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The Cannes Diaries 2015: Aishwarya, Hitchcock, Heelgate and Wajib

E. Nina Rothe | Posted 05.23.2015 | Entertainment
E. Nina Rothe

Still a bit to go until the Palme d'Or and Un Certain Regard prizes are announced in Cannes, and speculations are aplenty regarding the winners. Some say the festival was devoid of great works of art, others complained about the Festival de Cannes typical bureaucracy.

Hiding in Plain Sight: Progress in the Middle East and North Africa

Neil Ghosh | Posted 05.20.2015 | Impact
Neil Ghosh

While significant development challenges remain in the region, progress is being made in a number of key areas by both governments and local communities.

Camp David, President Obama, and the Refusal to Acknowledge History and Reality

Matthew Hoh | Posted 05.19.2015 | Politics
Matthew Hoh

Courting Arab leaders precisely as they undermine U.S. objectives gets it almost exactly backward. America's failures, under both Barack Obama and George W. Bush, stem from its unwillingness to break with allies taking actions that will result in disaster.

The Cannes Diaries 2015: Stalking Jake Gyllenhaal and the Rebirth of Arab Cinema

E. Nina Rothe | Posted 05.19.2015 | Entertainment
E. Nina Rothe

Once in Cannes, I hit the ground running. Picked up my credentials, again a flirt fest of pat-downs, s'il vows plaît madame and merci's, and went to visit the United Arab Emirates pavilion, which has seen some changes.

Love in Morocco, If You Dare

Dane Steele Green | Posted 05.04.2015 | Gay Voices
Dane Steele Green

The whole point of a vacation is to go and enjoy yourself. Do that how you will. But however great the temptation (or the thrill of almost getting caught) with this totally hot guy you just met, keep your feet on the ground.

Which Way Will Saudi Arabia Swing?

Luay Al Khatteeb | Posted 05.01.2015 | World
Luay Al Khatteeb

Each week seems to bring new twists in Middle Eastern geopolitics, with shockwaves on the energy market and in particular oil prices. The recent reshuffle in Saudi Arabia heralds a major break with established tradition and watershed in the trends of the oil industry.

Are Low Oil Prices Here to Stay?

Luay Al Khatteeb | Posted 04.25.2015 | Politics
Luay Al Khatteeb

It's often said that you can't get economists to agree on anything. Well, oil economists certainly can't agree on future prices, with commentators suggesting anything from $20 to $200. Seldom has there been such a discrepancy in forecasting, though the median forecasts seem to be somewhere between $60 and $70.

The Middle East Among Us: Artist Nasser Alzayani in Florence

E. Nina Rothe | Posted 04.13.2015 | Arts
E. Nina Rothe

I caught up with the kind, thoughtful, wise-beyond-his-years artist inside the Odeon Cinema in Florence during Middle East Now, and it turned out to be a highlight of my festival. After the interview, do check out the slideshow of his work below.

Borders Undone: The Middle East Now Festival in Florence

E. Nina Rothe | Posted 04.08.2015 | Entertainment
E. Nina Rothe

One of the brightest, loudest, flashing neon-style sign that humanity can indeed get along is the upcoming Middle East Now festival in Florence, Italy. Yes, Florence, where that original coming out of the Middle Ages happened hundreds of years ago, is the city I believe could also be at the epicenter of a new cross-cultural Renaissance.

Gulf Alliances: Regional States Hedge Their Bets

James Dorsey | Posted 03.31.2015 | World
James Dorsey

The current Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, designed to prevent Iranian-backed forces from gaining power, symbolizes the Gulf's new assertiveness. This is unfolding as the various Gulf states seek to hedge their bets with different strategies that complement, rather than replace, the regional US security umbrella.

Open Bethlehem on Aflamnah: A Passport and the USA Campaign

E. Nina Rothe | Posted 05.17.2015 | Entertainment
E. Nina Rothe

In the last couple of days I've seen two headlines which make Leila Sansour's film-slash-human-rights-movement Open Bethlehem both perfect and important.

ISIL: The Second Coming

Mohammed Fairouz | Posted 05.04.2015 | Politics
Mohammed Fairouz

The worst way to follow the disastrous foreign policy of George W. Bush's era may be with a disaffected administration that seems to be uninterested in forming a coherent and strong U.S. outlook on the world. This is bad timing as the stakes couldn't be higher.

All About That Brass: The Ukraine-Russia-UAE Weapons Triangle

Innokenty (Kes) Grekov | Posted 04.29.2015 | World
Innokenty (Kes) Grekov

Yet there's something unsettling about this scenario, in which Ukraine buys weapons from the Emirates and Russia sells to and makes weapons with the Emirates. This thriving, happy triangle boils down to very bad news for the civilians facing a protracted war in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine.

Press Freedom Must Not Be Compromised in Fight Against Extremism

Courtney C. Radsch | Posted 04.24.2015 | Politics
Courtney C. Radsch

There is a valid concern that the countering violent extremism initiative could provide justification for governments to broaden surveillance online and use it to curb human rights and civil liberties.

Opulent Arabs Stiff Syria's Refugees

Barry Lando | Posted 04.25.2015 | Politics
Barry Lando

One would think that those fabulously blessed royals and sheikhs would be lining up to donate a tiny fraction of their vast treasure to the UNHCR's attempts to mitigate the catastrophe that has overtaken millions of their Sunni Arab brethren. But, one would be wrong.

36th Anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution Victory

Majid Rafizadeh | Posted 04.22.2015 | Politics
Majid Rafizadeh

Although not many experts, politicians and scholars held the belief that the Islamic revolution, its political system and the cleric rule would last long, the new system of governance which created upheaval in the socio-political system of Iran has survived for 36 years.

Lead Mr. Obama, Please Lead

Dr. Harlan K. Ullman | Posted 04.14.2015 | Politics
Dr. Harlan K. Ullman

If Mr. Obama can become the force for mobilizing coalition responses by leading both from the front and, where necessary, from behind with real rather than vague strategies and promises, IS is doomed. If not, this will be as a former secretary of defense famously mused "a long, hard slog."

UAE Embarks on Global Campaign to Market Its Brand of Autocracy

James Dorsey | Posted 04.13.2015 | World
James Dorsey

The United Arab Emirates has embarked on an all-out effort to broaden its regional influence and achieve global acceptance of its autocratic definition of terrorism that encompasses all non-violent, legitimate expressions of political Islam.

Drones for Good: UAE Honors Peaceful-Purpose Innovators

Faisal J. Abbas | Posted 04.10.2015 | World
Faisal J. Abbas

One of the highlights of last year's Government Summit, an annual international forum held in Dubai designed to help shape the future of governments, was the announcement that the UAE was set to introduce drones to help deliver ID cards, driving licenses and other permits to its residents.

Keen to Project a Progressive Image, the UAE Picks Its Battles

James Dorsey | Posted 04.09.2015 | Sports
James Dorsey

Projecting an image of being politically and culturally on the cutting edge, the UAE carefully picks its battles. Participation in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State, the jihadist group that controls a swath of Syria and Iraq, has projected the Emirates as a military force to be reckoned with. Soccer is the Emirates' next target.

The Berlinale Diaries: Opening Night and Why Cinema Can Heal the World

E. Nina Rothe | Posted 04.08.2015 | Entertainment
E. Nina Rothe

I'm all for films, as Jafar Panahi says in his latest Taxi, showing here in Berlinale: "All films are worth watching; it just depends on your taste." But perhaps I wish, deep down inside, as a human being, that our collective taste was just more about peace and love. Without so much blood, so many guns.

J-Schools Must Include Safety Courses in Curricula

Magda Abu-Fadil | Posted 04.04.2015 | Media
Magda Abu-Fadil

Both IFJ and UNESCO have been quite active in promoting the topic and have published guidebooks on how journalists can protect themselves in various scenarios that spell trouble. It's the belief that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Egypt Appoints Controversial UAE Hired Gun As Elections Monitor

James Dorsey | Posted 03.30.2015 | World
James Dorsey

Egyptian-general-turned-president Abdel Fattah Al Sisi's efforts to lend legitimacy to parliamentary elections scheduled for this spring have gotten off to a murky start with the appointment of a controversial, reportedly United Arab Emirates-backed human rights NGO as one of five foreign election monitors.

Iran's Geopoliticial, Strategic and Ideological Role in Iraq

Majid Rafizadeh | Posted 03.17.2015 | World
Majid Rafizadeh

Iran can replace American efforts in the region with informed and constructive policies that define Tehran as a benevolent regional power. The Islamic Republic can also take the path of investing in some religious and political groups while excluding others.

Bahrain's Daesh Dilemma

Giorgio Cafiero | Posted 03.17.2015 | World
Giorgio Cafiero

Bahrain must tread carefully. The ruling monarchy finds itself vulnerable to a resilient Shi'ite opposition and a growing current of pro-Daesh elements within the monarchy's political and security structures.