Algeria: What Lies Ahead

For years, Africa’s largest country ––a heavyweight energy producer as well as a key regional player––has been regarded by most analysts, Middle East politicians and foreign diplomats as a pillar of stability. In recent history, the Algerian state proved its staying power by surviving the “Black Decade” of the 1990s when it relentlessly battled Islamist… Continue reading Algeria: What Lies Ahead

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Countering Fear

Two words guaranteed global infamy for fake terrorists this month: Allahu Akbar—Arabic for “God is the greatest.” They were allegedly used at a train station near Munich, as a mentally ill German man randomly killed one victim, and wounded three others in a knife attack. On the same day, an unidentified British volunteer taking part… Continue reading Countering Fear

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EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Kurdish Intel Chief Lahur Talabani

Lahur Talabani’s journey to the forefront of the global war on terror began in the spring of 2002. It was a year after the 9/11 attacks had Americans questioning their intelligence failures in Afghanistan and the greater Middle East region. Talabani, then 26, was stationed in Ankara, representing one of the two main Iraqi Kurdish… Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Kurdish Intel Chief Lahur Talabani

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Yemen: Stairwell Lessons

Schools in one of Yemen’s largest cities, Taiz, are not empty. But they are not filled with students, either. Those that have not been completely destroyed by the conflict are now makeshift camps or barracks for Houthi rebels or resistance fighters locked in a nine-month war. Students have been left to study in streets, mosques… Continue reading Yemen: Stairwell Lessons

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El Chapo’s Narco Mafia

A video showing the hideout of Joaquín Guzmán Loera (aka “El Chapo”), filmed October 6 by the Mexican navy and broadcast by the Mexican newspaper El Universal, is incredible for its details. Films shot by law enforcement in the hideouts of mafia bosses are usually very similar—there’s great excitement, even when, as on this occasion,… Continue reading El Chapo’s Narco Mafia

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MENA’s Private Education Sector: A Burgeoning Market

“Probably the greatest social challenge for all of us is our youth – because they are our future. Without appropriate education and guidance, they will be lost souls, easily manipulated, and prone to being turned into a destructive element in society,” Abdul Latif Al Zayani, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said earlier… Continue reading MENA’s Private Education Sector: A Burgeoning Market

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Technology in Education

It seems that for every generation, schooling can be defined in its own unique way. Where the chalkboard and abacus once ruled, the whiteboard and calculator came along to replace them—a prime example of just how transformational technology can be. Today, change is taking place once again. While technology in the broadest sense of the… Continue reading Technology in Education

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MENASA Women: Breaking Glass Ceilings

“We don’t give women their rights in the form of charity. Women’s rights are not at the discretion of men—they are inherent,” said Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. Ziauddin Yousafzai, father of the youngest Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, told Newsweek Middle East in an interview that women’s rights are… Continue reading MENASA Women: Breaking Glass Ceilings

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The Terrorist Algorithm

Could Omar Mateen’s killing spree in Orlando, Florida on June 12 have been prevented if Facebook had employed a computer algorithm to flag potential terrorists? The U.S. Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, for one, may be interested in exploring this tantalizing, though exceptionally fraught, question. On June 15, the chairman of the committee, Senator Ron Johnson… Continue reading The Terrorist Algorithm

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The Libya Effect

Five years on from the start of the Arab Spring, North Africa seems to be experiencing its worst security breakdown since the end of colonialism in the 1950s and early 1960s. In Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, the government is fighting a wide-ranging, counter-insurgency battle against Daesh and other like-minded militant groups who regularly exact heavy casualties… Continue reading The Libya Effect

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Kurdistan’s Economy Is On Its Knees

Near a quiet park in Sulaimaniya, the second largest city in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, Ali and his fellow taxi drivers are engaged in deep conversation. The topic touches upon the struggles that he and his friends are now facing. “There are few customers these days. People don’t have the money to get in cabs anymore,”… Continue reading Kurdistan’s Economy Is On Its Knees

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Lebanon: Bee Epidemic

Climate change has shifted the ecology of land and sea. It has affected both fauna and flora, and has harmed hundreds, if not thousands, of living species, including the main insect responsible for our planet’s food security: The bee. But is it really just climate change that is killing our planet and its delicate organisms?… Continue reading Lebanon: Bee Epidemic

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Egypt: A Faltering Revolution

I remember all too clearly the day I met Bassem Sabry. We’d been in touch over social media for quite a while; we had many friends in common, but our paths had never crossed in person. Social media in Egypt, in 2012, was already a window into another world—an exceptionally narrow universe—but one that allowed… Continue reading Egypt: A Faltering Revolution

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Baloo the Syrian brown bear

Baloo the Syrian brown bear, does not know if it had any relatives living in the Lebanese wilderness. In fact, Baloo, 18, and his wife Teddy, 13, have been living alone for over a decade now, in a small house fenced with iron bars. But, despite living together for over 10 years, Baloo and Teddy have… Continue reading Baloo the Syrian brown bear

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Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Mankind’s Latest Evolution

Human advancement throughout history can largely be credited to our ability to invent machines that increase our productivity and efficiency. Those tools allowed us to overcome the physical limitations of the human body and that of the animals we used, and as a result, territories were conquered, societies reshaped, and the dream of economic prosperity… Continue reading Robotics and Artificial Intelligence: Mankind’s Latest Evolution

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Business Outlook: Sustainable Energy Finance

For the people of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), climate change isn’t some abstract concept. It’s happening now. Drought, rising temperature, and dwindling water supplies have already begun to affect the region and, as global temperatures continue to rise, things are expected to get worse. It’s against that backdrop that world leaders met… Continue reading Business Outlook: Sustainable Energy Finance

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The Cave People of Palestine

On a remote, barren hill overlooking Jordan Valley in the south of Palestine, Fadel Hamamdeh had set up a home in a cave. Hamamdeh, his wife and five children had been living in the cave since the Israeli military authorities told them that their two-room metal shed (for them, their house) —built not far from… Continue reading The Cave People of Palestine

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Old Rivals, New Rules: Riyadh and Tehran Eye Washington’s Shifting Policies

Years ago, much to the dismay of their strongest Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. administration led by Barack Obama decided to pursue a diplomatic channel to negotiate with Tehran. More than Iran’s regional escapades, the West was concerned about the Persian state’s advanced nuclear program. To curb Iran’s ambition of becoming capable of producing… Continue reading Old Rivals, New Rules: Riyadh and Tehran Eye Washington’s Shifting Policies

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A Headless State

For most people in the Middle East, the prospect that Lebanon might finally install a president after more than a year and a half of political deadlock probably passed with little notice. After all, there are much bigger problems to worry about: The region is on fire, with multiple expanding insurgencies, an accelerating socio-economic breakdown… Continue reading A Headless State

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Iraq: Game Plans

Despite its dwindling fortunes elsewhere, the Muslim Brotherhood or the Ikhwan, continues to thrive in Iraq. Their North African counterparts have not fared so well since the Egyptian army ousted President Mohammed Morsi in 2013, and set about detaining thousands of members of the group in Egypt. Many thought that the Brotherhood as a group… Continue reading Iraq: Game Plans

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Syrian Kurds: Left Out

The exclusion of Syria’s powerful Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) from recent Syria peace talks in Geneva shocked the Kurdish community and baffled observers. It also cast into doubt the nature of the otherwise seemingly growing relationship between the United States and the PYD and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). For a… Continue reading Syrian Kurds: Left Out

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Middle East: Blurred Lines

One hundred years ago in May, Sir Mark Sykes of Great Britain and Francois Georges-Picot of France sat down together and penned their signatures to a document that would come to define the face of the Middle East for the next century. In 1915, with battles raging in the region and the Ottoman Empire on… Continue reading Middle East: Blurred Lines

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Seven Emirates, One Nation

In early February 1968, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the late rulers of Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively, agreed to establish a union between their emirates. The idea had been debated long before 1968, and they used their pact to create a larger union with five neighboring… Continue reading Seven Emirates, One Nation

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Fidel Castro: Farewell Comandante

At the age of 90, the man who defied 11 U.S. presidents, reportedly overcame over 600 assassination attempts by U.S. intelligence agencies, and brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war, finally succumbed to his death on November 25. With 49 years of rule under his belt, Fidel Castro was Cuba’s longest serving… Continue reading Fidel Castro: Farewell Comandante

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