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”.

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.

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 propsed 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.

7 comments… add one
  • Dave,

    Congrats on a great idea. I’ll try to contribute, but tomorrow I leave for a week-long trip to upstate NY to take care of some important family matters. I’ll have my laptop with me, but I probably will have limited free time.

    Also, I’m not quite clear on exactly what you’re proposing. Is it a coordinated blogburst using our own blogs, followed by responses to others’? Please be a little more specific.

    In any event, I’m forwarding your email to people on my AF email list.

  • No, it’s a real colloqium. The participants will each provide a post, possibly question each other, and answer questions from other participants and readers.

    I hope that the colloquium will provoke discussion in other blogs but that’s outside the specific context of the colloqium. Of course, my linking to the discussions provoked would probably be a good idea.

    Basically, I’m trying to urge others to promote the colloqium on their own blogs and read the submissions.

    BTW hope everything works out okay on the family business.

  • here is one from eteraz, on iraq and evolutionary games theory. Dean said it was perfectly opaque. 😉

    and one from ghost blog on bricolage.

  • I might be interested. My specialist knowledge is in military and intelligence issues and I spent quite a bit of time in the Gulf area when I was still in the service. Let me know if there’s something specific you’d like me to comment on.

  • Iraq Study Group of Bloggers
    Over at Glittering Eye a blogging colloquium has been announced titled “Directions on Iraq: a Blogging Colloquium”. Participants include James Hamilton and Rasheed Abou Al-Samh. I would like to see Juan Cole included in the list…and Tom Palmer

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