When bands of pro-government hoodlums and thugs, armed with sticks, chains, knives and assault and sniper rifles, attacked students in and around the campus of the Beirut Arab University on January 25, Lebanon again peered into the abyss of civil war. But it backed away, mainly thanks to the rigorous exercise of self-restraint on the part of the opposition
It could have been an opportunity for Bahrain to set into motion a policy inspired by the Shari‘ah. But when prominent Sunni and Shi‘a Islamic groups won most of the seats in the second parliamentary elections in Bahrain in more than three decades, sectarian friction stoked the discord between the two communities. The election for the 40-member lower house ofBahrain’s Council of Representatives was marred by campaigning that brought tensions into the open.
If anyone needed evidence that the deepening political crisis in Lebanon has entered an unpredictable phase, the government of Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora provided it on November 25. Siniora defied warnings from the opposition and other leading politicians and high-ranking officials, including president Emile Lahoud, and called for a cabinet meeting that approved a draft United Nations document for an international tribunal to try suspects in the assassination of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, who was killed in a massive truck-bomb on February 14, 2005 in Beirut.
The guns of Israel’s war of aggression had hardly fallen silent in August when Hizbullah, which emerged victorious after its fighters fought the most powerful military machine in the Middle East to a standstill, found itself in a number of domestic political battles. Some of the bones of contention are related to post-war reconstruction and the future makeup of the Lebanese cabinet; other issues are enmeshed with US-led efforts to disarm Hizbullah and put an end to its role as a resistance movement.
As this article is written, it is still far from clear as to whether the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, scheduled for January 25, will take place. At the time, the situation is that special polling centres had opened their doors on January 21 for members of the Palestinian security forces to cast their votes in three days of early voting.
Watching the US's increasing pressure on Syria, it is difficult to escape the feeling of history repeating itself. The parallels with the feverish swirl of diplomatic manoeuvres that built up to the US-led war against Iraq are inescapable.
Like a large rock thrown into a still pool, the succession of ripples resulting from the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in a massive bomb-explosion on February 11 continue to emerge and spread by the day.
The assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik al-Hariri in an enormous explosion in Beirut on February 14 sent as many political ripples through the region as questions it raised about the motives and identity of those who carried out the attack.
Dozens of Israeli tanks, backed by helicopter-gunships and hundreds of armoured vehicles, launched a pre-dawn incursion into the Palestinian city of al-Khalil (Hebron) on April 29...
As Palestinians marked the 48th anniversary of the massacre of Qibya a few weeks ago, they provided another reminder of the blood-soaked history of Ariel Sharon, Israel’s current prime minister.
Since he became president last July, Bashar al-Asad of Syria has initiated a process of political and economic reform. Asad has issued a series of decrees and submitted several draft laws to the country’s People’s Assembly (parliament) dealing with various aspects of Syrian political and socio-economic life.
On February 8, Jordan’s state security court ordered the release of Dr Ahmad al-’Armouti on bail of 10,000 Jordanian dinars (about US$ 14,000). His release came just one day after a similar court directive ordered the release of another unionist, engineer ‘Issam Abu Farha, on the same bail.
After nearly a decade of silence, former Algerian president Chadli Benjedid has spoken. In statements to Algerian journalists last month, Benjedid responded to criticism describing his 10-year presidency as the “black decade” and accusing him of making a deal with the Islamic Salvation Front (Front Islamique de Salut or FIS).
The Emir of Bahrain, Shaykh Hamad bin ‘Issa al-Khalifah, announced in a speech marking the country’s National Day on December 16 that he will be taking the country another step towards democracy. But, like everything about politics in the Gulf Arab states, the Emir’s notion of political reform is of a controlled process in which freedom and participation are not rights of the citizenry but rather favours granted by the ruler.
As the al-Aqsa intifada continues in Palestine, Muslims all over the world are taking to the streets to express their support.