Freedom House (data from the 2017 report) categorizes Israel and Tunisia as the only “free” countries of the region. made available to Congress. War crimes by have been committed both sides. When the Soviet Union abandoned the Marxist Najibullah regime and withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 (the regime finally fell in 1992), many Muslims saw the victory as the triumph of Islamic faith over superior military power and technology that could be duplicated elsewhere. Human rights violations during the Syrian Civil War. According to some international lawyers, Syrian government officials could face war crimes charges in the light of a huge cache of evidence smuggled out of the country showing the systematic killing of about 11,000 detainees. Human rights organizations note the country is currently at the stage of transition and they continue to observe whether the legislation is put in practice. 21st Century Issues What factors (forces) drive independence movements? The funding was also used to reward journalists and academics who followed the Saudis’ strict interpretation of Islam known as Salafism (sometimes referred to as Wahhabism, but Salafists consider the term derogatory). Souvenir signatures of lead negotiators on the cover page of the JCPOA document: The Persian handwriting on top left side is a homage by Javad Zarif to his counterparts’ efforts in the negotiations: “[I am] Sincere to Mr. Abbas [Araghchi] and Mr. Majid [Takht-Ravanchi]. In March 2015, it was announced that the United States would maintain almost ten thousand service members in Afghanistan until at least the end of 2015, a change from planned reductions. While this effort has by no means converted all or even most, it has done much to undermine more moderate local interpretations. Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, and Kuwait were determined “partly free” while all the other countries in the region received the “not free” status. That letter outlined concerns about the several provisions in the then-unfinished agreement and called for a number of improvements to strengthen the prospective agreement and win support. In July 2015, a bipartisan open letter endorsing the Iran agreement was signed by more than 100 former U.S. ambassadors and high-ranking State Department officials. The use of depleted uranium and white phosphorus by the U.S. military has been blamed for birth defects and cancers in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. ... and Arafat becomes a major player on the Middle East scene. The Islamist political program is generally accomplished by reshaping the governments of existing Muslim nation-states. 25 iconic moments that define the 21st century thus far. The term can refer to diverse forms of social and political activism advocating that public and political life should be guided by Islamic principles, or more specifically to movements that call for full implementation of sharia. The support of the military in Arab Spring protests has also been linked to the degree of ethnic homogeneity in different societies. Egyptian pro-Western, anti-Soviet, and pro-Israeli President Anwar Sadat released Islamists from prison and welcomed home exiles in tacit exchange for political support in his struggle against leftists. The Islamic Republic has also maintained its hold on power in Iran in spite of U.S. economic sanctions and has created or assisted like-minded Shia terrorist groups in Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (Hezbollah). The number of militant Islamic movements calling for “an Islamic state and the end of Western influence” is relatively small. In Egypt, in Cairo particularly, mosques were one of the main platforms to coordinate the protest actions and raise awareness to the masses. The rationale and misrepresentation of pre-war intelligence faced heavy criticism within the U.S. and internationally. Over the past two decades, the country has exerted a semi-formal patronage for the international movement of the Muslim Brotherhood. This was contradicted by humanitarian organizations such as the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would not seek re-election in 2015, as did Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose term was ending in 2014, although there were violent demonstrations demanding his immediate resignation in 2011. Protests spread widely to other cities. Throughout the entire Iraq war, there have been human rights abuses on all sides of the conflict. The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan occurred after the September 11 attacks in late 2001. The Obama Administration and outside experts said the extension would have no practical effect and risked antagonizing Iran. Domestic violence is typically covered up and kept within the family as many women in the region feel they cannot discuss their abuse without damaging their own and their family’s reputation and honor. Following the unveiling of the agreement, “a general consensus quickly emerged” among nuclear experts and watchdogs that the agreement “is as close to a best-case situation as reality would allow.” In August 2015, 75 arms control and nuclear nonproliferation experts signed a statement endorsing the deal as “a net-plus for international nuclear nonproliferation efforts” that exceeds the historical standards for arms control agreements. In August, a coalition of anti-government groups called the Syrian National Council was formed. Following the 1979 Revolution, most of the international nuclear cooperation with Iran was cut off. Social scientists have endeavored to understand the circumstances that led to this variation in outcome. Tunisia experienced a series of conflicts. Radical Islamist groups entirely reject democracy and call for violent/offensive jihad or urge and conduct attacks on a religious basis. Western colonialism of the Muslim world, beginning in the 19th century, greatly contributed to equating the secular West with the enemy of Islam, thus fueling the development of increasingly radical Islamism. In Western media, the term tends to refer to groups that aim to establish a sharia-based Islamic state, often with connotations of political extremism and implications of violent tactics and human rights violations. The Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of both violent and non-violent protests in North Africa and the Middle East that began in 2010, triggered by authoritarianism, human rights violations, political corruption, economic decline, unemployment, extreme poverty, and some demographic structural factors. Celebrations in Tahrir Square after Omar Suleiman’s statement concerning Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, photo by Jonathan Rashad. In regard to capital punishment, the countries of the region can be separated into two categories. Security forces had sweeping powers of arrest and detention. Apart from the seven states discussed above,  all the remaining Middle Eastern states are currently determined to be “not free” (including Western Sahara, which is controlled by Morocco). The U.S. claims at least 44 instances in which militants have used white phosphorus in weapons or attacks. Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. In December 2001, the United Nations Security Council established the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist the Afghan interim authorities with securing Kabul. With the success of the protests in Tunisia, a wave of unrest sparked in Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, and Yemen and then spread to other countries. The Iran nuclear deal is an international agreement on the limits and international control imposed on the nuclear program of Iran. Wounded civilians arrive at a hospital in Aleppo during the civil war in Syria, October 2012. 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