Not only the fate of the people of Western Sahara is at stake.

Emmaus Artikel 2, Stockholm May 2024
(Dr. Stephen Zunes is quoted extensively):
The opposition to Trump’s rushed and unrighteous recognition of Morocco’s alleged sovereignty over Western Sahara prompts President Biden to correct this mistake. However, is it as easy as it sounds?
*Stephen Zunes answers this: Biden could resend the U.S. recognition with the stroke of a pen, however, this has put him in something of a dilemma. President Biden is pressured by pro-Israelis from one side in Washington, arguing that a withdrawal will perhaps endanger the deal of Morocco normalizing its relations with Israel. From the other side, there is also an opposition in Washington that calls for a resignation of the recognition and states that it will not risk the Israel-Morocco agreement…

The Chilling Effect of Equating Criticism of Israel to Antisemitism

The Progressive May 17, 2024:
Broadening the federal definition of antisemitism is a disingenuous attempt to quash dissent. Campus protests against U.S.-backed wars have a long history, and so do campaigns for ethical investment policies. As much as college and university administrators, corporate interests, and Washington policy-makers may have wanted to suppress such student initiatives, the principles of free speech and the cultural role of institutions of higher learning have made that difficult. Opponents of the current protests on college campuses targeting U.S. support for Israel’s war are, however, attempting to reverse that tradition through the disingenuous application of Civil Rights legislation.

A Dangerous Move to Crack Down on Protests Against Israel

[The Progressive, Dec. 4, 2020]
Late last month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S. government finds the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign to be inherently “anti-Semitic.” He pledged to “immediately take steps to identify organizations that engage in hateful BDS conduct and withdraw U.S. government support for such groups” and urged all nations to “recognize the BDS movement for the cancer that it is. Pompeo made no distinction between those who support a boycott of Israel itself and those who support more limited forms of BDS… [FULL LINK]

Resisting Stolen Elections: Lessons from the Philippines, Serbia, Ukraine, and Gambia

[ICNC October 23, 2020] Discussion has grown for months about how the upcoming U.S. election results could be contested and possibly subverted. No one knows for certain what will happen, but there are precedents we can learn from about how attempts to overturn election results have been stopped. Four cases in recent decades—one in Southeast Asia, one in Africa and the other two in Eastern Europe—involved an incumbent president or party attempting to steal an election only to have it reversed through large-scale nonviolent direct action. This article looks at these cases, and identifies key lessons. [FULL LINK]

Abortion Foes Should Vote Democratic

[The Progressive October 8, 2020] The nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court, which could result in the eventual reversal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion, has brought this contentious issue to the forefront of the 2020 election campaign. The most effective means of dramatically lowering the abortion rate is to make it less financially prohibitive for couples or single parents to raise children… the Republican emphasis on banning the procedure and imposing other legal restrictions has not proven effective in reducing abortion… For all these reasons and more, voters for whom reducing abortions is of paramount concern should vote Democratic. [FULL LINK]

Sudan’s Democratic Revolution is Being Undermined by the United States

Last year’s nonviolent pro-democracy revolution in Sudan which brought down the brutal 30-year dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir and the subsequent military junta inspired the world. Few popular uprisings in history faced such extremely difficult circumstances and few displayed the kind of courage, tenacity, and effective strategy by pro-democracy activists which led to their victory. Unfortunately, the United States has been pursuing policies which almost seem designed to destroy Sudan’s fragile democratic experiment. [FULL LINK]

The Role of Civil Resistance in Bolivia’s 1977-1982 Pro-Democracy Struggle

July 2018 Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies II(1); also from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict and at Research Gate: Despite being the poorest and least developed country in South America, Bolivia was the first to emerge from the period of military dictatorships that dominated the continent from the mid-1960s into the 1980s. This article examines the role of civil resistance in that country’s seemingly improbable early end to military rule, noting how a broad coalition of unions, intellectuals, the Catholic Church, and opposition parties succeeded in bringing down a series of military leaders, eventually ushering in elected civilian governance. Despite the pro-democracy movement’s successful defeat of the dictatorship of Hugo Banzer in 1978, it took more than four years, three general elections, five presidents and several coups d’état before full electoral democracy was restored. This article responds to questions of how the movement was able to persist, grow, and maintain largely nonviolent discipline in the face of severe repression, shifting alliances, and internal divisions, and how the movement helped lay the groundwork for more recent radical changes in Bolivian politics. The article illustrates other critical factors in the movement’s success: the willingness to avoid armed struggle, the country’s rich tradition of mass-based civil resistance and defiance of central authority, and grassroots democratic relations…

Civil Resistance Against Coups: A Comparative and Historical Perspective

Nations are not helpless if the military decides to stage a coup. On dozens of occasions in recent decades, even in the face of intimidated political leaders and international indifference, civil society has risen up to challenge putschists through large-scale nonviolent direct action and noncooperation. How can an unarmed citizenry mobilize so quickly and defeat a powerful military committed to seizing control of the government? What accounts for the success or failure of nonviolent resistance movements to reverse coups and consolidate democratic gains?

This monograph presents in-depth case studies and analysis intended to improve our understanding of the strategic utility of civil resistance against military takeovers; the nature of civil resistance mobilization against coups; and the role of civil resistance against coups in countries’ subsequent democratization efforts (or failure thereof). It offers key lessons for pro-democracy activists and societies vulnerable to military usurpation of power; national civilian and military bureaucracies; external state and non-state agencies supportive of democracy; and future scholarship on this subject.

Global Journalist: Egypt’s Staged Election

[Zunes’ segment begins at 14 mins.]

[Global Journalist March 8, 2018]:
Egypt will hold a presidential election at the end of this month. But there’s little drama about who will actually win. President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, who led a 2013 coup against the country’s first democratically elected leader, is expected to be handily re-elected. That’s because el-Sissi’s government has arrested or intimidated all viable potential opponents.
    That’s left him facing off against one virtually unknown opponent – someone who was actually an outspoken supporter of el-Sissi until just hours before the candidate registration deadline.
So while most observers view this election as a sham – it’s not without drama. After el-Sissi’s coup ended a brief experiment with democracy following the Arab Spring, the country has been going backwards in many ways.
    Its economy is stagnant, its population is growing rapidly and there’s virtually no place for people to express discontent. Opposition leaders have been jailed or exiled and independent media has been tightly restricted. Meanwhile the country faces a bloody Islamist insurgency in the Sinai peninsula.

The Maldives: a serial coup in progress?

Open Democracy October 15, 2013
Should Britain, the United States and others who claim to be concerned, stand by and allow reactionary forces to stage-manage a phony election, this sends yet another inconsistent and disheartening message to those struggling for peaceful democratic change in the Islamic world and beyond. In the latest episode of what appears to be a serial coup in the Maldives, the country’s Supreme Court… threw out the results of the first round of presidential elections just hours before the scheduled date of the second round in which pro-democracy leader Mohamed Nasheed was expected to win handily…

US government hypocrisy undercuts demand for Snowden’s extradition

National Catholic Reporter August 29, 2013
   Reasonable people can disagree as to whether former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden should be celebrated as a whistleblower for revealing widespread U.S. government spying or whether he should be tried and punished for leaking classified documents. However, the Obama administration’s extraordinary hypocrisy in demanding his immediate extradition to the United States, despite the lack of an extradition treaty with Russia, while refusing to extradite far worse criminals to countries with which the United States has such treaty obligations, denies the U.S. government any credibility on the matter.

The Arab Spring, Two Years Later (video)

March 12, 2013: DU Center for Middle East Studies Professor Stephen Zunes discusses the current state of the Arab world in the wake of the 2011 uprisings, the strength and successes of non-violent sociopolitical movements in the region, and the corresponding shifts now required of U.S. foreign policy. [YouTube link]

Occupy fizzled, but made 99% a force

CNN September 17, 2012|Updated Nov 18, 2012
[Republished by Huffington Post, Hartford Business,, Occupy Feeds,]
   It’s been a year since the Occupy Wall Street movement sprang up. Since then, it has fizzled, but this does not mean that the underlying issues that gave rise to the protests have gone away.
   Until last year, mainstream political discourse did not include nearly as much emphasis on such populist concerns as rising income inequality, tax policies that favor the rich, growing influence by large corporate interests in elections and the reckless deregulation of financial institutions that resulted in the 2008 crisis. It is hard to miss them now.
   These concerns still impact 99% of Americans. Even if Occupy protests have petered out, the movement has affected the political narrative in our country.