Middle East & North Africa

The Syrian Tragedy

As I often do, I recently discussed the Syrian Civil War with a friend of Lebanese origin. He is far from supporting the Syrian regime, which occupied his country of origin between 1989-2008. My friend assumes the Syrian government was behind the assassination of Lebanon´s prime minister Bachir Gemayel, who in 1982 together with 26 others were blown to pieces by a bomb planted at the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces. He also suspects Syria was behind the death of former prime minister Rafik Harari, who in 2005 was killed in a car bomb explosion. However, this does not make my friend an admirer of Israel or the U.S., which together with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia meddle in Syria´s bloody internal strife. It is an almost impossible task to disentangle the mess of warring fractions guided by corrupt politicians, religious fanatics, liberal politicians, bandits, Mafiosi and/or foreign commercial and strategical stakeholders.

UN Aid Boss Promises “Punishment” for Misconduct in Yemen and Palestine

A senior United Nations official has promised a thorough investigation into allegations of misconduct in field operations in Yemen and the occupied Palestinian territories, saying that those responsible would be punished.

Russia and Syria in the Spotlight for Latest Idlib Medic Deaths

Medical aid groups have again blasted Russian and Syrian government forces this week for an ever-growing death toll among doctors, paramedics and other health workers in military strikes in northwestern Syria.

Five Million Palestinians Deserve Better!

An old adage passed on by veteran U.N. staff to younger recruits is, “Do nothing whenever possible. It’s safer.” For a junior officer that might indeed be career-enhancing. 

Mediating Peace in a Complex World

“It is all about orchestration”, was Martin Griffiths’, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, response to the question of what mediation in Yemen looks like today.

U.S. Sanctions Imperil Aid to Iran’s Flood Victims

Two major humanitarian groups have warned that United States sanctions on Iran are stopping cash flows for vital humanitarian work in the country, adding another complication to the growing rift between Washington and Tehran.

Saudi Arabia Easing Male Guardianship: But More is Needed

It comes as welcome news that authorities in Saudi Arabia have taken important steps towards dismantling the repressive male guardianship system, which treats women in the country as minors.

Migration and Human Solidarity

The migrant and refugee crisis has become a serious test for the unity of Europe as a political project. The inflow of destitute migrants and refugees has tested Europe’s political unity to an unprecedented extent. With a long-term solution to the migrant and refugee crisis nowhere in sight, the adverse impact of the current situation has the potential to unfold further and to give rise to a broader crisis with long-term implications, affecting Europe and the MENA region alike.

U.N.’s Islamic State Probe Unit Kicks into Gear

A United Nations-backed probe into atrocities committed by the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq has frequently been criticised for making slow progress during its first two years of operations. Lately, that could be changing.

U.S.-backed Kurds to Halt Child Soldier use in Syria

The United States-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have struck a deal with the United Nations to stop using child soldiers across swathes of eastern Syria under their control and to release all youngsters from their ranks, the U.N. announced Monday.

US & Iranian Actions Put Nuclear Deal in Jeopardy

Iran’s announcement that it may soon breach the 300-kilogram limit on low-enriched uranium set by the 2015 nuclear deal is an expected but troubling response to the Trump administration’s reckless and ill-conceived pressure campaign to kill the 2015 nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

‘Born A Refugee, I Dream of a Place Called Home’

I am a refugee, born to a refugee family. I was granted that status on the day I came into this world. I was not aware of what had happened before then. I did not fight any battle, I did not threaten anyone. I did not even choose my own race or ethnicity. I just came to this world to find myself a displaced person.

An Uncertain Future for Palestinian Refugees

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been forced to justify its existence at the United Nations ahead of a pledging conference later this month.

US “Emergency” Arms Sales to Mideast Nations Under Fire

When the UN Security Council met last week to discuss the deaths and devastation caused to civilians in ongoing military conflicts and civil wars, the killings in Yemen and the air attacks on hospitals, schools, mosques, and market places—whether deliberate or otherwise-- were singled out as the worst ever.

US Threats to Dismantle Palestinian Refugee Agency Trigger Protests

As it relentlessly pursues its strongly pro-Israeli policy – along with its disdain for multilateralism – the Trump administration continued to display its hostility towards the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies at a meeting of the UN Security Council focusing on the recent escalation of violence in Gaza.

Stop The War on Children

Too many children are dying as a result of explosive weapons, and the international community must step up to protect and declare children off limits in war.

Is UAE Leading the Way for Concentrated Solar Power in GCC?

In April 2019, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published a report on a “roadmap to 2050” in terms of renewable energy.

From Sanctioning Iran to War?

With the recent military moves announced uncharacteristically by the White House first, the world is witnessing with grim fascination what could turn out to be the early moves towards a war against Iran. How plausible is this scenario and what is likely to happen geopolitically if and when the US belligerence leads to an actual military confrontation with Iran?

US Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal: One Year On

On 8 May last year, US President Donald J. Trump announced that the United States would pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which sets limits on Iran’s nuclear programme to ensure that it cannot produce nuclear weapons.

Building a More Energy-Efficient Neighbourhood in Dubai

Dubai is an Emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a population of about 3 million. The discovery of oil in the 1960’s transformed Dubai from a sleepy port town to a global metropolis. The recent shift to address environmental sustainability in Dubai draws attention to energy issues in the city.

Are Migrant Workers Humans or Commodities?

The United Nations has estimated a hefty $466 billion as remittances from migrant workers worldwide in 2017—and perhaps even higher last year.

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