1. Philip Dhingra Blog, “The Tangled Web of Syriana,” August, 2006,
[return to page 1]

2. Fredric Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System (Bloomington/London: Indiana University Press/BFI, 1992), 9.

3. Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel: A Historico-Philosophical Essay on the Forms of Great Epic Literature, trans. Anna Bostock (Cambridge: MIT, 1971), 56, 60.

4. Interview with Charlie Rose on December 9th 2005, 9:20-9:35.

5. For Louis Althusser on totality see, Louis Althusser, For Marx, trans. Ben Brewster (London/New York: Verso, 2005), especially, 87-127. For a reading of Jacques Lacan’s concept of the Real see Slavoj Žižek, The Sublime Object of Ideology (London/New York: Verso, 2008), especially, 190-196.

6. Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic, 45-6.

7. Jameson, “Third World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism,” Social Text 15 (1986): 65-88.

8. By primary scenes I mean that they express as such the social antagonism itself very much like a primal scene is the moment where sexual relations appear as such and not in a displaced manner. See for example the following scenes: 0:17:42 - 0:18:15 (CIA); 0:39:50 – 0:41:15 (Islam); 1:16:56 – 1:19:02 (Nasir-Bryan); 1:22:10 – 1:23:00 (Dalton).

9. “It’s a film in design like films of the seventies in that they were willing to discuss geo-political issues without pointing a finger directly at a specific person.” George Clooney, Making of Syriana, 0:22 – 0:34.

10. Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic, 67.

11. For example, the conspiracy to assassinate a political candidate in The Parallax View although dealing with political content is in fact, according to Jameson, a displaced figure for corporate structures. The obverse works for David Cronenberg’s Videodrome, where corporate competition serves as an allegory for political power. See Jameson, The Geopolitical Aesthetic.

12. The Parallax View, directed by Alan J. Pakula (1974; Los Angeles, CA: Paramount, 1999), DVD.

13. Charls Kruathammer, “Oscars for Osama,” Washington Post (3.3.2006).

14. See Jameson, Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 1991), 38-45. [return to page 2]

15. For example the exact relation between Danny Dalton and Killen; who are the characters representing Connex and who Killen; how Iran fits the larger network of American interests and other details.

16. Stephen Gaghan, Syriana, 1:42:07 – 1:42:13.

17. Gaghan, Syriana screenplay, p. 114, emphasis in original. In film: 1:47: 37 – 1:48: 03.

18. It is important to note that Hegel’s 19th century understanding of corporations (in German : Korporation] is both similar and different than ours. They are similar in the sense that they are firms that are guided by private interest, but they did not enjoy some of the later legal reforms, beginning in the late 19th century, limiting their liability and regarding them as “people.” For Hegel’s discussion of the corporation see his Outlines of the Philosophy of Right, trans. T.M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 224-228.

19. Karl Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Doctrine of the State,” in Early Writings, trans. Rodney Livingstone and Roger Benton (London: Penguin, 1992), 193-4, emphasis in original.

20. Gaghan, Syriana, 0:41:46 – 0:43:15.

21. Interview with Charlie Rose on December 9th 2005, 13:10-13:25.

22. See for example David Held and Anthony McGrew “The Great Globalization Debate: An Introduction.” In The Global Transformations Reader: An Introduction to the Globalization Debate 2nd Edition, edited by David Held and Anthony McGrew (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2003), 1-50; Fredric Jameson, “Globalization as a Philosophical Issue.” In Valences of the Dialectic (London: Verso, 2009), 435-455.

23. See for example Neil Larsen’s critique of the concept, “Theory Risk: Reflections on ‘Globalization Theory’ and the Crisis in Argentina,” The New Centennial Review 3.2 (2003): 23-40.

24. The Chinese are  the chief reason Connex fails to win Nasir’s contract, which pushes them to merge with  Killen. On the other hand, they contribute indirectly to the laying off of Wasim and to Nasir being assassinated.

25. I thank Neil Larsen for suggesting to me the importance of crisis as a moment where essence and appearance can be said to overlap.

26. Karl Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, ed. S. Ryazanskaya. trans. Renate Simpson (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1969) vol. 2, 509, emphasis in original. See also,

“If, for example, purchase and sale—or the metamorphosis of commodities—represent the unity of two processes, or rather the movement of one process through two opposite phases, and thus essentially the unity of the two phases, the movement is essentially just as much the separation of these two phases and their becoming independent of each other. Since, however, they belong together, the independence of the two correlated aspects can only show itself forcibly, as a destructive process. It is just the crisis in which they assert their unity, the unity of the different aspects. The independence which these two linked and complimentary phases assume in relation to each other is forcibly destroyed. Thus the crisis manifests the unity of the two phases that have become independent of each other. There would be no crisis without this inner unity of factors that are apparently indifferent to each other…” — Marx, Theories of Surplus Value, vol. 2, 500, emphasis in original.

27. Naomi Klein discusses a similar subordination of public interest to economic private interest in her analysis of the Bush administration. See, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2007), especially 308-322.

28. Jameson, “Reflections on the Brecht Lukács-Debate,” in The Ideologies of Theory: Essays 1971-1986, vol. 2, Syntax and History (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 146.

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