13 essential blogs and websites to help you understand the Middle East

The Middle East is one of the world’s most complex regions. Media reports struggle to get across the context and nuance needed to get a clear understanding of events on the ground. Meanwhile, books and academic works often seem stuck in time and can be rendered irrelevant overnight in the face of rapid developments. These … Continue reading 13 essential blogs and websites to help you understand the Middle East

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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

The Omani village that’s empowering women through entrepreneurship

By Tone Delin Indrelid Just across the road from the serene looking green domed mosque on Sidab Road, there is a quaint little house. Its door is painted a calm blue and a blue sign indicates that you have reached the community centre of ‘Sidab Women.’ Sidab Women’s Sewing Group was founded in 2004 by … Continue reading The Omani village that’s empowering women through entrepreneurship

‘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

Leena Al Ayoobi – The Bahraini artist recreating the image of women in the Gulf

Contrary to common stereotypes, there was a time when bright colours reigned in the Arabian Peninsula, before the black abaya became fashionable. Self-taught Bahraini artist Leena Al Ayoobi takes us back to these roots in her paintings, portraying beautifully the vibrancy of Arabic culture and highlighting the diversity and individuality of Arab women that is … Continue reading Leena Al Ayoobi – The Bahraini artist recreating the image of women in the Gulf

Amal Al Raisi – The fashion designer taking Khaleeji style to the runways of Paris and Torino

Omani business graduate Amal Al Raisi found a career in fashion totally by accident while working for a government ministry in Muscat. After searching for a wedding dress and becoming frustrated at the lack of choice, she decided to design her own. The dress was so popular that she began designing for her family and … Continue reading Amal Al Raisi – The fashion designer taking Khaleeji style to the runways of Paris and Torino

The Qatar spat: The crack in the GCC’s armour deepens

Six Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing the tiny natural gas-rich Gulf emirate of sponsoring terrorism and destabilising the region. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have closed their borders with Qatar, stopping flights into the country and giving Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave their countries. Kuwait and Oman … Continue reading The Qatar spat: The crack in the GCC’s armour deepens