Tag: Middle East

When Italy’s hard-line new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, declared Italy’s ports closed to migrant rescue boats – effectively stranding 629 people at sea – the city of Palermo rebelled. Mayor Leoluca Orlando said he was ready to accept the MS Aquarius at the Sicilian capital’s port, but without the help of the Italian coast guard it was impossible for him to do so. (More…)

At a time when European Union budgets are threatened by Brexit, Italian political instability and an unfinished economic crisis, the European Commission’s proposal for triple funding for borders, migration and asylum suggests an unusual consensus in favour of border security. (More…)

Two-thirds of the way through Freelancer on the Front Lines, Jesse Rosenfeld is filmed packing his flack jacket, as he prepares to return home to Beirut. (More…)

I thought they were Arabs. “Where are you guys from?” I asked in Hebrew, as we waited to get off the plane. “Non parla Ebraico,” the oldest of the group replied in Italian. Switching to English, I apologised and carefully said, “You’d easily pass for Israeli.” (More…)

BEIRUT – Iraq’s self-declared victory over the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) at the end of 2017 was a key reason the country was listed as the second most improved state on the 2018 Fragile State Index, which assesses a state’s vulnerability to conflict or collapse. (More…)

“I need someone who speaks Farsi.” Early one day at the Humans4Humanity community centre on Lesbos, the voice of the centre’s Syrian cofounder Rafat echoed through the main lobby.

I poked my head out from the grocery store. “Ali can do it,” I said. (More…)

Thanks to global media, it is easy to feel like one knows the world. Few regions evoke such a deceptive feeling of being ‘known’ to the Western observer as the Middle East. But in reality, what do Europeans know about the region’s histories, cultures, and accents? To this German, they all look kind of the same. It wasn’t so long ago that I couldn’t tell Alawites from Alevis. (More…)

Iran may be the greatest beneficiary from Iraq’s occupation, the fall of the regime, and the disintegration of the Iraqi state. After all, it got rid of the enemy that broke the force of the revolution and came to have political, security, and ideological influence in the Iraqi arena. (More…)

“Muslims are the enemy,” the cab driver told me. “My parents grew up in Iraq. They learned firsthand that their middle name is jihad.” “When did your parents make Aliyah,” I asked him. “In the 1950s, as kids,” he answered. (More…)

Theresa May backed Donald Trump’s Syrian airstrikes out of weakness, not strength. But this is nothing new. The need to project strength goes to the heart of UK foreign policy since the end of empire. This is one of the symptoms of our post-imperial malaise. (More…)

DAMASCUS – I have lived in the Syrian capital of Damascus since the beginning of the Syrian conflict. I haven’t left Syria for more than a week, and even then it was only to Beirut and only recently, which means only after seven years of war. (More…)

BEIRUT – Syrian government forces are allegedly in full control of the last rebel pocket in Eastern Ghouta, the Russian military announced on Thursday, ending a nearly two-month-long campaign that has killed at least 1,600 people and has largely cleared the area in the Damascus suburbs of rebel forces for the first time since 2012. (More…)