Yemen: The poorest country in the Middle East; The corner of the Arabian Peninsula widely ignored as the oil monarchies of the Gulf rose to riches and global prominence; And now, embroiled in a deadly civil war protracted by the interference of external powers, further destabilising an already war-torn region. Yemeni politics can be highly confusing for outsiders. These 10 books will help you understand this complex country and the ongoing conflict.
Halah Al Hamrani is a Saudi martial arts instructor and owner of the FLAG (Fight Like a Girl) Boxing gym in Jeddah. A pioneer in the emerging Saudi women’s fitness industry, Halah teaches women to challenge themselves and push their limits. Women in Saudi Arabia have typically been discouraged from sports, but as the country starts … Continue reading Halah Hamrani: The Saudi boxing instructor teaching women to ‘Fight Like a Girl’
These 13 English-language Middle East blogs and websites are essential reading for anyone interested in Middle East politics and culture.
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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