Quiz: Political Change in the Middle East

Take the Aish.com quiz and see how many questions you can answer correctly.

2015 has already seen some memorable political twists in the Middle East – and beyond. Assess your knowledge of recent developments.

1. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died on Thursday January 22. Who succeeded him as head of the Saudi state?

  1. Not clear. Elections are scheduled for February 17 and parties are vying for the votes of the 28 million Arab citizens.
  2. King Abdullah’s son, Prince Mutaib, succeeded his father as absolute monarch.
  3. King Abdullah was replaced by his 79-year-old half-brother Prince Salman.
  4. Abd Al-‘Aziz al-Wahuibi, leader of the Saudi opposition Umma party, became president.

Answer: C

Since the death of Saudi Arabia’s founder, King Abdulaziz, in 1953, Saudi Arabia’s absolute rulers have all been one of his many sons. (There are no exact numbers, but there appear to be around 45, from a number of wives.) While the Umma Party formed as the Saudi opposition party in February 2011 , its ten founders were arrested a week later and sentenced to prison. . International observers have complained of irregularities in their trials; The treatment of party leader Abd Al-‘Azia al-Wahuibi has been particularly problematic: tried in secret, he is currently being held in a military hospital, where Saudi officials say he suffered a nervous breakdown.

2. Israelis will go to the polls on March 17, 2015. What new option will Israeli Arab voters have on that day?

  1. Nothing. Arab citizens are not allowed to vote in Israel.
  2. Arab voters will be able to vote for a special advisory committee that will take their concerns to the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body.
  3. This will be the first Israeli election in which Israeli Arabs can vote.
  4. Four Arab parties have united to create a radical new unified slate, to maximize their share of seats in Israel’s next legislative session.

Answer: D

All Israeli citizens enjoy the right to vote. This year, four Arab parties – Raam, Ta’al and Balad, and the Arab-Jewish Chadash party – united to form a single electoral bloc in the March elections to increase voter turnout and maximize their numbers in the 120 seats. Knesset. About a fifth of Israeli Arabs generally vote for the main Israeli political parties, with the rest voting for a wide range of Arab political parties.

3. World leaders lined up to praise King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia after his death. In Britain, flags fly at half mast over Westminster Abbey. US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the late king as “a revered leader”. Yet a recent survey ranked Saudi Arabia last in the world, tied with North Korea, for civil liberties and political freedom. Which of the following events happened recently in Saudi Arabia?

  1. “Witchcraft and sorcery” was the accusation given during the beheading of a woman.
  2. A blogger was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, ten years in prison and a heavy fine for questioning the link between the state and religion.
  3. Two activists were arrested for bringing food and drink to a starving woman.
  4. Tens of thousands of foreign workers, especially Ethiopian residents, of the kingdom have been arrested, beaten and driven out of the country in recent months; witnesses report that many were killed, although their deaths have not been officially acknowledged by Saudi authorities.

Answers: All of the above answers.

Amina bint Abdel Halim Nassar was beheaded on Monday, December 8, 2014 for, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, “committing the practice of witchcraft and witchcraft” after authorities found books on witchcraft in her home .

Liberal blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison, a heavy fine and 1,000 lashes for his blog which some say denigrated religious leaders; his first public flogging was carried out after Friday prayers on January 9, 2015 in the Saudi city of Jedda. Wajeha al-Huwaider and Fawzia al-Oyouni, women’s rights activists, were arrested after delivering groceries to a Canadian woman whose Saudi husband imprisoned her in their home – without food or water: the activists were found guilty of the Sharia of “takhbib”, or inciting a wife against her husband.

Witnesses said they saw Saudi police beat Ethiopian workers – some fatally; in recent years, Saudi newspapers have branded foreign workers as criminals, establishing a tolerance for violence against them.

4. January 9, 2015 marked the 10and anniversary of which milestone event for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?

  1. It was his wedding anniversary.
  2. It was the 10and Anniversary of his election in 2005 – for a four-year term.
  3. The date marked a year and a half after his wife Amima had surgery for a leg problem at a Tel Aviv hospital – days after Abbas signed a unity government with Hamas, whose rockets regularly target Jewish state hospitals.
  4. It marked ten years since the withdrawal of Israeli civilians and troops from Gaza, ceding the area – without Jews – to Palestinian control.

Answer: B, C and D

January 9, 2005 was marked by scenes of jubilation when the Palestinians elected Abbas to a four-year term, replacing Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, who had allowed no political opposition to his rule. Although Abbas’ term was supposed to last four years, he has yet to schedule elections for his successor.

5. Although not in the Middle East, the new radical party in power in Greece, Syriza, which was the big winner of the elections of January 25, 2015, has a lot to say about the region. Which of the following events caused do not happened in the last few weeks?

  1. Theodoros Karypidis, Syriza’s candidate for governor of Western Macedonia, criticized then-Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ visit to a synagogue in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, accusing Greek Jews of seeking another victory for “Hanukkah” against Greece.
  2. Syriza has formed a coalition with the political party ANEL, whose leader has falsely claimed that Greek Jews do not pay taxes.
  3. Theodoris Dristas, a senior member of Syriza, a possible candidate for the post of finance minister in the new Greek government, embarked on a flotilla for Gaza, bringing building materials to the region controlled by Hamas in defiance of international sanctions.
  4. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for continued close ties between Greece and Israel, citing diplomatic tensions the two nations have with their common neighbor Turkey.

Answer: D

While Theodoros Karypidis was forced to withdraw his candidacy by Syriza, recent Greek elections have been marked by feelings of hostility towards Jews and Israel. Relations between Greece and Israel are expected to cool somewhat under Prime Minister Tsipras.

6. The 2014 Palestinian unity government set December 2 as the deadline for new elections. When this voting date came and went without a vote, what causes the Palestinian leadership do not responsible for the delay?

  1. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar blamed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas “because he fears the results”.
  2. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah blamed the war in Gaza, insisting that rebuilding homes is more important than holding elections.
  3. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh blamed Israel, saying: “Although Israelis are sometimes kind – for example, Israeli hospitals treated my close family members when they needed treatment – ​​the Israeli government adopted a hostile stance towards me and my party, banning Palestinian elections. .”
  4. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said the harsh winter cold made holding elections a low priority at the moment.

Answer: C

Although Haniyeh’s granddaughter was treated in a Tel Aviv hospital in November 2013 and her daughter was treated in a Tel Aviv hospital a year later, Haniyeh repeatedly called for the destruction of the Jewish state. However, he did not blame Israel for interrupting the Palestinian elections; his party, Hamas, instead blamed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for not calling for compulsory voting.

7. On January 20, 2015, rebels stormed the presidential palace in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen; two days later, US-backed president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi resigned. Which armed group was responsible for this coup?

  1. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: The Yemen-based group that orchestrated the terrorist attacks on a kosher grocery store and the Charlie Hebdo Parisian magazine.
  2. The Iran-backed Houthis, a Shia ethnic group from northern Yemen.
  3. ISIS: Yemeni authorities describe that it is gaining ground in several provinces of the country.
  4. The Yemeni army

Answer: B

Despite the growing presence of terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in Yemen, the January presidential coup was overseen by Houthi rebels backed by Iran; an Iranian government official described the groups as “similar” to the Iran-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah.

8. “A fierce defender of women”, is how Christine Lagarde, the woman at the head of the International Monetary Fund, praised King Abdullah. Which of the following statements about King Abdullah’s commitment to women’s rights is false?

  1. King Abdullah broke with long-standing Saudi tradition, allowing married women to drive, but with special driving licenses.
  2. King Abdullah instituted sweeping new changes in labor law. Banned from most professions, it is now legal for Saudi women to work in lingerie stores: a rule instituted to preserve women’s modesty and prevent them from buying underwear from male sellers.
  3. Four of King Abdullah’s daughters have been under house arrest for twelve years, with a ban on leaving their royal palace. Recent reports indicate that the royal princesses are being abused and lack food and water.
  4. When King Abdullah funded scholarships to send 100,000 Saudis abroad for higher education, he specified that a third of the scholarships would be reserved for women – and that female students should bring chaperones abroad with them .

Respond to

Although an advisory committee has recommended that Saudi women over the age of 30 be allowed to drive under certain conditions: their rights would only extend from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday to Wednesday and from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday , and it would be illegal to wear makeup while driving – King Abdullah rejected the recommendation. Women continue to be banned from driving; in 2014, a woman who did so recently received 150 lashes.

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