Middle East & North Africa

OPINION: Rivalry Between Sunnis and Shiites Has Deep Roots

When  the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) suddenly emerged in Iraq, it declared as one of its first targets the Shiites and what it called the Safavids. The Safavid dynasty (1501-1736) was one of the most powerful Iranian dynasties after the Islamic conquest. 

OPINION: The Islamic State’s Ideology Is Grounded in Saudi Education

According to an article published Oct. 21 on Al-Monitor, the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has issued new regulations for the school systems under its control in Iraq and Syria. The announced purpose of the so-called guidelines, which carried the imprimatur of the group’s “Amir al-Mu’minin,” presumably leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is to “eradicate ignorance and disseminate Sharia sciences.”

Iraqi Christians Seek Shelter in Jordan after IS Threats

Watching videos and pictures on social media of the advance of the Islamic State (IS) inside Syria made it all seem far from reality to Iraqi Marvin Nafee.

Democracy is “Radical” in Northern Syria

There was never anything particularly remarkable about this northern town of 25,000. However, today it has become the lab for one the most pioneering political experiments ever conducted in the entire Middle East region.

OPINION: The West Prefers Military Order Against History

More senseless bombing of Muslims, more defeats for the United States-West, more ISIS-type movements, more West-Islam polarisation. Any way out?

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.

ANALYSIS: Europe’s Migrant Graveyard

Since the end of the Cold War, the Mediterranean has become the most lethal of Europe’s barriers against irregular migration, having claimed nearly 20,000 migrant lives in the last two decades.  

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