With a mortar or pestle, or in a food processor, crush the cumin and the garlic together until you have a very coarse paste.
Heat the oil in a saucepan.
Add the cumin and garlic mixture and saute a minute or so until it turns fragrant.
Add the tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and paprika. Saute, stirring frequently, for about two more minutes.
Add the chickpeas and stir to mix. Add four cups of water, the za'atar, bay leaves and the roasted red pepper. Mix well.
Once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat until it boils gently, and cook for 15 minutes. I like to mash some of the chickpeas with the back of the ladle to thicken the stew slightly.
Add salt to taste and stir in the parsley. Turn off the heat.
Serve hot. This is perfect with rice, brown or white. You can also serve with some crusty bread, or some whole wheat pita bread.