Inside the Middle East
September 28, 2009
Posted: 1756 GMT

CNN's Mohammed Jamjoom reports on how solar power is transforming Iraqi health clinics.

Posted by:
Filed under: Iraq

Share this on:
September 25, 2009
Posted: 820 GMT

The story

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Wednesday that he believes within weeks Israel and the Palestinian Authority will begin talks aimed at a permanent resolution of their decades-long conflict.

"I think that's what will happen, actually, over the next few weeks," Blair told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

"In the end, the issue really is this: What is the context within which this negotiation is being launched?" he said.

"The worry for the Palestinians is that, if you don't lay down some conditions ... the negotiation won't be credible. What the Israelis say is, 'Look, we'll negotiate without precondition. We're not prepared until we start negotiating to yield this or yield that,'" he said on CNN's new show "Amanpour."

"Now, personally, I think ... what will happen and should happen is that we try and put together the best possible context of the launch of the negotiation. It may not be everything that everyone wants, but get the thing under way." Read full article

Filed under: Israel •Palestinians •Video

Share this on:
September 24, 2009
Posted: 814 GMT
Share this on:
September 21, 2009
Posted: 1957 GMT

Paula Hancocks

From Connect the World with Becky Anderson

JERUSALEM - Logging onto Facebook as a resident in the Golan Heights, should you enter Syria or Israel as your home country?

Facebook now has 300 million users -- almost as many as the population of the United States.
Facebook now has 300 million users - almost as many as the population of the United States.

Decades of war and occupation have not provided an answer to that question - but the social networking Web site now permits both options, sparking fears about an anti-Facebook cyber-war.

The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. Since then it has been internationally classified as Israeli-occupied territory.

Up until recently, Facebook fans in the Golan Heights could only choose Syria as their country of origin or else leave it blank. Pro-Israel Web site sought to change that, starting a group called "Facebook, Golan residents live in Israel, not Syria."

Alex Margolin says the campaign was never political. "It was never a question of the future of Golan... it's totally possible that at some time in the future the Golan will change hands and go to Syria."

The group welcomed 2,500 members in the first week. Shortly afterwards Facebook policy changed. Do you think Facebook was right to change policy?

"We have enabled users in Golan Heights to choose either Syria or Israel in the listings," a Facebook spokesperson told CNN. "We currently have the same dual-listing options for the West Bank settlement, which is listed in both Palestine and Israel.

"We deal with the listings for disputed territories on a case-by-case basis, and with Golan Heights we decided a dual listing made sense in this instance."

Eighteen-year old Ofri Bazaz is delighted she can finally change her profile to Israel, squealing with delight as she tries it for the first time. She said: "It's very important on the Internet when somebody comes to my profile on Facebook they will see Israel and not Syria. I'm not Syrian."

But a 20-minute drive away in the Druze town of Majdal Shams, the reaction is very different. Facebook users here consider themselves Syrian and refuse to accept the change, as they fear it undermines their peaceful resistance to the Israeli occupation.

Shopkeeper Sakar abu Sabit said: "Even if it's just on the computer, I want people to always recognize me in the Golan Heights as a Syrian citizen."

Reaction from Syria is likely to be muted according to Syrian scholar, Ammar Abdulhamid. He told CNN that Facebook and other social networking sites have already been banned in Syria. "The Syrian government has really taken a strong stance on Internet activism and social networking sites," he said.

"The real reason is nothing to do with the Arab-Israeli conflict, it's because these sites are very popular with Syrian activists."

But with 300 million users worldwide and an estimated 120 million logging in every single day according to Facebook, there will inevitably be fears about a backlash against the site that now finds itself at the center of a 40-year-old conflict.

Posted by:
Filed under: Israel •Syria

Share this on:
September 18, 2009
Posted: 736 GMT

Dear Bloggers,

Thank you for your continued interest in our blog, you make it what it is!

Check out our brand new, refurbished website at
Click on the Your IME Diary box and upload upcoming events you'd like us to cover.
Submit your videos and photos by clicking on the iReport box and we might just air your material and don't forget to find us on Facebook by searching for CNN Inside the Middle East and become a fan of your show!

Posted by:
Filed under: Message to Bloggers

Share this on:
September 17, 2009
Posted: 704 GMT

Note to Bloggers: Check out our refurbished webpage at where you can upload your video and photo ireports and suggest events you'd like us to cover. Also find us on Facebook by searching for CNN Inside the Middle East and become a fan!

Special Contribution from iReporter – Ali Dahmash

Amman, JORDAN - I have to give credit to social media such as Twitter & Facebook for making it possible for me to interact with Paulo Coelho, the CEO of Aramex & Orange Jordan, Jordanian Minister of Environment in a very short timeand be featured on CNN “Inside the Middle East”. That’s why I attended Amman Twestival 2009 which is a discussion Panel held for Bloggers and Twitters.

This year the discussion was about Entrepreneurship and Digital Media. Similar events were running simultaneously in more than 202 cities worldwide and Jordanian bloggers as myself were able to participate in this open discussion. It was an open discussion between the four guest Panels, the moderator and the audience and we were able to discuss the future of social media in Jordan and where it is heading as well as many of our concerns. The Panel also discussed the latest in the social media scene and how it is affecting corporations and entrepreneurs in interacting with their clients and customers.

During the event, many Twitterers were sending updates and live feedback on Twitter which was over projected behind the Panel podium. The event lasted until the late hours of the night and was followed by Hot Drinks and the famous Ramadan desert “Atayef” and also a chance for side talks we bloggers and Twitters had with each other which I enjoyed the most. It was a great and enlightening opportunity and finally a chance to connect faces with Twitter profiles.

Posted by:
Filed under: iReport •Jordan

Share this on:
September 14, 2009
Posted: 921 GMT

An ancient synagogue discovered in northern Israel may have a Christian connection. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.

Posted by:
Filed under: Israel

Share this on:
September 12, 2009
Posted: 1220 GMT

CNN's Stan Grant takes us inside Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed mosque, one of the biggest in the world, for Ramadan.

Posted by:
Filed under: Abu Dhabi

Share this on:
September 11, 2009
Posted: 927 GMT

CNN's Nic robertson is in Libya covering the aftermath of the return of the Lockerbie bomber from a prison in Scotland to his homeland.
Watch as he is lead to a hospital in Libya for a press conference without any additional information on who will be speaking.

He filed this story for CNN's BackStory

Posted by:
Filed under: Libya •Video

Share this on:
September 7, 2009
Posted: 1047 GMT

No politician and no faction is safe with the new Palestine TV comedy show. CNN's Paula Hancocks reports.

Posted by:
Filed under: Palestinians •Video

Share this on:

subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

This blog has now been archived and commenting has been switched off. Visit the Inside the Middle East site for news, views and video from across the region.

Read more about CNN's special reports policy