Category Archives: Middle East

Rebirth of the Middle East and North Africa

By Ruth Pollard Standing amid the violent chaos of Egypt’s Tahrir Square, as the tear-gas hung heavily in the air and badly injured protesters were rushed to makeshift field hospitals, it was easy to feel that the Arab Spring had veered way off script. Democracy, it seems, cannot deliver the Hollywood ending many have come to expect from such an extraordinary year. Twelve months ago, it was impossible to imagine an Egypt without Hosni Mubarak (30 years in power), a Libya without Muammar Gaddafi (42 years), a Tunisia without Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (23 years), or a Yemen without Ali Abdullah Saleh (33 years). Since then, we have been … Continue reading

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Hamas prepares to release long-held Israeli prisoner

Israel and Hamas, two of the Middle East’s most implacable foes, announced Tuesday they had reached a tentative agreement brokered by Egypt to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive for more than five years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who summoned all 29 Cabinet ministers to vote on the agreement concerning the fate of the captive soldier, Staff Sgt Gilad Shalit, went on Israeli television beforehand to announce it, a sign that he was confident of Cabinet approval. “If all goes according to plan, Gilad will be returning to Israel in the coming days,” Mr. Netanyahu said. Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader based … Continue reading

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