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

The Changing Face of Saudi Women?

Earlier this month, National Geographic released an article entitled ‘The Changing Face of Saudi Women’, celebrating the achievements of young Saudi women who are increasingly entering the work force and “redefining the boundaries of public life”. The idea of women’s empowerment in such a deeply conservative country is surely cause for celebration, but it cannot … Continue reading The Changing Face of Saudi Women?

Into the Jungle

6,000 migrants live in the bitter cold limbo of the Calais 'Jungle.' Volunteering there this weekend at a clinic run by The Hummingbird Project, I was shocked by the inhumane conditions in which these people live so close to home. UNHCR Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan seems luxurious in comparison to the slum-like conditions of the … Continue reading Into the Jungle

Oman: An Uncertain Future for ‘the Middle East’s Most Welcoming Absolute Monarchy’

Unable to see past the war and instability engulfing the rest of the Middle East, many will look at you with sceptical concern when you inform them that you are going to Oman. Images of suicide bombings in Iraq, Lebanon’s sprawling refugee camps and Yemeni children holding AK-47s inevitably infiltrate perceptions of the region. But this beautiful, … Continue reading Oman: An Uncertain Future for ‘the Middle East’s Most Welcoming Absolute Monarchy’

Not Our War: Kenya as a Pawn in America’s War on Terror

Firstly, some perspective. Kenya is safe, beautiful, and booming. The clichéd "war on terror" is fought far in the north-eastern badlands, deep in the hidden slums, and high in the dingy corridors of power. These places could not be further removed from the cool-gin-and-tonic-on-the-veranda-while-the-sun-sets-over-the-herd-of-elephants idyll of Kenya's unparalleled tourism spots. And if the hysteria of … Continue reading Not Our War: Kenya as a Pawn in America’s War on Terror

Operation Restoring Hope: A Dangerous Game for Saudi Arabia

The people of Saada have suffered enough. Yet after six bloody wars between the Houthis and the Yemeni regime, Saudi Arabia has begun the next phase of the northern Yemeni province’s destruction. The Saudi campaign recently declared the province a direct target in their fight against the Houthis, endangering the lives of thousands of innocent … Continue reading Operation Restoring Hope: A Dangerous Game for Saudi Arabia