The POMED Wire

What’s Next for Saudi Arabia?

November 21, 2017 The forced resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad al-Hariri in early November after an unscheduled visit to Saudi Arabia was the latest in a series of consequential decisions shaking up the conservative monarchy and the region as a whole, coinciding with the meteoric rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old son of the ailing King Salman. The curtailment of the authority of the country’s religious police, a relative loosening of the stifling restrictions placed on women, and the arrest of a number of high-profile businessmen and royals on corruption charges: taken together, are all indications

Anniversary of Morocco Protests Marks Year of Unrest

By Keian Razipour November 5, 2017 October 28, 2017 marked one year since the death of Mouhcine Fikri at the hands of security forces, which sparked anti-government protests in the city of al-Hoceima in Morocco’s northern Rif region. Fikri, a local fishmonger, was tragically crushed by a trash compactor while trying to retrieve fish confiscated by security officials. His death was ultimately ruled a homicide, after there were debates over the details of how exactly Fikri died. In November 2016, eleven people were sentenced to five to eight months in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter and forgery of public

Details on the New Tunisian Cabinet

By Keian Razipour September 27, 2017 On September 11, the Tunisian parliament approved a new cabinet led by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed of the Nidaa Tounes party. Chahed came to power in August 2016 as Tunisia’s sixth head of government since January 2011. This is the second cabinet change under Chahed, and Tunisia’s ninth since January 2011. Chahed’s new cabinet has 28 ministers. Five of them served in government or in the ex-ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), under toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (1987-2011), the largest number of such cabinet members since the 2011 revolution. Five

Overview of Recent Developments with U.S. Aid to Egypt

September 20, 2017 Recent Trump administration decisions on existing Egypt aid On August 22, citing human rights-related concerns reportedly centered on Egypt’s clampdown on civil society groups, the Trump administration stated that it was cutting $65.7 million of Egypt’s Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) Foreign Military Financing (FMF) and $30 million of FY16 Economic Support Funds (ESF) and would reprogram the funds for use elsewhere The administration also said it would delay Egypt’s ability to make use of $195 million in FY16 FMF until it addresses (unspecified) U.S. concerns on human rights and democracy and Egypt’s ties with North Korea. This

Experts Call for Release of Bahá’í Prisoners, End to Persecution in Yemen

In a letter addressed to Abdulmalik al-Houthi, the leader of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group, 19 academics, regional experts, and civil society leaders called for the release of Bahá’í prisoners held by Houthi forces in Yemen and urged al-Houthi to end the persecution of the group. The letter states: “In the context of a country that has been ravaged by violent conflict in recent years and is now facing the threat of starvation and epidemic, the oppression of an innocent, peaceful, and service-oriented community of a few thousand members is not only cruel and unjust but also bewildering. The ongoing efforts