Protests erupted in Lebanon last Thursday in response to a government announcement of austerity measures, including a tax on WhatsApp calls. While the WhatsApp tax has made headlines worldwide and is being widely reported as the cause of the uprising, public anger actually runs much deeper, and the current demonstrations are in fact the eruption of years of frustration with a corrupt and ineffective political elite. These protests – which have brought people together across class, regional and sectarian divides – could mark a new era in Lebanese, and perhaps regional politics.
Today marks the 7th anniversary of the beginning of the Yemeni uprising that unseated the country’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh craftily played tribes, Islamist groups and foreign governments off against one another throughout his 33-year rule and he continued to do so after he was ousted from power in 2011. But his most recent … Continue reading ‘Dancing on the heads of snakes’: Yemen after Ali Abdullah Saleh
Today, millions of Iraqi Kurds will go to the polls to vote on whether they believe Iraqi Kurdistan should become an independent state, in a controversial referendum that could have far reaching implications for Iraq and the Middle East as a whole. Here are 5 things you need to know to understand the “Kexit”: 1. … Continue reading 5 things you need to know to understand the Kurdish independence referendum
Two people have been killed in the Shia-majority Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, sparking violence between citizens and the state and a sectarian war of words online. A two-year-old boy and a Pakistani expatriate were shot dead on Friday during clashes between gunmen and security services in Qatif in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. … Continue reading Saudi Arabia, sectarianism and the battle for the Twittersphere
January, 2014. Assad's fall from power is inevitable. His army is haemorrhaging combat power through defections, demoralisation and tactical defeats. The coalition of nationalists and Islamists are cutting a path to Damascus like a scimitar through flesh. Six months later and Assad is not only still in power, but he is regaining territory from the rebels. Something … Continue reading Pulling out the pin: Drawing Hezbollah out of Syria