Announcing a Blogging Colloquium on Iraq

Beginning Friday, December 15, and continuing through Wednesday, December 20, I will be hosting a blogging colloquium on Iraq entitled “Directions on Iraq: a Blogging Colloquium” at The Glittering Eye.

I’m thrilled with those who will be participating. Participants include:

John Burgess is a former U. S. foreign service officer who has had two tours of duty in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the first in 1981-1983 and the second 2001-2003. He reads and speaks Arabic and has spent the bulk of his career in the Middle East with assignments in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Bahrain in addition to his assignment in the KSA. His blog, Crossroads Arabia, is one of the blogosphere’s finest resources for information and commentary on the KSA.

Michael Cook is the Cleveland Dodge professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. In 2002 he was awarded the Andrew Mellon Foundation’s Distinguished Achievement Award.

James Hamilton is a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego. His special area of study is oil economics. His blog, Econbrowser, is a premier econblog.

Rasheed Abou Al-Samh is a Saudi-American journalist based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He is a senior editor at Arab News and a correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Times, Al-Ahram Weekly, and Forbes Arabia. His blog is Rasheed’s World.

Shivaji Sondhi is a professor of physics at Princeton University.

I’m still accepting submissions. I’m especially seeking participants with knowledge of the Middle East and specialist expertise. If you’re interested, please leave contact information in the comments below or in the comments to this post at The Glittering Eye.

I don’t know if you’re as discouraged by the present political climate and the likely turn of events with respect to Iraq as I am (not to mention Iran) but I’ve been wracking what I like to think of as my brains for some time now trying to consider U. S. interests in the region, how they’re likely to be affected by a withdrawal of U. S. troops before the country can be stabilized, what other measures are available to secure those interests in the event of such a withdrawal, and so on.

I’m also discouraged by what I consider the poor level of analysis being done both in the blogosphere and in the larger world. The Iraq Study Group’s report has been somewhat disappointing, not offering much in the way of new perspectives, and I doubt that the Democrats’ forum on the subject announced a week or so ago will be a great deal better.

So rather than continue speculating myself I thought I might try to organize a blogospheric colloquium, basically a cross-blog discussion, on the subject. I’ve tried attract participants better informed than I (that leaves the field pretty open). Among the general topics I proposed were:

  • military issues
  • diplomatic alternatives
  • regional stakes
  • economics and development
  • communications and information

The general format of the colloquium will be that each participant will elaborate on a topic in a post of his own (the contributions of participants without blogs of their own will be hosted here).

Participants and, indeed, all readers would be encouraged to address questions to the participants either in the pages of the participants’ blogs or here:

iraqdirections at theglitteringeye dot com

(replace “at” with * and “dot” with a period).

I will coordinate, organize, and promote. I will also convene the colloquium, host posts and discussion as required, and call the colloquium to a close.

I’m very excited by this project and hope to learn a lot. Perhaps we can contribute some substance to the discussion on this crucial subject.

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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.