Middle East & North Africa

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine a Potential Biological Weapon in Reverse?

If the coronavirus is not deemed a biological weapon, is the heavily-publicized Covid-19 vaccine in danger of being weaponized when over 159,000 Palestinians who have tested positive in Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are being denied treatment during a deadly pandemic?

Afghanistan’s Historic Year: Peace Talks, Security Transition but Higher Levels of Violence

While Afghanistan ends a historic year, filled with the hope for peace as the government and Taliban sat down for almost three months of consecutive peace talks for the first time in 19 years, it was also a year filled with violence with provisional statistics by the United Nations showing casualties for this year being higher than 2019.

Getting Children in Lebanon Back to School Amongst Multiple Crises

Education and health care were high on the agenda when the United Nations vowed to work toward a better future by setting 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be met by 2030.

Discriminatory Laws Still Holding Women Back in the Middle East

Decades of aggressive efforts to create equal opportunities for women, shatter the glass ceiling and build a more inclusive society only ends up in failure, when the key stake holders refuse to acknowledge discriminatory laws, socio-cultural and religious set ups that continue to threaten progress made by the female work force.

Biden’s Opportunity To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Recently I had an opportunity to brief a group of European diplomats and journalists on a variety of conflicts, with a focus on the Middle East. During the Q&A I was asked which of the region’s conflicts Biden should tackle first.

The Lebanese Disaster

The 26th of September, the Lebanese prime minister Mustapha Adib stepped down after less than a month on his post. The president, Michael Auon, stated: ”Lebanon will be going to Hell if a new government is not formed soon.” The question is if his nation is not there already. A horrifying image of the state of the nation was provided on the 4th of August when 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, stored in a dockside hangar, blew up in an explosion killing more than 190 people, injuring 6,500 and damaging thousands of buildings.

A Feminist Perspective from Middle East & North Africa on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Since before the COVID-19 pandemic, feminists across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been increasingly shedding light on the global shifts that will shape the Future of Work. From their perspective, those shifts would mainly be driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the impact of climate change and the looming global care crisis.

Water Security in Jordan is Crucial to Maintaining Stability in the Country

Jordan is one of the driest countries in the world, raking the fifth most water-stressed nation in an analysis by the World Resources Institute.

Peace in the Middle East

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI, The League of Nations mandated that Britain administer Palestine. The London administration was quite ineffective, in part, due to the contradictory promises which were made to the Arabs, to the Zionists and to France, the other colonial power which divided the territory with Britain.

Syria’s Children Remain at Immense Threat of Rape and Recruitment by Army: Report

Children in Syria are facing the brutal brunt of the ongoing civil war in the country, now rendered further paralysed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and United States sanctions. At the Sept. 15 launch of the report investigating human rights violations in Syria by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria, experts warned that in addition to the already ongoing conflict, “newer forms of violence” was on the rise.

The Exploitative System that Traps Nigerian Women as Slaves in Lebanon

“I need help, right now I cannot walk properly,” trafficking victim Nkiru Obasi pleaded from her hospital bed in a video she posted online. The young Nigerian woman had been injured in the Aug. 4 Beirut blast, which ripped through the Lebanese capital, killing 190 people injuring a further 6,500 and damaging 40 percent of the city. However, it’s not her injuries keeping her in Lebanon but a restrictive and abusive system of migrant laws.

Nepal Welcomes Qatar Labour Reform

Even as Nepali workers stranded overseas face confusion and uncertainty during the Covid-19 crisis, labour reforms in Qatar – including an increase in the minimum wage announced in Doha on Sunday — may have lasting implications for migrants there.

The Abraham Accord: Will it Bring Peace or Perpetuate Pain in Palestine?

There is not much good news for President Donald Trump of the United States these days. If electoral polls have any credibility, he is staring at the face of almost certain defeat in the elections come November. So, when the so-called Abraham Accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was sealed in a telephone call between him and the leaders of Israel and the UAE, signalling a sliver of silver lining in the otherwise hovering dark clouds over him, Trump was ecstatic. A Trump twitter called it a “HUGE breakthrough among “three GREAT friends!”.

The Beirut Blast: An Accident in Name Only

The catastrophic explosion in Beirut’s port is a manifestation of the Lebanese political elite’s predation and dysfunction. Among the country’s long-suffering citizens, shock is quickly yielding to fury. It may be the last chance for those in power to effect long-overdue structural reforms.

Impending Food Crisis in Lebanon will Largely Affect Migrant Workers

Migrant workers and refugees in Lebanon will “inevitably” suffer the most as food insecurity threatens the nation following last week’s blast.

Lebanese Financial Crisis Validates Importance of Abolishing ‘Kafala’

They were promised the world but ended up in a Lebanese household. This is the story of many domestic workers in Lebanon. With a 70-year-old sponsor system still in place, domestic workers are tied to their employers with little or no basic rights. The ‘Kafala’ system is the major problem behind what we have been seeing in Beirut in the last months.

We Arabs Ask No Favors…..

In these difficult times for the Palestinian people and for justice, the Government of Israel is proposing to add further to the turmoil by unilaterally absorbing large swathes of the Palestinian West Bank of the Jordan River. It might therefore be fitting to remind the world of the chronology of the events leading up to the creation of the State of Israel in May 1948.

Enforced Disappearances, Arbitrary Detentions, Hate Speech & Attacks on Civilians – ICC Report on Libya

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday highlighted crimes against humanity and grave mismanagement of the law in Libya during a release of their latest report on the North African nation. 

The Gaza Strip and COVID-19: Preparing for the Worst

The coronavirus is now present in Gaza, the populous Palestinian enclave blockaded by air, land and sea since 2007. An epidemic would be calamitous. Hamas should tighten public health measures; Israel should loosen restrictions so that medical supplies can enter and afflicted Palestinians can

Coronavirus Worsens Yemen’s Long Tale of Woe

In every room in Yemen’s Al-Saba’een hospital, patients in critical condition waited on chairs, and still others laid on the bare ground. I saw women and girls sharing beds in pairs, and children laying close together being treated.

What’s Needed for Real Changes for Women in Lebanese Politics?

Women were at the forefront of Lebanon’s 2019 ‘October Revolution’. Beyond the iconic images of their participation, it seems that by women linking equity in politics to the broader issues of mismanagement of corruption paid off - although activists say there is a long road ahead.

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