Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes

Bassem Youssef, a heart surgeon living with his wife and baby daughter in Cairo, was one of millions of Egyptians whose lives were changed forever by the Arab Spring. His story, however, is unique. Nicknamed ‘the Jon Stewart of Egypt’, Bassem shot to fame for uploading political satire videos to YouTube from his laundry room, … Continue reading Revolution for Dummies: The Egyptian heart surgeon exiled for making jokes

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Middle East Monthly Roundup: October

From now on, we're going to be publishing a monthly summary of the biggest stories in the Middle East, explaining why they matter and what they mean for the region. Here are two important developments that took place during October: Journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul What happened On October 2nd … Continue reading Middle East Monthly Roundup: October

Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution

“Music gives me power, it gives me hope. It moves hearts… Strings have more power than bullets, stronger than bullets” – Masoud Buisir, the Troubadour of the Libyan revolution. You wouldn’t necessarily expect this statement to come out of Libya, a country that has been torn apart by revolution, counter-revolution, extremism and warring factions since … Continue reading Stronger Than Bullets: Music on the Frontlines of Libya’s Revolution

Caliphate: The addictive ISIS podcast that’s causing controversy

As avid podcast listeners will know, the New York Times recently wrapped up its binge-worthy 10-part podcast series, Caliphate, which delves into the inner workings of the billion dollar operation that is/was the Islamic State. With thousands of 5-star reviews on iTunes, this dramatic podcast has hooked people by sharing unique, first-hand insights into what … Continue reading Caliphate: The addictive ISIS podcast that’s causing controversy

Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise

Famous for its bizarre natural life and dramatic scenery, the Yemeni island of Socotra is an almost other-worldly paradise in the Indian Ocean. But this isolated UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat from extreme weather and a bloody conflict encroaching on its peaceful way of life. (image: Juan Herrero) Nicknamed ‘the Galapagos of the … Continue reading Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise

Why the Middle East’s next great security threat will come from the environment

It’s no surprise the Middle East and North Africa are among the hottest regions on earth, but what many don’t realise is that rising temperatures and resource shortages caused by climate change could soon make the deserts of Arabia totally uninhabitable. According to scientists, the entire MENA region is susceptible to some of the severest … Continue reading Why the Middle East’s next great security threat will come from the environment

15 essential podcasts to help you understand the Middle East

Trying to understand the Middle East is complicated at best and impossible at worst! News stories give conflicting views of developments on the ground and much of the mainstream media coverage is steeped in stereotypes and lacking in nuance. These 13 podcasts deconstruct Middle Eastern history, politics, culture and the economy to give you a … Continue reading 13 essential podcasts to help you understand the Middle East

‘Dancing on the heads of snakes’: Yemen after Ali Abdullah Saleh

Today marks the 7th anniversary of the beginning of the Yemeni uprising that unseated the country’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh craftily played tribes, Islamist groups and foreign governments off against one another throughout his 33-year rule and he continued to do so after he was ousted from power in 2011. But his most recent … Continue reading ‘Dancing on the heads of snakes’: Yemen after Ali Abdullah Saleh

Iran’s city of lies – Extraordinary stories of love, sex and death in Tehran

The Islamic Republic of Iran stumbled into 2018 making headlines around the world. Thousands of citizens have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest the country’s staggering economy, corruption and rising prices. It is the first widespread opposition movement the Islamic Republic has seen since 2009, but this time, something’s different. In 2009, … Continue reading Iran’s city of lies – Extraordinary stories of love, sex and death in Tehran