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After Lebanon’s Collapse, Can an Election Fix the Country?

BEIRUT, Lebanon — After years abroad working as a school administrator, Anahid Jobanian returned to Lebanon to live off her savings for a simple retirement. But that plan fell apart as the country collapsed. Lebanon’s banks imploded, wiping out her savings. Prices for nearly everything soared, leaving her struggling to afford her heart and diabetes medications. And since the state…

Lebanon goes to the polls amid its worst ever financial crisis

 The system is still rigged in favour of corrupt incumbents against a divided opposition  One way to predict the future in Lebanon is to look at election billboards and imagine the opposite. The last time voters chose a parliament, in 2018, roads across the country were lined with cheery messages. “Our port will come”, read one, referring to a tourist…

« Les Tunisiens ne renoncent pas à l’idéal démocratique, mais remettent en question le modèle choisi »

Huit mois après la prise de pouvoir du président Kaïs Saïed, la dissolution du Parlement, le 30 mars, a marqué une nouvelle étape vers une dérive autoritaire. Selim Kharrat est l’ancien président d’Al-Bawsala, une organisation non gouvernementale créée après 2011, dans le sillage de la révolution tunisienne, pour défendre la démocratie et la transparence. Devenu politologue et consultant, il constate une…

Why Democracy Stalled in the Middle East?

In 2011, citizens across the Middle East took to the streets to demand more representative governments, social justice, and economic reforms. In Egypt and Tunisia, protest movements toppled dictators who had ruled for decades; authoritarian regimes elsewhere in the region were rattled as never before. The Arab Spring captured imaginations around the world and challenged long-held assumptions about the region’s…

Is there Room for “Bread, Dignity, and Freedom” in U.S. Foreign Policy towards the Arab World?

Over the last several decades, the Arab world’s strategic utility to the U.S. remains a key pillar of U.S. foreign policy. U.S. policy toward the Arab region has been guided by a set of geostrategic priorities that have privileged authoritarian regimes over Arab citizen aspirations for democracy and economic dignity. Unfortunately, the normalized justifications for these policies continue to reinforce…

The pandemic caused a global surge in domestic violence. For victims with few options, abuse has become the new normal.

AMMAN, Jordan — By the time Umm Zeid caught the coronavirus in September, the Jordanian mother of three had spent 18 months losing a battle with what has become known as a shadow pandemic: domestic violence. Since the first wave of lockdowns, Umm Zeid has suffered in her small home in a city in northeast Jordan. In her 30s, she…

Iraqis opt for less religious strife

An election born of the 2019 protests reveals a distaste for religious-based parties and a preference for clean, secular rule. In the decade before the pandemic, social hostilities involving religion were on the decline around the world, according to the Pew Research Center. In the Middle East, a region long riven by religious strife, a 2019 poll by the Arab…

Kais Saied plans to transform Tunisia. It may go bust first

The president rules by decree as the economy seizes up Before he sent a tank to bar the doors of parliament, Kais Saied was a law professor who preached fealty to the constitution. It may seem a contradiction, but contradictions helped propel Mr Saied (pictured) to the Tunisian presidency in 2019. He was a populist with a patrician manner, a…

More violence, less income: Arab women bear the brunt of COVID-19, study finds

A new survey by Arab Barometer adds numbers to the narrative that COVID has led to a harsher reality for women in the Middle East and North Africa. The COVID-19 pandemic has turned Heba Mordaa’s life upside down. “Ever since the lockdowns started in March 2020, my work has been deteriorating,” the 29-year-old manicurist and mother of three in Beirut says. “At first,…

As Tunisia risks losing its democracy, the US takes a ‘wait and see’ approach

As Tunisia risks losing its democracy, the US is expressing concern about the country’s stability and political institutions but not taking any specific actions yet. It all depends on how things evolve in the coming days, writes Brooke Anderson. Over the weekend, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke with Tunisian President Kais Saied to express his support for the…