Here’s a roundup of Al Jazeera’s Middle East coverage this week.
This week, protests in Iran, an investigation into the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and Lebanese bank robberies. Here’s your summary, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Al Jazeera Digital’s Middle East and North Africa editor.
Mahsa Amini was on a family trip to Tehran when the morality police arrested her for what they called her immodest clothing. Witnesses said the authorities beat her in their van. The 22-year-old was taken to a re-education centre, and later died in hospital on 16 September.
Iranian authorities said she had suffered a heart attack, blaming pre-existing health conditions, which her family denied she ever had. Amini was in a coma when she died.
Amini’s death struck a raw nerve in Iran. The morality police – and Iran’s restrictive dress laws – are rejected by many Iranians. Her death while in custody led to protests across Iran, the hacking of government websites and viral videos of women cutting off their hair or burning their headscarves. And now some people attending protests have been killed.
An independent investigation tore another piece out of the Israeli narrative surrounding the killing of an Al Jazeera correspondent this week Shireen Abu Akleh. Investigators say they found evidence that a Israeli military sniper fired a total of 16 shots, in three bursts, over the course of two minutes – which they say makes the Israeli suggestion that the killing of the Palestinian American was “accidental” seem unlikely.
Banks are robbed, usually at gunpoint, all over the place Lebanon – but the perpetrators are treated as heroes. This is because the people doing the robbery demand their own money. Doesn’t make sense, right? Well, it has to do with Lebanon’s economic crisis, and restrictions on bank withdrawals. Read this explainer for more details, and this interview with Sali Hafiz. She started the latest round of bank robberies, explaining why she did it: to save her sick sister
It’s not all bad news
Stories coming out of the Gaza Strip are all too often about war and destruction. This time, however, a rare bit of good news was reported when a farmer working in his olive grove unearthed a spectacular, brightly colored and nearly intact Byzantine mosaic floor, estimated to be around 1,500 years old.
Iran’s rial goes digital
Cryptocurrencies have boomed repeatedly, but Iran still plans to launch what it calls a ‘digital rial’. Technically, it’s not a cryptocurrency — it’s highly centralized, an insult to crypto-traditionalists for sure — but Iran says the idea is that it will allow the country to move its fintech sector forward. But some people aren’t so sure, and are concerned about privacy and whether there are any economic benefits.
One man is during confrontations between Palestinian security forces and residents in After extinguishing – The of Tunisia former prime minister was detained in what critics call a suppression of the oppositionbefore it is later released – Israel she appointed first ambassador on Turkey since 2018, but Chile’s snapped president Israel’s envoy there after a Palestinian teenager was killed in the occupied West Bank – Five people were killed in a report Israeli airstrike on Damascus airport – Egypt free Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed al-Najdi, who has been detained since August 2020.
[READ: What is Arbaeen?]
Russia’s losses are Turkey’s gains
Turkey played a balancing act with Russia and Ukraine, support Kiev’s sovereignty (and support it with military drones), while refusing to impose sanctions on Moscow. But Turkey knows that Russia’s preoccupation with Ukraine opens up opportunities for Ankara in other areas. “Anyone who thinks that the war in Ukraine is ultimately a conflict involving Moscow, Kiev and Western capitals would do well to look further,” writes Dimitar Bechev of Carnegie Europe in this opinion piece. “If Russia’s expansion is stopped, another nation is poised to spread its diplomatic influence.”
Quote of the Week
“I feel lost – like everyone else Iraqi people. We don’t know what our future will be, not even the coming days. Everything is on point,” – Muser, a young activist caught in the middle of Iraq’s warring militias and politicians, says in this dispatch from Baghdad.