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Arab World

Confronting Goliath, a Yemeni David

Saudi Arabia’s bloody intervention in Yemen has not merely bogged down, writes Yahya al-Shami, Al Akhbar’s correspondent in northern Yemen: it has induced the ruling princes to pursue such questionable strategies as recruiting vast numbers of religious extremists into the armed forces.

For two years, Saudi Arabia has been trying with little success to take back a vast strip of its own territory, comprising dozens of military outposts and Saudi towns

On a Trickle of Midnight Electricity, Syria’s Refugees See Home Receding

In a blaze of publicity, the Jordanian government and the UN announced last summer that the largest camp for refugees of Syria’s civil war would at last get legal electricity to replace its dangerous hodgepodge of illicit hookups. But in the precarious life of a refugee camp, even apparent improvements have their pitfalls, writes Dana Jebril.

“A grandmother will no longer tell stories to her grand children in the dark and children can now study in the evenings..."

In Egypt, a Parallel Justice System to Further Oppress Copts

Periodic outbreaks of mob violence against Egypt’s small Coptic Christian minority have long been an ugly feature of life along the Nile, particularly in the villages and towns in rural upper Egypt. Since the earthquake that was the Arab Spring rolled through Egypt in 2011, writes Ahmed Abdel Alim, Copts seeking justice for murder, arson, and beatings are increasingly forced to accept non-judicial mediation sessions, instead of the prosecution of their attackers.

In rural Egypt, traditional ‘Urfi courts are an ancient way of resolving disputes

We Are Niggers in Algiers

There is a kind of synchronicity to Bongani Ncube-Zikhali’s experience of racist discrimination as a black African at the hands of official Algeria. A parallel to what Algerians themselves face on the other side of the Mediterranean, and a melancholic coda to Algeria’s once-proud role in the Pan-African and non-aligned world of the 1970s.

It is night time as the bus speeds through the Maghrebi countryside on its way to Algiers.

How to Succeed in the Business of Ruling by Not Trying to Educate Anyone

From within the strange kingdom of Saudi Arabia, an impassioned critique of a public education system so afraid of dissent that it stuffs the kingdom’s young minds with religion and grammar to crowd out any other knowledge. Dissent of any kind, from imported liberality to the self-reinforcing growth of ‘salafi’ fundamentalists, is at the root of the fear, writes Jamal Mohamed Taqqi:

A public attack by Saudi Arabia’s previous education minister on the very system of instruction he oversaw until not long ago:

Return to the Ancestral Cave

A winding mountain gorge, immense temples and edifices carved into its narrow rock walls; a vast and complex water collection and storage system to wring an artificial oasis out of the desert: Petra can seem more like a fantasy than a real place. But this Jordanian valley, once the center of a desert empire, remained until the 1980s an inhabited town, its inhabitants living in homes carved into the rock among the two thousand year-old temples. And now they are coming back.

The people of Um Sayhun village in the Petra region have plenty of the same grievances of other underdeveloped villages in Jordan

In Sinai, the Arrested Mysteriously Reappear as Dead Terrorists

Fighting a remarkably unsuccessful war against Bedouin insurgents in the Sinai, the Egyptian state seems to have given up even pretending to adhere to the rule of law, as Heba Afify’s story from Mada Masr makes clear:

It was dawn on one of the final days of November when Suleiman was awakened to the flashing lights of a police car and then a military armored personnel carrier filling up the street where he lives.

The War Within: Egypt’s Disintegrating Muslim Brothers

Since it was driven underground after the coup of the summer of 2013 and the massacres that followed soon after, what has happened to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt? The vast and powerful century-old organization, survivor of so many cycles of repression and rejuvenation, has split and turned against itself, writes Ahmed Al Tellawi in Noon Post.

The conflict began around August, 2014,

A Seismic Assassination in Cairo

Massacred and driven underground or into exile following the 2013 coup, Egypt’s Muslim Brothers are nevertheless an extraordinarily resilient organization. But when security forces in Cairo this week killed one of the group’s most important leaders, a widening rupture between two major factions in the Brothers broke to the surface, writes Ahmed Al Tellawi in this very perceptive analysis:

In a Tuesday press release, the Egyptian Interior Ministry announced that it had liquidated Mohamed Kamal.

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