Many Muslim (or majority-Muslim) countries are celebrating Eid Al Fitr Thursday. This religious holiday comes after the holy month of Ramadan. No more crankiness and dehydration. Muslims are happy to embrace their coffee and cigarettes out in public and in daylight.
In the meantime, here is a round-up of how some Middle Eastern countries are welcoming the Eid. We will move from west to east.
Although the situation in Syria is critical at this moment, it is not mentioned in this article. The situation is far too complex to sum up in 100 words. One thing is for sure: Millions of Syrians have been displaced since the start of the civil war in the country. Millions are now refugees in neighboring states such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. The regime's forces are making more gains, but no one can tell how soon the armed conflict in the country will come to an end.
Moroccan youth have been protesting their king's pardon of a Spanish convicted pedophile, sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2009 for raping 11 Moroccan children. Although, the king has revoked the pardon, Moroccans continue to protest the failure of royal leadership that had led to such a decision in the first place. Protesters were beaten and dozens were injured while trying to stage a protest in front of the country's parliament. Meanwhile, the convicted (and pardoned) Spaniard has already left for Spain. He was arrested again and may serve his sentence there.
Although Moroccans seem to be united on this issue, social media is showing some divisions within Moroccan society, notably between those very loyal to the king's leadership, and those who blame the rampant sex tourism in the country on liberal laws brought by secularists.
A political crisis has erupted in Tunisia in the last 10 days. The country is now living in a legislative and constitutional vacuum after the elected constituent assembly suspended its activities. Thousands of protesters are demanding the dissolution of the legislative body and the government before dialogue over the new constitution might even continue.
The country has been struck by a second political assassination. Mohamed Brahmi was a low-profile leftist MP in the assembly, but his death caused an uproar. This is the second political assassination in the country in the last six months.
To add insult to injury, 10 Tunisian soldiers were killed on two different occasions within their first few days near the Algerian border. These and other terrorist attacks have left many other injuries among military troops, and a tense political atmosphere.
News from Egypt has been front and center recently. The military has been engaging pro-Morsi supporters, resulting in bloody clashes and many deaths among the ranks of Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood supporters. It is bloody. Meanwhile, the country is attempting to fashion a new, temporary truce until the next round of presidential elections.
More than two years have passed since the initial uprisings in Bahrain, and the situation hasn't shown much progress. Torture and random arrests have only escalated in Bahrain, with no clear path to a negotiation. Just last week, Bahrain banned protests even in the capital Manama, anticipating some anti-government protests around the holidays. Crackdowns on personal liberties doesn't end there. PolicyMic writer Alison Percich has reported on Bahrain's war on social media and Twitter , which the government is waging in an attempt to stop protests and discontent.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were set to resume on Monday. It seems that John Kerry's repetitive visits to the region have yielded concrete results. Although different actors from both parties are skeptical of the potential of these talks, a majority of Palestinians do support these peace negotiations. Peace negotiations have been conditioned in the past on the halt of settlements in the West Bank and the right of return of the millions Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syrian, Jordan and elsewhere.
There have also been some recent skirmishes between Israelis and Palestinians including restricting the visits to Mount Temple during the month of Ramadan.
Apart from casual skirmishes and the sectarian strife in the country since the start of the Syrian Civil War, the Lebanese Parliament failed to vote on a new electoral law. The proposed "Orthodox" law was going to require faith communities to vote within their sect (i.e. Sunnis vote for Sunnis, Catholics vote for Catholics), but the law didn't garner enough support. Now the parliament has extended its mandate against the will of the people.
Meanwhile, the EU has blacklisted the armed wing of Hezbollah, which doesn't seem to have had a great effect on the "Resistance Party"'s leadership in the country. The EU's move was meant to prevent Hezbollah from taking further steps into the war in Syria.
Lebanon doesn't to seem so excited to accept more Palestinian or Syrian refugees into the country, either — a case that has ignited Human Rights Watch concern.