Iranian Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Sentenced to 38 Years in Jail for Doing Her Job

Her clients were women who protested the obligatory dress code by taking off their hijab in public in 2018, an act that the authorities equate with treason. Sotoudeh was already well-known for having represented jailed opposition activists and politicians following the disputed June 2009 presidential elections as well as prisoners sentenced to death for crimes … Continue reading “Iranian Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Sentenced to 38 Years in Jail for Doing Her Job”

The Race to buy Spyware in the Gulf

The use of cybersurveillance systems is believed to have resulted in the disappearance of many human right campaigners. However, The race to purchase spyware in Gulf states severely concerns rights groups and some western governments. The post The Race to buy Spyware in the Gulf appeared first on Fanack.com.

The Golden Era of Egyptian Music

In fact, what made this era exceptional was the fortuitous coming together of great musical talent – composers, singers and lyrical poets/songwriters. Together, they propelled this artistic engine and left a great legacy behind. The post The Golden Era of Egyptian Music appeared first on Fanack.com.

Zoroastrianism: An Obscure Persian Religion that Changed the World

In terms of rituals and practices, Zoroastrians pray several times a day and worship communally in a fire temple. Contrary to Christianity, fasting and celibacy are proscribed except as part of a purification ritual. Although human struggle has a negative aspect, individuals must strive for purity and avoid defilement by the forces of death. The … Continue reading “Zoroastrianism: An Obscure Persian Religion that Changed the World”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey’s Saviour or Sultan?

Erdogan has cemented his place in the history books as modern Turkey’s second-most notable ruler, but he seems determined to better that. Even after last year’s referendum, he has orchestrated a purge of elected AKP officials in cities where results from the vote were lower than expected. Loyalty to Erdogan seems to be the sole … Continue reading “Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey’s Saviour or Sultan?”

Wrestling in Iran: From Mysticism to Politics

After the 1979 revolution, Iranian wrestling was infused with the Islamic Republic’s ideological zeal. No wrestler was allowed to wrestle with an Israeli. In fact, wrestling in Iran remained a symbol of standing up to evil, be it the Shah’s dictatorship and oppression of the Iranian people or the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. The … Continue reading “Wrestling in Iran: From Mysticism to Politics”

Gazan Rap Music Addresses Blockade and Palestinian Political Divide

Despite the social, political and economic challenges facing Gazan rappers, they are determined to continue to produce their own music and give voice to the angry and marginalized youth, so that they can find a just solution to their problems. The post Gazan Rap Music Addresses Blockade and Palestinian Political Divide appeared first on Fanack.com.

The Seizure of the Grand Mosque: The Event that shook Saudi Arabia

The siege of the Grand Mosque came as a huge shock to the political system, both in Saudi Arabia and the wider region. As a result, after finally overcoming the siege, the Saudi political establishment decided to increase its dependency on Wahhabism to maintain the status quo. The Saudi establishment began to pour millions of … Continue reading “The Seizure of the Grand Mosque: The Event that shook Saudi Arabia”

Perpetuating Violence Against Olive Farmers and Palestinian Livelihoods

During the first week of the harvest, when several incidents were reported in Palestinian media outlet WAFA, 30 masked armed settlers attacked farmers and several volunteers on 16 October. Two volunteers were injured, including 80-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehuda from Rabbis for Human Rights. The post Perpetuating Violence Against Olive Farmers and Palestinian Livelihoods appeared first … Continue reading “Perpetuating Violence Against Olive Farmers and Palestinian Livelihoods”

Education in Israel and East Jerusalem: What Do We Really Know?

Education is highly valued in Israel, as Jeffrey Geri’s book Israel – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture will tell you. As such, primary and secondary schooling is free and compulsory up until the last year of secondary school, with most lessons taught in Hebrew or Arabic. The literacy rate is 91.75 … Continue reading “Education in Israel and East Jerusalem: What Do We Really Know?”

Rising Demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Signal Measures to Change Jerusalem’s Demography

Also in 2019, the International Crisis Group (ICG) raised concerns over new Israeli policies that would entrench its de facto annexation of parts of occupied East Jerusalem. These include cataloguing all of East Jerusalem’s lands in the Israel Land Registry and inducing schools in the area to adopt the Israeli curriculum. The post Rising Demolitions … Continue reading “Rising Demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories Signal Measures to Change Jerusalem’s Demography”

Saudi Arabia Takes First Step to Disengage from Wahhabism After Centuries of Alliance

MBS’ clampdown on religious militancy has been described as the first step towards disengagement between the Saudi regime and Wahhabism, which have been intertwined for centuries. However, political freedoms have not been affected by this change and remain restricted. In recent years, the regime has arrested dozens of political opponents, social media activists and those … Continue reading “Saudi Arabia Takes First Step to Disengage from Wahhabism After Centuries of Alliance”

Libya: why enforcing an arms embargo is so hard

A stable truce in Libya needs an efficient arms embargo. The ultimate beneficiaries of such an embargo – the Libyan population – are unlikely to see any improvements soon. The years of international meddling have led to many countries having steadfast interests in Libya, and as it currently stands, no one is willing to take … Continue reading “Libya: why enforcing an arms embargo is so hard”

Musicians and Producers Join Forces to Create Electronic Celebration of Palestinian Heritage

Through this album, the artists involved hope to update the sound and image of traditional Palestinian music. They also see the album – which is described on its cover as an ‘electronic celebration of Palestinian heritage’ – as a way to reach new audiences who up to now may only have viewed Palestine through the … Continue reading “Musicians and Producers Join Forces to Create Electronic Celebration of Palestinian Heritage”

A Closer Look at the International Criminal Court’s Decision to Investigate the ‘Situation in Palestine’

Israel would, in turn, not be able to appeal the ICC’s decision as it is not a member of the court. Whether a third party friendly with Israel and party to the Rome Statute could appeal on Israel’s behalf remains an open question. The post A Closer Look at the International Criminal Court’s Decision to … Continue reading “A Closer Look at the International Criminal Court’s Decision to Investigate the ‘Situation in Palestine’”

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”