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Human Rights, Civil Liberties, Democracy Movements

Explore why most countries in the Middle East have dismal human rights and civil liberties records, how human rights groups in many Middle Eastern countries are battling authoritarian governments for influence, and where democracy movements are having an impact.

Arab Spring Uprisings
A country-by-country guide to the protests and uprisings in the Middle East that began with unrest in Tunisia in late 2010, with links to other background information.

Definition of the Arab Spring
Anti-government uprisings broke out across the Middle East in 2011. Why do we call them the "Arab Spring"? What was the aim of the protests, and how successful were they?

Arab Spring Impact on the Middle East
How did the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011 change the Middle East? Explosion of political activity and people power, but also political tension, economic uncertainty, instability, and even conflict.

Beyond Qaddafi's Death in Libya
The killing of Libya's Muammar el Qaddafi was another example of the sort of brutal extra-judicial killings the United States legitimized with the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Al Qaeda and the Arab Spring
Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 have changed the political map of the Middle East. How did Al Qaeda react to these upheavals? Was Arab Spring a threat or an opportunity for the terrorist network?

The Anti-Sharia Law Movement in the United States
Sharia Law, David Yerushalmi and who's behind the Anti-Sharia law movement in the United States.

Five Myths About the Syrian Regime of Bashar el Assad
Myths about Syria's Bashar el Assad, Alawites, Syria's enmity with Israel and Syria's alleged buffer against Islamists.

Morocco's 2011 Constitutional Reforms
Moroccans approved a referendum on constitutional reforms on July 1, 2011, that was seen as a referendum on Mohammed VI's popularity. The legitimacy of the reforms is in question.

3 Down: Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh Flees to Saudi Arabia

Massacres in Syria, Silence of the Arab Lambs
The silence of the Arab League and the international community in the face of Syrian massacres is a shameful display of impotence and complicity with crimes against humanity, Nehad Ismail argues.

Obama and the Arab Spring: A Failure of Vision
Why Barack Obama's speech on the Arab Spring and the Middle East fell short of resolving contradictions and addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Fatah-Hamas Reconciliation Agreement
Full text of the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement of April 27, 2011, outlining elections, security issues and governing matters.

What Are Hama Rules?
Hama Rules is an expression coined by Thomas Friedman to describe Syria's ruthless repression of dissent, emanating from Hafez el Assad's massacre in Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Hama in February 1982.

Libya, Bahrain, Obama and Double-Standards
Barack Obama's double-standard: the U.S. president is backing a military attack on Libya while looking the other way in Yemen and Bahrain.

Alwaleed bin Talal Pleads With His Own Saudi Arabia: Reform Before It's Too Late
Alwaleed bin Talal Abdulaziz al-Saud, one of the world's richest men, pleads with his own Saudi Arabia to reform politically before it's too late.

The Egyptian Revolution in the Context of U.S. Policy in the Middle East
Understanding the Egyptian Revolution against Hosni Mubarak in the context of U.S. or American policy in the Middle East.

Who Was Peace Activist Rachel Corrie?
FAQ on Rachel Corrie, peace activist killed by an Israeli army bulldozer as she was protesting the demolition of a Palestinian house in Gaza.

What Is White Phosphorus?
Explanation and description of white phosphorus, the munitions and bombs designed to give soldiers cover but that Israel used in Gaza as offensive, incendiary weapons.

What Is UNRWA - The United Nations Relief Works Agency?
Brief history and definition of the UN's chief relief agency for Palestinian refugees.

Armenian Genocide Memorial, Yerevan, Armenia
The Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia: Brief history and description.

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)
ICRW seeks to promote a world free of poverty in which women and men, girls and boys have equal opportunities to achieve their potential and realize their rights.

Child Marriage in the Middle East
Chart and Country Rankings of Child Marriage in the Middle East.

Child Marrriage: Facts, Causes and Consequences
Facts, causes and consequences of child marriage and the sexual abuse of children.

Nicolas Sarkozy, France and Islamic Dress
Islam and the West: Nicolas Sarkozy, France and the wearing of the Islamic veil, or burqa.

Why Sunni Arab Regimes Fear Democracy in Shiite Iran
Why Sunni Arab regimes, avowed enemies of the Shiite regime in Iran, fear democracy in Iran even more.

Yemen's Seyaj Organization For Childhood Protection
The Seyaj Organization For Childhood Protection is a Yemeni human rights and child advocacy organization.

Review: "The Dark Side," by Jane Mayer
How the torture memos came to be: a book review of Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals."

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI)
The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) believes that torture and ill treatment of any kind and under all circumstances is incompatible with the moral values of democracy and the rule of law.

Who Are Egypt's Copts and Coptic Christians?
Brief explanation and history of Egypt's Copts and Coptic Christians, minus the misconceptions and misapplications of the terms.

Ottoman Turkey's Genocide of Armenian: Documents, Facts and History
The genocide of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks and Kurds between 1915 and 1923 is one of the 20th century's earliest mass atrocities. Turkey has never owned up to the genocide. To this day, Turkey not only denies that a genocide took place. It prosecutes those in Turkey who claim it has and bullies other nations against acknowledging the genocide ion their official pronouncements--a…

Iraq Casualties, 1980-2009: From Saddam Hussein to George Bush
A tally of Iraq casualties in war and death camps, 1980-2009, from Saddam Hussein's regime to George W. Bush's war.

The Torture Memos and Accountability
Transparency isn't enough. Prosecutions must follow Obama's release of the Bush administration's torture memos.

Afghanistan's "Rape Law" and Women's Protests
What Afghanistan's rape law says and how women got stoned protesting it in Kabul.

Why Afghanistan Is the Wrong War: Blasphemy of Human Rights
Blasphemy after blasphemy of human rights, women's rights and civil rights show why Afghanistan is the wrong war. Yet Barack Obama persists in escalating American troops and staking his future on protecting Afghanistan. Why?

Defence for Children International / Palestine Section
Defence for Children International-Palestine Section is dedicated to promoting and protecting the rights of Palestinian children in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

What Is Israel's Peace Now?
Description and brief history of Peace Now, one of Israel's largest non-governmental and human rights organizations working for a two-state solution and a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Origins of Peace Now Movement: Soldiers' 1978 Open Letter to Menahem Begin
In March 1978, in the wake of Israel's invasion of Lebanon, 348 Israeli soldiers and reservists urged Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin to choose peace with Arabs over "Greater Israel." The letter was at the origin of the Peace Now movement.

Profile: Iran's Mohammed Khatami, Reformist Cleric
Iran's Mohammed Khatami: Profile of a Reformist Philosopher-Cleric and Iranian President (1997-2005).

Who's Who in Israel's 2009 Election for Prime Minister
Who's Who in Israel's 2009 Election for Prime Minister, from Benjamin Netanyahu to Tzipi Livni to Ehud Barak to Avigdor Lieberman.

Protesting Israel's Assault on Gaza: An Eyewitness Account
An eyewitness account of Egyptian protests over the Israeli assault on Hamas in Gaza--and the Egyptian government's repression of those protests.

What Is the Palestinian Declaration of Independence of 1988?
Written by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, also known as the Algiers Declaration of 1988, defined the Palestinian state, rejected violence and terrorism, and implicitly recognized Israel's right to exist.

Profile: Israel's Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995)
Profile of Israel's Yitzhak Rabin (1922-1995), who led Israel militarily and politically and brokered its first recognition of Palestinian autonomy in 1994.

Profile: Rashid Khalidi, Scholar and Rare Voice for Palestinian History
Profile of Rashid Khalidi, the distinguished scholar of Middle East and Palestinian history thrust into the 2008 American presidential campaign over slanderous implications about his "association" with Barack Obama.

The Shame of Guantanamo
The concentration camp on Guantanamo Bay, an illegal shame, should be an indictment of national drift from constitutional principles and international law.

What Is the Muslim Brotherhood?
What Is the Muslim Brotherhood, when was it founded, by whom and to what purpose? A quick explanation of the Ikhwan movement founded by Hasan al-Banna and remade by Syed Qutb.

U.S.-NATO Air Raids and Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan: The Facts
Contrary to John McCain's and Sarah Palin's claims, there's no question that American and NATO forces are air-raiding civilians and causing heavy civilian casualties in Afghanistan.

The Muslim Veil and the Law in Europe, the United States and Canada
A country-by-country look at where the Islamic veil may be worn in public schools and universities, and where it's banned or restricted.

Glossary: Ta'ayush
Definition of Ta'ayush, the Palestinian-Israeli grass-roots partnership and human rights movement designed to break down the walls of racism and segregation.

Geraldine Brooks: "Nine Parts of Desire" (Review)
"Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women," is a rich, fascinating and intimate look at the progress and struggles of women in the Middle East, by Pulitzer-Prize winner Geraldine Brooks.

Return of Repression in Afghanistan - Afghanistan's Taliban-Lite Repression
The ouster of Afghanistan's brutal Taliban regime in 2001 was supposed to usher in freedom and democracy respectful of civil liberties and human rights. Reality is proving assumptions wrong.

Human Rights Watch: Middle East and North Africa
Human Rights Watch is the world's leading organization dedicated to protecting the human rights and dignity of people around the world, fighting discrimination and war crimes impartially, and advocating for justice.

Amnesty International, Middle East Portal
Amnesty International, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977, is an advocacy organization campaigning for "a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards." It produces regular and extensive reports on human rights abuses in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
Founded in 1985, EOHR is a Cairo-based non-governmental organization with 2,300 members 17 provincial branches in Egypt.

Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
US-based organization dedicated to combating anti-semitism and other human rights abuses. The ADL site includes a special focus on conflicts in the Middle East.

B'Tselem
Israeli human rights organization.

Saudi Arabia's Dismal Human Rights and Civil Liberties Record
Saudi Arabia's human rights record, along with its civil liberties record, continues to be dismal.

Saudi Arabia's NASCAR Gals
Hillary Clinton's meek response to Saudi Arabia's women driving in defiance of the regime's ban is another indication of America's growing irrelevance and failing legitimacy in the eyes of the new Arab generation.

Does America Have Any Credibility in the Middle East Anymore?
From Tunisia to Afghanistan, American credibility is in tatters. Can American credibility be preserved in any way?

Wikileaks Cable: Tunisian Corruption and President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali
Wikileaks cable reveals Tunisian corruption on President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's watch as his family benefits.

The Reasons for the Arab Spring
What were the reasons for the Arab Spring in 2011? Here are the top ten developments that helped both trigger the revolt and help it confront the might of the police state.

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