Al-Monitor (91)

A trip through Iran's Sunni heartland

A journey into Iran's northwest cities of Bukan, Mahabad and Saqqez indicates that while Iranian Sunnis face discrimination, it is rooted in politics, not religion.

Court backs Baghdad by stalling Kurdish referendum

The Baghdad government has several legal, economic and military options to prevent the Kurdistan region from conducting an independence referendum that is opposed by most regional and global powers.

Rouhani on Trump UN speech: 'Ignorant, absurd and hateful'

Iranians reacted harshly to US President Donald Trump's speech at the United Nations against Tehran and the JCPOA.

Where can ex-Erdoganists go?

Dismissed from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's inner circles, the options for so-called X-Men are limited and unpleasant.

Turkey's 'resistance media' refuses to buckle

A Turkish oppositional news site seeks recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records after 61 bans and as many reopenings.

At UN, Netanyahu uses Iran threat to sideline Palestinians

In a move that seemed coordinated with the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revived the Iranian nuclear threat in Israel and around the world, pushing the Palestinian issue off the international agenda.

Saudis tout humanitarian record in Yemen amid Washington backlash

Saudi Arabia's top aid official is in the United States to convince lawmakers and the US aid agency that it has Yemenis' best interests at heart.

Russian-backed cease-fire fails to stop shelling in Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Despite the cease-fire agreement reached between the Syrian regime and the opposition under Russia's sponsorship, shelling in Eastern Ghouta has only gotten worse, adding to the residents' hardships.

How a sweet Jewish New Year tradition causes a bitter fight in Israel

Israeli beekeepers are concerned about shrinking living spaces for bees, the challenges of wild bees and nature preservation activists.

Netanyahu versus Israel

The gatekeepers of Israel's democracy are engaged in a dramatic battle against the camp of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the future of the state and the society.

Is Hamas offering too little too late?

Hamas is willing to display flexibility in order to ease the heavy isolation it faces, but what its leaders view as a significant compromise is likely far from what Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to accept.

Egyptian graphic designer turns learning Arabic into child's play

Ghada Wali, listed as one of the top game-changers under 30 by Forbes, is determined to make Arabic one of the common global languages.

Turkish schools told to cut evolution, make room for Quran

In nominally secular Turkey, the K-12 public curriculum has been updated to omit evolution and expand religious instruction.

Palestinian Authority looks to reinvent itself

A member of Fatah's Central Committee has taken to the media to declare a shift in focus for the Palestinian Authority toward more revolutionary politics.

Events in the Middle East force realism on Erdogan

After his Islamist-driven expectations fell by the wayside, Erdogan finds he has to cooperate with leaders he would rather not have talked to.

Trump blasts Iran regime at UN

Trump said the people of Iran want change in his debut address to the UN, but his advisers insist regime change isn't on the table.

Lebanon explores potential roles with Russia

As Russia works to put the finishing touches on Syrian civil war negotiations, representatives from many Mideast countries are showing up at Putin's door, including Lebanon, which has much to give and gain in the situation.

Abbas pushes forward with plans for PNC by year-end

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' insistence on convening the Palestinian National Council in Ramallah has continued despite objections from Hamas and other Palestinian factions.

Sanctions give Moscow, Tehran something to talk about

US sanctions are indeed drawing Russia and Iran closer, but the question now becomes just how close.

International artists explore fragmented Middle East in Istanbul

The 2017 Istanbul Biennial asks what makes a good neighbor in a world plagued by war, repression and division.

US Air Force says Qatar blockade has 'no impact' on American base

The United States is flying more missions out of al-Udeid than before the Saudi-led embargo.

Israeli right wing takes on the Supreme Court

The claim by HaBayit HaYehudi leaders that their latest initiative is intended to create a balance of power between the different government branches is nothing but a smoke screen; their real purpose is to undermine the Supreme Court.

How Israel's support is swaying Kurdish sentiment ahead of referendum

Turkey's Kurds may have divergent views on Israeli backing for the referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan, but their support for the independence bid remains robust.

Tunisia's next elections will put to test governing alliance

After the founder of the secularist Nidaa Tounes Party Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi expressed his disappointment toward Islamist ally Ennahda, talk is growing about the future of the alliance between the two.

Saudi Arabia stuck with self-inflicted wounds in battle with Iran

Policies driven by a narrow-minded focus on Iran have left Saudi Arabia with self-inflicted wounds, but it is not too late for a course correction.

Dahlan's influence key to Fatah-Hamas reconciliation

Though he has no official standing, former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan's fundraising activities and influence guarantee a central role for him in any reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Trial begins for Turkish journalists accused of Gulen links

The Zaman newspaper trial has opened with 31 journalists accused of membership in the network of preacher Fethullah Gulen.

US faces WWII-scale explosives cleanup in Iraq after Islamic State fight

Cleaning up the booby traps that IS fighters have left all over the country will take many years and millions of dollars.

Turkey-PKK 'drone wars' escalate

The armed conflict between Turkey and the PKK has been rapidly becoming drone-centric, with this dynamic radically altering the basic characteristics of this conflict while amassing legal and moral issues.

Trump talks up peace prospects with Netanyahu at UN meeting

The US president made a stirring case for Middle East peace at his UN debut with Netanyahu, but the Israeli leader steered the conversation back to Iran.

Khamenei says Iran will respond to nuclear deal violations

Iran's supreme leader warned of a response if the United States walks away from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Iran faces challenges realizing natural gas potential

Until last year, Iran's natural gas production was almost entirely consumed domestically. Now it is set to exponentially increase natural gas exports in coming years, but not without challenges.

How Lebanese are countering racist attacks

The Anti-Racism Movement is standing up for victims of racism in Lebanon by providing assistance and support and exposing racist behavior in the country.

Bahrain goes public with shifting stance on Israel

The statement by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa condemning the Arab boycott on Israel publicly exposes the state's change of attitude toward Israel and the ongoing contact between the two countries.

Kurdistan referendum leaves Iraq's Turkmens in quandary

Faced with the prospect of Kurdish independence, Iraq's Turkmens are divided on what is best for their future.

Mob attack on Kurdish funeral sparks outrage in Turkey

A mob attack on the funeral of a prominent Kurdish politician's mother is seen as an indication of the high level of polarization Turkey has reached.

Russia takes renewed interest in Palestine

Russia seems to be increasing its cooperation with the Palestinians recently in several areas, including the economy, politics and tourism.

Who wins in war over ultra-Orthodox army draft?

Experts claim that the key to the ultra-Orthodox army draft is not canceling the current law, but creating a constructive dialogue with the ultra-Orthodox leadership.

Can Egypt's Al-Azhar fight extremism through 'e-fatwas'?

Al-Azhar Fatwa Global Center launched a new website to answer questions about fatwas in a bid to fight extremist thought, which analysts believe is a far-fetched goal.

Turkish military sends anti-referendum message with exercises across border

Ankara is trying to tell its neighbors something with its massive military exercise across the border from Iraqi Kurdistan as the Kurdish Regional Government's independence referendum nears.

Turkish FM says KRG referendum 'big mistake'

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks about the upcoming independence vote in Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkish-EU relations and expanding cooperation with Russia.

Iraqi Kurdistan's young sportsmen put on gloves

Fighters from all over Iraq and Lebanon compete in the first mixed martial arts tournament in Erbil.

Trump, Netanyahu risk being party of two in opposition to Iran nuclear deal

US and Israeli leaders may find themselves, rather than Iran, isolated in questioning a solid international consensus on Iran, as attention turns to Syria.

Russia sees Saudi Arabia as 'gatekeeper' to Mideast

Russian officials say Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud is coming to Moscow for a visit, but the kingdom has been playing coy, perhaps as a bargaining tactic.

What's behind Turkish economic miracle?

Under Turkey's emergency law, big business may benefit while the middle class is fast disappearing.

Iraqi farmers fight against imported goods, corruption

The Iraqi market is flooded with foreign agricultural and food products, which affects local farmers and food producers.

Ahead of UN meeting, Abbas prepares united Arab position

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is conducting consultations with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in order to present US President Donald Trump with a united Arab position for the two-state solution.

Fatwa allowing illegal antiquities excavation triggers ire in Egypt

The Egyptian government will attempt to hold on to its antiquities amid a religious edict giving ordinary citizens the right to excavate and keep such treasures.

Sectarian forces fight for influence in Iraq's Diyala province

After being liberated from the Islamic State, the Diyala province is suffering from increased ethnic, sectarian and political conflicts that could turn into armed clashes at any moment.

Much ado in the Mideast: 3 theories on Russia's Syria trips

Russia's calendar has been packed with official trips to and from the Middle East, raising speculation about new military developments in Syria.