Published in MERIP Reports 58 (June 1977):
For immediate release July 18, 2014 Middle East Report 271 Summer 2014
FUEL AND WATER: THE COMING CRISES
For immediate release May 8, 2014
Middle East Report 270 Spring 2014
CHINA IN THE MIDDLE EAST
How to Talk About Terrorism
Iraq is a country of 15.5 million people living in an area somewhat larger than the state of California. Most of its land is a plain descending from mountains in the north to desert in the southwest. The area near the Gulf is marshy. This plain includes the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, between which the ancient Mesopotamian civilization arose. Iraq’s people are 75 percent Arab and 15 percent Kurdish, with a small Turkish minority. The population is 55 percent Shi‘i Muslim, 40 percent Sunni Muslim and 5 percent Christian.
September marks the seventh anniversary of the war between Iran and Iraq. It now ranks as the longest inter-state military conflict in the Middle East in this century. It has also been the most costly in terms of human lives lost, property destroyed and numbers of people uprooted from their homes. Although there are few accurate statistics on the destructive effects of the war, estimated deaths include some 300,000 Iranians and about 100,000 Iraqis, and at least an equal number wounded. The destruction of homes, factories and critical infrastructure in southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran exceeds $400 billion. At least 1.5 million persons have fled their homes since 1980, mostly Iranians from the cities of Khuzestan. More recently, thousands of Iraqis have left the Basra area.
What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work?
Yemen's parliamentary elections, held on April 27, 2003, might have set a higher standard for contested elections in the Arab world. Instead, post-election shenanigans and gunfire that disrupted ballot counting in key districts cast doubt on the voting process and the ruling General People's Congress' landslide victory.
Nearly 50 years after independence, the North African states of Algeria and Morocco face challenges to their national unity and territorial integrity. In Algeria, a