Politics

Politics


Iran's Basij lash out at nuclear deal

While President Rouhani has not faced severe criticism over the nuclear deal from Principlists and even IRGC commanders, some members of the Basij are voicing their opposition
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 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 30

Critics say Suez Canal project falls short of expectations

An extension to the existing Suez Canal is set to be inaugurated Aug. 6, but some experts and civil society members say the project could have done a better job capitalizing on Egypt’s resources.
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 Safiaa Mounir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 30

Family feud: Bibi's brother-in-law slams current government

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Hagai Ben-Artzi, the brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, dismissed the current Israeli government as insufficiently right.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 30

Saudi war drags on in Yemen

While Saudi Arabia continues military operations in Yemen through allied forces, it could face severe political risks.
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 Maysaa Shuja al-Deen for Al-Monitor on July 30

Fabius takes over Tehran

The trip by the French foreign minister to Iran was the first in 17 years and signals deeper economic cooperation with Iran after the nuclear deal.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 30

Kobani’s oil dries up

Living conditions are dire in Kobani, and the precarious economic conditions seem to be related to the lack of oil due to the blockade that has been insulating the city.
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 Massoud Hamed for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on July 29

Netanyahu, Bennett square off over settlers

Recent protests by settlers have pitted Education Minister Naftali Bennett against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a fight over right-wing support.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on July 29

Will Saudi Arabia save Hamas?

Saudi Arabia's patronage of Hamas could help the movement's leadership regain the power usurped by its military wing and save it from collapse.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 29

Lapid, Herzog veer right

Israeli center-left leaders' adoption of rhetoric to appeal to the right instead of crafting credible policy alternatives indicates that they have not learned the lessons from their March electoral loss and will be unprepared for early elections.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 29

Iran's dos and don'ts for talking about the nuclear deal

Iran's Culture Ministry believes the nuclear negotiations are a national security issue and specific guidelines must be followed in their coverage to prevent divisions in society.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 28

Is Turkey really committed to fighting IS?

Turkey's striking harder at the PKK than at the Islamic State has raised concerns that it is pursuing the domestic political agenda of the Justice and Development Party to marginalize the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party and gain sole control in early elections.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on July 28

Egyptian police launch campaign to improve image

Egypt's police force and Interior Ministry are trying to build goodwill among the populace through charity, a move some critics say is politically motivated.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 28

Hamas visit to Riyadh strikes nerve in Iran

A Hamas delegation recently visited Saudi Arabia to bolster relations between both parties, as Iran fumed.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 28

No financial, judicial control over Israeli settlement enterprise

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demands a tighter inspection of Iranian nuclear plants, but rejects inspection of settlement financing and construction, which is criticized by Israel's High Court also for its lack of transparency.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 28

Burns: implementation key to Iran nuclear deal

The first year of implementation of the Iran nuclear deal will be especially critical to ensuring its success and durability over the long haul, former US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns tells Al-Monitor.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on July 27

Salehi speaks on 'secret side deal' with IAEA

In an interview with Iranian state television, Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, talked about the agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency of how the inspections of specific sites will be handled.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 27

Libya scrambles to find Gadhafi's missing billions

The Libyan government is coming up with a plan to recover the funds as foreign reserves dry up and oil revenues decline.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on July 27

Will Lebanon solve its trash crisis?

With trash piling up in the streets for weeks and landfills overflowing, the country needs a solution soon.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on July 27

Is PKK real target of Turkish strikes?

Turkey’s decision to open two fronts, against the Islamic State and the PKK, complicates US cooperation with Kurds in Syria.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on July 27

Egypt’s journalists worry new anti-terror law could send them to jail

Egypt’s new draft anti-terrorism law is not sitting well with journalists, who claim the law is unnecessary and violates the rights of the Egyptian people.
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 Mohamed Saied for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 27

Erbil-Baghdad oil relations swing between deal, no deal

Tensions are still high between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government over oil exports.
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 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on July 27

The case for releasing Pollard

US authorities deny any linkage between the Iran deal and the fact that it won't oppose the release of convicted spy Jonathan Pollard later this year.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on July 27

Former Shin Bet chief: Diplomatic stalemate keeps Bibi in power

Yaakov Peri tells Al-Monitor that the Israeli government is stable since the outgoing US administration has formulated its legacy and there is no diplomatic initiative to be opposed by right-wing coalition members.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 27

Arab Knesset leader: Don't call me 'a demographic problem'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Joint List Chair Ayman Odeh argues that calling for the preservation of a Jewish majority in Israel excludes Arabs from public discourse.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 27

Travel permits aim to manage, not solve, Palestine-Israel conflict

Palestinians were granted permits to travel to Israel for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, but larger issues remain.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on July 27

Erdogan’s shift on Islamic State linked to Kurdish gains in Syria

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally takes on the Islamic State while attacking PKK bases in northern Iraq; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now the only US ally actively opposing Iran deal; Israel faces pressure to forgo demolition of Palestinian village.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on July 26

Turkey drawn into vortex of violence

A sudden escalation of attacks against police and the military after the Suruc suicide bombing prompts fears that the cease-fire with the Kurds has ended.
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 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 26

Congress gets extra dose of Iran before summer recess

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of July 27.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 26

Post deal, can Rouhani deliver on promises of reform?

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani must tread lightly to ensure economic prosperity after sanctions relief.
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 Alireza Nader for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 24

Rape of young girl in Iran met with muted response

The incident is raising questions of a double standard media censorship in Iran.
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 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 24

Egyptian diplomat: Nuclear deal 'no huge victory' for Tehran

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Badr al-Din Zayed talks about the rise of terrorism in Egypt and the possible impact of the Iran deal.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on July 24

Iraqi Christian militia draws foreign fighters

Foreign fighters who have joined Dwekh Nawsha, a Christian military organization fighting the Islamic State in Iraq, are finally seeing combat.
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 Adam Lucente for Al-Monitor on July 24

Saudi-Iranian understanding key to nuclear deal's success

The nuclear deal should be a prelude to major coordination between Saudi Arabia and Iran if it is to help bring about peace in the region.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on July 24

Is Egypt ready for a secular party?

Attempts to establish a secular party are springing up in Egypt, but can the country accept what this party preaches?
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 24

Cyprus settlement could open trade routes for Turkey

Should the peace talks in Cyprus result in the island’s reunification, the Turkish economy could benefit from Nicosia's close ties in the eastern Mediterranean.
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 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 24

Hamas puts on new face with English website launch

Hamas has launched a new website in English in the hope of bolstering its communication with the West.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 24

Dismissed PLO leader denies Dahlan coup plot

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former PLO secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo accused President Mahmoud Abbas of one-man rule over Palestinian institutions.
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 Aaron Magid for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 24

Israel defense minister refuses to consider IDF pension cuts

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon attacked a report calling for the cutting of IDF salaries and pensions despite public support for a more transparent IDF budget.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 24

Israelis lack compassion for Gazans' suffering

The recent cancellations of screenings of a documentary on Gaza makes it seem that Israelis are incapable of acknowledging the trauma of war when those suffering are Palestinians.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 24

Kerry, GOP face off over Iran deal

The secretary of state said lawmakers in search of a better deal are pursuing a "fantasy."
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 23

Fabius visit stirs bad blood in Iran

France’s foreign minister is finding out that a deal with Iran is not enough of a Band-Aid to repair the damage a previous scandal has done to his reputation in the country.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 23

Veteran US diplomat: After Iran deal, focus on Syria

US diplomat James Dobbins shared his thoughts on what is next for the US and Iran, and what the recent agreement means for further collaboration in the region.
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 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on July 23

Ankara turns blind eye to economic downturn

Turkey’s economy is on a worrisome course as tourism and export revenues fall.
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 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 23

The Islamic State's secret recruiting ground in Turkey

Bombers from two separate incidents have hailed from Adiyaman province.
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 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 23

One coastal town's groundbreaking approach to local governance in Turkey

A municipality in southern Turkey has introduced an unprecedented multi-religious, multi-cultural approach to local administration.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 23

Obama's foreign policy doctrine rejected by Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's unequivocal rejection of the Iranian deal reflects his rejection of President Barack Obama's liberal doctrine, which embraces a strategy of diplomatic solutions to conflicts in cooperation with US partners.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 26

Geagea speaks out

In this interview with Al-Hayat, leader of the Lebanese Forces Party Samir Geagea talks about reasons behind the presidential vacuum, Lebanon’s relations with the Arab world and the outcome of the talks with Free Patriotic Movement leader Gen. Michel Aoun.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on July 23

What Lebanon will get from the Iran deal

Economist Hassan Mokalled told Al-Monitor that the expected boost the nuclear deal will provide Iran's economy could benefit Lebanon in several areas.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on July 23

What Iraq needs to survive

Social disintegration and other issues facing Iraq require a nationwide reform campaign.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on July 23

Hamas, Salafists try to move beyond bumpy history

Serious efforts are being made toward a reconciliation between Hamas and the Salafists.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 23

Herzog plays the tough guy

Labor leader Isaac Herzog is convinced that to defeat the Likud Party at the next elections, Labor must embrace a more aggressive and assertive security image.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 23

Netanyahu the autocrat

Israel is suffering from a disorganized process of decision making on strategic issues due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing style.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 23

Khamenei foreign policy adviser says Iran sticking to its guns

Ali Akbar Velayati says that the nuclear deal will not change Iran's regional policy or limit the country's missile program.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 22

Turkey's Constitutional Court stands up to Erdogan

The Turkish Constitutional Court has shown its independence in issuing recent decisions despite the condemnations of the AKP and its propaganda machine.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on July 22

Deciphering IS' strategy in latest Turkey attack

The July 20 attack on Suruc was designed to send a strong message to Kurds, the United States and Turkey.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on July 22

Former insurgent Islamist leader's take on IS in Sinai

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Gamaa Islamiya leader Nageh Ibrahim says the Muslim Brotherhood ought to reach a reconciliation with the state.
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George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 22

Can Netanyahu get Congress to reject nuke deal?

The United States and Israel are close allies, but the battle over the nuclear deal is getting fiercer by the moment.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on July 22

Iran MPs: Hamas visit to Saudi Arabia a 'mistake'

While Iran has been a strong supporter of the Palestinian group Hamas, a trip by its leaders to Saudi Arabia has drawn warnings from Iranian politicians.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 21

Israeli media drowns out pro-Iran-deal voices

Israeli politicians condemning the agreement with Iran have monopolized the conversation in Israel.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 21

Are Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units heroes or villains?

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units are facing criticism while the fighters' political role continues to evolve.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on July 21

Lebanese, UN fallout over refugee registration

Lebanese officials have criticized UNHCR efforts to register Syrian refugee births, arguing that the country is at capacity.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on July 21

Does Hamas have a 'revolutionary plan' for the West Bank?

After a recent arrest campaign against Hamas members in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has charged that the movement plans to gain control of the territory.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 22

Ankara's response to forest fires ignites Kurdish anger

Kurds in southeastern Turkey believe the government was intentionally lax in combating a series of local forest fires, which residents think were intentionally set to destroy areas where fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party had been known to operate in the past.
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 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 21

Kurdish opposition figures denounce Ankara officials as 'accomplices' of IS after Suruc bombing

After 31 young Turks were killed and many more wounded by a suicide attack in Suruc, protests erupted across the country and politicians scrambled to point fingers.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on July 21

Israeli left needs to face defeat, move on

By lashing out instead of accepting its electoral defeat and rehabilitating itself, the Israeli left stands to alienate even more Israelis.
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 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 21

I'm no fan of Bibi but I see a bad deal, says former Labor minister

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh argues that the deal with Iran is dangerous to Israel, because it will strengthen Hezbollah and Hamas, while allowing Iran to enlarge its regional hegemony.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 20

West Bank villagers deliver final plea to save homes from destruction

Residents of the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya say that their repeated requests for construction permits were rejected by Israel, which has instead decided to demolish their homes.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 20

How Turkey really feels about the Iran deal

Although Turkey seems to be happy with the Iran nuclear deal, it is hard to say that politically Turkey would be delighted seeing Iran emerging as a regional power and an international actor.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on July 20

Kurds push back against charges of ethnic cleansing

A visit to northern Syria casts doubts on claims that Kurds are carrying out ethnic cleansing in the area.
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 Verda Ozer for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 20

Attacks on Chinese escalate in Turkey

Turkish anger over Chinese policies has led to attacks and racist protests.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on July 20

US, EU take strong stand against Israeli demolition plan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remained silent about plans to destroy the West Bank village of Susiya despite calls by the United States and the European Union to rescind the demolition orders.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 20

Obama calls for 'practical conversation' between Iran, Arab states

US President Barack Obama tells Arab Gulf allies to “stop giving Iran opportunities for mischief”; Zarif says Iran “ready to engage” with Arab countries; Netanyahu weighs political costs of Iran deal.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on July 19

Kerry begins Iran deal sales push on Capitol Hill

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of July 20.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 19

Syrian refugees' US resettlement stalled over security concerns

Critics say the United States should accept 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next year, but the numbers are likely to fall far short.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on July 17

Preventing Iran's post-sanctions job crisis

With the expected lifting of economic sanctions against Iran, the government will need to formulate a set of policies to protect local industry while also taking into account the return of foreign businesses.
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 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 17

Russia looks for new regional footing post-Iran deal

Beyond diplomatic niceties, real challenges and opportunities await Moscow, as the Iran deal is not the culmination but rather the beginning of some serious and complicated work.
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 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on July 17

The Palestinian dancer who was locked away

Lina Khattab, an 18-year-old dancer and university student, tells Al-Monitor about her ordeal when Israeli forces arrested her and says she hopes she can show the world the suffering of the Palestinians.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 19

Israeli play about French prostitute premieres in Turkey

Actor Zion Ashkenazi tells Al-Monitor about the warm welcome he and his one-man play based on the life of French playwright Jean Genet received at a Turkish theater festival.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 17

What are Iran's conservatives saying about the nuclear deal?

Iran's conservatives are warning that a nuclear deal with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council will not necessarily lead to better relations with the United States.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 16

Palestinians hope to regain global attention after Iran deal

Israel and the Palestinians are both preparing themselves for the new period opening up after the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran, with Netanyahu's government moving more to the right and the Palestinians encouraging a French-led UN resolution proposal.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 19

Netanyahu's so-called 'settlement freeze'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly admitted that he has halted settlement construction because of the delicate international setup, but this is aimed at appeasing the United States, pretending that he is battling rightist coalition forces.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 16

Italian Consulate bombing hits home for Cairo, Rome

The security situation in Egypt is precarious, with little hope for future improvement.
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H.A. Hellyer for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 16

Druze caught up in 'game of nations'

The Syrian Druze, staunch allies of the Assad regime, face an existential threat from opposition forces, which is why Druze leaders in neighboring countries have been calling for arming them and for better relations with the Sunni community.
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 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on July 17

Hamas takes hit after latest PA crackdown

A widespread security campaign by the Palestinian Authority has been targeting Hamas members in the West Bank, arresting hundreds and refusing to reveal the reasons behind these measures.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 16

Is IAEA capable of monitoring Iran nuclear program?

Technological advances and lessons learned from previous clandestine nuclear programs provide confidence that Iran cannot violate the terms of a new nuclear agreement.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on July 16

With Iran threat off table, Israel should resolve Palestinian issue

The nuclear deal with Iran actually offers Israel new opportunities, by pushing aside the ongoing focus on the nuclear threat and concentrating on resolving the conflict with the Palestinians.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 16

Is Turkey on brink of more violence?

Increasingly militarized conflict between the Turkish state and the PKK has brought Turkey to the brink of a new spiral of violence.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on July 16

As companies rush to Iran, Turkey slow to wake up to opportunity

As Western companies have already set up camp in Tehran, Turkey’s business circles are waiting and hoping, but political tensions with Iran do not bode well for openings to Turkey.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on July 16

Ultra-Orthodox Knesset members shy away from minister title

For many years, Israel's ultra-Orthodox politicians preferred to be nominated deputy ministers and not ministers, shrugging off official responsibility for a Jewish state run differently than their understanding of Jewish-religious rules.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 16

Iraqi writer brings Persian literature to Arab world

Ghassan Hamdan bridges the Iranian-Arab divide with his translations of Persian literature into Arabic.
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Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 16

Senate hits the brakes on Tunisia aid boost

President Barack Obama wants to almost double assistance to Tunisia, but Congress is split.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 15

The end of 'Death to America'?

Iranian media outlets have largely supported the nuclear deal between Iran and the UN Security Council, with one writer suggesting it is such a turning point in relations with the West that the chant "Death to America" will soon end.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 15

What's delaying gas exploration in Lebanon?

Gas exploration in Lebanon has been in limbo for over two years, but with the renewed international efforts, will the file be reopened?
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on July 15

Russia views Iran agreement favorably, for now

Russia's leaders have greeted the agreement on Iran's nuclear program favorably, although its repercussions down the road might not be welcomed.
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 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on July 15

Zarif after deal: 'The world has changed'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke about balcony diplomacy, regional cooperation and why Israel sees the agreement as an "existential threat."
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on July 15

Netanyahu hopes Iran deal will be steppingstone to Israeli unity government

Iranian nuke deal might present an opportunity for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expand his narrow coalition.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 15

Israel haunted by its mistakes in Gaza

Today, Israelis admit that the disengagement from Gaza was a mistake and wonder how the move could have gone had it been done in cooperation with the Palestinians.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 15

Political arrests threaten to undermine Palestinian reconciliation

The recent arrests of Hamas members by the PA’s security apparatus in the West Bank has raised concerns that the Palestinian reconciliation might fail and internal division will prevail again inside the Palestinian territories.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 15

Sisi Sinai slam gets Egyptian soccer star a red card

Harsh criticism has been leveled against soccer player Ahmed Marghany, who publicly blamed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for the violence in Sinai, in what some see as a violation of the freedom of expression.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 16

Iranian rapper drops bomb with pro-nuke video

An underground Iranian rapper who had previously been in trouble with the law sparks an online backlash after making a pro-government video.
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 Hanif Kashani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 15

Zarif's domestic popularity soars with nuclear deal

The popularity of Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has peaked on social and Reformist traditional media with the announcement of the nuclear deal.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 14

Republicans come out swinging against Iran deal

Republican lawmakers are vowing to derail the Iran deal, declaring their opposition before the ink is dry.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 14

Nuke deal chance for 'new chapter' with Iran

The signing of a deal after three weeks of final negotiations has diplomats hailing a "win-win" solution.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on July 14

Yemenis fall victim to protection rackets in Egypt

Yemenis who sought safe haven in Egypt are being robbed and threatened by gangs.
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Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 14

Gul calls out Erdogan at iftar

Abdullah Gul, Turkey's former president and co-founder of the Justice and Development Party, calls for an urgent revision of Ankara’s foreign policy.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on July 14

Three-year IDF cooling-off period targets Netanyahu's rivals

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is blocking attempts to shorten the three-year wait required of former defense officials before entering politics so that none of them will threaten his rule.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 14

Hamas aims to repeat past successes with prisoner exchange deal

Hamas is making use of lessons learned in current negotiations for another prisoner exchange deal.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 15

AKP ponders what went wrong

While skeptics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Justice and Development Party are still not very vocal, reality seems to be on their side.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on July 15

Why Bibi is personally responsible for Iran policy failure

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be held solely responsible for Israel's diplomatic failure on Iran, maintaining too much control over too many portfolios and surrounding himself with people who won't criticize him.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 14

House, Senate clash over aid to Egypt

The Senate’s spending bill keeps human rights restrictions in place despite resistance from the House.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 13

Hamas hopes military muscle will be Ramadan must-see TV

Palestinian TV productions have embarked on glorifying armed struggle against the Israelis in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of carrying out military operations against them.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 13

Israeli defense minister says Iran deal will set off nuclear arms race in region

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon warns that the imminent agreement with Iran will strengthen it diplomatically and economically.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on July 13

Iranian supreme leader doubles down on struggle against American 'arrogance'

In a speech to Iranian university students, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned about US influence in universities.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 13

Never-ending electricity crisis means lights out for Iraqis, again

Power outages have become a commonplace happening in Iraq, where people now depend on more than one source to substitute for the government’s poor services.
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 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on July 13

Why is Israel trying to shut down this Palestinian TV station?

For years, Palestine TV has dedicated some programming to their Palestinian brethren in Israel, and it was well-received.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on July 13

Al-Azhar rethinks primary school teaching to encourage moderation

After having reviewed and updated its religious curricula, Al-Azhar is now modernizing the katateeb, its well-known Quranic schools, but many question the institution’s ability to succeed in the endeavor.
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 Reham Mokbel for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 14

Israel releases Khader Adnan, for now

Palestinian Khader Adnan, released from prison after 54 days of hunger strike, tells Al-Monitor that the Israeli press ignored his latest battle, trying to silence his fight against administrative detention.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 14

Israel slow to rescue captured citizen. Is it because of his race?

Israeli politicians were quick to turn the affair of Avera Mengistu's release from Gaza into an issue of government discrimination against the Ethiopian-Israeli community.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 13

More planes, more missiles, more warships: Iran increases its military budget by a third

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has commanded that President Hassan Rouhani allocate 5% of Iran's budget to military spending.
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 Abbas Qaidaari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 13

Mubarak's main man speaks from beyond the grave

Testimony from former Mubarak regime official Omar Suleiman, who died in 2012, has a narrative that Egypt's courts seem to be following in their cases against deposed President Mohammed Morsi.
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 Tom Stevenson for Al-Monitor on July 13

Congress seeks to help Tunisia, hinder Iran

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of July 13.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on July 12

Christians clash with Lebanese security forces

Lebanon has been without a president for over a year now, and sectarian sensitivities are at their highest.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on July 10

Istanbul’s Disneyfication

State-led gentrification of Istanbul might be the most important and irreversible legacy of the conservative Islamist AKP government.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on July 10

Aleppo once again in the eye of the storm

It is total chaos in Aleppo where the regime and the opposition are fighting to reign supreme.
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 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on July 10

Why Iraq needs to depoliticize their Popular Mobilization Units

Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units are made up of several groups whose political interests differ, clashing sometimes, which is causing the units to shift focus from the most urgent need — fighting the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on July 10

PA tightens purse strings on Hamas

In a report by the Palestinian Legislative Council’s Oversight and Human Rights Committee, the Palestinian Authority is accused of neglecting Gaza’s financial needs, while it is witnessing the deterioration of its people’s living conditions.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 10

Bibi no Rabin

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently lauded the leadership of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for his courage in launching the 1976 Operation Entebbe, though he himself has never followed him in making historic decisions.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 10

Iran reform must start at home

A nuclear deal may strengthen the position of those in Iran who believe that better relations with the West can improve, not weaken, Iran's influence in the region.
Read more»

 Kayhan Barzegar for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 10

Zarif's comeback spawns hashtag

After Iran's top nuclear negotiator Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly said "Never threaten an Iranian" during the nuclear talks, Iranians took to Twitter to respond.
Read more»

 Holly Dagres for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 9

Is US pursuing Iran regime change in nuclear deal?

A former adviser to nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili wrote that the United States has not abandoned its previous strategies with respect to Iran within the nuclear talks.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 9

Iran, P5+1 face Security Council conundrum

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will have problems if Iranian expectations regarding the timing of lifting sanctions are not managed.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on July 9

The world fails Yemen

As Yemen languishes in the highest-level humanitarian crisis the UN recognizes, the situation is not helped by an unbalanced and ineffectual Security Council resolution.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on July 9

Is Maliki making a comeback?

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is being criticized for sowing sectarianism and using animosity among various Iraqi factions as a way to find a way back to power.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on July 9

Palestinian leadership faces foggy future

A lack of progress in the peace talks, the absence of reconciliation and an aging president have once again forced discussion on the future of Palestinian leadership.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on July 10

Russia's Middle East gamble

Russia's historical links with the Middle East run deep, as even amidst challenges Moscow sees opportunities.
Read more»

 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on July 9

CHP leader predicts early elections in Turkey

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Turkey’s main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, said it is unlikely the AKP will be able to form a coalition government and expressed the urgent need to turn the economy around.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 9

Why France believes Abbas is part of the peace problem

France has long understood that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejects its UN initiative, but has only recently realized that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is no longer a part of the solution, but part of the problem.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 9

Shimon Peres outlines his vision for Israel, the region in 2048

Former President Shimon Peres argues that despite the current dire situation, Israel's future is not bleak.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 12

Netanyahu, Cabel battle over natural gas outline

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Zionist Camp Knesset member Eitan Cabel said he will fight to ensure that any deal to exploit Israel's offshore natural gas will be in the public's best interest.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 9

Iran MP defends trip to Finland to 'promote Islam'

Conservative Iranian MP Hamid Rasaei has been criticized for once again traveling to Europe.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 8

Fatah-Hamas score settling holds unity government hostage

Amid ongoing disputes between Fatah and Hamas, the fate of a new government still hangs in the balance.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 8

Turkey shuts down smugglers by shooting mules

The tension in villages of Uludere in Turkey that lost 34 people in an airstrike by the Turkish air force three years ago persists and frequently develops into confrontations with Turkish soldiers.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 9

Iranian negotiators determined to reach nuclear deal

Iranian diplomats have said they will continue talking until an agreement is reached or it becomes absolutely clear that one is not possible.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on July 8

South Beirut clashes spark deja vu

The recent fighting between young pro-Future Movement Sunni men and pro-Hezbollah Shiite youth raised fears about the eruption of sectarian clashes in Lebanon, as happened on May 7, 2008.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on July 8

Hamas official: Rumors of talks with Israel exaggerated

A senior Hamas source claims that rumors about negotiations with Israel for a long-term truce are exaggerated, saying that the only issue seriously on the table is an exchange of Hamas prisoners and the bodies of two IDF soldiers.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 8

Iran’s Additional Protocol concerns need not stop deal

Iran has little to worry about in agreeing to enforce the NPT Additional Protocol, with resources like "managed access" and precedents for dispute resolution from other countries.
Read more»

 Farshad Kashani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 9

Rafsanjani's Instagram diplomacy

Hashemi Rafsanjani is engaging in Instagram diplomacy with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 7

A Turkish plan to bail out Greece?

After decades of disputes, can Turkey and Greece once again look to each other as allies?
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on July 7

China, Turkey: friends or foes?

Turkey's manipulative news reports of China's massacres of fasting Uighurs recently upended China-Turkey relations.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on July 7

Erdogan talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk

Turkey appears to have changed its mind on Syria, and Ankara is preparing to work closer with Washington against IS, which suggests it may be moving away from prioritizing the demise of the Assad regime.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on July 7

Iran talks kick into overdrive

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said the negotiators need a couple more days to try to conclude a final Iran nuclear accord.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on July 7

Mixed reviews for TV show on Egyptian Jews

A period TV series set in a historic multicultural neighborhood in Cairo is a departure for Ramadan television programming in the country.
Read more»

 Ismael El-Kholy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 7

How viable is Lebanon’s presidential poll?

A few Christian leaders in Lebanon have agreed on a mechanism to resolve the ongoing presidential conflict that has caused the resentment of many, but will it prove a viable option?
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on July 7

Israeli MK recounts his time on Gaza flotilla

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Israeli-Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas says that contrary to claims by right-wing Knesset members, the Marianne flotilla was not an act of violence, but a political one, drawing international attention to Gaza by peaceful means.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 7

The Islamic State is coming for the Gulf

The Islamic State seems to believe its recent suicide attacks against Shiite targets in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will increase its appeal to Sunnis in the Gulf.
Read more»

 Ibrahim al-Hatlani for Al-Monitor on July 9

Why is Israel turning a blind eye to South Sudan arms sales?

Meretz Knesset member Tamar Zandberg accuses Israel of facilitating the sales of weapons to countries at war with an army accused of perpetrating war crimes, such as South Sudan.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 7

Iranians look to post-deal economic, political challenges

As Iran moves toward a final nuclear deal, the national media is buzzing with the domestic political and economic issues to be addressed the day after.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 6

Lebanon to poll Christians on choice for president

The leaders of Lebanon's main Christian factions have agreed on a proposal by Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun to poll Lebanese Christians on their favored presidential candidate.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on July 6

Egypt clamps down on religious ritual

The Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf has imposed a series of strict conditions on religious retreats held in mosques during Ramadan.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 6

Netanyahu backslides on religious reforms

By caving in to ultra-Orthodox demands to cancel religious reforms, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disregards most of the Israeli public, focusing solely on his political survival.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on July 6

Bennett, Lapid rush to back IDF officer in West Bank shooting

Instead of waiting for the IDF to investigate the conduct of its soldiers, Israeli politicians tend to back them unconditionally, turning each incident into a political issue.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 6

Turkish military wary of Erdogan plan for Syrian buffer zone

The United States remains opposed to a no-fly zone in northern Syria; Masrour Barzani calls for "amicable divorce" for the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; Jacky Hugi writes that Israel should back the Syrian government "at any price."
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on July 5

Why did Sisi back out of African Union Summit?

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi canceling his participation in the African Union Summit in Johannesburg has raised questions about relations between Egypt and South Africa.
Read more»

 Mohamed Saied for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 5

Gaza's only mobile phone company forced to close

The Gaza attorney general's shutdown of Jawwal for alleged tax evasion could affect hundreds of jobs and has been met by criticism by those who see the company as a victim of a political divide.
Read more»

 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 3

Netanyahu coalition's days may be numbered

The natural gas fiasco, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to withdraw his proposed outline from a Knesset vote, is yet another sign of the fragility of his coalition.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on July 3

Iran's conservatives suspicious after IAEA head's visit

Iranian conservatives believe that the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, traveled to Tehran to resolve issues over possible military dimensions.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 2

Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon speaks out

The Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon, Mohammed Badr al-Din Zayed, weighs in on the prospects regarding the situation in Egypt and other issues.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on July 2

Israel, PA officials disagree over source of West Bank violence

Despite the recent spate of attacks, Palestinian security officials argue that neither Fatah nor Hamas are interested in escalating the situation with Israel and emphasize that Israeli policies create continuous frustration among West Bank residents.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 3

Egypt fights for Mubarak's millions

Egypt is seeking to repatriate $700 million that Switzerland has frozen in accounts that belong to Hosni Mubarak and his family.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 2

The 'who loves Erdogan more' contest

In the AKP universe, even those who dare to criticize President Recep Tayyip Erdogan feel the need to note that they love the great leader more than anybody else.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on July 5

Erdogan looks for military victory to avenge electoral defeat

Some observers believe that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is attempting to force Turkey into a confrontation with Syria before a coalition government is formed.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on July 2

Common market between Africa, Egypt not in the offing

The African economic blocs summit left some feeling that the African common market idea is far-fetched.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on July 2

Netanyahu puts American Jews in tight spot

US Jews feel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's defiant policy on the Iran agreement and talks with the Palestinians forces them to choose between the US agenda and interests and their support of Israel.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on July 2

Larijani comments renew calls for release of Mousavi, Karroubi

Remarks by Iran's judiciary that the 2009 protests were not trying to overthrow the government have led to a call by an Iranian MP to end the house arrest of Green Movement leaders.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on July 1

Israel should back Assad

Based on past experience and years of calm borders with Syria, Israel must abandon whatever ties it develops with Syrian rebels and work with its Western allies to stabilize President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Read more»

 Jacky Hugi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on July 1

Masrour Barzani: Kurdish independence would help defeat IS

Masrour Barzani, chief of the Iraqi Kurdish intelligence services, talks to Al-Monitor about delays in international support against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on July 2

The Islamic State's organizational structure one year in

A year after declaring itself a caliphate, the Islamic State employs a complex hierarchy and system of command.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on July 2

Rivalries threaten unity government

Several Palestinian factions are clashing over the formation of a new national government.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on July 1

IS threat could push Jordan beyond its borders

Despite the imminent terrorist threat, some Jordanians reject the necessity to intervene in Syrian and Iraqi territory.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on July 1

Ocalan niece's swearing-in ceremony marks milestone for Kurds

The niece of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan made her debut in parliament last week in a striking illustration of how the Kurdish struggle has progressed and transformed Turkey over the years.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on July 1

Is Turkey poised to invade Syria?

The Turkish military is concerned a military engagement in northern Syria has no international support.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on July 1

Iraq's defunct military industry

Some Iraqi parties are calling for the reactivation of the Military Industry Commission, a relic of Saddam Hussein's rule, in order to jump-start investment.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on July 1

Momentum for Iran deal builds

The Iran nuclear talks have been extended until July 7 as the Iranian and US officials present in Vienna express optimism and mutual reassurance.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on June 30

Riyadh's shifting Beirut policy

Recent decisions and a series of measures adopted by Saudi Arabia all point to a clear change in the way the kingdom will be handling relations with Lebanon.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on June 30

Security situation weighs on Iraq's economy

The wars that befell Iraq have negatively impacted the country’s economy, spiking its poverty rates and driving some to distrust what seems to be a temporary solution to the crisis the government seems inclined to adopt.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on June 30

Turkish corruption suspect awarded business prize

Iranian-Turkish businessman Reza Zarrab, who was taken into custody during Turkey’s “17-25 December corruption probe," received top exporter award from a pro-AKP business group.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 30

New report outlines Al-Aqsa Mosque recommendations

The International Crisis Group report on Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem tackles this controversial issue for Muslim Palestinians and Israeli Jews, and proposes recommendations to de-escalate the tension between all concerned parties, including Jordan.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on June 30

Fight against IS draws Hamas, Egypt closer

Relations between Hamas and Egypt, strained since the 2013 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, appear to be improving with Saudi mediation.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on July 1

Critics make last-ditch effort to hamper Iranian deal

US skeptics are putting maximum pressure on negotiators ahead of June 30 deadline.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 29

Reality of deal sets in for Iran, P5+1

A senior US negotiator suggested that all parties, but particularly the Iranians, may be experiencing some eleventh-hour jitters.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on June 29

Awaiting 'white smoke' in Vienna

An Iranian source tells Al-Monitor that it is Iran, not the US Congress, that needs reassurances as nuclear talks in Vienna approach the deadline.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on June 29

Israel, Hamas negotiate, but truce still far off

Israel and Hamas are directly and indirectly discussing the possibility of a long-term truce, and their main point of convergence is the quest to weaken the Ramallah leadership.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on June 30

Why are Israelis uninterested in diplomatic debate?

Rocket fire from Gaza on southern towns has restarted already. Benjamin Netanyahu’s promises for creative diplomatic initiatives were not followed by action, and yet, the Israeli public seems unconcerned by the next conflict in Gaza.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 30

Iranian newspaper warns against showing enthusiasm for US

The Kayhan paper, sensing a nuclear deal is imminent, is worried about certain media outlets depicting the United States in a positive light.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 29

Marianne flotilla reflects Turkey's changed Israel stance

With a new geopolitical setup in the Middle East and the regional focus on Syria rather than on Gaza, the Marianne flotilla was intercepted by the Israeli navy without "significant media coverage" for this protest.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on June 29

Gaza’s landfills threaten citizens' health

Amid a lack of an advanced system to sort out hazardous household waste, experts deem Gaza’s current waste disposal operations unhealthy, causing a serious threat to public health.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 29

Yazidis dream of Europe

About 20,000 Yazidis who have fled from the Islamic State and became refugees in Turkey are now hoping, perhaps in vain, to reach Europe.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 29

Turkey wants army to enter Syria, but army isn't so keen

Instead of military intervention, Ankara is working on alternative plans such as reinforcing border security, enlarging its own military zones and setting up logistics bases
Read more»

Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on June 29

Post-election Erdogan cannot regain power he lost

If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushes for snap elections, he may be disappointed with the results.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on June 29

Was Reyhanli attacked to oust Turkish spy chief?

Leaked court documents about the worst terror attack in Turkey have revealed that Turkish security forces failed to act on 13 official warnings from the intelligence service.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on June 29

Former Iran FM warns of continued Iran-Saudi tensions

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Iran's first foreign minister after the 1979 Islamic Revolution talked about the tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Rouhani administration and the lack of respect for the law within the country.
Read more»

Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 29

Zarif travels to Iran after nuclear talks with Kerry

Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif departed nuclear talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and P5+1 diplomats in Vienna June 28 for consultations in Tehran, as officials say they will need a few days past the June 30 deadline to try to conclude the nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on June 28

Did Khamenei blur his own red lines on sanctions?

Supreme Leader Khamenei gives strong backing for Iran’s negotiating team heading into Vienna talks; Assad holds off on hitting Islamic State, for now; Israel forced to clarify position on Jabhat al-Nusra; Egypt seeks to counter Turkey’s role in Syria.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on June 28

Did Khamenei demand immediate sanctions relief?

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s acknowledgement of the time necessary for the West to uphold its commitments gains great importance when put into the context of what he defines as “signing of the agreement.”
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on June 26

What's behind Israel's easing of travel restrictions?

As Israel eases restrictions on Palestinian Muslims visiting Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan, some see it as an extension of the occupation while better managing the crisis.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on June 26

Internal differences within Fatah reach their peak

The many currents within Fatah are at war as to whom should lead the movement and succeed President Mahmoud Abbas.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 26

Herzog hangs his hat on natural gas issue

During the election campaign, Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog concentrated on a diplomatic agenda, but now, following the electoral failure, he tries to position himself at the forefront of the natural gas debate.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 26

Syrian regime ramps up defense positions

It seems that opposition factions are consolidating their efforts to thwart any gains by the Syrian regime, which is now starting to feel the heat.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on June 29

Leaked cables show Gulf leery of Shiite expansion

The Gulf states are concerned about the growing influence of Shiites in neighboring countries, expressing their fears of the relations established between the Shiites of Iran and Iraq and their own Shiite communities.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on June 26

Will new Turkish government pursue Armenian opening?

Opening the Turkey-Armenia border would benefit both countries economically, but ongoing tensions and the results of the June 7 elections in Turkey do not bode well for such a move.
Read more»

William Armstrong for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 26

State, Congress face off over Palestinian aid

Key lawmakers want to block Palestinian Authority funds over cooperation with International Criminal Court probe.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 25

Poor services in Egypt public hospitals come to light

The decision of Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb to transfer negligent physicians from hospitals in Cairo governorates to Upper Egypt has raised the ire of the public, which demands hospital reform.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 29

Kurds fight Kurds in Syria

The Islamic State may be a bitter enemy of the Kurdish forces in Syria, but many Kurds — mostly from Turkey — are fighting in the jihadist ranks.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 25

France prepares sanctions against settlement policy

France is considering sharp economic measures against Israeli goods and businesses east of the Green Line, and might implement these measures once the agreement with Iran is signed.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on June 28

Increased import taxes drive Gaza auto dealers around the bend

Auto dealers in the Gaza Strip are facing a double taxation policy that is slashing their profits, amid an already precarious industry and deteriorating living conditions.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 28

Israeli doctors against 'force-feeding' Palestinian prisoners

Israeli medical associations claim that the "force-feeding" bill promoted by the government is unethical, but the authorities are still pushing the proposal forward to avoid image-damaging Palestinian prisoner deaths.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 25

Cairo's shifting stance on Syrian crisis

Cairo and its regional ally Riyadh have not been seeing eye to eye when it comes to the Syrian crisis and ways to resolve it, amid bitterness on the part of Syrian opposition factions that accuse Cairo of not strongly contributing to finding a solution to the crisis.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 25

Interior Ministry: Rouhani hecklers 'rogue' elements

Interior Ministry officials said that recent hecklers at a Rouhani event were rogue elements, drawing criticism that authorities are unable or unwilling to prosecute the culprits.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 24

Children's fashion show takes the runway in Gaza

A children's fashion show, only the second of its kind in Gaza’s history, divided members of the civil society and religious hard-liners, who deemed the event non-reflective of Gazan society and culture.
Read more»

 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 25

Turkish judiciary halts school firings

Turkey’s top administrative court has canceled provisions that laid the ground for the purge of some 8,000 principals in public schools and their replacement with government partisans.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 24

Can PKK, Turkey’s Hezbollah reconcile?

Resurging violence between two old Kurdish adversaries in Turkey’s southeast, the PKK and the Islamist Hezbollah, has generated fears of renewed Kurdish fratricide in the region.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 24

Egypt death sentences further radicalize MB youths

According to some, the death sentences issued against former President Mohammed Morsi and Brotherhood members in Egypt will push youths into joining extremist groups in Sinai.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 24

Hamas, Israel take baby steps toward truce

The conduct of talks between Hamas and Israel about a truce has raised suspicions among Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials that Hamas hopes one day to establish a "State of Gaza," independent of the West Bank.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 24

Political detente thaws Fatah-Syria relations

The longstanding tension between Fatah and Syria seems to be easing on a number of fronts through cooperation between Palestine and the Syrian regime.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 23

After elections, Erdogan’s shadow still looms

Given his continuing hold over the AKP, negotiations for a coalition government could be stymied by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if developments take a turn he does not favor.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on June 23

Progress on Yemen slow but not dead

The Geneva talks ended without results, but many hold that the real achievement was getting the sides to talk for the first time in months, perhaps allowing the international community to intensify mediation efforts.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on June 23

'Bogus Muslims' exposed for 'fake it 'til you make it' attitude

Muslims faking sudden commitments to a religious lifestyle for political and financial gain are facing backlash from pious Muslims as well as criticism from secularists.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on June 23

Former IDF lawyer finds UN report on Gaza war 'relatively balanced'

Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, the former head of the IDF’s Department of International Law, tells Al-Monitor in an interview that though the UN report on the Gaza war was fairly impartial, it cannot be used as the basis for a criminal indictment.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 23

KRG seeks $5 billion lifeline

Kurdish parliamentarians rejected the KRG's move to borrow $5 billion from international banks in light of a severe budget deficit, arguing that this would impose a heavy burden on the government itself and on the economy.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on June 23

Israel blames France for anti-Israeli approach

While Israeli leaders tend to be open to at least discussing US peace initiatives, European proposals, most recently a French effort, are perceived as anti-Israel.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 23

Emails to Hillary contradict French tale on Libya war

Ex-CIA source says French intel service “created” Libyan rebel group in fight against Moammar Gadhafi.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 23

Why doesn't Iran trust the US?

A fundamental lack of trust between Iran and the world powers, and mainly the United States, continues to stand in the way of a comprehensive nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 22

Why does Turkey say PYD is more dangerous than IS?

The Turkish government believes that Western powers first wanted to cause rifts in Turkey through the PKK, and now are transforming the PYD into an effective force under the guise of combating the Islamic State.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on June 22

Oren's Obama-bashing

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and his associates have been forced to speak out about the attack by their colleague, Knesset member and former Ambassador Michael Oren, on President Barack Obama.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on June 22

Next Saudi royal generation takes lead

Although stability seems to prevail in Saudi Arabia under the reign of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud, future rulers are likely to face a slew of problems.
Read more»

 Ibrahim al-Hatlani for Al-Monitor on June 24

Palestinians stand their ground in Wadi Fukin

Palestinian residents in the town of Wadi Fukin close to Bethlehem invest in their land by cultivating it and raising livestock in a way to stop, or at least delay, Israeli expropriation plans.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 22

Arafat’s helicopter serves as a symbol for Gazans

The late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's helicopter, the only one remaining after Israel bombed his airfield in 2001, is a symbol of a past era free of missiles.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on June 22

Did Ankara-backed group attack Turkish Kurds?

A string of unresolved attacks against Kurds has raised suspicions that the Turkish government is training and recruiting jihadist militants from the Syrian conflict as paramilitary forces to target government opponents.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 22

Kurds eye new corridor to Mediterranean

The dream of a Kurdish corridor from Jazeera to Afrin appears to be attainable, but everything depends on the complicated relationships the Kurds are working to maintain in the area's complex ethnic and ideological makeup.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on June 22

Will nuclear talks prevent Jalili's return to politics?

A successful conclusion to the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program could doom the effort by hard-line former nuclear negotiator Saeed Jaili to return to politics as a member of parliament.
Read more»

 Maysam Bizær for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 23

Erdogan sees threat from Kurdish gains in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives priority to battle Kurdish “terror organizations” over the Islamic State; the Islamic State's scorched-earth practices in Kobani; the Druze lobby in Israel.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on June 21

Saudi deputy crown prince seeks Russia deals

Saudi Arabia's minister of defense signed several cooperation agreements with Russia this past week.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on June 21

Congress sharpens its knives ahead of Iran deal

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of June 22.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 21

Demirel showed best and worst of Turkey

Few people in Turkey liked former President Suleyman Demirel, yet the statesman, who died June 16, represented his compatriots’ best and worst sides.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 19

Putin, Erdogan meet face to face, but don't see eye to eye

The recent meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Azerbaijan appears to reflect a mutual irritation between the two parties.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on June 19

Palestinian NGO closes in on consultative status at UN

The Palestinian Return Center has taken a step toward consultative status as a nongovernmental organization dealing with Palestinian refugee issues, a recommendation that still needs ratification by the UN's Economic and Social Council.
Read more»

 Hassan Obeid for Al-Monitor on June 19

Israel not doing enough to stop 'price tag' attacks

Despite declarations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about forcefully fighting price tag attacks, these acts of vandalism and violence against Muslim and Christian places of worship continue.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 19

Cairo's heritage sites threatened with demolition

Restoration projects and demolitions are not only threatening the historical character of Old Cairo, but also causing forced displacements and anger among residents.
Read more»

 Omar al-Naghy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 23

Egypt launches new programs to address poverty

The Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity has started two programs to help alleviate poverty and encourage education among Egypt's most disadvantaged families.
Read more»

 Safiaa Mounir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 25

Activists claim forgery in Beirut beach development plan

The planned development of the Dalieh of Raouche threatens to prevent public access to one of two remaining natural areas along Beirut's coastline.
Read more»

 Muneira Hoballah for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on June 23

Why Israel needs Obama

Israel needs a US president who attempts to guide it away from occupation, and who isn't afraid to criticize it while showing empathy to both Israeli and Palestinian children — the way President Barack Obama is acting.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on June 21

Iranian justice minister explains delay in corruption case

Mostafa Pourmohammadi, Iran's justice minister, explained why the high-profile corruption case of Babak Zanjani has yet to reach a conclusion.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 18

Gaza deputy minister: PA behind recent bombings

In this interview with Al-Monitor, Gaza's Deputy Minister of Interior, Kamel Abu Madi, speaks out on who should be held accountable for the recent bombings.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 21

The 'environmental disaster' Lebanon can't afford to fix

The Zouk Mikael power station is choking the region around it with pollution, but sky-high energy demands and political crises are blocking solutions.
Read more»

 Martin Armstrong for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on June 18

Displacement of Copts raises persecution fears in Egypt

The forced displacement of five Christian families from the Beni Suef governorate in Egypt brought back the debate of the struggle between Muslims and Copts in Egypt.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 18

How Morocco plans to contain its Salafists

Several prominent Salafists in Morocco have surprised the nation by joining mainstream political parties.
Read more»

 Imad Stitou for Al-Monitor on June 18

Oren's memoir drama hurts Israel

At this highly sensitive diplomatic period, when Israel needs US support in the international arena, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren saw fit to promote his new book by lashing out at President Barack Obama.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 18

Will PKK let Kurdish politics move away from violence?

With the success of the pro-Kurdish HDP in the recent elections, the time has come for Turkey's Kurds to rethink civilian-military relations in Kurdish politics.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on June 18

Opposition battles collection of medical records in Turkey

Turkey's Ministry of Health has embarked on a controversial effort to collect the names, addresses and diagnoses of psychiatric patients.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 19

Iranians unite in burial of 270 Iran-Iraq War veterans

The burial of Iranian veterans, 175 of them buried alive, has stirred painful memories and united Iranians.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 17

Saudis' war effort struggles on three fronts

The two contenders to the Saudi throne need signs of impending victory in their battles against the Houthis to secure their legitimacy to lead.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on June 17

Captured fighter details Islamic State's Turkey connection

A Turkish citizen who joined the Islamic State in September and was captured in early June by Syrian Kurds explained IS' induction process with chilling clarity in a video shared exclusively with Al-Monitor.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on June 17

Prospects for Egyptian-Jordanian cooperation remain hazy

Since the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, economic ties have strengthened.
Read more»

 Ismael El-Kholy for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 17

Turkey's rule of law on slippery slope

The World Justice Project’s 2015 Rule of Law Index reveals striking evidence of rising authoritarianism in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on June 17

From Omar to Hussain: Why Iraqis are changing their names

Intensification of Iraq's sectarian divide is forcing increasing numbers of people to change their names to avoid harassment and death.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on June 17

Palestinians see no reason to negotiate as Israeli settlements continue

As international efforts intensify to resume the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians feel that discussions will go nowhere as long as the Israeli government sticks to its policy of settlement expansion.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 17

US suspends aid to Yemen for one year

USAID has put $12 million in development aid on ice while Congress punts on future funding.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 16

Bombshell book exposes Gul's differences with Erdogan

The recent memoir of an aide to former Turkish President Abdullah Gul could be a harbinger of his return to politics.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on June 16

Iran’s Basij concedes confiscating satellite dishes not working

The head of Iran's Basij organization said that instead of confiscating satellite dishes from homes, authorities should speak to homeowners to persuade them to give up the satellite dishes, which he believes are part of a cultural invasion of Iran's enemies.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 16

MK Jelin: Gaza Strip is a 'ticking time bomb'

Yesh Atid Knesset member Haim Jelin argues that following Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should have been part of a regional diplomatic initiative fighting radical Islam.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 16

Hanan Ashrawi: US must act quickly to save two-state solution

In this interview with Al-Monitor, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi speaks about the controversy surrounding Israel’s upcoming report on Gaza, current negotiations and potential solutions.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on June 16

Will Abdullah Gul return to politics?

Following the Justice and Development Party's loss of its parliamentary majority, eyes and ears have turned to the former president and AKP co-founder amid speculation about his next move.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on June 16

Ahmed Shafiq’s return flusters Egyptian judiciary

Accusations of election fraud in 2012 leveled by the former minister of civil aviation and the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, Ahmed Shafiq, return to haunt Egypt’s courts as Shafiq’s possible return to politics starts to materialize.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 16

Extremist groups transform concept of jihad

Extremist Islamic groups have transformed the spiritual concept of jihad, including turning it into a military instrument for implementing political agendas.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on June 16

Pan-Islamic movement becomes political player in Palestine

Hizb ut-Tahrir in the Palestinian territories emerged as a political party that seeks the return of the Islamic caliphate, unlike Hamas and other Islamic parties that focus on the resistance against Israel.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 19

Netanyahu must prove 'good faith' to restart peace talks

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is genuinely interested in promoting a new diplomatic peace initiative, he must demonstrate his willingness with actions, such as releasing Palestinian prisoners and working to bolster the Palestinian Authority rather than Hamas.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 16

Reformist editor: No one pledged ‘allegiance’ to Rouhani

An op-ed by an Iranian Reformist editor says that President Hassan Rouhani, despite his winning the 2013 presidential election, does not have people's automatic support, in contrast with previous elections.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 15

Erdogan lost a battle, but perhaps not the war

The June 7 elections made Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian dreams less certain, but it would be naive to think that he has given them up.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on June 15

Wrestling’s Curby Cup next move in US-Iran sports diplomacy

An event founded in the memory of a young American wrestler provides a new pathway for advancing people-to-people ties between the United States and Iran.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on June 15

Egyptian lawyer interrogated for drafting anti-torture law

Negad El Borai might face jail time for drafting a law that counters police abuse and torture, which shows the restriction of freedoms in Egypt.
Read more»

 Marwa Al-A’sar for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 15

The fight goes on for Lebanon's LGBT community

Despite a few modest achievements, the Lebanese lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community still struggles for acceptance and basic rights.
Read more»

 Sophie Chamas for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on June 15

Is Egypt's Brotherhood choosing escalation over peace?

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt today seems weaker and more poised to resort to violence.
Read more»

H.A. Hellyer for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 15

What caused the clashes in Diyarbakir?

Diyarbakir remains tense after recent intra-Kurd clashes.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 15

Likud Central Committee win gives Netanyahu chance to breathe

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's win at the Likud Central Committee has granted him some political recovery time after the battle to compose the government and ahead of the vote over the state's budget.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 15

Overhauling Iraq’s intelligence services

The political quota system and subsequent appointment of incompetent intelligence services leaders have severely hampered Iraq's ability to fight terrorist forces despite an abundance of confrontations and episodes from which to learn.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on June 15

Hamas working to lower tensions in Lebanese camps

With security tensions escalating in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Hamas and Lebanese officials are discussing ways to avoid the camps being turned into arenas for settling regional scores.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 15

How security forces keep critics quiet in 'progressive' UAE

The enigmatic UAE security forces have perfected the art of silencing critics and created an environment in which nearly everyone is afraid to say anything remotely resembling criticism of the government.
Read more»

 Matt J. Duffy for Al-Monitor on June 15

Senate to wrap up defense bill

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of June 15.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 14

Will AKP's losses spark Turkish re-think on Syria?

The ruling Justice and Development Party lost Kurdish support over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Syria policies; Eastern patriarchs meet in Damascus to reassure Middle East Christian communities.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on June 14

Turkish politics no longer one-man show

Turkey's June 7 parliamentary elections signaled a resounding loss for the ruling Justice and Development Party, so what are its options?
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on June 12

Are Reformists, Rouhani heading for split?

After supporting Hassan Rouhani in the presidential elections, Reformists expect Rouhani to repay them with support in the parliamentary elections, but that may not be the case.
Read more»

Saeid Jafari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 12

Lebanese turn to faith to break political stalemate

The statue of Portugal's Our Lady Fatima will visit several regions in Lebanon in a convoy of Christian leaders, many of whom believe that the tour will help Lebanon elect a president.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on June 12

Is Israel's culture minister drunk with power?

Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev is fond of reminding artists and cultural institutions that she has the power to determine their fate, including withholding funds if they fail to meet her standards of patriotism.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 12

Arabs divided on visiting Jerusalem

Political and religious authorities in Palestine continue to disagree on visits by Arabs and Muslims from around the world to Jerusalem, split between seeing such trips as defiant support of Palestine and as normalizing relations with Israel.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 12

Congress seeks to kill Obama's counterterrorism fund

The Senate spending panel approved legislation to defund the president's signature proposal.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 11

Iran talks may go into overtime

Negotiators are focused on the June 30 target for reaching a final Iran nuclear deal, a US official said June 10, but brinksmanship may push Iran talks past the deadline as each side waits to see if the other will make concessions.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on June 11

US-Russia relations still tense after Kerry's visit

US Secretary of State John Kerry's recent visit to Moscow was indicative of the US policy of "selective engagement" with Russia.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on June 11

Iran court upholds sentence of Rafsanjani's son

An appellate court has upheld the corruption case against Mehdi Hashemi, son of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 11

Will AKP's loss benefit Israel?

Many in Israel reveled over the AKP's loss in the parliamentarian elections, but their defeat might actually harm the normalization process between the two countries.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on June 11

Netanyahu trapped by powerful Likud central party

Media accusations against newly elected Knesset member Oren Hazan did not prompt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sanction him, as he needs Hazan's support in the upcoming Likud Party central committee meeting.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 11

Eyes return to Turkish military after elections

The turbulence in the wake of the recent elections may offer the Turkish military opportunities to return to politics — and even if a serious deadlock ensues, the situation still may work in the military's favor.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on June 11

UN envoy Mladenov: Absence of political process 'dangerous'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov stressed the UN's commitment to supporting peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on June 11

Why Israelis should pay attention to recent US Supreme Court decision

The US Supreme Court's rejection of a petition for a Jerusalem-born American to be registered as born in Israel in his passport should make Israelis realize that the only way to gain international recognition of its capital is a compromise with the Palestinians and therefore an end to the conflict.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 11

Egypt demolishes Mubarak’s party headquarters

The Egyptian government ordered the demolition of the National Democratic Party’s headquarters in the center of Cairo, despite criticism as the building is considered part of Egypt’s architectural history.
Read more»

Ahmed Ateyya for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 11

Iraqis demand better security for religious pilgrimages

After vandals attacked Sunni properties in Adhamiya, Iraqis are calling for official regulation and organization of religious events to avoid sectarian violence.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on June 12

Khomeini's supporters defend extravagant shrine

Critics have assailed the apparent lavishness of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's shrine, saying he would have opposed the "palace-like" building.
Read more»

 Maysam Bizær for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 10

Iran MP emerges as Instagram rabble-rouser

Conservative Iranian parliament member Mehdi Koochakzadeh has taken to Instagram to attack his political rivals, attracting over 2,000 followers in just over a month.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 10

The future of Turkey's Syria policy

Election results have made Turkey’s current Syria policy hard to implement.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on June 10

Tension rise between Amman, Ramallah

Amman and Ramallah are not seeing eye to eye at the level of politics and coordination, threatening national unity in both Jordan and Palestine.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on June 10

Why Russia's Mideast agenda doesn't appeal to GCC

Both Russia and the Gulf states have pursued divergent foreign policies for years, though some may be ready for an alliance.
Read more»

 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on June 11

Lebanese Christian leaders focus on need for president

The visit of the Vatican's envoy to Lebanon coincided with a meeting between the country's top Christian leaders, Gen. Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea, who revealed a joint statement that could pave the way for a president to finally be elected.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on June 10

Netanyahu's 'autumn restart' plan

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to reduce international pressure during the last 18 months of US President Barack Obama's term and will begin a diplomatic initiative to that end this autumn.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on June 10

New Turkish parliament to be more inclusive

Following Turkey's general elections on June 7, Armenian, Syriac, Yazidi, Roma, Kurdish, and Alevi deputies are entering parliament, for the first time ever or after an extended absence.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 10

What's ahead for Saudi Arabia?

Saudi's King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud has made a number of crucial changes during his first months in power, from taking military and policy risks to a reshuffling of parliament.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on June 9

Former Ahmadinejad vice president arrested

Hamid Baghaei, former vice president for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is the second Ahmadinejad era Cabinet member to be arrested on alleged corruption charges.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 9

Pro-government media blame 'external forces' for AKP’s loss

Unable to accept defeat, journalists who supported Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party see foreign and domestic plots behind Sunday’s elections.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on June 9

Diyarbakir celebrates after HDP election breakthrough

The historic Kurdish breakthrough in Turkey’s parliamentary elections sparks boisterous celebrations across the southeast and boosts hopes for a negotiated settlement of Kurdish grievances.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 9

Likud MK: Any concession could empower Hamas

In an interview with Al-Monitor, newly elected Likud Knesset member Yoav Kish argues that any territorial concession under current circumstances will end up with Islamic extremists taking control of that land.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 9

Anti-boycott call rings hollow as village awaits demolition

Israeli plans to demolish the Palestinian village of Susiya and other similar acts will not generate support for the government's campaign to stanch the growing movement to boycott settlement products and in some cases products made in Israel.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 9

South African Jews, not Israel, suffer from boycott

The BDS movement has been active in South Africa for years, but it's the local Jewish community, not Israel-South Africa bilateral trade relations, that are paying the price of the boycott calls.
Read more»

 Rina Bassist for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on June 10

Former Iran ambassador: Saudis must accept Houthis

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Seyed Ali Asghar Ghoreishi, former Iranian ambassador to Yemen, discussed the nature of Iran's support for the Houthis, elements necessary to end the fighting in Yemen and the possibility of extremist groups seizing large sections of territory in Yemen.
Read more»

Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 9

Is Hamas preparing for long-term truce with Israel?

Hamas’ military wing, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has been implementing a series of military measures signifying a possible truce with Israel, but is not ruling out the possibility of a deadly confrontation.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 8

Rouhani: Saving environment starts with sanctions removal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been criticized for linking possible help for the country's environmental problems with sanctions relief from a nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 8

Why didn’t Netanyahu attack Iran?

This week it was disclosed that there was a serious disagreement between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the heads of the security apparatus in 2010, when Netanyahu considered attacking Iran.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on June 8

What's next for Turkey?

With the Justice and Development Party losing its parliamentary majority in the general elections, a viable coalition is now unlikely and all signs point to a political crisis.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on June 8

Israel's Gaza disengagement legacy

Israel's disengagement from Gaza should not be perceived as a disaster but as a first step amid many more that guarantee Israel's Jewish majority.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 8

Radical Islamists add to Hamas' burden

On top of its many other security and political challenges, Hamas is also dealing with the radical Islamist elements in Gaza that are firing rockets at Israel while Hamas struggles to maintain a cease-fire agreement.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on June 8

Defense bill could keep sanctions pressure on Iran

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of June 8.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 7

Will voters reject Turkey’s ‘precious loneliness’?

Parliamentary elections on June 7 could signal a shift in Turkey’s foreign policy; Islamic State’s radicalization campaign extends to Iraqi Kurdistan; Iran not backing down in Syria; Soleimani promises "surprise" in battle against Islamic State.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on June 7

Senate prepares to review Iran nuclear deal

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has started holding classified briefings to prepare members to review the terms of a prospective Iran nuclear deal next month.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on June 5

How do we solve Iran talks' verification dilemma?

The issue of inspections of Iranian military facilities and the interrogation of Iranian scientists has quickly become the most controversial aspect of the nuclear negotiations in Iran.
Read more»

 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 5

Hezbollah's media machine changes gears

The media has always been a focus for Hezbollah, but the group has recently changed its message.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on June 5

Is new ambassador sign of thaw in Baghdad-Riyadh relations?

Saudi Arabia restores diplomatic relations with Iraq by appointing an ambassador to Baghdad, but the kingdom will need to recognize the diversity of the Shiite political actors in Iraq and shift its foreign policy accordingly. ‪
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on June 5

Will elections bring end of 'Erdogan era'?

The rising fortunes of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party may mean the beginning of the end of the "Erdogan era."
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on June 5

What sort of parliament awaits Turkey after the election?

Even slightly disparate results in Turkey’s June 7 election could take the country in different directions.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 5

Netanyahu derails debate on boycott, occupation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views the boycott campaign against Israel through a prism of anti-Semitism and is avoiding public debate over the BDS movement's motives, namely the occupation.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 5

The Islamic State's Libya expansion

In an interview with El-Khabar, Abdul Hafiz Ghoga, deputy chairman of the former National Transitional Council, said that international parties are aware of the Islamic State plans in Libya and the rest of North Africa.
Read more»

Translated from El-Khabar (Algeria) on June 8

Iraqi workers protest for wage payment

Iraq's Ministry of Industry has been unable to pay workers' salaries for several months, placing an even heavier burden on an already sinking industrial sector.
Read more»

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

Gaza's crowded political scene

In the absence of an applicable law governing partisan life in Palestine, the Gaza Strip has seen the emergence of dozens of new factions since 2000.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 5

Fall of the Israeli Foreign Ministry

The traditional roles of the ministry — namely building bridges of common interests with the international community or engaging in a viable Middle East peace process — have evaporated with Israel's most right-wing government.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on June 7

Gazans nervous as next freedom flotilla nears

After successive failed attempts, a third freedom flotilla will set sail to the Gaza Strip, though many activists expect Israeli opposition.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 8

Khomeini was no liberal, says Khamenei

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned Iranians about distorting the character of the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 4

Is there hope for Egypt’s first space odyssey?

The establishment of an Egyptian space agency is not too distant a dream, as several scientists and politicians are promoting an Egyptian law to promote such an agency.
Read more»

 Mohamed Saied for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 4

Bedouin face expulsion as Israel builds Greater Jerusalem

Bedouin communities in the highlands of Jerusalem are facing evacuation threats by Israeli authorities who purportedly plan to use the land to expand the settlements.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 4

The 'Caliphate Cubs' of IS

According to witnesses, the Islamic State has been recruiting children in Iraq and Syria and enrolling them in special training camps.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on June 4

Israel, Hamas need each other

Elements within the Israeli security establishment propose to negotiate with Hamas and enable Gaza to benefit from Israeli distillation facilities, electricity services and employment opportunities, while assuring Israel a certain degree of calm.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on June 4

Why did Iran's Reformists shift on support for Syria?

After having initially supported protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, some Iranian Reformists have changed their positions and now openly back Assad's fight against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 4

IRGC university warns Rouhani administration about foreign policy

Imam Hussein University, which is affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has warned officials in the Rouhani administration about having a "simplistic" view in its negotiations with the United States.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 3

Russia mulls strategy to solve Syrian conflict

Moscow continues to see the Syrian president as an important ally in the struggle against extremists, and its support for an inclusive national dialogue prompted the Russian Foreign Ministry to host two inter-Syrian consultative meetings that appear to have played a positive role.
Read more»

 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on June 3

Obama warns Israelis of settlement policy consequences

In an interview with Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan, President US Barack Obama warns that the international community has ceased believing in Israel's willingness to negotiate peace.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 3

Sisi calls for unifying Egypt's electoral lists

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for unifying Egypt’s political parties under one banner to run for elections, but could this be a viable option amid Egypt’s current political instability?
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 3

Why did Saudi Arabia intervene in Yemen?

As Yemen fell into the Houthis' hands, Saudi Arabia was left with one choice: to intervene militarily, as the kingdom has long been the country's main financial supporter.
Read more»

 Mohammed Alyahya for Al-Monitor on June 3

Palestine’s crippled legislative authority

The absence of a Palestinian Legislative Council has had detrimental effects on legislative practices in Gaza, making Palestine’s move toward totalitarianism more conceivable.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 3

Amnesty report causes uproar within Hamas

Hamas officials describe a new Amnesty International report on the group's execution of alleged collaborators with Israel as unprofessional.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 3

Israel, Republicans push Palestinians into corner

If violence erupts again, Israeli and US politicians would have only themselves to blame, having discouraged the Palestinians from diplomatic negotiations.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 3

Could AKP's negative campaign strategy backfire?

Is the AKP’s negative election campaign alienating too many social groups in Turkey and creating a united front against it?
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on June 4

Turkey’s exports sharply decline

As Turkey has lost its competitiveness on the regional stage, exports have plummeted.
Read more»

Translated from Taraf (Turkey) on June 3

Turkish cleric U-turns on million dollar Mercedes

Turkey’s top official Islamic cleric has found himself in a tight spot after his decision to give up a flashy Mercedes under public criticism prompted a defiant Erdogan to send him an even more expensive car, complete with a pledge for a private jet.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 3

Congress seeks to lift last restrictions on aid to Egypt

The US House foreign aid bill eliminates previous requirements that Egypt hold "free and fair" parliamentary elections and take steps to foster democracy and protect human rights before $1.3 billion in military aid can be released.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 2

Will elections change Turkey’s foreign policy?

Many believe that if Erdogan is further empowered, Ankara’s foreign policy will remain turbulent.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on June 2

New Likud MK: BDS is 'form of terrorism'

Likud Knesset member Anat Berko says that the bid to suspend Israel from FIFA ''is terrorism in every sense of the term,” calling on the government to fight the BDS movement, “just like we fight against terrorism.”
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on June 2

Islamic Jihad's coffers run dry

The cutting off of economic support from Iran and the closing of smuggling tunnels to Egypt have left the Islamic Jihad unable to pay the salaries of its personnel.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 2

Erdogan: Journalist will pay 'heavy price'

The Turkish president is furious with the editor of Cumhuriyet for publishing photos of the contents of the infamous MIT trucks stopped en route to Syria, but even more outraged that his policy of intimidation is failing to silence media criticism.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on June 2

Congress deals blow to IS looting in Syria

The House passed legislation that would make it illegal to import stolen artifacts.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on June 1

Why are young Iranians losing interest in marriage?

Societal and economic factors have led to a decline in marriage rates, despite the government's desire to see an increase in population.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 2

Turkish court stirs marriage debate

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that a civil marriage is no longer compulsory for religiously married citizens, worrying civil groups about the implications for women's rights.
Read more»

 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on June 1

P5+1 asked to interview Iran’s security council secretary

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani has said that the six world powers had requested to interview him as part of a comprehensive nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on June 1

Israeli leadership ignores international warning signs

The Vatican's recognition of Palestine and the large support for a committee on Israel's approach to Palestinian soccer, should serve as warning signs before Israel becomes isolated in the international arena.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on June 1

Sisi’s intervention in internal Wafd dispute raises questions

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi intervened in the internal dispute among Wafd Party members, which stirred criticism as to the extent of the president’s role in partisan life.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on June 1

Capitol Hill counts down days until Iran nuclear deadline

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of June 1.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 31

Baghdad stumbles in response to Ramadi refugees

180,000 Iraqis now displaced by the Islamic State from Ramadi; Islamic State benefits from Saudi military intervention in Yemen; Jabhat al-Nusra’s attempted makeover.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on May 31

Erdogan tries to rewrite history

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent decision to change the date commemorating the conquest of Istanbul from May 29 to May 30 seems to fall into a pattern of altering dates of public holidays to correspond with important political dates — in this case, the June 7 elections.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on May 29

Why is AKP losing the Kurds?

As Erdogan fatigue intensifies, the AKP’s political, economic and campaign failures have cost them loyal Kurdish support.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on May 31

Al-Qaeda theorist calls for infiltrating political systems

Abdullah bin Mohammed, an al-Qaeda theorist, believes jihadists need to adopt a new strategy of attaining legitimacy by rebranding themselves and working from within political systems, an idea that might already have taken root in Syria.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on May 29

New survey shows how Turks perceive foreign policy

A survey indicates that the Turkish public identifies itself as “Muslim and Middle Eastern” and believes that Turkey is a regional power.
Read more»

Translated from Haber Turk (Turkey) on May 29

Gaza’s high population strains water supply

Gaza authorities are establishing water desalination plants to meet the demands of the increasing population.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 31

Bank of Palestine ends international money transfers

International transfers to charitable organizations in Palestine have been halted on charges of ties with Hamas, affecting the orphans who are reportedly the main beneficiaries.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on June 1

Israel's Christian schools demand equality with Jewish schools

Christian schools in Israel do not receive the same financial support as their Jewish counterparts, burdening parents with higher tuition costs.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on June 1

What does peace mean for Gazans?

The current situation in Palestine is similar to what it was before the Oslo Accord, which does not necessarily mean that a new peace agreement might be reached with Israel.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on May 29

Netanyahu increasingly exposed to political extortion

The precedents of Ministers Gilad Erdan and Zeev Elkin receiving the portfolios they were after encourage Likud central committee members, who seek to weaken Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hold on the party.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 29

Is US disengaging from Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

With a weak Palestinian leader and a peace-rejectionist Israeli prime minister, the Obama administration is reluctant to impose itself on the two parties and might prefer a disengagement doctrine.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 31

Kerry counselor expected to succeed Sherman in key job

State Department Counselor Tom Shannon, a former US ambassador to Brazil, is expected to be picked to succeed Wendy Sherman as under secretary of state, US officials tell Al-Monitor.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on May 28

Turkish civic society mobilizes against election fraud

Turkish civic groups such as Vote and Beyond prepare for stringent monitoring of the June 7 elections, given that even minuscule vote-rigging could have a huge impact on the country’s future.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on May 28

Iran MPs try to sidestep Guardian Council oversight

Iranian MPs attempted to pass a bill that would reduce the Guardian Council's powers in the 2016 parliamentary elections.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 28

Kahlon's election promise blunder

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon won 10 Knesset seats after promising to dismantle monopolies and share more equally natural resources, but this promise is now questioned in view of his friendship with a leading Israeli businessman.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 28

Two Israeli mayors consider leadership run

Two mayors, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, are contemplating challenging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on May 28

Ramadi's displaced find restrictions, not refuge, in Baghdad

The exodus of displaced people fleeing Iraq's Anbar province after the Islamic State imposed its control there should be an opportunity for the Iraqi government to unify efforts of all sects in the face of terrorism.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on May 28

Hamas seeks reconciliation with Salafists

Faced with numerous security challenges, Hamas leaders appear to have settled on reconciliation with Salafists in Gaza rather than force of arms.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 29

Syrian opposition defends Eastern Ghouta situation

In an interview, Jaish al-Islam spokesman Capt. Islam Alloush told Al-Monitor that the group is confident its goals will be achieved in besieged eastern Ghouta as it is transforming its "militia into a real army."
Read more»

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on May 28

Jordanians protest Israeli gas deal

Jordanians continue to oppose the natural gas deal struck with Israel, arguing that it threatens the country’s economic and political independence.
Read more»

 Adam Lucente for Al-Monitor on June 1

Tunisia earns non-NATO ally status

The United States has granted Tunisia the prestigious non-NATO ally member status, which is expected to strengthen relations and enhance military cooperation between the two countries.
Read more»

Translated from Business News (Tunisia) on May 28

Reformist media welcomes rare appearance of Hajjarian

The presence of Saeed Hajjarian, the main Reformist theoretician, has energized Reformist media.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 27

Turkey restricts academic research on Syrian refugees

Turkey's Interior Ministry now requires academics to get prior approval before conducting research on the country's 2 million Syrian refugees.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 27

Netanyahu caves, hands Elkin Jerusalem portfolio

After assigning the Strategic Affairs portfolio to Gilad Erdan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compensated Immigration and Absorption Minister Zeev Elkin by handing him the delicate Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 27

Netanyahu zigzags on two-state solution

Throughout his political career, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has battled the 1993 Oslo Accord, backed it, objected to the two-state solution and then supported it again.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 27

What's behind Taliban's trip to Tehran?

A visit to Tehran by a Taliban delegation has sparked wild speculation, especially since administration officials were unable to confirm the event.
Read more»

 Abbas Qaidaari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 27

Lebanon hopes for return of kidnapped soldiers

As Lebanese media outlets report a deal with Jabhat al-Nusra for the release of 16 Lebanese soldiers kidnapped during the battle of Arsal in August, questions remain about support for the terrorist organization in Lebanese territory.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on May 27

No promises in Netanyahu's offer to negotiate settlement annexation

The Israeli prime minister’s overtures to discuss settlements to be annexed to Israel under a peace agreement is an effort to legitimize the settlements in the guise of a concession without making any commitments to the Palestinians.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 27

Egypt’s disabled seek fair representation in parliament

In accordance with the 2014 constitution, the disabled in Egypt are granted representation in parliament, which the Egyptian movement to empower people with disabilities is seeking to achieve through its We love Egypt list.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 28

Hamas struggling with emerging Islamist parties

Hamas has allowed some Salafist organizations to openly carry out their activities while trying to shut down others.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 28

Israel's realpolitik embraces regional extremes

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warmly eulogized the late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, perpetuating Israel's approach to its neighbors that is based on common interest and alliances, not moral standards.
Read more»

 Jacky Hugi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 27

Morsi death sentence fuels media controversy

The death sentence against ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has sparked a fresh controversy in Turkey, stoking government pressure on already muzzled media outlets.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 26

Erdogan’s presidential dreams hang by thread

With less than a fortnight left to go before the June 7 legislative polls, polls show that the Justice and Development Party's share of the vote will slip from the record 49% that it received in 2011.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on May 27

Is Turkey arming radical groups in Syria?

A trial of gendarmerie officers and prosecutors in Istanbul is producing embarrassing revelations for the government.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on May 26

Has Iran already accepted inspections at military sites?

Some parliament members claim that Iran has already accepted inspections at its military sites, despite denials by Iran's nuclear negotiators.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 26

Death sentences test fragile Hamas-Egypt ties

The Egyptian court’s death sentence ruling against ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, along with some Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Hamas members, has destabilized already fragile relations between Hamas and Cairo.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 26

Egypt names hard-core soccer fans as terror group

In an arguably unconstitutional ruling, an Egyptian court has banned the Ultras soccer fan clubs as terrorist organizations.
Read more»

 Emily Crane for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 27

Israelis use technology to battle government corruption

On the backdrop of the recent exposure of several serious alleged corruption affairs, former minister Michael Eitan argues that social networks and technology are changing public norms and pressuring elected officials to respect the rule of law.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 26

AKP claims God is on its side

Liberals and others should be concerned about AKP rhetoric proclaiming that God, the nation and history is on its side and that a vote for an opposing party is the mark of an infidel.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on May 26

Shifting relations between Tunisia, Libya

Relations between neighboring Tunisia and Libya are currently tense due to Tunisia’s recent decision to reopen its consulate in Islamist-controlled Tripoli.
Read more»

Translated from Business News (Tunisia) on May 29

US clarifies position on nuclear-free Middle East

The Obama administration keeps pressuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accept a future agreement with Iran as a fait accompli, while demonstrating its commitment to Israel's security on the nuclear-free Mideast front.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on May 26

What will happen once Iran's assets are unfrozen?

The repatriation of Iran's $120 billion in blocked assets must be paced and rational to avoid negative consequences for its economy, and Tehran must make investment decisions based on technocratic approaches as opposed to political and ideological ones.
Read more»

 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 26

Does US have right tools to help success story like Tunisia?

Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi’s Washington visit lays bare the limitations of US reliance on military aid.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 24

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.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review 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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 22

Minister warns of Libya's division

Al-Monitor interviewed the Libyan undersecretary of the Information Ministry, Haitham al-Hadi Kamouka, who talked about some countries’ attempts to divide Libya into three states.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on May 22

Fate of Kurdish presidency divides Iraqi Kurds

As the term of Kurdish President Massoud Barzani is drawing to an end and as the transfer of power is still unknown, some political parties are suggesting a new parliamentary system whereby Barzani would have a mere ceremonial role.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 22

Congress debates greater US role in Iraq

Lawmakers are putting pressure on President Barack Obama to rethink Islamic State strategy after fall of Ramadi.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 21

France works to restart talks toward Israeli-Palestinian peace

France is urging Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations in anticipation of an international peace proposal being presented.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 25

How will Iran, P5+1 resolve future disputes?

If after two years of negotiations a comprehensive nuclear deal is finally reached, Iran and the world powers need a dispute-resolution mechanism agreed on by all sides in case differences arise.
Read more»

 Farshad Kashani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 26

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.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 21

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.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on May 22

First international blunder of Bibi's new government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's zigzagging over the plan to separate Jews and Palestinian workers traveling to the territories demonstrates the strong hold of the settlers over his fragile coalition.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 21

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.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 21

Did Ya'alon cave in to settler pressure?

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon revoked his decision to separate Palestinian and Israeli bus passengers traveling to the territories following an international outcry about apartheid, as well as harsh criticism in Israel.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on May 21

Sisi's call for religious tolerance divides Muslims

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's call for religious tolerance has been interpreted differently by Salafists, Al-Azhar scholars and secular critics.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 26

Cairo scrambles to restart Entebbe negotiations

The latest developments relating to the Entebbe Agreement underscore the disputes surrounding the controversial pact, such as its importance in terms of guaranteeing Egypt’s right to the Nile water and its impact on international relations.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 26

Shifting tides in PA-EU relationship

Since the Vatican recognized the state of Palestine, Palestinians are hoping more European states will follow suit.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 22

Draft law pushes equal opportunity in Egypt

Social status and upbringing trump qualifications in obtaining positions in the Egyptian judiciary, Foreign Ministry, and police force.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 26

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.
Read more»

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

Resignation of two Moroccan ministers stirs debate

Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane asserted that his government is not facing a crisis despite the resignation of four ministers.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on May 21

Khamenei draws line on military sites, nuclear scientists

Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Iran would not allow inspections into military sites nor allow nuclear scientists to be interrogated.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 20

Khamenei adviser visits Beirut

During a visit to Beirut, Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, expressed his country’s appreciation to the achievements of Hezbollah in the Qalamoun area, while stressing that Iran will not interfere in internal Lebanese issues.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on May 20

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.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on May 20

Former Hamas official speaks out

In this interview with Al-Monitor, Ahmed Yousef, former political adviser to deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, weighs in on the negotiations with Israel, the future of a potential reconciliation with Fatah and international relations.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 21

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.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on May 20

Senior Hezbollah official speaks out

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, the head of Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc in Lebanon discusses the war in Syria and the party’s role there, the Saudi war against Yemen and the presidential stalemate in Lebanon.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on May 22

Erdan challenges Netanyahu, refuses Cabinet position

In a surprising move, senior Likud member and former Interior Minister Gilad Erdan rejected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offer of a Cabinet position and is staying out of the new government.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 20

Defense spending bill provides boost to Jordan

House Defense appropriators released a FY 2016 bill that seeks to help Jordan fight the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 19

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.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 19

What do attacks on Turkey's pro-Kurdish party mean?

Simultaneous bombing attacks against the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party show that Turkey may be heading toward a wild finish in key June 7 parliamentary elections.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on May 19

Is there a potato conspiracy in Turkey?

A fall in potato crops, increased exports to Syria and Iraq and hoarding have led to an unprecedented potato shortage in Turkey.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse 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.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 19

Russia weighs in on Yemen

After Russia's shift to soft power in the Middle East, President Vladimir Putin discusses Russia's "need to abandon ‘the law of the strongest’ and ‘rule of the fist.’”
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on May 19

Iraq’s missing money

Amid the deteriorating economy and the drop in oil revenues, a huge chunk of the federal budget seems to have disappeared, most of it reportedly lost under former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on May 19

Knesset speaker calls for unity government

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Knesset speaker Yuli (Yoel) Edelstein argues that the new coalition is too fragile to survive, and calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form a unity government with the Zionist Camp.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 19

Netanyahu's new government already on shaky ground

With the numerous challenges facing the new Netanyahu government, and with a slender majority, many are predicting his coalition won't last long.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit 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.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz 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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 18

Will Israel join Turkey-Saudi coalition?

The common geostrategic interests of Israel and Turkey are greater than ever before.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 18

Khamenei adviser slams US over Fordow

Iranian officials have said that the United States has gone back on its statements regarding the underground enrichment facility of Fordow.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 18

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

Ahmed Ateyya for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 18

NATO taps Turkey to counter Russian threat

Turkey recently hosted a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, who discussed efforts to transform the organization into a highly maneuverable body that can rapidly intervene in crises with the support of regional alliances.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on May 18

Will US endorse French UN resolution on Palestinian statehood?

In view of the composition of the new Israeli government and its policies, France could replace the United States in leading the efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by advancing a UN resolution on Palestinian statehood.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar 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.”
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 18

How Morsi matters in Turkish politics

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is convinced that the forces that toppled former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi would have toppled him as well, had he not stood his ground against them.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on May 17

Obama, GCC leaders forge consensus on Iran

Summit statement concludes that a “comprehensive, verifiable” nuclear deal “is in the security interests” of all parties; Kerry emphasizes need for US-Russia cooperation on Syria.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on May 16

Washington fetes Tunis

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of May 18.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 17

Congress sends mixed messages on toppling Assad

The House passed a defense bill with contradictory guidance for assistance to the Syrian rebels.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 15

Are tribes in Sinai really unifying against terrorism?

Egyptian media are rushing to claim that tribes in Sinai are fighting terrorism, but the news seems to be premature.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 15

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.
Read more»

 Behdad Bordbar for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 21

Palestinian state would solve right of return

After 67 years, the best way to deal with the Palestinian refugee issue is to allow Palestinians to have their own independent state.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 15

Iran slashes interest rates to boost economy

The Iranian leadership will need to make significant political and economic reforms, some of them counterintuitive, to complement interest rate cuts and generate economic momentum.
Read more»

 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 15

Herzog's opposition strong, but headstrong

Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog is confronted with an opposition that is larger, stronger and more complex than it has been for years, but his position as its head could be challenged.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 15

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 15

Iran-Pakistan pipeline could finally become reality

Iran and Pakistan both have political and economic interests in seeing a long-delayed gas pipeline come to fruition.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on May 14

Will Ayatollah Khomeini's grandson enter politics?

A grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran is in a unique position to influence politics, but his family name limits his involvement.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 14

Will Camp David spur regional cooperation?

The signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 can open the door to cooperation between Middle East countries.
Read more»

 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 14

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.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 14

Turkey’s 4G tender gets bad reception from Erdogan

The Turkish president’s interference in establishing a 4G network in Turkey could harm the country's prospects for future technological developments.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 15

Is Israel in cahoots with Saudi Arabia?

Israel and Saudi Arabia feel that the United States is playing a bad hand in its negotiating with Iran, trying to offer more and more compromises while Iran isn't budging.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on May 14

Netanyahu neutralizes rivals with Cabinet appointments

In distributing ministerial portfolios, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is employing his well-worn strategy of eliminating the possibility of any Likud member having a chance to increase their popularity.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 14

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 14

Investors remain wary of Gaza

A recent conference of investors landed six projects for the West Bank, but none for Gaza because of the risk involved.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 14

What's driving Pope Francis' Middle East diplomacy?

Pope Francis' push for Palestinian statehood is part of a series of bold initiatives to preserve the region's rich religious mosaic.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 13

Have US, Turkey found common ground in Syria?

The United States seems to have found, at last, a middle course in Syria vis-a-vis Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on May 13

IAEA comments on military sites strike nerve in Iran

Iran's hard-liners have rejected a call by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency for Iran to allow inspections of military sites.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 13

No questions asked about Turkey's suitcases full of cash

Pundits fear that the new Customs Code will turn Turkey into a haven for money launderers and terror financiers.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on May 14

Iran's Rezaei returns to his military roots

The former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has left behind politics to lead a new generation of military officers.
Read more»

Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 13

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 13

Netanyahu has self to blame for 'extortion' in Israeli politics

Having formed a coalition government with only one seat to spare, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have to devote much of his time to keeping his government intact.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem 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.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 13

Congress decides Iraqi Kurds, Sunnis aren't countries after all

The annual defense bill gets a new look after backlash from Baghdad.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 12

Iraq’s toxic partisanship continues

Iraq is still hashing out its long overdue parties law, which will need ratification by the very parties it's intended to rein in.
Read more»

 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 13

Iran MPs deny signing bill to suspend nuclear talks

A bill calling for the suspension of nuclear talks until US officials cease to make threats against Iran has faced a backlash after some members of parliament claim they were misled about the bill.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 12

The Turkey-Saudi axis against Damascus

Will the US support the gains of Islamist opposition in Syria?
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on May 12

Is Turkish Stream a pipe dream?

Turkey and Russia appear keen on the Turkish Stream pipeline project, setting aside differences, but analysts suggest there is more political than economic logic involved.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on May 12

Egypt outlaws workers’ right to strike

A court ruling in Egypt has criminalized the right to strike, which not only violates the Egyptian Constitution, but also the UN’s International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 12

US willing to 'compensate' Israel on Iran deal

The United States doesn’t understand why Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to focus on battling the Iranian deal and rejects two large and strategic “special interest deals” with the US administration.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on May 12

Jordan takes sides in Islamist rift

The Jordanian government is supporting a Muslim Brotherhood breakaway society, thus deepening the divide within the group in Jordan.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on May 12

Hamas, Fatah ignore Carter's reconciliation attempt

Hamas and Fatah are focusing on trivial issues instead of taking advantage of former President Jimmy Carter’s efforts to achieve reconciliation between the two Palestinian movements.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 12

How IS uses water as weapon of war

The Islamic State's expanding control over the water resources of the Middle East will only compound the region's water crisis.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 11

MK Shmuli: Herzog must lead Zionist Camp in opposition

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Zionist Camp Knesset member Itzik Shmuli expresses his regret for the party's failure to reconnect with the periphery.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 11

Hamas military wing dictates movement's policies

Inside Hamas, the military branch is gradually taking even stronger control of the movement's institutions and blocking attempts to reach a long-term cease-fire with Israel.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 11

Erdogan ends discussion on 'Armenian opening'

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement last week seemed to confirm that the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement was indeed an effort driven mainly by Abdullah Gul and blocked mainly by Erdogan.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on May 11

Libyan government wants arms embargo lifted

In an interview with Al-Monitor, the spokesman for the interim Libyan government, Hatem al-Oraibi, discusses the need for the international community to lift the embargo imposed on the Libyan army and allow it to fight terrorist groups.
Read more»

 Mohamed Saied for Al-Monitor on May 11

Iran’s Kurds rise up as their leaders remain divided

Various Iranian Kurdish groups have split further apart instead of uniting in their struggle to obtain their rights.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on May 11

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.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 11

Hamas courts Saudis

Hamas is seeking a rapprochement with Saudi Arabia to improve its leverage in Palestinian reconciliation talks, which might not please Egypt, which has long brokered the discussions, or Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 12

Israeli court to rule on minister's deportation case

After nine years, the Israeli Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the Israeli minister of interior has the right to deport a bona fide permanent resident of the city of Jerusalem.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 11

House begins to weigh next steps on Iran

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of May 11.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 10

Carter: Syria 'safe zones' would be 'major combat mission'

US secretary of defense tells Congress no-fly zone would be "difficult thing to contemplate"; state institutions collapse as result of war in Yemen; Obama administration rejects direct arms to Iraqi Kurdistan.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on May 10

New Israeli government makes no pretense of peace

For the first time in 20 years, an Israeli government will be sworn in without a mention or plan of resolving the Palestinian conflict.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on May 8

Abadi tries to balance Iraq between Iran, Turkey

Under Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi government did not hide its strong ties with Iran, but with a new administration in place, Haider al-Abadi is trying to cultivate a more balanced policy toward its neighbors.
Read more»

Saeid Jafari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 8

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.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 8

Turks fear Saudi alliance will drag country into Syria

Opposition politicians in Turkey have charged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with leading Turkey to war in Syria.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on May 8

King Salman needs total victory in Yemen

The new Saudi king must reassure his domestic audience that his aggressive foreign policy will safeguard the kingdom.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on May 8

Could Jordan-Palestine confederation be in the cards?

Palestinian and Jordanian officials are contemplating the idea of a Jordan-Palestine confederation, to be created after the establishment of a Palestinian state and with Israeli involvement.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 10

Netanyahu bitter over justice minister appointee

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s shrinking coalition forces him to appoint his old nemesis, Knesset member Ayelet Shaked, to the post of justice minister.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 8

Tripoli-based PM rejects Islamist label

The Tripoli-based government Prime Minister Khalifa al-Ghwell told Al-Hayat that his government is for all Libyans, rejecting accusations that the government is affiliated with Islamists and the Brotherhood.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on May 8

Hamas cracks down on Salafists in Gaza Strip

A recent series of arrests shows that despite mediation efforts trying to quell the conflict, animosity between Hamas and Salafists seems to be growing.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on May 10

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on May 8

Iran review bill approval sets up partisan battle

Senate passage of congressional review legislation presages a bitter vote over Iran negotiations in the event of a final deal.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 7

GCC won’t get written defense guarantees at Camp David

Former Pentagon official says formal defense treaty with GCC is “not in the cards” at next week’s summit.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on May 7

Oman breaks from GCC on Yemen conflict

Oman sees Saudi Arabia's strategy in Yemen as misguided and dangerous for the Gulf region.
Read more»

 Giorgio Cafiero for Al-Monitor on May 7

Is Iran really to blame for Yemen conflict?

Yemen's conflict is homegrown and the only way to stabilize the country's descent into civil war is through a political deal.
Read more»

 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse 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.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 7

Security services drain Palestine's budget

Palestine's security services continue to receive the bulk of the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget, to the detriment of other vital sectors.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 10

What will lifting sanctions do to Iran's rial?

The removal of sanctions will likely substantially strengthen the rial and could lead to a wave of cheap and wasteful imports into Iran, economists have warned.
Read more»

 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 7

Netanyahu snatches defeat from jaws of victory

Instead of composing a large and stable coalition, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finds himself with only 61 coalition members and must try to persuade the Zionist Camp to join his government.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit 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.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 7

Syrian Coalition aims for conference in Cairo

In this interview with Azzaman, Syrian Coalition member Haitham al-Maleh says that Iranian support for Bashar al-Assad has shrunk because of the economic crisis and the war in Yemen, and that Assad will fall faster than many expect.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Zaman (Iraq) on May 7

Khamenei: We will not negotiate under 'specter of threats'

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's harsh words were likely a response to comments by US Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, who have suggested that the military option is still on the table.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 6

Will Erdogan's backtracking torpedo PKK disarmament?

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has dropped plans to convene a congress to renounce its armed struggle after hostile outbursts by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and government officials.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on May 6

Turkey avoids economic pain with EU trade agreement

Turkey would have suffered heavy economic consequences if it was left out of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the world’s largest free trade zone.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 6

Yachimovich offensive a bid for Labor leadership

Preparing for a term in the opposition and for next year's party primaries, former Labor head Shelly Yachimovich has come out against the Zionist Camp's dual leadership, taking aim in particular at Tzipi Livni.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 6

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.
Read more»

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor on May 6

New Knesset supports two-state solution

With Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman joining the opposition, the balance of power in the Knesset is clearly in favor of those supporting a two-state solution.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 6

Price impact of Iranian oil uncertain, says US official

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Amos Hochstein, special envoy and coordinator for International Energy Affairs at the US State Department, says Middle Eastern countries are increasingly investing in renewables, international oil companies are returning to Egypt and Israel needs get its regulatory house in order if it wants foreign investments in offshore natural gas.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on May 8

Congress ponders next step for rejecting Iran deal

Republicans won't let a veto threat stop them from voicing their opposition.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 5

Ankara's relations with Cairo still frosty despite Saudi mediation

Saudi Arabia is reportedly working for a thaw between Ankara and Cairo, but little is likely to change before the general elections in Turkey.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on May 5

PA fails at curbing 'rampant' corruption

Surveys show that Palestinians believe that corruption is increasing under the Palestinian Authority, which has not even held required presidential and parliamentary elections.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 5

US, international community should take lead on two-state solution

To advance toward a two-state solution, the United States and the international community must change the paradigm of seeking an agreement only through direct negotiations and adopt an approach favoring independent steps.
Read more»

 Ami Ayalon Israel Pulse on May 6

Liberman's resignation opens door for Herzog

With a narrow coalition of 61 members, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face constant challenges from his political partners, and may try to persuade the Zionist Camp to join his coalition at a later stage.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 5

Yazidi candidate hopes for historic first in Turkish election

If the pro-Kurdish HDP passes the 10% threshold in the general elections on June 7, Feleknas Uca will be the first Yazidi member of the Turkish parliament.
Read more»

Fréderike Geerdink for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on May 5

Liberman's move could sink Bibi's coalition

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman's announcement that he will not join the Netanyahu coalition was carefully planned, placing the prime minister between a rock and a hard place, with just two days left to form a government.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor 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.
Read more»

 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 5

Arab states worry over Senate's 'Jewish State' debate

An Iran bill amendment could create an uncomfortable precedent for Arab allies of the United States.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor 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.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on May 5

More divisions reported between Hamas' political, military wings

Hamas representatives have downplayed reports and said that the movement's leaders are on the same page.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 4

'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.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on May 4

Saudi Arabia, Iran both losers in Yemen war

Despite the announcement of the end of Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen, Saudi Arabia seems to have failed militarily, while Iran may have lost on the political level.
Read more»

 Maysaa Shuja al-Deen for Al-Monitor on May 4

Iraqis need to build state, not just defeat IS

Iraqis cannot liberate their country from the Islamic State unless they are able to create a unified state representing all interests.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi 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.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 6

Iraq's Sunni fighting force still months away

Baghdad is still debating the national guard plan that would seek to integrate Sunnis into the battle against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on May 4

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.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on May 4

Turkish military puts brakes on Syrian intervention

While a Turkish military operation against Syria is unlikely, Mosul is another story.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan 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.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on May 4

Zarif's denial on political prisoners sparks backlash

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated over Facebook his claim that Iran does not jail anyone for their political beliefs.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 4

Saudi shake-up underscores stakes in Yemen

Saudi credibility on the line in Yemen; al-Qaeda’s “free rein” in Yemen; Iraq seeks balance, distance from Saudi-Iranian rivalry; Iran’s Reformists still waiting for Rouhani to deliver; Syrian government intensifies attacks on rebel-held areas of Aleppo.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on May 3

Iranian doc follows Afghan fighters in Syria

The film, which was broadcast on an unofficial government channel, shows why Afghans living in Iran are fighting in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad.
Read more»

Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 4

Congress gives Egypt a pass on religious rights violations

Lawmakers praise Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a far better alternative than the Muslim Brotherhood.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on May 1

Saudi palace intrigue sparks speculation

Saudi King Salman's unprecedented personnel changes and other moves have many wondering what might come next from the House of Saud.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on May 1

Rejectionist Israeli government becomes Palestinian asset

In face of Israel's new right-wing government, the Palestinian Authority is planning a diplomatic offensive to reconquer the interest of the international community.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on May 3

Zarif touts swift sanctions relief

Iran's foreign minister told a New York audience that after a nuclear agreement is reached, sanctions could be lifted within weeks.
Read more»

 Sophie Pilgrim for Al-Monitor on April 30

Iranian MPs fail to bypass the Guardian Council

Iranian parliament members failed in a bid to weaken the powers of the Interior Ministry and Guardian Council to vet candidates.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 30

Egypt’s parliament revamped to accommodate more MPs

The amendment of the electoral law in Egypt means the current parliament hall does not have enough space to accommodate an increased number of MPs.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on May 1

Turkey’s war within the judiciary deepens

There is no clear good versus evil in Turkey’s ongoing war within its judiciary, but it is clear that it will bring more evil than good to Turkey’s troubled democracy.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on April 30

Israel eases Gaza blockade, hopes for Hamas stability

Israel understands that Hamas is in Gaza to stay and is now searching for balance between easing the blockade for Gaza residents and limiting Hamas' military activity.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 30

Will Netanyahu stand in the way of Kahlon's reform plan?

Future Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon fears that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will block the reforms he is planning, which is why he insisted on a much-detailed coalition agreement with unprecedented responsibilities in finance, housing and banking.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 30

Egypt’s foreign minister speaks out

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry discusses Egypt’s relations with the United States, Iran’s nuclear deal, Operation Decisive Storm and the Islamist State presence in Libya.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on May 1

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.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on May 3

Iraqi Kurds struggle to avoid regional conflicts

Iraqi Kurds have performed a balancing act to remain largely impartial in the conflicts swirling around them.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on May 1

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on April 30

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.
Read more»

 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on May 4

MEK uses congressional spotlight to push regime change in Iran

The Iranian dissident group's leader told lawmakers that Tehran's mullahs are an inspiration for Islamists everywhere.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 29

Top Biden aide moves to NSC

Jeffrey Prescott, Vice President Joe Biden’s deputy national security adviser and veteran China hand, started April 29 as the National Security Council's senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Gulf states.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on April 29

Iran minister apologizes for comment on 'dirty money' in politics

After coming under criticism, Iran's interior minister apologizes before an open session of parliament over "misunderstandings" about comments he made regarding dirty money in politics.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 29

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.
Read more»

 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.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 29

Hamas imposes new taxes to meet payroll dues

In an attempt to raise the payrolls of employees appointed by the previous Hamas government, new taxes have been levied on goods and services in Gaza, angering importers and consumers.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 29

US restates positions as Israeli government takes shape

Senior Obama administration officials have reiterated the president's commitment in a 2009 Cairo speech to the two-state solution, reinforcing the US stance to Netanyahu's new government.
Read more»

 Akiva 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.
Read more»

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.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on April 28

Congressional invite to MEK sparks furious backlash

Former State Department officials are refusing to testify alongside Mujahedeen-e-Khalq leader Maryam Rajavi.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet 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.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 28

The Future Movement’s internal disputes

The Future Movement is reconsidering its ties with extremist factions in Tripoli, provoking considerable conflict within the movement.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on April 29

US CEOs find crowded field in Iran

A group of American executives found a warm welcome in Iran and plenty of company from other foreigners investigating post-sanctions business opportunities.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 28

Russia's recognition of Armenian genocide strains ties with Turkey

Moscow’s acknowledgment of the Armenian genocide and President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Yerevan for the genocide commemorations shake Turkish-Russian ties.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on April 28

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.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 28

Northern Cyprus demands respect from Turkey

The new Turkish Cypriot president, Mustafa Akinci, infuriated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as soon as he was elected by calling for a dignified relationship between Turkish Cypriots and Ankara.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 28

Syrian regime continues destruction of Aleppo

Airstrikes continue to pound Aleppo, and despite mounting casualties and public discontent, the regime does not seem likely to budge.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on April 28

Will Iran nuclear deal lead to rapprochement with Cairo?

The pending nuclear agreement with Iran could provide some much-needed balance for Egypt's shifting foreign policy in the region.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 28

Is Pakistan pivoting away from Saudi Arabia?

Pakistan is facing strong domestic opposition against providing support to the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, and its parliament came to a unanimous decision to stay neutral in the conflict, to the chagrin of Saudi Arabia.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor 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.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 28

Yemen dispute could hurt Lebanon

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's verbal attack against Saudi Arabia and its regional allies in a televised speech March 27 about Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen could be part of a process leading to much greater tensions and even conflict in Lebanon.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on April 30

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.
Read more»

 Alexander Liddington-Cox for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 29

Netanyahu secures 67 members for coalition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might have preferred to have Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog within his new coalition, but will have to make do for the moment with a right-wing government par excellence.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 28

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.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 28

Defense bill recognizes Iraq's Kurdish, Sunni militias as a 'country'

The draft House bill carves out 25% of anti-Islamic State funding for the peshmerga and Sunni tribes.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 27

Hariri: Late Syrian security chief tried to speak out

A statement by Lebanon's former Prime Minister Saad Hariri that Rustom Ghazaleh asked to go on television before his death suggests the former Syrian intelligence chief was about to break with the Syrian government.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 27

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 Iran Pulse on April 27

In Turkey's battle of the G-words, Gallipoli wins

The damage of the 1915 centennial is already done to Turkey’s international standing and only time may heal it.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on April 27

Bennett's plan B: Education Ministry

Having garnered fewer votes than expected in the recent election, HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett has put out the word that he'll settle for the Education Ministry, instead of the Foreign Ministry — raising concerns about whether he can serve as “everyone’s” education minister.
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 Mazal Mualem 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

Hamas reaches out to Egypt

Although Egypt's campaign to destroy the tunnels between Gaza and Sinai continues, Hamas, whose relations with other regional countries are even more strained, is working to restore ties with its neighbor.
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 Adnan Abu Amer 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

Will Iran review bill survive Senate?

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of April 27.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 24

Former Iran negotiator: Better ties with US impossible

Former Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili argued that the United States and Iran cannot have ties because of America's policy to "consolidate its leadership over the world."
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 24

Syria's spy chiefs meet untimely deaths

Ten years following the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, many of the Syrian security officers who once ruled Beirut are now slowly disappearing within Syria.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on April 26

The Islamic State’s Baathist roots

Although the presence and strength of former Baathist officers in the Islamic State is unlikely to revive pan-Arab nationalism, it has implications for a strategy to counter the Islamic State and eventually stabilize Iraq.
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 Denise Natali for Al-Monitor on April 24

Gaza's employee crisis derails latest reconciliation attempt

Tensions are continuing to worsen within Palestine’s consensus government over the issue of the Gaza employees, who still have not been paid.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on April 24

Public outcry pushes Peres to cancel bank deal

With banking system reform in the offing, the lobbying contract of former President Shimon Peres with Bank Hapoalim delivered a serious blow to his image.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 24

'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

UNESCO resolutions raise Palestinian hopes

New UNESCO resolutions raises Palestinian hopes for more effective thwarting of Israeli violations of Palestinian land through illegal settlements and violation of historic sites.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 24

Iraq maintains neutrality in regional conflicts

On a visit to Washington, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi leveled criticism at Iran and Saudi Arabia, reflecting his desire to maintain a neutral position in their regional rivalry.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on April 29

Egyptian businessmen rattled by new regulations

The Egyptian government has upset the local business community with the issuance of regulations for laws imposing a 10% tax on stock market profits and restricting dollar