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Highlighting the lot of journalists

IRAN is not the first topic that springs to mind in relation to Jon Stewart. The American host of "The Daily Show" pokes fun at politicians four nights a week.

Making mischief

AS HASSAN Rohani, Iran’s president, was visiting the north-western town of Ardabil on August 19th, one of his ministers, Reza Faraji-Dana, was impeached for “leading universities towards extremism”.

Is the regime rattled?

IT WAS early in the morning of September 11th in Damascus, the Syrian capital, when Barack Obama broadcast an important speech from Washington.

Show us your papers

WITH only the clothes on her back and a toothbrush in her pocket, Mariney, a Mexican-American NGO worker, flew from Beirut to Cyprus in April. It was a routine visa run made by many expatriates in Lebanon before the expiry of their two-month “tourist" visas, which are free on arrival.

Murky relations

AS JIHADISTS calling themselves the "Islamic State" (IS) have swept across Iraq and Syria, they have come up against one unusually tough opponent. Syria's ethnic Kurds have stubbornly clung onto three separate enclaves along Syria's border with Turkey and even pushed back into lands captured by IS.

We're back

FROM a stage adorned with models of drones and rockets fashioned from plastic drainpipes, on August 30th Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement, hailed its resumption of political activity in the West Bank.

Pour me another

LEBANON'S newest microbrewery sits in the shadow of an unfinished aquarium on the shores of Batroun, a coastal town. The eco-themed brewery's garden, filled with second-hand furniture and umbrellas, is full of drinkers tasting the four beers made by Colonel. The bottled lager is already stocked in bars around Beirut, the capital.

A sad anniversary

A YEAR ago today, August 21st, a chemical attack on Ghouta, an area on the outskirts of Damascus, left hundreds dead (the exact death toll has never been ascertained).

A work in progress

MOROCCO’S children have had a better lot since King Mohammed VI succeeded his father as ruler 15 years ago. More that 88% finish primary school, up from 62% at the end of King Hassan’s reign in 1999. Children’s rights organisations have proliferated and the government often funds their projects.

Not us too

ON AUGUST 7th only a few vehicles could be seen leaving the besieged town of Arsal on Lebanon’s border with Syria: tanks ferrying exhausted, chain-smoking Lebanese soldiers, microbuses packed with refugees and ambulances escorted by Lebanese army intelligence men.

A movement behind bars

A SPELL in prison has become the rule rather than the exception for the Khawajas. On August 29th Maryam al-Khawaja, a prominent activist, became the third member of the family to be detained by Bahrain’s government in the past twelve months for campaigning for rights.

Trouble is brewing

IS A showdown brewing in Yemen? On August 17th the Houthis, a Shia rebel group based in northern Yemen, issued an ultimatum to the government in Sana'a. Yemen’s president, they said, had five days to cut fuel prices and dissolve the government—or face a rerun of the 2011 revolution that unseated his predecessor.

Still there

IN APRIL Yemen’s government declared all out war on al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the local franchise of the jihadist movement. Aerial attacks, allegedly supported by unmanned American drones, on training camps and AQAP positions in the south of the country were followed by a ground campaign.

Women Prisoners Collectively Punished For Baha’i Leader’s Meeting with Activist during Her Furlough

Inmates at the Women’s Ward in Evin Prison have been told that their furloughs (temporary leave) have been canceled and that they will no longer be able to send letters to relatives, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Some twenty-five women are known to be inmates at Evin’s Women’s Ward, […]

Hospitalized Christian Convert Returned to Prison Without Treatment

Imprisoned Christian convert Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran, who had no access to legal counsel during her trial in 2013, was hospitalized in Tehran on the third day of her hunger strike on May 29, 2016, but was returned to prison without treatment that same day. “She went on hunger strike [in Evin Prison’s Women’s Ward] […]

Iranian Gold Miners Lashed for Protesting Layoffs

Seventeen miners in northwestern Iran have been lashed on orders of the Judiciary after their employer sued them for protesting the firing of hundreds of their colleagues, the semi-official Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) reported on May 25, 2016.  In December 2014, miners at the Agh Darreh gold mine in West Azerbaijan Province protested in […]

The ‘Martyrs’ of Liwa al-Sayyida Ruqayya (The Ja’afari Force)

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Current emblem of Liwa al-Sayyida Ruqayya. Top: “If God supports you, no one can overcome you” [Qur’an 3:160]. Centre: “The Ja’afari Force: Liwa al-Sayyida Ruqayya.” Bottom: “The Islamic Resistance in Syria.”...Show More Summary

General Gouraud: “Saladin, We’re Back!” Did He Really Say It?

Gouraud: “Saladin, We’re Back!” Did The French General Really Say It on Conquering Syria in 1920? by James Barr @James_Barr For Syria Comment, May 27, 2016 “Saladin, We’re Back!” So France’s general Henri Gouraud is said to have declared...Show More Summary

Cartoon 145: “The Critic Should Not Be Arrested and Taken to Prison!”

On May 3, 2016, during a speech at the grand opening of Tehran Book Fair, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “The critic should not be arrested and taken to prison.” This is prominent Iranian cartoonist Touka Neyestani’s take on the growing number of imprisoned Iranians who have expressed their opinions as journalists and social media […]

Activist Imprisoned and Tortured Without Access to a Lawyer for Shouting “Death to Khamenei”

Labor activist Mehdi Farahi Shandiz, imprisoned for shouting “death to [Ali] Khamenei,” Iran’s supreme leader, is being unlawfully held in Rajaee Shahr Prison’s Ward 10, where non-political prisoners are kept, and has been denied furlough as well as adequate medical care. He did not have access to a lawyer in any of his trials and […]

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