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  • ChronologyOctober 16, 2015 – January 15, 2016


  • AFP, Agence France-Presse

  • AJAM, Al Jazeera America

  • AJE, Al Jazeera English

  • Al Arabiya

  • AP, The Associated Press

  • BBC

  • Bloomberg

  • CNN

  • Daily Star (Lebanon)

  • Dawn

  • The Guardian

  • Gulf News, GN

  • Haaretz

  • JT, The Jordan Times

  • LA Times

  • NYT, The New York Times

  • RFE/RL, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

  • Reuters

  • VOA, Voice of America

  • WP, The Washington Post

  • WSJ, The Wall Street Journal

Arab-Israeli Conflict

See also Israel, Palestinian Territories, Syria

Oct. 26: Two days after Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to allow video monitoring around the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, Israeli Police stopped Jordanian officials from installing cameras. The Prime Minister’s Office maintained that Israel planned to continue with the installation process, but the director of the Jerusalem Waqf, the body charged with administering the city’s Islamic holy sites, questioned his motives. While the agreement between Israel and Jordan was intended to be a joint effort to ensure accountability and reduce hostilities after months of violent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, which began around the Mosque, the situation highlighted the divisions between the parties involved. [Haaretz, 10/26]

Dec. 19: Hizbullah commander Samir Quntar, along with several Syrian civilians, died in an airstrike on the city of Jaramana southeast of Damascus. Hizbullah blamed Israel for the attack, though Israeli officials denied responsibility. Quntar had been imprisoned in Israel for almost 30 years for the 1979 murder of three Israeli citizens before his release through a prisoner-for-body exchange in 2008. [Haaretz, 12/20]

Jan. 4: Makarim Wibisono, who was appointed United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) special rapporteur to the Palestinian Territories in June 2014, resigned from his post. Israel had restricted his access to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, citing UNHCR’s bias. Wibisono’s inability to carry out his mandate served as a pivotal reason for his resignation. [NYT, 1/4]

Jan. 4: Hizbullah attacked Israeli military vehicles in Sheb‘a Farms, a disputed border territory near the Israeli-claimed Golan Heights wedged between Syria and Lebanon. The attack was in response to the death of Samir Quntar. The attack caused no fatalities, and although Israel responded with artillery fire, the situation stabilized by the end of the day. [NYT, 1/4]

Central Asia and the Caucasus

Nov. 3: US secretary of state John Kerry concluded a four-day diplomatic tour of Central Asia, which began in Kyrgyzstan and ended in Turkmenistan. Kerry faced pressure to address the poor human rights records of the governments of the region, especially Uzbekistan. Though officials claim Kerry condemned the governments’ behavior in private, he did not publicly criticize the governments and instead focused on improving economic ties. [NYT, 11/3; Reuters, 11/1]

Nov. 12: The Uzbekistan government released Murod Jo‘rayev, a political prisoner since 1994. Jo‘rayev was a human rights activist, former parliamentarian, and part of the opposition Freedom Democratic Party in the waning years of the Soviet Union, [End Page 298] but was arrested shortly after Uzbekistan achieved independence. He was released shorly after US secretary of state Kerry visited the country. [Guardian, 11/13]

Dec. 6: Sixty-three percent of Armenians voted in favor of a referendum to amend the constitution to increase the prime minister’s formal political power over the president. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and opposition members of parliament said there were voting abnormalities. Human rights groups accused President Serzh Sargsyan of a ploy to remain in power, albeit as an empowered prime minister, after his presidential term was set to end in 2018. President Sargsyan denied that the referendum was politically motivated. [RFE/RL, 12/6; BBC, 12/7; NYT, 12/8]

Dec. 9: Human rights activist Leyla Yunus was released from prison in Azerbaijan. She was convicted of numerous crimes in August 2015 and sentenced to eight years in prison. Human rights groups had decried the political motivation behind her arrest. Despite the appeals court decision to suspend her sentence due to Yunus’s poor health, her treason charges remained. The suspension occurred a week after US secretary of state John Kerry’s visit to the region. [Guardian, 12/10]



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