Culture & Society

Culture & Society


Is Islamic State 'secondary priority' for Saudi Arabia?

Riyadh is preoccupied with the military campaign in Yemen; Velayati tells Lebanese officials there will be no deal on Assad; the Turkish opposition party is under attack ahead of June 7 elections.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on May 24

Secular Jews rediscover Jewish heritage

Tel Aviv council member Mickey Gitzin explains how secular Jews have created their own narratives and celebrations in regard to the Feast of Weeks celebration on May 23-24.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 24

Egypt Nile water pollution on the rise

Egypt’s Nile water pollution rates are alarming, and people and natural life are being affected, while the efforts on the part of the government to fix the situation remain questionable.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 22

Jibril Rajoub confident FIFA will vote on expelling Israel

FIFA’s general assembly will convene on May 29 and may vote on removing Israel from the world soccer association, in a step Palestinians see as a major progress in the nonviolent efforts to call out Israel for its ongoing violations against Palestinian sports.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 22

Return of 175 Iranian bodies from Iraq stirs painful memories

Iranians shared pictures of Iranian divers from the Iran-Iraq War after Iranian officials reported that the bodies of 175 divers who were reportedly buried alive in the war were returned to Iran.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on May 21

Turkish NGO helps mothers return to work

Turkish women are poorly represented in the workforce, but a new foundation aims to change that.
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 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 24

Media mogul declares his 'masculine love' to Erdogan

Stiff competition among AKP partisans for extreme manifestations of adoration for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are rewarded in pre-election season.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on May 22

Turkey can’t part with currency zeroes

Though Turkey wiped off six zeroes from its currency a decade ago, politicians stick to old figures, hoping for a stronger propaganda impact in the run-up to general elections.
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 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 21

Damaged gas cylinders become another threat to Gazans

In addition to other hardships suffered by Palestinians, damaged gas cylinder explosions are claiming the lives of citizens in Gaza who are unaware of their risks.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 24

Arab Israeli coed marathon canceled after threats

The struggle to hold a coed marathon in Tira exposed the clash in Arab Israeli society between increasing liberalization and traditional religiosity.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 21

Kurds abandon AKP

Thousands of pious Kurds, including entire tribes, have parted ways with the AKP, convinced that it has no real intention of reconciling with the Kurds.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on May 20

Attacks on Syrians in Turkey increasing

Increasing numbers of Turks are angered over the social and economic consequence of Turkey hosting some 2 million Syrian refugees.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on May 20

Khamenei orders schooling for all Afghan children in Iran

Iran's supreme leader has ordered that all Afghan children in Iran, regardless of their residency status, be schooled.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on May 19

Censorship issues raised at Tehran book fair

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has harshly criticized book censorship in Iran, but existing laws confine his administration.
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 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 19

Israel debates ethics of IDF during Gaza war

An NGO report has stirred controversy in Israel over the behavior of IDF soldiers during the Gaza war and the policies of the military forces.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 19

Are European nations discriminating against Syrian refugees?

During a meeting between Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bassil mentioned that some European countries are selecting Syrian refugees to move from Lebanon to Europe based on educational and religious standards.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on May 19

Palestinians work to keep Nakba memory alive

Few Palestinian institutions and individuals are working on preserving the memories and stories of refugees who lived through the Nakba in 1948, in the absence of an official national project.
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 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 19

Film festival opens amid Gaza's ruins

Children and residents from the Shajaiyah neighborhood in Gaza, which suffered mass destruction and massacres during the 2014 war, attended the Karama Human Rights Film Festival, featuring poignant movies about the tragedies.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on May 19

Iran women's magazine forced to close

A prominent Iranian magazine dedicated to women's issues has been suspended over accusations that it promotes unmarried cohabitation.
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 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 18

Struggle of Negev region against layoffs

The well-connected employees of Israel Chemicals have succeeded in making waves against a layoff plan, but there's little correlation between their struggle and the socio-economic problems of the Negev residents.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 18

Iraqis use social media to pressure government

Iraqis are making sure social networking sites can be used to mobilize the public and express opinions against political events and decisions.
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 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 19

Morocco’s Amazighs still feel marginalized

It has been four years since the Amazigh language was officially recognized by the Moroccan Constitution, but there is still no law in place to guarantee the cultural minority’s rights.
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 Imad Stitou for Al-Monitor on May 18

Egyptian atheists launch web video series

An Egyptian couple regularly transform their bedroom into a studio to produce an online TV program on atheism.
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Ahmed Ateyya for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 18

Semolina halva unites Turks in times of joy, sorrow

Semolina halva, a centuries-old dessert of the Levant, serves a social function that brings together families, friends and neighbors in Turkey.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on May 18

The story behind Palestine's canonized nuns

The Vatican has lifted Palestinian spirits with its recognition of the state of Palestine, canonization of two Palestinian nuns and reference to President Mahmoud Abbas as an “angel of peace.”
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 18

Egypt struggles to prevent animal cruelty

The torture and killing of animals by residents and security forces are widespread in Egypt, but animal rights associations have insufficient funding to spread awareness about the importance of animals and how to deal with them.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 21

Iranian dissident praises Rouhani's health care reform

Dr. Mehdi Khazali, an Iranian political dissident, says that health care reform is the one place that the Hassan Rouhani administration has made improvements.
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 Behdad Bordbar for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 21

Gaza writers lose out as culture becomes afterthought

Difficult living conditions and lack of funding or royalties have discouraged Gaza's novelists.
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 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 15

Lebanon's last synagogue

A small community of around 200 Jews remain in Lebanon but feel increasingly isolated.
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 Ash Gallagher for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on May 15

Palestinian youths speak out on occupation, corruption

Palestinian university students express their despair over a life of humiliation at checkpoints and a lack of credible leadership at home, warning that many of their colleagues are already preparing for an uprising.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 17

Iraq tries to improve human rights through education

Although the Ministry of Education and the Commission on Human Rights in Qadisiyah province are working to introduce human rights principles in schools, the project lacks much-needed support from the state.
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 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 17

First street protest by Turkey's Armenians

Armenians in Turkey are becoming increasingly politicized, as shown in recent protests over the demolition of Armenian orphanage Camp Armen, which housed slain Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 17

Turkey's poverty figures look bad for ruling AKP

Turkey’s ruling party, under opposition fire for failing to combat poverty, took a fresh blow in the run-up to elections as official statistics put 22.4% of Turkish households below the poverty line.
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 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 15

Pro-AKP TV shows face dwindling audiences

Pro-AKP dramas are failing miserably in cinemas and on TV.
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 Emre Kizilkaya for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 17

Freezing of soccer star's funds unites Egyptians in protest

The decision to freeze the funds of Egyptian soccer player Mohamed Aboutrika for his alleged affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood has raised the ire of Egyptians regardless of political leaning.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 15

Secular Jews launch Sabbath bus service in Jerusalem

Young residents of Jerusalem have created a solution to the lack of public transportation in the city on Saturdays by establishing a private cooperative bus system.
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 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 15

Turkey's election system becomes graveyard for political parties

More than 90 political parties are currently active in Turkey, but the 10% electoral threshold means that the upcoming parliamentary polls will be a race between four of them.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 14

Egypt sets tourism target for 2020

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism is seeking to attract 20 million tourists by 2020 following setbacks in the sector due to security and political instability.
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 Safiaa Mounir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 19

Egyptian law could imprison refugees, asylum seekers

Egypt is in close coordination with Europe and is moving in the direction to clamp down on irregular migrants and human smugglers who would be criminalized for the first time in Egyptian law should the said migration law be implemented.
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 Tom Rollins for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 14

Hamas-Fatah divide cripples Palestine’s judiciary

Efforts to reach a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah have failed, and the dichotomy separating judiciaries in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is growing.
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 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 14

Babil’s Jewish shrine, mosque share space

The tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel, located next to a mosque in Kifl, Babil, is a site of both controversy and religious coexistence.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 14

Holocaust's use as political tool divides Israelis

Alongside a serious discourse in Israel on the Holocaust, there also exists a populist discourse that makes use of the Holocaust to the point of seeming contempt.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 13

Services improve under IS in Mosul

Some say there is a silver lining to the Islamic State’s takeover of Mosul in Iraq, namely an improvement in services, in an apparent attempt by the group to gain legitimacy and garner the support of Mosul residents.
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 Saleh Elias for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 13

Muslims, Christians clash over 'Martyrs' Church' construction

Pending an official ruling on laws governing the building of churches in Egypt, local religious communities have taken matters into their own hands, underscoring tensions between Christians and Muslims in the country.
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 Muhammad Ghamrawy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 13

Israeli High Court authorizes Jerusalem Day march

Despite objections, the Israeli High Court has authorized right-wing activists to hold the annual Jerusalem Day Flag Parade.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 13

Gazans scavenge for food, recyclables

In light of the dire economic conditions generated by the Israeli siege, Gazans search for food to eat and recyclables to sell.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 13

Ultra-Orthodox returning to higher education

Over the past few years, young ultra-Orthodox Jews have been entering academia in large numbers, a phenomenon that is transforming the ultra-Orthodox community and its relations with Israeli society at large.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 12

Netanyahu, Herzog battle over Israeli press

Netanyahu's schedule, as well as newly revealed sections of the coalition agreements, attest to the fact that the prime minister attributes paramount importance to his control of the media.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 11

Erdogan spins Kurdish Quran as political tool

The first Kurdish-language Quran published by Turkey’s state-run Religious Affairs Directorate has provoked a political outcry ahead of general elections in June.
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 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 8

Egypt’s Tamarod outlives its purpose

The legitimacy and relevance of Egypt’s Tamarod movement are being called into question now that the movement seems to have achieved its goals, mainly the overthrow of former President Mohammed Morsi.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 8

Gaza's youth protesters remain divided

Young people in the Gaza Strip have long struggled to coalesce around one central demand in their protests against the dire living conditions since Hamas took over.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on May 8

Classical singer claims performance ban in Iran

Iran’s most famous classical singer says he was banned from performing in Iran over his criticism of the 2009 protest crackdown.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on May 7

Doner kebab: late-night snack becomes haute cuisine

More commonly encountered at a corner stand after a night out, doner kebab is now served with new condiments at fine-dining restaurants in Turkey.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on May 7

Haifa's Arab theater shocked by uproar over play

“A Parallel Time,” at Al-Midan Theater in Haifa, has sparked an outcry amid allegations that the play glorifies an alleged terrorist.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 7

Egypt's independent media outlets face closures

A dip in profits is pushing Egyptian media institutions to become government mouthpieces, negatively impacting their content.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 7

Syria's last bookstores

Amid increasingly difficult conditions in war-ridden Syria, bookstores are a dying breed.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on May 10

Gaza's honey production slows to a drizzle

Beekeepers in Gaza are currently experiencing a low in honey production due to the latest Israeli war on Gaza, during which the Israeli army destroyed vast agricultural lands.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 11

Babylon awaits tourists' return

Cultural authorities are trying to revive tourism to Iraq's Babil, historic Babylon, after years of neglect and destruction in the area.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 8

Islamic loans give Gaza's women chance to survive poverty

Poverty and unemployment have pushed many women to become the source of income to their families, thus seeking to open their own enterprises through Islamic loans.
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 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 7

Ultra-Orthodox start to join 'startup nation'

Six high-tech startups by ultra-Orthodox Israelis, some of them women, were selected by the Kamatech accelerator project for mentorship and funding assistance.
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 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 7

Restrictions on Iraq's displaced people worsen Shiite-Sunni divide

Discrimination against Sunnis by Shiites is rampant in Iraq, raising distrust between Sunni and Shiite communities and aggravating the situation of internally displaced people.
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 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 6

Gaza movie theaters remain shuttered

Movie experts and officials are calling on the Gaza Ministry of Culture to reopen the movie theaters that were closed down during the first intifada.
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 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 6

Restricted by Israeli boats, Gaza resorts to fish farms

Israel prevents Gaza’s fishermen from going too far from shore to fish pushing consumers to buy from fish farms at lower prices.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 5

Ultra-Orthodox celebrate Lapid's defeat

The ultra-Orthodox hope that joining the government will restore the funding stripped from the budget and annul military reforms introduced by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 5

Who is bombing Egypt's electricity towers?

The recurrent targeting of electricity towers in Egypt has increased accusations against the Muslim Brotherhood, which has wide control within the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, as some claim that they are working with terrorist groups against the current regime.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 5

Saudi re-reshuffle turning point for relations with Tehran

King Salman's recent reshuffling of key positions and statements by the grand mufti and Iran's supreme leader point to strife between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on May 5

'Lost generation' of Ethiopian-Israelis protest in Tel Aviv

The violent demonstrations of Ethiopian-Israelis is a signal to the leadership that the community will not take any more discrimination or abuse.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 4

Palestinian soccer chairman asks FIFA to suspend Israel

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Palestinian Soccer Association Chairman Jibril Rajoub accuses Israel of harassing Palestinian soccer by preventing the free movement of players and the importation of equipment.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 4

Switch to digital television faces bumpy road in Palestine

As the date to move Palestinian TV frequencies from analogue to digital is approaching, concerned parties and ministries are worried about potential issues including interference by Israeli authorities and costs for poorer families.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 4

Iran cancels popular sitcom for mocking country's hospitals

A TV comedy highlighting and mocking many of the problems of Iranian health care has been canceled after complaints from a medical association.
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 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 6

Bennett to advance Judaism, not democracy, in education system

Future Education Minister Naftali Bennett is likely to advance his own ultra-Orthodox perceptions of Jewish heritage at the expense of democratic values and pluralism in Judaism.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 4

Armenians refocus on reparations after genocide anniversary

Turkey’s Armenian issue will grow even more complicated with the anticipated demands from Yerevan and the Armenian diaspora for compensation and restitution of property.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on May 4

PA isolates West Bank camps

The PA’s crackdown on West Bank refugee camps and withholding of aid is adding to the marginalization of the youth.
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 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 4

Iran's water crisis reaches critical levels

Iran's political leadership must move quickly, and non-ideologically, to resolve the current water use crisis and avoid the possibility of mass migrations.
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 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 1

Anbar’s displaced Sunnis not safe from sectarianism

The wars in Iraq and the policies adopted after 2003 imposed new sectarian borders on the citizens, which are difficult to overcome in times of humanitarian crises.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 1

Palestinian women sew to survive

Struggling to make ends meet, the women of Gaza sew painstakingly detailed embroidery work for small profits.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on May 3

Settlements threaten Palestine’s historic sites

Violations carried out by Israeli settlers are destroying historic sites in Palestine in what many see as an attempt to bury Palestinian historic and cultural heritage.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 3

Gaza university launches programs for hearing-impaired

The Islamic University in Gaza has introduced two diploma programs for hearing-impaired students, a first in the territory.
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 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 30

Ancient market at heart of modern Baghdad

The Iraqi capital's ancient and well-preserved Shorja market has long been a meeting point for Iraqis and a barometer of the political and economic situation in the country.
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 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 30

Start with Libya to combat illegal migration

Following the tragic drowning of Libyans trying to flee the country, efforts by the international community to curb this phenomenon in Libya seems to have become indispensable.
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 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on April 30

Fast food booms in Gaza

Gaza's restaurant sector is thriving as residents flock to one of the few available diversions.
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 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 1

Iran targets 'MI6 Shiites'

The Iranian government is engaged in a media offensive against the Shiite Shirazi movement, which runs a broadcasting network to spread its message.
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 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 4

Is Erdogan signaling end of secularism in Turkey?

The Religious Affairs Directorate has become the center of the election campaign in Turkey, causing further social discord.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on April 29

Self-proclaimed Liberland attracts Egyptian youth

Egypt’s young generation is hanging by a thread, but Liberland has given the youth some hope amid mounting instability and high unemployment rates in the country.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 29

Beirut House, a Lebanese heritage symbol

The Barakat house, a residential structure first constructed in the 1920s, is being restored as Beit Beirut, a cultural center that will honor the city's heritage.
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 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on May 5

Saving Israeli vultures

Vultures have existed in the Holy Land since biblical times, and Israel is investing considerable resources to save the local population from extinction due to urban development, hunting and poisoning.
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 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 29

Israel's spy recruitment puts Gazans in tough spot

Gaza security services have been receiving complaints submitted by citizens who have been blackmailed or threatened by Israeli security and intelligence officers to work for them as informants.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 29

Arab youth use social media to send message of peace to Israel

Youths from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other Arab countries are sending messages via Facebook declaring that they do not hate Israel and expressing hope for better relations.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 29

Iran's tourism industry scrambles to catch up with demand

As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani improves relations with the West, Iranian officials announce they will build more hotels to meet the expected demand of foreign tourists.
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Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 1

Saudi Arabia’s Islamist-liberal divide

The Saudi regime needs to tend to internal divisions in the kingdom and scale back its interventionism in the region to improve its prospects for long-term stability.
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 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on April 28

Iran official warns water crisis could lead to mass migration

The adviser for water, agricultural and environment to Iran’s vice president warns that if Iran doesn't cut its water exploitation in half, the country could see a mass exodus.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 28

Salma Hayek's Lebanese dream comes true

In an interview with An-Nahar, Salma Hayek talks about her excitement in coming to Lebanon, the country of her ancestors, and the movie that she produced, “Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet.”
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on April 30

Israel airlifts surrogates, babies from Nepal

Israel is scrambling to bring home babies born to surrogate mothers in disaster-stricken Nepal, while its LGBT citizens are calling for surrogacy options in their own country.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 28

PLO fails to address Yarmouk crisis

The crisis in the Yarmouk refugee camp, which emerged after the Islamic State took control of the camp, reveals the weakness of the PLO, as the responsible party to handle the situation of Palestinian refugees around the world.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 28

After 15 years some Palestinian doctors now drive into Israel

An Israeli decision permitting Palestinian doctors to drive across checkpoints and enter Israel comes as part of a series of Israeli moves to ease the travel restrictions.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 28

Egypt struggles to cope with bird flu

The current number of reported H5N1 cases in Egypt bode ill, given the government's less than stellar track record of dealing with previous outbreaks.
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 Alexander Liddington-Cox for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 29

Hamas sweeps student council elections in West Bank

The victory of Hamas in the West Bank university elections seems to indicate that support there is waning for the Palestinian Authority and Fatah.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 28

Rouhani: Police should not enforce Islam

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been criticized by conservative clerics for saying the police should enforce the law rather than Islam.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 27

Turks protest prison term for woman who killed her rapist

A Turkish woman who murdered and beheaded her rapist has been sentenced to life in prison, prompting activists to decry the Turkish justice system, which so often offers leniency to men and harshly punishes women for the same crimes.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 27

Kurds pay respects to Armenians

Most of the massacres during the Armenian genocide were carried out in today's southeastern Turkey, often by Kurdish militias, but today Kurds commemorate the genocide in Diyarbakir.
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Fréderike Geerdink for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 27

Fewer flags fly on Israel's Independence Day

The Israeli left is divided over whether to display flags on Independence Day, with some feeling that this national symbol has been commandeered by the right and no longer stands for what they believe in.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 27

Israeli High Court upholds anti-boycott law

By defending a law sanctioning calls for economic, cultural or academic boycotts involving Israel, the Israeli High Court endorsed extending Israeli law over the West Bank while also damaging freedom of speech.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 27

Iraq's Gypsy communities face discrimination

Iraq’s Gypsy communities must lead clandestine lives to avoid persecution by the wider society in Iraq, particularly at the hands of religious extremists and conservatives.
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 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 27

Protest law stops Cairo band from playing free shows in metro

Egyptian transit officials have made it difficult for the student band Metro Tune to brighten train riders’ days with performances of popular folk songs.
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Miriam Berger for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 27

Divorced women in Gaza denied custody rights

Divorcees in Gaza face social marginalization when they refuse to relinquish their children to fathers they deem unfit to raise them.
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 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 27

Should Saudi Arabia test Iran’s offer of diplomacy on Yemen?

Iranian officials offer diplomatic initiative and warnings on Yemen; book burning in Giza; Kremlin ignored Israeli objections on missile system sale to Iran; Russian "soft power" in the Middle East.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on April 26

'Unnatural' porn becomes ticket to jail in Turkey

The Constitutional Court’s decision to ban pornography featuring “unnatural sexual behavior” has confounded Turkey and provoked average people to speak out about sex.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on April 24

Turkish pilgrims to Jerusalem face backlash

Turkey’s Department of Religious Affairs elicited protests from an unexpected quarter when it added Jerusalem to its Umrah pilgrimage.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 24

Beirut's little Armenia keeps tradition alive

People of Armenian descent living in Lebanon strive to preserve their culture, working in traditional sectors and passing down their heritage to the younger generations.
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 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on April 24

Morocco's disappearing movie theaters

Despite booming movie production, action is needed to save what is left of the Morocco's old movie palaces.
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Translated from TelQuel (Morocco) on April 24

Ultra-Orthodox oppose conscription, not the IDF

Despite the wide ultra-Orthodox objection to their conscription into military service, attitudes vary within the sector, ranging from total rejection to support and appreciation for the IDF.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 24

Armenian genocide anniversary divides Lebanese Cabinet

Sunni and Christian factions in Lebanon are unable to agree on whether to observe the centennial of the Armenian genocide.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on April 24

Syriacs urge Turkey to recognize massacres

Turkey’s Syriacs are for the first time holding protests to urge Ankara to acknowledge the massacres of Syriacs in 1915, which proceeded along with the mass killings of Armenians.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 23

White House omits 'G-word'

The Obama administration speaks obliquely of the “1915 atrocities” that “extinguished” 1.5 million lives — without saying who was responsible for the killing.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 23

How the AKP subdues Turkey's universities

The new dictum in Turkish universities is not “publish or perish,” as at US universities, but “be pro-AKP or perish.”
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on April 23

Bedouin honor IDF service, mourn fallen soldiers

Bedouin youths continue to demonstrate their commitment to Israel by enlisting, despite growing tensions with Jewish society as the demolition of Bedouin homes continues.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 23

Egyptians confront cyber sexual harassment

Sexual harassment in Egypt has moved from the streets to the Internet, as more women and men are being harassed online.
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 Amr Abdelatty for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 26

Gaza's dying bamboo crafts industry

Handmade bamboo furniture, which is part of the Palestinian identity, is endangered as the financial crisis is worsening in Gaza.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 26

Gaza women shed veil, spark conversation

Journalist Razan Madhoon has stirred debate about religiosity in the Gaza Strip by posting pictures of herself unveiled on Facebook.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on April 23

Controversy surrounds alleged violations by Shiite forces in Tikrit

Contradictory assertions have Iraqis divided on whether members of the Popular Mobilization Units are guilty of allegations that they looted and destroyed property in Tikrit during and after the city's liberation from the Islamic State.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 23

Social divide widens between West Bank, Gaza Strip

The inequitable distribution of resources and political and social opportunities between the West Bank and Gaza Strip is deepening the rift between the two territories, feeding people’s growing dissatisfaction on each side.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 22

Egypt's religious book burning backfires

The Ministry of Education official responsible for burning several books in the yard of a Giza school defended herself to Al-Monitor and asserted that she operated under the direction of the ministry and security agencies.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 22

Shiite militias' role in Anbar fight unclear

Although Shiite militia forces were withdrawn from the fight for Ramadi, they remain present and active in other areas of Anbar province.
Read more»

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 22

Erdogan's carefully crafted 'authenticity'

After a short film promoting the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli was broadcast across Turkey, the Turkish media is buzzing with discussion, with many upset over what they see as the president’s blatant manipulation of military history for political gain.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on April 22

Turkey’s Circassians in uproar over alphabet

Turkey’s largest Circassian organization is infuriated by a government decision to introduce the Latin alphabet in Circassian language courses in public schools, alongside the Cyrillic one.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 22

Israelis use social media to show solidarity with bereaved families

Social networks have enhanced within Israeli society's expressions of solidarity with bereaved families, but could also create space for those who wish to undermine the hegemony of national bereavement and national remembrance.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 23

Do Israeli national symbols sideline Arab citizens?

Arab Israeli TV host Lucy Aharish will light Israel's Independence Day beacon, a move some see as honoring the spirit of Israel's founding but others consider a fiction or an affront.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 22

Iranian women campaign for entry to sporting events

While there was conflicting news that Iran is considering passing a law to allow women into sporting events, there has long been objection to women in stadiums by conservatives.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 21

Facebook group shares checkpoint wait in real time

Thousands of Palestinians are using Facebook to share traffic updates to help each other avoid spending hours every day waiting to drive through Israeli checkpoints.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 21

Gaza’s bookstores struggle

With the purchasing power of Gazans on the skids, people are reading less, and some libraries and book shops are barely scraping by and others are closing down.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 22

Saudi elites divided on Yemen war

A brief survey of Saudi opinion reveals that many elites consider Operation Decisive Storm a legitimate attempt to halt Iranian expansionism, while some view the intervention in Yemen as a sectarian war.
Read more»

 Bader al-Rashed for Al-Monitor on April 21

Israelis devastated by each soldier's death

Israelis have accepted to a certain degree the fact that they are in constant war, with civilians often paying the price, but find it difficult to come to terms with soldiers being killed.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 21

Israelis mark Independence, Nakba Day

While the initiative to jointly mark both Israeli Independence Day and Nakba Day has been maintained for several years now, it remains confined to a small segment of the public, with the Arab sector feeling increasingly alienated by the Jewish population.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 20

Iranians protest killing of stray dogs

After a video surfaced online showing the killing of stray dogs using cruel methods, Iranians held protests across various cities.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 20

Istanbul Film Festival rejects PKK documentary

The Turkish Ministry of Culture is facing strong protests from the film industry over its censorship of Kurdish themes.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on April 20

KRG looks to enhance protection of women, children

Kurdish activists and government agencies have submitted draft laws to amend the law on domestic violence but critics question whether it will be enforced.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 20

Palestine’s empty breadbasket

The Jordan Valley, once considered Palestine’s most fertile area, has been taken over by Israeli settlers who have barred Palestinians from using the land.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 20

Restitution of Armenian property remains unresolved

Some Turkish scholars have documented that the expropriation of Armenian property was a systematic and integral part of the genocide that began in 1915.
Read more»

 Susanne Güsten for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 20

Tainted Russian wheat resurfaces in Egypt

The dangerously low-quality wheat imported from Russia that plagued Egypt during the Mubarak era has returned to the country, which recently identified 25,000 tons destined for Egyptian bread.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 20

Iran's housing bubble

Housing prices in Iran have significantly dropped since mid-2013, most notably in Tehran, where pollution and traffic cause families to move to the suburbs and countryside, while young urbanites seek smaller housing units.
Read more»

 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 19

What does Armenian diaspora want?

Portrayed as a unified obstruction group by Turkey, the diverse Armenian diaspora is eager to keep communication channels open with Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on April 17

Iraqi teachers resort to abuse of students

With poor to absent government supervision and education policies, Iraq’s educational system seems to be stuck in the past.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 17

New Arab MK jockeys for influence on women's issues, budget

Aida Tuma, one of two Arab women newly elected to the Knesset, told Al-Monitor that her bloc is striving to effect change by securing influential seats on major committees.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 17

'Ugly Israeli' goes viral

A series of videos recently spreading in the media show aggressive and rude Israelis on flights, in shops and at hotels.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 17

Soleimani emerges as unifying figure for Iranians

While Iran's religious and nationalist groups have been at odds over various issues since the 1979 revolution, increasing tensions with Saudi Arabia and wide adoration for Quds Force Cmdr. Qasem Soleimani have largely united the two camps.
Read more»

Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 17

AKP readies diversion as genocide anniversary nears

Under the Justice and Development Party, Turkey has refused to face the Armenian question and is instead working to redirect the world's attention.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on April 16

Disabled Turks protest benefit cuts

A legal amendment cutting financial support for people with disabilities has sparked a wave of protests in Turkey, with a big demonstration scheduled for May outside parliament.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 16

Housing shortage and demolitions push Israeli Arabs to brink

Following the destruction of homes built illegally in Arab settlements, some Israeli Arabs are threatening a general strike.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 16

Qaradaghi: We support action against Houthis

In this interview with Al-Monitor, the secretary-general of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ali Mohiuddin Al Qaradaghi, shares the union’s relations to Hamas, views on Operation Decisive Storm and other Muslim affairs.
Read more»

 Hassan Obeid for Al-Monitor on April 19

Lebanese driver shares story of his Nusra captivity

Fifty Lebanese truck drivers found themselves stuck in the middle of the firing range between the FSA and Jabhat al-Nusra on the one hand, and the regime forces on the other on the Jordanian-Syrian border, as eight of them were taken by Jabhat al-Nusra and one of them was able to convey their story to An-Nahar.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on April 16

Iraq's brain drain continues

The lack of security and the poor economy are forcing many young Iraqis to think about emigrating to the West, even if illegally.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 19

Egypt strikes Islamic texts from schools, angering Salafists

The Egyptian Ministry of Education has decided to remove some Islamic texts that it says incite violence and extremism from school curricula in a move Salafists decry as an attempt to distort history.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 16

Turkey commemorates Holocaust, ignores Armenian issue

Istanbul commemorated Jewish musicians who continued to create even when persecuted by the Nazis, in a ceremony reflecting the Turkish policy line of tolerance vis-a-vis minorities, as long as the question of Armenian genocide is not raised.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 16

Saudi airport incident incites social media outrage in Iran

Iranian social media users have erupted in anger over the two Iranian pilgrims allegedly assaulted in Saudi Arabia, prompting calls for calm from journalists.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 15

Turkish soldiers target villagers' mules

Mules belonging to villagers living in the sensitive Uludere area have been shot by the Turkish military in its fight against what the state defines as smuggling and the locals see as legitimate trade over the Iraqi border.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on April 15

Gaza play reflects humanitarian, social impact of latest war

The play "Al-Qafas," which addresses the humanitarian crisis after the war in 2014 and exposes the parties that took advantage of the people’s suffering for their own interests, is playing in Gaza and has gained popularity.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on April 15

Christian evacuees mourn Idlib

Idlib’s Christians have been the target of mounting attacks as Jabhat al-Nusra eyes their cities for its Islamic emirate, killing and expelling minorities to realize its goals.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on April 17

Soleimani: No more selfies

Commander of Iran's Quds Force Qasem Soleimani has written an open letter asking that a film about him not be produced and for officials to stop the "exaggeration" about him on social media.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 14

AKP's stance on Armenians worries Christians

The AKP's initial attempts to normalize with Armenia had melted some of the frost with the region's Christians. But Arab uprisings where Christians were targeted by radical groups supported by Turkey shattered that positive atmosphere.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 14

Seeking Internet access, Syrians turn to Turkey's wireless network

Wireless networks from Turkey are spreading in opposition-controlled neighborhoods in Aleppo, with cheap prices compared with local Internet services that are regularly disrupted.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on April 14

Aleppo's Christians face rising violence

The recent happenings in Syria are far from promising as conflicts intensify and fighting increases.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on April 15

Belgian delegation expresses support for Assad

A Belgian parliamentary delegation, which met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on March 24, said that Assad is "protecting Christian cities and Christians from fundamentalist attacks."
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on April 17

Turkey angered by pope's use of 'G-word’

Turkey also now worries that US President Barack Obama will follow Pope Francis and address the issue of the Armenian genocide 100 years ago.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on April 13

Iran suspends Saudi pilgrimages over youth assault allegations

After assault accusations of Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, Iran has suspended umrah pilgrimages.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 13

Turkish students' Jedi temple protest

Students in Turkey are mobilizing anonymously by using clever online petition tools to advocate for the construction of Buddhist and Jedi temples on campus.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on April 14

Public transport on Shabbat becomes political dispute

Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is catering to right-wing religious voters by opposing a bill allowing public transportation on Saturdays, ignoring the poor people who depend on such services.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 13

Syriacs commemorate their massacre

While the world prepares to commemorate what has become known as the Armenian genocide, the Syriacs are still struggling for international recognition of the massacre of members of their community in 1915.
Read more»

 Susanne Güsten for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 12

Two trampled at massive ultra-Orthodox funeral

Ultra-Orthodox are eager to fulfill the spiritual act of accompanying the deceased on his last journey, but the massively attended funeral of Rabbi Halevi-Wosner entailed the trampling to death of two students in attendance.
Read more»

 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 10

Egyptian activist accuses Sisi of following in Mubarak’s footsteps

Human rights activist and lawyer Khalid Ali tells Al-Monitor that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime is bowing to the conditions of global financial institutions to shore up his own position.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 10

Smuggled Palestinian prison literature gains outside audience

Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons go to great lengths to pass on their artistic work to the outside, with some prisoners' work gaining widespread attention.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on April 12

Divorce in Gaza comes at steep price

In Gaza, a woman can opt to divorce by khula, whereby she financially compensates the husband.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 13

Israel literature prize stirs debate over Mizrahi discrimination

The announcement that Erez Biton was to be awarded the Israel Prize for Literature and Poetry generated a debate over his Mizrahi (Sephardic) origins rather than his poetry.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 9

Gazans' unpaid salaries cause rise in social tensions

The continuing Gaza government employee salary crisis is causing increased social issues for those affected, with debts accumulating fast and heads of households suffering socially.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 10

Egypt’s antiquities under constant threat

Archaeologists complain of a devastating and ongoing security failure as violations of Egypt’s most famous sites continue.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 10

Radicalized Western mothers lead children into Islamic State

Many Western women have joined the Islamic State, often bringing their children along with them to Syria, where they train and go to school.
Read more»

 Brenda Stoter for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on April 13

West Bank boycotts six Israeli companies

The Palestinian boycott of Israeli products sold in the West Bank might help strengthen the Palestinian economy, and draw the world’s attention to the Israeli occupation.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 9

Palestinian Christians resist Israeli conscription

Efforts by the Israel Defense Forces to recruit Christian Palestinian youths have raised the ire of Palestinians, who accuse the Orthodox Patriarchate of cooperating with Israel.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 9

Lebanon's first sexologist

Sandrine Atallah is working to raise awareness of sexuality and sexual health in a country that often shies away from such topics.
Read more»

 Sophie Chamas for Al-Monitor on April 9

New Joint List MK: Israel discriminates against Arabs

In an interview with Al-Monitor, newly elected Knesset member Yousef Jabareen says that the State of Israel discriminates against its Arab citizens in regard to religious and educational services, land allocation and development budgets.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 8

Syrian radio station examines role of women in war

With a series of special programming, Radio Souriat has focused its listeners on UN Resolution 1325, which advocates for empowering women.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on April 8

Hungry bears threaten Turkey's villages

Starving bears have been ravaging cemeteries in Turkey, digging up and devouring the dead and forcing villagers to place barbed wire around tombs.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 10

What is behind UAE deportation of Lebanese nationals?

Although UAE authorities maintain that the recent decision to deport dozens of Lebanese nationals was made over security concerns, others believe that political alignments may have played a role.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on April 7

Turkish justice 'sledgehammered'

The Sledgehammer coup case, which has ended with the acquittal of all defendants, inflicted enormous damage on Turkey’s justice system, judiciary and military, while failing to eliminate the danger of military coups.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on April 6

Armenian singer Hayko Cepkin climbs to fame in Turkey

The generation growing up in the “New Turkey” has found in a Turkish Armenian rock musician the minstrel of their existential malaise.
Read more»

 Piero Castellano for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 6

The Islamic State's child soldiers

The Islamic State has been recruiting child soldiers for quite some time now, and the world is finally taking notice.
Read more»

 Ash Gallagher for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on April 3

New Ethiopian Knesset member prioritizes immigrant community

Likud's Avraham Negusie, newly sworn in to the Knesset, promises in an interview with Al-Monitor to fight for Jews from Ethiopia, saying, “There shouldn’t be economic considerations of who is more expensive than the other. That’s not the Zionist ideal.”
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 3

Iraqi cinema finds new direction

Iraq’s film industry has long been stunted by a lack of funding and governmental restrictions, but young and energetic directors and producers are working to turn it around.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 3

Iraqi residents denied return to town seized from IS

Some four months after being retaken from Islamic State fighters, Jalawla, in the Kurdistan region, remains uninhabited and divided among peshmerga, Shiite militias and Asayish, with residents awaiting resolution of who will ultimately control it.
Read more»

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 2

The Erdogans' lavish lifestyle

Attempts to alter the image of lavish spending at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s palace backfired when the unprecedented high price of the white tea consumed at the palace was revealed.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on April 2

Iraqis turn to social media for IS coverage

Iraqis are shunning broadcast and print media in favor of social networking sites to spread and follow news about the fighting against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 2

Turkish military calls off war on headscarves, beards

Following a landmark court ruling, Turkey's military leaders have eased the strict rules governing the appearance of civilians entering military bases and other areas.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on April 1

Ninevah monastery hopes for liberation

Past regular visitors to St. George's Monastery, north of Mosul, have been saddened and horrified by the acts of destruction by Islamic State members at the site.
Read more»

 Saleh Elias for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 3

Iraq's Rambo fights against IS

An Iraqi fighter who goes by the name "Abu Azrael" has been made into a legendary, fierce Shiite fighter by the Iraqi media in its coverage of the battle against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 31

Is 'Erdoganism' threat to Turkey's Islamism?

Some commentators in Turkey’s Islamist movement are increasingly worried by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ongoing accumulation of power and the fervor of his followers.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 30

Turkey's Ottoman-era aphrodisiacs

The all-natural "Turkish Viagra" and other love potions found in Istanbul's markets are now an international commodity.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on March 30

Turkish-Armenian conflict rears its head in Lebanon

Lebanon has been invited to the Armenian Genocide Centennial in Yerevan, as well as to the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli in Ankara, which will both be held on the same day, thus raising questions about Lebanon’s stance regarding the 1915 Armenian massacres.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on March 30

Rafah in dire need of central hospital

Activists have begun a campaign calling for construction of a bigger hospital in Gaza's Rafah, where the only hospital has been unable to meet the needs of the residents in times of peace and war.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 30

Al-Monitor highlights diversity of Islamic feminism

Al-Monitor’s monthlong series on women concludes; Lebanese foreign minister appeals to UN Security Council for protection of Christians; members of Congress seek "formal dialogue" on future of Turkish democracy; the fault lines in Aleppo; have Israeli elections sparked long-stalled Palestinian reconciliation?; Ali Hashem profiles self-proclaimed Islamic State Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 29

Lebanese foreign minister: UN needs to show its political will

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Lebanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Gebran Bassil asked for the international community to stop the flight of Christians and minorities from the region.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 27

Gallipoli centenary marks another snub for Turkish minorities

Hundreds of non-Muslim soldiers killed in the Gallipoli campaign 100 years ago were ignored in elaborate centenary observances.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 27

Egypt imposes new restrictions on tourist visas

Citing national security, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry will no longer issue visas to individual travelers at ports of entry alarming Egypt's tourism sector.
Read more»

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 29

Saddam Hussein's tomb haunts Tikrit residents

Iraqis have been obsessing about Saddam Hussein’s body and the fate of his legacy.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 2

Are Turkey's young IS recruits now a domestic threat?

Young Turks are increasingly attracted to the Islamic State's radical doctrines, believing their own country's brand of political Islam to be superficial, yet the Turkish government remains unconcerned with the increasing radicalization.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on March 26

No 'deal' for Lebanese singer turned militant

Amid the speculation, public resentment and mixed views that have been surrounding the case of Fadel Shaker, will the former singer, now militant, manage to find a way out?
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 27

Sneaking across Israeli border last resort for desperate Gazans

Illegal crossings by Gaza's youths have been increasing despite the fact that those who cross are almost always detained by Israeli forces.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 29

Revisiting the ‘clash of civilizations’ theory

The grand mufti of Lebanon, Sheikh Abdul-Latif Derian, sees moderation as the best solution to unite Muslims and non-Muslims under the banner of coexistence and countering terrorism.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on March 25

Imported goods crowd out local production in Iraq

Flooded with imported goods, the Iraqi market is grappling with a serious lack of local products, due to the displacement of farmers, lack in government control and almost absent support for the domestic industry.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 25

Lebanese domestic workers to unionize

Domestic workers in Lebanon are working together to create a union to push for their rights and thwart potential abuses.
Read more»

 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 25

Growing mushrooms in Gaza

Many families of the Gaza Strip have lost their conventional breadwinners, pushing women to tap into mushroom cultivation as a vital alternative.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 24

Big love in Turkey

The approval of applications to run in the June elections by three polygamous candidates of the Turkish People's Democracy Party indicates that while the practice is illegal, the idea of marrying multiple wives could be acceptable by society.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on March 24

Israeli ultra-Orthodox parties may tip the balance

Demographic tendencies indicate there will be a continuing growth of the Israeli Arab and ultra-Orthodox populations, thus guaranteeing their sectorial parties more political power in next elections.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 23

Aleppo's Christians see regime as last hope

Five years into the Syrian conflict, Syria's Christians continue to fight for their existence, turning to the regime as a last resort.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on March 23

The many names of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Al-Monitor traces the journey that led an unremarkable religious student to become head of the Islamic State and self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on March 23

Iranian VP works for change from within

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Shahindokht Molaverdi, vice president for Women and Family Affairs, talks about her role advocating for women's rights and the importance of working from within the administration for change.
Read more»

 Sahar Namazikhah for Al-Monitor on March 30

Kuwaiti activists targeted under GCC security pact

Following the signing of the GCC Internal Security Pact, the recent detention of opposition activists in Kuwait highlight a worsening plight for social dissidents across the region.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on March 20

Number of working Orthodox women on the rise

Over the past few years more and more ultra-Orthodox women are seeking work in the secular Israeli labor market, though not everyone in ultra-Orthodox society accepts this.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 22

Israel's cellphone addiction

Studies indicate that Israelis are adepts of cellphones and the WhatsApp application, which enable them to receive constant updates on the security situation and reconnect with family members at any given moment.
Read more»

 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 19

Israeli Arabs disappointed by election results

Despite the electoral achievement of the Joint List becoming the Knesset's third-largest party, its supporters felt defeated as the the Israeli majority voted for the right.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 19

Gaza's weight-loss centers

Obesity in the Gaza Strip has increased as of late, with many Palestinians in Gaza seeking to shed pounds with the help of weight-loss centers.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 22

Lebanese church struggles to support Iraqi refugees

The Chaldean church in Hazmiyeh, Lebanon, is doing all it can to help Iraqi Christian refugees flooding into the country.
Read more»

 Ash Gallagher for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 19

Inside the West Bank's homemade cigarette industry

Palestinians increasingly smoke locally produced tobacco at cheap rates, causing a challenging situation for cigarette companies, tobacco growers and the Palestinian government.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 19

Gaza's unhappy sister wives

Polygamy is on the rise in Gaza despite the dire economic straits of the Strip's residents.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on March 18

Lebanon schools struggle to integrate Syrian children

UN agencies struggle to meet the education needs of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.
Read more»

 Tara Kangarlou for Al-Monitor on March 20

Women face setbacks in new Libya

Women in Libya seem to have been better off under Moammar Gadhafi’s rule, when they had better access to education and work and polygamy was virtually obsolete.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on March 23

Iraqis struggle to maintain architectural heritage

Iraq’s historical landmarks are being destroyed and replaced by modern structures, as the government and municipalities fail to adopt measures that protect the country’s architectural heritage.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 18

Kurdish women’s movement reshapes Turkish politics

A Turkish Sunni woman in her early 40s rises to the top of Kurdish and oppressed people’s political movement.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on March 25

Israeli Arab party poised to reshape country's politics

Many Israeli Arabs believe that the unification of the Arab parties into one joint list and the momentum this move has generated will be translated into high voter turnout in the Arab sector and real change.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 17

Ancient, modern Iran clash over fire festival

Iranians will take to the streets to celebrate an ancient Iranian holiday, despite warnings by officials who are uncomfortable with this pre-Islamic holiday.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 16

Many Gazans are turning to fraud to obtain assistance

Harsh economic conditions are forcing many Gazans to use deceptive methods to obtain aid, otherwise reserved for pregnant women, unemployed breadwinners and refugees.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 17

Islamic State erases centuries of history

According to a sociology professor, extremist groups such as the Islamic State seek to return society to the early Middle Ages, when little to no art, science and culture existed.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 16

With men out of work, Syrian women become sole providers

Syrian women have had to find a way to face the hardships of being refugees and still find a way to provide for their families.
Read more»

 Alice Su for Al-Monitor on March 29

Turkish independent women don't need to put a ring on it

The stigma of being an old maid is slowly fading in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on March 27

Canal project from Dead Sea to Red Sea makes waves

The Bahrain canal project to link the Dead Sea to the Red Sea seems to be of great benefit to Israel, while Palestinians will mostly be affected negatively, politically and environmentally.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 16

Mazal Mualem on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Mazal Mualem shares her thoughts on journalism.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 15

Iran's female MPs show mixed record

Iran's female members of parliament have been few in number but have had a large impact on national policies.
Read more»

 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 15

Walaa Hussein on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Walaa Hussein shares her thoughts on journalism.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 15

Contemporary Islamic views support reform in favor of women

The religious feminist movement has succeeded in improving the status of women in some parts of the Muslim world, while in others, there is resistance to any change regarding women’s rights.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on March 15

Female artisans carry on family tradition

Craftswomen in Lebanon are eager to carry on family traditions, although they lack government support.
Read more»

 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 20

Ambitious solar project promises more electricity for Lebanon

A large-scale project in the Beirut district of Bourj Hammoud is set to use solar energy to produce electricity and fulfill the needs of the country, and beyond.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on March 15

'Big Brother' to move into Erdogan’s palace

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is setting up a massive electronic surveillance center in his palace to monitor the entire county.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on March 13

Iranian singers push boundaries, face restrictions

Iranian authorities have begun to crack down on female singers and musicians, despite attempts by the culture minister to issue more licenses for performances.
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 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 13

Maysaa Shuja al-Deen on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Maysaa Shuja al-Deen shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 23

Tulay Cetingulec on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Tulay Cetingulec shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 13

Ayah Aman on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Ayah Aman shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 13

Lebanon's creative entrepreneurs

Many Lebanese female entrepreneurs and designers have made it internationally, revolutionizing the perception of Lebanon’s fashion.
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 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on March 24

Kuwait's economic development

Despite serious efforts to address development issues in Kuwait, various barriers still stand in the way, including local companies' lack of operational capabilities, the private sector's lagging contribution to economic activity and dependence on foreign workers.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on March 13

Female DJs find the beat in Beirut

Beirut's female DJs are multiplying in the city's clubs, bringing their own unique sounds to a scene once dominated by males.
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 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 26

Palestinian women demand quota increase

Palestinian feminist movements are discussing with PLO factions the possibility of increasing the female quota system, while women’s representation within Hamas remains timid.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on March 13

Iraq's illegal employment agencies

Unregistered recruitment agencies in Iraq bring Asian laborers to work long hours and for wages lower than what Iraqis demand.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 13

Gazans build temporary houses while awaiting reconstruction

In the absence of funds and construction materials, which delayed the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip, Palestinians are resorting to relief associations that provide them with temporary wooden houses.
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 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 16

Palestine's first female governor recounts her struggle

Palestine's first female governor, Laila Ghannam, talks to Al-Monitor about her journey in politics and stresses that she owes her success to her supportive family.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 19

Israel's female filmmakers move to center stage

The year 2014 reflected the changes that the Israeli film industry has been undergoing for the last few years, with many more female filmmakers, complex leading women's roles and an unprecedented number of awards.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 12

Turkish MP overcomes tragedy

Safak Pavey, who lost a leg and an arm in a train accident, spent years working on humanitarian missions in conflict zones and is now fast rising in politics as an active female member of Turkey’s parliament.
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 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 12

Can you be an Islamist and a feminist?

Feminists and others in the West intent on "liberating" the women of the Muslim world fail to recognize a brand of Islamist feminism demanding public and private space for women to contribute to society.
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 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on March 12

Kurdish refugees reject government-run camp in Turkey

Kurdish refugees from Kobani are shunning the well-funded and staffed AFAD Suruc camp to stay in nearby municipal-run camps with fewer facilities.
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Jasper Mortimer for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 13

Tel Aviv campaigns against harassment

Tel Aviv nightclub owners have joined clubgoers in an initiative to stop sexual harassment with a social network campaign to raise public awareness of the problem.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 13

Iranian Jewish MP dismissive of Netanyahu, senators' letter

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Siamak Moreh Sedgh shares his thoughts on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress and the letter sent by US senators to the Iranian leadership.
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 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 12

One woman's journey from prisoner to mayor

Diyarbakir Mayor Gultan Kisanak is among thousands of activists who served time in Diyarbakir prison after the coup in 1980, and like many she was tortured for refusing to renounce her Kurdish identity.
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 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on March 23

Lebanese women feel inner beauty not enough

Beauty standards in Lebanon have increased pressure on women and men alike, from all ages, to undergo cosmetic surgeries and other forms of enhancement.
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 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 12

Belly dancer runs for Egyptian parliament seat

Egyptian belly dancer Sama El Masry is an official candidate in the upcoming parliamentary elections, stirring outrage among conservative Egyptians who find her art offensive.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 12

Will Sistani be able to control popular mobilization forces?

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has distanced himself from politics, while stressing the need for the Iraqi government to build a strong state in which all sects feel equal.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on March 12

Turkey's soaring sculptress

Turkish Jewish sculptor Nadia Arditti has emerged as one of Turkey’s leading artistic voices abroad since she returned home after pogroms forced her family to flee the country in the 1950s.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 11

Hana Salah on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Hana Salah shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 11

How Iranian women are using Sharia to their benefit

Given the important role that religion plays in Iran, Iranian women are working within the system to gain rights and achieve equality.
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Leila Alikarami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 11

Financial burden, risk of violence pressure Syrian girls to marry

Syrian refugee girls in Jordan are being forced to get married at a young age, either to escape sexual violence that is widely spread in refugee camps or to ease the financial troubles of their families.
Read more»

 Brenda Stoter for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on March 17

Why is Israel still blind to settler violence against Palestinians?

Despite resolutions by Israeli administrations to adopt the 2003 Road map for Peace and the Sason report on illegal West Bank outposts, settler violence against Palestinians continues unabated.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 11

Gazan women surge ahead with startups

Young, educated women in the Gaza Strip are among the most likely to be unemployed in an area where nearly half of people are out of work, as many of these women are now turning to business incubators to find funding and support to build their own businesses.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 10

Pinar Tremblay on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Pinar Tremblay shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 10

Rouhani adviser denies he called for Iran's return to empire

President Hassan Rouhani's Ethnic and Religious Minorities adviser had called for a union between the countries bordering Iran, to wide criticism in the Arab-language media.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 10

Esperance Ghanem on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Esperance Ghanem shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 10

From housewife to Kurdish peace negotiator

Once a housewife, Pervin Buldan rose to the forefront of Kurdish politics, driven by her husband’s extrajudicial murder, and is now a member of the team involved in the talks between Ankara and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 10

Erdogan fined $3,800 for insulting peace monument

A Turkish court has ordered President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay compensation for disparaging a statue dedicated to Turkish-Armenian friendship as a "monstrosity," leading to its demolition.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 10

Lebanese women demand right to give children their nationality

On International Woman’s Day, women in Lebanon remind policy-makers of their right to pass on their nationality to their children.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on March 10

Imprisoned IS members open up to Lebanese social workers

Two Lebanese sisters have been taking great risks to research the reasons people turn to extremism, interviewing members of IS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Roumieh prison for their side of the story.
Read more»

 Tara Kangarlou for Al-Monitor on March 10

Jordan UN ambassador: Arab women don't fit single image

Jordan’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Dina Kawar, talks to Al-Monitor about being a role model for women in Jordan and fighting for women's issues at a regional level.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 15

10 Middle Eastern writers you should know

These 10 female writers are challenging conceptions of women in the Middle East.
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 Sophie Chamas for Al-Monitor on March 24

Rina Bassist on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Rina Bassist shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 9

Ultra-Orthodox scene bursting with kosher fashion

Young Israeli ultra-Orthodox fashion designers prove that a woman can dress stylishly, even within limits of religious modesty.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 22

Iraq needs justice, not revenge

Iraq needs to move away from the mindset of revenge to the mindset of restorative justice.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on March 9

Does Israel's police have a problem with women?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Erella Shadmi, an academic researcher and retired policewoman, says she was unsurprised by revelations of sexual harassment within the police: ''This phenomenon has been well known for more than 20 years.''
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 9

Israeli poet Agi Mishol avoids rallying for political causes

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Israeli poet Agi Mishol speaks about the difference between men and women poets.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 22

Syrian AIDS patients suffer in silence

The Ministry of Health is withholding information about the situation of Syria's AIDS patients, many of whom are trapped in war-torn areas without access to services.
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Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on March 9

One Palestinian's quest for a US visa

After being granted a scholarship to study in the United States, a Palestinian media lecturer struggled to reach the US Consulate in Jerusalem, where he was shocked to see Palestinians and Israelis being treated equally.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 10

Gaza’s female mediators stand up for women’s rights

Gazans are resorting to female mediators who achieved significant progress in the social reform field; however, these mediators still lack official and government support.
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 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 9

Iran holds first ever fashion week

Contrary to Western stereotypes, Iranian women are avid followers of fashion and increasingly prominent in an industry that they hope to expand even to US customers.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on March 27

Syria’s ancient sites under attack

Syria's most treasured antiquities have been destroyed or looted as smugglers seek to profit from the country’s destruction.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on March 8

Conservative Gaza stifles female talent

Many talented female singers gave up on their dream of professional singing because of the conservative society in Gaza and Hamas’ clampdown on female performers, whom they deem indecent.
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 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 23

Sibel Utku Bila on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Sibel Utku Bila shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 25

Arab women's new face in the Knesset

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Aida Touma-Sliman, social activist and soon to be Knesset member, explains her long-standing political career in the Arab sector, battling violence against women and promoting coexistence.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 26

Ultra-Orthodox woman fights for representation in Knesset

Ruth Colian managed to gather the needed resources to establish an ultra-Orthodox women's party that ran for a seat in the Knesset on March 17, but the ultra-Orthodox establishment keeps setting up obstacles.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 29

Upscale Palestinian cuisine flourishes in Israel

Top Israeli Arab chefs have dispelled the notion of Palestinian cuisine being simple and cheap, serving traditional dishes, some with innovative twists, in enjoyable surroundings.
Read more»

 Niv Gilboa for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 6

Militarization of Iraqi society is intensifying

The fight against the Islamic State is leading increasing numbers of civilians to take up arms and defend their territory.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 6

Palestinian female judges gavel down taboos

Palestinian attorney Kholoud al-Faqih defied all norms when she decided to become the first woman to occupy the position of Sharia judge, breaking a long-standing taboo in Arab societies.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 22

Islamic feminist challenges orthodoxy from within

Turkish academic Hidayet Tuksal has made a reputation as an Islamist feminist, studying religious texts and challenging Islamist notions that marginalize women.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 20

Turkish teacher on why she embraces Sufi lifestyle

In an interview with Cemalnur Sargut, a renowned writer, researcher and teacher of Sufism, she explains how it is not a philosophy but a lifestyle.
Read more»

 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 24

Parliamentary presence sticking point for Lebanon's women

Although Lebanon is considered a pioneer country in terms of female empowerment, women are still timidly represented in politics, as these usually access parliament following the death of their relatives.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on March 19

Former Iran VP speaks on interreligious outreach

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Iranian Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi talks about the challenges of his work in interreligious outreach.
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 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 5

The 'Red Lips High Heels' movement

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Pamela Chrabieh, holder of a doctorate in theology-sciences of religion, talks about her passion for work and the steps she has taken throughout her life to change how men view women in the workplace.
Read more»

 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 16

Will Nadine Moussa be Lebanon's next president?

Lawyer and activist Nadine Moussa, the first woman in Lebanon to submit her candidacy for the presidential elections, tells Al-Monitor that women are still struggling to break the political traditions of a patriarchal country.
Read more»

 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 18

Israeli students juggle schoolwork, circus training

The Move to Circus Academy offers an alternative form of education for students having troubling adjusting to traditional schools and others interested in the circus arts.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 5

Enas Hamed on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Enas Hamed shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 4

Riada Asimovic Akyol on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Riada Asimovic Akyol shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 19

Amberin Zaman on why she writes

Al-Monitor columnist Amberin Zaman shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 22

Iran's female editors rise to the top despite challenges

Despite a growth of female journalists in Iranian media, they still face various barriers and limits.
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 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 4

Former Turkish first lady urges progress through education

Al-Monitor's exclusive interview with Turkey's former first lady, Hayrunnisa Gul.
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 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 18

What a Houthi-controlled Yemen means for women

Female activists in Yemen say that their situation under the Houthis’ control of the country is much worse than before the 2011 protest, when women were able to achieve significant gains.
Read more»

 Maysaa Shuja al-Deen for Al-Monitor on March 18

Meet Estayqazat, Syria’s online feminist movement

Estayqazat, a Syrian feminist movement, seeks to empower women to accept and freely talk about their sexuality, which is a taboo subject in Syria's patriarchal society.
Read more»

 Maya Gebeily for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on March 16

The female 'rock stars' of terror

Women such as Saja al-Dulaimi and Joumana Hmayed are often used for smuggling messages, money and arms by extremist groups in addition to suicide bombing operations.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on March 17

Iran's female MPs show mixed record

Iran's female members of parliament have been few in number but have had a large impact on national policies.
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 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 15

Two women shape Israel's politics

Young female Knesset members Ayelet Shaked from HaBayit HaYehudi and Stav Shaffir from the Labor Party have both gained top spots on their respective slates, ready to reshape Israeli politics.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 16

10 Middle East artists to watch

Many female artists in the Middle East and North Africa are redefining their mediums.
Read more»

 Sophie Chamas for Al-Monitor on March 31

Beirut re-brushed

Despite Lebanon's political and security challenges, Beirut is witnessing an upsurge in the art scene with established and new museums exhibiting Arab artworks.
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 Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi for Al-Monitor on March 3

Starbucks becomes flashpoint between Turks, Armenians

Armenian-American activists are scoring major points against an angry and misinformed Turkish public.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on March 3

Palestinian protests in Ramon Prison set to spread

Palestinian prisoners have staged protests in Ramon Prison in Israel, and during March protests are expected to expand to other prisoners and the broader Palestinian community.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 3

War puts Syrians on unexpected career paths

Young graduates in Damascus are having a hard time securing a job in their field, thus turning to nongovernmental organizations and volunteer work.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on March 3

Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship

The Egyptian Ministry of Religious Endowment has shuttered 27,000 local places of worship under the pretext of fighting terrorism, while awarding 400 preaching permits to Salafists.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 3

Palestinian factions maintain fragile stability in Sidon camp

Although Salafist fugitives have found refuge in Ain al-Hilweh, competing Palestinian factions appear intent on maintaining stability in the refugee camp.
Read more»

Nicolas Lupo for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 4

Qatar’s UN ambassador looks to break barriers

H.E. Sheikha Alya Bint Ahmed Bin Saif Al Thani knows how to shake up the status quo but argues that gradual change is the most effective way to advance women in the region.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 8

Women's roles in Hamas slowly evolve

The Hamas movement is keen to encourage women’s participation in military and social life, depending on women to mobilize support.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 2

Life in Gaza gives Palestinian satirists plenty of material

Gazans have embraced satirical videos and publications that reflect the Gaza Strip's economic, social and political crises.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 2

Grandmothers bear the brunt of Syrian orphan crisis

Fractured families and orphaned children mean that Syrian grandmothers are now playing the role of parents.
Read more»

 Brenda Stoter for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on March 20

Egypt’s terrorism law whittles down opposition

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a new decision regarding Egypt’s anti-terrorism law, running the risk of labeling most opposition groups and human rights organizations as terrorist entities.
Read more»

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 2

Turkey is becoming more secular, not less

In a new book, Volkan Erit argues that despite an increasingly Islamist government, Turkish society is actually becoming less strident in its religious tastes.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 2

Asmaa al-Ghoul on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Asmaa al-Ghoul shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 20

Jordanian jeweler flashes into international spotlight

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Jordanian jewelry artist Lama Hourani opens up about her childhood and her path toward designing world-inspired pieces.
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 Elisa Oddone for Al-Monitor on March 10

Maya Gebeily on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Maya Gebeily shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 17

Iraqi archaeological sites remain at risk

Following a recently released video of Islamic State militants destroying important artifacts at the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, there are fears that the city’s archaeological sites are at risk of destruction.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 2

Turkey has 'other priorities' than battling Islamic State

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper does not expect Turkey to become "more engaged" in the anti-Islamic State coalition; are al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, or Assad and Hezbollah, a greater threat to Israel?; Israeli prime minister expects to "cash in" on Iran nuclear deal on March 17; Al-Monitor launches a series focused on women in the Middle East.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 1

Arab artists depict violence in their paintings

Many Arab artists — Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi — have been inserting terrorism and violence into their paintings, to show the world the suffering of the Arab peoples.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 1

Mona Alami on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Mona Alami shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 5

Egypt's Faten Hamama was more than movie star

Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, who died Jan. 17, was behind the amendment of the Egyptian Personal Status Law, allowing women to file for divorces.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 3

Turkey's Kurds stand with ultranationalists after campus murder

The murder of an ultranationalist college student reveals how Turkey's peace process with the Kurds and the growing Islamization of politics has impacted Turkish nationalists.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on February 27

Turkish military wages war on social media

Turkey's military is still struggling to come to terms with the rules of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on March 1

Despite Hamas restrictions, Gaza actresses seek stage

The Hamas-led security apparatuses in Gaza limits the ability of actresses to play parts in high-profile movies as they are forced to wear the veil and avoid contact with male co-stars.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on March 5

Islamic State conspiracy theories sway Iraqis

Past events in US-Iraqi relations and the prevalence of conspiracy theories spread by the media as well as politicians have led Iraqis to doubt the sincerity of the US fight against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 27

Female journalists excel in Gaza's sports media

Despite societal barriers, more women journalists in Gaza are covering sports, but their numbers are still low relative to men.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 17

Are Egypt's women really better off under Sisi?

Life for women in Egypt has improved significantly under the reign of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi compared to the era of the Muslim Brotherhood, although some female activists say that women still have a long way to go toward emancipation.
Read more»

 Amr Abdelatty for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 6

One man's return to Gaza

In an interview with Al-Monitor, the journalist Majdi Arbid, who fled Gaza eight years ago, tells of the dire situation he encountered when he returned.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 26

Will Israeli Jews vote for Joint List?

The predominately Arab joint list has opened a second campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv, designed to attract Jewish left-wing voters and increase the slate's visibility within Israeli society.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 25

No justice for Turkish women who kill in self-defense

Turkish courts rarely offer leniency to women who have killed their husbands in self-defense, mostly because the women are too ashamed to recount tales of their abuse.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 25

Female genital mutilation persists in rural Egypt

Although the practice of female genital mutilation in Egypt has decreased, the phenomenon is still omnipresent in villages, prompting civil society and the government to initiate a campaign to raise awareness.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 26

Israel struggles to stop archaeological site raids

The discovery of an ancient treasure trove of gold coins by amateur divers off the coast of Caesarea risks sparking even more the appetite of antique thieves, who cause irreversible damage to archaeological sites.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 25

Iraq's corruption continues unchecked

Corruption involving public contracts has become prevalent in Iraq since 2003 and is difficult to stop because government officials are benefitting from it.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 25

IRGC to reopen its own high schools

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps says it intends to re-engage with the high school system to train a new generation committed to its goals.
Read more»

 Saeed Aganji for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 24

Turkey targets voters with government benefits

Turkey's ruling AKP government has long made a habit of spending big money on social assistance to inspire loyalty and collect votes.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 24

What did Libyans gain from the revolution?

Four years into the Libyan civil war and the revolution that toppled Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, thousands of Libyans remain displaced in their own country as political, social and economic problems continue to worsen.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on February 24

Palestinian girl recounts imprisonment

Israel has circumvented international law to classify Palestinian children as minors only up to the age of 16, in clear violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in order to arrest and detain Palestinian youths.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 26

The new generation of Israeli election campaign clips

The advent of social media has changed the face of election campaigning, with productions in TV studios giving way to video clips, delivering their message in the absence of regulation or supervision.
Read more»

 Doron Peskin for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 27

Kurdish journalists use IS media strategy to their advantage

Kurdish journalists are trying to counter Islamic State propaganda by showing the world the horrors that the group has committed.
Read more»

 Massoud Hamed for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on February 26

Saudi women react to new king

Saudi women are unsure whether the new King Salman will reverse the limited gains in women's rights made under King Abdullah.
Read more»

 Caryle Murphy for Al-Monitor on March 1

Turkey’s 'Rocker Imam' inspires Turks

Turkey’s "Rocker Imam" Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer, who combines Sufi lyrics with guitar solos, signals the niche in Turkish society for a more modern and cosmopolitan feeling of Islam.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 24

Bogus university graduates clog Iraqi job market

Iraqi university graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to get jobs because unrecognized universities are essentially selling advanced degrees.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 24

Drug use creeps up in Lebanese schools

Despite warnings circulating online about a new drug quickly spreading in Lebanese schools, experts say that while the issue deserves attention, drug abuse among students is not as widespread as the rumors suggest.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on February 23

Can returned extremist fighters be rehabilitated?

Participants in a White House summit on countering violent extremism say the most useful aspect was exchanging information on the sidelines of the meetings about how to prevent recruitment of vulnerable youth and rehabilitate foreign fighters returning home from Syria and Iraq.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on February 22

Turkey’s jailed university students

Hundreds of Turkish university students have landed behind bars on such dubious grounds as making press statements, demanding free transport and health care, celebrating Women’s Day and even reading Marx.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 22

Gaza farmers unable to export produce

Agriculture in Gaza is suffering after the Israeli decision to ban vegetable exports from the Strip to the West Bank.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 23

Iranian teachers protest Rouhani's budget

Iranian teachers are protesting President Hassan Rouhani's budget, as their salary increase can't keep up with inflation.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 20

Egyptian students launch anti-harassment campaigns

The administration and activist students at Cairo University are making progress against harassment and have started campaigns to encourage victims to speak up and to identify offenders.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 20

Have AKP's policies caused rise in violence against women?

Although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showed solidarity with the victim’s family, the Justice and Development Party insists on useless populist policies on women’s issues.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on February 20

In Turkey, divisive politics leads to more violence

Turkey's political scene is already extremely polarized; as an abundance of individual incidents of violence indicate, it is fast becoming a political powder keg.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on February 19

Is Twitter giving in to Turkish censorship?

Turkish cyber rights activists warn Twitter of legal action for acting as auxiliary to Ankara’s censorship machine.
Read more»

 Sibel Utku Bila for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 19

Who holds the real power in IS?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be caliph of the Islamic State, but he does not rule alone.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on February 19

Ministry strike leaves East Jerusalemites in limbo

An open-ended staff strike at the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem has left Palestinian residents unable to access critical documents.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 19

Top Iran official warns of climate change

The head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization has spoken out about the impact of global warming and the water crisis in Iran.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 18

Bibi's opulent lifestyle won't sway voters

The release of the state comptroller's report has confirmed the lavish household expenses of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, but it may not matter on election day.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 18

Sub-Saharan Africans suffer discrimination in Morocco

Immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa face racism, name-calling and worse in Morocco but also find a “complicated coexistence.”
Read more»

Translated from TelQuel (Morocco) on February 18

Has AKP sacrificed Turkey's Ottoman heritage?

Shoddy conditions at the new Ottoman Archives building in Istanbul stand to weaken the conservative credentials of the Justice and Development Party.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 18

What the Kahane phenomenon can teach Israelis today

The Israeli far-right prefers to preserve late Meir Kahane as a historical figure, but with his recent production of "Kahane Was Right" playwright Yoav Itamar forces the Israeli public to confront contemporary Israeli stances on Kahane's controversial, far-right ideologies.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 19

Rouhani accommodates Iran's Jewish students

President Hassan Rouhani's administration has taken steps to address the concerns of Iranian Jews, who wish to observe the holy Sabbath without sacrificing their education.
Read more»

 Meir Javedanfar for Al-Monitor on February 17

Fear of Shiites on the rise in Turkey

The Justice and Development Party government is indifferent to the increase in Shiite-phobia in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on February 17

Israelis love to love their IDF chief of staff

Israel's chief of staff is treated like a sacred cow, admired and loved by a public tired of corruption and political squabbles.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 17

Egyptian tribes shift their approach to politics

The 2011 revolution has changed tribes' relationship to the traditional political parties, leading some of them to vote for the Muslim Brotherhood and to nominate their own candidates.
Read more»

 Reham Mokbel for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 20

Hamas prevents Arabic fiction award finalist from leaving Gaza

Palestian writer Atef Abu Saif has been nominated for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction but was stopped by security services from attending the announcement in Morocco.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on February 17

Concern in Iraq grows over unregulated Shiite forces

The popular mobilization forces in Iraq have made positive contributions to the fight against the Islamic State, but allegations of killings require that they be brought under the government's security umbrella.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on February 17

War separates lovers in Aleppo

The conflict in Aleppo has divided the city, making it nearly impossible for people in one half to visit people in the other after the closure of the Bustan al-Qasr crossing.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on February 16

Iran's job seekers lack practical skills

While many young Iranians are now college graduates, many lack the technical and practical work experience to land a job.
Read more»

 Maysam Bizær for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 16

Turkish media watchdog scrutinizes 'The Simpsons'

Turkey’s broadcasting review board has become a key tool in the government's efforts to police morality.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 16

Turkey's mosque-building diplomacy

Turkey is running a state-sponsored program to build mosques in countries from Kazakhstan to Cuba, which some say prevents more radical groups to gain power and is widening Turkey’s global influence.
Read more»

 Thomas Seibert for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 13

Egypt sees al-Azhar as key to Africa

Egypt is seeking to reinvigorate its role on the African continent and restore its influence through missions by al-Azhar clerics.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 13

Knockoff drugs endanger Egyptians

Counterfeit medications have become a common problem in Egypt, which has no central drug commission or strong laws penalizing their production and sale.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 18

Shiite faithful defy danger to visit shrines

Shiites continue to risk their lives to visit their shrines, not only for religious purposes but also because they represent the sacrifices their ancestors endured under Sunni oppression.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on February 12

Spies' families marginalized in Gaza

As the Palestinian resistance publicly executes Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel, the families of the spies suffer marginalization and shame.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 16

Damascus faces continual power outages

Power outages in Damascus are unbearable, yet the government just directs blame at the opposition, failing to provide solutions.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on February 12

Palestinians rush to condemn murder of Jordanian pilot

Right after the gruesome killing of the Jordanian pilot, Jordan’s TV broadcast the Palestinian imam’s condemnation of the crime, which indicates a rapprochement between Palestinians and Jordanians.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 12

Why Salafists see Shiites as their greatest enemy

Many Salafists see Shiites, not Jews and Israel, as the greatest threat to Islam.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on February 11

Palestinian saves Israeli doctor

In an interview with Al-Monitor, a day laborer from the West Bank talks about saving the lives of an Israeli doctor and his son from an angry mob in his village.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 11

What does it mean to be a modern Zionist?

The term "Zionism" has been used and abused by Israeli politicians for decades, especially before election time, so perhaps a new civic perspective on the concept is in order.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 11

Former Egyptian diplomat cites progress on women's rights

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has made some gestures toward women, though his overall human rights record remains controversial.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on February 11

Israelis take 'Bridge to Arabic'

The Arabic studies project of the Israeli Arab Jisr az-Zarqa village encourages its Jewish students to substitute part of their tuition with service to the village, to strengthen their ties with local Arab residents.
Read more»

 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 10

Iraqi tribes slowly become 'state within a state'

As political parties try to put tribes under their sway for electoral gains, Iraqi tribes have become “a state within a state,” where laws are powerless over their armament, authority and power.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 10

36 years after the revolution, where is Iran now?

Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution has faced many challenges, with lifespan, access to education and standard of living having improved significantly, while corruption and the country's human rights situation remain a cause of concern.
Read more»

 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 10

Iranian writers welcome decline of censorship

After eight difficult years of strict censorship under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian writers say that literary freedom is increasing under the new administration.
Read more»

 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 10

Dust pollution shuts down major cities in Iran

Poor air quality has reached dangerous levels in Iran's Khouzestan province, where some parliament members say the people are left “breathing dust.”
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 9

Turkey offers cash rewards for marrying early

The Justice and Development Party government is offering incentives to encourage university students to get married before graduation and to have more than three children.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 9

Suicide rates on rise in Gaza

Suicide cases are increasing in the Gaza Strip as a result of the wars waged by Israel that cause psychological, economic and social problems.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 9

Rouhani VP voices frustration with administration

Iran's vice president for Women and Family Affairs has voiced concern over the lack of attention paid by the administration to women's issues.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 6

Aleppo's displaced find refuge in Kurdish regions

The residents of Aleppo are fleeing the regime’s shelling toward the north, mainly to Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood, where the local council tries its best to meet their needs.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on February 9

AKP's views on sexuality create uproar

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of raising a "pious generation" fails to deal with taboo matters of sexuality.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on February 9

Turkey saves cats from extinction

After two decades of arduous work, a university research center in eastern Turkey has saved the precious Van cats from extinction.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 6

Who is Saudi activist Raif Badawi?

The author talks about Saudi activist Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, as he has personally known him.
Read more»

 Saeed Alwahabi for Al-Monitor on February 6

Should Lebanon execute convicted terrorists?

After Jordan executed two Iraqi prisoners in response to the brutal killing of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State, a debate arose in Lebanon about why the government does not do the same when the organization kills one of the Lebanese soldiers it is holding captive.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 8

Syrian Kurdish journalists confront danger to report on war

Kurdish journalists talked to Al-Monitor about their experiences on the battlefield in Syria's northeastern provinces.
Read more»

 Massoud Hamed for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on February 8

Will 'Kurdish Spring' redraw Middle East map?

A critic looks at “Kurdish Spring: A New Map for the Middle East,” a new book by David Phillips that could become a main reference on the Kurdish struggle.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on February 5

Iraqi government spends millions on medical treatment abroad

The Iraqi government is paying huge sums to help Iraqis travel abroad for medical treatment instead of allocating money to improve health care in the country.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 5

Israel's deadliest roads

Despite well-documented fatalities on roads in the Negev, successive Israeli governments have turned a blind eye, choosing instead to allocate funds to build and expand settlement infrastructure.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 5

Lebanon reconsiders civil marriage

Lebanese Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk decided to refer the legality of civil marriage to the Cabinet, thus putting into question the fate of 40 couples who chose to wed in civil ceremonies.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 5

Egyptian antiquities remain at risk

A mix of ineptitude, mismanagement and corruption is leading to the damage, loss and theft of invaluable treasures from Egypt’s history.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 4

Conspiracies, victimhood cloud Turks' views of Hebdo killings

A survey reveals that conspiratorial theories prevent Turks from seeing the "real victims" in the Charlie Hebdo killings, but also that the majority of Turks oppose such violence in the name of Islam.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 4

Shiites have mixed reactions to new Saudi king

The death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz divided the Shiite community: While many celebrated and rejoiced, others deeply regretted the death of the Saudi monarch who was known for his moderate and reformist attitude.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on February 4

Tribes ready to take on terror in Sinai

As the government devotes more resources to containing unrest in Sinai, tribal leaders have suggested that Cairo take advantage of the roles traditionally played by the tribes in the area's security.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on February 4

More Gazans undergoing cosmetic surgery

Despite of and because of the social, economic and political problems in Gaza, more residents are having cosmetic surgery in the hope of living better lives.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 4

Khamenei's fans take to Instagram

Supporters of Iran's supreme leader have taken to Instagram to share his message urging the youth of the West to study Islam.
Read more»

 Holly Dagres for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 3

Is Erdogan's daughter running for office?

Critics say an effort to shield Turkey's first family from corruption investigations lies behind the expected move to win President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's daughter a seat in Ankara.
Read more»

 Thomas Seibert for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 3

Gaza’s fishermen confront multiple dangers

Not only are fishermen from Gaza subject to being shot by Israeli sailors, they also struggle against potentially fatal weather conditions.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 3

Jordan pressured to restrict Muslim Brotherhood

Some in Jordan believe the government will not break its historical ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, while others say there will be a crackdown on the group to keep Gulf aid flowing into the kingdom.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Jordan for Al-Monitor on February 3

Iranian opposition leader's wife recounts their captivity

In an interview with Al-Monitor, the wife of Iran's Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi, Fatemeh Karroubi, shares details about her and her husband's house arrest as well as his demands.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 3

Why Israeli cartoonists don't draw Muhammad

The massacre at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo hasn’t changed the practice of Israeli cartoonists of refraining from insulting Islam, picking political targets instead.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 2

Sephardic candidates face real discrimination in elections

Ahead of the elections, the Israeli political system still shies away from confronting the phenomenon of ''ethnic voting,'' where Sephardic candidates receive less support than those of European candidates.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 2

'Messengers of God' multiply amidst Iraqi chaos

The emergence of people claiming to be the Shiites’ awaited Imam Mahdi or his messengers is widespread in Iraqi society, though some contend it is intended to eliminate the Shiite religious authorities.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 2

Al-Azhar, Salafist group spar over banking interest

The Salafist Call in Egypt issued a fatwa prohibiting banking interest in a move that could push Egyptians to either keep their money at home or in Islamic banks.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 2

Inside one of Hamas' youth training camps

Hamas’ military wing has started organizing youth camps across Gaza to train the younger generation to defend itself and fight the occupation, some say promoting a culture of violence among the youth.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 2

Beating exposes brutal realities for Turkey's street children

Turkey has made tremendous progress in lowing child mortality, but poverty leaves Kurdish and Syrian refugee children vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on February 2

Beirut to build new museum as Arab art booms

The Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL) is looking to open a museum to display the art of many Arab and local artists in Beirut.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on February 2

Captured pilot serious challenge for Jordan's king

As negotiations with the Islamic State for a prisoner swap for Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh falter, the Jordanian public is directing its anger against the kingdom’s decision to participate in the anti-IS coalition.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on February 2

French lawmaker: France acts as 'guardian' in US-Iran nuclear deal

The chairwoman of the French Foreign Affairs panel tells Al-Monitor that the White House seems "eager to reach an agreement" quickly.
Read more»

 Denis Simonneau for Al-Monitor on February 1

Amal Clooney attracts attention at Armenian genocide trial

The case before the European Court of Human Rights concerns the right of Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Workers Party, to deny that Armenians had suffered a genocide.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 30

Threat of violence silences Palestinian journalists

In light of physical assaults and abuses in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, some Palestinian journalists are avoiding sensitive political and security issues.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on February 3

Moderate Islam pushes back extremism

Terrorist operations carried out by radical Islamic groups around the world and in the Middle East have had the unintended effect of promoting moderate Islam, particularly in Iran.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 30

Iraqi folk poets face criticism

Some Iraqi intellectuals say the the spread of folk poems butchers the classic Arabic language and serve the interests of political parties.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 29

Al-Qassam youth training camps open again

The Vanguards of Liberation camps, previously organized under the supervision of the Education and Interior Ministries in Hamas-run Gaza, are now under the control of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which some think might be using the camps to recruit young men as fighters.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 29

Algeria's Amazighs celebrate 3,000-year-old festival

The Amazighs' celebration of Yannayar links the group back to its origins through stories and rituals.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on January 30

Iran responds to caricatures with 'I love Muhammad' campaign

Iranians have rallied around the hashtag campaign "I love Muhammad" on social media following Charlie Hebdo's printing of another caricature of the Prophet Muhammad.
Read more»

Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 30

Beirut libraries struggle with funding

Beirut's public libraries are trying to draw in new clientele in an age where Lebanese social services are vanishing.
Read more»

 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on January 28

Mosul deteriorates under IS occupation

Mosul has become an impoverished, broken city whose residents face great risks when they try to contact their loved ones in other Iraqi cities, fearing their Islamic State occupiers' retaliation.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 28

Israeli pollsters struggle to keep pace with social media

Following the unexpected results of the 2013 elections, can Israeli pollsters grasp the socio-economic concerns of young Israelis expressed online?
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 28

Austerity for Egypt's Internet?

As social media activists in Egypt rally to demand faster and cheaper Internet services, the government of Ibrahim Mehleb asks citizens to limit their Internet consumption, a move many see as one austerity step too far.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 27

Yazidi girls tell of escape from IS

Yazidi girls recount their harsh ordeal and the scars remaining from being captured by Islamic State militants.
Read more»

 Fazel Hawramy for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 27

Gaza-West Bank split divides lovers

Palestinian officials, both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, are obstructing the union of couples who are separated by the Palestinian division.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on January 27

Is Samarra the key to reducing sectarian tension in Iraq?

The Sunni-majority city of Samarra has always been a scene of sectarian tension, as the situation has recently escalated with accusations that Shiites are seeking to change the city’s demography.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 28

Khamenei’s message to the West

An open letter from Iran's supreme leader to Western youth is another sign of the changes afoot in Iran and a decision by the country's leadership to counter Islamophobia.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on January 27

War on Gulenists undermines Turkish diplomacy

Ankara has canceled the authorization of 51 honorary consuls as part of its war on the Gulen movement while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan presses African governments to shut down Gulenist-founded schools.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on January 26

Aleppo residents tested by snowstorm, war

The snowstorm that blanketed the Middle East added to the misery of Aleppo’s residents and refugees, as children died from a lack of power, water and heating.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on January 26

Eyeing political gains, Kurds and Syriacs aim to mend old wounds

At the grass-roots level, the alliance between Kurds and the Syriac community has led to bitter divisions.
Read more»

 Susanne Güsten for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 26

An Israeli in King Arthur's court

Medieval re-enactments are catching on in Israel, including battles between knights and an annual event at the Horns of Hattin.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 26

Iraqi state education increasingly religious

The state curriculum in Iraq has long been subject to sectarian, political and religious pressure, but education quality is suffering now more than ever.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 27

Diyarbakir Kurds rally to show support for Prophet Muhammad

About 50,000 people took to the streets of the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Jan. 24, in support of the Prophet Muhammad in the biggest rally in Turkey since the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
Read more»

Fréderike Geerdink for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 25

Erdogan stirred, not shaken, by corruption vote

AKP mavericks who voted against the party line to impeach four former ministers are facing accusations of treachery and will most likely be weeded out of the party before June elections.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 23

Win or lose, Turkey's Kurds will advance in June elections

Turkey’s main Kurdish-dominated party could deal a serious blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party if its efforts at attracting broad support succeed in helping it surpass the 10% voting threshold in the June general elections.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on January 23

Poor Tripoli district becomes hotbed for extremists

Mankoubin is one of the impoverished neighborhoods of Tripoli, producing youths who have joined such extremist groups as Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State and have carried out attacks in Syria and Iraq, as well as in Lebanon.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on January 23

Cairo metro fare hike results in public backlash

Egyptian news recently reported that the Transport Ministry will increase the price of a metro ticket by 2,500%, which activists consider extremely unfair.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 23

Rising incomes mean many Iraqi men marry multiple wives

Polygamy is growing among Iraqis as the men who indulge in it cite both progressive and Islamic justifications.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 26

Gaza water desalination plants cause severe health risks

The lack of supervision over water desalination plants and the Israeli siege contribute to the contamination of drinking water available to Gaza’s residents.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 22

Phosphate production poisoning Tunisian city

The phosphate refinery in Gabes offers employment opportunities, but it is also responsible for environmental degradation causing harm to public health, including high rates of cancer and kidney disease.
Read more»

 Sam Kimball for Al-Monitor on January 22

Egypt’s large homeless population suffering

Amid corruption allegations, the state has been accused of failing to properly provide for the homeless and those living in makeshift housing.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on January 25

Lebanese visa regulations cause more distress for Syrians

The announcement of new regulations requiring Syrians to obtain visas to enter Lebanon has caused consternation and confusion among Syrians as well as in the Lebanese government.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on January 22

Yemeni society changes before photographer's lens

Yemeni photographer Abdul Rahman Al Ghabri speaks to Al-Monitor about his work and how it reflects the changes in Yemeni society.
Read more»

 Mohammad al-Absi for Al-Monitor on January 21

Beersheba residents revitalize their city

Beersheba residents joined social activists and students in renovating neglected streets and public spaces in the poor neighborhoods of the city, engaging in a global movement of communal responsibility.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 21

Turkey's 'pink prison'

LGBT organizations strongly oppose a prison being built for LGBT inmates, who often end up in solitary confinement for reasons of security, which is illegal.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 21

Gaza's brain drain

Hamas officials see the flight of professionals and talented youth from the Gaza Strip as part of a systematic Israeli policy to empty the territory of skilled citizens through siege and regular wars.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 21

Israeli Bedouin call for inquiry over police conduct

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Talal al-Krenawi, mayor of the Bedouin town Rahat, accuses the Israeli police of using unnecessary force in riots that erupted over the past two days instead of trying to calm the situation.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 20

Saudi Arabia beheadings in stark contrast with fight against IS

Saudi Arabia's human rights record of public punishments and criminalization of dissent finds its roots in the Al-Saud ruling family's "contract" with Wahhabism.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on January 20

Children freeze to death in Aleppo refugee camp

At least four children have died from the cold in the Bab al-Salameh camp in the Aleppo countryside as supplies run low for Syria’s internally displaced.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on January 20

Palestinians push to end Greek 'occupation' of patriarchate

Arab Orthodox youths in the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem are accusing ruling Greek monks of selling church land to Israel and discriminating against the Arab Christian flock.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 20

Charlie Hebdo finds support in Gaza

The victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack found sympathy in Gaza, until Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participated in the Paris unity march and the magazine published a cover with a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on January 20

New visa regulations confuse Syrians

Syrians in Lebanon who have legal residency permits are worried that new regulations will not protect them from being deported.
Read more»

 Justin Salhani for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on January 20

Iranian civil society speaking up for Afghans' rights

Iranians are pressuring the government to help Afghan nationals with the problems they face, including discrimination and lack of access to schools.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 21

Oppressed by China, Uighurs drawn to Salafist ideas

China’s oppressive policies and the increasing influence of extreme Salafist currents are inflating radicalization among the Uighur population.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on January 19

Four years later, Egypt's January 25 Revolution is faded dream

The Muslim Brotherhood continues to challenge President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the buildup to the four-year anniversary of the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on January 19

Egypt bans 'Exodus' movie

Egyptian critics consider the Culture Ministry’s decision to ban the screening of the US movie "Exodus: Gods and Kings" a result of Al-Azhar pressure, and believe it will only lead distribution companies to show more such movies.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 19

Lebanese Druze caught in competing dialogues

Dialogues between the Future Movement and Hezbollah, as well as between the Free Patriotic Movement and the Lebanese Forces, are re-evaluating the role of the Druze in the political system.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on January 19

Iran paper under fire for Charlie Hebdo cover

An Iranian newspaper faces criticism for publishing a picture of actor George Clooney and a headline supporting French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on January 16

Charlie Hebdo's humor upsets Turkish Islamists

Turks have taken to social media to criticize or applaud their government's reaction to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, though some individuals have threatened a Turkish newspaper with violence after its publication of Charlie Hebdo cartoons.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 16

How Sufism could balance Salafism

The historical background of Sufism in the Islamic world allows the establishment of political and religious reforms in this part of the world.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 16

Israeli-Arabs open to dialogue with Labor Party

Israeli Arabs are disappointed by the Arab parties and feel that only a large party would be able to bring about a change in their socio-economic situation, hence the Labor Party must take up this challenge and renew a dialogue with them.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 16

Israeli students skip class to end teacher dispute

Israeli students' nationwide strike over the cancelation of extramural activities quickly resolved a dispute between teachers and education administrators and earned them a great deal of praise.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 16

Egyptian women take to social media to expose harassers

With Egyptian police turning a blind eye to incidents of sexual harassment, women are taking the initiative to expose sexual harassers online.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 16

Egypt’s revolutions have not stopped corruption

Corruption in Egypt is still increasing, despite the January 25 Revolution's call for a better society, mainly due to a lack of oversight by concerned parties and government organizations.
Read more»

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 15

War-ravaged Gaza families marrying in-laws for support

It is common practice in Gaza for a widow or widower to marry an in-law to keep the family together, and often they are being promised financial assistance to do so.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on January 15

Iraqi hospitals under IS suffer lack of medicine, staff

The state of hospitals in Iraqi areas under IS control face shortage of medicine and staff, and are sometimes forced to treat the wounded from among the organization’s ranks.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 15

Some Shiites link Saudi king's health to end-times

Some Shiite scholars believe that the Saudi king's death will signal the resurrection of the Mahdi and the beginning of the end-times.
Read more»

Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 14

Is Erdogan losing touch with reality?

Ankara’s welcoming ceremony for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Jan. 12 featured 16 ancient warriors, rekindling the Ottomanism debate.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on January 14

Erdogan, inadvertently, brings humor to Turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comically dressed warriors help Turks regain their sense of humor.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on January 14

Egypt’s cybersecurity council prompts privacy concerns

Egypt has launched a new cybersecurity division to protect its ministries and institutions from cyberattacks, but some political groups and activists are concerned it might also be used to curtail speech and monitor their online activities.
Read more»

 Amr Abdelatty for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 15

Israeli political youth movements hope for revival

In contrast with veteran Israeli political parties, HaBayit HaYehudi and Yesh Atid devote considerable efforts to building their youth movements, thus cementing a strong electoral base for the future.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 14

Is Egypt verdict a victory for LGBT rights?

An Egyptian court shocked many by acquitting 26 men accused of indecency and debauchery in a high-profile case made infamous by a journalist widely regarded as unethical.
Read more»

 Sarah el-Sirgany for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 13

Closing Jewish tomb in Egypt raises tensions

Egypt’s closure of the tomb of Rabbi Abu Hasira and the cancelation of the annual festival celebrating his birth in the Nile Delta have angered Jewish pilgrims and tourists, inciting Tel Aviv to take the matter to UNESCO.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 13

Sunni-Alawite couples in Syria defy sectarianism

The Syrian civil war has challenged Sunni-Alawite couples in getting their families' approval for marriage and society's acceptance of their relationships.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Damascus for Al-Monitor on January 13

Turkish religious thinker ponders future of Islam

Turkey’s veteran religious thinker Levent Gultekin may have a solution for both Islamophobia and Islamic extremism.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 13

Shiite leaders forbid insults against Sunnis

Najaf's Shiite authorities in Iran and Iraq issue fatwas against insults to Sunni figures and their sanctities.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 13

Egyptian Christians weigh joining Nour Party list

A dispute with the Coptic Church over personal status laws and a new electoral law have led some Christians toward running on the Salafist Nour Party list.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 16

Turkey's Protestants complain of discrimination, harassment

A report by Turkey's tiny Protestant community shows some progress in the country, but also plenty of continuing bigotry.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 12

Novelist chronicles Egypt’s rough revolutionary road

Alaa Al Aswany, the author of "The Yacoubian Building," has published a compendium of newspaper columns that trace the arc of Egypt’s recent political upheavals from the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 to the election of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last year.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on January 11

Turkish cartoonists threatened after Charlie Hebdo attacks

Turkish satirical journalists and cartoonists have been warned via phone and over social media to "learn" from the attack on Charlie Hebdo and be careful who they antagonize.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 9

Traditional Jewish stew warms Israeli winter

Hamin, a traditional Shabbat stew, was once a staple of older generations, but this year, it has become immensely popular among young Israelis and in fashionable restaurants.
Read more»

 Niv Gilboa for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 9

Who are the Kharijites and what do they have to do with IS?

Many Islamic authorities, including Saudi Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al ash-Sheikh, consider the Islamic State to be an extension of the Kharijites, a group of the first Muslims who rebelled against authority during the early Islamic centuries.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 8

Paris attack rekindles debate over freedom of expression

US officials' united show of support for slain journalists hides bipartisan ambivalence over Western governments' role in standing up for unpopular speech.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 8

Iraqi female nurses struggle for equality

Women in the health industry are looked down upon by Iraq's conservative society, but the need for nurses and for women to be employed are slowly liberalizing attitudes.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 8

Turkey's threatened sea turtles

An AKP-affiliated developer's privatization attempts on a beach preserved for endangered sea turtles has turned Dalyan’s residents into environmental activists.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 8

Sephardic party turns to Ashkenazi leaders for help

In his bitter fight with former Sephardic Shas Party head Eli Yishai, current leader Aryeh Deri doesn't shy away from asking the help of leading Ashkenazi rabbis, whose hegemony Shas rejected when founded 20 years ago.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 8

Egyptian town welcomes ban on Jewish festival

Egyptians are pleased with a court decision to ban the festival celebrating the birth of Rabbi Abu Hasira because, they say, security for it turned their village into a "military barracks."
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 8

Iran condemns Paris shooting, with caveat

Iran has officially condemned the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo but also warned of "double standards" in dealing with terrorism.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on January 8

Why US, EU should intervene in Israeli elections

The United States and European Union should explain to Israeli voters what is at stake at the international level in the March elections.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 8

Al Jazeera’s Egypt closure deals blow to MB

The suspension of Al Jazeera’s Mubasher Misr TV station in the wake of Qatar’s rapprochement with the Egyptian government has cost the Muslim Brotherhood its main media arm in the country.
Read more»

 Amr Abdelatty for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 8

High cost of living hits Israeli-Russians hard

In an interview with Al-Monitor, researcher Michael Philippov says that young Israeli-Russians are often forced to emigrate due to the high cost of living.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 7

Turkey's AKP pits Kurd against Kurd

Attempts by the leaders of Turkey's ruling party to cast a Kurdish Islamist party as an alternative to the PKK are raising serious questions and feeding old rivalries.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on January 7

Iran-Iraq war photo re-enactment goes viral

The photograph, which many mistakenly believe features the children of the original veterans, is the latest of many popular Iranian efforts to keep the era's spirit of solidarity alive.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on January 7

Jordanians' response to executions mixed

Jordan’s execution of 11 prisoners last month took the kingdom by surprise and drew a mixed response, including among the royal family, with one prince criticizing it as a “step backward” for the country.
Read more»

 Elisa Oddone for Al-Monitor on January 7

Refugee, Lebanese women forge friendships

A project to produce mouneh, the traditional processing of vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs into jarred preserves, is bringing Lebanese women together with Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Read more»

 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on January 7

Islamic State rejected Gaza jihadists' offer of allegiance

A prominent pro-Islamic State Salafist leader in Gaza says the militant group refused pledges of allegiance from jihadists in Gaza because of disagreements and divisiveness among them.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on January 7

Why Israeli Arabs aren't voting in the next elections

Residents of the Israeli Arab city Umm al-Fahm cited ongoing discrimination in employment and development resources as why they would not vote in upcoming elections.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 6

Iran closes private TV channels for 'inciting sectarianism'

In the name of battling sectarianism, Iran has closed the offices of several private Shiite news stations.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on January 6

Iraqis dream of jinn

Belief in superstition, magic and, more specifically, jinn — supernatural creatures in Islamic mythology — has pervaded Iraqi society across socioeconomic classes.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 5

In tough times, Egyptian theater troupe pushes boundaries

The Egyptian theater group Outa Hamra works with local disadvantaged communities to develop theater as a medium for expression and social change in the country.
Read more»

Miriam Berger for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 6

Turkish women receive mixed messages on work-life balance

Officials from Turkey's Justice and Development Party have made a habit of issuing controversial social edicts to women that don't apply to their wives and daughters.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 5

Gaza Salafist leader: 'We are following Islamic State ideology'

Only a small number of Salafists from Gaza have traveled to Syria and died fighting for the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 6

As Iraqis cope with past injustices, so should Israelis

Iraqis are looking courageously into their past, examining the attacks against the Jewish community in the 1950s that forced it to flee the country, and Israelis should do the same by acknowledging the Palestinians' suffering.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 5

Islamic State book burnings target minorities

The Islamic State has imposed strict conditions for books entering Iraq by land, confiscating all those related to Christianity and slowly destroying cultural pluralism in Iraqi society.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 6

Turkey-to-Lebanon walk to remember Armenian genocide

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conductor Vartan Melkonian speaks about the march he and his daughter will make from Turkey to Lebanon to commemorate ancestors who perished in the Armenian genocide.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on January 5

Turkey allows building of first new church in a century

Syriac Christians, who speak the language of Jesus, will finally have a church in Istanbul, but why now?
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 5

Dubai's disappointing film festival

Budget cuts and a lukewarm selection made the latest Dubai International Film Festival the weakest in recent memory, raising questions about the festival’s future and Arab cinema in general.
Read more»

 Joseph Fahim for Al-Monitor on January 5

Rouhani’s referendum proposal causes stir in Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has proposed direct referendums to sidestep the parliament and resolve key issues in the country.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on January 5

Homs beginning to rise from the ashes

Residents are returning to Homs, and engineers are beginning the rehabilitation of its archaeological sites, churches and prominent mosques as the city struggles back to life.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on January 6

Is the Saudi succession near?

With an ailing king, Saudi Arabia's royal succession comes into focus, as well as the kingdom's forthcoming challenges.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on January 4

In war against atheism, Egypt targets cafes

Egyptian authorities have reportedly shut down a Cairo cafe that was popular among atheists, though some activists say that the officials' display of force is little more than a media show.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 5

Israel's new rules for social media in politics

The social network revolution, combined with the 2011 social protest and increased transparency in politics, have pushed aside veteran politicians in favor of fresh senior politicians such as Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and, lately, Moshe Kahlon.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 31

Female journalists fight gender discrimination

Throughout the world, including Lebanon, women in the media battle unequal pay, an unwillingness to be sent to conflict zones and the challenges of motherhood.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on January 2

Maronites, Druze shift their politics

A number of historical calculations have governed the decisions of the major sects in Lebanon; however, recent regional developments have significantly altered the field.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on December 31

Iraqi youths embrace religious traditions

In the historic towns of Babil and Karbala, religion has come to determine every aspect of social life.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 4

Saudi support shores up talks in Lebanon

Saudi Arabia is overwhelmed with risks on several fronts, which might explain its efforts to promote a Sunni-Shiite and a Christian-Christian dialogue in Lebanon and bring its ally Saad Hariri back to the table.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on December 31

Lebanese women not safe despite domestic violence law

The Lebanese parliament has passed a law on domestic violence, but many argue that it is insufficient.
Read more»

 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 31

Iran marks anniversary of anti-Green Movement protests

The 2009 election protests in Iran continue to play a large part in politics, and their anniversaries still make headlines every year.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 30

Jerusalem's Arab bus drivers speak out

Jerusalem has seemingly calmed down after several weeks of unrest, but Arab bus drivers tell Al-Monitor that they are constantly subjected to insults and attacks by extremist Jewish passengers.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 30

Syrian charities battle corruption

Roughly 2,000 Damascenes participated in a marathon to raise funds for Syrian cancer patients, to make up for a significant drop in available medication due to corruption in the Syrian Health Ministry.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 30

Basra moving toward independence

It has become clear that Iraq is moving further toward division and disassociation, but how this federalism process would play out remains unclear.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 30

Saudis work together to head off sectarian violence

The November attack against Saudi Shiites in al-Ahsa governorate drew unanimous condemnation from conservative Sunnis and Shiites alike, who are determined to prevent sectarian strife.
Read more»

 Bader al-Rashed for Al-Monitor on December 30

Iraq's 2 million IDPs struggling

The Islamic State’s offensive this year, and the subsequent conflict that has followed, has spawned nearly 2 million internally displaced persons, many of whom live in run-down, squalid refugee camps and are desperate for aid.
Read more»

 Sarah El-Rashidi for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 30

Corruption lets Iraqi criminals off the hook

Weak institutions and corruption mean that major crimes in Iraq are not being investigated or prosecuted.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 30

Who is benefiting from the Erdogan-Gulen split?

The Turkish government’s onslaught against the Gulen community has opened the door to public jobs and economic benefits for other religious groups.
Read more»

 Omer Sahin for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 30

Where have Israeli intellectuals gone?

Israeli society has lost its past esteem for intellectuals and writers, with celebrities, actors, singers and media figures serving as its moral compass.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 29

Belly dancing men make comeback in Turkey

The impact of Ottoman cultural revival is seen in the increasing popularity of male belly dancers in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 30

Turkey registers Syrian refugees

Turkey has collected the biometric data of at least 1.4 million Syrians as the refugees move closer to citizenship.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 29

Israel must address growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza

The Israeli leadership must realize that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza increases every day, and react appropriately despite the upcoming elections that might delay a solution by almost half a year.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 29

Aleppo’s shelters become underground schools

After being bombed more than once, the basement of the Noor Al-Shuhadaa Mosque in Aleppo has turn into a school for many young Syrian boys and girls eager to learn.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 29

Iran's Christians celebrate Christmas

Many of Iran's Christians celebrate Christmas on Jan. 6, but the holiday is becoming popular across Iran and many Christians are celebrating on Dec. 25, with some young Iranians joining in.
Read more»

 Maysam Bizær for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 28

Beirut's southern suburbs celebrate Christmas

A Shiite mother observes the Christian holiday and encourages others to embrace a tolerant attitude toward different religions.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on December 28

Influential cleric urges reforms in Iran's Assembly of Experts

In an exclusive interview, Al-Monitor spoke with Ayatollah Asadollah Bayat-Zanjani, an Iranian marja in the city of Qom.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 29

Muslims join Christians for Christmas celebrations in Gaza

More Muslims in Gaza are buying Christmas trees and joining in Christmas festivities as an occasion to solidify unity and forget the recent war with Israel.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 28

Iraqi Shiite pilgrimage takes political turn

As the pilgrimage of Arbaeen in Iraq grows in strength, so do its political dimensions.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 26

Outrage as Palestinian soccer team cancels friendly with Iran

The Palestinian soccer team canceled a friendly match with Iran, sparking online outrage that it was at the instigation of Iran's competitors.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 26

To beat unemployment, young Gazans turn to birds

In light of the repeated Israeli assaults on the Gaza Strip that have destroyed the local economy, some young Palestinians are breeding canaries to overcome poverty and unemployment.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 26

Scabies, lice ravage Aleppo neighborhoods

The residents of rebel-held Aleppo are suffering from outbreaks of communicable diseases as garbage piles up in neighborhoods lacking water and electricity.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 26

Santa trumps Islamic State in Baghdad

Iraqi security officials are on high alert against Islamic State attacks during the holidays, but Iraqis appear to be going about business as usual.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on December 24

Planned Armenian genocide memorial ruffles Ankara

Turkey seems to have the upper hand in the political struggle against an Armenian genocide monument proposed for Geneva.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on December 24

The massacre Turkey hopes Alevis will forget

The government is obstructing memorial observances for the 1978 anti-Alevi massacre in Maras, hoping it will be forgotten.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on December 24

Iranian students face dangerous schools

Despite promises by government officials to improve school safety, the heating systems in some 130,000 Iranian schools remain dangerous.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 24

Egyptians criticize government's response to epidemics

Lack of vaccines and slow response time has prompted many to accuse the Ministry of Health of not doing enough.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 23

Erdogan declares birth control treason

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest blunder hints at the Justice and Development Party’s changing approach to women’s rights.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 23

Young Jews look to leave Turkey

A column published by a Jewish student in Turkey has highlighted the response of the Jewish community to recent incidents targeting them.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 23

Egypt keeps Salafist imams out of pulpits ahead of elections

After cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian regime is now going after Salafists by restricting access to mosque pulpits.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 23

Iraqi women don more conservative dress

As religious conservatism rises in Iraq, women are going beyond the hijab to show their religious commitment and membership in their communities.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 23

Student political groups face crackdown in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority’s security forces have targeted student movements in West Bank universities.
Read more»

 Hassan Obeid for Al-Monitor on December 23

France waters down Arab draft resolution on Palestine

There are stark differences between the French and Arab UN Security Council draft resolutions on Palestine.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 23

Swine flu cases rattle Gaza

Cases of swine flu have emerged in Gaza, where hospitals are unprepared for an outbreak and health services continue to deteriorate.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 23

Islamic State's female bloggers draw European women to Syria

Posts about dinners, travel routes and Kalashnikovs are designed to encourage women to join up as teachers, nurses and wives.
Read more»

 Brenda Stoter for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 23

Israelis enjoy Polish-style Christmas Eve dinner

Israelis of Polish origin or affiliation enjoyed a traditional Polish-style Christmas Eve dinner, reminiscing about such occasions back in Poland in the old days when Christians and Jews alike were enjoying this delicious dinner together.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 22

Under crackdown, Turkish media close ranks

Under government attack, Gulenist journalists are seeking support from colleagues whose imprisonment they once supported, warning that they could be next.
Read more»

 Sibel Utku Bila for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 22

Syrian regime pursues draft dodgers

The Syrian regime is imposing tough new measures to prevent young men in regime-held areas from avoiding military conscription.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Damascus for Al-Monitor on December 22

Responding to the Islamic State with music

Rhetorical songs are becoming an increasingly popular way to resist the Islamic State's brutality.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 22

Pro-Erdogan artists, writers stir controversy in Turkey

Unconditional support for Erdogan from writers, musicians and movie stars animates angry debates that deepen social discord in an already deeply divided Turkey.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 19

Can Israel, Palestine exist in one space?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Dan Goldenblatt, co-CEO of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, presents his vision of two states in one space, arguing that this proposed solution could be accepted by both the Israeli right and the Palestinians.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 19

Syrian authorities halt ferries to Turkey

It’s become even harder for Syrians to flee the war-ravaged country after Syrian authorities stopped the ferry service between Tartus and the Turkish port city of Mersin.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Damascus for Al-Monitor on December 19

Sisi amends traffic laws to curb fatal road accidents

Dangerous drivers face harsher sanctions with amendments to Egypt's traffic law in light of increasing road accidents.
Read more»

 Muhammad Ghamrawy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 21

Iraqis wage new battle for freedoms

A controversial draft law that curbs freedoms of expression and assembly has been resubmitted to the Iraqi parliament, sparking a wave of criticism from activists and civil society organizations.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 18

Lebanon signs agreement with Mercosur

Lebanon has signed a memorandum of understanding with the South American free trade organization Mercosur, whose member states host three times the number of Lebanese living in Lebanon.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on December 18

Nepotism flourishes under AKP

Turkey’s main opposition party has revealed a list of government workers who got public jobs through corrupt channels and created a website for citizens to report other cases.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on December 18

Egypt universities outsource security

Falcon Group International, a private contractor, is responsible for security in 12 Egyptian universities, but its presence has sparked controversy among students and administrators alike.
Read more»

 Amr Abdelatty for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 18

Are Israeli voters worried more about security or the economy?

Some Israeli left-wing politicians have hinted lately that the reported attack on Syria well serves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party ahead of the elections, shifting public focus away from an economic agenda back to security threats.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 18

How foreign imams radicalized Syria's war

When eastern Aleppo fell to rebel factions, radical preachers from abroad quickly moved in and began proselytizing extremist views to the local population, raising fears that such effects may linger for years to come.
Read more»

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on December 17

Iraqis hungry for knowledge on country's displaced Jews

Official suppression of the history of Jews forced to leave Iraq in the mid-20th century ended with the toppling of Saddam Hussein and is now being explored in movies and news reports.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 22

Iran warned Australia about Sydney attacker

Sydney hostage-taker Man Haron Monis had long been wanted by Iran for fraud.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 16

Mothers of missing Syrians look for answers

Thousands of Syrians remain missing, either abducted by armed groups or held in government prisons, leaving their anguished families distraught.
Read more»

Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 16

Sisi under fire over proposed defamation law

Even loyal followers of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are up in arms about the proposed defamation law criminalizing the January 25 and June 30 revolutions.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 16

Erdogan shows his true, authoritarian colors

Turkey took a dangerous turn toward autocracy with the arrest of journalists critical of the government.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on December 16

Is Iran's supreme leader subject to oversight?

Statements by parliament member Ali Motahari have once again raised the issue of whether Iran's supreme leader can be supervised.
Read more»

 Shahir ShahidSaless for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 16

Shiites, Sunnis unite to denounce and condemn extremists

The recent surge of Islamist extremists movements has had a positive effect in uniting Shiite and Sunni clerics, from Tehran to Cairo, to denounce the waves of intolerance and radicalism.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 15

Middle East dictators feed sectarianism

To assess why the Arab world is increasingly torn apart by violence in the name of sectarian identity and solidarity, we must focus on the abysmal strategies of patron-client dictatorships and economic inequality.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on December 15

Divorced dads get organized in Turkey

Divorced Turkish fathers are seeking parliamentary help with high alimony judgments and ex-wives who bar them from seeing their children.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 15

Iran sociologist: people, government fear each other

Controversial comments by an Iranian sociologist have shed light on his views about the relationship between the Iranian people and their government.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 15

LGBT community finds Damascus more open

With the war still raging, it's hard for the morality police to focus on the LGBT community in Damascus.
Read more»

Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 15

'Arab Idol' breaks isolation of Israel’s Palestinian citizens

Haytham Khalayleh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was one of the three finalists of "Arab Idol" and though he did not win the singing contest, it provided an opportunity to break through the isolation Palestinians with Israeli citizenship have faced since 1948.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 15

Syrian patriarch: To help Christians, stop flow of weapons

Orthodox leader John X tells Al-Monitor that outside powers must stop interfering if the Middle East is to heal.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 12

Corruption, 'ghost contractors' sink Baghdad after rains

After the first rainfall of the season, Iraqis have blamed flooding on corruption that is delaying construction projects.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 12

Businesses boom as Syrians put down roots in Turkey

Ankara has acknowledged the prospect of at least 1 million Syrian refugees never leaving, as many set up companies, buy property and open schools.
Read more»

 Sibel Utku Bila for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 12

Gaza universities struggle to stay afloat

Gaza’s universities are cutting professors’ salaries, reducing grants and increasing tuition fees as a result of the financial crisis plaguing the Gaza Strip.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 12

Saudi archiving center restores millions of ancient documents

Specialists within the kingdom carefully preserve key historical and religious texts dating back more than 900 years.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 12

UAE chocolatiers 'rebrand' dates, camel milk into luxury treats

Two United Arab Emirates companies have found international success with luxury confections made with local ingredients such as dates and camel milk.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on December 11

Besieged Aleppo residents turn to farming

Residents in the rebel-held part of Aleppo are planting vegetables and raising animals in preparation for the impending regime siege.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 11

Abadi vows to hunt 'ghost soldiers'

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has publicly addressed the issue of "ghost" soldiers and employees, an aspect of rampant state corruption, and promised to fight the problem.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on December 11

Erdogan's 'New Turkey' aspires teaching 'Old Turkish'

Following the National Education Council's proposal to make Ottoman-language instruction compulsory for high school students, Alevis, Kurds and secular Turks oppose the decision, fearing further marginalization.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 10

$8,700 will let young Turks 'buy out' their military service

The Turkish government's unexpected decision to let conscripts pay off compulsory military service has military leaders worried, as tens of thousands of young men stand to take advantage of the chance not to join up.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 10

Egypt passes new law on 'terrorist' entities

Egypt has passed a new law defining individuals and entities to be deemed terrorist, prompting fears that many human rights activists and civil society organizations with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood will be targeted.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 10

Erdogan wants youth to learn Ottoman-era Turkish

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking fire for his vow to make Ottoman-era Turkish a compulsory course in high schools.
Read more»

 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 9

Greed, family breakdowns afflict Gaza society

Gaza’s society is reeling from the stresses of the last Israeli war, with families falling apart amid great psychological pressure.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 9

Syrian fighter's story one of tragedy, greed

In search of money and power, one young Syrian man considered signing up with the army, then joined a rebel faction and later the Islamic State, but was ultimately rewarded with death.
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Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on December 9

Turkey legalizes alternative medicine

The Turkish government has paved the way for hospitals to use treatments dating back to Seljuk and Ottoman times, including bloodsucking leeches and scar-healing flies.
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 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 9

Hoping for miracles, Shiites walk Iraq's Arbaeen pilgrimage

Arbaeen is a religious commemoration that Shiites from around the world celebrate as a religious obligation and a social deed, and some witness miracles performed by Imam Hussein ibn Ali.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 9

Inside the world of high-end Middle Eastern art sales

Sales of Middle Eastern art at Christie's Dubai are setting records for artists, highlighting the vibrant scene for modern and contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish art.
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 Daria Daniel for Al-Monitor on December 9

Erdogan Islamizes education system to raise 'devout youth'

Religious education may become compulsory in primary schools in Turkey following the transformation of hundreds of secular schools into religious education establishments.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on December 9

Rouhani speech interrupted by Green Movement chants

Speeches commemorating Student Day were disrupted across Iran's universities by outcries in support of Green Movement leaders and student activists.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 8

European Muslim groups angered by inclusion on UAE's terror list

The UAE's recently published list of 85 "terrorist" organizations has prompted an outcry from the European Islamic organizations included on it.
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 Hassan Obeid for Al-Monitor on December 8

How will Saudis adapt to low oil prices?

Saudi Arabia will have to rely on its reserves and cut its projects and other aid to cope with falling oil prices, a tall task for a rentier state.
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 Saeed Alwahabi for Al-Monitor on December 8

New mooovie remembers cows that 'threatened' Israel

Award-winning documentary “The Wanted 18” reveals the nonviolent ambitions of Palestinian activists in the first intifada who wanted to challenge Israel’s occupation through means of self-sufficiency and tax evasion.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 8

After attack, Israelis show support for bilingual school

Around 2,000 people from across Israel — Jews and Arabs, religious and secular — marched in support of the Hand in Hand bilingual school in Jerusalem after it was tagged and set on fire by extremists.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 8

Iran considers ending death penalty for drug offenses

Iranian judicial officials have once again stated publicly that the country's criminal prosecution and punishment of drug-related crime need to be reformed.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 5

Gaza writers receive death threats from IS

A statement purporting to come from the Islamic State in Gaza listed 18 writers and poets who it says the radical group will kill if they do not cease insulting Islam in their work.
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 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 5

Land grab in Turkey's southeast threatens return of minorities

Armed and determined Kurdish tribes seize hundreds of acres of land owned by Christians and Yazidis in southeastern Turkey.
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 Susanne Güsten for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 5

Proposed bill challenges Turkish citizenship for foreign spouses

The Justice and Development Party introduces a vague morality clause for the naturalization of foreign spouses to impose its own definition of marriage.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 7

Gaza engineer develops new technology to replace cement

Engineer Imad al-Khalidi has developed a replacement for cement to help the Gaza Strip deal with its housing crisis, after the Israeli war left many homes damaged or destroyed and in the face of Israel continuing to prevent the entry of construction materials.
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 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 4

Tunisian artist popularizes 'calligraffiti'

Tunisian-born eL Seed, an internationally famous artist and sculptor, uses Arabic-style "calligraffiti" to promote cross-cultural tolerance.
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 Daria Daniel for Al-Monitor on December 4

Lebanon's bittersweet expertise in prosthetics helps amputees

As a result of past conflicts in Lebanon, organizations and government ministries have created a prosthetics sector that continues to advance and using its knowledge to assist not only Lebanese, but also Syrian refugee victims of war and those with congenital disabilities.
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 Melissa Tabeek for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on December 3

Israelis raise funds for Syrian children

The fundraising event in Tel Aviv for Syrian children had a slow start, as many Israelis show apathy to the suffering of their neighbors, but the Israeli committee supporting war-stricken Syrian children is determined to address the indifference in Israeli society.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 3

Gaza war leaves students with ruined classrooms

Israel shelled dozens of schools during the recent Gaza war, destroying and damaging classrooms and leaving many students to study in impossible conditions.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 3

Jordan, Brotherhood: reluctant partners in the political dance

A delicate dance between Jordan and the Muslim Brotherhood allows both to further their goals within the confines of a well-trodden routine.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 3

No sign of pardon for Iran blogger sentenced to death

The deputy head of Iran's judiciary has said that there is no move to pardon blogger Soheil Arabi, sentenced to execution over Facebook comments, but there is a request to review his case.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on December 2

Beirut’s sun never sets

The death of Lebanon's immortal diva Sabah sparks memories of the magic of Beirut, still luring admirers through war and turmoil.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on December 2

Rural Egyptian village stuck in time

Egypt has gone through dramatic changes in the last three years, but in the remote upper Egyptian village of Western Bindar, life remains at a standstill with little state presence.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 2

Turkey looks to lure Hollywood filmmakers

Seeking to attract European and American filmmakers to Turkey, the Culture and Tourism Ministry has drafted a bill to meet 25% of the costs of foreign productions shot there.
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 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 2

Arab virtuoso transcends musical boundaries

Simon Shaheen, a Palestinian considered one of the foremost Arab musicians of his time, has earned international fame — and 11 Grammy nominations — by creating a fusion of classical Arabic, jazz and Latin music.
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 Daria Daniel for Al-Monitor on December 1

Exiled Iranian journalist recalls lost freedoms

In a new book, former New York Times correspondent Nazila Fathi intertwines her personal and professional experiences after the Iranian revolution, including the challenges of covering the Islamic Republic for two decades.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 1

Erdogan rejects women's equality

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan captures headlines again by stressing that the Islamic perception of creation doesn’t consider men and women to be equal.
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 Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 1

Legendary Lebanese poet dies at 102

Remembering Lebanon's renowned poet Said Aql, whose legacy spanned the 20th century.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 1

Turkey's women expand role in military

The Turkish army is witnessing a rapid increase of females in its ranks.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 1

Turkish simits arrive in New York

A simit is no longer just ring-shaped sesame bread, but a subtle introduction to Turkish cuisine.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on November 28