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Match Made in Cairo

Match Made in Cairo

Three women huddle around the couple. Two of the women are likely to be their mothers; the third in this decisive meeting is the matchmaker, the middle-woman or the khatba. She is the one who is brokering the marriage. Anyone wandering through Cairo’s cafes or social...
Tehran Wades into Iraq’s Crisis

Tehran Wades into Iraq’s Crisis

Qassem Suleimani was only a young soldier in the Iran–Iraq War when he led Iranian troops through Iraqi minefields, stealing the odd goat along the way, and earning the respect even of the enemy. Today, Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, the special forces unit...
Nor Any Drop To Drink

Nor Any Drop To Drink

In classical times, Yemen was called Eudaimon Arabia and Arabia Felix (meaning “fortunate”), thanks to the rains which fell on its mountains, almost unique in an otherwise arid Arabian Peninsula. In those days the rains were heavier, so today less groundwater is now...
Dancing in Kirkuk

Dancing in Kirkuk

On a baking hot Monday afternoon just before the start of Ramadan, a group of teenagers filed into a dilapidated sports hall in Kirkuk. There was no air-conditioning and no watercooler, and the sweat dripped down their faces as they started to dance. But they beamed...
Turkey’s Game-Changer?

Turkey’s Game-Changer?

There have been a lot of positive reactions to the news that Turkey’s secular opposition have joined with nationalists to back a pious former Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference as its candidate for the country’s first-ever direct...