The signing of the interim agreement between Iran and the 5+1 countries over Iran's nuclear program produced a very slight and, lately, dimming glimmer of hope that a process of reconciliation between Iran and the U.S. can begin sometime in the future.
Ancient Mayans gave cenotes their name and thought the formations worthy of praise and sacrifice. Filled with ground-filtered rain water, the naturally formed pools of cenotes are super clean and clear, but also scrotum scrunchingly cold.
After an Omani newspaper published an article that suggested that Oman was more sympathetic to homosexuals than most countries in the region, the initial euphoria among LGBT activists was quickly muzzled when The Week not only retracted the article but published an apology.
Oman straddles effortlessly between the modern and the ancient. I love the way that the developers have embraced Arabic sensibilities in building a modern nation: super fast highways co-exist with the intricately worked wooden doors.
While Oman continues to use its leverage to thwart a military confrontation in the Arabian Gulf, officials in Muscat have accepted that their influence is naturally limited, and they have taken actions to prepare for a scenario in which the Strait of Hormuz is closed.
The 20th century witnessed a string of influential women who have impacted the world of Western art from Gertrude Stein to Peggy Guggenheim. Perhaps unknown to some even in the arts field, a mixture of native and expatriate women across the Arab Gulf States have also played a major role.
To date, only presidents have fallen from power during the Arab Awakening -- no king has fallen from his throne. Arab monarchies are of course not immune to the forces that brought down some of their republican counterparts, so why have they all thus far survived?
There are lots of reasons why China invests in authoritarian regimes. And if any of the world's toughest dictators passes away in 2013, we may be able to see how much China's financial investments pay off in political influence.
Enacted by a royal decree, by Oman's ruler, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said inaugurated the Royal Opera House in October last year, thereby establishing one of the Arab world's most remarkable cultural institutions in the capital of Muscat.