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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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

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 painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

One of the greatest obstacles standing in the way of the pursuit of gender equality in the Middle East is the continued practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in many regional countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM across 30 countries, and that … Continue reading The painful truth about FGM in 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

Mohammed bin Salman: 5 things you need to know about the most powerful man in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS, as he has become known) has been making headlines around the world over the last few months, most recently for a crackdown on corruption that has seen hundreds of prominent Saudi princes, ministers and businessmen arrested and detained in Riyadh’s luxurious Ritz Carleton hotel. The five star … Continue reading Mohammed bin Salman: 5 things you need to know about the most powerful man in Saudi Arabia

“Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

“Rain begins with a single drop.” If you’re looking for some inspiration this week, look no further than Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif’s recent book, Daring to Drive. It tells the story of a fearless Saudi woman who went from living in a poverty, to being radicalised by her extremist education, to risking her life … Continue reading “Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

Shift – 3 female Saudi artists reflect on their changing culture in a London exhibition

Since the discovery of oil in the 1930s, life in Saudi Arabia has changed beyond recognition. What was once a traditional subsistence economy has become the linchpin of the global energy industry. Oil revenues have translated over the years into massive government spending, with gleaming new cities shooting up in place of previously modest, sleepy … Continue reading Shift – 3 female Saudi artists reflect on their changing culture in a London exhibition

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

Trump in Saudi Arabia: What you missed while the media were obsessing over Melania’s wardrobe

Donald Trump visited Saudi Arabia over the weekend on his first official foreign trip, signing a $100 billion arms deal and offering support for a new regional order in the Middle East. Meanwhile, the press focused on the First Lady and Daughter’s decision not to wear a headscarf. Ivanka and Melania Trump's decision to forgo … Continue reading Trump in Saudi Arabia: What you missed while the media were obsessing over Melania’s wardrobe