MENASource

  • A Shift in Iraqi Politics: An Opposition Emerges

    Since 2003, the principle of multi-party consensus has defined Iraq’s political system. This formula was deemed best for Iraq during a transition period, and it relied on the existence of broad sectarian and ethnic coalitions. In practice, this consensus represented the major Shia and Kurdish political parties while Sunnis fit into the mold as best they could or were left out. Though consensus rule certainly gave a wider group of political actors a stake in the system, it also blurred the lines of responsibility and made accountability impossible. Cracks are now emerging in the consensus model, with coalitions fragmenting and a historic step in Iraq’s democratic transition: the appearance of an opposition party.


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  • Syrians in Lebanon: A Life of Misery, or a Return to the Unknown

    Ongoing discrimination and anti-refugee rhetoric in Lebanon are leaving desperate Syrians with two dismal options: to live under harsh conditions in Lebanon or return to Syria with worse conditions and even less stability.


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  • Women’s World Cup 2019: Where is the Middle East?

    The final match of the Women’s World Cup 2019 is a few short days away and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) expects viewership to reach one billion. With all the excitement these past months have generated, it is hard not to notice a glaring discrepancy in representation. There is not one team from the Middle East that qualified. Is it because the sport is less popular in this region? Is it because the women don’t want to play? The answer to both questions is no. Soccer is in fact one of the most popular sports in the Middle East. According to a ...
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  • Parliament Voted to Complete Iraq’s Cabinet: What’s Next?

    Since the ratification of Iraq’s constitution in 2005, the government formation has been an excruciatingly protracted process. While the constitution does not require a specific distribution of appointments by sect or ethnicity, the multitude of political blocs and the ethno-sectarian interest networks forced an allotment of cabinet positions among the diverse components of the Iraqi population. While inclusive governance is an admirable goal, it can be a formula for failure when merit is sacrificed for the sake of meeting ethno-sectarian quotas. With only a few exceptions, Iraqi ministries have been treated as fiefdoms to be controlled by the ministers or their parties and face little accountability or transparency requirements. Even in the few cases when ministers have resigned—or were removed from office for proven corruption or mismanagement of public funds—they later returned to senior political positions or left the country unscathed.

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  • Israel’s Problematic Role in Perpetuating Water Insecurity for Palestine

    Climate change poses an existential and global threat to humanity. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to be impacted more than any other area. At the regional level, thepredicted consequences of climate change are an accelerated rise insea level, a significant increase in averagetemperatures, and changes in...
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  • Reactions to Morsi’s Death: Truth Became a Victim

    On June 17, 2019 Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president in Egypt, died in court. Joyce Karam, a journalist based in Washington DC, tweets it out. His death released a myriad of emotions—and then the truth became a victim. Yet again.


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  • Iranian Environmentalism: Its Origins and Evolution

    In January 2018, eight members of the non-profit wildlife conservation Non-Governmental Organization, the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), were arrested and held in the notorious Evin prison in Tehran. Managing Director Kavous Seyed-Emami soon died while being questioned. The others, plus an associate, were accused of spying on military installations on behalf of the US and Israel, and have since been held and subjected to different forms of torture and abuse. The author of this article was also falsely identified as a Central Intelligence Agency case officer involved.


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  • Will Iraq Have an Uprising after Sixteen Years of Political, Social, and Economic Disillusionment?

    Sixteen years have gone by since the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the country is still suffering from major unresolved political, economic, and social issues. Even the most pessimistic people in Iraq did not think that the situation would be this dire.


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  • How to Counter Iran’s Proxies

    In early May, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier group, a bomber wing, and a Patriot Battery to the Gulf region reportedly in response to threats by Iran and its proxies. At the time, the potential for escalation seemed high with the Air Force flying “deterrence missions” and Iranian military leaders referring to the aircraft carrier as a ...
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  • The Decline of MENA Students Coming to the United States: Why That’s a Problem

    Fewer students from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are pursuing university studies in the United States. In its most recent “Open Doors” report, the Institute for International Education measured an 8.7 percent reduction in the number of undergraduates from the region attending US colleges and universities for full-time studies and 5.2 percent decline in graduate students. Why are more and more students and their families rejecting the United States for higher education? 


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