Near & Middle East
The Houthis and the Salehs

The Houthis and the Salehs

Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi, father of the ongoing Houthi revolt, demanded greater autonomy and influence for his family as spiritual leaders among Yemen’s Zaydi Shia community. President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to accept these demands, not wanting to lose power to a rival family.  More»

Iran in Yemen

Iran in Yemen

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»

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

The Mecca Cleaners Strike

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 Women of ISIS

The Women of ISIS

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»

Feminising Islamic Militarism

Feminising Islamic Militarism

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»

How Not to Analyze Yemen

How Not to Analyze Yemen

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»

Choosing Gender in Iran

Choosing Gender in Iran

It may come as a surprise to see an Islamic country allowing married couples to make ‘designer babies’ by giving them a choice to choose the gender of their child under the ‘gender selection’ or PGD (Pre-implantation Gender Diagnosis) process. More»

Decolonization is Dead

Decolonization is Dead

ISIS, Iran and regional instability have motivated the UK to build a permanent £15 million pound military base in Bahrain, according to the British government. But is that all there is to it? And what else is at stake? More»

The Rojava Revolution

The Rojava Revolution

While other areas of Syria have descended into ruin, the Kurdish-majority provinces of the northeast have been relatively calm. This owes to the governmental ascendancy of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which is administering the so-called “Rojava Cantons” within a framework of democratic confederalism. More»

Carbon Jihad

Carbon Jihad

Following the Syrian Day of Rage, on March 15th, 2011, the city of Daraa quickly became the strongest flashpoint. By March 18th, thousands of protesters were roaring across Daraa, leading to a brutal suppression by security forces. When resistance continued into late April, Assad directed thousands of troops to lay siege of the city. More»

Meet the New Israel

Meet the New Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu raised some eyebrows when he expressed a desire for an independent Kurdistan in June. Not only was his speech to a Tel Aviv think tank surprising. It also contradicted current American policy of trying to prevent Iraq from splitting apart. Israeli-Kurdish solidarity isn’t actually new. Israel has maintained military and financial ties with Kurdish separatists since the 1960s.  More»

The British Lieutenant

The British Lieutenant

It’s old news by now. The Cameron government has joined the Obama administration in its air campaign against the self-declared Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq. In Syria, US-led forces are effectively acting on the side of the Assad regime. The attacks, in turn, have united the affiliates of al-Qaeda with the ISIS forces that they had broken with. More»