Politics


Diplomats focus on humanitarian aid first, Syria peace talks second

After Syria peace talks in Geneva suspended, diplomats look to world powers to agree on aid access and humanitarian deliverables at a meeting of the International Syria Support Group in Munich Feb. 11 to try to revive a diplomatic process.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 5

Diyarbakir's soccer team gets yellow card for winning

Diyarbakir's Amedspor soccer club is paying a heavy price for making its way to the Turkish Cup quarterfinals, defeating powerful rivals along the way.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on February 5

Five reasons why Iran-Saudi conflict won't escalate

Despite media speculation about war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, several domestic and international factors make that prospect highly unlikely.
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Ali Omidi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 5

Why some Israelis are taking to social media to expose sexual harassment

Israeli society is undergoing a transformation as women talk about sexual harassment on social media, which is becoming the public arena for exposing misconduct instead of filing a complaint with the police.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 5

Is Syrian regime's seizure of Sheikh Miskin a tipping point?

Aided by Russian air cover, the Syrian regime retook the strategic city of Sheikh Miskin and advanced on numerous other fronts, likely affecting the Geneva III talks.
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Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on February 5

What happens when an anti-Zionist rabbi visits Israel

On a rare visit to Israel, the anti-Zionist Satmar Rabbi distributed money to ultra-Orthodox institutions that refuse to receive state funding.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 5

Egyptian cartoonist arrested for 'unauthorized' Facebook page

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Egyptian cartoonist Islam Gawish speaks about his brief detention and vows to continue with his work.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 5

Why are Reformists criticizing Rafsanjani?

Rafsanjani's criticism of the Guardian Council has brought about the criticism of two Reformist political figures in Iran.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 4

Poll: Even hopeful Israelis expect little from peace talks

According to an Israel Democracy Institute survey, an overwhelming majority of Israelis support a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but paradoxically don’t believe it would lead anywhere.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 4

Who's going to pay for Palestinian budget gap?

The new Palestinian state budget is being criticized both for its approval process and its expenditures, which some critics say favor administrative items at the expense of other sectors.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 4

Will splitting Jerusalem perpetuate occupation?

The separation plans designed to separate Jerusalem from surrounding Palestinian villages will only perpetuate the annexation of Jerusalem to Israel.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 4

Erdogan’s new Kurdish allies

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is gearing up to resume the Kurdish settlement process — but with new dialogue partners with Islamist inclinations.
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 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 4

Egypt fills its prisons, but don't worry, it'll make more

Egypt's human rights violations are flooding its prisons with more people than they can handle.
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 Albaraa Abdullah for Al-Monitor on February 3

Selfies in Syria: How one Iranian religious singer is showing his support for fighters

A famous Iranian religious singer who has a close relationship with Iran's hard-liners, says he did not intend for his controversial pictures in Syria to be published.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 3

Will new Turkish fact-checking site be able to hold politicians accountable?

Turkey’s first and only political fact-checking website aims to make political actors in Turkey accountable for their statements.
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 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 3

Turkey’s nationalist 'Gray Wolves' enter Syrian fray

Turkish ultranationalists have joined the fight in Syria as what some observers view as their government's secret weapon, one that could backfire as the group mingles with Islamists along with the Turkmens they're defending.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on February 3

Will Saudi's cut to trade with Iran really matter?

Saudi Arabia’s cutting of commercial ties with Iran appears to be having a far smaller impact than Riyadh’s parallel severing of diplomatic relations with Tehran.
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 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 3

Diyala attacks follow old Zarqawi terror strategy

The Diyala attacks in January may have been intended to stir up a Sunni-Shiite war to drive Sunnis into the Islamic State’s arms.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on February 3

Zionist Camp sets sights on settler vote

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Zionist Camp Knesset member Yoel Hasson explained why he thinks the Zionist Camp can win votes in the large settlement blocs.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 3

New poll says Iranians like Zarif, dislike US

A University of Maryland telephone survey of Iranians finds they like their president and foreign minister and are hopeful that the nuclear deal will provide economic rewards.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on February 3

Obama's Israeli-Palestinian failure

With one year left in office, President Barack Obama should hurry up and join the French in promoting an international conference on a two-state solution.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 3

Rafsanjani to Guardian Council: Who are you to judge?

Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has stirred controversy in Iran over his defense of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's grandson, who was disqualified to run in the elections.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 2

AKP moderate declared 'traitor'

The "Arinc rebellion" against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems to be the much-belated outburst of the much-speculated silent opposition within the AKP. But what is it likely to achieve?
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 2

Will Turkey risk military confrontation with Russia?

Leading military analysts say Putin is trying to draw Ankara into a fight that could have disastrous results for Turkey.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on February 2

Erdogan's Kurdish gamble

Erdogan, who wants to establish a constitutional authoritarian regime, is taking a big risk by linking the fate of the struggle with the Kurds to his political agenda.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on February 2

Can the IDF withstand political pressure?

The Israel Defense Forces believe hope and economic opportunity are the keys to calming the current wave of Palestinian attacks, but political leaders are pressing for a military response.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 2

Why one Israeli campaign is calling artists 'traitors'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians have condemned the Im Tirtzu campaign labeling Israeli artists as traitors, but the group's activities against human rights activists continue unabated.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 2

Tunisia's single mothers still struggle to overcome stigma

Although Tunisia is in many ways a relatively liberated country, its legislation is slower to adapt than its gradually modernizing society and many conservative values still prevail.
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 Perrine Massy for Al-Monitor on February 2

Palestinians in Jordan outraged over new work permit requirements

Jordan’s decision to require work permits for Palestinians holding temporary passports on its territory will further add to their economic and social suffering.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 2

Syrian opposition finally agrees to join Geneva talks

The Syrian opposition said Feb. 1 it would join the Syria peace talks in Geneva to press for an end to sieges and the shelling of civilians.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 1

Iran rewards IRGC leaders who captured US sailors

Commanders of the IRGC received Iran's highest military medal for the detention of 10 US sailors.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 1

Turkey’s urban war leaves thousands of Kurds without homes

Expanding clashes in Turkey’s largest Kurdish-populated city have triggered a fresh civilian exodus, with many residents fleeing their homes with only the clothes on their backs.
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 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 1

Turkey plans shiny new HQ for shadowy intelligence operations

Senior Turkish intelligence officers say the $140 million budgeted for their agency's new headquarters reveals there is more going on than meets the eye.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on February 1

Is the US a threat to Israel?

US efforts to crack the Israeli drone encryption system have caused some to question whether or not America is still an ally of Israel.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 1

How Bibi was blindsided by French ultimatum on Palestinian state

Israel issued a jumbled response to the ultimatum by France to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, but it is a warning that should not be taken lightly.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 1

Lebanon holds breath for deal to export trash abroad

Although officials have announced that Lebanon will export its waste as a solution to the garbage crisis plaguing the country since July, the government has yet to sign contracts with any foreign companies.
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 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on February 1

Hezbollah's pick for president of Lebanon

It seems Hezbollah is not giving up on Christian parliament member Michel Aoun’s candidacy for the Lebanese presidential elections, especially since Aoun now has the support of another major Christian leader in Lebanon, Samir Geagea.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on February 1

Palestinian security torn between intifada, duty

The attack near the Beit El settlement this weekend is the second one by a Palestinian security officer, and there is immense pressure from the Palestinian street on others to join the uprising.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 1

Congress eyes Syrian refugee threat — from Canada

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Feb. 1.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 31

Should armed groups allied with al-Qaeda be included in Syria peace talks?

Our answer is no; Erekat’s “main priority is not to allow IS to raise its flag in Palestine”; Turkey responds to Biden with fake news.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on January 31

Is Turkey the odd man out as Egypt, Greece, Cyprus cozy up?

Cairo, Athens and Nicosia are busy forging cooperation pacts.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 31

Will Syrian regime's advances on the ground strengthen their position in Geneva?

In line with its policy of closing borders and cutting off supply routes, the Syrian regime has launched an offensive on the town of Hirbnafsah on the border between Homs and Hama a few days before Geneva III.
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Khaled Atallah for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on January 29

Uber drives a wedge between Bibi and Israel's transportation minister

The dispute between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz over approving the entrance of ride-sharing app Uber to the Israeli market revealed a power struggle between the two men.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 29

Jabhat al-Nusra's return to Aleppo worries activists

A year and half after withdrawing from Aleppo, Jabhat al-Nusra returned, raising speculation about its intentions going forward.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on February 3

How Palestinian media contributes to cycle of incitement

Young Palestinians are being influenced by misleading video clips aired on the PA's official TV network, presenting those who attack Israelis as victims.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 29

Pro-Israel groups split over Obama's West Bank labeling requirements

New guidance from the US Customs agency warns that it will be cracking down on settlement goods that say "Made in Israel."
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 28

Under pressure from Turkey, UN excludes PYD from Syria talks

Turkey has won the battle over the Syrian Kurdish nationalist Democratic Union Party by blackmailing the United States into leaving the group out of the Geneva III talks.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on January 29

Will Iranians be able to increase voter turnout in the next election?

Even though Iran's Reformist movement suffered a huge setback during the election qualification process, Reformist leaders are encouraging members to cast their votes.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 28

How fake news helps AKP propaganda

Turkey’s pro-AKP media is presenting a counterfactual world to its readers; the latest example is "news" about the "FBI arrest" of 9/11 deniers.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 28

Israeli leftist artists, the enemy within

As far as Culture Minister Miri Regev is concerned, all intellectuals who do not agree with her right-wing agenda are enemies of the state.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 28

Meet one of Hezbollah's teen fighters

As more young Lebanese Hezbollah fighters travel to Syria, Al-Monitor spoke with one of these boys about their reasons for waging jihad and the training they go through before joining the fight.
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 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on January 28

Will Israeli Palestinians join their West Bank brethren?

Discrimination and the lack of any hope for a two-state solution could push Arab-Israelis to join the uprising in the West Bank, much like the battle in 1947.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 31

The profitable business of Israeli occupation

Is the settlement enterprise a diplomatic or defense necessity for Israel, or a way to make money?
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 28

Israel support for yeshiva students up by 53%. Is it enough?

Once again, much is being made in the media about the state raising allocations for yeshiva students, but the ebb and flow of this funding is a perennial part of the coalition's wooing of the ultra-Orthodox.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 28

Democrats launch Iran deal offensive

Pro-deal senators are touting Iran's denuclearization amid continued Republican pushback.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 28

Iran is spending more money on culture, but where's the accountability?

In Iran, President Hassan Rouhani is moving to increase spending allocated to administration-controlled cultural entities. Yet a vast portion of cultural spending continues to go to organizations that are not held accountable.
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 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 27

How new Egyptian parliament is empowering those with disabilities

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Khalid Hanafi, a visually impaired member of parliament, said that Egypt is still a very young democracy and the presence of people with disabilities in the legislature will help with addressing issues facing this group.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 27

Rome's nude cover-up remains mystery

At a press conference in Italy, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani addressed the controversy over two nude statues covered in boxes.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 27

Russia, Qatar pushed to compromise. But will they?

A recent visit between Qatari and Russian officials indicate that in spite of their many differences, the two states may seek to cooperate.
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 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on January 27

Want to call Erdogan a dictator? Get ready to hire some lawyers

The Turkish government has launched two court cases against the media for allegedly offending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 27

Palestinian negotiator: Iran should stop poking its noses in Arab affairs

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat says Iran should mind its own business, and stresses the need to preserve the Palestinian Authority.
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 Aaron Magid for Al-Monitor on January 27

Will Iran deal mean more money for Hamas?

Now that sanctions have been lifted against Iran, Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza are waiting to see if Iran will restore or perhaps increase its military and financial support.
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 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 27

Why IDF favors carrots, not sticks for West Bank Palestinians

IDF experts disagree whether Israel should increase pressure on the Palestinian Authority and apply punitive measures or whether it should increase incentives to calm the situation on the ground.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on January 27

Why Israel needs Turkey now more than ever

Israel and Turkey are strengthening their relations as both keep a wary eye on Iran's outreach to the world and regional countries.
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 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 28

Is Iran deal gateway to Israeli-Palestinian peace?

J Street aims to put $3 million behind pro-diplomacy lawmakers in 2016 election cycle.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 26

Syria talk invites go out … who’s in and who’s out?

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura issued invitations Jan. 26 to new Syria peace talks in Geneva beginning Jan. 29 that could last six months, while acknowledging that the relaunched peace effort is going to be uphill.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 26

Could Iraq mediate Iran, Saudi strife?

Utilizing Iraq as a mediator to address its dispute with Iran would allow Saudi Arabia to both improve relations with Tehran and build important relations with Iraqi Shiites. Why, then, is Riyadh not seizing this opportunity?
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 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on January 26

Rouhani makes up for lost time in Italy

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is eager to bring his country back to the point it was before the sanctions.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 26

How Biden annoyed Ankara during his recent visit to Turkey

Was the US vice president's awkward talks with the Turkish president and prime minister a harbinger of even more tension in already strained ties between the two countries?
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 26

Can new food safety law stop Egypt's 'donkey slaughter mafia'?

Egypt is planning urgently needed legislation to protect its citizens’ food supply and prevent the spread of disease.
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Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 26

Palestinian intelligence chief undermines his own political ambitions

In light of the talk about President Mahmoud Abbas’ succession, Palestinian security chief Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj was harshly criticized for his statement to a Western site about his agency’s efforts in preventing 200 attacks against Israelis.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on January 26

Herzog pushes Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic envelope

Isaac Herzog has presented in Israel and in France a new relevant diplomatic plan, which could bypass the current diplomatic stalemate while offering Israelis security.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 26

Israeli land grab threatens Palestinian church

Israel’s confiscation of Palestinian land is in the spotlight once again, this time for annexing the Beit al-Baraka church to a Jewish settlement in the West Bank after a shady deal over its ownership.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 26

Israel's defense minister plays the moderate card

While Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon is treated as a hero for his temporary refusal to let settlers invade two houses in Hebron, let's not forget his past and certain future support for the settlement enterprise.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 26

How Turkey is losing a top trade partner

Turkey is experiencing a serious but underreported crisis with its biggest export market in the Gulf.
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Ufuk Sanli for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 25

Are conditions right for Ocalan's return?

Some observers wonder whether negotiations between the Kurds and the Turkish government could restart with the involvement of the sidelined Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
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Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on January 28

Turkey grants Syrians right to work, but is it too little, too late?

Ankara has finally granted Syrians the right to work in a belated move to stop more highly qualified refugees’ flight to Europe.
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 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 25

The AKP's strange bedfellows

When Dogu Perincek, the leader of the ultra-left and ultranationalist Patriotic Party, announces a "united front" with Turkey's ruling AKP, one should see why.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 25

Will new constitution help Algeria?

The Algerian opposition has criticized the draft constitution as being nonconsensual and as not addressing the country’s real crisis.
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 Massinissa Benlakehal for Al-Monitor on January 27

Gas price hike, subsidy cuts shake up Saudis

The Saudi government's new year is off to a shaky start financially — a burden it's sharing with its citizens, leaving them to wonder just how bad things will get.
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 Ibrahim al-Hatlani for Al-Monitor on January 25

The truth about the Saudi executions

Why the executions of cleric Nimr al-Nimr and three other Shiites in Saudi Arabia are not the result of Sunni-Shiite sectarianism as many have claimed.
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Nawaf Obaid for Al-Monitor on January 25

Why Hamas hopes to keep low profile in Saudi-Iranian tensions

In light of the escalating dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Hamas has remained silent to maintain good ties with each party, as both have provided it with financial or military support.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 25

Widespread Iraqi anger threatens Saudi ties

The Iraqi government has distanced itself from the Saudi-Iranian dispute and adopted a neutral position despite the Iraqi street’s angry reaction to the Saudi execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 25

Five years on, why do Egyptian authorities still fear January 25?

Ahead of the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution, Egyptian authorities have taken tight security measures to deter any protests.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 25

Who is Israel's 'responsible adult'?

In a society that veers right and within a party ruled by supporters of the settlers, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon defends law, order and democracy, as an heir to the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on January 25

Arab restaurateurs feel bite of settlers' blacklist

The Samaria Settlers Committee, financed by Israeli taxpayers, has launched a defamatory campaign to boycott Arab-Israeli businesses they accuse of supporting terrorism.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 25

Is storm over settlements in Bibi’s coalition a sign of things to come?

Instead of supporting Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, who ordered the evacuation of two buildings illegally seized by settlers, most Likud ministers have sided with the settlers or kept silent.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 25

Biden calls for 'change of attitude' by Turkish government

US Vice President Joe Biden says Turkey is setting the wrong example for the region.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on January 24

Was Jan. 25, 2011, really a revolution?

Five years after the January 25 Revolution, members of the new parliament question whether the uprising was really a revolution. Meanwhile, the government is cracking down on activists to avoid imminent protests.
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 Shahira Amin for Al-Monitor on January 24

Is Iran prepared for more Saudi surprises?

The Iranian-Saudi rivalry has turned into a direct strategic conflict. With the crisis surrounding the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran contained, it is unclear whether the next crisis can be managed.
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 Hassan Ahmadian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 22

Can Libya escape from terrorist grip?

With terrorism spreading in Libya and threatening Europe, Western countries moved to support the establishment of a consensus government under the Skhirat Agreement.
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Translated from Al-Khaleej (U.A.E.) on January 28

Behind Turkish checkpoints

The town of Silopi in southeastern Turkey has been devastated by monthlong clashes between the security forces and Kurdish militants, with local residents blaming both the government and the rebels for the destruction.
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 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 22

Are Shiites divided over what to do about Saudi Arabia?

Over the years, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani of Iraq have encouraged Shiites to take opposing approaches toward Sunnis, with ramifications for Saudi Arabia.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 24

Are this week's Geneva talks on Syria doomed to fail?

Geneva III negotiations are expected to start Jan. 25 to seek a long-awaited political solution to the lingering Syrian crisis, but the parties have set preconditions and can't even agree on who should participate.
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Mustafa al-Haj for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on January 24

What's delaying Palestinian elections?

Fatah and Hamas keep accusing each other of hindering the election process while expressing their willingness to work together.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 22

What’s next for Anbar?

After its liberation, Anbar seems on the verge of a new wave of internal conflicts that will inevitably hinder reconstruction and the return of refugees.
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 Omar Sattar for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 24

Why Israelis love their cars more than the environment

The government has committed to reducing private cars, but its scattered expansion of Israeli suburbs and haphazard public transportation planning continue.
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 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 22

Israeli opposition leader: 'Peace will have to wait'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Zionist Camp and opposition leader Isaac Herzog discusses his new plan to restore security while waiting for the right time to resume pursuit of a two-state solution.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 22

EU shuts down pro-Israel congressional hawks

The EU’s top diplomat dismisses congressional attacks against its settlement labeling policy.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 21

Did Egyptian intelligence meddle in recent elections?

A political activist’s claim that the "For the Love of Egypt" alliance — which won many seats in the latest parliamentary elections — was established under the supervision of the intelligence services has divided Egyptians.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 22

Why an Abbas departure would be bad for Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prefers a weak Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but at the same time needs him to stay in power.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 24

Rouhani: Not even the first Shiite imam was this strict

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is criticizing the Guardian Council for disqualifying parliamentary candidates for "non-adherence to Islam."
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 21

Why one former IDF chief of staff may be heading for politics

Former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has just been cleared of a five-year legal affair and might be considering joining Israeli politics.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 21

Bibi fools everyone...except his wife

Feeling that Israel is facing an ongoing existential threat, the public turns to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mistakenly perceived as a security authority and a savior.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 21

Turkey breaks new ground in southeast reconstruction

Ankara will be entering potentially hazardous territory in its unprecedented plans for reconstruction in the Kurdish southeast.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on January 21

Why hasn't Israel lifted the Gaza blockade?

With Education Minister Naftali Bennett joining those objecting the continued Gaza blockade, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon must rethink their position.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 21

Was Beirut airport threat real or political conspiracy?

Some say rumors of a potential bombing at the Beirut airport could be designed to pressure Lebanon to agree on a political settlement to elect a president.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on January 21

Turkey issues new Friday prayer directive

A government directive allowing public employees to take time off from work for Friday prayers has sparked questions about the future of Turkey’s secular system.
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 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 21

Senate Democrats use Trump card to block Syrian refugees bill

The Senate defeated GOP-backed restrictions on refugee resettlement.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 20

You won't believe how Egypt plans to stop January 25 protests

Egyptians are split over a fatwa issued by the Ministry of Religious Endowments banning demonstrations on the fifth anniversary of the January 25 Revolution.
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 Safiaa Mounir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 20

Khamenei condemns attack on Saudi Embassy

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls the attack on the Saudi Embassy "very bad and wrong" and says thanking the United States for releasing Iranian funds would be like thanking a bully.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 20

Is the KRG heading for bankruptcy?

Iraq’s Kurds warn that unless Washington rides to their financial rescue, they cannot sustain their fight against the Islamic State.
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 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on January 20

Will Turkey's government start paying priests and rabbis?

Non-Muslim religious leaders in Turkey cannot agree on whether to back efforts to get their personnel on the state payroll, which already supports the country's Muslim clergy.
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 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 20

Looking to snitch on your neighbors? Turkey will pay you for the info

The Turkish government has hiked the pay of some elected leaders for providing intelligence about people in their neighborhoods.
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 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 20

Don't underestimate Iraqi nationalism

The anti-IS campaign in Iraq has deepened sectarian divisions between Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish regions, but despite communal and political fractures, many communities remain loyal to the Iraqi state.
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 Denise Natali for Al-Monitor on January 20

Is the US giving up on Israel?

The unusually sharp tone of US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro's criticisms of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians has many wondering what it means for the future.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on January 20

How long can Saudi Arabia afford Yemen war?

The war in Yemen may prove just as dangerously costly for Saudi Arabia, where an economic downturn threatens its political system, as for Yemen, whose economy can only start to be revived when it ends.
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 Amal Nasser for Al-Monitor on January 21

Can Iraq curb tribal disputes?

Tribal conflicts in Iraq are complicating the struggle against the Islamic State, threatening to thin the central government's security capacities.
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 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 20

How the Israeli government funds right-wing groups

In response to the "transparency bill" designed to hamstring watchdog and human rights associations, opposition Knesset member Tamar Zandberg has initiated a bill requiring all associations to disclose their public funding sources.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 20

How new Israeli settlements will lead to more violence

The United States, European Union and Palestinians have condemned an Israeli plan to build a settlement that could be the tipping point toward more violence and terror.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 20

US lets 2 Iran banks off UN sanctions list

The United States, in a confidence-building gesture with Iran, did not block a Venezuelan request to delist two Iranian banks from a UN Security Council sanctions list.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 19

Will Iran, Saudi Arabia patch things up?

Amid rising tensions following Saudi Arabia’s move to cut diplomatic relations with Iran, the question appears of whether the time has come for efforts to bridge the divide — or whether it’s too soon.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on January 19

Khamenei questions US commitment to nuke deal

As implementation of the nuclear deal begins, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that the United States may not live up to its obligations.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 19

Lebanon’s Christian foes become friends

Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea, the two Lebanese Christian leaders, finally turn the page on their historical bloody feud and have agreed on backing Aoun for president.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on January 19

Ankara plays favorites with Iraqi, Syrian Turkmens

Ankara could face a nationalist backlash at home for favoring the Kurds over the Turkmens in Iraq.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 19

Hamas stifles Gazans' giggles

The recent arrest of two satirists in Gaza points to increasing restrictions on freedom of expression due to Hamas' insecurity.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on January 19

What will happen to Iraq’s Mandaeans?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, the first Iraqi woman to head a religious endowment, Nadia F. Maghamiss, talks about her plan to empower women of all sects and about the future of the Mandaeans, one of Iraq’s many religious minorities.
Read more»

 Saad Salloum for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 19

Kurdish leader warns of civil war in Turkey

Turkey’s security crackdown in the Kurdish-majority southeast could spill over to the country’s west and eventually become a civil war, warns Kurdish politician Kamuran Yuksek in an interview with Al-Monitor.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 19

Why the world questions Turkey's stance on Islamic State

Reasons are mounting to doubt Turkey's dedication to battling the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on January 19

Israel's 'traitor' du jour

The Israeli right wing considers former Foreign Ministry Director Alon Liel a traitor for advocating to pressure the Israeli government and advance voting in the United Nations in favor of a Palestinian state.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 19

The black flag over Israel's democracy

Israelis are relinquishing their democracy through their silence and actions.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 19

Will Rouhani's negotiations with Iran’s hard-liners succeed?

With the difficult nuclear negotiations behind him, President Hassan Rouhani is now focused on domestic issues.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 18

Cairo river taxi project beginning to flow

Authorities are working to clear clogs in Egypt’s long-awaited Nile transportation plan.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 18

How one Coptic woman made Egyptian parliamentary history

Mona Gaballah, who is the first Coptic woman to be directly elected to Egypt's parliament, talks to Al-Monitor about the challenges she has faced and how she intends to represent Coptic females.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 18

Why Israel is keeping a close eye on Iran’s parliamentary elections

Some Israeli security experts view the Iran nuclear deal and lifting of sanctions with cautious optimism, and consider upcoming elections a test case to see what path the Iranian people will choose.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on January 18

Assassinations, chaos cripple Yemen's Aden

Yemen's temporary capital Aden has turned into a scene of bloody operations against government, security and military officials.
Read more»

 Ahmed Alwly for Al-Monitor on January 18

Obama, Rouhani hail diplomacy as Americans fly home

President Barack Obama heralds his administration’s multichannel diplomacy with Iran for freeing detained Americans and implementing the nuclear deal and says there is an "opportunity" to pursue a new path with Iran.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin on January 17

Ankara's colorful mayor declares US ambassador persona non grata

The US ambassador’s comments on respecting freedom of speech are challenged by Ankara's mayor — a shrewd social media expert — but not by the government.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 17

Fed-up Iranian women organize to take more seats in parliament

Only 3% of incumbent Iranian members of parliament are female, but Iranian women are campaigning to drastically change the parliament's huge gender imbalance through the ballot box.
Read more»

 Zahra Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 18

Syrian endgame could begin with Aleppo

Aleppo could begin healing in Syria; Syrian armed group backed by US allies seeks caliphate; FSA leader says US “moving toward being a partner in crime” in Syria; Hagel says US Syria policy was paralyzed over "Assad must go."
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on January 16

Iran frees five Americans as nuclear deal goes into effect

Iran has released five American prisoners including Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, in an apparent swap with Iranians jailed in the United States for sanctions violations.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen on January 16

Will US retaliate against Iran for detaining sailors?

The Obama administration has repeatedly challenged Iranian restrictions on freedom of navigation. Will that continue after the nuclear deal?
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 15

Why Sudan wants to stop the 'spread of Shiism'

In the past year, Sudan has joined the Saudi-led war in Yemen, shut down Iranian centers and finally cut diplomatic relations with Iran, but has Khartoum really turned pro-Saudi — or just anti-Shiite?
Read more»

A correspondent in Sudan for Al-Monitor on January 19

Popular Turkish TV host attacked for supporting Diyarbakir teacher

In an illustration of Turkey's increasing polarization amid ongoing clashes in the southeast, Turks are split over whether popular media personality Beyaz spread "terrorist propaganda" by encouraging applause for a concerned caller from Diyarbakir.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on January 18

Incest fatwa lands Turkish religious directorate in hot water

Turks expressed their outrage at a response by the Religious Affairs Directorate to a question involving incest.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 15

Is a witch hunt underway against Turkish intellectuals?

Following the arrests of Turkish academics who had signed a petition in support of the Kurds in southeastern Turkey, the country is facing an unprecedented 'civil war.'
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on January 15

Last man standing from Morsi’s regime provokes corruption scandal

There's a commotion in Egypt over government corruption — not whether there is any, but rather how much.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 15

Latest spat with Sweden highlights Israeli diplomatic shortcomings

Instead of working the diplomatic front and dialoguing with Sweden about the incendiary statement by Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, reactions from Israel's Foreign Ministry have been uncoordinated and emotional.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 15

22 years after corruption scandal, Deri returns to Israel’s Interior Ministry

Supporters of Shas leader Aryeh Deri are celebrating his appointment to once again head the Ministry of Interior, from which he was forced to resign in 1993.
Read more»

 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 15

Who are Israel's true friends?

The Israeli government tends to label every policy critical of Israel as an anti-Israeli policy.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 17

Iran deal implementation day ‘very, very soon’

Iran said it has taken a key final step to disable its plutonium reactor, making way for implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in the next few days.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 14

Terrorism tops Turkish citizens’ list of concerns in 2015

A recent survey polled Turks and found that they are not united in their perception of the identity of terror suspects in the country.
Read more»

 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 18

Dollar-needy Turkey tightens foreign currency rules

Desperate to stop the flight of foreign money, the Turkish government has tightened rules on how cash can be taken out of the country.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 14

Iran's hard-liners: Just say no to diplomacy

While diplomacy helped secure the release of US sailors held by Iran, some hard-liners believe the countries are becoming too close for comfort.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 14

Hagel says Obama 'paralyzed' Syria policy around Assad ouster

Former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says President Barack Obama erred in calling for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go and declaring a red line over Syria’s use of chemical weapons, and also compared Republican presidential candidates to a "mass gong show" and urged them to be less divisive.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on January 14

Defections threaten Jordan’s Brotherhood

The recent resignations within Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood threaten further fragmentation within the group unless serious reforms are carried out.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on January 14

FSA adviser: IS cannot be eliminated without us

In an Al-Monitor interview, Osama Abu Zeid, legal adviser for the Free Syrian Army, discusses the FSA's return to the forefront in light of Russia’s military intervention in the Syrian war.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on January 15

Can Abbas bring hope to desperate young Palestinians?

Demonstrating against the Israeli occupation, young Palestinians have also been pointing a finger at President Mahmoud Abbas, who has finally addressed them and their problems in his latest speeches.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 15

Lebanon's banks to pay price of sanctions on Hezbollah

New US sanctions against Hezbollah are adding pressure to Lebanon’s already struggling banking sector, further burdening the country’s economy.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on January 14

Does Bibi limit rights to those who are 'Israeli all the way'?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tied "loyalty" to the state to budget allocations for improvements in minority communities.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 14

Knesset's public image in free fall

The Israeli public has lost trust in the Knesset as its members advance anti-democratic legislation and provoke each other into embarrassing public altercations.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 14

Egypt’s parliamentary 'circus' will not be going live

The Egyptian parliament apparently is so embarrassed by some members’ behavior that it has temporarily banned live media broadcasts of its sessions.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 13

State of the Union highlights Jordan’s rift with Obama

The US president directly contradicts King Abdullah’s talking point that the campaign against IS is a “third world war.”
Read more»

 Aaron Magid for Al-Monitor on January 13

Implementation date of nuclear deal to be announced within days

Nuclear negotiator Seyed Abbas Araghchi said that by Jan. 17, the date of the final implementation of the nuclear deal will be announced.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 13

It’s official: Sunnis joining Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced that 40,000 Sunnis will join the mostly Shiite Popular Mobilization Units, fueling speculation that the new balance could lead to formation of a National Guard.
Read more»

 Mustafa Saadoun for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 14

What’s Larijani’s game for the parliamentary elections?

As Iran is set to hold parliamentary elections, parliament Speaker Ali Larijani seems to be preparing for an increasingly important role.
Read more»

 Saeid Jafari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 13

US sailors depart Iran

US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter credits the Kerry-Zarif channel and US-Iran diplomatic engagement for the swift release of US sailors.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 13

Lebanon feels aftershocks of Saudi-Iran crisis

The current crisis between Saudi Arabia and Iran against the backdrop of the execution of Shiite Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr has already affected the strained relationship between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon, but will it reinforce Christian political ties?
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on January 13

The dirty war between Israel’s right-wing and left-wing NGOs

Israeli human rights nongovernmental organizations object to an investigative report by Channel 2 that accuses an activist of plotting against Palestinian land owners selling their property to Jews but stained all the NGOs in the process.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 13

Will tables turn in favor of youth in Palestine?

The new Palestinian generation leading the intifada did not wait for instructions from political leaders, who may now have to look to the youth for direction.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 13

US says Iran promised swift release of sailors

An incident in which US sailors were held by Iran in the Gulf waters comes at a particularly sensitive moment, as implementation day for last year's nuclear deal is expected within days.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 12

MP Sadat is 'prepared to pay the price' to defend justice in Egypt

Member of parliament Mohamed Anwar Esmat al-Sadat talks with Al-Monitor about the state of human rights in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and the future of parliament.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 12

How Lebanese banks are handling US sanctions on Hezbollah

It remains to be seen whether US sanctions will hurt Hezbollah or merely inconvenience banks and their customers.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on January 12

Why Iran-Saudi fallout will be costly for Moscow

The dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia could promote instability throughout the Middle East, which will be especially problematic for Russia and its policy of not choosing sides.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on January 12

Rouhani fires back at criticism of economic management

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reminded critics that he is managing the country with oil near $30 per barrel, not the highs of the previous administration.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 12

Turkish-US ties face fresh turbulence over Iraq, Syria

Washington’s demand that Turkey withdraw troops from Iraq and the US alliance with Syrian Kurds are potential flashpoints in US-Turkish relations.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 12

Netanyahu runs against himself in Likud primaries

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently the only candidate in the upcoming Likud primary for party leadership that he initiated, and yet he still fears losing to blank ballots.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 12

Lazzarini to place Lebanon’s needs as top priority on global agenda

The UNDP and UNSCOL plan to continue to work relentlessly to address the influx of displaced Syrians to Lebanon, while trying to ensure that their Lebanese hosts also see progress in their lives.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on January 13

Ancient madrassa lies forgotten, neglected in Baghdad

Neglect has turned the centuries-old site of what was once Baghdad's most prestigious cultural and scientific institution into a dusty old building suffocated by piles of debris and street vendors’ trolleys.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 12

Have Israelis abandoned any hope for change?

A bitter fate awaits Israel's democracy unless the Israeli silent majority shakes off its learned helplessness.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 12

US presidential candidates weigh in on Russia, Putin, Middle East

Al-Monitor takes the pulse of the US presidential candidates' varied stances on the Middle East crises and on Vladimir Putin and his role in international politics.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 11

Potential solutions to Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute remain murky

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan — embroiled in a dispute over Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam project — agree on hiring a new consulting company, but not much else.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 11

After Saudi Embassy attack in Iran, top security officials fired

President Hassan Rouhani has made a point of holding top security officials responsible for allowing the attack on the Saudi Embassy.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 11

Why Syria will pay for Iran-Saudi rift

Despite UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura's assurances to the contrary, the breakdown in ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia appears set to impact the fragile talks on Syria.
Read more»

 Saheb Sadeghi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 11

Palestinian industrial parks: Boon or bondage?

The Jenin industrial project is scheduled to start operating this year, with opponents claiming that such projects are in direct conflict with the Palestinian Authority's goal of becoming a fully independent and sovereign state.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 11

Water war could leave Turkish Cyprus high and dry

A fight over profits has disrupted the water supply from Turkey to Turkish Cyprus less than three months after a unique water pipeline was inaugurated, threatening to leave Turkish Cypriots with neither water nor vital financial aid from Ankara.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 11

Could Iran-Saudi conflict provide Turkey 'graceful exit' from Syria?

Turkish reactions to the Jan. 2 execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr are quite telling for the future of Ankara’s regional policy.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on January 11

Israeli media veers right

Israeli media focused on the less significant details when covering the capture of the Tel Aviv gunman, instead of the main story concerning relations between Jews and Arabs in the country.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 11

How Bibi buried plan to develop Israeli Arab sector

Three days after its approval, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has killed a historic plan to invest in the Israeli-Arab sector by imposing three conditions that cannot be met.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 11

Palestinians create digital museum to promote their cause

A group of Palestinian youth and historians created a digital museum to prove the historical Palestinians’ right to the land of Palestine and to challenge the Israeli narrative.
Read more»

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

Arab MK says battle for equality, ending the occupation 'inseparable'

Aida Touma-Sliman, the only Arab committee chair in the Knesset, talks to Al-Monitor about the need for equality, ending the occupation and women's rights.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on January 11

Oman, stuck between Saudi Arabia and Iran

With a long history as a regional mediator and close ties with both Riyadh and Tehran, will Oman be able to cool the recent Saudi-Iranian tensions following the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr?
Read more»

 Giorgio Cafiero for Al-Monitor on January 10

The Saudi predicament

The execution of a prominent Shiite cleric jeopardizes already fragile international efforts to end the wars in Syria and Yemen.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on January 10

Can Egypt's new parliament review 330 laws in 15 days?

According to Egypt's constitution, the country's newly elected parliament — meeting for the first time Jan. 10 — has only 15 days to review over 330 laws issued since the last parliament was dissolved.
Read more»

 Safiaa Mounir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 8

Egypt MP says neglect of Nubians' role 'crime against human history'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Yassine Abdel Sabour, the first MP for the Nubian people in the new Egyptian parliament, stresses his commitment to advancing the rights of his people in the legislature.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 8

Was Abbas speech just attempt to dispel poor health rumors?

A recent speech by President Mahmoud Abbas was widely perceived by Palestinians as underwhelming, with some claiming its main goal was to assuage rumors that the leader suffers from failing health.
Read more»

 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 8

Shift to open market economy no easy task for Iran

Suggested reforms as part of Iran's sixth five-year development plan envisages more competition, but will President Hassan Rouhani's team be able to push for a true open market economy?
Read more»

 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 8

Former defense minister condemns Bibi's 'divisive' message

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz insists that despite the current violence, it's time for Israel to present a new diplomatic initiative and "initiate and lead" instead of "blaming the other side."
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 8

Kurds on hunger strike for bodies of dead relatives

Kurdish families have launched a hunger strike to get the bodies of relatives killed while fighting with the security forces in Turkey’s conflict-ravaged southeast.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 8

Is Hamas honing its negotiating tactics with Israel?

What are the possible motives behind Hamas’ recent revelation of a secret unit that handles captured Israeli soldiers and its release of details about freed prisoner Gilad Shalit's incarceration?
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 10

The real problem with Erdogan's Hitler comment

The official "correction" of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reckless reference to "Hitler’s Germany" reveals more about Erdogan's real agenda than the reference itself.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 8

How leaked documents find their way to Iraqi media

Politicians and government staff are discretely leaking official documents in the name of exposing corruption.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 8

Is Iran deal the GOP's new Obamacare?

Iran sanctions bills have always been bipartisan. Not anymore.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 7

Egypt security forces raid art gallery, theater in lead-up to Jan. 25 anniversary

The recent closure of a number of cultural and youth oriented establishments in Egypt came just weeks before the January 25 Revolution anniversary, with the concerned ministries exchanging accusations of being behind the raids and closures.
Read more»

 Albaraa Abdullah for Al-Monitor on January 7

Is Israel's democracy in danger?

Following the transparency bill and other legal and social moves, the European Union questions Israel’s democratic fiber.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 10

What did Saudi Embassy attackers want?

Some in Iran suspect the "rogue elements" who attacked Saudi Arabia's embassy intended to sabotage the administration's foreign policy goals of improving relations with foreign countries post-nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 7

Was Syria intervention worth it for Russia?

While Moscow's military involvement in the Syria crisis has led to an increasingly important role for Russia in regional and global politics, critics wonder whether or not the costs will outweigh the benefits.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on January 7

Has Turkey’s regional power grab come to an end?

Turkey is forfeiting its claims for regional supremacy by joining the Saudi-led Sunni alliance and making friendly overtures toward Israel.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on January 7

Brother of executed Saudi cleric says Nimr is 'martyr against injustice'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Mohammed al-Nimr, the brother of the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed by Saudi Arabia, speaks about his family’s reaction, responses inside and outside Saudi Arabia and the fate of his brother’s body.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on January 8

Netanyahu prepares alibi for PA collapse

Instead of doing all that he can to prevent the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's passivity reveals his real strategy.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 7

What are the real goals of Riyadh’s new Islamic coalition?

The Saudi-led Islamic coalition was not formed to only combat IS, but also to determine the future of Sunni areas in the conflict areas in Syria and Iraq.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on January 7

What factors influence Palestinian pollsters?

Several question marks hover around Palestinian polling centers, some of which are funded by foreign parties with certain political agendas.
Read more»

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

Can Libya’s new government balance international, domestic duties?

Now that the UN and the Tobruk-based government of Libya have endorsed a new agreement to form a united government, the latter must juggle conflicting priorities both inside and outside the war-torn country.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on January 7

Netanyahu's concern for fate of PA 'too little, too late'

Over the years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has weakened the status of the Palestinian Authority and of President Mahmoud Abbas with a variety of means — but is he now suddenly concerned that the PA might collapse?
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 7

Why isn't IDF razing homes of Jewish terrorists?

Family members of Jewish terrorists can rest assured that the Israeli government won't subject them to the same policy of demolitions as punishment it uses against Palestinians.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 7

Hard-liners take aim at Khomeini's grandson

Hard-liners' attacks against the grandson of the Islamic Republic's founder may prove futile in their effort to derail his candidacy for the Assembly of Experts.
Read more»

 Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 7

Congress sets up first showdown of the year over Iran deal

The Obama administration says it "strongly opposes" sanctions bill scheduled for an initial vote Jan. 7.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 6

Why one Egyptian MP wants to send his colleagues back to school

MP Mohammed Anwar Sadat has called for the establishment of an academy to educate new legislators in a variety of fields, but not everyone is pleased with the proposal.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 6

Will missing text message disqualify Khomeini’s grandson?

Confusion over how Hassan Khomeini was informed about taking an exam may lead to his disqualification to run in the Assembly of Experts elections.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 6

Tehran’s smog problem unlikely to clear up anytime soon

Both as public servants, a father and daughter have sought to address Tehran's air pollution for decades, but Iran's highly politicized environmental crisis is a tangled issue.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 6

First the Middle East, now Central Asia slipping away from Turkey

Having lost influence in the Middle East, Turkey finds itself increasingly isolated from Central Asia and the Caucasus after its dust-up with Russia in Syria.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 6

After liberation from IS, Iraqi cities await reconstruction

After the Islamic State was defeated in several areas in Iraq, it seems the reconstruction promises have yet to be fulfilled in the absence of funds.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on January 6

'Normal' life under fire in Tel Aviv

Despite its security bluster, the Israeli leadership is increasingly leaving it to Israelis to defend themselves as the wave of violence penetrates the Tel Aviv "bubble."
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 6

Will Saudi agricultural investments in Sudan leave Egypt high and dry?

Experts say Egypt can’t afford to remain stoic about Sudan’s ever-rising water needs.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 6

The Palestinian Authority's plan to dismantle itself

The Palestinian leadership has a tentative strategy in place for the dismantlement of the Palestinian Authority and the establishment of a state under Israeli occupation.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 6

Will Yemen’s journalists fare better in 2016?

In 2015, some journalists in Yemen suffered so much harassment and abuse that they quit their jobs and fled the country.
Read more»

Ashraf al-Falahi for Al-Monitor on January 5

Head of Egypt's Wafd Party denounces electoral bribery

Wafd Party leader Sayyid al-Badawi maintains that bribery and fraud in the recent elections are viable threats that strike at the very heart of Egypt's unstable political life.
Read more»

Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 5

Will Iran suspend hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia?

After Riyadh severed diplomatic relations with Tehran and suspended direct flights between the two countries, some are wondering if Iranian pilgrims will be banned.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 5

Saudi-Iranian crisis complicates Ankara’s regional plans

Islamists and secularists alike want Turkey to stay out of the Iranian-Saudi conflict.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 5

Does draft Palestinian social security law really protect workers?

The draft social security law has been widely criticized for failing to provide workers sufficient retirement pensions or protection in cases of work-related disability.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 18

Why are Iranian investors shrugging at nuclear deal?

Despite the signing of the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, the Tehran Stock Exchange is still far below its levels before negotiations began under President Hassan Rouhani's rule.
Read more»

 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 5

Why the Israeli right wants to ban books, persecute NGOs

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked says funding by European states to NGOs advances foreign interests; yet millions of euros have also been transferred from the EU to Israeli government agencies.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on January 5

How will Saudi-Iranian crisis affect the region?

As relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran reach their worst levels yet following the Saudi execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, the United States, Russia and the European Union are exerting all possible efforts to avoid a spillover to other countries where these parties wield influence.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on January 5

Why Palestinian housewives are taking lead in boycott campaigns

Palestinian women have recently been joining the global BDS movement by launching their own local campaigns to encourage people to refrain from buying Israeli goods.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 8

Protesters lock horns with government over crusader battlefield

History lovers and environmental activists are battling state plans to build a Druze settlement at the ancient battlefield Horns of Hattin, where crusaders confronted Saladin's army in 1187.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 5

US scrambles to curb damage from Saudi-Iranian fallout

American diplomats try to salvage Syria peace efforts and avert the further deterioration of Iranian-Saudi relations after Saudi Arabia abruptly severed diplomatic relations with Iran on Jan. 3.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on January 4

Candidates for president flesh out their anti-IS war plans

Republican contenders agree on only one thing: Obama’s strategy isn’t working.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on January 4

What does Khamenei think of Saudi Embassy attacks?

Iranian officials have condemned the attack on Saudi Arabia's embassy.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 4

Five reasons so many Iranians are rushing to run for office

In Iran, the number of candidates for the upcoming parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections has ballooned compared with the previous round of polls, but why?
Read more»

Ali Omidi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on January 4

Netanyahu's strategy of hopelessness

Instead of reassuring the public after the recent Tel Aviv shooting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expertly stoked the public's fears.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 4

Saudi executions signal royal worries

Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 people, including a poplar Shiite cleric, point to the royal family's growing concerns about the kingdom's stability.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on January 4

Is Turkey heading to partition?

Turkey is losing Kurdish minds and hearts at a dramatic pace — the first outcome of the war raging in the Kurdish movement’s urban strongholds amid unprecedented destruction and civilian deaths.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on January 4

Is Rojava’s model the awaited solution for Syrian crisis?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Eldar Khalil, member of the governing body for the TEV-DEM, gives an overview of the Kurds’ situation in the Rojava region, a de facto autonomous region of Syria.
Read more»

 Massoud Hamed for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on January 4

HDP leader says Ankara has 'neither the power nor means' to eliminate Kurdish movement

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Selahattin Demirtas, Turkey’s top Kurdish politician, claims the Kurds in the Middle East are on an irreversible path “toward liberation and sovereignty building.”
Read more»

Irfan Aktan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 4

Who is sending Iraqi fighters to Syria?

Mystery continues to surround the flow of Iraqi Shiite fighters combating the Islamic State in Syria alongside the Syrian regime, while the Popular Mobilization Units denies involvement.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on January 4

Shin Bet uncovers Jewish extremist plot to destroy state

A lengthy investigation by the Shin Bet and Israeli Police has uncovered a plot to destroy the State of Israel and led to the indictment of two "hilltop youth" suspects in the murder of the Dawabsha family.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on January 4

Are warnings about Islamic State in Palestine 'empty threats'?

In light of reports about the possible collapse of the Palestinian Authority, officials have been warning that the alternative to President Mahmoud Abbas could be the Islamic State, though not many observers seem to take the idea seriously.
Read more»

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

NGO bill sparks controversy in Egypt

A new civil society organizations law may be passed in Egypt that will allow the state to impose restrictions on their funding and freeze their activities under the pretext of violation of public morals.
Read more»

Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on January 3

Is Saudi Arabia next target of Islamic State?

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi calls for Saudi uprising against "apostate tyrants"; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan’s policies contribute to Turkey’s growing isolation in the region.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on January 3

Rouhani orders more missiles in response to new sanctions

Iranian officials have condemned reports that the United States will propose new sanctions against Iran for their ballistic missile program.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 31

Diyarbakir's Christians suffer in margins of Turkey-PKK war

Diyarbakir's Christians, many of them ethnic Armenians, have been caught up in the violence between the Turkish security forces and the Kurdistan Workers Party.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on December 31

Can Turkish lemons soothe Ankara-Moscow relations?

Turks are wondering why Russia is embargoing everything but lemons and nuts.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 3

The rapid rise and fall of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party

Selahattin Demirtas, who led the Peoples’ Democratic Party to electoral success in Turkish politics, is now presiding over its downfall.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on January 4

Dismissed Fatah leader Dahlan says Abbas, Hamas lack 'serious nationalism'

Dismissed Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan discusses the current situation in Palestine, his rift with President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian-Israeli negotiations and his aspiration to become president.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on January 3

Can FSA get back on its feet after Russian intervention?

The Free Syrian Army has been demoralized by Russia's involvement in the Syrian civil war, as its influence has tipped the conflict in favor of the regime.
Read more»

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 31

Palestinians fear Turkey will drop condition that Israel lift Gaza siege

Turkey has long insisted that Israel lift its siege on the Gaza Strip before Turkish-Israeli relations can be normalized, but a recent warming of ties suggests this may change.
Read more»

 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 31

Turkey lobbyists bring Ankara’s war with Gulen to Washington

Ankara has hired a British law firm to go after Erdogan’s main rival in his self-imposed US exile.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 30

Rouhani faces pressure to address crippling smog in Tehran

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani continues to take political pressure for being unable to address three weeks of smog that has shut down schools.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 30

Why solving Israel-Palestine conflict is still key for regional stability

The West-pragmatic Arab coalition against the Islamic State must realize that a viable Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic peace process has to be part of any regional anti-terrorist strategy.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on January 3

Turkey-Israel dialogue works 'miracle' for Istanbul’s Jews

Turkey’s Jews hold an unprecedented public celebration of Hanukkah amid renewed efforts to normalize Turkish-Israeli ties.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 30

Palestinian factions rush to denounce Kuntar's assassination

Many observers believe Palestinians and Hezbollah both stand to lose more than they would gain if Gaza becomes a scene of retaliation for Samir Kuntar's slaying.
Read more»

 Moath al-Amoudi for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 30

Are clashes spreading to western Turkey?

If pressure on the PKK becomes too intense in the clashes in the southeast, there are signs the group might mobilize its proxies to spread violence to western Turkey.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 30

Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units warn against 'renewed occupation' by US

Iraqi factions, namely the Popular Mobilization Units, reject the presence of US troops on Iraqi soil, as some claim that their presence benefits the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Mustafa Saadoun for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 30

Likud's first openly gay Knesset member finds mixed reception

Amir Ohana, the Likud's first openly gay Knesset member, won't be able to do much to advance LGBT rights in the ruling right-wing coalition, which depends on ultra-Orthodox support.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 30

Why Turkey’s beaches, hard liquor are losing allure among Iranians

The deteriorating security situation in eastern Turkey coupled with Ankara's hostile rhetoric toward Iran is decreasing the allure of Turkey's liberal beach resorts among Iranians.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 29

Will Green Movement haunt Iran’s upcoming elections?

The body that vets candidates in Iran says it will review statements made by candidates as part of the contested 2009 elections.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 29

Rivals jockey for control in Egypt’s parliament

Egypt's parliamentary election is over, but now the battle begins for control in shaping a new government.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 30

Turkey’s foreign policy prospects for 2016 not so promising

Analysts say the AKP government has itself to blame for Turkey’s loss of prestige and influence in its region, where it has more rivals than friends today.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 29

Amid financial hardship, Erdogan looks to Qatar as 'rich daddy'

Turkey’s leadership, increasingly isolated in the region amid spats with Russia and Iraq, knocks on the doors of Israel and Qatar, with the latter providing much-needed foreign investment.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 29

Saudi anti-terrorism coalition raises eyebrows in Lebanon

Saudi Arabia’s anti-terrorism Islamic coalition has sparked mixed reactions in Lebanon as some parties had no idea their country was a listed member.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on December 29

How Israel’s justice minister went from villain to victim in debate over new law

Two Israeli professors are accused of slandering Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked over her bill requiring nongovernmental organizations that receive substantial foreign funding to wear special badges in the Knesset.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 29

King Bibi's dangerous legacy

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has managed to appoint loyal officials to Israel's most sensitive legal positions, leaving him free to endanger Israel with his policies.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 29

Iranian cleric calls out Egypt's Al-Azhar for anti-Shiite activities

An Iranian grand ayatollah wrote an open letter to Al-Azhar regarding the university's anti-Shiite essay competition.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 28

Saudi Arabia's mounting security challenges

Saudi Arabia's battle in Yemen and conflicts with Iran, coupled with the fall in the price of oil, point to a trying 2016 for the kingdom.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on December 28

Young Israelis do whatever it takes to buy a home

In spite of promises by politicians and social activists, Israelis do not believe that housing prices are going to drop anytime soon — so they will do everything in their power just to buy a home.
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 28

Why Abbas should rethink Palestinian support for Islamic coalition

Some Palestinians see President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to participate in the Saudi-led Islamic coalition as a step to turn the world's attention away from their suffering under Israel’s practices.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 28

Why have the ultra-Orthodox turned their back on Rivlin?

Before being elected, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin nurtured close ties with the ultra-Orthodox community, but recently a rift has opened between the two sides.
Read more»

 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 28

Jordan’s Syria blacklist blasted by key players

Wide criticism has already emerged of the Jordanian list of terrorist groups in Syria, and some observers believe the initiative never had a chance.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on December 28

Violence pervades Iraqi political life

A look at Iraq’s historical events shows that violence has been part of the country’s political life for many years.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 28

'Hate wedding' video offers glimpse at Jewish terror

The viral video of the so-called hate wedding, at which guests dance with guns and stab a photo of a murdered baby, should serve as a wake-up call to the religious Zionist movement, which must confront dangerous trends in its own backyard.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 28

Can Oman help Saudis save face in Yemen?

Oman, the only GCC country that did not join the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen, could help the Saudis negotiate peace there.
Read more»

 Giorgio Cafiero for Al-Monitor on December 27

Obama bemoans 'unspeakable violence' against Mideast Christians

US President Barack Obama condemns the persecution of Christians by the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on December 27

Is Congress empowering Iranian hard-liners?

The recent congressional vote to target travelers who have visited Iran and whose countries are members of the US Visa Waiver Program is empowering hard-liners in Tehran.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 28

Ethiopia, Egypt dam feud drags on

The future of the negotiations between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the New Renaissance Dam is hazier than ever as the political and technical deadlock persists.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 24

26-year-old female MP has big plans for Egypt’s new parliament

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Sarah Saleh, Egypt’s newest and youngest parliamentarian for South Sinai governorate, speaks about the challenges facing her constituency and her plans to address them.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 24

Will PKK cross swords with Ocalan?

Will PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan speak out amid the clashes between the Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants?
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on December 29

Are mutual feelings of isolation pushing Turkey, Israel closer?

It remains unclear whether Ankara’s attempts to normalize ties with Israel represents a new orientation in Turkey’s foreign policy.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 24

Salehi reveals new details of secret US, Iran back channel

In an extensive interview, Ali Akbar Salehi, Iran's atomic chief and former foreign minister, reveals new details of the secret back channel to the United States.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on December 23

How much leverage does Russia have in Syria?

While the United States and Russia set aside differences to pass a UN Security Council resolution on a political process in Syria, questions remain concerning Moscow's ability to persuade Damascus to accept any future agreement.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on December 24

Why are so many staying silent on the Kurdish conflict?

Kurds and Turks in the western provinces of Turkey are reluctant to raise their voices about the prolonged Kurdish conflict.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 23

Why Bennett is siding with the Shin Bet

HaBayit HaYehudi Chair Naftali Bennett has expressed his unequivocal support for the Shin Bet in the face of claims that it tortured the suspected murderers of the Dawabsha family.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 23

Netanyahu's five-pronged strategy to delay a two-state solution

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has a multi-element, comprehensive plan to thwart the threat of negotiations toward a two-state solution.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 27

How Bibi's wife may be his downfall

Israeli police intend to investigate Sara Netanyahu over her spending and management of the prime minister's official residence and the couple's private household.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 23

Will the next US president scrap the Iran deal?

All the candidates in the US presidential election are hawkish on Iran, but leading Democrats support the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 23

UN hopes to hit 'moving target' of Syria talks by late January

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura hopes to hold the first talks between representatives of the Syrian regime and opposition in almost two years in Geneva by the end of January.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on December 22

Why did Iranian TV censor interview with Zarif?

After a highly anticipated interview with Iran's foreign minister was canceled, many accused state television of siding with conservatives in the country.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 22

What's Saudi's new Islamic coalition really up to?

Not a lot is known about Saudi Arabia's newly announced Islamic Military Alliance, leaving observers to ponder its prospects.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 22

How Turkey’s foreign affairs 'strongman' left his mark

Sources say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s close circle is keen to develop the relationship with Israel in terms of the energy dimension in the wake of the crisis with Russia.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on December 22

Did Erdogan give up Gaza in return for Israeli gas?

Erdogan’s ambition for a presidential system keeps him from dropping the Gaza precondition for the settlement of sour relations with Israel, but this does not stop the two sides from cooperating on natural gas.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on December 23

If it ain't broke, don't fix it: Why Turkey and Iran's 376 years of peace will continue

Despite increasing tensions over Syria, Iraq and Yemen, Iran and Turkey are unlikely to allow verbal confrontations to turn physical.
Read more»

Ali Omidi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 22

Liberman: Arab MK 'must be thrown out of Knesset'

Despite heading a small opposition party, former Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman continues to attack the government and shows no intention of joining the coalition.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 22

Who kidnapped Hannibal Gadhafi, and why?

The mysterious kidnapping of Hannibal Gadhafi in Lebanon has raised numerous scenarios about the motives behind the operation.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on December 22

How to revive the Arab Peace Initiative

Representatives from Israeli and Palestinian civil societies, together with neighboring and Western peace activists, gathered in Antalya to contemplate ways of promoting the Arab Peace Initiative.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 22

Israel commits $25 million to new anti-BDS task force, but what exactly will they do?

A new office designed to combat the BDS campaign targeting Israel is to open in January.
Read more»

 Doron Peskin for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 23

Will Fatah and Hamas ever find common ground?

Recent reshufflings of ministerial positions by Hamas in Gaza and President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah threaten to widen the already deep rift between Hamas and Fatah.
Read more»

 Iyad Qatrawi for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 23

How will Nasrallah retaliate for death of Hezbollah leader in Syria?

Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah vowed to respond to Samir Kuntar’s assassination in Syria.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on December 22

Will PA security turn on Israel?

Despite recommendations from military quarters that Israel strengthen the Palestinian Authority and work with it to quell the ongoing violence, Israeli officials fear attacks from the Palestinian security forces themselves.
Read more»

 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 22

Are new provinces the key to a peaceful Iraq?

Turkmen politician Torhan al-Mufti spoke to Al-Monitor about Turkmen demands and political participation as well as the possible establishment of new provinces in Iraq.
Read more»

 Saad Salloum for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 22

Iran headed for trouble in Argentina

Argentina's new president vows to ask lawmakers to end the country's 2013 deal with Iran on a probe into the deadly 1994 Argentine Israelite Mutual Association bombing in Buenos Aires.
Read more»

 Saheb Sadeghi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 21

Who will choose Iran's next supreme leader?

Hassan Rouhani and Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani both addressed the Assembly of Experts' role in choosing the next leader as they registered to run.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 21

Iraqis dive deeper into sectarianism

Regional conflicts and shifting alliances since 2003 have led many Iraqis to view every development through a sectarian lens.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on December 24

Is BDS movement spreading across Europe?

Despite a lack of funding and solid organizational backing at home, the Palestinian diaspora in Europe has increased its activities and is winning ever stronger support, costing Israel more in economic losses and international status by the week.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 23

The PKK's 'child terrorists'

The PKK takes full advantage of children it recruits as "child terrorists" in Turkey, pushing them to the front lines and using their arrests and deaths to stir up sympathy.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 21

The rocky road to Turkish, Israeli reconciliation

Turkey and Israel have much to gain from normalizing their relations, but recent reports to that effect should be met with caution.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 21

Netanyahu launches campaign for his fifth term

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement on advancing the Likud Party primaries to February 2016 assures him that none of his potential rivals will have enough time to prepare.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 21

Will stopping security cooperation with Israel benefit PA?

Though Palestinian demands to end security cooperation between Tel Aviv and Ramallah are growing ever louder, coordination between Israel and the PA seems stronger than ever as both sides struggle to contain the unrest.
Read more»

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

Economic curtain closing on Iraqi theater

Theatrical productions are languishing in Iraq as austerity measures take center stage.
Read more»

 Omar al-Jaffal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 21

Is Erdogan closing Hamas' Istanbul office?

Israel has demanded that Turkey expel Hamas activist Salah Al-Arouri from Istanbul as a condition for normalizing bilateral relations.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 21

US, Iran move to avert firestorm over visa waiver program changes

Intense diplomacy appears to have averted a potential firestorm between the United States and Iran over changes to the visa waiver program.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on December 20

Erdogan says Kurdish militants will be 'annihilated'

Turkey intensifies military operations against Kurdish "self-rule" movement; what do the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria mean for Saudi-led Islamic coalition? Zarif sets red line on terrorist groups in Syria; has Netanyahu closed Israel’s Iran file?
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on December 20

Star Wars: How the force awakens Islamist fears

Seen by some as poison of Western cultural imperialism, Star Wars merchandise causes more controversy than the film in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 20

Is Saudi Arabia building an 'Islamic NATO?'

Frustrated with weak efforts from the US-led international community, Saudi Arabia has proposed an Islamic coalition in the hopes of defeating terrorism.
Read more»

Fahad Nazer for Al-Monitor on December 20

Social media fans flames of sexual harassment claims against Israeli minister

Minister of the Interior Silvan Shalom believes that without any official complaint to the police, accusations of sexual harassment will just fade away, even in the era of social media backing the harassed women.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 18

Will Turkey end up stuck between Kurds, Russia?

Observers wonder how long Turkey can juggle a cold war with Russia and a heated conflict with the PKK before the latter two join forces.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on December 18

What suspending security coordination with Israel would mean for the PLO

PLO Executive Committee member Hanna Amireh predicts that the Palestinian National Council will not be able to convene in the future if the Palestinian leadership decides to suspend security cooperation with Israel.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 18

Why Saudi Arabia needs to trust its man on Iran

Considered an Iran expert in Saudi foreign policy circles, Minister Adel al-Turaifi has the background to help mend ties with Tehran; yet, he has so far been either unable or unwilling to resist pressure to take steps to achieve the exact opposite.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 18

Ongoing war silences Yemeni indie radio station

Tayramana FM, a product of the Arab Spring, is on indefinite hold, waiting for an end to the current war so it can re-establish the community it had built.
Read more»

 Nicole Lopez Del Carril for Al-Monitor on December 18

How kindergartens have become fertile recruiting ground for Hamas, Fatah

The Palestinian Education Ministry says there's no law against indoctrinating impressionable children.
Read more»

 Huda Baroud for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 20

Gazan poet faces death sentence in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi court has sentenced Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh to death on charges of spreading atheism and insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 18

Egypt's cash for votes scandal

Egypt’s parliamentary elections are tainted by allegations that voters were paid to cast ballots for certain candidates.
Read more»

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

Will Iran end the death penalty for drug smuggling?

Some members of Iran's parliament are launching a bill to eliminate the death penalty in nonviolent drug smuggling cases, though the plan is expected to face staunch opposition.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 17

Israeli, Palestinian officials score a goal on FIFA agreement

While Israel has been allowing increased movement of Palestinian soccer players and teams and their opponents, Palestinian officials say more improvements need to be made.
Read more»

 Adam Rasgon for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 17

Five years on, have things changed in Tunisia?

Tunisia’s economy and working conditions remain gloomy for vendors who sell their goods on the same street where Mohamed Bouazizi lit himself on fire in 2010 to protest the situation.
Read more»

 Christine Petré for Al-Monitor on December 17

Turks equally pleased with first communist mayor

Fatih Mehmet Macoglu, the first and only communist mayor in Turkey, has impressed critics with his hard work and inclusive politics and seems ready to run for a second term.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 17

Turkey's unhealthy democracy

Turks stay away from politics except when it is time to go to the polls.
Read more»

 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 17

Has Bibi given up his battle against Iran nuke deal?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who dedicated years to claiming that Iran was working toward a nuclear bomb, has been silent on the IAEA's decision to close its investigation into the matter due to a lack of evidence.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 17

Artist paints scathing picture of Jordan rape law

In her most recent exhibition, Jordanian painter Rand Abdelnur condemns Article 308 of Jordan’s penal code, which offers rapists escape from punishment through marrying their victims.
Read more»

 Marta Bellingreri for Al-Monitor on December 18

What's next for Middle East peace?

The Obama administration is deliberating three options and measures to take in order to stabilize the volatile situation on the ground and set a policy platform for a future two-state solution.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 20

Barghouti: We will continue to boycott Israel

Mustafa Barghouti, the secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative, talked to Al-Monitor about the initiative’s local and international efforts to end the occupation and settlement activities through a boycott of Israel.
Read more»

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

Has Israel's civil war already started?

The incitement campaign against Israel's right-wing President Reuven Rivlin, who dared expressing sympathy to Gazans' suffering, has broken all records of hatred and verbal violence.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 17

Why it's time to wake up to the occupation

The murder of the Dawabsha family was not the actual trigger of the current wave of violence, but another link in the long chain of incitement and hatred generated by the Israeli occupation.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 17

Tunisia wins, Iran loses in US spending bill

Key US allies get a funding boost while Congress holds the line on visa waivers and Palestinian penalties.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 16

Turkey's blurred red line on Russia

With recent scuffles between Moscow and Ankara, further instability threatens the Middle East conflict; but will either country really push things that far?
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on December 16

Why is Israel recruiting so many Jordanian workers?

Israel is recruiting hundreds of Jordanian workers and dismissing some Palestinians from their jobs, raising questions about Israel's motivation.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor on December 16

Lebanon's controversial candidate for president

Saad Hariri’s nomination of Suleiman Franjieh as president has sparked wide controversy in Lebanon and brought opposing parties together.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on December 16

Israel welcomes home suspected spy from Egypt

Released prisoner Ouda Tarabin recounts to Al-Monitor his 15 years in an Egyptian prison over accusations of spying for Israel.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 16

Is this man Israel's next prime minister?

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid is building up his campaign for prime minister, stealing the center-left electorate away from the Zionist Camp party.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 16

Will Iran's red tape thwart post-sanctions boom?

Amid the imminent lifting of sanctions, Iran's complicated licensing and permit regulations continue to deter investment — despite the Rouhani administration's efforts.
Read more»

 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 15

How to stop Islamic State recruitment

Efforts to identify susceptible young people early can protect them from the approaches of the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 15

Iran concerned over Nigerian military attack on Shiite leader

Iranian officials have condemned the attack by Nigerian military forces on Shiite leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has strong ties to Iran.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 15

What Iraq needs to do to protect minorities

The alliance of Iraq’s minorities is a step to prevent Iraq from being totally stripped of its minorities.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on December 15

What will 2016 bring for Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood?

In light of the religious conflicts in the region, the phenomenon of political Islam, including the Muslim Brotherhood, will face major challenges that may bring it down in Jordan.
Read more»

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

Ocalan silent as Kurds' fight for self-rule rages on

The Kurds fighting in Diyarbakir may end their revolt if ordered to do so by Abdullah Ocalan, but the Turkish government has not allowed the imprisoned Kurdish leader any visitors since April, perhaps calculating that the endless self-sacrifice being demanded of ordinary Kurds will turn them against the PKK.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on December 15

After Paris summit, will Turkey warm up to climate change?

Turkey will need to work harder to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the aftermath of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 15

Syrian Democratic Forces set sights on IS stronghold

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Talal Silo, spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, discussed its victories against the Islamic State and the forces' future plans.
Read more»

 Sardar Mlla Drwish for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on December 15

How to help Libya … before it’s too late

The Islamic State is gaining ground in Libya, already having seized control of Sirte, an hour's flight from southern Europe.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on December 16

Calls for alimony reform shake up Israeli rabbinical courts

There are various proposals to amend Israel legal policies on divorce as citizens raise demands for greater nuance in child custody policies and alimony arrangements.
Read more»

 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 15

Israel's patriotism police

The Israeli right has been busy turning every reasonable action by the Zionist left into yet another instance of treason against the homeland.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 15

Which US presidential candidate is good for Israel?

When wondering what Israelis think makes a “good president” for the US, it depends on whom you ask.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 15

Khamenei's strategy puts US 'Trojan horse' out to pasture

Iranian hard-liners apparently have dashed any hopes that the nuclear deal would clear the way for better relations between the United States and Iran.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on December 14

How Iran will choose its next supreme leader

A special group has been formed to review candidates for the next supreme leader.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 14

Turkish Kurds flee 'self-rule' neighborhoods

Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast is sliding deeper into chaos as residents flee neighborhoods devastated from clashes between the security forces and Kurdish militants.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 14

Why are some politicians afraid of this one Knesset member?

Likud politicians fear the Hazan family and its influence within the party's Central Committee.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 14

As both sides rattle sabers, is Turkey on verge of civil war?

Armored and aerial Turkish security forces and the PKK appear to be gearing up for a major offensive in the southeast, evacuating civilians, forbidding doctors from leaving and expanding morgues.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 14

Why the US is part of Middle East problem, not the solution

Joint List head Ayman Odeh, recently celebrated as one of Foreign Policy's top global leaders, argues in an interview with Al-Monitor that the US administration is an obstacle to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 14

Turkey’s joint front with Sunni Arabs, Kurds

Ankara is developing a joint front with the Sunni Arabs and Kurds, and refuses to withdraw its troops from the Mosul area.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on December 14

The long road to labeling settlement products

In a discussion with Al-Monitor, Charles Shamas, a Palestinian entrepreneur involved in exporting Palestinian products to Europe, traced the path to the European Union guidelines for labeling settlement products.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 14

After Fayyad's visit, what's next for Hamas?

Former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s visit to the Gaza Strip has raised many eyebrows as to what Hamas is holding in store for its political opponents.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 14

Will election of women open door to reform in Saudi Arabia?

Now that women have been elected in Saudi Arabia, the United States should take advantage of this historic example and quietly encourage further reforms there.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on December 13

Turkey misfires in Iraq

Turkey’s military deployment near Mosul provokes widespread opposition and sends Russia-Turkey ties into a further downward spiral; Turkey’s Kurds face "unrealistic prospect" for democracy; Barzani on the spot as a result of KRG alignment with Turkey; Russia slams Saudi hosting of Syrian opposition.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on December 13

Tunisia’s LGBT activists push forward

The LGBT community in Tunisia is seeking to abolish Article 230 — which bans sodomy and under which homosexuals are arrested — despite little support from the government and society.
Read more»

 Conor McCormick-Cavanagh for Al-Monitor on December 14

Kerry enlists Netanyahu in congressional fight over UNESCO funding

Israel has dropped its opposition to restoring UNESCO budget despite Palestinian statehood vote.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 11

US presidential candidates speak out on Syria

The leading US presidential candidates have differing positions on Syria, combating the Islamic State and the admission of Syrian refugees to the United States.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on December 11

Turkey prepares for Trump presidency

Many Turks believe Donald Trump will become the next US president, and that his animosity toward Muslims and other minorities represents not just popular but also official American views.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 11

Why are Israeli ministers playing political games with poor children?

Instead of reflexively blaming cuts to child benefits during the last government for growing poverty in Israel, Ministers Aryeh Deri and Moshe Kahlon should propose constructive measures and follow up on recommendations made in 2014.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 11

Is PA on verge of collapse?

There has been speculation that Israel is preparing to possibly dissolve the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank against the backdrop of the violent attacks against Israeli soldiers.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 11

Will changes to US Visa Waiver Program torpedo Iran deal implementation?

If signed into law, proposed changes to the Visa Waiver Program will likely antagonize US allies and trade partners, as well as key players vested in the implementation of the JCPOA.
Read more»

 Reza Nasri for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 11

East Jerusalem theater fights to keep doors open

The Palestinian theater El-Hakawati, the only cultural institution of its kind operating in East Jerusalem, is drowning in debt and faces closure yet another time.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 22

Former prisoners opening Palestinians' eyes onto Israel

Palestinians who learned Hebrew while in Israeli prisons have established research and language centers in Gaza for Palestinians to learn Hebrew and about Israeli affairs.
Read more»

 Fadi Shafei for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 23

4 ways Russia could retaliate against Turkey

Russia is mulling its limited options for dealing with Turkey without hurting itself in the process.
Read more»

 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on December 10

Will Iran support the intifada?

After relations took a hit from the Syrian civil war, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has reached out to Iran for help.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 10

More veils lift as topic loses political punch in Iran

In Iran, efforts to depoliticize the veil and criticism of the theological justifications for its coerced use are paving the ground for change.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 10

Is Fatah planning the intifada?

Elements within the Fatah leadership warn that they might take the lead of the violent intifada "to capture international attention" and "to influence Israeli public opinion by demonstrating that occupation has its price."
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 13

Are Turkey and Iran reviving a 16th century conflict?

Turkey's Iraq policy can be traced back to its rivalry with Iran in Mesopotamia centuries ago.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on December 10

Will Russia's economic restrictions on Turkey backfire?

Some worry Turkey’s losses from an angry Russia could reach $20 billion, but others expect the figure to be much lower and point out that Russia’s losses will be no less painful.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 13

Jerusalem Copts hope new bishop brings renewed support

The small Egyptian Christian community in Jerusalem was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by a visit from Pope Tawadros II.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 10

With the Islamic State gone from Sinjar, Kurdish groups battle for control

After Sinjar was liberated from the Islamic State, a new conflict arose among Kurdish parties as to who should administer the area.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 10

Is Netanyahu the 'great gas robber'?

Appearing before the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee, Benjamin Netanyahu avoided answering questions before pulling out the national security card to defend the current natural gas outline.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 10

House panel approves peshmerga bill that Baghdad deems 'unwise and unnecessary'

The House Foreign Affairs panel voted to directly arm Kurdish forces.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 9

What's the one thing that Arabs, Turks and Iranians can all agree on?

Majorities in eight Muslim countries blame “corrupt, repressive and unrepresentative governments” and wrong-headed religious leaders for the rise of extremist groups such as the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 9

Why are Egypt's advanced degree holders protesting?

While some believe that there is no need to appoint master’s and doctoral degree holders in Egypt’s state institutions, others argue the state must benefit from their academic education.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 9

EU, Iran relationship heats up

The European Union has created an Iran Task Force to facilitate the implementation of the nuclear deal, develop relations and build a framework for regional cooperation.
Read more»

 Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 9

'Corruption on earth' brings death penalty in Iran

Iranian member of parliament Ahmad Tavakoli is skeptical that the removal of sanctions will address economic problems in Iran.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 9

Bloodshed stokes Kurdish separatist sentiment

Ankara’s draconian security crackdowns, marked by dozens of civilian deaths, have left many Kurds wondering whether they should give up their struggle for rights and seek independence.
Read more»

Irfan Aktan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 9

Ankara's Mosul miscalculation

Even Turkmens are unhappy with Turkey’s moves in Mosul, and Ankara may have made a serious misjudgment.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on December 9

Will dinar exchange rate impact Iraqi financial crisis?

In light of the decreasing oil prices that led to an economic crisis in Iraq, the Iraqi government has been discussing options to reduce the dinar-dollar exchange rate.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on December 11

Iraq's war of flags

A struggle over flags has emerged in Iraq, where the various forces fighting the Islamic State seek to promote their own identities and are desecrating the symbols of rival groups.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on December 9

Will Palestinians take advantage of EU decision to label settlement products?

Palestinians are seeking to achieve economic gains from the EU decision to label products from settlements, by increasing their exports to EU markets.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 9

Rouhani ups election ante

Beyond a second term, President Hassan Rouhani is seemingly setting his sights on another key Iranian state institution — the Assembly of Experts.
Read more»

 Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 8

How Tunisia’s moderate imams are seeking to reclaim Islam from extremists

Tunisia is taking important steps to counter jihadism, but must also address the underlying causes of extremism.
Read more»

 Christine Petré for Al-Monitor on December 8

Will Israel build island next to Gaza?

Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Affairs Yisrael Katz claims that Israel must consider blocking West Bank areas where terror attacks have taken place.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 8

Did Erdogan threaten Iran?

Spokesman for the Hassan Rouhani administration denies that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan "threatened" Iran regarding negative media coverage.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 8

Why is Turkey stirring the Iraqi cauldron?

The wisdom and real motives of Turkey dispatching troops to northern Iraq is a topic of hot debate.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 8

Ankara falls into Moscow's trap

Ankara is now being compelled to backtrack on its Syria policy in the face of Russian threats and sanctions, while the United States stands as one of the prime beneficiaries of the crisis.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on December 9

Why hasn't Abbas called for a meeting of the Palestinian Legislative Council?

Some Palestinians wonder why President Abbas refuses to convene the Palestinian Legislative Council; others wonder why he would bother, since he has assumed executive, legislative and judicial power in the West Bank.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 8

What took Israel so long to arrest Douma murder suspects?

After four months of investigation, suspects in the murder of the Dawabsha family were apprehended — but will they be convicted?
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 8

Israel loses its last champion of political integrity

Late Meretz leader Yossi Sarid was a scholar familiar with both world literature and Jewish texts, cherishing notions of integrity, peace and coexistence.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 8

America's 'Made in Israel' policy that you've probably never heard of

Much has been said about the EU's new guidelines for labeling Israeli settlement goods, but the US has had similar rules for decades.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 7

Rouhani challenges Guardian Council...again

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has once again raised the issue of the Guardian Council's role in the elections.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 7

How to get Iran's drifting economy back on track

Following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s call for a "command headquarters" for the economy in the post-sanctions era, there is increasing debate in Iran about the need for clear guidance of the economy.
Read more»

 Alireza Ramezani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 7

Is this Palestine's Arab Spring?

As the wide unrest continues in Palestine, many wonder if this uprising could be a belated Palestinian Arab Spring that will bring about change in the entire region.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on December 7

Arab-Kurd conflict heats up after Tuz Khormato incidents

Factions in Iraq seem more worried about staking claims to territory and power than in fighting the Islamic State, and the result could be a prolonged civil war.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 8

Turkey sticks its neck out again, this time in Iraq

Ankara’s unusually loud public acknowledgement of sending reinforcement soldiers into Iraq shows Turkey hopes to establish its own territory there.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 7

Is Gollum good? Turkish judge consults 'TV expert' to find out

A simple meme posted over social media has spawned an official Turkish investigation into the legendary fictional character "Gollum" from "The Lord of the Rings."
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on December 7

Yossi Sarid, voice of Israel's left, leaves behind unfinished business

Former Meretz leader and Minister Yossi Sarid, who passed away Dec. 4, was an honest politician who dared to tell the truth, even in tough times for the Israeli peace camp.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 7

US says it's 'game over' for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations

According to a senior Obama administration official, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are definitely over for the next 14 months, leaving the two parties to contemplate a binational state and war.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 7

Turkey’s red line in Syria under attack

Syrian military advances, backed by Russia, threaten Turkmen and Jabhat al-Nusra forces along the border with Turkey; Russia and Israel understand each other on Syria; Israel’s’ "small joy" in clash with EU over settlements.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on December 6

Congress focuses on Islamic State threat from Europe

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Dec. 7.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 6

Continued conflict clogging up Renaissance Dam negotiations

Egypt may have procrastinated itself into a corner as it passively awaits a solution to concerns about how the already-underway Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will affect its water supply.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 4

Turkey takes a hit from the Russian hammer

Moscow is bringing its hammer down on Ankara following Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane late last month, crushing Erdogan’s aspirations for autonomy from the West in foreign and security policy.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on December 4

How to improve Egypt's media law

Abdel Latif El-Menawy, the former head of Egyptian state TV who now heads Al Ghad Al Arabi satellite TV, explained in an interview with Al-Monitor why the Egyptian media has deviated from its role, and what the field needs now.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 4

The high price of Russian bombs in Syria

Russia’s use of blind aerial bombings could win the war in Syria cheaply, yet at a great cost.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on December 8

Why is Israel's culture minister cutting funding to culture?

Culture Minister Miri Regev threatens to withdraw funding of the 48 mm Tel Aviv film festival dedicated to the Nakba.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 4

Will Israel's military intervene in the West Bank?

Palestinians question the reasoning behind calls for an Israeli "Operation Defensive Shield 2," given the lack of available targets and unclear objectives.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 7

Will Iranians watch Saudi-financed Persian TV?

Hoping to reach an Iranian audience, Saudi Arabia is moving to focus more on Persian-language media, but the kingdom has little advantage in an already saturated market.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 3

Will Iran play peacemaker between Russia, Turkey?

Given Tehran's ties to both countries, Iranian officials discuss the potential for Iran to mediate between Russia and Turkey.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 3

Leader of Egypt's winning party outlines what's next

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Free Egyptians Party's acting President Essam Khalil discusses the party’s plan following its victory in the first and second stages of the parliamentary elections.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 3

Will Fatah, Hamas take Egypt's road to unity?

Hamadeh Faraneh, a PNC and PCC member, revealed an Egyptian plan to achieve Palestinian unity between Fatah and Hamas, among other goals, and talks details about this in an interview with Al-Monitor.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on December 3

How the Islamic State hurts Palestinian cause

The Palestinians fear that the international preoccupation with the Islamic State threat offers the Netanyahu government a possible argument for evading serious negotiations for a two-state solution and to gain more ground with its right-wing base.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 6

Why Bibi used Paris climate talks to focus on terrorism, not environment

In Paris for the COP21 climate summit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu devoted his talks mostly to the issue of combating terror.
Read more»

 Rina Bassist for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 3

Is US preparing to crack down on IRGC?

A key House panel is inching closer to slapping additional sanctions on the IRGC.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 2

New report confirms Iran's nuclear weapons program

In a crucial new report by the IAEA, Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog agreed to disagree about key aspects of Iran’s nuclear program.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on December 2

Turkey makes progress on sealing Syria border, but is it enough?

Turkey’s granting the United States access to its military bases, among other factors, has muted US frustration at slow efforts to seal a remaining stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border to foreign fighters and oil smugglers.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on December 2

Why young Gazans need cement to get married

In an attempt to curb the use of cement in tunnels Hamas has been building to attack Israelis, Israel restricts the importation of cement to Gaza, limiting the possibilities for many young people in Gaza to build homes.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 3

Tony Blair's blunder on Middle East peace

Tony Blair’s chance to play a political role in the Palestinian issue is slipping away, as the PA refuses to accept him, President Abbas and the PLO refuse to deal with him on a personal level and Hamas has turned down all his initiatives.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 2

Coptic Pope's Jerusalem visit sparks backlash in Egypt

The Coptic Church confirmed that its position regarding the ban on Copts visiting Jerusalem is unchanged, despite the travel of Pope Tawadros II to the city to attend the funeral of Bishop Anba Abraham.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 2

Iranians tweet supreme leader's message, but Twitter thinks it's spam?

Iran's supreme leader has once again penned an open letter to the young people of the West; however, many of those sharing his message via Twitter had their accounts mysteriously suspended.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on December 2

Larijani hopes to expand his political power

Iranian parliament Speaker Ali Larijani is trying to transform the Followers of the Leader faction into a political organization.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 2

Turkey’s Kurds shaken by killing of human rights lawyer

Turkey’s Kurds have united in grief over the perplexing killing of celebrated human rights lawyer Tahir Elci, whose loss some take as a sign that peace is further out of reach than ever.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 2

The radicalization of Israel

The extremist discourse between the political right and the left has drowned out the Israeli mainstream.
Read more»

 Nurit Canetti for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on December 2

Will Israel, Russia tighten coordination on Syria?

Israeli security officials debate whether Russian military involvement in Syria will change the balance of power in favor of Israeli interests or against them.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on December 2

Is UNHCR in Jordan discriminating against Sudanese refugees?

Sudanese refugees in Jordan have been protesting what they see as the UNHCR discriminating between them and Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Read more»

 Adam Lucente for Al-Monitor on December 2

US threatens to bypass Baghdad, arm Sunnis against IS

Congress and the Obama administration are demanding that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi do more to combat sectarianism.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on December 1

Sisi supporters secure second-round elections victory

An overview of Egypt's upcoming parliamentary runoff elections and results.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on December 1

Will thawing Iran's frozen assets help slow down climate change?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Iranian Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, who heads the country’s Environmental Protection Organization, outlines her views on Iran's environmental challenges — and how to confront them.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 1

Gossip grows as Rouhani skips meetings

As rumors spread in the Iranian media about President Hassan Rouhani boycotting Expediency Council meetings, some observers are comparing his avoidance strategy to that of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on December 1

What killing of Kurdish human rights lawyer means for Turkey

In turbulent Turkey, the voices of peace and coexistence speak out at the risk of violent retribution.
Read more»

Hande Yalnizoglu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on December 1

Downing of Russian jet forces Ankara to turn West

Experts argue that although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is getting support from NATO and the European Union, he can never be part of the West because his Islamist outlook prevents him from adopting Western values.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on December 1

Baghdad Jewish cemetery reminds of bygone days

Jewish monuments in Iraq are numerous and make some Iraqis nostalgic for the time when Muslims and Jews were neighbors.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on December 1

Will Israel's ban on the Islamic Movement lead to further restrictions?

Some observers fear that the recent ban of the Islamic Movement's northern branch might serve as a precedent for Israel to tighten the noose on its Arab citizens.
Read more»

 Aziza Nofal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on December 1

Netanyahu plans to 'punish' the Europeans over settlement labeling

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's announcement that Israel will distance the European Union from the diplomatic process makes no sense, in view of the ongoing diplomatic stalemate.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on December 1

Are Israelis ready to move to the center?

Public support for the establishment of a “new Kadima” suggests that a significant segment of the Israeli electorate would back a party with a clear diplomatic agenda for a two-state solution.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on December 1

How one Egyptian beauty queen lost her citizenship

The Egyptian minister of interior’s decision to withdraw citizenship from Naglaa Ahmad Abdel Ati Suleiman, who also holds Israeli citizenship, stirred mixed reactions in Egypt.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 30

The tumbling turban: Who is behind attacks on Reformists in Iran?

Protesters have disrupted a number of speeches and gatherings by Reformist groups in Iran, indicating some of the candidates could have a tough time in the upcoming elections.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 30

Beirut bombing brings Lebanon's political parties together

The Nov. 12 suicide bombing in Beirut failed to sow discord among Lebanese political parties and actually seemed to bring them closer temporarily, but their disagreements run too deep to allow for sustained cooperation.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on December 1

Turkey gambles on the Turkmens

The Turkmen card Turkey is playing in Syria is likely to backfire and endanger the Turkmens.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on November 30

Israel makes it official: Another wall on the way

Palestinians are interested to see what kind of wall Israel will build along the Gaza border to discourage Hamas attacks.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 30

Why defeating Islamic State won't bring stability to Iraq

Competing factions have different agendas for a post-IS Iraq, paving the way for even greater conflict.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 30

Who's afraid of the 'intifada'?

The use of the expression ''wave of terror,'' rather than ''intifada,'' has created the illusion that the recent violence against Israelis will pass without the need for tangible measures to relieve the despair felt by young Palestinians.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 30

Why IDF is urging Israeli government to keep calm, strengthen Palestinian Authority

The IDF has learned its lesson from the previous intifada, recommending now to contain the terror incidents and try to spread calm, as called for by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, instead of launching a military confrontation.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 30

What the new UN envoy to Libya should do first

The new UN special representative to Libya, Martin Kobler, must strive to regain the trust undermined by his controversial predecessor, Bernardino Leon.
Read more»

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on December 2

Erdogan more isolated than ever on Syria

The Turkish president is on the defensive after Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian warplane; the Syrian war enters a more dangerous phase.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 29

Meetings between Turkish, Russian military reveal that Moscow had been warned

Turkey and Russia both seem determined to obtain the dominant position in shaping Syria's future.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on November 30

Congress threatens to shut down government over Syrian refugees

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Nov. 30.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 29

How Turkey's new minimum wage may end up hurting employees

Employers who don’t want to pay Turkey's pending minimum wage increase are threatening to relocate facilities or hire illegal Syrian workers for low wages.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 29

Hebron radio stations closed for 'exercising incitement'

The Israeli army has closed three Palestinian radio stations in Hebron so far, a step that concerned parties say will only escalate the violence witnessed in the Palestinian territories.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 30

Will Canada change its policy toward Iran?

Canada's new Liberal prime minister has expressed an interest in changing policy toward Iran — but will rapprochement happen any time soon?
Read more»

 Maysam Bizær for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 27

After shooting down Russian jet, what's next for Turkey?

The Syrian army offensive backed by Russia in the region northeast of Latakia and the downing of a Russian Su-24 by Turkey leaves many to wonder which scenario will play out in the coming weeks .
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on November 26

Will there be a 'Kurdish AKP' in Turkey?

Turkey’s ruling party appears to be on a quest to weaken the Kurdish political movement by promoting divisions and polarization in the Kurdish community.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 27

Egypt announces deal to reopen Rafah crossing, but when will it actually open?

Despite the fact that opening the Rafah crossing is an urgent humanitarian need for Gaza residents, it remains subject to political considerations associated with the quarreling factions: Hamas and Fatah.
Read more»

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

Why Kerry should have skipped his stop in Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu depends on his right-wing Knesset members for his political survival, and is not interested in US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts for some goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 26

8 steps to peaceful two-state solution

Israeli-Palestinian-Egyptian-Jordanian security coordination is the key to any unilateral move on Israel's part.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 29

Who is Iran's Nategh-Nuri?

The possible leadership of Ali Akbar Nategh-Nuri in Iran's upcoming parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections may very well change the nature of the game in Iranian politics.
Read more»

 Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 26

Rouhani: Jets are not toys to shoot down

While the Rouhani administration has urged restraint and emphasized the need to focus on fighting terrorism, Iranian conservatives have condemned Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on November 25

From smoking weed to sexual harassment, Israel's Knesset members struggle with scandal

Knesset member Yinon Magal is accused of improper behavior, Knesset member Oren Hazan mocked a handicapped colleague, and Sharon Gal had to resign from the Knesset in order to avoid a scandal.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 25

Freed Palestinian prisoner: Swap deal with Israel is worthless if it excludes the sick

In an interview with Al-Monitor, freed Palestinian prisoner Mohammed Allan talks details about his detention and release, stressing that he would not hesitate for one moment to resume his hunger strike if the Israeli army were to put him under administrative arrest again.
Read more»

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

Will Gaza’s public employees accept land in lieu of salaries?

Hamas resorted to drastic measures to cater to the employee salary crisis, as the consensus government has been neglecting this issue since it was formed in 2014.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 25

Erdogan gobbles up power in new Turkish government

Turkey’s recently announced cabinet is stacked with loyal allies of the president, making it clear that this is the "government of Erdogan."
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on November 25

Kerry, the tourist

Secretary of State John Kerry has paid a visit to Israel amid an increasing wave of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, yet he has no new solutions to offer either side.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 25

Who are 'Allah's lions'?

A mysterious security force has taken the lead in operations in Turkey’s Kurdish areas, raising alarm with its heavy-handed methods and seemingly religious motivation.
Read more»

 Orhan Kemal Cengiz for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 25

Khamenei uses Tehran gas summit to slam US

In meetings with world leaders, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned about US goals in the Middle East and Latin America.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 24

After Turkey's 'stab in the back' to Russia, will anyone support Ankara?

After it shot down a Russian fighter jet, Turkey is unlikely to get much support from its allies.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 24

Will downing of Russia warplane thwart France’s efforts for broader anti-IS coalition?

Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane threatens to complicate French efforts to bolster closer Western coordination with Moscow in combating IS.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 24

Turkey's embargo on YPG funerals

A family finally triumphs over Turkey's embargo on the bodies of its citizens who were killed fighting for the Kurdish YPG against the Islamic State.
Read more»

Irfan Aktan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 24

In quest for statehood, Palestinians prepare security plans

Preparing for statehood, Palestinian officials presented detailed security plans and strategies to retired American Gen. John Allen when he came for security talks in 2013-2014 as part of the Kerry peace talks.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 25

How renewed Turkey-PKK conflict threatens the KRG

The stability of Iraqi Kurdistan might again be at risk after the Turkish government, led by the AKP, launched its most extensive raids against PKK positions in years.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 24

Bennett, Shaked call for military operation in West Bank

HaBayit HaYehudi's Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked are hoping to score political points by calling for a wide-scale military operation in the West Bank despite security establishment assessments that a military response is not the answer to the current wave of attacks.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 24

Pollard and Vanunu: A tale of two spies

While criticizing the restrictions the US has imposed on released spy Jonathan Pollard and attempting to legislate state allocations for him, Israeli politicians ignore their government's restrictions on nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 24

Will the building of a Third Temple destroy the Jewish state?

Talking to Al-Monitor, Israeli author Yishai Sarid argues that the people creating a Third Temple atmosphere believe they are avant-garde, above the people, but as a secular Jew, Sarid counters this and brings the debate to life in his recent book, "The Third."
Read more»

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 24

Despite budget approval, Netanyahu's coalition on shaky ground

Despite getting the 2016 state budget approved, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preoccupied with plots and deals in order to guarantee his political survival.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 23

Will Israel build offshore nuclear power plant?

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promotes the outline for the natural gas resource and benefits distribution, several experts promote the idea of offshore gas and civil nuclear energy plants.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 23

Sudan gets $2.2B for joining Saudi Arabia, Qatar in Yemen war

After providing financial support, Saudi Arabia is collecting on its IOU from Sudan, which now finds itself enmeshed in Yemen's civil war.
Read more»

 Giorgio Cafiero for Al-Monitor on November 23

Why do some Turks approve of Islamic State terrorism?

Turkish football fans' disruption of moments of silence for victims of Islamic State attacks in Paris and in Turkey show support for IS and stem from the domestic and foreign policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on November 23

Women were big losers in Turkey's elections

The number of women elected to parliament reached a new high in Turkey's June elections, but dropped in the Nov. 1 snap elections, especially in the victorious Justice and Development Party.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on November 23

How Israeli far right uses news as a tool of incitement

As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemns Palestinian incitement, he should be careful about far right news sites depicting a false picture of the reality, damaging the already fragile relationship between Jews and Palestinians in Israel.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 23

Will battle for Aleppo determine Syria’s fate?

Syrian government forces advance despite heavy resistance; Arab leadership missing in battle against Islamic State; Erdogan differs with United States and G-20 on next steps in Syria; Israel rethinks "Shiite axis."
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 22

Hamas hands over Arafat’s house, minus some of its belongings

Hamas handed over the late President Arafat’s house to the Yasser Arafat Foundation, which some see as good step toward ending internal division, although some of the president’s belongings are missing.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on November 23

The declining relationship between Hamas, Egypt

Many issues are adding fuel to the fiery relations between Hamas and Egypt.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on

Despite Russian airstrikes, FSA continues to confront regime

Although recent Russian military strikes in Syria have provided air cover for government forces, the Free Syrian Army continues its battles against the regime.
Read more»

 Asaad Hanna for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 20

Can women, Copts make it to parliament without the quota?

Women and Copts have been marginalized in the Egyptian political scene, as their representation in parliament has not always been fair.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 20

Yazidis wary of going back to liberated Sinjar

Liberation of the Yazidi Iraqi town Sinjar from 16 months of IS occupation delighted everyone except thousands of Yazidi refugees who have no intention of going back.
Read more»

 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 20

Iran hedges its bets in Syria

After joining the Vienna II talks on Syria, Iran continues to hedge its bets, including beefing up the Syrian National Defense Forces, to ensure its ability to protect its interests in the country and the region.
Read more»

 Ellie Geranmayeh for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 20

Is the Islamic State going global?

The Islamic State is now in a position to decide to go global or stay regional, following the attacks in Paris.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on November 20

Hamas-Fatah squabble puts future of 25,000 Gazan students at risk

As the Hamas-Fatah dispute over the chairmanship of Al-Aqsa University continues, the Education Ministry is threatening to revoke the school's accreditation.
Read more»

 Moath al-Amoudi for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 20

Why it pays to be a settler in Israel

The 2015-2016 state budget reflects well the priorities of the Netanyahu government, with generous funding and allocations to the settlers and religious parties, while neglecting the periphery, the Arabs and Israel's secular heritage.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 20

GOP blames Obama for anti-refugee backlash

Republicans say a failed Middle East strategy has fueled "fear and panic" in the United States.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 19

Netanyahu, the great pretender

The Nov. 9 meeting between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu created a facade of improved bilateral relations, but did little to actually repair the damage done to US-Israel ties.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 22

Is the Chechen 'bogeyman' heading to Syria?

Russia is playing up similarities between its past struggles and Syria’s civil war.
Read more»

 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on November 19

Is defeating the Islamic State impossible?

The Islamic State's stringing together of religion, power and modernity of sorts is a tough knot to untie.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on November 19

Will Rouhani only serve one term as president?

The publication associated with Iran's Ansar-e Hezbollah argues that President Hassan Rouhani has failed in both his economic and diplomatic promises.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 19

As the economy falters, Egypt’s police launch a ‘war on prices’

Egypt’s supply police launch a campaign to reduce the prices of some goods, with the government calling it a war on high prices.
Read more»

 Emir Nader for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 22

Will Beirut bombing spur Lebanon into finding a new president?

The attacks in Beirut have opened a window for consensus, and it is likely that presidential hopefuls Michel Aoun and Samir Geagea will stand aside to make room for a third, less divisive candidate.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on November 20

Veiled women detained, handcuffed spark public outcry in Turkey

The latest controversy in Turkish society places people either in favor of or against the Justice and Development Party, in the ongoing fight of the "parallel state."
Read more»

 Riada Ašimović Akyol for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 19

Why cemetery-dwelling Gazans fear the living, not the dead

A cemetery in central Gaza City is home to dozens of families, who receive only minimal aid from the Ministry of Social Affairs.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 19

How Iraq just legalized discrimination of minorities

A new National Identity Card Law passed by the Iraqi parliament legalizes discrimination against non-Muslim minorities.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 19

How banning Islamic Movement betrays Israel's democracy

The government's decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement tramples numerous principles inherent to a democratic society.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 19

Are the attacks in Paris connected with attacks in Israel?

The Israeli right is claiming that Israel and France are fighting against the same kind of terrorism motivated by religious fundamentalism.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 19

Will Iran pursue high-cost strategy in Syria?

A previously unpublished speech by an Iranian general who was killed in Syria may reveal efforts to justify Iran's growing involvement in Syria.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 18

Is it time for China to step up its engagement in the Middle East?

It is time for China to capitalize on its position as the only great power with good relations with both Iran and Saudi Arabia to facilitate regional engagement.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on November 18

In the battle against IS, where is the Arab coalition?

Arab countries claiming their opposition against the Islamic State have stood down in their battle against the self-proclaimed "Caliph Ibrahim," creating a political void in the coalition.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on November 18

Some in Turkey still balk at EU's 'indecent proposal'

What's the real value of the EU's offer to pay Turkey 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion), ease visa restrictions and expedite accession negotiations in return for keeping refugees from entering Europe?
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 18

What's the difference between habbeh and intifada?

Palestinian media and politicians have yet to agree on the terminology of the ongoing events in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 18

How outlawing the Islamic Movement could backfire on Israel

The decision to outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel might actually strengthen its status among Palestinians there.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 18

Is Abbas trying to distract Egyptian media?

During his visit to Cairo, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Hamas of negotiating with Israel regarding annexing part of the Sinai Peninsula to Gaza.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 19

Does Bibi know more than the Israeli intelligence service?

Despite recommendations by the Shin Bet to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood, the Netanyahu government decided instead to side with the police and outlaw the northern branch of the Islamic Movement.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 18

Can Syrian opposition defend both Hama and Aleppo at the same time?

The Syrian opposition is stretching itself thin as it strives to protect Aleppo while also securing its progress toward Hama, where regime forces pose a serious threat.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on November 18

Will Nidaa Tunis' troubles boost Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt?

The resignations of 32 Nidaa Tunis MPs makes Ennahda the largest parliamentary bloc, raising questions about a possible spillover effect for the Egyptian Brotherhood.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 18

Democrats warn Syrian refugee ban would empower Islamic State

Congressional Democrats say discriminating against Muslims would harm war effort.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 17

As IS fight ramps up, Obama sees modest progress, hope for Syria diplomacy

President Barack Obama cited fragile progress in forging a Syrian diplomatic road map at international talks in Vienna that called for bringing the Syrian regime and opposition together for talks leading to a cease-fire, a new constitution in six months and new elections in 2017.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 17

G-20 summit returns Erdogan to the world stage

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returns to the world stage after the G-20 summit, yet it's not clear whether he will be able to rise to the occasion and change his stance domestically in order to appear less authoritarian and anti-democratic.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 17

Khamenei says Iran must go green

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a list of policy directives regarding the environment.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 17

Will Rouhani and Zarif defy Khamenei by holding direct talks with US on Syria?

Despite Ayatollah Khamenei's public prohibition of dialogue with the United States on regional issues, it appears that Iran and the United States are bound to engage on Syria.
Read more»

Ali Omidi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 17

Turkey's no-fly plan grounded at G-20 summit

Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's efforts to paint a picture of international support for his Syria policies, US President Barack Obama has continued to reject Turkey’s proposals for a safe zone in Syria.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on November 18

How to resolve Iraq's economic crisis

It's time for Iraq to look beyond stopgap measures and develop a larger plan to resolve the country's dire economic situation.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 17

Netanyahu: 'In Israel, as in France, terror is terror'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims that the perpetrators of the Paris attacks and those attacking Israelis are the same — terrorists determined to kill those who are not part of extreme Islam.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 17

Hawkish Republican candidates don’t mince words on radical Islam

While some Republican presidential candidates have been quick to declare a war on radical Islam, there has been little focus on the causes behind its rise.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 16

Is promoting civil society key to combating radical groups?

Propping up oppressive dictators won’t stop violence in the Middle East and beyond, and a sophisticated approach is needed to address the complex origins of terror in the region.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on November 17

Erdogan’s march to one-man power

A few years ago, three powerful men — Erdogan, Gulen and Ocalan — had a say in Turkey’s future, but now Erdogan has emerged as "the man” charting the country’s course.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on November 16

Senior Palestinian official refuses to give up on peace process

A senior Palestinian official has given his blessing to the current wave of protest activities against the Israeli army and settlers while clearly warning about the uprising taking a military turn.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 16

Paris attacks spoil AKP’s G-20 game plan

Turkey's AKP government will not be able to use the G-20 summit as an anti-Kurdish platform.
Read more»

Irfan Aktan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 16

Was government negligence to blame for deadly fireworks explosion in Jordan?

Jordanian politicians and analysts are blaming poor government performance for the explosion in Amman’s Customs Department that killed seven.
Read more»

 Aaron Magid for Al-Monitor on November 16

Qatar launches initiative to ease power crisis in Gaza

As Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer from daily power cuts, Qatar proposed to Israelis supplying Gaza with natural gas.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 16

Israeli budget becomes political playground

Ministers Moshe Kahlon, Aryeh Deri and Naftali Bennett each look to appease their constituencies when voting over the 2016 Israeli state budget.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 16

Israel needs calm, not action-movie operations

Israel's political and military establishments feel the need to "do something" to appease public opinion in the face of recent violence, but the situation calls for restraint, not excessive actions like the undercover operation at a Hebron hospital.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 16

Jordan tasked with establishing terrorist blacklist for Syria talks

Islamic State terrorism in France and Lebanon leads to new peace plan for Syria; Hamas and Islamic Jihad seek advantage from Palestinian uprising.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 15

Paris attacks expose tensions in Turkey

Comments, both arrogant and jubilant, celebrating Paris massacre on social media rub salt into the unhealed wounds of IS attacks in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on November 15

Congress tackles terrorism after Paris attacks

Following Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, this week Congress will be addressing issues related to a rise in radicalism and President Obama’s plans to increase the number of refugees admitted from war-torn countries.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 15

How to defeat the Islamic State

To defeat the Islamic State, the world powers need a clear-cut, unified strategy to guide the war on terrorism.
Read more»

 Riad Kahwaji for Al-Monitor on November 16

Iran shifts approach to fight against alcohol

Faced with increasing rates of alcohol consumption, the Iranian authorities are beginning to treat the issue as a public health rather than religious concern.
Read more»

 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 13

Israeli right buries head in sand

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to ignore warnings by the Obama administration and by the European Union over the collapse of the two-state solution.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 13

How a statuette dashed hopes for Turkish-Egyptian reconciliation

While a visit to Egypt by representatives of Turkey’s Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges initially sparked hopes of a reconciliation between Ankara and Cairo, things seem unlikely to change anytime soon.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on November 13

Hamas-Fatah dispute hampers commemorations for Arafat’s death

Fatah and Hamas are fighting over the venue for holding commemoration events of Yasser Arafat’s death, while the Palestinian public seems to be divided on whether these events should still be held 11 years after his death.
Read more»

 Ahmad Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 13

Why it's time for US to take firm approach to two-state solution

Instead of contemplating a passive approach, the United States could declare 2018 the year of permanent status for the two-state solution, establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 15

Iran doubts US goals in Syria talks

Iran's deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said Iran will decide whether to participate in the next round of Vienna II talks on Syria after reviewing whether the United States is working behind the scenes to push its own agenda.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 12

Could Iraq’s Baathists help in battle against Islamic State?

The efforts to amend the Justice and Accountability Act, which uprooted Baath Party members from their government jobs, has stirred a debate among Shiites who strongly opposed these efforts.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on November 13

How to solve Lebanese civil war disappearances

The International Committee of the Red Cross has a plan to identify the remains of those who went missing during Lebanon’s civil war, but support from the government is agonizingly slow.
Read more»

 Ash Gallagher for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on November 15

Turkey's path to dictatorship

Erdogan’s renewed ambitions to install an authoritarian presidential system in Turkey are raising concerns he might further restrict freedom of the press and open a path for a dictatorship.
Read more»

 Orhan Kemal Cengiz for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 12

Lebanon continues to struggle under weight of Syrian refugee crisis

Lebanon is struggling to cope with the Syrian displacement crisis amid weak international action.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on November 12

As European dream fades, Iraqi Kurds return home

Thousands of Kurds who fled to Europe are now seeking to return to Iraq after facing an even harsher reality there.
Read more»

 Fazel Hawramy for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 12

Corruption becomes hallmark of Israel government

Israelis appear to be resigned in the face of a prime minister who dismisses Palestinian despair, Knesset members' involved in corruption and major companies gouging the public with the government's assistance.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 12

Why Israelis weren't interested in this week's Netanyahu-Obama meeting

The Israeli press treated the Netanyahu-Obama meeting with indifference, focusing their attention instead on the European Union's decision to label settlement products.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 12

Palestinian lawmaker detained by Israeli military court

Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar, accused of calling for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, has been detained for several months now by an Israeli military court based on classified evidence, while her husband says the court has avoided examining evidence of her innocence.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 12

Is it from Israel or Palestine? EU labeling guidelines spur more controversy

Congress — and Israel — say new European labeling guidelines are an anti-Semitic ploy; the EU says they’re in line with 15 years of trade law.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 11

Oman looks East

As Oman practices diplomacy in the Middle East, it also is strengthening ties with China as a potential long-term partner.
Read more»

 Giorgio Cafiero for Al-Monitor on November 11

'Under 50' Iranians killed in Syria

An Iranian security official has addressed several hot-button topics in the media, including the implementation of the nuclear deal and the rising Iranian death toll in Syria.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 11

Netanyahu's gushing over Obama meeting convinces no one

Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's effort to present his meeting with President Barack Obama as successful, he achieved little, and the Obama administration was considerably less enthusiastic about it.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 11

Is there any role left for PLO in determining future Palestinian-Israeli relations?

Questions arise about the PLO’s ability to implement the decisions of its Central Committee to end the security coordination with Israel.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 11

Is Israel isolating itself?

Israel is too focused on promoting its struggle against the Arab world to formulate a foreign policy toward peace and regional integration.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 11

Will G-20 Summit improve Erdogan’s international image?

Europe’s need for Turkey’s cooperation in the refugee crisis is forcing EU leaders to moderate their tone against Erdogan’s undemocratic ways.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 10

Infighting overshadows Iran press exhibition

Boycotts and accusations against media close to the administration have overshadowed Iran's 21st Press Exhibition.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 10

Kurds in postelection Turkey: Silver lining or tough times?

The Kurdish peace process, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once described as frozen but not dead, is not likely to thaw soon.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on November 10

Why was Hamas interested in the Turkish elections?

Hamas leaders were among the first to congratulate the AKP for its victory in the Turkish elections, as Turkey has always supported the Palestinian cause.
Read more»

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

Are Israelis ready for compromise on Jerusalem?

Strategic adviser Moshe Gaon claims that much like in the days of the 2000 Camp David summit, Israelis are ready for significant compromises on the condition that they bring an end to the conflict with the Palestinians.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 10

Why Iran and Russia aren't as closely aligned on Syria as you might think

Despite the shared short-term goals that have currently united them on Syria, Iran and Russia's differences over Syria's future are bound to lead them into conflict.
Read more»

 Saheb Sadeghi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 10

Will Washington put more boots on the ground in Iraq?

The recent operation in Hawija led by the United States to release Islamic State hostages raised a debate in Iraq about the government’s powers and sovereignty over its territory.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on November 10

How Egyptian revolutionaries rocked the vote

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Mohamed Badran, the young head of the Nation's Future Party, explains why his new party performed so strongly in the first round of Egypt’s legislative elections.
Read more»

George Mikhail for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 10

Obama's unfinished business

Barack Obama may become the first US president since Lyndon Johnson not to leave his signature on an advancement in the peace process.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 10

Is Congress paving the way for a Christian safe zone in Iraq?

A bipartisan effort to denounce an ongoing genocide is picking up steam. That's just the first step.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 9

Amid worsening relations, Saudi Arabia executes three Iranians

Iran's Foreign Ministry is accused of ignoring regional issues after three Iranians inside Saudi Arabia were executed for drug trafficking.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 9

Turkey's alcohol restrictions spark boost in bootleg booze

The Turkish government’s hefty taxes on alcohol have led to bootleg liquor production, which has claimed at least 26 lives over the past month.
Read more»

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 9

Battle against Bibi's natural gas plan fails to garner public support

Unlike their strong interest in issues such as housing prices or banking reform, Israelis are not engaged with the battle against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's natural gas plan.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 9

The IDF's Hebron dilemma

The IDF must face a shift in the current violence wave, where Hebron takes the lead alongside East Jerusalem, as both have a high level of daily friction between Jews and Palestinians and constant religious tension.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 9

Netanyahu finds chilly welcome on US visit

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the United States with a long military aid list, but the Obama administration was not inclined to forget his antagonistic behavior.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on November 9

Egypt electoral law a step toward justice for women

In an interview with Al-Monitor, veteran diplomat Mervat Tallawy talks about women in the Egyptian parliament and the long road that they still have ahead to reach equitable leadership positions.
Read more»

Khalid Hassan for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 9

Is Erdogan waging a war of choice against the PKK?

Erdogan and the AKP win by emphasizing the threat from Kurdish terrorism; Palestinian martyrs on the rise with intifada violence; Al-Monitor backs UNICEF education program for Syrian children.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on November 8

Nidaa Tunis tensions come at crucial period for Tunisia

Nidaa Tunis appears to be inching toward a possible split after internal tensions erupted into a brawl.
Read more»

 Christine Petré for Al-Monitor on November 9

White House says Israel-Palestine peace 'not in the cards' for Obama

The White House says it sees little prospect for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal before Obama leaves office, and is looking to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to bring ideas on how to prevent a one state reality when he comes to the White House Nov. 9.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on November 6

Kirkuk governor: US must work with Iran to stabilize Iraq

Kurdish leader Najmaldin Karim lays out his vision for post-IS peace.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 6

Negotiate Jerusalem first, not last

In the Oslo process, the issue of Jerusalem was purposefully delayed to be the last negotiated one; but in the next peace process it could be wise to begin negotiations by tackling Jerusalem's status first.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 8

Hamas' Meshaal calls for unity to support intifada

Hamas official Khaled Meshaal stresses the importance of establishing a unified Palestinian command to ensure the intifada achieves Palestinians' goals.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 6

Israeli tourism minister: Supreme Court imposes its 'radical worldview'

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin claims that the Supreme Court imposes on the government and Israeli public a radical left-wing worldview.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 6

Turkey’s Armenian community gets back children’s camp

Turkish Armenians finally obtained the deed to Camp Armen, an orphanage and children’s camp in Istanbul.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 8

Fears of government seizure spill over to Turkey's universities

Private universities in Turkey appear to be next in line in government crosshairs after a number of companies, newspapers and TV channels were taken over by pro-government trustees.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 6

Palestinians divided over future of jailed Fatah leader

Family and friends say imprisoned Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti is in good spirits as talk swirls about the possibility of his leading Fatah, yet some question how effective he could be from behind bars.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 6

Syria's 'moderate jihadis' elated by Turkish election results

The Syrian opposition wants to know what kind of support it can expect from the AKP government after the AKP won solid support in the recent election.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on November 6

Will Egypt trash its latest waste-sorting initiative?

The latest initiative to encourage households to sort waste has been unsuccessful due to mismanagement at the government level.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 6

How Internet censorship protects Iranian businesses

Contrary to popular perceptions, more than political considerations inform Iran's Internet filtering policies.
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 Mahmoud Pargoo for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 8

Congress wants to make Iran, Palestinians pay terror verdicts

Senators are weighing a slew of legislative proposals to ensure terrorism victims get compensated.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on November 5

Mystery continues over Iran's missing ambassador

The case of Ghazanfar Roknabadi, Iran's former Lebanon ambassador missing since the September hajj stampede, will be taken to the United Nations, according to Iranian officials.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 5

Lapid renews push to draft ultra-Orthodox, is it worth it?

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid has relaunched a campaign over ultra-Orthodox drafting that the Knesset is about to change.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 5

Take me back to Gaza!

The author visits Jerusalem for the second time in her life and shares her feelings when she sets foot in the city.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on November 5

After big win in June, why did HDP lose this time?

Voters held the pro-Kurdish party HDP responsible for the violence that affected thousands before the election, turning to the Justice and Development Party to restore order.
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 Mahmut Bozarslan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on November 5

Will religiously divided landfills solve Lebanon's trash crisis?

Garbage is piling ever higher across Lebanon as political parties refuse to allow waste from outside their areas to be disposed in their constituency.
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 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on November 5

How will Erdogan solve 'terror problem' that brought him victory?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may face some high-cost moves to put the terror and chaos genie back into the bottle after unleashing it to make up for his party’s June electoral failure.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on November 5

How Israeli right will be able to hide behind proposed 'transparency law'

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's proposed "transparency law" burdens NGOs receiving foreign government assistance, but allows politicians and parties unfettered money from foreign organizations and individuals, including evangelical groups and alleged criminals.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 5

Rouhani criticizes IRGC's arrest of journalists

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani publicly voiced his objection to the recent arrest of journalists accused of being part of an "infiltration network."
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 4

How Turkey's pollsters missed the mark on election predictions

There are several reasons why all the major polling agencies performed so dismally in predicting the results of Turkey's Nov. 1 elections.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor on November 4

Is Qatar Iran's door to the Gulf?

The recent Iranian-Qatari rapprochement has created further controversy in the Middle East but some countries see it as a positive step in alleviating the ongoing conflict.
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 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on November 4

Palestinian Cabinet to consider new law providing greater access to government documents

A draft law on the right to access information has languished for years without being presented to the president's office, so supporters of the proposal have formed a coalition to press for movement on the measure.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 4

Party squabbles keep Herzog from leading opposition

Instead of piloting the opposition while the coalition is leading Israel toward harsh divisions, Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog is busy dealing with internal party bickering and threats to his leadership.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 4

Iranian olive branch offers diplomatic paradigm shift

To resolve regional crises before they become even worse, Iran and its Arab neighbors must engage in dialogue based on a new paradigm for conflict resolution.
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 Hassan Ahmadian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 4

Khamenei warns Iranians not to rely on the US

Ahead of the anniversary of the US Embassy takeover, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned against relying on the United States.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 3

Will AKP victory change Turkey's foreign policy?

If the new Turkish government fails to take advantage of its electoral mandate to make necessary revisions in foreign policy, events on the ground might force its hand anyway.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on November 3

How Palestinian divisions affect the intifada

As the uprising in the Palestinian territories enters its second month, Palestinians have yet to agree on its nature, objectives and repercussions.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on November 3

How will Jordan's pivot to Russia pay off?

Jordan and Russia have agreed on military coordination in Syria after a long silence in Amman about Russian intervention there.
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Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on November 3

Why Iraqi Christians are against the establishment of their own autonomous region

The secretary-general of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and member of the Iraqi parliament, Yonadam Kanna, speaks to Al-Monitor about the Christians’ status in Iraq, while he denied claims that they are demanding an autonomous region of their own, saying these claims are racist.
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 Mustafa Saadoun for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on November 3

How to apply the lessons from protecting Hebron to Jerusalem

The Temporary International Presence in Hebron has failed to make a major change in relations between Israelis and Palestinians, as many argue that a similar force in Jerusalem will not work unless it is given clear mandate and power to hold any violators accountable.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on November 3

Will new Egyptian employment law help its women lean in?

Nearly five years after the revolution, Egyptian women still face much the same obstacles in the workforce as the economy continues to limp along without their full participation.
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 Safiaa Mounir for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on November 3

The struggle to be king of the Mount

Israel should be wary that events surrounding the Temple Mount are morphing into a battle between the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and Jordan.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on November 3

Will Iran's nuclear diplomacy lead to regional solutions?

Will progress on regional issues be achieved if Iran's role in the region is recognized?
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 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 3

Why these ultra-Orthodox Jews support the Palestinian cause

The ultra-Orthodox Neturei Karta faction would rather live under Palestinian rule, while the mainstream ultra-Orthodox community believes that the Zionist state is essential for the Jewish people’s survival.
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 Mordechai Goldman for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on November 3

IRGC head warns of 'sedition' post-nuclear deal

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned that the United States will use the post-nuclear deal climate in Iran to gain influence in the country.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on November 2

The Israeli justice minister's 'transparency law'

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's transparency bill is actually aimed at delegitimizing left-wing NGOs and damaging their ability to operate, and helps her score points with her supporters as well, as these NGOs by law already have to submit the requested data.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on November 2

Analyzing Turkey's election 'earthquake'

Turkey’s election results surprised even the AKP brass, while the MHP and HDP lost considerable ground.
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