Dossier: Maghreb

Symbolic graffiti: relay runners from Libya, Egypt and Tunisia prepare to hand over the flame of freedom to Yemen and Syria (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Three years after the Arab Spring

Self-criticism and genuine dialogue required

Arab Islamists and secularists fought alongside each other in the Arab Spring revolutions. But once they had removed the hated despots from power, they became embroiled in political trench warfare and revealed an astonishing lack of democratic maturity, says renowned Moroccan analyst Ali AnouzlaMore

US President Barack Obama speaking in the White House about the humanitarian relief situation in Iraq, 7 August 2014 (photo: Reuters)

The Middle East policies of Europe and the US

Mistakes must not be repeated

For years, the West's foreign policy approach to the Middle East has been short sighted and counterproductive. A shrewd blend of engagement and restraint in the region is now required. However, where there is a threat of genocide at the hands of terrorists or regimes, civilians must be protected using all available means, writes Kristin HelbergMore

Gilles Kepel (photo: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images)

Interview with the French Islam expert Gilles Kepel

Passion and suffering

For three decades now, the renowned French sociologist and political scientist Gilles Kepel has been monitoring the development of Muslim societies. He sees a close connection between the developments in the French suburbs and the events in the Arab world. Beat Stauffer spoke to him in ParisMore

Arabic calligraphy (photo: picture-alliance/Tone Koene)

The Arabic language

A better understanding

Arabic is spoken in 22 countries, but people from different countries don't necessarily understand each other. The language is split up into numerous dialects, some of which are mutually unintelligible. The Arab spring went a long way towards unifying the way Arabic is used in everyday life. Translators are working on an online dictionary to help standardise the language for business purposes. By Charlotte Schmitz and Guido ZebischMore

Hartmut Faehndrich (photo: Ruth Renée Reif)

Interview with literary translator Hartmut Faehndrich

"What I don't see is an on-going interest in Arabic literature"

Hartmut Faehndrich is one of the most renowned translators of Arabic literature in the German-speaking world. He has translated nearly 60 novels into German. In this interview with Ruth Renée Reif, he explains why Arabic literature is undervalued in the German-speaking worldMore

Women in Libya

High hopes brutally dashed

The 2011 revolution raised Libyan women's hopes that they could in future play a more active role in society and politics, leading to the establishment of many women's rights groups. However, the militias' power games and ongoing violence are putting the progress achieved thus far at risk. By Valerie StockerMore

Mohamed Choukri in Casablanca on 5 November 2000 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Tenth anniversary of the death of Mohamed Choukri

The "White Nightingale" of Tangier

The Moroccan writer Mohamed Choukri may have died over a decade ago, but the debate surrounding his controversial work continues in conservative Morocco to this day. Aziz Dariouchi on the discourse surrounding Choukri's literary legacyMore

Morocco's King Mohammed VI (centre) with his son and heir, Prince Moulay Hassan (left), and his brother Prince Moulay Rachid (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Democratic change in Morocco

The right king in the wrong monarchy?

The paradox of the political situation in Morocco is that King Mohammed VI seems to want to bring about domestic political change, whereas his entourage, which has grown rich and influential since the country gained independence, is resisting such efforts. By Mohammed HashasMore

Karama co-ordination meeting in Cairo on 7 October 2011 on the occasion of the establishment of the Libyan Women's Platform for Peace (photo: Dominique Margot)

Women's movements in the transitioning Arab states

For dignity, peace and equal rights

Despite all the setbacks suffered by many women's rights groups in the transitioning Arab states, regional co-operation has improved considerably over the past few years. Juliane Metzker takes stockMore

Women protesting outside the parliament in Rabat on 17 March 2012 after the suicide of Amina Filali (photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Women's rights in Morocco

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Gender equality on paper only

Ever since a young woman took her own life two years ago after being raped and married off to her aggressor, equal rights between men and women have been the subject of heated discussion in Morocco. A set of laws that is riddled with contradictions further fuels the debate. By Susanne KaiserMore

Members of the Sawaiq militia that stormed the GNC on 18 May (photo: Valeria Stocker)

Power struggle in Libya

A permanent state of chaos

Over the course of just ten days, Libya moved through various degrees of state crisis at high speed. It now seems to be back to square one again. From Tripoli, Valerie Stocker takes a closer look at recent chaotic eventsMore

Max von Oppenheim in his tent in Djebelet el-Beda, Syria, 1929 (photo: Max Freiherr von Oppenheim-Stiftung)

The German archaeologist and explorer Max von Oppenheim

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Enchanted by the Myth of the Orient

Max von Oppenheim was an astute observer of the Near East. He was also captivated by its history, culture and way of life. In fact, Oppenheim's entire adult life is an illustration of how difficult it is to reconcile the captivating dream of the Orient with the sober political reality of the region – a difficulty that remains to this day. By Kersten KnippMore

Zahra Ali (photo: private)

Book review: Zahra Ali's "Islamic Feminisms"

Female emancipation based on the spirit of Sharia

In 2012, the French sociologist Zahra Ali published a book entitled "Féminismes islamiques" (Islamic Feminisms), a compilation of ground-breaking articles by female Muslim scholars and activists from around the world. It has just been published in German translation. Claudia Kramatschek read the bookMore

Abdellah Taïa (photo: Abderrahim Annag)

Abdellah Taïa's "Letters to a Young Moroccan"

"Listen to the chaos of life around you"

Roughly 80 years on from Rainer Maria Rilke's "Letters to a Young Poet", the Moroccan writer Abdellah Taïa compiled an anthology of letters that plays on Rilke's title. Originally published five years ago in French and Arabic, Taïa's book has now been published in German translation. It brings together 18 Moroccan authors, all addressing the country's young generation in urgent, powerful words. By Christoph LeistenMore

A Muslim and a Jew stand side by side (photo: Getty Images)

Interview with Benjamin Stora

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The history of relations between Jews and Muslims

The French-language book "Histoires des relations entre juifs et musulmans, des origines à nos jours" (The history of relations between Jews and Muslims, from their origins to the present day) is encyclopaedic in both its scope and length. Some 120 top specialists worked under the direction of Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora to rebuild more than 13 centuries of coexistence between Jews and Muslims. Nathalie Galesne spoke to Benjamin Stora about the bookMore

Sihem Bensedrine (photo: DW)

Interview with the human rights activist Sihem Bensedrine

Tunisia's democratic awakening under threat

The well-known Tunisian human rights activist Sihem Bensedrine talks to Moncef Slimi about the arduous process of democratic transformation in the motherland of the Arab SpringMore

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