Articles on Middle East

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When you hear hooves, shout camel, not bioterrorist. Delpixel/Flickr

Middle East respiratory virus came from camels, not terrorists

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a tiny, spiky package of fat, proteins and genes that was first found in a dying man in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, we…
An Israeli Iron Dome missile is fired to intercept a rocket from Gaza. EPA/Abir Sultan

Explainer: Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system

The breakdown of an initial ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas last weekend played out to a familiar soundtrack: the wail of air-raid sirens and the menacing hiss of incoming rocket fire, followed…
Kurdish Peshmerga forces now control their long dreamt-of capital, Kirkut, but the euphoria at the prospect of independence ignores the real practical challenges of statehood. AAP/Newzulu/Guillaume Briquet

‘Independent’ Kurds need Baghdad more than they’d like

Iraqi Kurds are in a unique position to declare independence in defiance of a seemingly powerless central government in Baghdad following the rapid disintegration of Iraq in the face of the Islamic State…
The fresh outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas has not emerged out of a vacuum, and may yet worsen. EPA/Atef Safadi

Here we go again – Israel and Hamas resume their war

The prospect of another Israeli-Gazan conflict is upon us with the beginning of Israeli ground operations in Gaza. There have been suggestions that the Israeli action will be limited to the destruction…
Kurdish soldiers have been forced to defend parts of Iraq from jihadi fighters. What are their chances of gaining independent statehood? AAP/Guillaume Briquet

As crisis grips Iraq, could a Kurdish state be in the offing?

Without the bloodshed and destruction associated with the Islamic state jihadis, one of Iraq’s constituent pieces is moving quietly towards establishing itself as a free-standing political entity. Massoud…
The jihadi fighters in Iraq and Syria include hundreds of Australians. EPA/Mohammed Jalil

Why hundreds of westerners are taking up arms in global jihad

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are attracting many westerners, including young Australians, as jihadi fighters. Last December, Australian intelligence agencies reported that they were aware of at least…
While Peter Greste may not have personally been guilty of any wrong-doing, he is carrying the can for wrath directed at his employer, Al Jazeera. EPA/Khaled Elfiqi

Greste and Al Jazeera pay the price in Egyptian revolution blowback

The jail sentences handed down to Australian journalist Peter Greste and his Al Jazeera English colleagues have deeply shocked supporters in the west. While spending a few years in an Egyptian prison is…
Kurdish peshmerga brigades, which have emerged as the only viable military counterweight to ISIL in Iraq, prepare defences at Kirkuk. EPA/Khalil al-A'nei

Kurds find a way forward through the chaos of a fracturing Iraq

The Kurds have no friends but the mountains, runs the adage. Marginalised, dispossessed and oppressed in their historic homelands, Kurds have long lamented a lack of powerful allies willing and able to…
ISIL fighters patrol the newly captured provincial capital Tikrit, former home of Saddam Hussein. EPA/Stringer

How has Iraq lost a third of its territory to ISIS in three days?

The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has captured a third of Iraq’s territory within a few days. Iraq’s third-biggest city, Mosul, fell within hours of being attacked…
Until George Brandis’ comments last week, Australia’s position has been to recognise East Jerusalem as ‘occupied by Israel’. AAP/Alan Porritt

Brandis out of step with international consensus on East Jerusalem

Under questioning at a Senate estimates hearing, federal attorney-general George Brandis revealed that the Abbott government does not consider East Jerusalem to be “occupied”. Brandis later put out a statement…
Young Iranians, like these supporters of President Rouhani, must take care when expressing themselves not to push conservative clerical leaders too far. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

‘Happy’ in Iran: the trials of the young and disenfranchised

In Iran everything is possible, and everything is impossible. – Football Undercover, 2008 Iranian filmmaker Ayat Najafi’s words sum up the conflicting nature of government policy on artistic expression…
Fast-growing Tehran is at the heart of the economic and demographic pressures for change in Iran. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Iran peeks from behind the veil

Iran is involved in P5+1 talks with the US and Europe ostensibly about nuclear capacities. But the real talk in Iran and around the world is that Iran’s government knows things have to change. As Egypt…

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