalizable and uniquely violent is an idea that is also popular among Arab autocrats who want the world to treat Muslims as especially dangerous, as part of a narrative to deny us political agency. These narratives are not innocent.
Read 4 tweets
11 Nov
The root cause of violent extremism is not that an ideology exists. The question to ask is *why* someone would find that ideology convincing. The reasons for that are virtually always personal, not ideological. Pressured communities are full of potential customers.
Also, even in the lack of an ideology, potential customers can simply concoct their own ideology that answers their needs, of simply concoct an elaborate conspiracy theory that skips ideology altogether. Look at QAnon for example.
The "breeding grounds" of violent extremism are not ideologies - they're disenfranchisement, alienation, crises of identity & purpose, anger, feeling like you don't belong and don't matter, etc. Once someone feels like that, they'll seek out an ideology that suits them.
Read 4 tweets
10 Nov
Hey @EmmanuelMacron, this Libyan activist made a video criticizing your sometime ally in Libya. She just got shot dead in cold blood. Wanna tell us about why we're in crisis, you neocolonialist piece of shit?
For those who don't know the context, here's an article from Politico about how Macron intervened in Libya politico.eu/article/france…
Here's another article, from Foreign Policy foreignpolicy.com/2020/04/21/lib…
Read 4 tweets
4 Nov
I honestly don't think the story is how Dems are underperforming or Trump is overperforming. The real story is how polarization has reached a point where each side sees this as existential. When people believe the stakes are this high, they close ranks and vote from fear.
This level of existential polarization kills normal democratic norms. When we're afraid, most of us become more appreciative of order, more accepting of authority, and less likely to care about what's "moral". This is basic human psychology.
Earlier thread today about race and democracy, with some high quality replies. Generally, people agree that ethnic tribalism underlies democracy; it does so even more at times of deep polarization.
Read 6 tweets
3 Nov
Don't come at me but I believe a significant proportion of violence extremism (if not the majority of it) is rooted one way or another in unresolved trauma on both the individual and collective levels. Unfortunately the response to it has been to create even more mass trauma
By "collective trauma" I mean when entire communities are subjected to traumatizing events, often systematically and often intergenerationally, to the point where traumatized behavior and attitudes are normalized
When I say this a lot of people say "hey, you mean these terrorists are victims?" I think that's irrelevant, if someone is coming at me to hurt my family I will defend myself. If I have no choice but to hurt him, I will, regardless what mental state drove him to attack me
Read 5 tweets
3 Nov
The more people feel targeted based on identity, the more they grab on to that identity. The more you make people aware of their identity, the more passionate they get about it. Forced assimilation (or, "combating separatism") accomplishes the opposite of what it sets out to do.
Group identity melts when it becomes painless, colorless, even boring. That's when it melts. It decides nothing in your life, so it becomes unimportant. But so long your group identity determines how your government will treat you, expect people to embrace it more.
Remember, identity is an extremely intimate matter; it's literally the answer to "who am I?" Can you think of a more profoundly existential question? If people don't have the answer to that, or don't have the freedom to search, it quickly climbs to the top of their life's agenda
Read 4 tweets
29 Oct
Ask me anything about radicalization
(I'm going to spend some time with my little boy, but will try to respond to all questions when I'm back)
Okay, should I reply or quote-reply? Some of the answers may end up being mini-threads
Read 4 tweets
29 Oct
When my younger self was radicalized 17 years ago, he deeply believed that the world was "us vs them", "with us or against us" and that everyone who didn't believe that were clueless sheeple, or complicit
He also believed "we" were the victims of "them" and that "we" are under such existential threat that anything "we" do in self defence is justified given how high the stakes are
Looking back 17 years later I now see the details of the ideology and how each point was justified as minor and almost insignificant details. A grand narrative of "us vs them" needed justification and it found a way, regardless how many facts or moral truths it needed to twist.
Read 6 tweets
26 Oct
Last Friday, my maternal uncle passed away after having contracted covid-19. May his soul rest in peace.
Exile is hard. You don't only mourn one death, you mourn everyone else you love who'll die before you're able to see them.
Be kind, guys. And forgive. Life is too short.
Read 4 tweets
22 Oct
Today in "Being Palestinian in Norway". My bank, @NordeaNorge, sends me text and email saying I have a very important message in my digital mailbox.

I don't have a digital mailbox.

I wanted one, but @NordeaNorge said Palestinians can't have one. We're second-class humans.
Second day I'm calling, and still on hold. Because Palestinians don't need to have their time respected either.
Yesterday I was on hold for 30 mins until my phone credit ran out (yes, it's a paid line, because they want to discourage calls, because who needs to call anyway other than people like me?)

Now I'm on hold for another 30 mins and counting.
Read 8 tweets
20 Oct
It's honestly exhausting. And it's lonely, really lonely. Nobody, not even people close to me, can understand the pain we're going through as Palestinians. The lived reality of being Palestinian is so far removed from most people's lived experience, and it's about to get worse.
It feels worse because as an Arab Spring activist I have over the years stood in solidarity with everyone. I put myself at risk for everyone. So now it does sting that when it's my own cause, when it's about me and my family and our destiny, I hear mostly silence.
Most people, including many from the MENA, think that what's currently happening is just a few normalization agreements and miss the deeper implication. This is the end of Palestinian statehood, and the start of naked apartheid and permanent statelessness.
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
Most people are not self aware and are really bad at figuring out the true reasons why they do what they do. A lot of the time what they think (or say) is their motive is really little more than a cover for what else is going on in there.
Consider this before we all have a collective fit about what this person or that is doing in the name of their religion or ideology or race or whatever. Consider it again when you feel you need to dissect the religion or ideology or race to find the roots of criminality.
I know this is less cathartic than many wish, but then if something feels too readily cathartic it's quite often a trap.
Read 5 tweets
16 Oct
I'm a Palestinian and I want my Iranian sisters & brothers to live in dignity with a government that centers them and represents them - not one that robs and beats them. I am disgusted whenever dictators use the Palestinian cause as a washcloth to wipe the blood off their hands
Dictators are very aware of their morality deficit and so grab onto anything and everything that could make them look more moral, and that includes instrumentalizing moral causes. Our job as Palestinians is to reject that instrumentalization. It does not benefit our cause.
How do you think I feel as a Palestinian when I know that a Syrian sister or brother were tortured at the "Palestine branch", or that some of my Syrian sisters and brothers lost their homes thanks to the Al Quds force? As Palestinians we need to stay no.
Read 4 tweets
16 Oct
This is literally the narrative being employed now - that Palestinians do not come from Palestine. How do we even begin to find common ground with an extremist movement that denies our very existence?
Note the essentialization (i.e. the racism) of it; the idea that all Arabic speaking people are interchangeable and if you're Arabic speaking you might as well be uprooted from Iraq and cast into the Algerian desert and you don't get to complain coz it's all Arabs anyway
This is like saying that someone from New Zealand can be uprooted and then sent to a refugee camp in Guyana and it's all fine and dandy because they're both English speaking countries where some of the population are of European descent so they're just the same people
Read 6 tweets
15 Oct
How many of you woke up this morning to find that a political foundation in a European country deems your very existence to be an act of hate? Good morning to you too
Yesterday I observed a special day - the day I met my son for the first time. It was in Kuala Lumpur airport in 2014 and he was 4 months old. I was arrested two months before he was born, and subsequently expelled into nowhere, because I was Palestinian
The authorities in the UAE said I have to "go back where I came from". I was Palestinian, so I ended up in prison and then living in an airport. Palestinian pain is real, Palestinian trauma is real, but somehow they say we don't exist except as an act of hate.
Read 4 tweets
14 Oct
Quick note: Everybody seems to hate MBS now, everyone is taking turns dumping on him. Meanwhile my team was working on this back in 2016/2017 when this work was frustrating and dangerous and when everybody wanted to believe MBS is the new "liberal reformer" who can civilize us
This isn't a statement about MBS but really about our work at @Kawaakibi. We do the hard work on the most frustrating subjects and we have a high tolerance for personal risk. We do this work so that in 2 or 4 or 10 years everyone can do it safely and even joyfully.
You can only imagine where we have our eyes set now. Again, it's on topics on which everybody wants to believe otherwise - it's the work that's frustrating and dangerous. We do this work today, and will be doing it for years, so that by 2025 what is niche today becomes mainstream
Read 5 tweets
13 Oct
Hi guys, I need some help with a Canadian visa application which would enable me to see my family, who I haven't seen for a while. They're refugees in Canada and I'm a refugee in Norway. Going through the official website, I'm despairing. Can someone help? DM me.
Canada gave asylum to my family after the direct threats against my life in 2019. It's kinda obscene that now I can't see them because of Canadian visa rules and how they apply to stateless refugees.
All members of my family have PTSD and my father is in poor mental health. I'm really despairing here.
Read 6 tweets