28th March-4th April

The US is paying the cost of supporting the House of Saud as cracks begin to appear – 29/03/2014 – The Independent

President Obama flew to Saudi Arabia to patch up relations with King Abdullah at the end of last week in his first visit in five years. The alliance had been strained by Saudi anger over US negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme and Obama’s refusal to go to war in Syria to overthrow Baschar al-Assad last year. For its part, the US is upset by Saudi Arabia covertly supporting al-Qaeda-type movements in Syria and elsewhere.

obama riyad

© Reuters. President Obama has been visiting Saudi Arabia in a context of tensions with its ally over the nuclear Iranian issue and the Syrian conflict.

Syria’s civil war and the end-of-time – 01/04/2014 – Haaretz

Conflict in Syria kills hundreds of thousands of people and spreads unrest across the Middle-East. Iranian forces battle anti-Shi’ite fighters in Damascus, and the region braces for an ultimate showdown. If the scenario sounds familiar to an anxious world watching Syria’s devastating civil war, it resonates even more with Sunni and Shi’ite fighters on the frontline – who believe it was all foretold in 7th century prophecies.

Iraq civil activists fight to preserve constitutional rights – 01/04/2014 – Al Monitor

Conservative political parties of different affiliations have been controlling the political and security landscape in Iraq over the past years. However, all of them have attempted to restrict women’s freedoms and rights. These attempts are still continuing, despite the popular resistance that succeeded in curbing a series of decisions and actions that seemed to belong to the Middle Ages.

Tripoli, its militias, its politicians and its poverty – 02/04/2014 – Orient XXI

In the second largest city of Lebanon, two neighborhoods compete and tear for over forty years. The reasons for this violence are often described as only religious or linked to the Syrian conflict. They forget that politicians use militias to establish their prestige and recruits even more easily unemployed youth of the two districts that share their extreme poverty.

Palestinans apply for membership to many international treaties – 02/04/2014 – Le Monde

President of Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has announced on Tuesday 1st April that it had decided to apply for membership to 15 international agencies and treaties. This decision was taken shortly after the announcement of a new public tender by the Israeli government for 708 housing units in the settlement of Gilo, in occupied and annexed East Jerusalem.

Fuel smuggling : tensions after the closure of a border crossing in Tunisia – 03/04/2014 – Jeune Afrique

The past three weeks, the inhabitants of Ben Guerdane, in the southern-eastern part of Tunisia, oppose the closure of the border crossing of Ras Jedir, centre of the Libyan smuggling fuel. A lucrative business for the local population.