A Day of Demonstrations in the Middle East

People power in the Middle East- where next? photo: Nasser Nouri/flickr

In the wake of the major upheavals in Tunisia, commentators are pointing to the next flash points in the Middle East, identifying countries where repression, social inequality and food crises have contributed to a simmering, and now increasingly explosive situation.

Demonstrations, strikes and street battles have already started in Cairo and other cities in Egypt (follow them on the Guardian blog), and Lebanon is in the throes of its own political crisis, with the younger Hariri stepping down in favor of what will most likely be a Shiite (and some say Hezbollah) dominated government. Sunnis all over the country have reacted in fury and mass protests are ongoing.

How did it come to this, and can people power triumph elsewhere in the region in the way it did in Tunisia?

To delve deeper into this issue and the spectrum of challenges and deep-seated problems that their populations face, check out our resources on Egypt and Lebanon.

Christians in the Middle East

Domes of St. Mark Church in Cairo, Egypt, courtesy of Bakar_88

The situation for Christians in the Middle East is difficult and increasingly precarious. From Morocco to Egypt and Iraq, they have come under pressure either from governments or from Islamic groups. The latest dramatic event happened this weekend, when a Christian church was attacked in Iraq by a group linked to al-Qaida, killing at least 50 people.

It’s worth reviewing the situation in some of the Middle Eastern states with sizable and historical Christian communities:

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ISN Weekly Theme: Power-sharing

Shaking hands, photo: Aidan Jones/flickr

This week the ISN explores the promises and pitfalls of power-sharing arrangements as they evolve from negotiation to implementation and functional reality.

This week’s Special Report contains the following content:

  • An Analysis by Dr Nicole T√∂pperwien of Ximpulse examines the delicate progression from armed conflict to power sharing.
  • A Podcast interview with Dr Michael Kerr of King’s College London explores the important negotiating role played by parties external to a conflict.
  • Security Watch stories about power-sharing arrangements from Zimbabwe and Kenya to Tatarstan.
  • Publications housed in our Digital Library, including a recent US Institute of Peace paper on ‘Lebanon’s Unstable Equilibrium,’ following the creation of a power-sharing government led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri.
  • Primary Resources, like the full texts of the Good Friday Agreement and the Zimbabwean power-sharing arrangement between the parties led by Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.
  • Links to relevant websites, among them the BBC-run ‘Search for Peace’, which provides extensive information on the Northern Ireland peace process.