Faces have names. We hear about them but do not get the entire picture. Get to know these influential people in Fanack’s ‘Faces’ section. Below is a list of the most recently added profiles, move to the sidebar to navigate to the respective countries.
Although the moderates and reformists are more open to change within a controlled environment, the hardliners see the disappearance of hijab as symbolic of the loss of their own power. Hence, hijab has become both a cultural war between the state and its citizens and a power play at the very heart of the political establishment. Indeed, by removing her headscarf in public, the ‘Girl from Revolution Street’ has not only become the latest symbol of this ongoing cultural war but has also underscored the increasing friction within Iranian factional politics.
The 2011 uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa region, took Morocco by surprise and greatly affected the status of human rights, which went from rapidly accelerating democratization to a gradual return to the earlier status quo. Gender equality and parity are not yet implemented, and child labour, particularly in the informal sector, and human trafficking, corruption, and impunity still prevail, despite some headway having been made.
Overall, Moroccan and international media, notably al-Jazeera, have described the sanction as a legal revolution that will strengthen Morocco’s reputation as the champion of moderate Islam. This revolution will likely entail others such as equality in inheritance, another highly anticipated breakthrough.
Saudi activists deny outright accusations that they are part of a wider Iranian conspiracy. Their only ambition, most say, is to be treated as equal citizens. Rights groups argue that doing so would be in the Saudi government’s best interests. The only way to end unrest in the eastern province, according to Google, is to give full rights to Shiites.
Anxious reactions to the handover of Sawakin came as no surprise to anyone, given the current regional tensions. The war in Yemen on the east coast of the Red Sea has been ongoing for three years, with no end in sight. Turkey’s manoeuvering, which is at odds with many of its powerful neighbours, notably Saudi Arabia, has been interpreted as a threat to their position.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE are committed to isolating the tiny emirate in every way imaginable. But Dorsey believes that efforts to undermine Qatar’s sports industry could backfire. Assuming the World Cup does go ahead in Qatar in 2022, millions of football fans from the Arab world could be prohibited by their own governments from attending. If that happens, then Qataris will have the last laugh.
The prince is known for his business empire, philanthropy and for being the wealthiest man in the Middle East on Forbes’ billionaires list. Unlike other Saudi princes, bin Talal is self-made, meaning that he used his inherited wealth and royal privilege to build his business empire and invest around the globe
Since the defeat of IS, steps have to be taken to rebuild, physically and morally, a nation that has once again been shattered. These elections could be another of those steps, but all the signs indicate that they will do little more than maintain the status quo, with the real issues facing Iraqis once again going unaddressed.
According to human rights organizations, including the African Refugee Development Center, deportation to a third country is not a tenable solution. In some cases, they say, the returnees have their travel documents stolen, experience arbitrary arrest, demands for bribes and even torture. However, the policy is aligned with the current trends in the Trump administration against immigrants and Islamophobia in Europe.
As painful as Zarrab’s testimony must have been for some in Ankara, the revelations seem to have done little to rock the foundations of the current Turkish government, and Erdogan’s hold on power looks secure. However, the case comes amid the worst deterioration of US-Turkish relations for decades, and its fallout is unlikely to be over.
Ever since Hadi took over the presidency, things went wrong. Despite some reshuffles in the leadership of the armed forces, he did not manage to get rid of the remains of the Saleh-clan. Instead, he started appointing his own family members and cronies to strategic positions. It made the Yemeni’s doubt his sincerity and leadership skills.
The threat posed to Hatay by the PKK and its Syrian affiliates was highlighted again in January 2018, when the Turkish army and Turkish-backed forces attacked Afrin. Whether the threat was exaggerated to justify the Afrin operation is difficult to say, but once again Hatay has found itself, through no fault of its own, on the sidelines of war.
President Hassan Rouhani said citizens have the right to protest but that Trump “has no right to sympathize with Iranians”. He added, “This man in America who is sympathizing today with our people has forgotten that he called the Iranian nation terrorists a few months ago. This man who is against the Iranian nation to his core has no right to sympathize with Iranians.”
When the revolution erupted, however, everything changed. He would regularly perform in the square, and his songs were seen as embodying many of the values of the uprising. He soon became one of the artists of the revolution, his voice instantly recognizable to the hundreds of thousands of people who had taken to the street.
Since the operation in Afrin began, Turkey has been quick to exploit the international concern about the Islamist group, asserting that it is fighting IS as well as the YPG in the area. Turkey’s state news agency reported that ‘the PYD/PKK terror group has released all Daesh [IS] prisoners under the condition that they will fight against the Turkish army and Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Syria’s Afrin region’.
“Once the government witnessed the so-called Arab Spring, it got scared so it put all the defendants in jail, all the people reporting human rights violations. It’s a scandal, this country. All defendants should be released if the UAE wants to be compatible with its public proclamations towards international relations.”
Samah Hadid, the deputy director of Amnesty International, said that most human rights activists in the country were either in prison or on trial, their whereabouts still undisclosed. The others, she added, risk arrest at any time. MBS is clearly remaking Saudi Arabia in his image, while proving to be just as authoritarian as the rulers before him.
Through his role in the island case, Ali has become the face of Egypt’s secular revolutionaries, who were the driving force of the Arab Spring protests in 2011. His detention follows a spate of arrests targeting media and opposition figures, in what rights groups have called Egypt’s harshest crackdown on dissent in decades.
Erdogan has cemented his place in the history books as modern Turkey’s second-most notable ruler, but he seems determined to better that. Even after last year’s referendum, he has orchestrated a purge of elected AKP officials in cities where results from the vote were lower than expected. Loyalty to Erdogan seems to be the sole determinant of survival in this latest reshuffle of Turkish politics. If Turkey’s future seems unsure, one thing is certain: Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be at its centre.
The referendum sent shock waves around the world, inspiring Kurds to the possibility of an independent state and alarming governments across the region. But if Erbil went ahead with the vote from a position of strength, the KRG is now in its worst state for years, wracked by internal dissent and with old political wounds freshly opened.
Historically, January has been the month of social unrest: from the infamous bread riots in January 1984, to the revolution in January 2011 and the protests over high unemployment in January 2016. Although all of them were violently suppressed, most resulted in major regime change, whether it be ousters, resignations, or in one case, exile. What it will be this time around only time will tell.