Please note that due to very high demand, I have extended my fall lecture tour -
*Game of Pawns: The Middle East 2017 *
I will now be in North America from September 26 - December 6, 2017

Please feel free to CONTACT ME or +972-505-409-905. I look forward to hearing from you - and hopefully seeing you soon!

Avi Melamed.

Category: Middle East Society and Culture.

Sunnis & Shi’ites

Two major historic struggles have played a central role in shaping the Muslim world and the Middle East. One axis is the struggle between Sunnis and Shi’ites in Islam. The other axis is the rivalry between two large regional civilizations: The Arab civilization and the Persian civilization. There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. About 90 percent are Sunni…

Yarmuk Movie: Kill the Messenger

March 1  2015 Yarmuk Movie: Kill the Messenger by Avi Melamed The article you are about to read was actually written in April 2014. I wrote the article following an eight-minute fiction movie called Yarmuk that was published on YouTube in March 2014. The movie was directed and produced by an Arab director and actor named Muhammad Bakri. The movie was removed from YouTube shortly after it was posted, and – unfortunately before I could publish my article. My attempts to find the movie were unsuccessful therefore I decided not to publish my article. Until now. These very days, after a long search and research, I found the movie. What is the movie’s background? Why was it removed and by…

The Iranians and the Mossad are in Cahoots and Other Assorted Distortions…

October 6, 2012 by Avi Melamed The violent events in the Arab and Muslim world sparked by the movie “Innocence of Muslims” do not reflect the majority of Muslims.  In fact, it is doing them a disservice because the truth is that the majority of Muslims reject extremism. That being said, the events do reflect the deep feelings of frustration and inferiority which are rampant today in the Muslim and Arab world.  These feelings stem from the fact that the Arab and Muslim world today is by and large an “underachieving” society – socially and economically – plagued by suffocating poverty, high rates of unemployment, ever-growing corruption, paralyzing illiteracy, lack of civil and personal rights, and escalating violence. The events that…

The Earth Moves Beneath the Throne

September 5, 2012 by Avi Melamed The Hashemite kingdom of Jordan is experiencing growing unrest. Jordan is grappling with many challenges – just some of which are:  a growing external debt; an unbalanced budget which is threatening to bankrupt the country’s fragile economy; a high unemployment rate; growing inflation; a severe shortage of fresh water; constant electric blackouts and brownouts; a disintegration of public order; and growing feelings of insecurity among the population. At the same time, Jordanians are also focused on two additional issues:  the exposure of what seems to be deep corruption among politicians, civil servants and people who are part of the monarchy’s inner circle – specifically the Queen; and the perennial, yet sharply escalating debate, between…

Iran: Anatomy of a Desperate Society

May 6, 2012 by Avi Melamed   In 1979 Rouhallah Ayatollah Khomeini sparked the Islamic revolution in Iran.  With that Revolution the rule of the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran came to end. The Islamic Revolution established a theocratic regime in Iran, or as the country has been called from that time on, “The Islamic Republic of Iran.” The regime that came to power envisioned the Islamic Republic of Iran to become a beacon of progress, prosperity and achievement.  In their vision “The Islamic Republic of Iran” would be the ultimate proof of Islam’s (and mostly Shiite Islam’s) moral and practical superiority. However vision is one thing and reality is another…More than 30 years after the Revolution, Iranian society in 2012…

Cruel Iraq Percolating Democracy

March 15, 2012      by Avi Melamed   According to recent reports, at least fourteen teenagers – some argue that the number is actually much higher – were murdered inIraq.  Most of the youths were stoned and others were shot.  They were targeted because they were labeled as “Satan worshipers.” These teenagers are known in Arabic as “emo” – a shortcut for the English word “emotional.”   Their apparel and codes of dress are clearly inspired by Western heavy metal music and culture. An anonymous entity entitled “The Rage Companies” published a leaflet which included the names of twenty-two other Iraqi teenagers.  The “Rage Companies” demand that these twenty-two individuals sever their connection with the “emo” group otherwise they too will be…

Inside Hezbollah’s Private Dominion

February 14, 2012 by Avi Melamed The southern quarter of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, is known by the name Al Dahya Al Janobiya.  Since the 1980’s Al Dahya has been primarily populated by Shiites most of whom came to Beirut from the southern part of Lebanon and the  Beqa’a area (a 120 km long and narrow valley in the center of Lebanon). Al Dahya is also the nerve center of  Hezbollah.  Al Dahya is the home of Hezbollah’s central headquarters as well as their main offices, thousands of Hezbollah members live there, including its senior leadership.  Al Dahya, like southern Lebanon and the Beqa’a area, is completely under the control of Hezbollah.  Practically speaking, the State of Lebanon has…

Black is White, Up is Down: Master of distortion

February 5, 2012 by Avi Melamed Mr. Abdel Bari Atwan is the Chief Editor of a very popular London based, Arab newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi. Mr. Atwan, who lives In the UK, is a very welcome guest on British television, Al Jazeera and other media channels. I recently saw him on a Middle East panel hosted by one of the British TV channels and I was struck by the fact that neither the host nor the other participants found it appropriate to ask Mr. Atwan some tough questions regarding his outspoken opinions. For example, they could have asked Mr. Atwan to explain the way he described Osama Bin Laden in articles he published following the killing of Bin Laden. Here is…

Almost a Suicide Bomber: The Story of Amal Juma’ah

December 8, 2011  by Avi Melamed In October 2011, a deal was struck between Hamas and Israel. Over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit that was abducted by Hamas in June 2006. You can read more about the prisoner swap deal in my article: Israel – Hamas Prisoner Swap Deal: Arab Perspectives. Amal Juma’ah was one of the Palestinian female prisoners released by Israel. Following her release, Amal Juma’ah was hospitalized in a Palestinian hospital in Nablus with an undisclosed sickness. There has been talk of her being transferred to a Jordanian hospital. The Palestinian President, Mahmud Abbas, ordered the Palestinian Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad, to make sure that all costs for her medical treatment…

The Arab Awakening: An Era of New Slogans

November 8, 2011 by Avi Melamed In my video and accompanying article on the “The Arab Awakening” (published last month), I presented my thoughts regarding the recent events in the Arab world, labeled by many, as “The Arab Spring.” One of my observations was that these events marked the beginning of an era of new slogans in the Arab world and a departure from the old ones. One of the slogans I discussed was “Islam is the Solution” – the motto of the Muslim Brotherhood movement since its establishment in Egypt in the late 1920’s.  You can see this phrase written on walls, printed on bumper stickers and plastered on street signs all over the Arab world. Following the downfall of the…

Israel – Hamas Prisoner Swap Deal: Arab Perspectives

  October 30, 2011 by Avi Melamed About 3 years ago, Khaled Mashal (also known as Abu Walid) the leader of Hamas in Damascus, received a phone call from Omar Suleiman, the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service. “I have some good news, Abu Walid,” said Suleiman, “Israel has agreed to release one thousand Palestinian prisoners in return for (the Israeli soldier that was abducted by Hamas in June 2006) Gilad Shalit.” Mashal was ecstatic! “Great news!” he said “You have the green light from me to close the deal.” Omar Suleiman informed Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s president at the time, and Mubarak in turn, informed Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria. Assad was furious. “Mashal is not in a…

The ABC’s of the Middle East

September 16, 2011  by Avi Melamed Below is an article published on September 14, 2011 about Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan’s speech at the meeting of The Arab League on September 12, 2011.  The article was written by Mr. Tariq Alhomayed, the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the leading Arab language daily newspaper and the oldest and most influential in the Arab world. Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that position. Mr. Alhomayed has an acclaimed and distinguished career as a Journalist and has held many key positions in the field including; Assistant Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, Managing Editor of Asharq Al-Awsat in Saudi Arabia, Head of Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper’s Bureau-Jeddah, Correspondent for Al –…

Commemorating 9/11: A Close Look at the Face of Hate

September 11, 2011 by Avi Melamed As the world commemorates September 11, 2001, I would like to share with you a powerful testimony that provides a close, intimate look into the face of the hate. Before I do, allow me to briefly explain how I came across the poignant story I’m about to share with you. In November 2010 I launched a unique web-based initiative called Feenjan, in which I create short videos in Arabic (with English sub-titles) that present different aspects of Israel to the Arab world.  My goal through Feenjan is to add an Israeli-Jewish voice, in Arabic, to the narrative about Israel and to develop a platform for creating relationships between Israelis and Arabs around issues of common…

The Language of the Middle East

  August 24, 2011 by Avi Melamed On the evening hours of Tuesday, August 24th, the sound of machine guns, automatic weapons and anti-tank rockets (rpg’s) echoed all around Beirut, the Capitol of Lebanon. A bloody fight took place in the western area of the city known as Burj Abi Heidar, between Hezbollah militants (the Iranian proxy in Lebanon) and the militia of an organization named  “Alahbash” (a Syrian affiliated Sunni Muslim organization established in 1983). Hezbollah and Alahbash are considered to be “politically aligned.” Militants on both sides were shooting at each other on the streets.  Residential areas in an instant became a war zone. A mosque was burned down to the ground. Some reports indicated that a local supermarket…

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