• Middle East

    A UN Envoy Tries Something New in Syria

    by  • September 27, 2015 • Middle East, Refugees • 

    Four working groups formed to dissect and discuss the Syrian crisis in concrete terms are being set up by the United Nations in a plan conceived by Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy in Syria since July 2014. The working groups and their Syrian interlocutors will discuss safety and protection; political and legal topics;...

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    The Situation for Women and Girls Around the World? Stark.

    by  • September 24, 2015 • Governance, Health and Population, Latin America, Middle East, Poverty, Sustainable Development Goals, Women • 5 Comments

    As the United Nations prepares to formally accept the new Sustainable Development Goals at midday at a summit meeting on Friday, here is a close look at one of the main resources that helped inform the long debate on creating the goals — the UN Development Program’s Human Development Report for 2014. What do...

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    Desperate Escape: Why Syrian and Other Refugees Are Rushing to Europe

    by  • September 18, 2015 • Middle East, Migration, Refugees, UN Agencies • 

    As a relentless remake of the Middle East and North Africa has been taking place, mass displacements of populations have also been occurring. And more chaos is ahead, says the United States Defense Intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, in his assessment that Iraq and Syria may have been permanently torn asunder by war...

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    Saving Scholars Who Become Victimized in the Middle East

    by  • August 20, 2015 • Education, Middle East, Unesco • 

    Khalid al-Asaad, an internationally recognized Syrian scholar of antiquities, was beheaded by ISIS on Aug. 18 for refusing to disclose the location of archeological treasures apparently removed for safekeeping from Palmyra, one of the Middle East’s most important archeological landmarks and a Unesco World Heritage Site in Syria. This latest tragedy inflicted by ISIS highlights...

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    This Palestinian Policewoman Has Zero Tolerance for Domestic Violence

    by  • July 16, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Women • 

    RAMALLAH — As the head of the Palestinian Civil Police Family and Juvenile Protection Unit, Lieut. Col. Wafa Muammar is the highest-ranking female officer in the Palestinian police force and a role model for women trying to find their own space in what has been considered a man’s profession here. Among the first generation...

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    Tunisian Women Feel Their Rights Eroding

    by  • July 9, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Middle East, Women • 

    TUNIS — Tunisia has possessed the rare reputation of being progressive in gender equality in the Middle East-North African region. Yet with the rise of an Islamist political party in Tunisia after its relatively placid revolution in 2011, the question is, how have women fared in the post-Arab spring landscape? In Tunis, the cosmopolitan...

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    Sacking of Iraq’s Cultural Heritage Takes Yet Another Turn

    by  • March 4, 2015 • Asia, Middle East, Unesco • 

    The shocking scenes of irreplaceable centuries-old treasures being smashed and toppled from their pedestals in a museum in Mosul — with the rabid acts of destruction proudly videotaped by fighters who call themselves the Islamic State — has provoked global outrage. But for Iraqis, who have seen decades of losses over centuries of intermittent...

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    The Noose Tightens on Money Flows to Jihadists in Iraq and Syria

    by  • February 12, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Trafficking, Middle East, Security Council • 

    The Russian-sponsored resolution to fight more precisely the financing of the Islamic jihadists who control swaths of Iraq and Syria passed unanimously in the United Nations Security Council recently, expressing the entire council’s dread, at least for now, of the two main protagonists terrorizing the region — Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Nusra Front....

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    Yazidi Women in Iraq Describe ‘Unspeakable Brutality’ Under IS Rule

    by  • January 4, 2015 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Middle East, Women • 1 Comment

    The news from Syria and Iraq is most often dominated by besieged cities and airstrikes on the strongholds of the Muslim extremists of the Islamic State. What those fighters are doing to women they abduct is often hidden by the terrorizing captivity under which they are held. The daily horror of torture, rape and...

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    Palestinians Move Fast to Join the ICC as Bid for Full Statehood Fails at the UN

    by  • December 31, 2014 • ICC, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Security Council, US Foreign Relations • 

    The Palestinians’ failed proposal to formally establish a state and end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by late 2017 through a vote in the United Nations Security Council on Dec. 30 continued to reflect the immense influence of the United States on the Palestinians’ ability to assert themselves through the world body. The...

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    With Mali in Political Turmoil, High FGM Rates Persist

    by  • November 20, 2014 • Africa, Gender-Based Violence, Health and Population, Human Rights, Middle East, Women • 4 Comments

    BAMAKO, Mali — In the primarily Francophone and Anglophone region of West Africa, Mali is said to have one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation, with about 91 percent of girls and women having undergone the circumcision — a rate that has not only stayed stubbornly high but may also be inching...

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    The Lure of Violent Extremism for Women: A Terrorism Specialist Explains

    by  • November 9, 2014 • Middle East, Peace and Security, Women • 

    Liat Shetret is the director of the New York office for the Global Center on Cooperative Security, a nonprofit group that helps governments and other organizations develop responses to international security issues. Shetret’s work — currently in Africa — focuses on community engagement in terrorism prevention, countering violent extremism, the use of Internet for...

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    Islamists Systematically Destroying World Heritage Sites in Syria and Iraq

    by  • October 29, 2014 • Middle East, UN Agencies • 

    Beyond the horrific executions, the deadly assaults on Christian and Yazidi communities and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing towns to avoid their terror, fighters of the Islamic State movement sweeping through Syria and Iraq are deliberately demolishing or damaging ancient historical sites in some of the world’s oldest towns and...

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    Will All of Syria’s Arsenal of Chemical Weapons Be Destroyed?

    by  • October 24, 2014 • Disarmament, Libya, Middle East, Security Council • 

    After an extraordinary effort from the United Nations, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and about a half dozen countries, including the United States and Russia, 96 percent of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal has been destroyed, acting on a UN Security Council mandate. The remaining 4 percent of the arsenal consists of...

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    Lakhdar Brahimi: When Will the US Learn From Its Mistakes in the Middle East?

    by  • September 26, 2014 • Asia, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, US Foreign Relations • 

    More than two decades of American naivety or misunderstanding of Arab and other regional societies, astonishingly poor planning and post-conflict miscalculations that undercut claims of success have left a deep mistrust and lack of confidence in the United States in the Middle East, in the view of the United Nations’ most experienced and savvy...

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    US to Convene a Summit at UN on Stopping Extremists

    by  • September 3, 2014 • General Assembly, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East, Security Council, Uncategorized, US-UN Relations • 2 Comments

    President Barack Obama will hold a summit late this month in the United Nations Security Council to try to counter the surging power and strength of the Islamic terrorists that have seized parts of the Middle East this summer and other violent extremists worldwide. The summit, to convene on Sept. 25, will occur during...

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    Women’s Voices Must Stay ‘Alive’ in ISIS-Controlled Regions

    by  • August 31, 2014 • Gender-Based Violence, Human Rights, Middle East • 

    The extremist Sunni militant group called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which recently declared a caliphate in parts of the Middle East, now controls an area of 13,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Testimonies coming out about daily life in the ISIS-controlled region depict an agenda of fear and intimidation being imposed,...

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    UN Security Council Sanctions Six Terrorists Operating in Iraq and Syria

    by  • August 17, 2014 • Middle East, Peace and Security, Security Council • 

      If there is one anarchic group that every member of the United Nations Security Council currently finds abhorrent it is the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has seized large regions of Iraq this summer, astonishing most of the world. So, all 15 council members — including Russia and China — passed...

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