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REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Sexual Harassment in Egypt Reaching Epidemic Levels?

In this July 23, 2008 file photo Egyptian boys watch passing girls at the Nile bank in Cairo, Egypt.

From 2002 to 2004, my wife and I lived in Cairo as newlyweds, and together we came to learn that public sexual harassment of women in Egypt is, from a Westerner’s perspective, simply a disturbing fact of life in this city of about 7 million people. While I was a graduate student, my wife More »

Egypt’s Christians Fear Election Will Bring Fewer Rights

An Egyptian Copt boy attends a prayer service in Saint Maximus church in Alexandria some 220 km north of Cairo (file photo).

Elections that started this week are expected to favor Islamist parties, including conservative Salafis More »

UN Commission Slams Syrian Forces for ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

An injured protester is helped by others around him in a location provided as Homs April 22, 2011 in this still image taken from video.

European Union will impose more sanctions on embattled government of Syrian President al-Assad over its crackdown on protesters More »

Arab League Sanctions Could Hurt Syria’s Regional Standing, Economic Agenda

Pro-Syrian regime protesters carry a huge portrait of the Syrian president Bashar Assad during a protest against the Arab League decisions, in Damascus, Syria, on Friday Nov. 25, 2011.

Sanctions are designed to pressure Damascus into implementing an Arab League plan to end its crackdown on protesters 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 »

Despite Saleh Transition Deal, Yemen Violence Persists

Pro-Saleh gunmen, upset over power transfer deal, open fire on protesters in Sana'a More »

Bahrain Protesters, Security Forces Clash Before Report on Violence

Tear gas fills a street of anti-government protesters Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, in Sitra, Bahrain, where clashes erupted during a procession marking the third day after the death of Ali Youssef Baddah, 16, who was struck and killed by a police vehicle.

Bahraini security forces have clashed with protesters in at least two Shi’ite towns just hours before the release of an independent report on the sectarian violence that engulfed the Persian Gulf nation earlier this year. Wednesday’s street battles first broke out in Aali, outside the capital Manama, after a man died when his car smashed 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 »

VIEWPOINT: In Post-revolutionary Egypt, Police Determine Who Will Vote

Egyptian police officers carry ballot boxes to a counting center, after polls closed in the Abdeen neighborhood of Cairo, November 28, 2010 (AP)

For a revolution that was deliberately timed to coincide with the country’s National Police Day, it is ironic that Egypt’s repressive security apparatus will determine who will vote. The list of names being prepared by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) aims to identify former convicts but would also include political prisoners who, according to More »

VIEWPOINT: A Modest Proposal for a New Arab World

A Syrian child living in Jordan gestures for peace during a protest outside the Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, September 29, 2011.

There are so many unspoken rules, ancient prejudices, historical tipping points and complicated allegiances in Arab politics.  Most of them have a great deal to do with religion and little to do with human rights, equality or freedom.  In fact, hating and oppressing all the “others” is a time-honored Arab tradition. Shiites oppress Sunnis and Sunnis More »

VIEWPOINT: Is Sectarianism Eroding Israel’s Democracy?

An Orthodox Jewish worshiper prays at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, ahead of Yom Kippur in Jerusalem's Old City October 7, 2011 (Reuters).

In the last months, thousands of protesters have been rallying throughout Israel, calling for social justice and protesting the high cost of living, the inequitable tax burden, and the monopoly of tycoons and cartels over the economy. Real change, however, will not take place as long as protesters ignore the urgent need for improving More »

US Calls for End to Arms Sales to Syria, Yemen – Why not to Bahrain?

Why is it that the U.S. is urging countries against selling weapons to Syria and Yemen, but is contemplating selling millions of dollars worth of military hardware to Bahrain?  That’s the question a prominent U.S. rights official is asking in this week’s congressional newspaper, The Hill. The U.S. Department of Defense recently announced to  Congress More »