Politics

Politics


Rouhani: Police should not enforce Islam

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

Vigilante justice lands Turkish rape victim in jail

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

Kurds pay respects to Armenians

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

Fewer flags fly on Israel's independence day

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

Israeli High Court upholds anti-boycott law

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

Hamas reaches out to Egypt

Although Egypt's campaign to destroy the tunnels between Gaza and Sinai continues, Hamas, whose relations with other regional countries are even more strained, is working to restore ties with its neighbor.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 27

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

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

Will Iran review bill survive Senate?

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

Former Iran negotiator: Better ties with US impossible

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

Syria's spy chiefs meet untimely deaths

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

The Islamic State’s Baathist roots

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

Gaza's employee crisis derails latest reconciliation attempt

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

Public outcry pushes Peres to cancel bank deal

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

'Unnatural' porn becomes ticket to jail in Turkey

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

Turkish pilgrims to Jerusalem face backlash

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

UNESCO resolutions raise Palestinian hopes

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

Egyptian businessmen rattled by new regulations

The Egyptian government has upset the local business community with the issuance of regulations for laws imposing a 10% tax on stock market profits and restricting dollar deposits.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 24

MEK leader to testify before Congress

Maryam Rajavi will discuss the threat the Islamic State poses to members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) at Camp Liberty.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 23

Ultra-Orthodox oppose conscription, not the IDF

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

Armenian genocide anniversary divides Lebanese Cabinet

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

Turkish Cypriot presidential candidate brings hope for unity

Former Nicosia Mayor Nicosia Mustafa Akinci, if elected president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, could open the way to peace on the divided island.
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Jasper Mortimer for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 23

Head of Iran’s Basij congratulates Houthis on 'victory'

Hard-line Iranian officials and media have stated that Saudi Arabia failed to achieve their objectives in Yemen and have strengthened the Houthi position.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 23

How Bibi uses settlements to block Palestinian state

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that Israel is under a constant existential threat and thus perceives those who believe in peace as naive and unrealistic.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 26

Iran official warns against further strikes in Yemen

Iran is lauding its own efforts to achieve the cease-fire that temporarily halted Operation Decisive Storm in Yemen and warns that continued Saudi aggression threatens to block a political solution.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on April 23

Syriacs urge Turkey to recognize massacres

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

Russia turns to soft power in the Middle East

While Russia is most commonly seen as a hard power state, regional developments since the Arab Spring have positioned it as a soft power force.
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 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on April 24

White House omits 'G-word'

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

How the AKP subdues Turkey's universities

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

Jordan focuses on IS fight while Gulf allies pull back

Jordan's King Abdullah expresses strong differences from many of his allies on how best to deal with the Islamic State, fighting regional terrorism, developments in Syria and US Middle East policy.
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Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on April 23

Tunisia’s new government shifts foreign policy

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry’s announcement that it would send a consul to Syria has been refuted by the president as the new government reconfigures Tunisia’s regional alliances.
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 Eric Reidy for Al-Monitor on April 24

Morocco, Algeria compete over Libya

Morocco may be exploiting Algerian weaknesses to raise the stature of its foreign diplomacy by hosting the UN-sponsored dialogue between the conflicting Libyan parties.
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 Imad Stitou for Al-Monitor on April 23

Controversy surrounds alleged violations by Shiite forces in Tikrit

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

Congressional terror finance task force targets Iran

The potential lifting of sanctions has led Congress to seek other avenues to block Tehran from funding terror.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 22

Rouhani ignores domestic political reforms

The nuclear negotiations have taken up a great deal of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's time, but domestic political reforms are what is needed for long-term change.
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 Reza H. Akbari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 23

Iran, Sudan fall out over Yemen

The Saudi Arabian-led coalition against the Houthi rebels in Yemen has tested the decadeslong ties between Iran and Sudan.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 22

The Kremlin's unexpected decisions

Moscow’s current Middle East policy is characterized by, among other things, maintaining a strong focus on bilateral relations, striving to diversify or to develop relations with states that are at conflict and wishing to play a mediating role in conflict situations without claiming a monopoly or opposing other players, in particular the United Nations.
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 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on April 23

Syria agrees to return highly enriched uranium to China

The recent decision by Syria to modify a small HEU-fueled research reactor will advance the possibility of a Middle East free of the civilian use of weapons-grade uranium.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 22

Turkey’s foreign policy blunders hit home

The Turkish ruling party’s economic and foreign policies have resulted in declining production and exports, with women emerging as the immediate victim of rising unemployment.
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 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 22

Egypt's religious book burning backfires

The Ministry of Education official responsible for burning several books in the yard of a Giza school defended herself to Al-Monitor and asserted that she operated under the direction of the ministry and security agencies.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 22

Erdogan's carefully crafted 'authenticity'

After a short film promoting the commemoration of the Battle of Gallipoli was broadcast across Turkey, the Turkish media is buzzing with discussion, with many upset over what they see as the president’s blatant manipulation of military history for political gain.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on April 22

Turkey’s Circassians in uproar over alphabet

Turkey’s largest Circassian organization is infuriated by a government decision to introduce the Latin alphabet in Circassian language courses in public schools, alongside the Cyrillic one.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 22

Why is Israel still silent on Armenian genocide?

Israel has not joined the EU Parliament and the pope in officially recognizing the Armenian genocide, partly because of its strategic alliance with Azerbaijan against Iran.
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 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 22

Defense bill takes aim at Iran

The must-pass legislation requires Pentagon strategy for countering Iran's "growing unconventional warfare capabilities."
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 21

Iranian women campaign for entry to sporting events

While there was conflicting news that Iran is considering passing a law to allow women into sporting events, there has long been objection to women in stadiums by conservatives.
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 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 21

Turkey awaits Obama’s Armenian statement

Former Turkish ambassadors to Washington say there are limits to what Ankara can do if President Barack Obama refers to Armenian massacres as genocide.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on April 21

Progress stalled on Russia's pipeline through Turkey

The project to pump gas from Russia to Europe via the Black Sea and Turkey has not broken ground despite plans for completion by 2019.
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 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 21

Bar-Lev: Israel needs diplomatic creativity

Ahead of Israel's Memorial Day, Knesset member Omer Bar-Lev explains in an interview with Al-Monitor that the 1973 Yom Kippur War instilled in him the understanding that only a diplomatic solution can bring Israel security and peace.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 21

First delivery of French weapons arrives in Lebanon

Nearly 16 months since the announcement of $3 billion in Saudi military aid to Lebanon, the first weapons shipment from France has already disappointed.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on April 21

Saudi elites divided on Yemen war

A brief survey of Saudi opinion reveals that many elites consider Operation Decisive Storm a legitimate attempt to halt Iranian expansionism, while some view the intervention in Yemen as a sectarian war.
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 Bader al-Rashed for Al-Monitor on April 21

Iran nuclear talks resume

The first Iran nuclear negotiations are due to get underway in Vienna April 22-23 since a framework deal was reached April 2, amid debate in capitals about the provisional accord. US officials say rapid progress was made in the last few months, but two issues still need to be finalized.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on April 20

Israelis mark Independence, Nakba Day

While the initiative to jointly mark both Israeli Independence Day and Nakba Day has been maintained for several years now, it remains confined to a small segment of the public, with the Arab sector feeling increasingly alienated by the Jewish population.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 20

Jordan's Salafists switch allegiance to IS

As militant alliances continue to shift, Jordan's strategic stance on Salafist groups has become ever more complex.
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 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor on April 20

Istanbul Film Festival rejects PKK documentary

The Turkish Ministry of Culture is facing strong protests from the film industry over its censorship of Kurdish themes.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 20

Kahlon to focus on socio-economics, not diplomacy

Having won 10 Knesset seats, Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon plans to focus on social justice issues and will not push the Netanyahu government toward renewing negotiations with the Palestinians.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 20

Libya looks to Russia for arms

Disillusioned with the West, the Libya government is exploring opportunities in Russia and says it is willing to accept limited participation by Islamists that agree to play by the rules.
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 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on April 20

Palestine’s empty breadbasket

The Jordan Valley, once considered Palestine’s most fertile area, has been taken over by Israeli settlers who have barred Palestinians from using the land.
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 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 20

Gemayel: Lebanon should stand with Saudi Arabia

In an interview with An-Nahar, former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel stressed that filling the presidential vacuum remains the Kataeb Party’s top priority.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on April 20

MIT gun truck bust lands Turkish gendarmes in prison

Turkish gendarmes arrested and prosecuted for stopping and searching trucks — which were chartered by Turkish intelligence — feel they are unfairly prosecuted for obeying orders.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on April 20

Tainted Russian wheat resurfaces in Egypt

The dangerously low-quality wheat imported from Russia that plagued Egypt during the Mubarak era has returned to the country, which recently identified 25,000 tons destined for Egyptian bread.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 20

Why does Netanyahu really want to sabotage the Iran deal?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attempt to introduce non-nuclear-related demands in the negotiations with Iran is being dismissed as lacking credibility.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 20

What's Rafsanjani's political future?

Rafsanjani's comments about the situation in Iran's prisons resulted in unprecedented criticisms and may have cemented his political isolation.
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 Shahir ShahidSaless for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 20

Iran's housing bubble

Housing prices in Iran have significantly dropped since mid-2013, most notably in Tehran, where pollution and traffic cause families to move to the suburbs and countryside, while young urbanites seek smaller housing units.
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 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 19

Saudi Arabia’s deepening isolation in Yemen

Saudi Arabia faces a quagmire in Yemen; a US-Iran “catalogue of cooperation” after a nuclear deal; Iranian activists skeptical on human rights progress; Israel unnerved by Russian decision on missile sale to Iran; the Good Friday massacre in Aleppo; is Erdogan shifting from sectarianism?
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on April 19

House probes Iran deal

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

Nasrallah to Saudi Arabia: Enough is enough

In a recent address to his supporters Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah voiced his disapproval of Saudi Arabia's regional policies, blaming the kingdom for inciting destruction across the region.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on April 17

Turkey hopes to deter Obama from using 'G-word'

For Turks, it's unimportant what the pope and European Parliament say; what's important is what Barack Obama says.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on April 17

What does Armenian diaspora want?

Portrayed as a unified obstruction group by Turkey, the diverse Armenian diaspora is eager to keep communication channels open with Turkey.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 17

Will Russian missile deal complicate final Iran agreement?

The timing of Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a missile deal with Iran raises questions on the impact this may have on the final nuclear negotiations.
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 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on April 17

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

Aida Tuma, one of two Arab women newly elected to the Knesset, told Al-Monitor that her bloc is striving to effect change by securing influential seats on major committees.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 17

Israel-US tensions on Iran prompt Palestinian strategy

Palestinians are adapting their strategy to the Iranian deal, proposing to use the same P5+1 model for negotiations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and also an international supervision mechanism on the borders.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 19

Turks link Armenia to US foes in bid to derail genocide nod

Ankara's allies raise concerns with Yerevan's ties to Iran and Russia.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 16

Soleimani emerges as unifying figure for Iranians

While Iran's religious and nationalist groups have been at odds over various issues since the 1979 revolution, increasing tensions with Saudi Arabia and wide adoration for Quds Force Cmdr. Qasem Soleimani have largely united the two camps.
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Farahmand Alipour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 17

Iraqi PM walks back criticism of Saudi Arabia

On his first official visit to Washington, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi showed how hard it is for his country to juggle conflicting outside powers.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 16

Iran defense minister: Saudi Arabia will fail in Yemen

Iranian defense minister says that Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen will fail and that it will prepare the collapse of the Saudi government.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 16

AKP readies diversion as genocide anniversary nears

Under the Justice and Development Party, Turkey has refused to face the Armenian question and is instead working to redirect the world's attention.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on April 16

Disabled Turks protest benefit cuts

A legal amendment cutting financial support for people with disabilities has sparked a wave of protests in Turkey, with a big demonstration scheduled for May outside parliament.
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 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 16

Housing shortage and demolitions push Israeli Arabs to brink

Following the destruction of homes built illegally in Arab settlements, some Israeli Arabs are threatening a general strike.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 16

Poll shows Israeli voters happy with status quo

According to a US survey of Israeli voters, security considerations tipped the scale and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won once again for his reputation as a strong leader.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 16

Qaradaghi: We support action against Houthis

In this interview with Al-Monitor, the secretary-general of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ali Mohiuddin Al Qaradaghi, shares the union’s relations to Hamas, views on Operation Decisive Storm and other Muslim affairs.
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 Hassan Obeid for Al-Monitor on April 19

Egypt strikes Islamic texts from schools, angering Salafists

The Egyptian Ministry of Education has decided to remove some Islamic texts that it says incite violence and extremism from school curricula in a move Salafists decry as an attempt to distort history.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 16

Turkey commemorates Holocaust, ignores Armenian issue

Istanbul commemorated Jewish musicians who continued to create even when persecuted by the Nazis, in a ceremony reflecting the Turkish policy line of tolerance vis-a-vis minorities, as long as the question of Armenian genocide is not raised.
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 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 16

Saudi ambassador to Lebanon speaks out

In an interview with As-Safir, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon, Ali Awad Asiri, talked about the sensitivities with Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and the war in Yemen, among other regional issues.
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Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on April 16

US relations with Egypt: one problem at a time

American-Egyptian relations are structured in a piecemeal fashion, lacking strategic thinking and planning for long-term stability.
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H.A. Hellyer for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 15

Should Hillary promote the Clinton Parameters?

Recent statements by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggest that she's adopting a conciliatory tone toward Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instead of pushing forward initiatives for the two-state solution.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 15

MK Nava Boker aims to defend diversity in Likud

In an interview with Al-Monitor, newly elected Knesset member Nava Boker vows to continue fighting for the improvement of emergency services in Israel, so that disasters like the fire that killed her husband will not repeat themselves.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 15

Local council elections go unnoticed in Tehran

While neighborhood council elections in Tehran have shown promise, critics say they lack meaningful channels to implement change.
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 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 15

White House OKs Senate's Iran bill

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the congressional review of the Iranian deal into law.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 14

After nuclear deal, what's next for Iran?

In the run-up to the comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran, it is time for the United States and Iran to ease the political and security issues, which in turn will improve trade, technological and economic relations.
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 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 14

Soleimani: No more selfies

Commander of Iran's Quds Force Qasem Soleimani has written an open letter asking that a film about him not be produced and for officials to stop the "exaggeration" about him on social media.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 14

Erdogan rethinks sectarian politics

Ankara is showing signs of moving away from sectarian leanings and perhaps back to its historic neutral stance in the region.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on April 14

How will Turkey explain $4.3 billion in unidentified foreign currency?

Is it a coincidence that an unexpected gush of foreign funds from unidentified sources occurs in election periods?
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 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 14

AKP's stance on Armenians worries Christians

The AKP's initial attempts to normalize with Armenia had melted some of the frost with the region's Christians. But Arab uprisings where Christians were targeted by radical groups supported by Turkey shattered that positive atmosphere.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 14

Turkish army clashes with PKK

The Turkish government is accused of deploying troops in a plan to break the cease-fire with the Kurdistan Workers Party.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 15

Aleppo's Christians face rising violence

The recent happenings in Syria are far from promising as conflicts intensify and fighting increases.
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Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on April 15

Belgian delegation expresses support for Assad

A Belgian parliamentary delegation, which met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on March 24, said that Assad is "protecting Christian cities and Christians from fundamentalist attacks."
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on April 17

Hamas warily eyes proposals for long-term truce with Israel

Negotiations are ongoing between Hamas and international envoys on a potential 15-year truce with Israel, a plan some Hamas and Fatah figures see as a way to split the Gaza Strip from the West Bank.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 14

Will nuclear deal improve human rights in Iran?

While many Iranian human rights activists support a nuclear deal, others do not believe that it will result in an improvement in the human rights situation.
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 Behdad Bordbar for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 14

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

Turkey also now worries that US President Barack Obama will follow Pope Francis and address the issue of the Armenian genocide 100 years ago.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on April 13

Why Pakistan said no to King Salman

Pakistan's unanimous decision to stay out of the conflict brewing in Yemen, and to push for a political resolution rather than a military one, puts significant strain on bilateral relations, complicating Saudi-Pakistani diplomatic relations.
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 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on April 13

Iran suspends Saudi pilgrimages over youth assault allegations

After assault accusations of Iranian pilgrims in Saudi Arabia, Iran has suspended umrah pilgrimages.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 13

How will Bibi meddle in next US presidential race?

Associates of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimate that casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, and subsequently Netanyahu, will soon decide whom to back in the US presidential race.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 13

Likud ministers sidelined from coalition negotiations

With coalition negotiations advancing slowly, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is keeping his cards close to his chest and not disclosing his final goal even to senior Likud members.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 14

Turkish students' Jedi temple protest

Students in Turkey are mobilizing anonymously by using clever online petition tools to advocate for the construction of Buddhist and Jedi temples on campus.
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 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 14

How does the AKP pick its candidates?

The ruling Justice and Development Party's list of candidates for the Turkish parliament is based on simple criteria: loyalty and obedience to the president.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on April 13

Khamenei: Nuclear deal could allow talks 'on other issues'

Iran’s supreme leader hints at engagement with the West beyond the nuclear talks; al-Qaeda winning in Yemen; Turkey backs Iran framework agreement; questions about Morocco’s contribution to Clinton Foundation; lobbying series updates.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on April 12

Public transport on Shabbat becomes political dispute

Israeli Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz is catering to right-wing religious voters by opposing a bill allowing public transportation on Saturdays, ignoring the poor people who depend on such services.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 13

Muslim Brotherhood split on Saudi strikes in Yemen

Sunni parties in Egypt support Saudi Arabia's airstrikes on Yemen, while the Muslim Brotherhood’s reaction remains ambiguous.
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 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 13

Is Hillary Clinton taking 'blood phosphate' money from Morocco?

Critics of a $1 million Clinton Foundation gift see a ploy to build support for illegal exploitation of the "last colony in Africa."
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 10

Iran dispatches diplomats to tackle Yemen crisis

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has presented steps to be taken to end the crisis in Yemen as Iran's diplomats have been dispatched to the region.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 10

Turkey's minorities join race for parliament

An unprecedented number of minority candidates will run in Turkey’s June 7 general elections, promising representation for ethnic and religious communities after decades of parliamentary absence.
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 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on April 10

Congress gets its say on Iran deal

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

France steps up involvement on Iran, Palestine

France has been very proactive during talks on the Iranian framework agreement, and it intends to extend this proactive attitude to the Palestinian issue.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 12

Zionist Camp MK: Israel can maximize benefits from Iran deal

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Zionist Camp Knesset member Eyal Ben-Reuven says that the Iranian framework agreement does establish some limits on the nuclear project, and calls to focus on effective deterrence and tight control on Iran.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 10

Khamenei criticizes Saudi airstrikes, nuclear agreement

In addition to opposing recent Saudi strikes on Yemen, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced dissatisfaction with the recent Iran nuclear talks milestone, expressing skepticism that coming talks will result in adequate sanctions relief.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on April 9

Rouhani eyes parliamentary elections

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has deemed the coming year "the year of elections," referring to the country's parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections.
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Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 10

Iranian analyst questions policy toward Israel

In a debate about the Lausanne nuclear framework, an Iranian professor questioned the cost Iran has paid for its nuclear program and the country's destructive policy toward Israel.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 9

Egyptian activist accuses Sisi of following in Mubarak’s footsteps

Human rights activist and lawyer Khalid Ali tells Al-Monitor that Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime is bowing to the conditions of global financial institutions to shore up his own position.
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 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 10

How Nespresso and a whiteboard sealed the Iran deal

An inside look at the marathon negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran that led to the provisional nuclear accord.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on April 9

Building on Iran deal to stem nuclear proliferation

Nonproliferation experts hope that an Iran agreement won’t encourage other countries to seek the nuclear fuel cycle and that a decade or more of restrictions on Iran’s program can be used to promote other measures to stem the spread of dangerous technologies and materials.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 9

What was behind the ethnic cleansing of Armenians?

If Turkish society would develop a more emphatic view of the ethnic cleansing of Armenians, this will happen not due to any foreign pressure, but rather due to some honest self-criticism based on authentic values — such as those presented by Islam.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on April 9

Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry revives ties with Syria

The recent decision by the Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche to unfreeze the diplomatic ties with Syria stirred the anger of the presidency, which stressed the importance of continuing the fight against terrorism.
Read more»

Translated from Business News (Tunisia) on April 9

Smuggled Palestinian prison literature gains outside audience

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

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on April 12

Yemen war fuels Iraqi sectarianism

Operation Decisive Storm has stirred different positions within the Iraqi religious and political circles, be they Sunnis or Shiites.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Zeed for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 14

Israeli penalties threaten security cooperation with PA

Some senior Palestinian Authority officials are calling to cut off security cooperation with Israel in response to punitive measures such as deducting debts from the recently unfrozen tax revenues.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 9

Gazans' unpaid salaries cause rise in social tensions

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

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

West Bank boycotts six Israeli companies

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

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 9

Palestinian Christians resist Israeli conscription

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

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 9

Can US reassure Arabs, Israel on Iran deal?

The United States can provide more weapons and intelligence to Persian Gulf states to deter Iranian aggression but cannot prop them up against internal threats.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on April 8

Erdogan focuses on trade during Iran visit

Despite a red-carpet welcome to Tehran, where meetings between the Turkish president and Iranian officials focused on economic ties, the uproar around Recep Tayyip Erdogan's incendiary remarks about Iran continued unabated.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on April 8

Iran official: framework deal welcomed

Senior officials in Iran told Al-Monitor that Iran and the United States ensured the framework deal was one that served their own interests first and foremost.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on April 8

Will Iranian nuclear deal impact Lebanon?

Although historically a change in regional dynamics has aided the political stalemate in Lebanon, it remains unclear whether this latest breakthrough will help the country elect a president.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on April 8

Hamas treads carefully with support for Yemen war

Hamas’ stance on the war in Yemen may redraw the map of its political alliances in the region, repositioning itself toward the so-called Sunni axis.
Read more»

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

New Joint List MK: Israel discriminates against Arabs

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

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 8

Israeli settlements continue as Palestinians prep ICC submission

Even as Palestinians commemorate the 39th Nakba Day, Israel is still expanding its settlements in a bid to undermine the two-state solution.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 8

Differences emerge in US, Iran interpretations of nuclear deal

The statements issued by Iran and the United States after the Lausanne agreement have important discrepancies on key issues that need to be resolved before the June 30 deadline.
Read more»

 Shahir ShahidSaless for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on April 8

Syrian radio station examines role of women in war

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

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

Turkey reluctantly welcomes Iran deal

Observers say Iran deal will increase Tehran’s regional influence at a time when Ankara’s influence has waned.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on April 7

IRGC supports nuclear framework deal

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has thrown his support behind Iran's nuclear negotiators and the framework deal announced on April 2, despite expressing doubts about the United States.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 7

Israel, Republicans clash with Obama over Iran deal

Israeli officials reject the US assumption by which a deal with Iran would draw it closer to the West and assist in resolving other Middle East conflicts.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 7

Hamas election call could put UN initiative at risk

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas knows that if elections go on as stipulated in the reconciliation agreement, Hamas will become an official part of the Palestinian government, making it hard for him to win international support for his UN bid.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 7

What is behind UAE deportation of Lebanese nationals?

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

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on April 7

Will Syrian opposition move interim government to Idlib?

In an interview with An-Nahar, the Syrian coalition head argues that despite concerns of an "Islamist emirate," the time is ripe to move the government inside the country.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on April 7

Zarif defends nuclear framework deal

While most officials and media in Iran have been supportive of the framework deal, some have expressed opposition.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 6

Turkish justice 'sledgehammered'

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

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on April 6

Saudi Arabia embraces high-tech lobbying

Saudi Arabia is tapping politically connected digital image-makers amid escalating tensions with Iran.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 6

After Iran milestone, France nudges US on Palestinian UN bid

The French are working on a Security Council resolution to support a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hoping the Americans will be more favorable to UN mediation on the heels of a framework agreement for an Iran deal.
Read more»

 Sophie Pilgrim for Al-Monitor on April 6

Russia eyes Iranian arms deal after Lausanne

Russian officials are promoting the prospect of major arms sales to Iran after the Lausanne agreement, but any such deals appear to be an impossibility in the near term.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on April 6

Is Netanyahu responsible for Iran deal?

Instead of objecting to progress toward an Iranian nuclear deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should claim partial responsibility for removing or at least postponing the threat to Israel's security.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 6

Iran framework agreement should boost regional diplomacy

The P5+1 and Iran agree on "detailed political agreement" for nuclear deal; Saudi Arabia, Iran hasten Yemen’s collapse; Netanyahu, Erdogan weigh in on Yemen.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on April 3

Al-Qaeda gains ground in Yemen war

The Yemen war has profound implications for the stability of the Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia and the broader region as al-Qaeda recruits and trains in the chaos.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on April 3

Yadlin says Iran deal‎ isn't a bad agreement

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin claims that Israel should not panic when faced with the Iranian agreement, but focus on clarifying several of its clauses and rehabilitating ties with the United States.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 3

Germans deny signing GOP letter on Iran

Two German lawmakers tell Al-Monitor they never even saw the joint letter circulated by hawkish House members.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on April 2

Breaking: Zarif, Rouhani announce preliminary Iran nuclear deal

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that "solutions have been found" to reach a political understanding with six world powers, and drafting would get underway immediately on a final Iran nuclear deal due by the end of June. "Found solutions," Zarif tweeted April 2, as journalists awaited a press conference here by him, the European Union...
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on April 2

Palestinians join ICC, but will they file complaints?

While joining the International Criminal Court is indeed a diplomatic achievement for the Palestinians, filing complaints against Israel could bring them countercomplaints and other punitive measures.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 2

PA official: Problem isn't Netanyahu, it's Israel

With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's electoral win, the Palestinians fear that they have no option left but a nonviolent intifada under the theme of liberating East Jerusalem.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on April 6

Kerry, Zarif hold all-night Iran negotiations

After all-night talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif a preliminary agreement on a nuclear deal with Iran is still not finalized.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on April 2

New Ethiopian Knesset member prioritizes immigrant community

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

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 3

Will Qatar-Israel relations threaten PA’s relevance in Gaza?

Qatar’s engagement with Hamas and Israeli officials on Gaza reconstruction projects has provoked fears in the Palestinian Authority of a usurpation of its power.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on April 6

Saudi airstrikes against Yemen a first

The new Saudi king has united the Arabs against the Houthis, with Qatar and Egypt now on the same side.
Read more»

 Farea al-Muslimi for Al-Monitor on April 2

Iraqi residents denied return to town seized from IS

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

 Shelly Kittleson for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on April 2

Will PA focus on settlements at ICC?

Now that the Palestinian Authority is an official member of the International Criminal Court, the safer course for the Palestinian leadership will be to pursue Israel's settlements and not its transgressions in Gaza.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on April 2

The Erdogans' lavish lifestyle

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

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on April 2

Hamas reacts to Abbas’ call for Arab strike against Gaza

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ call during the Arab Summit for an attack against Hamas in Gaza — similar to the one launched by Saudi Arabia against Yemen — has raised the ire of Hamas figures.
Read more»

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

Does Iran really want all sanctions removed immediately?

Iranian negotiations and analysts have shown more nuance in latest statements about the process of removing sanctions.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on April 1

Turkish military calls off war on headscarves, beards

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

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on April 1

Erdogan takes swipe at Iran

Observers are wondering why Erdogan is trying to drag Turkey into the region’s growing sectarian conflict.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on April 1

Russia shows interest in Western Sahara

Russia's desire to play an active role in the Middle East extends beyond Cairo and Damascus to longstanding issues further south.
Read more»

 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on April 1

Israelis expect little of next Knesset

The 20th Knesset opened with a gloomy atmosphere and little hope for change, but low expectations combined with a broad-based right-wing future government could yield some surprises.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on April 1

Mixed signals day after Iran deadline

Diplomats from Iran and Russia projected optimism about a preliminary understanding while the UK and France said progress made but slow-going; US delays comment.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on April 1

Will Egypt's new administrative capital help its economy?

Thoughtful planning and government management seem indispensable to a return on investments for Egypt.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on April 2

Jordan sharpens focus on IS as Gulf confronts Iran

Jordan may have Iranian fighters on its border but its No. 1 priority is still combating the Islamic State.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on April 1

Netanyahu's coalition choices

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to choose the option that allows him to extend his term as long as possible, but has no idea which potential coalition — a rightist one or a partnership with the Zionist Camp — can do that.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on April 1

Mistrust blinds Netanyahu to regional openings

The dangers Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu perceives in the region obstruct his ability to see opportunities favorable to Israel.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on April 1

CHP report exposes Turkey's high poverty levels

Following revelations that the Turkish government has profiled the entire population, the main opposition responds by “profiling” alarming poverty among the masses.
Read more»

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 31

Saudi-caused chaos continues in Yemen

The complexities of the Yemeni state will stand in the way of a political settlement that might result from the military intervention launched by Saudi Arabia against the Houthis in Yemen.
Read more»

 Maysaa Shuja al-Deen for Al-Monitor on March 31

Iran talks may go into night

There were signs that Iran and the six world powers were preparing to announce a partial agreement for a final Iran nuclear deal, but diplomats said the talks could go on into the night or the next day, April 1.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 31

Tehran-Kabul relationship faces difficult road

As militants begin to prepare for the spring offensive, Iran will face new challenges in dealing with its neighbor to the east.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on March 31

Iraq's Rambo fights against IS

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

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

Turkey's misguided Yemen move

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s backing for the Saudi-led camp in the Yemen crisis aims both at an indirect score-settling with Iran and injecting Gulf money into the veins of the troubled Turkish economy.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on March 31

Why freezing Palestinian taxes won't help Israel

Israel's freezing of Palestinian tax revenues is contributing to the dire economic situation in the West Bank and could accelerate the beginning of another cycle of violence.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 31

Why did Israel side with Saudi Arabia on Yemen?

Rather than celebrating Saudi Arabia’s attack on Yemen, Israel should feel aversion toward it, since the destabilization of any Arab state can only lead to more and more terrorism and ultimately impacts Israel.
Read more»

 Jacky Hugi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 31

Egypt warily signs preliminary Nile agreement

While showing some optimism about the Declaration of Principles it recently signed with Sudan and Ethiopia, Egypt is proceeding with caution concerning its historical water rights.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 31

Israelis trust Netanyahu on security, not the economy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's victory proved that the security issue is crucial for the Israelis, but when assembling a coalition Netanyahu must remember that the dire economic situation is still of great concern.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 30

Is 'Erdoganism' threat to Turkey's Islamism?

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

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 30

Will Swiss employment plan help rehabilitate Gaza?

UN Middle East envoy Robert Serry is promoting a trilateral three-to-five-year cease-fire among Israel, Hamas and Fatah, which will provide Israel with security and enable the continued reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 30

Idlib in the eye of the storm

Jabhat al-Nusra is steadily moving toward establishing its own entity, and there are indications that Syria’s Idlib might be the headquarters for its operations.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on March 30

Is Erdogan changing his tune on Israel?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's silence during the recent Israeli election campaign, despite controversial remarks about the Palestinians, and the reopening of a synagogue in Edrine might signal a change in Ankara's policy toward Israel.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 30

Palestine’s lingering water crisis

Water resources in Palestine are threatened, and in the absence of an outline for a tangible agreement with Israel, the future does not look promising.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 31

Lebanon's Michel Aoun speaks out

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Gen. Michel Aoun said that Lebanon can only benefit from a regional power balance.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on March 30

Turkish-Armenian conflict rears its head in Lebanon

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

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on March 30

Two issues remain in push for Iran deal

The last round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran are focusing on two sticking points as the deadline approaches.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 29

Will Russia disrupt Iran nuclear talks?

Russia could choose to escalate its relationship with the United States and Europe by interfering in the Iran nuclear negotiations.
Read more»

 Paul J. Saunders for Al-Monitor on March 29

Yemen's Saleh proves to be a survivor

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been central to the Houthis' success in Yemen and may determine the country's future.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on March 29

Iran nuclear talks intensify

Iran nuclear talks intensify as foreign ministers arrive; a possible accord to emerge this week may be a brief statement followed by further drafting.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 28

Al-Monitor highlights diversity of Islamic feminism

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

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 29

Lebanese foreign minister: UN needs to show its political will

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

 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 27

Time for decisions on Iran deal

The US and Iran signaled negotiations to reach a political agreement for an Iran nuclear deal are likely to go down to the wire March 31.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 27

Iran MP calls for postponing Erdogan’s Tehran trip

Iranian officials have called for the postponement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's April trip to Tehran based on his comments that Iran is trying to "dominate" the region.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 27

Congress concerned over Turkey's drift from democracy

Lawmakers have asked the State Department to beef up its support for civil society in Turkey to encourage democratic governance.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 27

Gallipoli centenary marks another snub for Turkish minorities

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

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 27

Riyadh's war on Yemen stokes Saudi nationalism

Saudi Arabia's war on Houthis in Yemen is key to rallying the domestic Saudi populace after the regime's repeated failures to obtain a victory over Iran.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on March 27

Netanyahu looks for way out of rightist coalition

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs a diplomatic process with the Palestinians to appease the international community, but the parties with which he is negotiating a coalition government are not challenging him on this issue.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 27

Egypt imposes new restrictions on tourist visas

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

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 29

Gazans divided over billboards featuring foreign donors

The Gaza Strip has grown accustomed to billboards thanking foreign donors for their support, but these billboards have done little to lift the siege on Gaza.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 27

Rouhani writes Obama as Iran talks enter endgame

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote US President Obama and called other P5+1 leaders as foreign ministers from six world powers are expected to join Iran talks over the weekend to try to reach a political agreement on an Iran nuclear deal by March 31.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 26

Saudi Arabia gets bipartisan backing for Yemen airstrikes

Lawmakers are lining up behind the US ally despite fears of another sectarian proxy war.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 26

Who determines Iran's foreign policy?

While Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes the final decisions on foreign policy, a number of other factors and players play significant roles.
Read more»

 Shahir ShahidSaless for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 26

Hamas hopes to expand regional relations

Hamas is seeking to expand its regional relations, namely with Egypt, which is seemingly trying to ease tensions with the movement.
Read more»

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

AKP cracks inflict collateral damage on the Kurdish issue

Bulent Arinc-Melih Gokcek dispute reveals fissures in the ruling AKP ahead of the June 7 election; the Turkish military reiterates its determination to fight the PKK.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on March 26

Netanyahu's coalition headache

Even before negotiations have started, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must struggle with his future right-wing coalition partners, a situation which might encourage him to further explore the possibility of a unity government.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 26

Palestinian national unity priority after Israeli elections

In light of the results of the Israeli elections and amid a storm of accusations between Palestine and Israel, high-level Hamas leaders see Palestinian unity as a key component for enabling a possible solution to the deep-rooted conflict.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 26

No 'deal' for Lebanese singer turned militant

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

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 27

Iraq accepts international support in its war against IS

Iraqis should dismiss criticism against the US role in the war against the Islamic State, because this war is international and the country needs any help it can get, whether foreign or local.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on March 26

US sees path to Iran accord

US officials say they see a path forward to reaching an agreement with Iran by the end of March for a final nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 25

Bahrain asks Congress for help in restoring arms sales

Manama's embassy in Washington is circulating a letter calling for a united front against IS, Iran; Bahrain is courting Congress in its effort to get the Obama administration to unblock weapons sales that were suspended after its 2011 crackdown on Shiite-led protesters.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 25

Israel Arabs will look to Bibi's actions, not words

Arab Israelis wait for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prove his regret over his insulting statement on Election Day, and to allocate the needed resources to improve their situation.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 25

AKP's internal tensions finally erupt

The underlying question in the Justice and Development Party's internal feud, is whether President Erdogan will have absolute power in his party or whether detractors will be able to express respectful disagreement.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 25

Revisiting the ‘clash of civilizations’ theory

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

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

European consuls: Israel deepens hold on East Jerusalem

Security officials and European diplomats all warn of the volatile situation in Jerusalem, where the government continues its occupation policy and discrimination of Palestinian residents in contradiction with international law.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 25

Egypt challenges court ruling on Hamas 'terrorism'

In what seems to be a commitment to preserving its regional political interests and backing the Palestinian cause, Egypt is scrambling to challenge a court ruling that deemed Hamas a terrorist entity.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 25

Is the Shiite revival here?

Iran's support of religiously motivated forces in the Middle East has been viewed by many as a success while Saudi Arabia has struggled to find find reliable proxies.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on March 25

PM Barzani: Shiite militias should be regulated

In an interview with Al-Monitor, KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani addresses the fight against IS, the rise of the Iraqi Shiite militas and relations with Baghdad.
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on March 24

Israeli Zionist Camp lost the periphery towns

The Zionist Camp's election loss can be explained by its choice to embrace a Tel Aviv-Ashkenazi image, instead of investing time and resources in periphery towns.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 24

Iranian vendor dies after setting himself on fire

Iranian activists are questioning why the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in Iran did not lead to mass protests.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 24

After four years, Syrian revolution continues

Syrian rebels say that the shift to armed movements against Bashar al-Assad’s regime has pushed people away from the main purpose of the revolution that started in 2011 and called for achieving justice, equality and freedom for all.
Read more»

 Mohammed al-Khatieb for Al-Monitor Syria Pulse on March 24

Erdogan’s delicate balancing act in Kiev

Ankara is not prepared to spoil ties with Russia over Ukraine.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on March 24

Post-election Netanyahu tries to make amends

In the week since the elections, Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to erase what he did during the campaign, expressing worries about US backing of Israel and international reactions.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 24

Erdogan grows more radical

Erdogan’s hard-line nationalist and anti-Western rhetoric has become more unrelenting ahead of Turkey’s general elections, but electoral concerns are not the sole reason behind the escalation.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on March 24

Lebanese domestic workers to unionize

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

 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 25

Egypt hopes economic conference will yield results

Egypt's economic conference in Sharm el-Sheikh was considered a success in terms of agreements to foster Egypt’s economy, but some projects will only be implemented in the long run.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 24

Will Egypt seek Nile River agreement with upstream countries?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, executive director of the Nile Basin Initiative, John Rao Nyaoro, discusses Egypt’s shift on the Entebbe Agreement and negotiations to form a regional commission.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 27

Iran wages psychological war against IS

Iran is waging a psychological war against the Islamic State in Iraq, promoting and highlighting the prominent role of Iraqi fighters among the country's paramilitary groups.
Read more»

 Abbas Qaidaari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 23

Israeli ultra-Orthodox parties may tip the balance

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

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 23

Hamas wonders if Bibi victory will lead to war

As soon as the Israeli elections results were announced, Hamas expressed its concern that Benjamin Netanyahu might start a fourth war against Palestinians.
Read more»

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

Russia keeps close watch on Yemen

Russia is not likely to get too involved in the Yemen crisis, preferring instead to monitor developments from afar and choose its allies carefully.
Read more»

 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on March 23

Aleppo's Christians see regime as last hope

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

Edward Dark for Al-Monitor on March 23

Yemen’s Hadi tries to get back into the game

Giving it the old college try, it seems like former Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is going above and beyond to regain clout and ameliorate his reputation, but will he succeed?
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on March 23

The new Saudi king, Egypt and the MB

Saudi Arabia might be witnessing a slow shift in the region, especially since the new King Salman seems friendlier to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood than his predecessor.
Read more»

H.A. Hellyer for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 23

Bibi's win gives Palestinians chance at UN

Palestinian leadership made a point of not reacting to the Israeli election campaign, but after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's victory they might again try the UN route, with more international support than last time.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 23

What won't change in Netanyahu’s 'changing reality'?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s explanation for his zigzag on the issue of a Palestinian state is that “reality has changed,” but this excuse cannot justify withdrawing from the only possible solution: an agreement based on the 1967 lines.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 23

Netanyahu’s charm offensive

Palestinians need to be united and move forward with their decisions to join the ICC and suspend the security coordination with Israel, as Benjamin Netantyahu will try, following his victory in the elections, to show political moderation.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 23

Turkey sidelines itself in US-led coalition against IS

Turkey prefers to be a "reluctant subcontractor" rather than active participant in the international coalition against the Islamic State; US envoy seems to contradict Kerry on Syria diplomacy; Israel faces possible "diplomatic siege" after election; majority of Americans back US negotiations with Iran; Al-Monitor endorses new global standards to protect freelance journalists.
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 22

Iran's past nuclear activities come under scrutiny

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of March 23.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 20

Iranian VP works for change from within

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Shahindokht Molaverdi, vice president for Women and Family Affairs, talks about her role advocating for women's rights and the importance of working from within the administration for change.
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 Sahar Namazikhah for Al-Monitor on March 30

Egypt’s security forces look to cooperate with Bedouins

The economic conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh surprisingly went through with no security incidents, as some Sinai residents say that the Egyptian security forces imposed strict measures to prevent any armed attack.
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 A correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 20

Did Rafsanjani lose today to win tomorrow?

Hashemi Rafsanjani lost in the Assembly of Experts election for the chairmanship, but was it a gambit to bring voters out next year?
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Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 20

National reconciliation in Iraq remains elusive

Since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the national reconciliation project has been subject to several interpretations, as the separation between the innocent and “those who have Iraqi blood on their hands” is still ambiguous.
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 Mushreq Abbas for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 20

Turkish 'hawks' want to settle past injustices

The Turkish military is polarized as to whether it should confront the alleged injustices perpetrated by the Gulenists against the army or if it should look to the future.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on March 20

Kuwaiti activists targeted under GCC security pact

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

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on March 20

Netanyahu comes back stronger than ever

The next Netanyahu government is expected to be a nationalist, right-wing one by definition, with no forces challenging the prime minister to reopen negotiations with the Palestinians.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 22

Netanyahu has no diplomatic fig leaf

The setup of the new coalition now being negotiated offers no opening for a renewed diplomatic process, leading Israel into international isolation in a matter of a year.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 20

The deepening rift between Fatah, Hamas

Hamas-Fatah relations are further deteriorating as the two movements uphold their storm of mutual accusations, halting any foreseeable prospects of unity.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 20

#AskHamas campaign reaches out on Twitter

Hamas started on March 13 a social media campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #AskHamas to reach out to the Western public in a bid to move closer to talks with European countries.
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 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 20

Will Qasem Soleimani enter politics?

With all of the media attention Qasem Soleimani is getting, it raises the possibility the Quds Force commander will go into politics.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 19

Will Hifter's Libyan army fail?

Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s attempt to mobilize an army against the Islamic State in Libya might backfire if its members are comprised of former militiamen who lack discipline.
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 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on March 19

Time for Israeli left to reassess after election failure

The Israeli left blames periphery voters for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's victory, instead of admitting that it was the Zionist Camp leadership that failed to attract public support.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 19

Israeli Arabs disappointed by election results

Despite the electoral achievement of the Joint List becoming the Knesset's third-largest party, its supporters felt defeated as the the Israeli majority voted for the right.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 19

Unraveling the AKP's 'Mastermind' conspiracy theory

Conspiracy theories promoted by the Justice and Development Party only make Turkish society more delusional and irrational.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 19

Palestinian focus on isolating Israel, continuing ICC efforts

With Palestine joining the International Criminal Court and suspending the security cooperation with Israel, Palestinians hope to isolate the Israeli state internationally and make it pay for its occupation and war crimes.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 19

Iran, P5+1 tackle final hurdles to accord

While progress has been made, Iran negotiators are looking to resolve differences with the P5+1 on the issues of research and development and lifting of UN Security Council resolutions.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 18

Does Iran have a 'bridge' to Central Asia?

If Iran maintains its policy of not pushing an Islamist agenda on the secular Central Asian countries, there is potential for increased economic and political cooperation.
Read more»

 Alex Vatanka for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 18

Rouhani adviser summoned over Iraq comments

Despite clarification by Pesident Hassan Rouhani's adviser, conservative critics of Ali Younesi are asking him to step down.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 18

Bibi's 'Mr. Security' strategy helps secure win

Israeli media, the Israeli left and also President Barack Obama must draw conclusions from the last-minute victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 18

Netanyahu's victory is the Israeli media's failure

The Israeli media chose to ignore political realities and to build up the image of Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog instead of taking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's campaign seriously.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 18

Libyan minister: Solution to crisis lies in supporting army

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Libyan Minister of Information and Culture Omar al-Qweri stressed that the solution in Libya is not political, but rather military, and can only be achieved by lifting the ban on arming the Libyan army.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 18

Israel's diplomatic future in Kahlon's hands

When considering whether to join a Netanyahu-led coalition, Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon must bear in mind his party's political platform, which calls for advancing an arrangement with the Palestinians.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 18

Gaza's unhappy sister wives

Polygamy is on the rise in Gaza despite the dire economic straits of the Strip's residents.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on March 18

Women face setbacks in new Libya

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

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on March 23

'Roller coaster' Iran talks show progress

US officials expect talks may have to resume next week to conclude a political accord on an Iran nuclear deal by the end of the month.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 17

US, E3 lawmakers pen joint warning on Iran

Lawmakers from the United States, France, United Kingdom and Germany warn that bad deal will result in more sanctions "without fail."
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 17

Does Iran have a card to play in Bahrain?

While protests in Bahrain have remained largely peaceful, does Iran have any influence among the various Bahrain opposition groups?
Read more»

 Abbas Qaidaari for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 17

Kurdish women’s movement reshapes Turkish politics

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

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 25

Ankara sidelined on Syria

Ankara has hardly any influence left over events in Syria and its goal of deposing President Bashar al-Assad is no closer now than four years ago, while the persisting conflict poses ever-increasing headaches for Turkey.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on March 17

Was Iran MP attacked by rogue security service?

The attack on an Iranian parliament member by plainclothesmen may be related to the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 17

Israeli Arab party poised to reshape country's politics

Many Israeli Arabs believe that the unification of the Arab parties into one joint list and the momentum this move has generated will be translated into high voter turnout in the Arab sector and real change.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 17

Iran gathers power in Iraq as US further sidelined

Iran has succeeded in expanding its influence in Iraq by supporting the Shiite paramilitary forces there, a move that the United States has avoided since 2003.
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 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on March 17

Europe prepares for post-election Israel

Indications that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might lose the elections have driven some 200 foreign correspondents to Israel as the European Union follows closely.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 17

Netanyahu narrows gap with Herzog

Just hours before the polls open in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises that if he is elected, there will be no Palestinian state, and manages to obliterate the Zionist Camp’s lead in the polls almost entirely.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 16

Signs of hope for Iran accord

Negotiators expressed cautious optimism that a political accord could emerge from intensive talks underway in Lausanne, Switzerland, but US officials caution that Iran still has important decisions to make to prove its program peaceful.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 16

What next for Iraq?

The Islamic State may be routed in Iraq, but the question of what is next remains unanswered.
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 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on March 18

Many Gazans are turning to fraud to obtain assistance

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

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

West Bank refugee camp threatens Palestinian leadership

Clashes between armed militants and Palestinian security forces in the West Bank's Balata camp could threaten the existence of the Palestinian government.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 16

90% of Iran MPs: All sanctions must be removed

260 members of parliament signed on to a statement saying that, in case of a nuclear deal, all sanctions against Iran must be removed.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 16

Netanyahu ignored socio-economic issues

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enjoyed a reputation of a strong-willed finance minister who can change the system, but has failed in harnessing these capabilities into confronting the dire socio-economic situation.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 16

Israel's election focuses on politics of fear

With right-wing politicians calling Arab Israelis a fifth column, and a Joint List candidate comparing Zionism to the Islamic State, it seems that the common denominator in the Israeli elections is hatred of the other.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 16

Pakistan warns Turkey: Don’t make our mistakes

The chairman of the Pakistani Senate's Defense Committee has cautioned that Turkey is repeating in Syria Pakistan's missteps in Afghanistan.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on March 16

Can Gaza's Islamic Jihad ease tensions with Egypt?

Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been exerting efforts to open the Rafah crossing, angering Hamas, which believes the initiative will divide the Palestinian resistance.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on March 16

Egypt's election delay leaves foreign investors uncertain

Economists say that the delayed Egyptian parliamentary elections might discourage foreign investors, whose first consideration is stability in Egypt.
Read more»

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 16

Despite congressional threats, Iran negotiators resume talks

US and Iranian negotiators are meeting in Lausanne to work toward a potential nuclear deal.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on March 15

Iran's female MPs show mixed record

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

Walaa Hussein on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Walaa Hussein shares her thoughts on journalism.
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 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 15

US 'working through' extent of support for Syrian rebels

The resolution being considered by Congress does not address protection of vetted Syrian rebels against Syrian government forces; nuclear talks with Iran enter decisive phase amid challenges by Republicans in Congress; Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani determines fate of reconciliation in Iraq; Israeli election is verdict on Benjamin Netanyahu.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 15

Iran under fire ahead of deal deadline

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of March 16.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 13

Rouhani wins over Qom, for now

President Hassan Rouhani took a surprise trip to Qom to win over the support of senior clerics in Iran's religious capital.
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Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 13

Iranian singers push boundaries, face restrictions

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

Turkey to support Mosul operation from sidelines

Turkey will provide assistance to the forces organizing to retake Mosul from the Islamic State, but will not engage directly in military conflict.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on March 13

Meretz chairwoman: Herzog will need us to form coalition

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Meretz Party Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On calls upon leftist voters not to fall for the Zionist Camp's machinations, which threaten her party and the chances for a left-wing coalition.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 13

Kuwait's economic development

Despite serious efforts to address development issues in Kuwait, various barriers still stand in the way, including local companies' lack of operational capabilities, the private sector's lagging contribution to economic activity and dependence on foreign workers.
Read more»

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

Palestinian women demand quota increase

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

Europeans worry Senate letter gives Iran edge in nuclear talks

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says the "open letter" to Iran by Senate Republicans undermines Western credibility in nuclear negotiations that are approaching a denouement.
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 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on March 12

Palestine's first female governor recounts her struggle

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

Is Netanyahu on his way out?

Less than a week before the elections, all options are still open, be they a government headed by Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog, by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or by both.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 12

Iranian Jewish MP dismissive of Netanyahu, senators' letter

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

One woman's journey from prisoner to mayor

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

Belly dancer runs for Egyptian parliament seat

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

Hamas expands international outreach

Recent meetings between Hamas and international figures suggest that ties are deepening between the movement and Western diplomats, who are quietly meeting to discuss Gaza’s future, the reconciliation with Fatah and a proposed truce with Israel.
Read more»

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

On Iran deal, Republicans cut off their nose to spite their face

A letter written by 47 Republican senators to the Iranian government highlights the deepening divide in US Congress on the pending Iran nuclear agreement.
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 Seyed Hossein Mousavian for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 12

Lawmakers see Iran's rise as key concern in fight against IS

Republicans focus on Tehran in first hearing since Tikrit offensive.
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 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 11

Rafsanjani supporters upbeat despite another election defeat

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani suffers another political defeat, though his supporters remain upbeat.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 11

Turkey's official Islamic body extends influence abroad

Turkey’s giant Directorate of Religious Affairs, which runs the country’s 85,000 mosques and employs 122,000 people, has assumed an increasingly active role in the government’s foreign policy.
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 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on March 11

Israel should be wary of Hamas' truce proposal

The dire situation in Gaza has apparently prompted Hamas' political leaders to offer Israel a long-term cease-fire, but the dominance of the movement's military wing casts doubt on such a truce holding.
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 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 11

Jumblatt blames Maronites for presidential vacuum

In an interview with As-Safir, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt discussed his stance toward Jabhat al-Nusra, his impending appearance before the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, regional politics and Lebanon’s presidential vacuum.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on March 11

How Iranian women are using Sharia to their benefit

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

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia inch toward resolving Nile dam crisis

During the closed negotiations held in Khartoum, Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia agreed on a plan to find technical solutions to the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt fears threatens its share of the Nile.
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 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 11

Why is Israel still blind to settler violence against Palestinians?

Despite resolutions by Israeli administrations to adopt the 2003 Road map for Peace and the Sason report on illegal West Bank outposts, settler violence against Palestinians continues unabated.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 11

Did Erdogan undermine Gul?

Turks question why President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it would be good for former President Abdullah Gul to run for parliament.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on March 10

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

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

Concerns rise over plots to oust Abbas

With security tensions on the rise in the West Bank, there is talk of conspiracy in which Hamas, Israel and ex-Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan are spreading chaos with the goal of toppling President Mahmoud Abbas.
Read more»

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

Erdogan fined $3,800 for insulting peace monument

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

Bibi's fantastic feats of flip-flopping

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personality allows him to promise things but not follow through, and at the end of the day, he will always return to his political base on the right.
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 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 10

Israel's unpredictable voters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other politicians react to polls that indicate a growing trend over the past few elections, where an increasing number of voters remain undecided until they arrive at the ballot box.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 10

Lebanese women demand right to give children their nationality

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

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

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

Aboul Fotouh: Egyptians will start revolution if dictatorship persists

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, head of the Strong Egypt Party and former member of the Muslim Brotherhood, shared with Al-Monitor his views about Egypt's current regime.
Read more»

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 9

Iraq needs justice, not revenge

Iraq needs to move away from the mindset of revenge to the mindset of restorative justice.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on March 9

Political deadlock could lead to security escalation in West Bank

Palestinian officials view Israel's recent military maneuvers in the West Bank and its prediction of an uprising as attempts to escalate the security situation.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 10

Khamenei warns against destruction of Iran's forests

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned that illegally privatizing public forests and mountains is harming the country's environment and the world at large.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 9

Turkey’s conflicting visions of the economy

There is a growing conflict in Ankara between two distinct views of the economy: the rational/conventional one led by Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and the conspiratorial/revisionist one led by Yigit Bulut, senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 9

Danon: Bibi's speech to Congress sent the right message

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon argues that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech succeeded in shifting the international community's focus back to the essential debate on the imminent agreement with Iran.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 9

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

Gazans are resorting to female mediators who achieved significant progress in the social reform field; however, these mediators still lack official and government support.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 9

Joint List isolates itself before elections

The decision by Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties, to refuse a vote-sharing deal with the leftist Zionist Meretz Party might discredit his commitment to rebuild the bridges between Jews and Arabs.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 9

Will Herzog compromise party values to join government?

According to his own statements, his openness to the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders threatens to prevent Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog from joining a Likud-led government after the elections.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 9

Obama administration: US 'will protect' Syrian rebel forces

John Allen, US special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, suggests a deeper US military commitment in Syria; Turkey’s "precious loneliness"; Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship to counter militancy and extremism; Al-Monitor’s series on Women in the Middle East continues.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 8

Why did Lebanon's security initiative fail?

Lebanon's former director-general of General Security told Al-Monitor that his initiative to free the abducted Lebanese soldiers and to drive the Islamic State from Lebanon was welcomed by Syria but rejected by the United States and Lebanon.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on March 8

Turkish Twitter user: Erdogan to target CHP-linked bank

Fuat Avni, the handle of an anonymous Twitter user who has successfully revealed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s moves in the past, just issued another explosive prediction.
Read more»

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 6

Senate seeks to unblock path for war on Islamic State

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will address the week of March 9.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 6

Is the Oslo process really over?

The Palestinian Central Council announced the end of security cooperation with Israel, though many are skeptical that the decision will be implemented.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on March 6

Hamas reacts to potential Egyptian attack

Hamas is discussing steps it could take if Egypt decides to attack the Gaza Strip, as hinted by the Egyptian army, following the country's decision to declare Hamas a terrorist organization.
Read more»

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

300 days at the Tomb of Suleiman Shah

Speaking with Al-Monitor, Turkish special forces officers share their experiences, observations and insights into Islamic State activities near the Tomb of Suleiman Shah and the origins of the Turkish government's decision to evacuate its soldiers.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on March 6

Arab women's new face in the Knesset

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

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 26

Hezbollah-Hariri at stalemate

The dialogue between Hezbollah and Future Movement leader Saad Hariri does not seem to be getting anywhere, as security and political issues such as the resistance’s weapons and the presidential vacuum remain unresolved.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on March 6

Ultra-Orthodox woman fights for representation in Knesset

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

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 29

Iranian minister slammed for warning of 'dirty money' in politics

Iran's Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli has been forced to walk back his claims that money from illegal drug smuggling has entered politics.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 5

Islamic feminist challenges orthodoxy from within

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

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 20

Are Turkey, Saudi Arabia working together against Iran?

Analysts fear that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being dragged into Saudi Arabia's anti-Iran Sunni bloc.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on March 5

Parliamentary presence sticking point for Lebanon's women

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

 Mona Alami for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 19

Former Iran VP speaks on interreligious outreach

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Iranian Vice President Mohammad Ali Abtahi talks about the challenges of his work in interreligious outreach.
Read more»

 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 5

Head of Ennahda movement speaks out

In an interview with El Khabar, Ahmed Mashreqi, the head of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, offers insight into revolutions in the Arab world, Tunisia’s nation-building process and the possible consequences of Egypt’s military intervention in Libya in light of IS’ expansion in the region.
Read more»

Translated from El-Khabar (Algeria) on March 5

Will Nadine Moussa be Lebanon's next president?

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

 Florence Massena for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 18

Democrats slam brakes on Iran action

Forget about voting on anything before March 24 deadline, House and Senate Democrats warn.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 4

Retired Israeli general combats stereotypes

In an interview with Al-Monitor, retired Brig. Gen. Israela Oron emphasizes that contrary to traditional Israeli perception, men have no superiority over women in matters of security.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 16

Amberin Zaman on why she writes

Al-Monitor columnist Amberin Zaman shares her thoughts on journalism.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 22

Rafsanjani: Iran’s hard-liners 'in harmony with Netanyahu'

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that Iran's hard-liners are in line with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in opposing a nuclear deal with the West, drawing the ire of one of Iran's most conservative newspapers.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 4

Will Bibi's speech to Congress help his campaign?

The Likud Party hopes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before the US Congress will stop the past few days' trend in polls of losing votes, just in time for Election Day.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 4

Iraqi provinces take ex-Baathists to court

Iraq's de-Baathification law has been a matter of controversy since its adoption in 2003, as some argue that the firm measures against former Baathists led to terrorism.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on March 4

Bibi's 'House of Cards' moment

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maneuvered himself into a win-win position: If an Iranian agreement isn’t reached, he'll celebrate all the way to the ballot box; if not, he can say that at least he tried to avert the catastrophe.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on March 4

Iran's female editors rise to the top despite challenges

Despite a growth of female journalists in Iranian media, they still face various barriers and limits.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 4

Former Turkish first lady urges progress through education

Al-Monitor's exclusive interview with Turkey's former first lady, Hayrunnisa Gul.
Read more»

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

IS eager to confront US ground forces in Iraq

Islamic State propaganda makes clear its desire to draw the United States into deploying combat troops, setting up a potentially direct confrontation.
Read more»

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on March 4

What a Houthi-controlled Yemen means for women

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

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

Corruption creeps into refugee aid in Lebanon

Local partners and major international organizations have been accused of corruption and financial mismanagement in the implementation of support programs for Syrians.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on March 8

Retiring officials trigger security concerns in Lebanon

In light of the presidential vacuum, Lebanese political forces have established a new mechanism for making decisions in Cabinet, a formula that will be tested when a number of key security officials retire in 2015.
Read more»

 Esperance Ghanem for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 4

Hamas accused of interfering in Jordan MB

The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is accusing Hamas of establishing a secret organization within the kingdom, which the movement denied.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor on March 5

Focused on Iran, Bibi ignores Israel's economic crisis

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke eloquently to Congress about Iran and the reception he received was warm, but now he has to win the support of an Israeli electorate struggling financially and increasingly alienated from him.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 4

US still considering no-fly zone for Syria

Two top US officials differ about the prospects for identifying, training and equipping a new moderate Syrian force to oppose the group that calls itself the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on March 3

Iran's female MPs show mixed record

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

 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 15

Two women shape Israel's politics

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

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 16

Congress races to act on Iran after Bibi's speech

The Senate is to take up a bill demanding a say on the nuclear deal next week.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 3

Iran paper sees conspiracy in Netanyahu speech

While reactions have been mixed in Iranian newspapers, hard-line Kayhan believes that Netanyahu and Obama are actually deceiving the Iranian negotiators.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 3

Erdogan tests waters in Riyadh

Diplomats argue that Erdogan’s Saudi Arabia visit is an attempt to regain some of the regional clout Turkey has lost in the Middle East.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on March 3

Will US-Israel rift benefit Palestinians?

The Palestinians hope that the growing rift between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government will signal to Europeans and others that the United States might be less forceful in diplomatically defending Israel.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 3

Starbucks becomes flashpoint between Turks, Armenians

Armenian-American activists are scoring major points against an angry and misinformed Turkish public.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on March 3

US persuaded Turkey to include Israel in NATO drills

Leaked emails between the Obama administration and Turkish senior officials reflect US efforts at reconciling Israel and Turkey — when the latter objected to Israel's participation at a NATO sea drill.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on March 3

Unprecedented rift splits Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood

The Shura Council of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood has decided to revoke the membership of 10 leading members belonging to the Zamzam Initiative, a group that seeks to break ties with Egypt’s Brotherhood.
Read more»

Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on March 3

Egypt closes 27,000 places of worship

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

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 3

Palestinian factions maintain fragile stability in Sidon camp

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

Nicolas Lupo for Al-Monitor Lebanon Pulse on March 4

US, EU battle Netanyahu for public's trust on Iran

Israeli leader sees Congress as crucial backstop against "bad deal."
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 2

IRGC: Naval exercise also 'media-psychological' operation

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps public relations has said that Iran's publicized naval exercises were meant to prepare for threats from countries beyond the region and praised the media coverage of them.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on March 2

Women's roles in Hamas slowly evolve

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

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

Life in Gaza gives Palestinian satirists plenty of material

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

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

Iranians challenge media ban on Khatami

Iranians have challenged the media ban on a former president, which received unusually high attention because of his sister's death.
Read more»

 Maysam Bizær for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on March 2

Hamas denies abuse, detainment of Fatah leaders

Several Fatah leaders told Al-Monitor that the Hamas-affiliated security apparatuses in Gaza arrested them and violated their basic human rights, which Hamas rushed to deny.
Read more»

 Mohammed Othman for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on March 2

Recommendations released for reconstructing Kobani

The Diyarbakir Chamber of Architects and Engineers published a report on how to reconstruct Kobani.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on March 2

IS takes over Assyrian village Tal al-Jazira

The village of Tal al-Jazira, which lies between Hasakah and Tal Tamr, had enjoyed relative calm until IS took over about a week ago, so Assyrian inhabitants did not flee, as most Assyrian inhabitants of other villages had.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on March 2

Egypt’s terrorism law whittles down opposition

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

 Enas Hamed for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on March 2

Turkey is becoming more secular, not less

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

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on March 2

Lapid soars in Israel's pre-election polls

With the spirit of the 2011 social justice protests still alive, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid succeeds in overcoming the negative image of his performance as finance minister, and gathers momentum ahead of the elections.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on March 2

What is Obama's secret weapon against Bibi?

It’s hard to understand why President Barack Obama doesn’t translate the criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s congressional speech into action, such as hinting at a change in his position on the Israeli nuclear program.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on March 2

Here comes Bibi!

Congress turns its attention away from other business this week as it prepares for the addres of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on March 1

Turkey has 'other priorities' than battling Islamic State

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

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on March 1

New Iran bill doesn’t mandate up-or-down vote on nuclear deal

Legislation from the Senate Foreign Relations chairman would authorize — but not require — Congress to weigh in before sanctions can be lifted.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 27

PA clamps down on security amid unrest in West Bank

Recent clashes in the West Bank between security officials and protesters have triggered Palestinian fears that stability will be difficult to restore.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 27

GCC moves to legitimize Aden as Yemen’s capital

The secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council visited the Yemeni president in Aden to affirm the Gulf states’ commitment to resisting Houthi control in the country.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on March 1

Iran's cooperation with IAEA at risk if nuclear talks fail

A breakdown in nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 would likely mean far fewer inspections in Iran.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on February 27

French visit to Damascus opens new channels for diplomacy

Recent developments, including a visit by French politicians and the possible replacement of the French ambassador in Lebanon by Emannuel Bonne, who participated in the Syrian-French negotiations, indicate a probable shift in the French position.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on February 27

Televised debate reveals torn, divided Israel

The latest TV Channel 2 election debate exposed the growing schism within Israeli society, with party leaders trading accusations and insults.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 27

Mona Alami on why she writes

Al-Monitor contributor Mona Alami shares her thoughts on journalism.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Staff for Al-Monitor on March 5

From 'zero problems' to zero trade

Ankara’s support of the Islamist-controlled National General Congress instead of the government in Tobruk has had dire consequences for Turkish business interests in Libya.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on February 27

Turkey's Kurds stand with ultranationalists after campus murder

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

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 27

Shooting of Fatah activist could doom security cooperation

The security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is in jeopardy after Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Fatah activist in the Dheisheh refugee camp.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 27

Islamic State conspiracy theories sway Iraqis

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

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 27

Kurds push for delay of Mosul attack

Some in Congress share concerns that Sunnis aren't ready to take on the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 26

Does Rafsanjani want to chair the Assembly of Experts?

It's still unclear whether Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani will run for the chairmanship of Iran's Assembly of Experts, which supervises and elects the supreme leader.
Read more»

Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 26

Iran 'bound' to complete talks by March 31

Iranian media outlets believe that progress was made in the nuclear talks and that the nuclear talks are reaching a conclusion.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 26

Does Assad meeting signal a shift in France's policy?

A secret visit by French parliamentarians to Damascus is raising questions about a possible major shift in France's Syria policy.
Read more»

Arzu Cakir Morin for Al-Monitor on February 27

Why doesn't Turkey speak up on Iran nuclear issue?

While so many are focused on the Iran nuclear talks, Turks have remained surprisingly quiet on a major issue unfolding just next door.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 26

AIPAC objects to Netanyahu's Congress address

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to Congress might be his last major card to play before the March 17 elections, which is why he is determined to deliver it despite objections at home and by AIPAC.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 26

America’s neglected asset in fight for Mosul

The Pentagon recently declared its 2015 plan to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State, an operation that may be effective only if the resistance groups already operating in Mosul are involved.
Read more»

Ben Decker Iraq Pulse on February 26

Sinai residents feel betrayed by Egyptian media

Egyptian media has been accused of trivializing the situation in Sinai, which either castigates or ignores residents while they are being beheaded by Islamic extremists for cooperating with the army in its anti-terrorism campaign against them.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 26

Netanyahu focuses on Iran, neglects housing crisis

Benjamin Netanyahu has been prime minister since 2009 — enough time to set policy and determine priorities — but the state comptroller's recent report reveals that he has failed in addressing the housing crisis.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 26

Is Congress backing Sisi's battle against Islamists?

Lawmakers declined to grill Secretary of State John Kerry on military assistance to Egypt.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 25

Will Israeli Jews vote for Joint List?

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

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 25

Was Rouhani's zero-inflation claim misleading?

Both economists and political rivals question President Hassan Rouhani's claim of zero inflation, saying he used the wrong criteria.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 25

Joint List leaders must seize momentum

Israeli Arab experts agree that uniting the Arab parties into one joint list is an achievement in itself, but the political leaders must now seize the momentum to address the issues that preoccupy their constituency.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 25

No justice for Turkish women who kill in self-defense

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

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 25

Rouhani, Khamenei on same page in nuclear talks

Any differences between Iran's president and supreme leader with respect to the nuclear negotiations are tactical, not strategic, and are unlikely to impede a deal.
Read more»

 Ali Vaez for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 25

French-Syrian relations thaw

Four French members of parliament are on a diplomatic visit to Damascus after a period of frozen relations, in search of political and security solutions.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on February 26

Israeli violations of truce keep Gazans on edge

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights reports that violations of the truce continue, with Israeli forces still firing across the border, hitting civilians and houses and making the entire area unlivable.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on February 25

Netanyahu has rejected two-state solution

Benjamin Netanyahu has declared several times, even to the US Congress, that he will accept the establishment of a Palestinian state, but all signs indicate that he now rejects a two-state solution.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 25

Iraq's corruption continues unchecked

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

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 25

Congress starts to question UN arms embargo on Libya

The shift follows a heavy push by Egypt and Jordan after the Islamic State beheading of Coptic Christians.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 24

Why Lebanon skipped anti-terror meeting in Washington

Lebanon decided not to attend the international summit on counterterrorism in Washington when certain Lebanese parties, such as Hezbollah, balked at cooperating with Israel, among other issues.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on February 25

Iran analyst: no accountability makes Ahmadinejad return likely

An Iranian analyst writes that the return of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likely given the problems within Iran's executive branch.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 24

US experts converge on breakout formula for Iran talks

There isn’t much daylight between the Barack Obama administration’s breakout estimates for Iran and that of David Albright, a so-called gatekeeper who is influential on nuclear issues within the expert community and on Capitol Hill.
Read more»

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on February 24

Turkey targets voters with government benefits

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

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 24

Liberman, Yadlin: speech won't stop Iranian nuke

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Zionist Camp's Gen. Amos Yadlin differ on the best reaction to current negotiations with Iran, but both agree that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech in the US Congress is not the way to go.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 24

Traffic snarls, violence accompany Iraqi motorcades

The Iraqi prime minister has taken steps to confront the ministerial and official convoys that often act as though they are above the law, but the problems the enormous security details cause are unlikely to end.
Read more»

 Wassim Bassem for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 24

What did Libyans gain from the revolution?

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

 Mustafa Fetouri for Al-Monitor on February 24

PA trapped by tax revenue freeze

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has allegedly promised Israel to further tighten the noose around Hamas in exchange for Israel unfreezing Palestinian tax revenues.
Read more»

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

Regional events have Hamas in political limbo

Various events and unresolved regional crises have fed Hamas' reluctance to forge regional alliances and take decisive positions on developments in the Arab world.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 24

Egypt supports South Sudan to secure Nile share

Egypt is implementing several water development projects in South Sudan as the negotiations with Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam have yet to yield tangible results.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 24

The new generation of Israeli election campaign clips

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

 Doron Peskin for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 27

Iran talks reach turning point

US officials claim progress has been made as movement is reported on key issues.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 23

Ankara averts pre-election crisis over tomb in Syria

Turkey’s evacuation of the Tomb of Suleiman Shah in Syria was meant to remove the risk of an Islamic State attack that would have cost the government dearly in upcoming general elections.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on February 23

Saudi women react to new king

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

 Caryle Murphy for Al-Monitor on March 1

Rafsanjani: Saudi-Iran cooperation can fix regional issues

Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani has said that cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia can resolve some issues, but conceded that there are still many differences at the moment.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 23

Turkish military mission becomes media circus

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party framed its cross-border mission to evacuate the Tomb of Suleiman Shah as a victory for the nation, but political opposition and social media commenters saw much to mock about the operation.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on February 23

Was Hezbollah's Mughniyeh an unintended target?

A security source from Beirut tells Al-Monitor how the perpetrators of the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah's military commander might not have known they were targeting the elusive Imad Mughniyeh.
Read more»

 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on February 23

Why scandals are good for Netanyahu

Despite the growing economic crisis and the diplomatic stalemate, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far managed to focus the electoral agenda on himself and on the Iran issue.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 23

Netanyahu has no 'smoking gun' on Iran

With his speech to Congress, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to breathe new life into the "Iranian existential threat" to improve his chances of being re-elected as the one person who can stop the Iranians.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 23

Academics call on Israel to 'choose Europe'

A new document by Israeli experts on the European Union calls upon Israel's next government not to distance itself from Europe, but to seek special relations with the world's largest commercial bloc.
Read more»

 Arad Nir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 23

Bogus university graduates clog Iraqi job market

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

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

Should US back UN plan for cease-fire in Aleppo?

UN Syria envoy says that "assurances will not be enough" to end fighting; Turkey’s border a "strategic problem" in anti-Islamic State campaign.
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on February 22

Kerry says deal not imminent as Iran, US energy chiefs join talks

Iran atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi and US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz joined Iran nuclear negotiations in Geneva, but US Secretary of State John Kerry tamped down expectations that a deal could be imminent.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 21

Would Iran deal set new nuclear proliferation standard?

The nuclear negotiations have entered a critical stage with Iran, which for years has defended its Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) rights, committed to the NPT by providing unprecedented transparency of its nuclear program.
Read more»

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

Lawmakers prep defense bill, Kerry defends budget

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Feb. 23.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 20

Turkey's perilous security package

The Turkish government’s internal security package threatens both the Kurdish settlement process and social peace.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on February 20

Turkey’s jailed university students

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

 Tulay Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 22

Gaza farmers unable to export produce

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

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 23

Iranian teachers protest Rouhani's budget

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

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

Qatari FM: We do not support the Muslim Brotherhood

Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah talked to Al-Hayat about thorny regional issues, including Qatar’s support to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which he denied, and the war against the Islamic State, which he says will not eliminate the group.
Read more»

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

Dutch FM: Syria needs political solution

In an interview with Al-Hayat, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders insisted that although the Syrian war has taken a sectarian turn, the solution should be political.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on February 20

Latest scandal could hand Kahlon election

The latest developments in the Netanyahu residence scandal might tip the electoral balance and drive Likud supporters toward Moshe Kahlon's center-right Kulanu Party.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 20

Syrian opposition: Mistakes must be recognized

Abdel Baset Sida, former president of the Syrian National Council, reflects on the opposition's failure to counter President Bashar al-Assad, both inside and outside the country.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on February 23

Libyan FM: We don’t want military intervention

Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi spoke to An-Nahar about the need to provide the Libyan army with weapons, without any military intervention.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 20

Egypt hopes to lure investors back

The Egyptian government is considering a new law to help ease the obstacles investors face and attract future investments.
Read more»

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 23

PA considers ending economic ties with Israel

Palestinians are discussing the possibility of rejecting the Paris Protocol and disengaging economically from Israel following Israel's decision to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 23

The importance of Sunni unity in Iraq

Instead of exchanging accusations, all Iraqi components should deploy efforts in a bid to unify their ranks in the face of the Islamic State, and to avoid sectarian partition.
Read more»

 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on February 20

The Iranian gap between Obama, Bibi

The perception gap between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iranian agreement extends beyond negotiation tactics, with Obama aspiring to rehabilitate relations with Iran.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 22

Why is Bibi's speech to Congress key for Israel's security?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has headed the battle against nuclear Iran for many years, and his upcoming speech to Congress fits in with his concerns for Israel's existence.
Read more»

 Arye Mekel for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 20

In Turkey, divisive politics leads to more violence

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

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on February 19

Is Twitter giving in to Turkish censorship?

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

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

Iran Foreign Ministry criticized for implying 'two-step agreement'

The spokeswoman for Iran's Foreign Ministry has been criticized for saying that a political understanding will precede a nuclear agreement.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 19

Islamist preacher: military action against IS will not work

Speaking to An-Nahar, Islamist preacher and founder of the Bridges Foundation Fadel Soliman warns that military action against the Islamic State will only increase extremism, and says the solution lies in providing other opportunities to youths.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 19

Egypt's FM: We are defending ourselves in Libya

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt has the right to defend itself against terrorism, and this is what is happening in Libya, while the UN Security Council is expected to issue a decision in this regard.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 19

Arab Parliament seeks good ties with Arab League

The head of the Arab Parliament, Ahmed al-Jarwan, talks to Azzaman about the role of the parliament and its future objectives.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Zaman (Iraq) on February 19

Israel fears rapprochement between US, Iran

Some officials in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel fear that the United States aspires to replace its traditional Middle East alliance with a moderate Iran.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 19

Israeli election discourse tests limits of democracy

The increasingly harsh public discourse in the current election campaign has Israel’s democracy teetering between freedom of expression and freedom to incite.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 19

Internal unrest threatens Gaza

As violence and general lawlessness increase in the Gaza Strip, Fatah and Hamas are accusing each other of being behind the turmoil.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 19

Ministry strike leaves East Jerusalemites in limbo

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

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 19

Egypt acts as middleman for Russia-Libya arms deal

Egypt is mediating efforts to supply the Libyan army with Russian weapons to fight the Islamic State, a move that might lead to a end to UN Resolution 1973, which bans the provision of arms to Libya.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 19

How does Iran make nuclear decisions?

While Iran's supreme leader has the final say on Iran's nuclear program, the decision-making process and the various institutions involved are very hard to parse.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on February 19

Top Iran official warns of climate change

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

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 18

Turkish opposition party recruits Obama pollster

Keen to unseat the ruling party in the June 7 polls, the Republican People's Party has recruited the Benenson Strategy Group, a US company that crafted President Barack Obama’s campaign.
Read more»

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 18

Erdogan's 'New Turkey' much like the old

The Turkish government’s narrative of a “New Turkey” facing counterrevolutionary “internal enemies” is hardly different from the Kemalist narrative that Turkey’s Islamists resisted for decades.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 18

What does it mean to be a friend of Israel?

Some within the Republican Party have turned the Middle East conflict into a focal point of an internal political dispute.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 18

Bibi's opulent lifestyle won't sway voters

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

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 18

Gazans forced to sell their belongings

The harsh economic crisis that has been worsening in the Gaza Strip due to the Israeli blockade and the PA’s financial deficit has forced Gazans to sell their belongings to avoid begging for money.
Read more»

 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 20

Sunni-Shiite relations 10 years after Hariri's assassination

Sunni-Shiite relations have deteriorated significantly since 2005 when former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated, an event that caused shockwaves across the region and strained Sunni-Shiite relations in the country.
Read more»

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 18

Has AKP sacrificed Turkey's Ottoman heritage?

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

 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 18

Israel still refuses to run water to Rawabi

In an interview with Al-Monitor, attorney Dov Weissglass deplores the ongoing Israeli refusal to connect the Palestinian town Rawabi to the water network, claiming that the refusal by Ministers Moshe Ya'alon and Silvan Shalom is politically motivated.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 18

Disagreement keeps Hamas-Iran rapprochement on ice

Reports that Iran is insisting on the resignation of Hamas’ political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal in exchange for the resumption of relations between the parties seems to have stalled reconciliation talks for now.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 18

What the Kahane phenomenon can teach Israelis today

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

 Yuval Avivi for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 19

Rouhani accommodates Iran's Jewish students

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

 Meir Javedanfar for Al-Monitor on February 17

Some see snubs, Erdogan sees envy

While Erdogan remains unconcerned, diplomats say Turkey's isolation is hurting the country.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on February 17

Fear of Shiites on the rise in Turkey

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

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 17

Iran MP wants Washington Post journalist 'confession' aired

A hard-line Iranian parliament member has accused the Hassan Rouhani administration of giving detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian access to sensitive areas.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 17

Israelis love to love their IDF chief of staff

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

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 17

Egyptian tribes shift their approach to politics

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

 Reham Mokbel for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 20

Bibi's speech to Congress could tip electoral scale

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zionist Camp Chair Isaac Herzog are practically in a tie, according to polls, but Netanyahu might tilt the balance with a charismatic speech to Congress.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 17

Hamas prevents Arabic fiction award finalist from leaving Gaza

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

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on February 17

Concern in Iraq grows over unregulated Shiite forces

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

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on February 17

Will Iran's corruption fight attempt to attract private investors?

Iran has opened a series of high-level judicial cases against former administration officials, leading some to believe that the government is cleaning up its act to attract private investment in the economy.
Read more»

 Bijan Khajehpour for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 17

Zionist Camp pushes Livni to background

The Israeli public has not been convinced by the Zionist Camp's idea of a rotating premiership, which has helped boost Benjamin Netanyahu's changes of re-election.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 16

What's next for Hakan Fidan?

Turkey's recently resigned intelligence czar Hakan Fidan is widely expected to found a new National Security Ministry and redesign the country’s entire security apparatus.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on February 17

Odeh: racist Israeli laws to benefit joint Arab list

The unified Arab list is expected to see success in the next Knesset elections as a result of discriminatory Israeli laws, according to the head of the joint list of all Arab parties.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 17

Gulf states to cut aid to Egypt

The Egyptian government hopes the Egypt Economic Development Conference will succeed in attracting new investments given an expected drop in aid from the Gulf.
Read more»

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 17

UN, Russia take lead in Syria diplomacy

Russia-Egypt ties enter "new phase"; UN and Russian initiatives offer only hope so far for Syria political settlement; Erdogan promotes the "Internal Security Law."
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on February 15

Barzani: The region's new borders will be drawn in blood

Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani speaks about the current conflict with the Islamic State, relations with Baghdad and his predictions on what's next.
Read more»

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

US optimism on Iran nuclear deal rises

The US administration believes that prospects for reaching an Iran nuclear deal have increased in recent days.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 14

Turkey spy chief’s resignation: power play or family feud?

Is there a Davutoglu-Fidan alliance in the making against Erdogan?
Read more»

 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on February 13

Erdogan jabs at Obama in calculated move

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his recent visit to Latin America to make his claim to leadership of the Muslim world.
Read more»

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on February 13

Turkish media watchdog scrutinizes 'The Simpsons'

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

 Sibel Hurtas for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 16

Billion dollar smuggling industry drains Iran's economy

Partly due to sanctions, smuggling of drugs, cigarettes and cosmetics is widespread in Iran and some question whether government organizations are implicated.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 13

Turkey's mosque-building diplomacy

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

 Thomas Seibert for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 13

Lebanon's Islamists move away from Future Movement

The Islamic Movement is criticizing the Future Movement for failing to meet the demands of the Sunni community.
Read more»

Translated from As-Safir (Lebanon) on February 13

Palestinians prepare 'diplomatic intifada'

With Israel preoccupied with elections and the Arab world preoccupied with fighting the Islamic State, the Palestinians feel sidelined and are looking to launch a "diplomatic intifada."
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 15

Hezbollah, Future Movement find 'delicate stability' for now

The dialogue between Hezbollah and the Future Movement continues despite the limited results it has yielded so far.
Read more»

 Sami Nader for Al-Monitor on February 13

Netanyahu drops diplomacy in re-election bid

Sensing the disillusionment of the Israeli public over the Palestinian issue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has focused his campaign agenda elsewhere.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 13

Egypt sees al-Azhar as key to Africa

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

 Ayah Aman for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 13

Arab list is stronger without Zoabi

The removal of Knesset member Haneen Zoabi, known for her provocative anti-Israeli stance, may make it easier for Israelis to vote for the new joint Arab party.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 13

Palestinian government allows entry of Israeli goods into Gaza

The Palestinian government has said that the decision is a temporary measure made necessary by the destruction to factories during the last Gaza war.
Read more»

 Hana Salah for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 13

Knockoff drugs endanger Egyptians

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

 Rami Galal for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 18

Congress demands review after Islamic State aid theft

Lawmakers demand government review after militants shown distributing UN packages.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 12

Nuclear negotiators lean in as clock ticks on Iran deal

As the March deadline for a nuclear deal looms, Iran and the P5+1 are down to deliberating enrichment capacity and sanctions relief as well as the duration of a final deal.
Read more»

 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 12

Davutoglu's tragedy

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has failed to escape the shadow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Read more»

 Kadri Gursel for Al-Monitor on February 12

Al-Azhar refuses to consider the Islamic State an apostate

Al-Azhar's refusal to declare the Islamic State an apostate has triggered scrutiny at the growing Salafist faction in the institution.
Read more»

 Ahmed Fouad for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 12

Hollande-PYD meeting challenges Erdogan

French President Francois Hollande, by hosting at Elysee Palace two Kurdish female leaders from Kobani, sends a strong message to Ankara.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on February 12

Are tensions straining AKP's inner circle?

Despite rumors otherwise, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's relationships with his prime minister and former intelligence chief remain strong.
Read more»

 Rasim Ozan Kutahyali for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 12

Bennett, Liberman battle for defense portfolio

The next Israeli defense minister, be it Moshe Ya'alon, Avigdor Liberman or Naftali Bennett, will have to cope, together with new IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, with a new reality in which Hezbollah targets Israel from the Syrian border.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 12

Damascus faces continual power outages

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

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

Hamas, Dahlan share rivalry toward Abbas

Although officials say relations between former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan and Hamas are limited to aid provided by Dahlan to the Palestinians in Gaza, the shared enmity toward President Mahmoud Abbas shows otherwise.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 12

Palestinians rush to condemn murder of Jordanian pilot

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

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 12

Kurds reject proposed rival force in Kirkuk

The law to establish the National Guard forces in Iraq raised the ire of Kurds in northern Iraq who would rather remain in full control of their areas.
Read more»

 Mohammed A. Salih for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 12

Arms shipment to Lebanon to arrive in April

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has announced that the first arms shipment of the Saudi grant, which has been stalled for more than year, will arrive to Lebanon on April 1.
Read more»

 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on February 12

Senate aims to set up vote on Iran deal by month's end

The Foreign Relations panel expects to soon vote on legislation that would give Congress a say over a nuclear agreement.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 11

Russia and Egypt's 'new partnership'

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's new relationship could shift the dynamics of the Middle East.
Read more»

 Vitaly Naumkin for Al-Monitor on February 11

Rouhani challenges Iran deal detractors

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that "only the Zionists" are opposed to a nuclear deal, and those not supporting the negotiators are guilty of "betrayal."
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 11

Syrian Turkmens are forgotten ally in war against Islamic State

Syrian Turkmens say they can play key role in fighting IS in northern Syria.
Read more»

 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on February 11

Egyptian army struggles to address terrorism in Sinai

Despite the Egyptian army's claims to victory over terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula, terrorist attacks have increased, a trend many attribute to the failure of the army's strategy.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 11

Why did Velayati meet with Putin?

Despite points of disagreement on specific issues, Iran and Russia seem to be working diligently to develop a deep and strategic friendship.
Read more»

Rohollah Faghihi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 11

Peretz: Netanyahu speech won't stop agreement with Iran

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former Defense Minister Amir Peretz argues that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech to the US Congress will not stop an agreement with Iran because it will turn it into an internal political dispute.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 11

Controversy continues over Nile, Congo river projects

The recent decision of Egypt to suspend the works of a private company tasked with the project of linking the Congo River to the Nile stirred much controversy, considering the water quota this project would have provided to Egyptians.
Read more»

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 12

What does it mean to be a modern Zionist?

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

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 11

Taxes on fuel paralyze Gaza’s only power plant

By imposing the so-called blue tax on industrial diesel before it is sold in Gaza, the national consensus government in Ramallah is effectively paralyzing the only electrical power plant in the Gaza Strip.
Read more»

 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on February 11

Iraqis play politics with Mosul investigation

Altering the committee investigating the fall of Mosul to reflect the political quota system serves the interests of the political parties and blocs, not finding the truth.
Read more»

 Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor Iraq Pulse on February 11

Former Egyptian diplomat cites progress on women's rights

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

 Barbara Slavin for Al-Monitor on February 11

Saudis struggle to reconcile IS fight, Wahhabism

While it might not be what the West wants to hear, Wahhabism and Salafism offer young Saudis clear boundaries and a blueprint for changing the self and the world through action.
Read more»

 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on February 11

Is Turkey becoming a police state?

Critics say a proposed law will turn Turkey into a police state by providing security forces with extensive powers to suppress the government’s opponents.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on February 10

Iran conservatives see defiance in Khamenei speech

While most Iranian media outlets viewed the comments by Iran's supreme leader in a positive light, conservatives in the country are focusing on his comments in which he took a firm stand.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 10

Hamas condemns killing of Jordanian pilot

Hamas speaks out in support of Jordan following the Islamic State’s brutal killing of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh and also looks to repair relations with the Hashemite kingdom following a tense period.
Read more»

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

36 years after the revolution, where is Iran now?

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

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

Russia looks to Egypt for Mideast foothold

Russia wants to increase its regional presence in the Arab world, and having Egypt share the Russian narrative of regional dynamics is a way out of its isolation.
Read more»

 Maxim A. Suchkov for Al-Monitor on February 12

Hamas makes release of detainees condition for negotiations

Hamas is making the release of the detainees of the 2011 prisoner exchange deal a condition for any future negotiations, saying that Israel did not abide by the agreements.
Read more»

 Ahmad Melhem for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 11

Iranian writers welcome decline of censorship

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

 Arash Azizi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 10

Bibi-Obama duel continues

US and Israeli experts say that an agreement with Iran is not imminent, yet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on going ahead with his planned Congress speech, while damaging Israel's strategic relations with the United States.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 10

Anti-Arab racism becomes tool in Israeli elections

With elections around the corner, conservative Israeli politicians are feeding racism against Israeli Arabs, hoping to increase support at the ballot box.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 10

Former Knesset speaker declares Zionism over

Former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg has said that Zionism "expired" with the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, and that society should move toward citizenship rather than nationalism.
Read more»

 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 10

Learning from history with Iran

As the extended deadline set for nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 approaches, the P5+1 needs to embrace Iran as a reliable partner, leaving behind the mentality of pressure and coercion.
Read more»

 Behzad Saberi for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 10

Dust pollution shuts down major cities in Iran

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

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 9

Erdogan's 'facts' muddle Turkey's economic reality

For his supporters, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an unquestionable leader who, not being limited by reality, is able to create his own facts.
Read more»

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 9

Why did Turkey seize Bank Asya?

A Turkish government agency made the unprecedented move of taking control of the management of the financially sound Bank Asya.
Read more»

 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 9

Turkey offers cash rewards for marrying early

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

 Zülfikar Doğan for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 9

Israeli right ditches effort to topple Netanyahu

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, former Minister Moshe Kahlon and others are positioning themselves to join a possible right-wing coalition government after accepting the impossibility of toppling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with votes from the center.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 9

Labor candidate calls for coalition with Arab parties

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Labor Party candidate Zuhair Bahloul calls upon the Arab parties to adopt a different strategy and demonstrate willingness to join a Labor-led coalition after the elections.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 9

Unity government a recipe for diplomatic disaster

Zionist Camp co-chair Isaac Herzog has refused to reject joining a unity government with the Likud, although the leftist parties in such governments typically end up serving as "defense attorney" for right-wing policies.
Read more»

 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 9

Turkey's intelligence czar resigns to run for office

The resignation of intelligence chief Hakan Fidan to run for parliament becomes the center of debate in Turkey.
Read more»

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 8

Obama: 'Iran’s program has not advanced'

US allies puzzled by March deadline for consideration of Senate sanctions bill; Iran’s gesture to Saudi Arabia; Iran’s man in Beirut; Erdogan’s anti-Western pivot; Aleppo’s fuel shortage; Israel reconciling to Hamas?
Read more»

 Al-Monitor Week in Review on February 8

Congress to scrutinize Obama’s Islamic State strategy

A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Feb. 9.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 6

US-Saudi mark 70 years of rocky alliance

Seventy years ago, FDR and Ibn Saud met on a cruiser to initiate an alliance that has persisted ever since.
Read more»

 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on February 13

Rouhani VP voices frustration with administration

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

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 6

Liberman suspends Israeli diplomats for Twitter criticism

Three Israeli diplomats have been suspended after criticizing the government on their personal Twitter accounts, revealing the despair felt by many of their colleagues vis-à-vis Israel's current foreign policy.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 6

AKP's views on sexuality create uproar

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

 Pinar Tremblay for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 9

Turkey accused of escalating violence in Egypt

Egyptians suspect Turkey of allowing Muslim Brotherhood affiliates to provoke violence in their country.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on February 6

US-Israel relationship at lowest point

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's acceptance of US House Speaker's invitation to speak is viewed by some as a direct affront to President Barack Obama's international domestic interests.
Read more»

 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 8

Who is Saudi activist Raif Badawi?

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

 Saeed Alwahabi for Al-Monitor on February 6

Should Lebanon execute convicted terrorists?

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

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 8

Report designates Tunisia first 'free' Arab country in decades

Freedom House has ranked Tunisia as a "free" country, despite the political, economic and social challenges inherited from the dictatorship era.
Read more»

 Eric Reidy for Al-Monitor on February 8

Hamas unwilling to jeopardize Palestinian reconciliation

The Hamas-Fatah crisis in the Gaza Strip has reached a stalemate, with Hamas hesitant to take control of the Gaza Strip and risk being accused of undermining the Palestinian unity government.
Read more»

 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 6

Congress may re-examine special arms deals with Israel

The US policy of giving Israel a Qualitative Military Edge policy over its neighbors has been called into question now that they are fighting on the same side against the Islamic State.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 5

What does Iran’s choice of UN envoy reveal?

Iran's appointment of Gholamali Khoshroo as its UN envoy signals a desire for broader engagement with the West.
Read more»

 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on February 6

Rouhani moves space program back to ministry

Despite claims by conservative media outlets, President Hassan Rouhani's administration has not closed Iran's space program but returned its direction to the original ministry.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 5

Will 'Kurdish Spring' redraw Middle East map?

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

 Cengiz Çandar for Al-Monitor on February 5

Zionist Camp, leftist Meretz battle over base

Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On is campaigning to preserve her party's constituency, which is turning toward the Zionist Camp list in hopes of an electoral upset.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 5

Sex scandals shake Israeli police

In the last 18 months, seven top Israeli police commanders have been forced to resign — four under sexual misconduct charges — leaving the police force shattered and leaderless.
Read more»

 Ben Caspit for Al-Monitor on February 5

Iraqi government spends millions on medical treatment abroad

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

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

Israel's deadliest roads

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

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 5

Lebanon reconsiders civil marriage

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

Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 5

Hamas reaches out to new Saudi leadership

As Hamas offers its condolences for the death of the Saudi king, it seems to be using "funeral diplomacy" as an opportunity to re-establish ties with the Gulf state.
Read more»

 Adnan Abu Amer for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 5

Egyptian antiquities remain at risk

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

 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 4

Hamas declares opening of Gaza seaport

Hamas is working to open and operate its Gaza seaport, especially since countries such as Turkey, Cyprus and Greece apparently have agreed to send and receive ships from Gaza.
Read more»

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

Rouhani: We don’t need a nuclear bomb

In a speech in Esfahan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that Iran does not need a nuclear bomb to secure its safety.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 4

Conspiracies, victimhood cloud Turks' views of Hebdo killings

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

 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 4

HDP's election bet: a calculated risk or Kurdish roulette?

Turkey's pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party decided to run for elections as a single party instead of independent candidates. If it can’t pass the 10% electoral threshold, Turkey will enter into a highly uncertain period.
Read more»

Translated from Radikal (Turkey) on February 4

Shiites have mixed reactions to new Saudi king

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

 Ali Mamouri for Al-Monitor on February 4

'Bottlegate' and corruption rank low on Israel's political agenda

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to lead in polls despite the "Bottlegate" scandal surrounding his wife, suggesting that fighting corruption holds little importance in the eyes of the Israeli voter.
Read more»

 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 4

Ennahda joins new government lineup

The new government lineup announced by Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid raised controversy, as some considered it a maneuver to include Afek Tunis and Ennahda in the government.
Read more»

Translated from Business News (Tunisia) on February 4

Jordan's king tells Congress 'gloves are off' in fight against IS

Key lawmakers endorse $1 billion aid package after airman slain.
Read more»

 Julian Pecquet for Al-Monitor on February 3

Wilayat Sinai targets Egyptian army stronghold

According to sources, Wilayat Sinai carried out an organized attack against the largest headquarters of the Egyptian army in the peninsula.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Sinai for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 4

Iranian nuclear negotiators face further criticism

Iran's nuclear negotiators are coming under more criticism and some believe that the supreme leader will soon take a hard line on the talks.
Read more»

 A correspondent in Tehran for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 4

Khamenei's fans take to Instagram

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

 Holly Dagres for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 3

Iran denies US claim that nuclear talks include missiles

Iran's deputy foreign minister has denied claims by the US State Department that Iran’s missile program is under discussion during the nuclear talks.
Read more»

 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 3

Is Erdogan's daughter running for office?

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

 Thomas Seibert for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 3

Erdogan aims to create stronger presidential system

The ruling Justice and Development Party needs sufficient votes in June to draft a constitution that fulfills President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of becoming Turkey’s sole leader.
Read more»

 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on February 3

Kurdish rivalry delays victory in Sinjar

Kurdish forces celebrated a joint victory at Kobani, but they have become rivals in the fight against the Islamic State in the Mount Sinjar area.
Read more»

 Fehim Taştekin for Al-Monitor on February 3

Fate of Gazans is in Hamas' hands

The Hamas movement is at a decisive crossroads: either it relinquishes its military control and concentrates on rehabilitating the Gaza Strip or it risks destroying all of Gaza's residents.
Read more»

 Shlomi Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 3

What was behind Qasem Soleimani’s visit to Lebanon?

Lebanese media reported that the commander of the Iranian Quds forces, Qasem Soleimani, met with Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, perhaps prompting the latter's changing the unwritten, retaliatory "rules of engagement" with Israel.
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 Jean Aziz for Al-Monitor on February 3

Gaza’s fishermen confront multiple dangers

Not only are fishermen from Gaza subject to being shot by Israeli sailors, they also struggle against potentially fatal weather conditions.
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 Rasha Abou Jalal for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 3

French ambassador to Lebanon speaks out

The French ambassador to Lebanon, Patrice Paoli, spoke to An-Nahar about the Lebanese presidential elections and stressed that France will not get involved, since the president should be approved by the majority of Lebanese parties.
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Translated from Al-Nahar (Lebanon) on February 4

Jordan pressured to restrict Muslim Brotherhood

Some in Jordan believe the government will not break its historical ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, while others say there will be a crackdown on the group to keep Gulf aid flowing into the kingdom.
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 A correspondent in Jordan for Al-Monitor on February 3

US allies puzzled by March deadline for Iran deal

The Obama administration, in negotiations with Congress, "bought two months, but sold three," for negotiations for a final Iran nuclear deal, according to a Western diplomat.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 2

Iranian opposition leader's wife recounts their captivity

In an interview with Al-Monitor, the wife of Iran's Green Movement leader Mehdi Karroubi, Fatemeh Karroubi, shares details about her and her husband's house arrest as well as his demands.
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 Masoud Lavasani for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 3

Zarif: some in Iran don’t want sanctions to end

Iran’s foreign minister has accused groups inside and outside the country of opposing a nuclear deal.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor on February 2

Sephardic candidates face real discrimination in elections

Ahead of the elections, the Israeli political system still shies away from confronting the phenomenon of ''ethnic voting,'' where Sephardic candidates receive less support than those of European candidates.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on February 2

Netanyahu's household expenses become campaign issue

The media's preoccupation with funds from bottle deposits allegedly pocketed by the prime minister's wife draws attention away from the real diplomatic issues, and lets Bibi off the hook.
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 Akiva Eldar for Al-Monitor on February 2

What turned Erdogan against the West?

The Turkish ruling party’s fast-rising anti-Western rhetoric may be a reaction to Western “meddling in our domestic affairs” rather than opposition to the West’s “imperialist” foreign policy.
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 Mustafa Akyol for Al-Monitor on February 2

Al-Azhar, Salafist group spar over banking interest

The Salafist Call in Egypt issued a fatwa prohibiting banking interest in a move that could push Egyptians to either keep their money at home or in Islamic banks.
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 Walaa Hussein for Al-Monitor Egypt Pulse on February 2

Tough choices ahead for US-Saudi relationship

The longstanding relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia is in need of review, for Saudi human rights abuses and its domestic politics, for instance, are increasingly talked about topics by Americans and the world.
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 Madawi Al-Rasheed for Al-Monitor on February 2

Ankara turns wary eye on Greece's new defense minister

Greece's new Defense Minister Kammenos led the Turkish and Greek navies and air forces into an unfriendly confrontation on Jan. 30, in what Ankara hopes was a one-time provocation.
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 Metin Gurcan for Al-Monitor on February 2

Inside one of Hamas' youth training camps

Hamas’ military wing has started organizing youth camps across Gaza to train the younger generation to defend itself and fight the occupation, some say promoting a culture of violence among the youth.
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 Hazem Balousha for Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse on February 2

'Merciless and hopeless reality' for Syrian refugees

Turkey is facing the worst refugee crisis of the world of recent years but the true dimensions of the crisis are not yet known.
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Translated from Milliyet (Turkey) on February 2

Barzani joins front as peshmerga approach Mosul

Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdistan Regional Government, has decided to stay close to the battlefield around Mosul Dam in northern Iraq to direct operations and encourage peshmerga fighters.
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 Mustafa al-Kadhimi for Al-Monitor on February 2

Captured pilot serious challenge for Jordan's king

As negotiations with the Islamic State for a prisoner swap for Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh falter, the Jordanian public is directing its anger against the kingdom’s decision to participate in the anti-IS coalition.
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Osama Al Sharif for Al-Monitor on February 2

Fatah power struggle leads to missing paychecks in Gaza

A series of internal conflicts in Fatah has been deepened by a decision to withhold the salaries of Gaza-based security officers said to be supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, President Mahmoud Abbas' chief rival.
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 Daoud Kuttab for Al-Monitor on February 2

Hezbollah, Israel claim victory, reset deterrence

Nasrallah steps back from confrontation with Israel after attack; Iran sanctions in perspective; Netanyahu plan may backfire; Kurdish victory in Kobani a setback for Turkey; Are Iraqi Kurdish land grabs sowing future conflict?
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 Al-Monitor Week in Review on February 1

Saudi King Salman quickly makes his mark

King Salman has shuffled key Cabinet positions to consolidate power in the kingdom.
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 Bruce Riedel for Al-Monitor on February 1

Iran's Zarif backed by foreign policy heavyweight

Iranian diplomat Sadegh Kharazi, who has recently received permission to start his own political party and has family ties to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has thrown his support behind the nuclear talks.
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 Mohammad Ali Shabani for Al-Monitor on February 1

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

The chairwoman of the French Foreign Affairs panel tells Al-Monitor that the White House seems "eager to reach an agreement" quickly.
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 Denis Simonneau for Al-Monitor on February 1

Nasrallah vows to confront Israel at any time and place

In a broadcast speech, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah tried to re-establish deterrence with Israel after the two sides traded strikes.
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 Ali Hashem for Al-Monitor on January 30

Amal Clooney attracts attention at Armenian genocide trial

The case before the European Court of Human Rights concerns the right of Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Workers Party, to deny that Armenians had suffered a genocide.
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 Semih Idiz for Al-Monitor on January 30

Turkey’s Central Bank caves on interest rates

Under fire from the government and the president, Turkey’s Central Bank has abandoned its cautious approach and moved to lower interest rates.
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 Mehmet Cetingulec for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on January 30

Syrian journalism co-opted by warring factions

Syrian factions have recruited journalists and media activists to their cause, making unbiased journalism nearly impossible.
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Translated from Al-Hayat (Pan Arab) on January 30

Bennett went too far in plan to reshape his party

The HaBayit HaYehudi chairman failed this week in transforming the traditional image of the party — from a sectorial, religious male-dominated one to a young, vibrant and an all-Israel party.
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 Mazal Mualem for Al-Monitor on January 30

Security issues become tool for delay

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security conditions for any future agreement with the Palestinians would preclude a Palestinian state all together.
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 Uri Savir for Al-Monitor Israel Pulse on February 1

Threat of violence silences Palestinian journalists

In light of physical assaults and abuses in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, some Palestinian journalists are avoiding sensitive political and security issues.
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 Asmaa al-Ghoul for Al-Monitor on February 3