Protesters chant slogans while burning representations of Israeli flags during a demonstration in Tahrir Square, Baghdad, Iraq, May 15, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).
Remember that astroturf conference back in September 2021, when a group of Iraqis gathered in Erbil supposedly to promote the normalization of diplomatic relations with Israel? No sooner had the conference concluded than most of the participants quickly disavowed it. Many claimed they had been misled about the purpose of the gathering, which was purportedly convened to discuss Iraqi reconciliation—not Israel. Some of the participants were threatened with prosecution under Iraq’s 1969 law against normalization of ties with Israel, although none has been formally charged. Shortly after the conference was held, I warned in this newsletter that it was mostly a stunt that distracted [...]
A university student attends a protest inside Tehran University while a smoke grenade is thrown by Iranian police, in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 30, 2017 (AP photo).
Since early May, Iran has been rocked by protests over a precipitous rise in food prices, triggered by the government’s decision to cut existing subsidies on food products. Since then, prices have gone up dramatically, with staples such as imported wheat increasing by up to 300 percent and cooking oil by close to 400 percent. Within a matter of days, protests that sprang up almost simultaneously in the north, east and center of Iran had spread across the country, eventually reaching the capital, Tehran, where bus drivers went on strike. The rising price of food products are yet another blow [...]
Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah speaks during a conference at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, Sept. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Nariman El-Mofty).
Editor’s note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. The United States’ partners in the Middle East continue to enjoy impunity when it comes to Washington’s responses to their human rights abuses. Witness the ease with which Saudi Arabia escaped accountability for the murder in 2018 of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident journalist who lived in exile in the [...]
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