Articles by Middle East Monitor

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Polygamy sanctioned by Israeli rabbis to counter Arab demographic threat

Israeli rabbis have sanctioned the practice of polygamy to counter what they believe is a demographic threat posed by Arab populations living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. An expose by Channel 10, an Israeli broadcasting channel, revealed the practice was approved by the rabbinate that has actively encouraged and facilitated polygamy, claiming the practice will give Jews an edge in the demographic race against Arabs in Israel. One rabbi who has been married for 26 years is filmed by an undercover reporter persuading a single woman to become his second wife. “If your parents ask you why you don’t marry like everyone else,” he told her, “tell them that it is a mitzvah [religious commandment] and I want […]


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Iraq PM admits his failure to recapture Mosul by New Year

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said yesterday that it would take a further three months to remove Daesh from Iraq and specifically Mosul, as US and Iran-backed forces battled to dislodge the militants from their last major stronghold in the country. Al-Abadi had previously pledged the northern city would be retaken by the end of this year. But the operation has been slowed by crippling losses inflicted upon advancing Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Asked to respond to comments by the commander of a US-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces that it would take as long as two years to eliminate Daesh and its cells in Iraq and neighbouring Syria, Al-Abadi said: “The Americans were very pessimistic. They used to talk about […]


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Tunisians protest return of militants fearing more violence

Tunisia is facing growing fears that the return of Tunisian militants from abroad could destabilise the country that has already suffered a number of deadly attacks since 2011 when former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted. Concerns have increased after a Tunisian was identified as the main suspect behind the Berlin Christmas market attack where 11 people were killed after a truck ploughed through the packed market last week. The driver was later killed by police in Italy. Responsibility for the attack was later claimed by Daesh in a video showing the driver, Anis Amri, pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader. However, it is unclear if this was a planned Daesh attack or a “lone […]


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New law in Egypt will see government regulate media

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has signed a new law today that will further control the media and regulate members of a new media council. The council will be given the power to fine or suspend publications and broadcasters and to allow foreign media permits or revoke them. The law, which was approved by parliament and signed into law by Al-Sisi, will create a Supreme Council for the Press and Media where a chairman will be picked by Al-Sisi and where members will be appointed based on nomination by bodies like parliament and the judiciary. The new council will be tasked with suing media organisations that violate enforced regulations, creating a list of penalties, fining media organisations that are in […]


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New law in Egypt will see government regulate media

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has signed a new law today that will further control the media and regulate members of a new media council. The council will be given the power to fine or suspend publications and broadcasters and to allow foreign media permits or revoke them. The law, which was approved by parliament and signed into law by Al-Sisi, will create a Supreme Council for the Press and Media where a chairman will be picked by Al-Sisi and where members will be appointed based on nomination by bodies like parliament and the judiciary. The new council will be tasked with suing media organisations that violate enforced regulations, creating a list of penalties, fining media organisations that are in […]


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Iraq female journalist abducted by Shia militias in Baghdad

An Iraqi journalist was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen wearing security services’ uniforms from her home in Baghdad yesterday, police and relatives said, prompting Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to order an investigation. Afrah Al-Qaisi is an outspoken critic of government institutions in satirical columns she writes for several local newspapers and media outlets. Al-Qaisi used to work for the pan-Arab, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. Iraq’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that it had formed a team to look into her abduction. The gunmen took Al-Qaisi from the predominantly Sunni southern Saydiya district of the capital where she lived with her family, according to Ziyad Al-Ajili, head of the Iraqi Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. “They separated the children from their mother after […]


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Iraq female journalist abducted by Shia militias in Baghdad

An Iraqi journalist was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen wearing security services’ uniforms from her home in Baghdad yesterday, police and relatives said, prompting Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi to order an investigation. Afrah Al-Qaisi is an outspoken critic of government institutions in satirical columns she writes for several local newspapers and media outlets. Al-Qaisi used to work for the pan-Arab, Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. Iraq’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that it had formed a team to look into her abduction. The gunmen took Al-Qaisi from the predominantly Sunni southern Saydiya district of the capital where she lived with her family, according to Ziyad Al-Ajili, head of the Iraqi Journalistic Freedoms Observatory. “They separated the children from their mother after […]


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Morocco backtracks and reaffirms Mauritania’s sovereignty

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz yesterday and reiterated Rabat’s belief in Mauritanian sovereignty over its land after controversial remarks delivered by a Moroccan opposition politician, the Huffington Post Arabic reported. The telephone call aimed to “reinforce the mutual relations between the two countries,” the Post cited a Mauritanian news agency as saying, without giving more details. A Mauritanian government official, preferring not to be named, said: “The telephone call came as a measure to contain the tension which followed the remarks of Hamid Chabat, the leader of the Moroccan Independence Party, who considered Mauritania as Moroccan territory.” In response to the remarks, the ruling party in Mauritania announced freezing all contacts with the Moroccan opposition […]


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Morocco backtracks and reaffirms Mauritania’s sovereignty

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz yesterday and reiterated Rabat’s belief in Mauritanian sovereignty over its land after controversial remarks delivered by a Moroccan opposition politician, the Huffington Post Arabic reported. The telephone call aimed to “reinforce the mutual relations between the two countries,” the Post cited a Mauritanian news agency as saying, without giving more details. A Mauritanian government official, preferring not to be named, said: “The telephone call came as a measure to contain the tension which followed the remarks of Hamid Chabat, the leader of the Moroccan Independence Party, who considered Mauritania as Moroccan territory.” In response to the remarks, the ruling party in Mauritania announced freezing all contacts with the Moroccan opposition […]


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Israel downgrades ties with UN Security Council members

Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu decided on Monday to reduce its diplomatic ties with the member states of the UN Security Council, which passed a resolution last week that condemned Israeli settlement activities in occupied Palestinian territories. According to CNN, Israel limited working ties and high-level visits with UNSC members, including permanent members such as Britain, France, Russia and China, though the United States’ diplomatic mission was spared Netanyahu’s ire. The stepping down of ties included Israeli cancelation of planned state visits by diplomats from these countries, reducing relations to a minimum level with the embassies of these countries in Israel and conducting no meetings with their representatives. Israel has not withdrawn any of its ambassadors, nor has it expelled the ambassadors […]