Stories written by Mona Alami

Arab Region Has World’s Fastest Growing HIV Epidemic

At a time when HIV rates have stabilised or declined elsewhere, the epidemic is still advancing in the Arab world, exacerbated by factors such as political unrest, conflict, poverty and lack of awareness due to social taboos.

Jordan’s LGBT Community Fears Greater Intolerance

As the region is rocked by violence against a backdrop of the rise of radical groups, Jordan’s lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community fears that new instability in the Hashemite kingdom could lead to increased intolerance towards the community. 

The Darker Side for Gays in Lebanon

In a country where civil liberties remain the prerogative of the powerful and wealthy, the Lebanese gay scene is to be treaded carefully.

Land Grabbing – A New Political Strategy for Arab Countries

Food price rises as far back as 2008 are believed to be the partial culprits behind the instability plaguing Arab countries and they have become increasingly aware of the importance of securing food needs through an international strategy of land grabs which are often detrimental to local populations.

Food Insecurity a New Threat for Lebanon’s Syrian Refugees

A declining economy and a severe drought have raised concerns in Lebanon over food security as the country faces one of its worst refugee crises, resulting from the nearby Syria war, and it is these refugees and impoverished Lebanese border populations that are most vulnerable to this new threat.

Neighbours Turn Foes in Bekaa

Hezbollah clashes with Syrian rebels on the outskirts of Ersal seem to be widening the divide between residents of the Eastern Bekaa town – increasingly dominated by Syrian rebels, including the radical Nusra Front – and other regions as well as the Lebanese state. 

Conflicts in Syria and Iraq Raising Fears of Contagion in Divided Lebanon

With jihadists leading a Sunni uprising against Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government, the conflicts in Syria and Iraq are beginning to reverberate across the region, raising fears of contagion in divided Lebanon where a suicide bombing took place on Friday after a period of calm.

Syria’s Twin Jihads

The war in Syria has brought back to the forefront the concept of ‘jihad’, with tens of thousands of fighters currently waging what they believe to be a religious war there.

Lebanon Heading for Failed State Status?

Every day Lebanon is being plunged further into a state of general insecurity, as chaos from the war in Syria seeps across the border.

Hezbollah Losing its Grip

Since its inception, Hezbollah’s clout within its community has been solid. However, in recent weeks, the Party of God has been facing increasing difficulties controlling its support base and stymieing discontent. These developments have led analysts to question whether or not Hezbollah is losing its grip on its followers.

Sectarian rifts have seeped into most public schools in Lebanon. Credit: Mona Alami/IPS

Schools Plant Seeds of Sectarianism

Though most Lebanese take great pride in their national education system, deep sectarian rifts in public schools have made it impossible to ignore the political and religious fragmentation of society or its long-term impacts on youth. 

Calls for Jihad Split Salafist Movement

The Arab Spring brought a host of new actors to the political stage. In Jordan, it pushed the Salafists to the fore, where some of the group’s more radical elements are now calling for holy war in neighbouring Syria.

Former Libyan rebel fighter Faraj Fakhri is being treated in Amman’s Chmeisani hospital. Credit: Mona Alami/IPS

Recovering From the Spring, at a Price

The Arab Spring sent scores of sick and injured Libyans, fleeing their war- torn country, straight to Jordan, where the influx of patients is putting a lot of pressure on Jordanian hospitals and disrupting the lives of Libyan and Jordanian patients alike.

A protest in Amman, now a weekly sight.  Credit: Mona Alami/IPS.

Fragmented Protests Rise in Jordan

On a warm Friday afternoon, police cars blocked the roads around the Al Husseini mosque, where hundreds of men were kneeling for the noon prayers. At the end of the service, the crowds rose and marched in a compact protest behind a car bearing a banner for the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Syrian Strife Hits Lebanese Villages

A few kilometres separate the two Lebanese villages of Ersal and Qaa from the Syrian border, both of which have been unwillingly drawn into the violence of the Syrian uprising. Unrest has been brewing in the region for weeks and recently it was on the receiving end of intermittent gunfire from the Syrian army. The situation remains tense despite the fragile new ceasefire.

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