Terrorism in North Africa
- Al Monitor: North African oil and gas sites on high alert (Kaci Racelma, February 1)
"The threats, which were revealed by three terrorists captured in the assault, are significant because al-Qaeda has long aspired to attack oil and gas facilities in the Sahel region and in North Africa. The terrorists revealed that plans exist for attacks on oil and gas installations not only in Algeria but also in Libya, Tunisia and other countries in the region
- BBC: Is street politics the enemy of democracy in Egypt? (Aleem Maqbool, February 1)
- New York Times: Egypt’s government apologizes after a beating is televised (Kareem Fahim & Mai Ayyad, February 2)
- Foreign Policy: The 6 biggest questions about America's Egypt policy (Marc Lynch, February 1)
"The head of the Egyptian army, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, has warned that continuing political strife is pushing the country to the brink of collapse. So can the newly-formed democracy, forged in the revolution two years ago, survive?"
"More than 50 people have been killed over the last 10 days in fighting in several Egyptian cities, in some of the worst violence since the fall of Mr. Mubarak in 2011. The beating of Mr. Saber has provoked a different kind of outrage, crystallizing for many the collapse of order and civility that has derailed Egypt’s transition from its authoritarian past. "
"How do you support democracy while opposing Muslim Brotherhood victories? How do you support liberal movements or parties without undermining their electoral prospects? Does conditionality make sense at a time when the Egyptian economy is collapsing? "
- Reuters: Analysis - Sunni discontent and Syria fears feed Iraqi unrest (Patrick Markey, January 29)
"Across Iraq's western desert, thousands of Sunni Muslims block highways, chant and pray in protests against Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that grow more defiant by the day. Their demands are many, but the old Iraqi flags from Saddam Hussein's era and Sunni tribal colours fluttering among them are a clear message to Maliki: Enough, our time has come again."
- Al Monitor: Syrian jihadist groups take conflict to Lebanon (Jean Aziz, February 2)
"The two soldiers died during a clash between the army unit and armed Sunni fundamentalists in Arsal, which is near the Syrian border in the Bekaa Valley. That incident has many political and security dimensions and it confirms, as Al-Monitor has been reporting, that Jabhat al-Nusra is now in Lebanon and that the group’s activities are about to become public."
- NPR: Feeling all cooped up in the Syrian capital (January 28)
- BBC: Syria strike leaves dialogue bid open (Jim Muir, February 3)
- The Huffington Post: Syria War- Wounded Flee Across Border To Treatment In Turkey (Daniel Lippman, January 29)
"Watching television is probably the most common pastime these days. The most popular shows are Turkish soap operas, but every household also seems addicted to coverage of the war in Syria."
"It took Damascus three days to produce pictorial evidence that the Jamraya military research centre, which it says was the target of the Israeli air strike, had indeed been hit."
"If opposition activists have the bad luck of getting treated in government hospitals, they are sometimes tortured or executed, according to media reports. Civilians have been caught up in the violence because the Syrian regime is accused of indiscriminate shelling, massacres, air strikes on civilian activists and attacks on bread lines and bakeries."
- Al Monitor: The Ankara bomber: A pro-Assad Communist (Mustafa Akyol, February 2)
"When the United States Embassy in Ankara was hit this Friday by a suicide bomber, it was widely presumed that this must be yet another al-Qaeda attack on an American target. It soon turned out, however, that the bomber, Ecevit Şanlı, 39, was a member of a radical communist group: The DHKP-C, or the outlawed People's Revolutionary Liberation Army-Front, which is one of Turkey's infamous Marxist-Leninist terror organizations."
United Arab Emirates
- BBC: Bridging the Gulf: Women architects in the UAE (Razia Iqbal, February 1)
"Some in the West get the impression that the Middle East offers women little in the way of equal opportunities but, in the United Arab Emirates, female architects are helping design and build their own cities. In the past decade, the Dubai skyline has been utterly transformed, with steel and glass towers emerging out of the desert at a striking rate. "