Middle East & North Africa

U.S. Contractors Convicted in 2007 Blackwater Baghdad Traffic Massacre

A federal jury here Wednesday convicted one former Blackwater contractor of murder and three of his colleagues of voluntary manslaughter in the deadly shootings of 14 unarmed civilians killed in Baghdad’s Nisour Square seven years ago.

U.S. Destroys Its Own Weapons in Enemy Hands

When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured a treasure trove of U.S. weapons from fleeing Iraqi soldiers last month, one of the rebel leaders with a morbid sense of humour was quoted as saying rather sarcastically: "We hope the Americans would honour their agreements and service our helicopters."

OPINION: Al Baghdadi and the Doctrine Behind the Name

When Ibrahim al-Badri al-Samarrai adopted the name of Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Quraishi and revealed himself to the world as the Amir al-Mu’minin (the Commander of the Faithful) Caliph Ibrahim of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the whole world had to sit up and take notice of him. 

U.S. Airdrops to Kobani Kurds Mark New Stage in ISIL Conflict

The U.S. air drop Sunday of new weapons and supplies to Kurdish fighters in the besieged border town of Kobani marks an important escalation in Washington’s efforts to “degrade and destroy” the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

OPINION: Iraq’s Minorities Battling for Survival

Through all of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s campaigns of ‘Arabization’, they survived. The diverse Iraqi communities inhabiting the Nineveh plains – Yezidis, Turkmen, Assyrians and Shabak, as well as Kurds – held on to their unique identities and most of their historic lands.

Israel Planning Mass Expulsion of Bedouins from West Bank

Thirty-year-old Naifa Youssef and 50 other members of her Bedouin community live a precarious life, eking out a hand-to-mouth existence alongside the main road which links Jerusalem with the Dead Sea and the ancient city of Jericho.

History of Key Document in IAEA Probe Suggests Israeli Forgery

Western diplomats have reportedly faulted Iran in recent weeks for failing to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with information on experiments on high explosives intended to produce a nuclear weapon, according to an intelligence document the IAEA is investigating.

OPINION: The U.S. and a Crumbling Levant

As the international media is mesmerised by the Islamic State’s advance on Kobani or ‘Ayn al-Arab on the Syrian-Turkish border, Arab states and the United States would need to look beyond Kobani’s fate and the Islamic State’s territorial successes and defeats.

Cycle of Death, Destruction and Rebuilding Continues in Gaza

When the international pledging conference to rebuild a devastated Gaza ended in Cairo over the weekend - the third such conference in less than six years - the lingering question among donors was: is this the last of it or are there more assaults to come?

Judaisation Means Housing Crisis for Palestinians in East Jerusalem

A deliberate Israeli policy to Judaise East Jerusalem has forced thousands of Palestinians out of their homes and created a chronic housing shortage in the occupied part of the city.

Financing for Biodiversity: A Simple Matter of Keeping Promises

With governments, activists and scientists tearing their hair out over the world’s impending crisis in biodiversity, the outgoing president of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) delivered a simple message to participants at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP12) currently underway in the Republic of Korea’s northern Pyeongchang county: honour the promises you made last year.

Schools Open In Iraqi Kurdistan … But for Refugees Not Students

“We had ten minutes to leave our hometown,” says 33-year-old Kamal Faris who, together with his entire family, was forced to flee the threat of Islamic State (IS) fighters approaching his village.

U.S. Anti-ISIL Strategy Drawing Growing Scepticism

Hopes that the strategy announced by President Barack Obama a month ago against the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) might yield a relatively quick victory have disappeared amidst growing fears that the U.S.-led air campaign has at most only slowed the radical group’s advance.

Azerbaijan Pursues Drones, New Security Options

Heightened tensions with longtime foe Armenia over breakaway Nagorno Karabakh and mediator Russia’s Ukrainian adventure appear to be pushing Caspian-Sea energy power Azerbaijan ever more strongly toward a military strategy of self-reliance.

Q&A: “The Battle Continues”

The Programme of Action adopted at the landmark 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) included chapters that defined concrete actions covering some 44 dimensions of population and development, including the need to provide for women and girls during times of conflict, the urgency of investments in young people’s capabilities, and the importance of women’s political participation and representation.

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