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Cecily Hilleary

Cecily began her reporting career in the 1990s, covering US Middle East policy for Dubai-TV English. She has lived and/or worked in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions, consulting and producing for several regional radio and television networks and production houses, including MBC, Al-Arabiya, the former Emirates Media Incorporated and Al-Ikhbaria. She brings to VOA and MEV a keen understanding of the region's top social, cultural and political issues.

American Businessman on Hunger Strike in Dubai Jail

There was never a real estate boom like it:  In May 2002, Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom, issued a decree granting foreigners lifetime rights to buy, sell and lease property in specifically designated areas of the oil-rich emirate. The result was a scramble of buying, selling and lending in which huge More »

Bahrain, Who Is the Real Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja?

After 110 days without food, jailed Bahraini activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja last week ended his hunger strike. His attorney says al-Khawaja is satisfied he has succeeded in his mission to bring international attention to reported human rights abuses in Bahrain.  In June 2011, Al-Khawaja and 20 others were charged with a long list of offenses More »

Post-Arab Spring Egypt: Boom or Bust for Expatriate Investors?

For the first time in their history, Egyptians are about to freely choose their president. While the outcome is still anybody’s guess, one thing is clear – whoever it might be, he will face the daunting task of rebuilding Egypt’s economy, which took a tremendous hit during the uprisings of last year’s Arab Spring. More »

Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi Appears to Take Early Election Lead

As election officials count the vote from Egypt’s historic presidential election, the Muslim Brotherhood is claiming its candidate is in the lead. But Mohamed Morsi appears to be just one of several candidates who are doing well in a race that is headed to a run-off. Preliminary results indicate Muslim Brotherhood contender, Mohamed Morsi, More »

Jordan’s Simmering Arab Spring: Can King Abdullah Contain It?

Every Friday since late 2010, small groups of protesters have been gathering across Jordan to air complaints about basic things like rising prices and high unemployment in the kingdom.  Fearing a full-scale uprising similar to the one that has gripped neighboring Syria, King Abdullah II early on began promising fundamental reforms.  But the protests More »

Is the Arab Spring Over? – Part 2: Reflections on Syria

This is the second installment of a three-part series analyzing whether the Arab Spring is drawing to a close. Our first installment examined the issue of political pluralism in Bahrain and asked whether recent reforms by King Hamad are resolving the current political crisis to stave off another which might come down the road. More »

Modern Slaves: Domestic Migrant Workers in Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia

The newspaper stories are shocking: Man stapled maid several times and left her disfigured…Heated nails hammered into Sri Lankan maid…Housemaid plunges to her death from Sharjah tower…Ethiopian domestic worker beaten on camera commits suicide… Open any newspaper in Lebanon or the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and you will likely find similar stories More »

Will Obama’s Gay Marriage Stance Cost Him the Muslim Vote?

Pundits in Washington are scrambling to assess the political fallout of US President Obama’s “evolution” on the issue of gay marriage. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama said he did not support same-sex marriage. Two years later, he told Americans his views were “evolving.” This week, in an exclusive interview on a major US More »

Bahrain 2011: Is Iran Behind the Uprising in the Kingdom?

Anti-government protests in Bahrain last year, which came on heels of popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, have again brought to the forefront long simmering tensions between the tiny island kingdom’s Shi’a majority and the ruling Sunni minority. The unrest has also reinvigorated debate over the role Shi’a Iran plays in the ongoing conflict. The More »

TRUCE WATCH: Friday Protests Test Ceasefire in Syria

President Bashar al-Assad announced on April 11 300,000 active duty military and hundreds of shabiha or armed and non-uniformed security personnel had stopped shelling rebel enclaves and suburban neighborhoods of several Syrian cities.  This came as part of a six-point peace plan, worked out by UN international envoy, Kofi Annan.   Middle East Voices has More »

Saudi Arabia Morality Police Declare War on Witches

Here are some videos addressing the issue of sorcery in Saudi Arabia. More »

France's Sarkozy Cracks Down on Muslims in Wake of Toulouse Shootings

President Nicolas Sarkozy says he will block certain Muslim imams from entering France to participate in an Islamic conference next month.  Sarkozy also says he will punish anyone who visits Islamist websites or travels abroad for Islamist “indoctrination”  or training. Additionally, Sarkozy says France will speed up the deportation process for certain extremists and ban More »

US to Offer Temporary Protective Status to Syrian Visitors

Arab American activists are welcoming news that the United States will grant special status to Syrians currently in the United States. Today, U.S. Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano approved the submitted Request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Syrian nationals. This means that Syrians in American will be allowed to remain beyond their current More »

POLL: Does #Bahrain King's Pledge For Reform Put Democracy Issues To Rest?

POLL: Does #Bahrain King's Pledge For Reform Put Democracy Issues To Rest?

Bahrain’s ruler says his country has taken significant steps toward reforms in the months since an independent commission looked into allegations of abuse during the government’s crackdown on Arab Spring protesters.   Now, says King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, all that is needed is for these reforms to be put into place.  His remarks  More »

5 Things Apparent Trove of Emails, Documents Reveals About Syria's Assad

It’s enough to make any world leader think twice before committing anything to paper – or email.  This week, Abdel Majid Barakat, an allegedly defected Syrian security official said to have operated as a mole for the Syrian opposition, has turned up in Turkey with a cache of purportedly top-secret Syrian documents which he More »

LIVE BLOG: Rallying for a #FreeSyria in Washington, Protesters Want #Assad Downfall

Hundreds of Syrians from across the United States gathered in front of the White House Saturday marking the first anniversary of a bloody uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and calling on the U.S. administration for more decisive action in support of anti-regime protesters in Syria. Middle East Voices was blogging the event live.  #FreeSyria in More »

VIDEO ESSAY: #Syria, Twelve Months and Counting

Rally in Idlib, March 15, 2012 Children Appeal to World for Help, March 15, 2012 Sounds of Shelling in Idlib, March 15, 2012 Great Mosque of Aleppo, March 15, 2012 Demonstration in Sbeineh, Damascus, March 15, 2012 Funeral of Abdul Hamid Mohamed Awad, Idlib, March 15, 2012 Remains of Bombed-Out Orphanage, Rastan, March 15, 2012 Protesters Under Fire in Aleppo, March More »

VOTE: One Year Into #Syria Conflict, Will #Assad Be in Power #Mar15 , 2013

As the bloody conflict in Syria marks its first anniversary, cast your vote on whether you think the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, will be in power a year from now. Elaborate on your vote in comments below. Will government forces prevail over the opposition? Will/should the international community intervene militarily? Will Russia and China be More »

#Syria One Year On: Is There an End in Sight?

The Arab Spring’s longest-running conflict hit its one-year anniversary today. It was 12 months ago that a group of youth, inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, scribbled anti-Assad graffiti on a wall in the city of Daraa and were arrested. Over the coming days and weeks, protesters gathered in Daraa and elsewhere across More »

Can #Assad Win in #Syria ?

Whether it’s possible for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to come out the winner in Syria’s conflict is a fair question, given that more than 8,000 Syrians are dead and thousands others missing or wounded. Government forces have pounded cities and towns across Syria. Portions of Homs are ruined and depopulated.  More »