- BBC: Worry taints Egyptian Coptic Christmas (Bethany Bell, January 3)
- Reuters: Brotherhood may pay price for currency fall (January 3)
"About 10% of Egyptians are Copts, making up the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But many are concerned about the rise of President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and the more radical Salafis. And there are fears that the newly approved constitution fails to protect the rights of Christians."
"Life in Egypt is about to get harder for ordinary people who will bear the brunt of inflation caused by a decline in the value of their currency. As elections approach, President Mohamed Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood may pay a political price."
- BBC: Protests engulf west Iraq as Anbar rises against Maliki (Rami Muhayem, January 2)
- Al Monitor: Sadr allies With Sunnis in challenge to Maliki (Mushreq Abbas, January 6)
"Sectarian division is written all over the dispute. Mr Maliki is supported by many Shia who believe they are the target of the regular bombings that strike Iraq. He is anchored in power by a dominant Shia coalition, which despite its diversity, has remained mostly impenetrable to the Sunni opposition."
"No one in Iraq had ever imagined that a popular and political alliance would one day bring together Muqtada al-Sadr and the Sunni Arabs. The two parties participated in an excruciating civil war (2006-2008) that resulted in thousands of casualties on both sides."
- Al Monitor: The ethnicity card and elections in Israel (Mazal Mualem, January 4)
- Reuters: Netanyahu tries to hold back far-right surge before Israel votes (Jeffrey Heller, January 6)
"It appears to be unavoidable — at some point, there will always be someone who will pull that card from the deck and reawaken all of the gaps and rifts between Mizrahim (Jews of north-African and Middle-Eastern origin) and Ashkenazim (Jews of East European origin) to get voters to the polls and vote the right way."
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrambled on Sunday to hold back an opinion-poll surge by a far-right party, appealing in rare radio interviews for his supporters to stand by him in the January 22 election."
- BBC: Libyans’ new love affair with ice cream (Rana Jawad, January 1)
"Before the revolution, there were only a handful of ice cream shops, known as gelaterias, in the capital, Tripoli. Continue reading the main story. Since the uprising, gelato shops have been opening up in almost every busy street - with names such as Buenissimo, Limona and GilatiItalia."
- The Guardian: Syria rebels' arms supplies and finances drying up despite western pledges (Julian Borger, January 4)
- The New York Times: Rebellion at stalemate, waiting for undecided Syrians to make a move (Anne Barnard & Hwaida Saad, January 4)
- Al Monitor: Syria’s Alawites under siege (Ali Hashem, January 4)
"Members of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, formed in November, say that there is still no sign of western capitals relaxing their ban on delivering weapons to the rebels and even Gulf Arab governments, which helped arm opposition groups last year, are supplying less each week."
"Mr. Assad remains in power in part because two years into the uprising, a critical bloc of Syrians remains on the fence. Among them are business owners who drive the economy, bankers who finance it, and the security officials and government employees who hold the keys to the mundane but crucial business of maintaining an authoritarian state."
"Alawites enjoyed half a century of power in Syria — they are in each and every ministry and barracks — but they know that this won’t continue. Sectarian wars impose certain prices on those who fight it; the heaviest is always paid by minorities, even if they have the power."