.
March 19th, 2009
09:14 AM ET

A big fat Iranian wedding

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/19/art.octavia.wed_dancing1.jpg]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs

What do you call a US-born child of a Jewish American mother and Muslim Iranian father? If you caught ‘Arusi Persian Wedding’ on PBS’ Independent Lens you’d know that this person’s name is Alex Tehrani. Through his sister Marjan Tehrani’s independent film, you would’ve also met Alex’s wife Heather and her Christian conservative father and a slew of Iranian relatives and friends. You would’ve also attended an “Arusi” or traditional Persian wedding.

Here is some background: Alex’s father, an Iranian immigrant to the US, took his Jewish bride to Iran in the 70’s for a traditional Persian wedding. Alex lost his mother in 1984, but reminisces every time he looks at “happy pictures” from that trip. So it is no surprise that when Alex finally got his Iranian passport after a wait of twenty six years, he wanted to take his wife Heather back to Iran for an “Arusi” as well. So the film begins with this decision which will set Alex and Heather on a life-changing journey. Alex’s sister, Marjan, tags along and chronicles the journey. The result is ‘Arusi Persian Wedding’

FULL POST


Filed under: Arab Affairs • Global 360° • Octavia Nasr
February 17th, 2009
03:20 PM ET

Saudi Arabia's King of Hearts

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/15/saudi.female.minister/art.king.jpg caption="Saudi King Abdullah has appointed a woman as Deputy Education Minister in the Saudi government."]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs

When a group of Saudi women started sending petitions directly to their King last year asking for permission to drive cars in their ultra-conservative kingdom, they had no idea their monarch wanted to give them a lot more than that.

In an unprecedented move, King Abdullah started the week with a major cabinet reshuffle and the appointment of a woman as a Deputy Minister. Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez is now the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in the Saudi government. In making such an historic move, the King sent a clear message to his people and anyone else who's paying attention, that he wants reform in key areas such as education, health, justice and women participation in government.

FULL POST


Filed under: Arab Affairs • Global 360° • Octavia Nasr
February 11th, 2009
09:49 AM ET

Israeli Elections are for Arabs too..

Editor’s Note: Israel’s moderate Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s and her conservative rivals are both claiming victory in Israel’s elections. Exit polls show Livni’s Kadima Party edging out Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party. The polls also show strong support for smaller hardline parties, though. And that could make it difficult for Livni to form a government.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/10/israel.elections.polls/art.livni.02.afp.gi.jpg caption="Kadima's Tzipi Livni won more support than was predicted in the Israeli elections. "]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs

A scan of Arab media shows a region that’s very interested in Israel’s general elections. Here are some of the headlines in Arab newspapers: “Israeli Elections: Between the Right and the Right”, “Hardliners will dictate who wins Israeli polls” and “Exit polls give Livni a narrow lead.”

Israeli elections are leading news shows and online discussions. Residents of the Middle East are curious about the results but have no illusions about the future. The overwhelming majority believes that any Israeli government, new or old, won’t have their interest on its agenda. They do however acknowledge that “some Israeli leaders are worse than others.” As Abdel Wahhab Badrakhan writes in the UAE’s Al-Ittihad newspaper, fundamentalist candidate Avigdor Lieberman “would like to wipe Arabs out, Adolf Hitler style.” Badrakhan and others fear that someone like Lieberman joining the new government coalition will be devastating for all Arabs.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Arab Affairs • Israel • Octavia Nasr
February 4th, 2009
09:26 AM ET

Al Qaeda's #2 mocks President Obama's "concern"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/02/03/al.qaeda.audio.message/art.al.zawahiri.jpg caption="Ayman al-Zawahiri criticized President Obama for failing to mention the Gaza conflict at his inauguration."]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Arab Affairs Editor

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number 2 man of al Qaeda, allegedly released an audio message today titled, “Gaza Sacrifices and The Conspiracies.” The voice on the audio sounds very much like Zawahiri; the intonation and accent are consistent with earlier messages by the Egyptian doctor. Two references indicate that the message was recorded on or after January 20th. This is significant as it gives an idea of how quickly these messages are turned around and released online. Zawahiri references Israeli forces pulling out of Gaza and he indicates his knowledge that President Obama didn't mention Gaza in his inauguration speech.

FULL POST


Filed under: Arab Affairs • Global 360° • Octavia Nasr • War on Terror
February 2nd, 2009
02:28 PM ET

Drugs, sex and videotape?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/01/28/cia.rape.allegations/art.cia.hq.afp.gi.jpg caption="Two Algerian women allege that the CIA's former Algeria station chief raped them at his home, a source says."]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Arab Affairs Editor

Did a CIA official drug, rape and videotape two women in Algeria?

Rape in the Arab world carries a stigma that is rarely discussed. When two Algerian women came forward to allege that a CIA official drugged them and raped them the news was shocking to an entire region.

Algerian media were hesitant to report the story at first. It is unclear whether the sensitivity of the topic or lack of early information available to Algerian authorities and reporters kept them from reporting. Algeria’s press is very much like the rest of the Arab world. Mostly controlled by the government and doesn’t enjoy much independence. The two women carry double nationalities and their whereabouts are unknown to us. One is Algerian-Spanish and the other Algerian-German. They filed their complaint against the CIA official directly with the US embassy in Algiers without going through the Algerian authorities.

FULL POST

newer posts »