The Persian New Year, Nowruz, begins on the first day of spring and celebrates all things new. But as families across Iran hurried to greet the fresh start — eating copious crisp herbs, scrubbing their homes and buying new clothes — it was clear just how little the country had changed.
A year into the coronavirus pandemic that has devastated Iran, killing over 61,500 people — the highest death toll in the Middle East — the nation is far from out of the woods. And although Iranians had welcomed the election of President Joe Biden with a profound sigh of relief after the Trump administration's economic pressure campaign, the sanctions that have throttled the country for three years remain in place.Full Story
Israel's voters, who include settlers in the occupied West Bank, Tel Aviv residents eyeing change and Arabs in annexed east Jerusalem, are days away from their fourth election in less than two years.Full Story
Shops closing, companies going bankrupt and pharmacies with shelves emptying — in Lebanon these days, fistfights erupt in supermarkets as shoppers scramble to get to subsidized powdered milk, rice and cooking oil.
Like almost every other Lebanese, Nisrine Taha's life has been turned upside down in the past year under the weight of the country's crushing economic crisis. Anxiety for the future is eating at her.Full Story
Daraa was an impoverished, neglected provincial city in the farmlands of Syria's south, an overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim backwater far from the more cosmopolitan cities of the country's heartland.
But in March 2011 it became the first to explode against the rule of President Bashar Assad. Assad's decision to crush the initially peaceful protests propelled Syria into a civil war that has killed more than a half million people, driven half the population from their homes and sucked in foreign military interventions that have carved up the country.Full Story
Chinese factories torched as mainland workers hunker down under martial law -- Beijing is being pulled into the ulcerous crisis in Myanmar, an unravelling country it had carefully stitched into its big plans for Asia.Full Story
Lebanon's worst economic downturn in decades has pushed a battered population to the brink with no solution in sight as the country's barons wrangle over forming a new government.Full Story
Lebanon is battling its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war. The national currency is in freefall, while poverty and unemployment are on the rise.Full Story
Benjamin Netanyahu has remained in power as Israeli prime minister for a record 12 consecutive years, partly by convincing some voters that only he can keep the Jewish state safe while defending it on the world stage.
But on March 23, the 71-year-old wily politician faces his fourth re-election contest in less than two years, after repeatedly failing to unite a coalition behind him, despite his devoted right-wing base.Full Story
Mohammed Zakaria has lived in a plastic tent in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley for almost as long as war has raged in his native Syria.
He and his family fled bombings in 2012, thinking it would be a short, temporary stay. His hometown of Homs was under siege, and subject to a ferocious Syrian military campaign. He didn't even bring his ID with him.Full Story