‘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

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

“Let’s get one thing straight: in order to live in Tehran you have to lie.” 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 … Continue reading Iran’s city of lies – Extraordinary stories of love, sex and death in Tehran

5 things you need to know to understand the Kurdish independence referendum

Today, millions of Iraqi Kurds will go to the polls to vote on whether they believe Iraqi Kurdistan should become an independent state, in a controversial referendum that could have far reaching implications for Iraq and the Middle East as a whole. Here are 5 things you need to know to understand the “Kexit”: 1. … Continue reading 5 things you need to know to understand the Kurdish independence referendum

4 photographers who will change your perception of Iran

An air of mystery seems to shroud the Islamic Republic of Iran. The country has frequently been the subject of negative press, which highlights tense relations with the West and other Middle Eastern countries, dubious links with militant groups in Syria and Iraq, and reports of human rights abuses in the country. Simply put, in … Continue reading 4 photographers who will change your perception of Iran

Saudi Arabia, sectarianism and the battle for the Twittersphere

Two people have been killed in the Shia-majority Eastern province of Saudi Arabia, sparking violence between citizens and the state and a sectarian war of words online. A two-year-old boy and a Pakistani expatriate were shot dead on Friday during clashes between gunmen and security services in Qatif in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. … Continue reading Saudi Arabia, sectarianism and the battle for the Twittersphere

Yemeni town awaits an offensive that could turn the tide of the war – but at a cost

International eyes have, for once, been on Yemen in recent weeks, as the catastrophic humanitarian situation has brought the country to the brink of famine. The men, women and children who have survived the brutal conflict thus far are currently facing starvation, as military blockades prevent aid from reaching those in dire need. One such … Continue reading Yemeni town awaits an offensive that could turn the tide of the war – but at a cost

Astana talks: A turning point for Syria and the region?

The snowy city of Astana has, this week, played host to the latest round of talks aimed at bringing an end to the constant human suffering that has characterised the Syrian conflict. Delegations from the Syrian regime and various armed opposition groups gathered in the Kazakhstani city for two days of negotiations, brokered by a … Continue reading Astana talks: A turning point for Syria and the region?

Pulling out the pin: Drawing Hezbollah out of Syria

January, 2014. Assad's fall from power is inevitable. His army is haemorrhaging combat power through defections, demoralisation and tactical defeats. The coalition of nationalists and Islamists are cutting a path to Damascus like a scimitar through flesh. Six months later and Assad is not only still in power, but he is regaining territory from the rebels. Something … Continue reading Pulling out the pin: Drawing Hezbollah out of Syria

Saudi Arabia and Iran: Playing with Fire in Petroland

“Aren’t the Saudis your friends?” the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, once asked President Obama. “It’s complicated”, Obama replied. At present the House of Saud has adopted a zero-sum perspective in its relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Kingdom has positioned itself on a path of perpetual antagonism with Tehran and the chances … Continue reading Saudi Arabia and Iran: Playing with Fire in Petroland

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