Middle East & North Africa

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.

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.

Qatar Accuses UAE of Racial Discrimination in UN’s Highest Court

Qatar officials reiterated their claim on Wednesday that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) be held responsible for their “discrimination” against Qatari citizens, as the third day of public hearings proceeded at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nation’s highest court. But foreign policy experts caution that the case is not good for stability in the Persian Gulf region.

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!”.

I Came to Work in Qatar to Pursue My Dreams, But My Life is a Nightmare

Like thousands of migrant workers from Africa and Asia, I am finally in the land of my dreams, Qatar. I knew working here would be tough, but I thought I would be able to regularly send money home to my family and live decently.

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.

Countdown to a Bitter Battle Over the Water of the Nile?

In the 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR, the idea that water would drive the wars of the future took hold among analysts and the media. Three decades later and that grim prospect has, fortunately, not yet materialised, and international cooperation, despite its ups and downs, is the norm in the management of transboundary waters.

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.

World Comes Together with $1.35 billion for Yemen

World leaders gathered on Tuesday to pledge $1.35 billion in aid for Yemen, which currently undergoing what many is the world’s “worst humanitarian crisis”, with Saudi Arabia announcing a contribution of $500 million. 

On the Agenda of Iraq’s New Government: An Empty Treasury, Low Revenue, and COVID-19

Iraq’s newly-announced leader has brought hope to a country embroiled in a 17-year-long conflict, but authorities must ensure that issues such as swift and rapid response to COVID-19, security concerns, and corruption among others are addressed with urgency, experts said on Tuesday. 

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.

A Multi-Billion Dollar US Mideast Arms Market May be in Jeopardy

When President Saddam Hussein ran one of the world’s most authoritarian regimes in the militarily-volatile Middle East during 1979-2003, US newspapers routinely described him as “the strongman of Iraq” — as most journalists rightly view dictators worldwide.

US Mideast Peace Plan: from a Paper Pharaoh & a Fake Moses

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu was slapped corruption charges last week while he was hobnobbing with US President Donald Trump in Washington. Bibi has, apparently, done his homework in psychology. He knew the quickest way to get around Trump was to flatter him.

US Mideast Peace Plan: Israelis Offered the Cheese & Palestinians the Holes

The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has described the much-ballyhooed US Middle East peace plan as “more like Swiss cheese-- with the cheese being offered to the Israelis and the holes to the Palestinians”.

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