INSIGHT: Saudi Arabia’s War on Twitter

Two studies released in November show once again Saudi Arabia’s extraordinary appetite for Twitter compared to that in other countries. This has renewed interest in the potential for social media to facilitate political mobilization in the kingdom. Indeed, the Saudi Twittersphere reveals significant public discontent with the government’s performance on addressing domestic problems like unemployment More »

INSIGHT: Bolstering Education and Science in the Arab World

A decade ago, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) shone a spotlight on the sorry state of education in the Arab world with its inaugural Arab Human Development Report in 2002, and its 2003 follow-on report, “Building a Knowledge Society.” The reports’ statistics still shock: in one year, Spain translates the same number of More »

Women Rising with Frances Alonzo: Oman’s Internet Crackdown

Oman has made headlines recently by fining and imprisoning at least eight writers and bloggers for criticizing the government on the Internet. As many as two dozen other activists were then detained for protesting that crackdown on the freedom of expression. Join Women Rising host Frances Alonzo as she speaks with one woman who says More »

Middle East Monitor Podcast: The Mahdi Virus Strikes the Mideast

- Computers across the Middle East are being hit by nasty malware that steals as much information about users as possible, all under a cloak of hidden code. - Syrian observers disagree about how much responsibility UN envoy Kofi Annan bears for the international failings in Syria. - A look at the contributions of one of More »

Middle East Monitor Podcast : Iraq War Suffering Seen Through Music

- The suffering of the Iraq war is being depicted in an opera that can be seen on the Internet and may one day be in American opera houses. - A clarification after the International Red Cross adjusts its designation of the bloody conflict in Syria. - The United Nations says tens of thousands of children More »

Syria: A War Reported by Citizen-journalists, Social Media

Public protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad have put Syria’s emerging civil war front page and at the top of the news around the world. But from the revolution’s start more than 15 months ago, Assad has all but barred the international media from providing on-the-ground coverage of events which, according to More »

AT ISSUE: Are US Drone Strikes in South Asia, Middle East Ethical?

For many Americans, the use of armed drones is a necessity of our times. According to survey data, most see them as an integral part of the war on terror launched more than a decade ago in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. On a global scale, however, Americans More »

Middle East Monitor: Is a Cell Phone Ever Opposition Friendly?

- Syria may be entering a new period of uncertainty and militarization on the Internet by breaching security on social media. - Yemeni officials say troops and their tribal allies took full control of Abyan’s provincial capital, Zinjibar, and another town.  Ibrahim Sharqieh, an expert with the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, calls it “a More »

Middle East Monitor: Cyber Surveillance in Syria?

- VOA Technology Editor Doug Bernard talks about word that the Syrian government is releasing bugs – viruses, mal-ware – getting all kinds of user information – as a way of surveillance of the opposition. - Syrian government forces continue their heavy shelling of the flashpoint cities of Homs and Deir el-Zor, amid reports of More »

Syrians: Proxy Alternatives to Green Simurgh, Hotspot, Tor

Fear is now an integral part of life in cities and towns across Syria. As our ongoing  Syria Witness series has illustrated, average citizens in places like Homs, Hama and Deir Azzour live in constant fear. Outbreaks of violence between Syrian government and opposition forces are a daily occurrence. Shabiha mercenaries are said to roam More »

Syria: Mining the Web to Target Activists

As the situation and armed conflicts in Syria enter a new period of uncertainty and militarization, it increasingly appears the same may well be said about Syria’s Internet. Of course, it’s old news to say that Damascus restricts citizens’ access to the web for its own purposes, deploying filters, blocks, malware and other dirty tricks More »

Blocked in Syria? How To Access Our Site, Other Websites

Tunisian blogger Wissem Zghaier, 29, who had been beaten and tortured during the uprising, uses his mobile as he works on his laptop in a downtown coffee shop in Tunis, Tunisia, Wednesday , March 16, 2011.

Our Middle East Voices social journalism site has been available online since November 11, but we have noticed that we have only a trickle of visits from the country of Syria, according to our site analytics data. We found this to be odd because our sister site VOANews.com consistently gets sizable traffic from the country. This leads More »

Middle East Monitor: Is Annan’s Syria Peace Plan a Failure or Not?

- US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says continuing Russian support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is blocking United Nations action to end 15 months of violence and could help lead to civil war. - A Friends of Europe meeting focuses on ways for Europe to support countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. - More »

Olive Oil, Not Crude, Key To Fixing Post-Qadhafi Libya

As Khaled looks out over the now quiet, olive-tree covered hills of Zintan, he recalls the fighting and destruction that rocked this area just a few short months ago. Zintan is a town of 40,000 people tucked into the Nafusa Mountains of northwest Libya. Six thousand Zintanis joined the armed opposition to oust dictator More »

Samsung, iPhone, Nokia and the Next Arab Spring

FILE - A Saudi woman is seen using an iPhone at a festival on the outskirts of Riyadh. (Reuters)

If there is to be another Arab Spring in the next few years, it will look markedly different from what has transpired in 2011-12. Social media and mobile phones clearly played a role. But satellite television was deemed the amplifier that took self-organizing groups on Twitter and Facebook and turned them into million-man (and More »

Middle East Monitor: Blogging Changes an Egyptian Woman’s World

- VOA Middle East Correspondent Elizabeth Arrott, traveling with the UN monitors in Syria, finds scenes of widespread destruction. - The UN and media rights groups marking World Press Freedom Day say the “Arab Spring” has eased the grip of some governments on journalism, but many nations still repress the media. - We hear from a More »

Iran: Cyberattack on Its Oil Industry Had Little Impact

Iran says a suspected cyberattack on its state-run oil industry had little impact on operations thanks to rapid measures taken by experts to limit the spread of the virus. Iranian state news agency IRNA quotes an Oil Ministry official as saying there was “no damage” to the ministry’s computer data from the virus, which authorities More »

Without iTunes in Middle East, Music Piracy on the Rise

If you want to buy a CD in the Arab world – legally, that is – you can’t go online and simply download it.  You either have to resort to piracy or hope that the local music shop sells the artist you are looking for.  iTunes, the world’s biggest music store, is available in More »

Middle East Monitor Podcast : Is the Syrian Government "Crying Wolf"? 04-03-12

Does the international community believe the Syrian government’s peace statement this time?  The issue of Kurdish rights in Syria puts neighboring Turkey in a dilemma of its own.  A dispute between the Iraqi central government and the Kurdish autonomous region is gaining momentum.  Several dozen technology entrepreneurs think they have what it takes to More »

How Egypt's Tahrir Revolution Spread on Twitter

The socio-political uprisings of the Arab Spring have revealed and highlighted the newer forms of activism and protest; reaching out to online social mediums to be heard, spread news, and collaborate.  Tracking social media in the Arab Spring has laid the groundwork for interpreting conversations through Twitter and various online mediums. Watch this captivating animation Social More »