The war in Yemen enters this March its sixth year since the Saudi-led Arab Coalition, with the effective participation of the UAE and logistical support by the U.S., launched the military campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthis. Saudi Arabia justified its military intervention in Yemen by lending support to the legitimate government of President Abdo Rabbu Mansur Hadi, who had been toppled by the Houthi rebellion and forces loyal to late president Ali Abdellah Salah, in September 2014. Hadi himself was elected in February 2012 following the stepping down of Salah under the pressure of the revolution of February 2011, as the then Arab Spring uprisings swept the MENA region.
by Abubakar Ben Rajeh
During the last few months, the situation in Libya has remained complex. After more than two years in his post, Ghassan Salamé the Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, resigned on 2 March 2020. That made him the fifth to leave the position, after Ian Martin, Tarek Mitri, Bernardino Leon and Martin Kobler. This resignation undermines the hopes that most observers had in the Berlin conference and the renewed Geneva peace negotiations. At the time, both of Libya’s rival governments announced the suspension of talks.
by Loïc Sauvinet
The world is going through an unprecedented multi-dimensional crisis caused by the rapid spread of the virulent COVID-19. Religious authorities and scholars all over the Muslim world are engaged, like other actors in society, in countering the spread of the disease and in supporting health authorities by disseminating their recommendations to the population and conferring on these recommendations a religious obligation. This attitude transcends the sectarian or ideological divides in Muslim societies. The International Union of Muslim Scholars, Alazhar in Cairo, Sistani’s office in Najaf, and many learned societies, scholarly groups and independent Muslim scholars have issued in the past couple of weeks numerous converging fatwas and calls to Muslims on how to behave during the COVID-19 crisis. Various modes of dissemination are used: conventional media, official websites, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and e-messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Telegram.
by Abbas Aroua
With the popular demonstrations in Iraq and Lebanon during the past two months, we are witnessing a new political phenomenon in these two countries, which both suffer from major sectarian, regional and party-based divisions.
by Qassim Qassir
There are substantial differences between faith-based entities in: (1) the way they behave with respect to the norms accepted by the majority, be they religious or international, legal or moral; (2) their relation to politics; (3) the magnitude of the social and political change they desire, and; (4) their attitude towards violence.
by Abbas Aroua