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Return to the Ancestral Cave
Petra, Jordan. Photos: Hossam Dana/7iber
In Sinai, the Arrested Mysteriously Reappear as Dead Terrorists
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
Ahmed Yussuf Rashid. Cover photo on his Facebook page.
The Smoke-Filled Chatrooms of Iraq
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.
Iraqi Whatsapp status, "Lady Bird".
The War Within: Egypt’s Disintegrating Muslim Brothers
The oddly central place of Whatsapp’s Group Chat feature to the serious and often bloody business of governing Iraq, from Al Safir Al Arabi:
The politician is deeply absorbed in his phone. A constant flow of notifications popping up, and he can’t seem to ignore them.
Rabaa Square in Cairo, the protest before the massacre. Photo Courtesy of Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
A Seismic Assassination in Cairo
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,
Mohamad Kamal. Photo: Rassd.
Shotgun Marriages in ISIS-Controlled Libya
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.
Outside a Tripoli market, Libya 2007. Photo CC: Kalexander2010.
‘You’ll Wish He Had Died’: How Not to Teach Sensitivity
Documents published this week by Al Arabi Al Jadid provide an interesting clue both to the enigmatic attraction of ISIS for young North African men, and to communal rejection of the extremist group. Cheap and easily obtained war ‘brides’ are an advertised benefit for young gunmen who enlist. But to fill the demand for young girls, ISIS religious police must obtain them, at gunpoint, from families who often choose to flee the group’s territory rather than surrender their daughters.
A collection of marriage certificates issued by the ISIS [DAESH] Islamic Court of the city of Sirte has been released to the public
From a very different kind of children's book: Lujaina Al Aseel's wonderful cover for "Who Loves Jordan More Than Me?"
Palaces Built on Shifting Sand
The promise of a series of children’s books claiming to teach compassion toward disabled people is immediately broken for Rawan Baybars as she leafs through its brightly illustrated pages. In the Jordanian books-financed by the Dutch embassy and international NGOs-she finds an appalling and insensitive view that fixates on the misery that the intellectually disabled supposedly inflict on their families.
I recently came across an illustrated children’s book series on the ‘handicapped’ in one of Amman’s shopping malls.
Kuwaiti Parliament during the 2012 elections. Photo CC.
Erdogan Bombs his Way to Front Row Seat in Syria Negotiations
Unlike the nominal republics which surround them, all rocked by the popular upheavals of the Arab spring, the monarchies of the Persian Gulf have seen neither revolution nor in most cases major upheaval. But behind the smooth facades of their palace walls, writes Abdelhadi Khalaf in Al Safir Al Arabi, there is serious trouble.
Found guilty of uttering insults against the chief prosecutor and other members of the prosecution
Kurdish YPG fighter. Photo CC: YPG.
Techniques for Post-Mortem Punishment: an Israeli Guidebook
An ostensible American ally, Turkey, is now at war with America’s major allies against ISIS in Syria: the Kurds. Al Akhbar’s Syria analyst Sohaib Enjrainy quizzes his sources in the region north of Aleppo: what are we to make of Turkish president Erdogan’s latest gambit?
In northern Syria, Turkey’s invasion last week raised the temperature of a civil war that has already been long boiling.
Dheisheh Refugee Camp in Behtlehem, Palestine. Photo CC: Montecruz Foto.
Israeli soldiers have shot to death dozens of young Palestinians in the occupied cities of the West Bank and Jerusalem in recent months, many of them after they tried to attack soldiers or settlers with knives. After they are killed, Majd Kayyal writes, the punishment continues for their families; the bodies are kept in Israeli freezers for ambiguous and unexplained months, until they are abruptly delivered: frozen, blackened blocks of ice, after midnight, often to graveyards far from home.
More than 200 Palestinians have been martyred since Oct 1 of last year, a quarter of them children not even in their teens.