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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.

UK Paper: Syria's Assad Revels in US Country Tunes as Conflict Roars

In a spectacular revelation coinciding with the first anniversary of the conflict in Syria the British Guardian reports that it has gained possession of over 3,000 e-mails that provide a glimpse into the life and thinking of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his inner circle. Among the gems, Assad’s apparent affinity for U.S. country More »

UNDERGROUND #IRAN : Dying to Be Gay in the Islamic Republic

Share your stories and stories from your family and friends from inside Iran on Underground Iran. In a 2007 speech at New York’s Columbia University, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told his audience that, “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country.” He later clarified to CNN, “Perhaps there are those who engage in [homosexual] More »

ANALYSIS: Iran Looks to Profit from US-Egypt Falling Out

Last December, Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of ten local and foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Forty-three NGO workers – including at least 16 Americans – will stand trial February 26 on charges that include operating without an official permit, receiving foreign funds in violation of the law and spending such funds on activities More »

Why Russia, China Vetoed the UN Resolution on Syria

Russia and China’s recent veto of a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria has earned them ire and a cold shoulder from many in the West. Interestingly, the resolution, in its final form, really did not contain anything that Syria had not already agreed to in an Arab League plan months earlier. So, More »

Muslim Republicans: Here’s Why We’re Loyal to the Party

It happens every four years in the United States.  Primary elections or caucuses  are the state-by-state voting campaigns within a political party that determine who will end up on that party’s final Presidential ticket.  This week, all eyes are on the southern state of Florida and the battle among Republicans for their presidential contender. More »

In Kuwait’s Arab Spring, Bidun Fight for Citizenship

It is an Arab Spring uprising that did not make it into the headlines. Last February, inspired by Tunisians and Egyptians, a few hundred of Kuwait’s stateless people also took to the streets. Unlike the other Arab Spring protesters, they weren’t looking to topple the government. Instead, they were demanding a basic right that More »

Fear of Islam Rationalized: An Interview with Pastor Terry Jones – Part II

As part of our ongoing web series examining the fear of Islam in the United States, Middle East Voices reporter Cecily Hilleary talked with Terry Jones, founder and president of Stand Up America Now! In early 2010, as pastor of the Florida-based Dove Outreach Church, he made headlines worldwide by proposing to burn copies More »

تحليل: الخوف من الإسلام في الولايات المتحدة أشد من أي وقت مضى، والأسباب عميقة الجذور ومتنوعة

“ظاهرة الإسلاموفوبيا” تعني “الخوف من الإسلام” ويرى البعض أن ذلك الشعور بالخوف ليس شيئا جديدا في الغرب وإنما يعود إلى عهد الحروب الصليبية الأوروبية ضد السلاجقة الأتراك. وكتعبير تمت صياغته حديثا يجري استخدام كلمة “إسلاموفوبيا” لوصف عدد متزايد من الأصوات التي تتحدث علنا ضد ما يرونه تهديدا من الإسلام المتطرف للولايات المتحدة وشعبها وثقافتها More »

Fear of Islam Rationalized: An Interview with Pastor Terry Jones – Part I

As part of our ongoing web series examining the fear of Islam in the United States, Middle East Voices reporter Cecily Hilleary talked with Terry Jones, founder and president of Stand Up America Now! In early 2010, as pastor of the Florida-based Dove Outreach Church, he made headlines worldwide by proposing to burn copies More »

ANALYSIS: US Fear of Islam Stronger Than Ever, Root Causes Deep and Numerous

“Islamophobia” literally means “fear of Islam.” Some say that fear is nothing new in the West and dates back as far as the European Crusades against the Seljuk Turks.  As a recently-coined term, “Islamophobia” has been applied to a growing number of voices speaking out against a perceived threat by radical Islam to the More »

Syrian Ex-general: Here’s How to Overthrow Assad

As part of our continuing coverage of the pro-democracy uprising in Syria, Middle East Voices has been speaking with individuals who have joined the growing force of armed rebels known as the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Recently, we spoke with Captain Iyad Deek, who defected from the Syrian Armed Forces. You can More »

EXCLUSIVE: Free Syria Army Leader Asks Obama for Decisive Action on Syria

Syrian Commander Riad al-Asaad, who heads a group of Syrian army defectors appears on a video posted on the group's Facebook page, as he retracts earlier claims that his followers launched an attack on Baath Part Headquarters inside the Syrian capital,

As part of our continuing coverage of what by many accounts can be viewed as a pro-democracy uprising in Syria, Middle East Voices has been speaking with individuals who have joined the growing force of armed rebels known as the Free Syrian Army. Last week, we spoke with Captain Iyad Deek,  who defected from the More »

مقابلة حصرية مع: النقيب إياد الديك المنشق عن الجيش السوري: لهذا قررت الانشقاق

مقابلة حصرية مع: النقيب إياد الديك المنشق عن الجيش السوري: لهذا قررت الانشقاق     سؤال: ماهي رتبتك العسكرية وكم عمرك ولماذا قررت أن تنشق عن الجيش السوري؟ النقيب الديك: طبعا أول شيء شكرا على إستقبالنا و قبول الحديث معنا . الرتبة نقيب و العمر تقريبا ٣٠ سنة، الإسم الحديث عنه على الهاتف لحالات امنية. طبعا الشيء الذي دفعني More »

SYRIA WATCH: Turning Point in the Revolution

A Syrian boy shout slogans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during a protest before the Arab League foreign ministers emergency meeting, at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo November 2, 2011 (Reuters).

Violence in Syria has continued without interruption, in spite of a deal between Damascus and the Arab League reached several weeks ago. Under the agreement, President Bashar Al-Assad was to halt the military crackdown against an uprising that, according to United Nations figures, has so far claimed more than 3,500 lives. The Arab-brokered plan More »

EXCLUSIVE: Why I Defected from Assad’s Army: Ex-Syrian Soldier Speaks Out

This past week, Captain Iyad Deek defected from the Syrian Armed Forces. In a video message viewed widely on YouTube, he invoked God and the Holy Quran, announcing his defection and his intention to join the Khalid bin Waleed brigade under the Free Syrian Army (FSA). He also called on fellow soldiers to join More »

Syria’s Journalists Face Own Struggle Against Assad Regime

Since March, 2011, nearly 100 Syrian journalists, bloggers, writers and commentators have been harassed, detained – or they disappeared altogether. A new report by the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), “Crackdown on Media Workers in Syria,” details dozens of violations over the past nine months, detailing 117 separate incidents. Mazen Darwich More »

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Occupy Wall Street – Protest or Street Theater?

As a reporter who has covered the Arab Spring since the day a desperate young Tunisian struck the match that killed him, I have been watching the American protests with interest.  In fact, you can read my latest analysis on VOA News’ website. I come from a generation which regularly exercised its right to More »

VOA Middle East Newsmaker: Morocco’s Constitutional Future

Moroccans have overwhelmingly approved the constitutional reforms that King Mohammed VI says will bring democratic reform to his country. Moroccan officials said 98 percent of voters voted to approve the new constitution, with a stunning 72 percent of the 13 million registered voters casting a ballot. King Mohammed announced his proposed reforms last month.Reporter Cecily More »