Author: Bilal Ahmed
Bilal Ahmed is a writer and activist. He is currently preparing for his dissertation, which will compare tribal structures, and state relations, in Pakistan and Yemen.

The construction of major highways in four provinces, as well as pressure to designate the Chinese-financed Gwadar as a duty-free port, has breathed new life into ongoing efforts for Pakistani development. (More…)

The United Kingdom fought one of its last colonial wars in Oman, between 1962 and 1976. The Dhofar Uprising was initially a tribal revolt in the fiefdom of Dhofar, which evolved into a Communist-led insurrection. The conflict is crucial for understanding the development of the Gulf monarchies. (More…)

Media analysts frequently overemphasize Sunni-Shi’i divisions in Yemen, as though they are longstanding religious problems, with crude, irrational origins. Such discourse purposefully clouds the complex tribal, regional, and structural conflicts in the country. (More…)

During the 1990s, numerous Pakistani bands arose from the nascent democracy that followed the end of the Zia ul-Haq era. Dusk was one of them: a Pakistani metal band with a sound that has evolved with the miseries of daily life. (More…)

The Saudi-led invasion of Yemen has opened new discussions on the Houthis, an alliance of tribal militants that are based in Sa’ada. Mainstream analysts have begun to insist that the group is nothing more than an Iranian proxy, which demands closer scrutiny. (More…)

On Sunday afternoon, I participated in an act of theatrical protest at Nigel Farage’s local pub: the George & Dragon in Downe. During the “Beyond UKIP Cabaret,” I recited the azan over a loudspeaker, while wearing a red-and-white keffiyeh. (More…)

In November 2013, thousands of street cleaners in Mecca went on strike. The move was triggered by South Asian workers, primarily, complaining that intense police harassment was accompanying an immigration crackdown. (More…)

The al-Khansa Brigade, which has become infamous for recruiting female jihadists, released an Arabic-language manifesto on January 23rd. It is likely no coincidence that this was the same published on the same day as death of Saudi Arabi’s King Abdullah. It is obviously targeted at Arab women, hailing from the Persian Gulf.  (More…)

It has been a few months since a major attack on Army Public School in Peshawar. As a result, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has signed off on additional state violence through the National Action Plan for counter-terrorism, and a faction of Tehreek-e-Taliban has taken responsibility for an attack on Lahore’s police headquarters in mid-February. The pattern is predictable. (More…)

Since the War on Terror began, and especially since the rise of Islamic State, analysts have been alarmed by female jihadists. Maybe “alarmed” is the wrong word. Bewildered seems more appropriate. Regardless, the topic is quickly becoming an industry in its own right. (More…)

The situation in Yemen continues to degenerate faster than the media can analyze it. Since the Houthi seizure of power on Tuesday, there has been a flurry of negotiations, protests, counterattacks, and even outright declarations of independence in the restive south.  (More…)

Many analysts have become cynical about the Arab spring as a result of events in Egypt. There is certainly cause for it, especially since General al-Sisi is consolidating military rule while establishing a new cult of personality. Personally, I’m not hopeless. There is a trajectory to cults of personality that always has the opportunity to end abruptly, as was the case of Nicolae Ceaușescu in Romania.  (More…)