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2021 in Review: TIMEP’s Most-Read Articles

TIMEP looks back on the analyses, commentaries, and explainers that our community loved most in 2021.

This December, TIMEP looks back on the analyses, commentaries, and explainers that our community loved most in 2021.

TIMEP works with contributors from and in the MENA region to amplify bold ideas from those who know the region best—but you, our readers and supporters, help us to carry those ideas to the global stage where they can change how the world understands the region.

From water scarcity in Egypt to mental health in Lebanon to the weaponization of social media in Iraq, the pieces that caught your eyes this year were diverse, dynamic, and solutions-oriented.


Workers install irrigation pumps in Kafr al-Dawar village in northern Egypt’s Nile Delta. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Dual Threats: Water Scarcity and Rising Sea Levels in Egypt

The climate crisis is here. Its effects can be felt across the MENA region, including in Egypt, which is nearing “absolute water scarcity,” making cooperation, creativity, & proactive solutions more urgently needed than ever.



A general view of Beirut Port wreckage on February 04, 2021. (Photo by Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

2. The Beirut Explosion’s Impact on Mental Health

Lebanon still faces trauma and mental health repercussions as a result of the 2020 Beirut explosion. What has the psychological impact of the blast been, and what has the renewed push for mental health services in Lebanon entailed?




Fans of the Lebanese group Mashrou Leila show a a rainbow flag at the concert in Cairo, Egypt. (Benno Schwinghammer/picture alliance via Getty Images)

3. ثورات الربيع العربي: أحلام ومآلات التغيير السياسي والاجتماعي لأفراد مجتمع الميم عين (مصر والسودان نموذجا)

“لا شك فيه أنّ ثورات الربيع العربي قد ساهمت مساهمةً كبيرة في تشكيل بني الوعي الجمعي للكثير من فئات المجتمع، خاصةً الشباب والنساء والفئات الأكثر تهميشاً مثل أفراد مجتمع الميم عين، كما علّمتهم/نّ أهمية وضرورة التغيير السياسي والاجتماعي من منظور التقاطعية النسوية للقضايا ووفّرت منصّات أكثر لحرية التعبير وفرصاً أكثر إبداعية للتنظيم.”




Libyans demonstrate on March 4, 2011 in Benghazi, Libya. (John Moore/Getty Images)

4. A Decade On, Libya’s Revolutionary Hopes Are Smoldering Ashes Set to Ignite 

Although Libyans have suffered through instability and injustice throughout the past ten years, peaceful calls for justice represent a critical revolutionary spark.



Algerian protesters in Algiers on February 21, 2020. (Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty Images)

5. Algeria: The Arab Spring’s Late Bloomer? 

Despite political repression, legal setbacks, and crackdowns on press freedoms, the “Hirak” movement has the potential to foster unity and renewed protests against the Algerian government.




An Internet user traveling on a bus in Egypt. (Photo by Cris BouroncleE/AFP via Getty Images)

6. Egypt’s Digital Foreign Policy 

As cyberattacks become a more common tool for statecraft, Egypt has shown a willingness to employ “subversive cyber elements” against opponents.



A Lebanese flag hanging on a barbed-wire outside the governmental palace in Beirut (Photo by Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images)

7. Foreign Aid to Lebanon: Goodwill Marred by Smoke and Mirrors 

Faced with a multi-pronged crisis, the Lebanese state has sought foreign aid over the past few years. How has this aid been lost to mismanagement and corruption?


A fuel truck drives out of a distribution company in Beirut on February 24, 2021. (Photo by Joseph Eid/AFP via Getty Images)

8. The Weight of Lebanon’s Unsustainable Subsidies Program 

Lebanon’s subsidies program, reportedly on its last legs, has proven to be regressive and ineffective. But without quick solutions, lifting subsidies could exacerbate the current economic crisis.

People dance at a live music venue in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

9. Music in Egypt in the Last Decade: Hit and Run with the Authorities 

The government has a tight grip on music production in Egypt, but “there exists a crack in this wall that could give Egyptian music the opportunity to flourish and develop.”



Smoke billows from burning tires in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. (Photo by Asaad Niazi/AFP via Getty Images)

10. Hate Speech, Social Media and Political Violence in Iraq: Virtual Civil Society and Upheaval 

In Iraq, militia groups have harnessed online platforms to incite violence and launch hate campaigns that threaten the safety of activists, protesters, and journalists.


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