Bahla: 'City of djinns'
Magical myths haunt ancient Omani oasis
Deep in Oman's parched interior, the ancient oasis town of Bahla abounds with myths of camel-eating, fire-mouthed hyenas and men turning into donkeys – a reputation for magic and mystery that persists to this day
Regional perspectives on the Gaza war
The Middle East conflict is back
In recent years the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had gradually become uncoupled from the other lines of conflict in the Middle East. This "encapsulation of the Middle East conflict" may be off the table for now, but it does nothing to change the parameters of the larger regional struggle for dominance
War in the Middle East
What's China's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict?
Beijing is seeking to mediate in the war between Israel and Hamas. China has condemned both parties' violence. Despite this, public hostility towards Israel prevails
Which nation could mediate over Gaza?
The United States, European Union, Russia and China want to help end Israel's conflict with Hamas. However, writes Cathrin Schaer, Middle Eastern states are the ones who will need to step up for humanitarian and diplomatic reasons
Human rights and Islamism in the Gulf
This Barbie can't go to Kuwait
The recent ban of the Barbie film is part of a growing crackdown on feminism and freedom of expression in Kuwait. Hind Al Ansari argues that instead of tightening controls, the government should focus on developing spaces for open dialogue
Connecting the Gulf with Turkey
Iraq's Transport Corridors – no place for Kurdistan?
Excluding Kurdistan from a new infrastructure project in Iraq, designed to connect the Gulf with Turkey via road and rail, is purely political – despite the economic unfeasibility argument. Commentary by Sardar Aziz
Middle Eastern and North African art in Europe
MENA Art Gallery – haven for Arab art
The MENA Art Gallery in downtown Berlin is the brainchild of Italian researcher Enrico De Angelis and Syrian visual artist Zena El Abdalla. One transliteration of the colloquial Arabic for 'port' is 'mena', reflecting the intention to provide a haven for works by Arab artists, as Rama Jarmakani reports
The Islamic Republic's dilemma
Iran's deal last spring with Saudi Arabia, brokered by China, highlighted the emergence of an unstable equilibrium in the Islamic Republic's foreign policy. Amin Naeni and Ali Fathollah-Nejad explore the inherent tensions
Financial Times: How to make lab-grown meat halal
Meat grown in a lab could be considered halal, according to advice from Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia to a U.S. food start-up, as the industry starts to explore certification for products to fit religious dietary rules.
Turkey's realpolitik in the Gulf
Dropping long-held convictions to seek deeper ties
Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the Gulf states in July was his most productive so far, signing defence cooperation and other deals worth billions of dollars. But is a strategic partnership really possible while Turkey and the UAE continue to back conflicting sides in various regional crises? By Leyla Egeli
Eating insects in Europe
What is kosher, what is halal?
The European Union's gradual approval of the addition of insects to food is not without controversy. Many Jews and Muslims also have a problem with the idea, owing to their various dietary restrictions
Arab states in crisis
In search of a miracle cure
Given the political, economic and social challenges in Arab countries, fragmented individual measures are no longer enough. What is needed is comprehensive, far-reaching reform. Essay by Marwan Muasher