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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Misfat Al Abriyeen: A peaceful oasis in Oman’s Hajar Mountains

Nestled in the foothills of Oman’s Hajar mountain range overlooking a steep valley is the village of Misfat Al Abriyeen. 1,000 meters above sea level, this tiny, traditional village built into the rocky mountain is an agricultural sweet spot and a lush oasis of calm in a region characterised by hot, dry desert. It’s truly … Continue reading Misfat Al Abriyeen: A peaceful oasis in Oman’s Hajar Mountains

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

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

Fire in the Desert: Nimr al-Nimr and the Future of Saudi Arabia

The death of one man in Saudi Arabia last Saturday has poured petrol on the sectarian fire currently engulfing the Middle East. The Saudi Interior Ministry announced last weekend that it had executed 47 people on charges of terrorism and incitement. Among them was Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shia cleric from the restive Eastern … Continue reading Fire in the Desert: Nimr al-Nimr and the Future of Saudi Arabia