In The Line of Duty

On the surface of it, the suffrage of Saudi women hits all the right notes: Gender, votes, power, emancipation. But given a closer look, the nation’s third municipal elections—the first in the Kingdom’s recent history that women can both vote and be voted into power—are not as they appear. At the time of going to… Continue reading In The Line of Duty

Captive Syria

No sunlight enters the dingy, oxygen-less cell. Six by ten meters in length, each identical to the other two dozen, occupied by thirty men who sleep on the cold ground. Thaer bides his time, nursing a broken foot and abscessed ear—poorly healed marks from a previous torture session—by drawing caricatures on the walls, caked with a slovenly,… Continue reading Captive Syria

UAE: Meet the World’s Youngest Minister

EARLIER this year in February, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum appointed Shamma Al Mazrui as the country’s youth minister. The news would have been like any other cabinet shuffle, had it not been for the fact that UAE’s 22-year-old Mazrui had become the world’s… Continue reading UAE: Meet the World’s Youngest Minister

Weaponizing Global Finance

Looking back at the American-led response to the 9/11 attacks, it is difficult to find clear-cut successes tied to military intervention. Osama Bin Laden may have been killed, but his organization—and even more brutal successors like Daesh—has expanded. At the same time, the Taliban in Afghanistan are steadily fighting their way back to their former… Continue reading Weaponizing Global Finance

Education: Is It Just A Business?

In a bustling emirate that has unquestionably turned into the Middle East’s main business hub over the past two decades, a growing number of private investors are tapping into Dubai’s education sector—a move that’s proving to be a double ended sword for parents. “On one hand, more schools coming on stream mean better choices for… Continue reading Education: Is It Just A Business?

MENA Soft Power

Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is led by a woman—Angela Merkel. The United States may just elect its first ever female president, Democrat-nominee Hillary Clinton, who has gained further support on the ground according to recent polls. Many people from the Middle East, especially women, wonder if the day would ever come when they, too, can… Continue reading MENA Soft Power

How The Settlers Won

Har Bracha is a Jewish business situated near Nablus in the occupied West Bank. Established in 2004, its location offers spectacular views. With an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) jeep parked outside, owner Nir Lavi recently told me that he was proud of his livelihood cultivating grapes, because it proved that anti-Semitism would always fail. “European… Continue reading How The Settlers Won

In the Line of Duty

Sometime ago, before writing an article on civil-military relations, I decided to do a simple experiment. I asked whoever I met that day to name Pakistan’s air force and navy chiefs. Except one, a former army officer, no one could. Even the officer paused a little before naming the navy chief. All of them, however,… Continue reading In the Line of Duty

Qatar Airways CEO: Building A Dream

Time is in short order when you are pushing your country’s national carrier forward in a fiercely competitive, global industry, as well as spearheading the building of the world’s “most unique airport,” while trying to find new ways to serve your passengers. Sitting at one of eight private lush retreat rooms in the first class… Continue reading Qatar Airways CEO: Building A Dream

Islamophobia: The Outsiders

In the time it takes you to read this piece, it is possible that another anti-Muslim incident might have occurred in the United States. I began reporting this piece on February 11, after news broke that a 68-year-old Afghan American Muslim man, Abdul Jamil Kamawal, was beaten to death the previous day by a 27-year-old… Continue reading Islamophobia: The Outsiders

Dial 9-11 For JASTA

Justice and security are on the minds of many Americans commemorating September 11 this week, as newly de-classified documents re-ignite the debate over Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the deadliest attacks in contemporary U.S. history — and congressional legislation is proposing to hold the Kingdom responsible in American courts. JASTA, or the Justice Against Sponsors… Continue reading Dial 9-11 For JASTA

Debtors Shall Not Go to Jail, Unless…

Mature economies have proven the need to implement a modern bankruptcy law in each country that wishes to strengthen its economic status. The aim behind the federal bankruptcy law is to attract capital in a safe and attractive investment environment, and provide protective legislation and legal acts to help establish a clear and transparent legal… Continue reading Debtors Shall Not Go to Jail, Unless…

Seeking Peace: GCC States on Regional Conflicts

Their voices were calm and measured, but as Gulf leaders addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York this week, frustration was palpable. The Middle East today is in flames, and from Syria to Iraq to Yemen and Palestine, the international body meant to resolve global crises is split and deadlocked. Great powers bicker, and… Continue reading Seeking Peace: GCC States on Regional Conflicts

A Crisis At Hand

Mohammed, a Lebanese man in his thirties, spends his days worrying about how he will repay the loans he has taken against his overdue salary payments. He has sold his car, his furniture, sent his wife back to Lebanon, and currently lives with a friend in Saudi Arabia waiting for Saudi Oger to pay him… Continue reading A Crisis At Hand

Modi’s 56-Inch Chest Bind

In the run-up to the 2014 national elections in India, one of the metaphors Narendra Modi, the Bharatya Janata Party’s (BJP) then-prime ministerial candidate, used to describe himself as having a 56-inch chest. Pooh-poohed by the opposition as a literal statement, Modi meant it metaphorically, contrasting his strong will with the weak-kneed Congress-led United Progressive… Continue reading Modi’s 56-Inch Chest Bind

The Battle Within

  “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured,” the writer Mark Twain wrote. The Republic of France would do well to heed that warning after the horrific attacks in Paris, because it will almost certainly over-react while… Continue reading The Battle Within

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with UAE’s Minister of Tolerance

“Sometimes I think it is mindboggling… when all of a sudden you find a teenager who left home because he wanted to fight in Syria, and you think what have I done to my child? Why would a child become like this?” says the UAE’s Minister of State for Tolerance, Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi. Being… Continue reading EXCLUSIVE: Interview with UAE’s Minister of Tolerance

Turkey: Gagged

Right now Turkey’s global importance as a democratic power is on shaky ground. Any media that are deemed critical of the government are censored. Journalists who object the escalating erosion of civil and human rights and the crumbling of basic democratic values are being arrested and jailed. Today’s political landscape is grim, but history has… Continue reading Turkey: Gagged

Somalia: Hope Springs

Fatima Jibrell’s bleak outlook is evident. “We have no drinking water in Badhan today.” For the pastoralists of Somalia, only dirty, expensive water is for sale, brought in over dirt roads by truck in the scorching heat. Not a single one of the four boreholes in her small village are working. There is a drought… Continue reading Somalia: Hope Springs

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