New Sultan of Oman Upholds Old Policies

In his inaugural speech, Haitham emphasized the similarities with his predecessor, saying he was “determined to follow and build on Sultan Qaboos’ approach, and will work to spare the region conflicts and disputes while achieving economic integration”. The post New Sultan of Oman Upholds Old Policies appeared first on Fanack.com.

The Hashashin: Shia Islam’s Mysterious Sect

Over the following centuries, Hashashin appeared in other regions around the world although adherents became known as Nizaris, who constitute the majority of Ismaili Muslims. Today, the sect runs more than 140 for-profit and not-for-profit organizations spanning more than 30 countries to serve the Ismaili community. These organizations employ approximately 58,000 staff and about 20,000 … Continue reading “The Hashashin: Shia Islam’s Mysterious Sect”

Middle East: Ever More Unstable

Sadly, these developments coupled with a worldwide crisis of leadership may well worsen before a new generation of leaders can rise and try in earnest to resolve many of these conflicts humanely, passionately and equitably to ensure their durability. The post Middle East: Ever More Unstable appeared first on Fanack.com.

A Finger in Every Pie: The US Military in the Middle East

The US operates at least 30 military bases in the Middle East, ranging from small outposts in Syria and military encampments shared with host nations to airbases under full US control. Some are large and visible while others remain highly secretive, likely managed by a combination of CIA or US special forces personnel. These range … Continue reading “A Finger in Every Pie: The US Military in the Middle East”

In Syria’s Idlib, 4 Million Civilians Are Trapped and Desperate

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Europe on 22 December that his country cannot handle a new wave of Syrian refugees, adding that over 80,000 people from Idlib had fled to areas near the Turkish border. According to Turkish authorities, Turkey already hosts around 5 million refugees, of which 3.7 million are Syrians. The post … Continue reading “In Syria’s Idlib, 4 Million Civilians Are Trapped and Desperate”

Iran’s Armed Forces

Occupied during both world wars, Iran developed its military capabilities to defend itself. Part of the country’s pre-1979 military doctrine was based on the same history: to protect itself from the neighbouring Soviet Union, Iran should be backed by another superpower, the United States (US). The post Iran’s Armed Forces appeared first on Fanack.com.

As protests continue, Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing stalemate must end

Power-sharing institutions need not be as narrowly prescribed as they currently are in Lebanon. These protests are a critical moment for the start of a national conversation on how to expand the basis of inclusion in Lebanese political life. So far, protesters have joined up across sect, class and gender in a way previously considered … Continue reading “As protests continue, Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing stalemate must end”

Soleimani’s Assassination and Its Unexpected Effects on Iran-US Relations

Clearly, Soleimani’s death elicited a reaction Washington did not expect. Not only did it mend political divides over the way Iran deals with the US, it also turned Iranians from all walks of life against the US, further benefiting the establishment. The post Soleimani’s Assassination and Its Unexpected Effects on Iran-US Relations appeared first on … Continue reading “Soleimani’s Assassination and Its Unexpected Effects on Iran-US Relations”

Shamanism: A Religious Phenomenon with Similarities to Sufism

Shamanism is practiced around the world and its followers are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands in Europe, Asia, especially China and South Korea, Africa and South America. Many people have turned to shamans for treatment in the hope of finding spirits that can cure them of mental and physical illnesses that conventional … Continue reading “Shamanism: A Religious Phenomenon with Similarities to Sufism”

Qassem Suleimani air strike: why this is a dangerous escalation of US assassination policy

The Trump administration has, so far, refused to explain and justify its policy of targeted killing, but this latest operation further undermines international and US domestic norms against assassination is certain to set more dangerous international precedents for targeted killings. The post Qassem Suleimani air strike: why this is a dangerous escalation of US assassination … Continue reading “Qassem Suleimani air strike: why this is a dangerous escalation of US assassination policy”

The Joint List: Representing Palestinians in Israel

As a unified movement, the Joint List has proven successful, acquiring the necessary seats to have a parliamentary presence and even being elevated to kingmaker status when the government hit an impasse. If voters choose to empower the list further, it may even affect real change. The post The Joint List: Representing Palestinians in Israel … Continue reading “The Joint List: Representing Palestinians in Israel”

In Tunisia, New Generation of Women’s Initiatives Reshaping Feminism

Feminism in the 21st century has morphed into a multifaceted battle. Tunisian LGBTQ+ activists are engaged in a threefold struggle: against the patriarchy, the dominant ‘Western model’ and ‘constructed identities’. They are undeniably more visible than ever. The post In Tunisia, New Generation of Women’s Initiatives Reshaping Feminism appeared first on Fanack.com.

War, Mismanagement and Climate Change: Iraq’s Environment Pushed to the Brink

Despite these setbacks, there is growing awareness among civil society organisations of the need to address Iraq’s environmental issues. Groups like Nature Iraq and Waterkeepers Iraq as well as Save the Tigris and Save the Euphrates campaigns are working tirelessly and often under pressure to raise environmental issues both on a national and international level. … Continue reading “War, Mismanagement and Climate Change: Iraq’s Environment Pushed to the Brink”

Gulf security: China envisions continued US military lead

China’s preference for a continued US lead in maintaining Gulf security, even if it favours a more multilateral approach, was evident earlier this year in its willingness to consider participating in the US-led maritime alliance that escorts commercial vessels in the Gulf and seeks to secure shipping lanes and was created in response to several … Continue reading “Gulf security: China envisions continued US military lead”

The Ahmadiyya, One of Islam’s Most Controversial Sects

Adherents say that they are Muslim Ahmadis while others consider them to be non-Muslims. Still others consider them to be followers of a religion all its own. Ahmadis have been persecuted and prevented from practising their religion in most countries where they have a presence, from India in the east to Morocco in the west. … Continue reading “The Ahmadiyya, One of Islam’s Most Controversial Sects”

Young Arabs are Changing their Beliefs and Perceptions: New Survey

Less religious and less likely to be following religious leaders: these are the findings of a survey conducted among youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by the Arab Barometer, a pollster surveying the main social and economic trends in the region. The post Young Arabs are Changing their Beliefs and Perceptions: New … Continue reading “Young Arabs are Changing their Beliefs and Perceptions: New Survey”

Turkey and Libya: Bilateral Deal Ushers in New Dawn of Military Brotherhood

The signing of the deal between the two official governments of Turkey and Libya has had some immediate (albeit relatively muted) consequences. Coastguard forces loyal to Haftart stopped and searched a Caribbean-flagged vessel that was carrying an illicit cargo of small arms and briefly detained some Turkish crew. Both countries have announced investigations into the … Continue reading “Turkey and Libya: Bilateral Deal Ushers in New Dawn of Military Brotherhood”

In Saudi Arabia, a Musical Tradition that Refuses to Fade

Many singers and musicians in the Hijaz in the early centuries of Islam have made it into the history books, the most famous of which is Isa ibn Abdullah al-Madani, better known as Tuwais (632 CE), who was the first to sing in Arabic in Medina. Well-known female singers include Jamila, Mullat ibn Salim and … Continue reading “In Saudi Arabia, a Musical Tradition that Refuses to Fade”

Politics vs. Religion: Untangling Lebanon’s Sectarian System

There are about 80 licensed parties, despite the relatively small population. This currently stands at around 6 million, although no official census has been held since 1932. Christianity ranks first in terms of the number of parties – estimated to be 18 – affiliated with it. The post Politics vs. Religion: Untangling Lebanon’s Sectarian System … Continue reading “Politics vs. Religion: Untangling Lebanon’s Sectarian System”

Israel is hoarding the Jordan River – it’s time to share the water

Water that Israel promised Jordan back in the 1994 peace treaty has still not materialised. In the West Bank, Israel’s choice to hoard is expressed through the Oslo-created Israeli-Palestinian joint water committee. Because the committee approves the water lines that every new settlement in the West Bank needs, but blocks projects for Palestinian villages, water … Continue reading “Israel is hoarding the Jordan River – it’s time to share the water”

Following Election of New President, What Next for Algeria?

To a certain extent, Tebboune’s election makes sense because of his former position but also because as prime minister he was dismissed for criticizing the president’s clan, which enabled him to distance himself from the old regime during his election campaign. However, this may not be enough if protesters continue to reject his leadership. The … Continue reading “Following Election of New President, What Next for Algeria?”

Unannounced Fuel Price Hike Sees Iranians Return to the Streets

Smuggling became a lucrative business, with 20 to 40 million litres being smuggled across the border per day. In addition, because Iran borders 15 countries, it is almost impossible for the government to control all its borders on a permanent basis. To overcome fuel smuggling, the government resorted to another policy: reducing subsidies. The post … Continue reading “Unannounced Fuel Price Hike Sees Iranians Return to the Streets”

Is Saudi Arabia on the Verge of Striking a Deal with Yemen’s Houthi Rebels?

The agreement signed in the Saudi capital Riyadh on 5 November stipulated the formation of a new cabinet of 24 ministers, with 50 per cent of the portfolios held by STC and other southern movements, the inclusion of STC negations to end the war, the placement of all military forces under the Defence Ministry and … Continue reading “Is Saudi Arabia on the Verge of Striking a Deal with Yemen’s Houthi Rebels?”

Quranists, Islam’s Outcasts

Quranists are a small group of Muslims who regard the Koran as the only valid source of religious belief, guidance and law in Islam. They call themselves ‘the people of the Koran’ while their opponents call them ‘disruptors of the Prophet’s sunnah’. Quranists have long suffered persecution and non-recognition in the Middle East. Their rights … Continue reading “Quranists, Islam’s Outcasts”

Not So Plural: How Sectarianism Has Failed the Lebanese

The sectarian system runs deep in Lebanon’s history, but it was enshrined after independence in 1943. Christians and Muslims established a national pact that would be the pillar of a new independent state. This pact relies on three principles: the independence of Lebanon from other Arab states and from the West, equality between all Lebanese … Continue reading “Not So Plural: How Sectarianism Has Failed the Lebanese”

The Sudan Uprising and its possibilities: regional revolution, generational revolution, and an end to Islamist politics?

The 1964 October Revolution saw a generational transition within a small elite – hopefully this time it will be more comprehensive. The university students today are more diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity and regional origin than was the case in the 1960s. They are not encumbered by the old way of doing politics that … Continue reading “The Sudan Uprising and its possibilities: regional revolution, generational revolution, and an end to Islamist politics?”

Kuwaiti Music: Pioneering Sounds of Sand and Sea

Pearl divers even took a singer with them while away on their ships. During the long months at sea, the nahmastood on the deck and led the men in chores like raising the sails. The homecoming of the divers, if they came home at all, was celebrated with special songs as well, the lyrics telling … Continue reading “Kuwaiti Music: Pioneering Sounds of Sand and Sea”

Omar Barghouti: Peaceful Resistance through Boycott of Israel

Omar Barghouti was greatly inspired by Nelson Mandela’s approach to mobilizing the nations of the world against the apartheid regime in South Africa. This approach was introduced in Palestine after the failure of the Camp David II peace negotiations in July 2000 and the outbreak of the second intifada (uprising) in September 2000 in the … Continue reading “Omar Barghouti: Peaceful Resistance through Boycott of Israel”

How Non-Violent Tools Are Shaping Israel’s Occupation of Palestine

BDS has three demands: ending the occupation of Palestinian territories and dismantling the security barrier that encroaches on West Bank land; ensuring the equal rights of Palestinians living in Israel; and enabling the right of return for Palestinians in the diaspora. The post How Non-Violent Tools Are Shaping Israel’s Occupation of Palestine appeared first on … Continue reading “How Non-Violent Tools Are Shaping Israel’s Occupation of Palestine”

In Morocco, Proposed Reforms Intensify Debate to Repeal ‘Bedroom Laws’

Among the recommendations is the decriminalization of sex outside of marriage, which civil society has demanded for some time. Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the Moroccan parliament to adopt the proposals to enshrine individual freedoms. The post In Morocco, Proposed Reforms Intensify Debate to Repeal ‘Bedroom Laws’ appeared first on Fanack.com.

Saudi Arabia Counting on Aramco Shares to Start Trading on 11 December

In what seems to be a case of history repeating itself, Saudi Arabia appears once again to be moving unburdened and untouched towards its national objectives, prioritizing local investments to prevent foreign policy and global insecurity from affecting its progress. The post Saudi Arabia Counting on Aramco Shares to Start Trading on 11 December appeared … Continue reading “Saudi Arabia Counting on Aramco Shares to Start Trading on 11 December”

US no longer thinks Israeli settlements are illegal – this is a green light for more Palestinian displacement

Pompeo’s statement on the Israeli settlements marks the latest departure from previous anchors of US policy on the Israel-Palestine issue. By effectively endorsing the settlements, the Trump administration has signalled a green light for their continued expansion. As a result, further Palestinian displacement is virtually guaranteed. The post US no longer thinks Israeli settlements are … Continue reading “US no longer thinks Israeli settlements are illegal – this is a green light for more Palestinian displacement”

Kurds targeted in Turkish attack include thousands of female fighters who battled Islamic State

In a region surrounded by threats – from Turkey’s attacks and Islamic State terrorism and patriarchy at home – the women of Kurdistan are fighting for their life and liberty. And the cost is hard, dangerous labor. The post Kurds targeted in Turkish attack include thousands of female fighters who battled Islamic State appeared first … Continue reading “Kurds targeted in Turkish attack include thousands of female fighters who battled Islamic State”

Kurdish Storytelling Tradition Takes First Steps on Long Road to UNESCO Recognition

As one of the oldest cultural expressions in Mesopotamia, dengbej should be added to the UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage. This is according to opera singer Pervin Chakar, who has started a petition to gather support for and raise awareness about the importance of dengbej, an ancient Kurdish storytelling tradition. The post Kurdish Storytelling … Continue reading “Kurdish Storytelling Tradition Takes First Steps on Long Road to UNESCO Recognition”

Ramadan, the Holiest Month for Muslims

Muslims are obliged to fast during Ramadan – the fourth pillar of Islam – by refraining from eating, drinking, sexual intercourse and other whims between sunrise and sunset, i.e. between the prayers of fajr and maghrib. The exceptions to this obligation are sickness, travel and menstrual periods in the case of women. However, the fasting … Continue reading “Ramadan, the Holiest Month for Muslims”

History of Egyptian Radio and Television Series

The drama industry in Egypt is significant, consisting of millions of workers, technicians, actors, writers and directors. Nearly 40 series were produced in 2018 alone. However, the increasing government control of the Egyptian media in recent years has negatively impacted both the volume and quality of the dramas produced. The post History of Egyptian Radio … Continue reading “History of Egyptian Radio and Television Series”

In Israel’s Coalition Talks, Palestinian Politician Ayman Odeh Emerges as Possible Kingmaker

Born in 1975, Odeh grew up in the city of Haifa. The only Muslim in a Christian school, he speaks fluent Hebrew as well as Arabic, English and Romanian. He became politically engaged at a young age, attending his first demonstration on 30 March 1988, Land Day, aged 13. The next three years “were the … Continue reading “In Israel’s Coalition Talks, Palestinian Politician Ayman Odeh Emerges as Possible Kingmaker”

In Egypt, Military Companies ‘Detrimental’ for Economy

When general-turned-president al-Sisi seized power from the Muslim Brotherhood, who briefly ruled from 2012-2013, the military returned to the top of the food chain. “What we see recently is that the army conglomerate is growing,” the researcher said. And it is doing so more openly than before. The post In Egypt, Military Companies ‘Detrimental’ for … Continue reading “In Egypt, Military Companies ‘Detrimental’ for Economy”

In Syria, the Environmental Toll of War Beginning to Emerge

In Syria, clean-up of environmental hotspots, rehabilitation of affected areas and sustainable reconstruction are necessary to alleviate the burden on the Syrian people and provide them with opportunities to rebuild their lives and livelihoods in a safe and healthy environment. The post In Syria, the Environmental Toll of War Beginning to Emerge appeared first on … Continue reading “In Syria, the Environmental Toll of War Beginning to Emerge”

Lebanon’s Leaderless Uprising Facing Possible Stalemate

Since 17 October 2019, Lebanese have taken over the streets to protest against the crashing economy and a corrupt elite that has been in power for decades. For the first time in the country’s modern history, the population is mobilizing across sectarian lines. The post Lebanon’s Leaderless Uprising Facing Possible Stalemate appeared first on Fanack.com.

Violent crackdown against Iraq protests exposes fallacy of the country’s democracy

The latest protests may have been suppressed but they revealed that democracy in Iraq is nothing but a facade. What sort of democratic government kills its own people, taking away their hopes and dreams? And can it still be called legitimate? Reacting indifferently to the deadly crackdown of innocent people in Iraq, the world needs … Continue reading “Violent crackdown against Iraq protests exposes fallacy of the country’s democracy”

The Unlikely Leader: The Man Who Made No Campaign Promises Becomes Tunisia’s President

Cynics could argue that the boy cannot be disappointed since kais Saied made voters no promises during his ‘explanatory’ campaign. Realistically, Tunisia’s political context is not conducive to success, but for some voters at least, Saied’s election is a victory in itself. The post The Unlikely Leader: The Man Who Made No Campaign Promises Becomes … Continue reading “The Unlikely Leader: The Man Who Made No Campaign Promises Becomes Tunisia’s President”

Despite Indictment, Israeli PM Hanging on to Political Career

The law may seem clear: a minister who has been indicted must resign. However, there is no such stipulation for a prime minister. The reason, according to most interpretations, is a practical one: if a prime minister were to resign, this would bring down the government and make a new coalition or elections necessary. Therefore, … Continue reading “Despite Indictment, Israeli PM Hanging on to Political Career”