Near & Middle East
Dabke Flashmob

Dabke Flashmob

“If I can’t dabke dance, it’s not my revolution.” We paint these words in the colours of our favourite flag on a white canvas, the banner for our flashmob in the British Museum on the first anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, in Gaza. More»

Red Nostalgia in South Yemen

Red Nostalgia in South Yemen

From the conclusion of the Aden Emergency in 1967, to the end of the Cold War, southern Yemen was known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, and ruled by a Stalinist Politburo in Aden. Its ambitious domestic experiments, and Trotskyist foreign policies, were a constant headache for both its monarchical neighbours, and the nascent dictatorship of Ali Abdullah Saleh. More»

The End of Christian Europe

The End of Christian Europe

At first glance, the idea of England as an arena where two great religious forces meet seems rather far-fetched, but there is more Moslem activity in some of our English towns than people imagine. Turning over some files of the Kibla (a Meccan newspaper), one comes across passages like the following: More»

The Missionary Position

The Missionary Position

A European hat in those days was a rarity except in the large towns, and it attracted notice. That is the reason why I generally discarded it, with other too conspicuously Western adjuncts. Where the inhabitants were not well mannered, the hat was apt to be saluted with a shower of stones. More»

Oman Red Scare

Oman Red Scare

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»

Sectarianism in Yemen

Sectarianism in Yemen

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»

Germany in Palestine

Germany in Palestine

So passed the days of our training, swiftly, monotonously, until the fateful December morning when the news came like a thunderbolt that Turkey was about to join hands with Germany. We had had reports of the war—of a kind. Copies of telegrams from Constantinople, printed in Arabic, were circulated among us, giving accounts of endless German victories. More»

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»