Middle East Articles

Andrew Ma is an HIR Staff Writer

An ailing president for an ailing country – no better words describe Algeria’s latest of presidential elections, in which Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 77 years old and wheelchair-bound, won a fourth term as president of the North African country. With 81.5 per cent votes cast in Bouteflika’s favor, the elections are just the latest of the political farce that has gripped Algeria: Bouteflika’s high approval rating is but a façade that hides away a crumbling interior of dissatisfaction and decline. A housing crisis, high rates of unemployment, and runaway inflation have made those acquiescent to Bouteflika’s negligence much more aware of its consequences for the country.

By Andrew Ma  |  April 22, 2014


By Dr. Hatem Bazian  |  March 23, 2014

This post is authored by Edyt Dickstein, an HIR staff writer 

As the Syrian civil war has raged for months, many see the situation as hopeless—believing that the country will continue to self-destruct, and that there may be little that the international community can do—particularly due to the radicalization of each side of the Civil War, leaving few forces who stand for moderation. But failing to take action does not just condemn the people of Syria to a grisly fate. Indeed, such behavior threatens the stability and even existence of Syria’s neighbors, in particular Lebanon and Jordan.

By Edyt Dickstein  |  February 23, 2014

The Associated Press has recently released information regarding the fact that the Parliament of Iran is discussing the possibility of relocating the capital from Tehran to another city. So far, the city of Tabriz in Northern Iran is the leader in the unofficial rating of possible substitutes. Tabriz is the fourth largest city of Iran and is the administrative center of the province of South Azerbaijan, as well as the historical and cultural center of a population of Azerbaijanis numbering in the millions, the second largest ethnic group after Persians in Iran.

By Sama Mammadova  |  January 8, 2014

In the past two weeks, shocking revelations and drastic changes in the Cabinet of Ministers have shaken Turkey as a result of The Big Bribe – a large-scale secret operation that was carried out without the knowledge of the Turkish government. The one-year-long covert investigation of fraud and corruption involved 300 police officers, and the fact that the Turkish government had no idea of this huge operation has enraged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whose reputation has suffered immensely after the Big Bribe revelations.

By Sama Mammadova  |  January 2, 2014

Twelve years after Operation Enduring Freedom was launched by the US to wrest power from the Taliban and bring freedom to the Afghans, it appears that the banished Taliban is again gaining footholds of power in Afghanistan. In the rural parts at least, America’s mission in giving all Afghans enduring freedom has failed miserably. More and more Afghans are flocking to the Taliban not because they hate democracy, not because they love the extremist ideals the Taliban embrace, but because they are not receiving one of the basic amenities expected in free civilizations, justice.

By Mark Liu  |  December 2, 2013

Although widely admired and supported for their liberationist and pro-democratic nature, the Arab Spring uprisings came with much blood, persecution, and panic, and disturbed many people’s long-established ways of life. As a result, great numbers of people had to flee their homelands and seek refuge along the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Among some of the most common push factors that made the Arab Spring refugees seek shelter in Europe were the disturbances in the economic patterns that political instability brought to the Middle East and North Africa, fear of violent riots, lack of trust towards the new and constantly changing forms of government, and a desire to avoid political persecution.

By Sama Mammadova  |  November 30, 2013

In the western world Islamic conservatism and radicalization had not been on the public radar much until the 1990s and especially the 2000s when terrorist attacks increased and the United States waged two wars in the Middle East. Out of these experiences the West garnered a negative and cautious view of Islamic conservatism with the main fear being that it leads to terrorism. These fears painted the Islamic world in one color as if all Muslims shared the same views about everything from the west to democracy to human rights. If asked about the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood, many Americans would be shocked to learn that it was born in 1928, nearly a century ago. Since then the Brotherhood has been through difficult ordeals of suppression and times of success.

By Benjamin Legesse  |  November 12, 2013

            The fight over Jerusalem is the fight over Israel. Two sides – at times passionately opposed to each other and at times just opposed as a default position – are struggling for control of the city, and in that struggle one can see the larger conflict that will ultimately determine Israel’s fate. Except this is not the fight between Jew and Arab, but rather, between Jew and Jew. Incumbent mayor Nir Barkat, who represents secular interests, is being challenged by the ultra-orthodox Moshe Lion, who is backed both by Avigdor Lieberman, founder of one of Israel’s largest nationalist parties, and Aryeh Deri, leader of the religious Shas party. For this is the true battle for the soul of Israel as both options are viable.

By Isaac Inkeles  |  October 24, 2013

It seems that sometimes we are so eager to find a compromise and avoid conflict that we trick ourselves into believing something we should know is false. It is when emotions override rationality, when a desire – like a desire for peace – overwhelms our understanding of politics, history, and security.  Needless to say, this phenomenon is both common and dangerous. Unfortunately, we are going through a textbook episode right now: unwilling to engage in another conflict in the Middle East, many in the United States are tricking themselves into thinking that Iranian President Rouhani is a viable partner for peace, that he represents real change in Iranian policy towards its nuclear program and Israel.

By Isaac Inkeles  |  October 5, 2013