The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers tells the encapsulating story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American who travels to Yemen to start a social enterprise to reignite the ancient art of Yemeni coffee. There’s only one problem – when Mokhtar set out in 2014, Yemen was on the brink of civil war.
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.
When you think of the Silk Roads, the ancient trading routes between East and West, what do you picture? For me, it’s a romanticised – and probably slightly orientalist – vision of camel caravans carrying spices and frankincense from exotic corners of Arabia to be traded in the markets of the Mediterranean. It’s the migration … Continue reading Evelyn Naón Ibiza – Scents of the Silk Road
These 13 English-language Middle East blogs and websites are essential reading for anyone interested in Middle East politics and culture.
Famous for its bizarre natural life and dramatic scenery, the Yemeni island of Socotra is an almost other-worldly paradise in the Indian Ocean. But this isolated UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat from extreme weather and a bloody conflict encroaching on its peaceful way of life. (image: Juan Herrero) Nicknamed ‘the Galapagos of the … Continue reading Socotra: Conflict and climate threaten Yemen’s “alien” island paradise
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
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
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
“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 world watched in horror this week as Donald Trump dominated the polls on Super Tuesday, beating rival Ted Cruz in seven states and causing Ben Carson to pull out of the race. This has stoked panic in the hearts of many, not only within the GOP and USA, but around the world, as we … Continue reading The Next Global Threat: Drones in the Hands of President Trump