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My Belly Dancer for June: Samia Gamal

It’s been a while since I gave you my belly dancer of the month. Too much traveling and too many different things to work on but my life has been a little more relaxed recently and here is my choice for this month, a resplendant Samia Gamal who with Tahiya Carioca, is my other favourite... View Article

“Is Zahran Alloush in Amman?” by Aron Lund

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis. According to rumors doing the rounds now, the Islam Army leader Mohammed Zahran Alloush has traveled to Amman to meet with foreign intelligence services and coordinate a purge of Islamic State and al-Qaeda elements in Syria. Show More Summary

Cartoon 114: Prison Overcrowding

In an interview with IRNA, Reza Mahboubi, Deputy Director of the Interior Ministry’s Social Affairs Center said that five hundred thousand new inmates and detainees enter Iran’s prison system each year. Official records indicate, however, that the occupancy capacity in Iranian prisons is 140,000 inmates and Iran currently has 225,000 inmates. Despite crowd density and […]

Young Activist Sentenced to 12.5 Years in Prison for Facebook Posts

A Revolutionary Court in Tehran has sentenced artist and civil rights activist Atena Faraghdani to a total of 12.5 years in prison for drawings and content critical of the government that the young activist posted on her Facebook page. Faraghdani’s lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, stated in an interview with the International Campaign for Human Rights in […]

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi Responds to al-Julani’s al-Jazeera Interview

by Matthew Barber Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi is a respected Sufi scholar and teacher from Damascus who has been an outspoken voice against IS and other extremist groups in Syria. Throughout the course of the uprising, he has been consulted by rebel fighters seeking guidance regarding their conduct in the war. Show More Summary

“Abu Mohammed al-Golani’s Aljazeera Interview” by Aron Lund

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis  On Wednesday, May 27, the Aljazeera TV network ran a 47-minute interview with Abu Mohammed al-Golani, the leader of the Nusra Front, which is one of the most powerful rebel factions in Syria.Show More Summary

Syria in Limbo: Neither Reunification nor Partition Are Yet Possible

By Vahik Soghom, BA. AUB, MA. Univ of St. Andrews, Humboldt Univ of Berlin Is Syria headed toward some form of partition? Recent developments in the conflict give credence to a number of fears that have been making the rounds for quite a while now. Show More Summary

Round-Up: Palmyra, Contingency Planning for Regime Losses, UN Response to Enslavement Crisis

As some are saying that IS now controls 50% of Syria, see this thorough post on the significance of the regime’s loss of Palmyra: Islamic State captures Tadmur (Palmyra) in new sudden streak of offensives – Oryx Blog In a surprisingShow More Summary

Journalist Exiled the Day He Completes Six Years in Prison

Ahmad Zeidabadi, a journalist who served six years in prison for his work, was transferred to the city of Gonabad in northeastern Iran today to begin serving his time in exile. The Tehran Prosecutor’s Office informed Mr. Zeidabadi’s family earlier this week that he would be exiled to Gonabad immediately upon release from Rajaee Shahr […]

Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship

Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers’ Association. Reza Khandan Mahabadi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Iranian Writers’ Association, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that […]

New Dabiq Issue Reiterates Justifications for Yazidi Enslavement

Click here to download Dabiq issue #9. A new issue of Dabiq was released today (#9, They Plot and Allah Plots), which contains another article justifying the practice of slavery against enemies. (Thousands of Yazidi women were kidnapped and enslaved as concubines when IS attacked Sinjar in Northern Iraq, in August 2014. Show More Summary

The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis – by Fabriche Balanche

The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis by Fabriche Balanche – original post here “Alawis to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” This troubling slogan was chanted during demonstrations against the Assad regime in spring 2011, and exactly who was behind the chanting remains a controversial question. Show More Summary

Young Activist Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Facebook Postings and Peaceful Protest

A young civil activist who has been held at Evin Prison since October 2014 has been sentenced to seven years in prison at her interrogator’s urging, a source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, for her Facebook postings and her participation in peaceful gatherings. Atena Daemi, 27, who […]

Basij Militia Unveils Messaging App that Gives State Access to All Conversations

The Basij paramilitary organization, a subsidiary of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), announced the launch of its new messaging service for mobile phones, “Salam,” which will give state officials full access to any content flowing across the service. The new messaging application, now available for download free of charge, will use servers owned and controlled by […]

Conference Announcement—Syria: Moving Beyond the Stalemate

Announcing the St Andrews Third Biennial Conference on Syria: “Moving Beyond the Stalemate,” 1-3 July in St. Andrews, Scotland. The international conference will bring together in one place the largest and most diverse concentration of scholars of Syria. Show More Summary

Orange Blossom Jam

I am coming to the end of my Sicilian stay, and this year I managed to be there for orange blossom season even if I arrived at the tail end of the season. I had Amy come back to visit, and one of the first things we did was to go down to the citrus grove to... View Article

Iranian Officials Re-Affirm Facebook Will Remain Completely Blocked in Iran

Despite the Iranian government’s stated intention to move towards the selective blocking of Internet content (“smart filtering”), a top government official proclaimed that the social networking giant Facebook would continue to be completely blocked in Iran. Show More Summary

Cartoon 113: Evin Prison to Become A Park

Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said this week that the Tehran Municipality is prepared to enter negotiations with the Iranian Judiciary to convert the Evin Prison complex in northwestern Tehran into a public park. For decades, the notorious Evin Prison has been one of the primary facilities where Iranian political prisoners have been detained, interrogated, […]

“No Books, No Book Fair,” Says Publisher of Banned Books

  Leading Iranian Publisher Boycotts Tehran International Book Fair Iranian publisher Shahla Lahiji has boycotted the annual Tehran International Book Fair for the fourth year running, to protest the government’s refusal to issue licenses to her publishing house. “Since 2014, I have suggested 55 books for publication, but none of them have been issued a […]

Iran’s New Search Engine Denies Access to Political or Human Rights Content on Internet

A new Internet search engine developed by the Iranian government, Parsijoo, has been designed to keep Iranian users from accessing any political or human rights-related content. According to research conducted by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the new engine’s display of search results does not follow the norms of other engines used […]

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