Al Bawaba's Top Stories of 2017

Published December 31st, 2017 - 05:00 GMT
(shutterstock)
(shutterstock)

Al Bawaba has had an eventful 2017 covering news stories from the Middle East and world wide. From Trump's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital ending decades of peace talks to Saudi's monumental changes in law and practice meant to bring the kingdom onto the world stage, 2017 has defined our recent history.  

Here are Al Bawaba's top stories for 2017. 

 

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Saudi's Crackdown on Extremism and Corruption 

This year Saudi Arabia's Bin Salman made history with a wave of decrees set to modernize the kingdom such as allowing women to drive, lifting the ban on cinemas, and cracking down on corruption. All part of the Crown Prince's plan to "destroy extremisim" and bring back "moderate Islam" to his conservative country.

This announcement was received with much skepticism from the international community and Al Bawaba looked into Saudi's Crown Prince and His Hidden Agenda Behind Destroying Extremism.

The most prominent and controversial of Bin Salman's actions came from his claim to fight internal corruption and the mass arrests of hundreds of Saudi business men, which included 11 princes.

The chaos that ensued as a result led to many rumors such as that one Saudi prince had been killed in a gunfight and another had died in a helicopter crash.  The rumors and perceived rutheless fight for power sounded all too familiar to people earning Saudi situation the title from many on Twitter as the "Game of Thobes." 

Al Bawaba explained what was real and what simply Twitter talk in our story Saudi Prince Slain in Gunfight and Other Rumors After Mass Corruption Arrests.

 

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911 Fears: ‘Allahu Akbar’ and the New York Attack Context is Everything

After eight were killed and 12 injured in a truck ramming in New York in late October, much was made of reports that the assailant had cried “Allahu Akbar.”

The phrase, literally meaning “God is the greatest” in Arabic, was immediately taken by some media outlets to suggest that the attack was an act of terrorism. 

Al Bawaba explained the importance in understanding the meaning of "Allahu Akbar" to use facts rather than fears when deciding what is a terrorist or simply religious act. 

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Egypt ordered more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades from North Korea despite U.N. sanctions against the rogue state.

The news emerged after a U.S. newspaper report detailed how the U.S. tried to warn Cairo about a shipment in Egyptian waters in August 2016  - before discovering that the haul was in fact destined for Egypt.

The cache was later described by the U.N. as the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea."
 
 
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As the revelations about Russia’s use of fake accounts to influence U.S. and European politics continue, the Middle East is also being hit by the phenomenon.

Yemen-focused Journalist Iona Craig has alleged in November that thousands of bots had followed her on Twitter.

The situation, which had been afflicting the Yemen Twitterati since May, has “reached ridiculous proportions,” she said.

While Craig gave no suggestion as to who the culprit is, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. had been accused by some of being behind the fake accounts, which are apparently intended to force her suspension.

 

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On the ground, the reality in Syria is desperate. The idea that Eastern Ghouta is in a ‘de-escalation’ zone seems more politically concocted myth than reality.
 
Al Bawaba explored how after international mediation had failed with rounds of peace talks, the same countries that championed themselves as negotiators and enforcers of the de-escalation agreement were also the ones with the most to gain by breaking it.
 

Turkey appeared to be using the de-escalation agreement as a gateway into Syria to exert pressure over the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who are deeply tied with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), the Kurdish group warring with Turkey.

De-escalation may simply be a veil for Assad's ongoing, brutal military campaign to recapture the rest of Syria. 

 

 


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