Middle East Revolution

Regime Change and Upheaval in the Arab World

America Is Stuck With the Mideast

Walter Russell Mead, Wall St. Journal

Libya: Short War, Long Shadow (PDF)

Royal United Services Institute

Why Democracy Is Still Winning

Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians

Michael Oren, Wall St. Journal

Global oil markets and global commerce mean that American presidents will simply not be able to set this region off to the side....(full article)

Qatar is more and more assuming the role vacated by Egypt in trying to settle local and international disputes....(full article)

In spring 2011, Western military operations, backed by the Arab League, began against the regime of Muammar Qadhafi. Libyan rebels, after being penned in by the regime, began to ta...(full article)

The authoritarian urge to cross-dress in democratic clothes is an implied compliment to the democratic nations. That matters, because western democracies are going through a cris...(full article)

Just as Jews were once expelled from Arab lands, Christians are now being forced from countries they have long inhabited....(full article)


Most Recent Articles

Washington Stokes the Flames in Riyadh and Tehran - Kim Ghattas, FP

The implementation of the JCPOA will come on Jan. 16, but the rise in tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia risks hollowing out whatever regional benefits were expected from the a...

Palace Intrigue in a Transitioning Saudi Arabia - Reva Bhalla, Stratfor

In the past two weeks, Saudi Arabia sparked a wave of outrage with the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and sent investors into a frenzy over the possible sale of shares in ...

Iran-Saudi Fallout Will Be Costly for Moscow - Paul Saunders, Al-Monitor

The ongoing dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia following the kingdom’s execution of Saudi Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr on terrorism charges adds to many of the Middle...

Our 'Regrettable' Criticism of the Saudis - Robert Fisk, Independent

We have condemned them in the lightest terms. The implication is that the good old Saudis have simply let us down – fallen from their previously high moral principles...

A Sectarian Divide in Mideast on Saudi Arabia and Iran - Pew Research

The recent execution of Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr, along with dozens of other prisoners, by the Saudi Arabian government has sparked a furor in the Middle East. The storming of the ...

America's Embarrassing Infighting over the Mideast - Jackson Diehl, WP

The tumult over the Saudi executions revealed a Middle East that desperately needs a steadying outside force. But the reaction in Washington suggested that U.S. help is not on the ...

Oman, Stuck Between Saudi Arabia and Iran - Giorgio Cafiero, Al-Monitor

With a long history as a regional mediator and close ties with both Riyadh and Tehran, will Oman be able to cool the recent Saudi-Iranian tensions following the execution of Shiite...

Oil Exports to Play Big Role in U.S. Geopolitics - Bill Murray, RCE

While it’s been a futile activity for decades to guess the strength of the social contract holding the Saudi Kingdom together, allowing U.S. ports to export crude at any give...

The World's Most Misunderstood Martyr - Toby Matthiesen, Foreign Policy

The execution of Nimr al-Nimr has brought the Middle East to a boiling point. But his beliefs were more complicated than anyone will admit....

Fear and Loathing in Saudi Arabia - Kenneth Pollack, Foreign Policy

Saudi royals are scared about everything from the rise of Iran to the drop in oil prices. And Washington telling them to calm down only makes them angrier....

Iran and Saudi Arabia: Posturing and Reality - G. Friedman, Geo. Futures

Saudi Arabia executed a Shiite cleric. An Iranian crowd set part of the Saudi embassy on fire. Saudi Arabia then broke diplomatic relations with Iran, announcing their staff will l...

Saudi Women Realize Their Rights - Katherine Zoepf, The New Yorker

Institutions and businesses that serve Saudi women are carefully guarded, so as to prevent ikhtilat, illegal gender mixing, and the only male employees of a Saudi girls’ school o...

A Saudi View of the Iran Feud - Dan Drollette Jr, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

It’s politicians who are using the sectarian divide for their purposes. Because look at Iran’s actions wherever they may be. In Lebanon it’s Hezbollah that receiv...

Saudi-Iranian Crisis Complicates Ankara's Regional Plans - S. İdiz, ALM

Rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have put Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on the spot again, providing a fresh example of how its Islamist/Su...

Iran's Martyrdom Machine Revs Up - Phillip Smyth, Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shiite cleric has put the Middle East on edge — and set up Tehran for its favorite role....

The High Cost of Saudi Insecurities - David Ignatius, Washington Post

Saudi Arabia’s insecurities have been a driver of conflict for 40 years. Fearful of domestic threats, the Saudis bankrolled PLO terrorism, jihadist madrassas, al-Qaeda’s founde...

This Isn't 1973. Let's Dump Riyadh - Ryan Cooper, The Week

But there's the rub, isn't it? Being hardheaded about the U.S. national interest does not necessarily imply accepting sociopathic violence. It might under some circumstances (suppo...

Does Political Islam Have a Future? - Cameron Glenn, The National Interest

Five years after the Arab Spring, hope for a nonviolent and Islam-inflected politics is narrower than ever....

Saudi Arabia's Dangerous Sectarian Game - Toby Craig Jones, NY Times

Why did Saudi Arabia want this now? Because the kingdom is under pressure: Oil prices, on which the economy depends almost entirely, are plummeting; a thaw in Iranian-American rela...

Sunni Governments Do Not Trust America - Wall Street Journal

A Middle East dividing into Sunni and Shiite blocs is the predictable consequence of Mr. Obama’s strategy of retreat from the region. As elsewhere, U.S. allies in the Middle ...

Obama's Middle East Balancing Act Tilts Toward Iran - Rogin & Lake, BV

At the root of the problem for Sunni Arab states is the nuclear deal reached last summer by Iran and Western nations. When the White House sold the pact to Congress and Middle East...

Iran's Interference in Arab Affairs Cannot Continue - Gulf News

Iran has acted with overbearing arrogance for many years and its Arab neighbours have shown exceptional patience as they have sought to build proper relations required between sove...

The Diminished Legacy of the Iran Deal - Dan Drezner, Washington Post

It is possible that no amount of Obama administration hand-holding and backstopping was going to placate the anxiety of the Sunni states in the wake of the Iran deal. Still, if you...

World Must Wake to ISIS Threat in Libya - H. Felter, Conservative Home

Iraq, Syria and Libya will someday return to some kind of peace. What hope is there for their economies and their tourist industries if we continue to allow Daesh to smash up their...

Saudi Executions: Unjust, and an Unwise Provocation - The Guardian

Bitter rivals for predominance in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran are waging proxy wars against each other in Syria and Yemen, but have so far avoided direct conflict. Yet t...

Saudi Executions Driven by Fear of Sunni Militancy - McDowall, Reuters

Saudi Arabia's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric provoked sectarian anger across the Middle East, but by putting to death dozens of al Qaeda convicts at the same time it also de...

Obama's Mideast Plan Faces a New Hurdle - Jay Solomon, Wall St Journal

The sudden upheaval that shattered ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia over the weekend also saddled the Obama administration with unexpected complications in what already was a lon...

Saudi-Iran Rift Threatens Syria Diplomacy - Dan De Luce, Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday, as an escalating war of words between the two archrivals threatened to derail a renewed international bid to halt the conf...

Saudi Executions Signal Royal Worries - Bruce Riedel, Al-Monitor

Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 people, including a poplar Shiite cleric, point to the royal family's growing concerns about the kingdom's stability....

2015 Winner in Mideast: U.S. Arms Exporters - Joyce Karam, Al Arabiya

46.6 billion U.S. dollars is the average estimate for arms sales from the United States to the world in 2015. Big chunk of those receipts have gone to the Middle East where four wa...

The Contradiction of Saudi-Style Austerity - Roula Khalaf, Financial Times

Saudi officials say they are serious about embracing reform and slashing waste. But their plans contain contradictions that have yet to be resolved. How, for instance, can substant...

Did the Saudis Just End Syria Peace Hopes? - Simon Tisdall, The Guardian

If hardliners succeed in portraying Nimr’s execution as a deliberate, national provocation that must be forcefully avenged, hopes of Syrian peace this year could be seriously dam...

Iran Sees 'Divine Vengeance' after Saudis Execute Shia Cleric - Reuters

Iranian protesters stormed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran early on Sunday and Shi'ite Muslim Iran's top leader predicted "divine vengeance" for Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent...

Saudi Arabia Executes Prominent Shiite Cleric - Ben Hubbard, NY Times

Saudi Arabia carried out its first mass execution in more than three decades on Saturday, putting to death dozens of militants linked to Al Qaeda as well a prominent cleric who had...

Collapse of Oil Is a Challenge to the Old Order - Allister Heath, Telegraph

The cost to oil-exporting countries from the lower prices is nearing $2 trillion a year. Drivers, by contrast, have saved a fortune, allowing them to spend the cash on other things...

Can Oman Help the Saudis Save Face? - Giorgio Cafiero, Al-Monitor

Oman, the only GCC country that did not join the Saudi coalition fighting in Yemen, could help the Saudis negotiate peace there....

A Century After Sykes-Picot - Eugene Rogan, Cairo Review

With the fall of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War, Arabs found themselves divided into new states under British and French domination. Today’s crises are a legacy...

Saudi Arabia's Phony War on Terror - Brahma Chellaney, Project Syndicate

Containing the scourge of Islamist terror will be impossible without containing the ideology that drives it: Wahhabism, a messianic, jihad-extolling form of Sunni fundamentalism wh...

Behind the Scenes at Yemen's Peace Talks - Nawal Al-Maghafi, ME Eye

A UN insider close to Security Council members told me that they were concerned that the Yemeni government and the Saudis were making no progress on the ground, with fighting in Ta...

Only Saudi Arabia Can Defeat ISIS - Nawaf Obaid, Guardian

I have often heard claims that my country created Isis. On the contrary – we are leading the fight against it....

How the Saudis Can Fight Terror - Bloomberg View

Saudi Arabia's announcement that it will create a Muslim-nation coalition against terrorism was greeted with faint praise and loud skepticism, and with reason. It turns out that Pa...

Five Mideast Stories to Watch in 2016 - Kevin Sullivan, RealClearWorld

It would be difficult to overstate just how deadly and destabilizing a year it was in the Middle East. From the civil wars raging in Syria and Yemen, to the ongoing military campai...

Israel Still Mulling Iran Strike

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was to visit Capitol Hill Tuesday after sitting down with President Obama Monday to talk about Iran.Monday's discussion was important for ...

Syria Slams UN Draft Resolution

Inside VOA | Contact VOA News ...

UN Approves Air Strikes in Libya

A pro-Qaddafi crowd stormed a news conference given by Libya's deputy foreign minister at a hotel in Tripoli early Friday. The United Nations Security Council voted Thursday to aut...

Gaddafi Planes Bomb Rebel City

Libyan students attend a pro-Gadhafi rally organized in the parking lot of the Rixos hotel where the foreign press is staying in Tripoli, Libya, Monday March 14, 2011. Teachers ...

Middle East Upheaval Timeline

 First day of major anti-government action:

  • Tunisia: December 18, 2010
  • Algeria: December 28, 2010
  • Saudi Arabia: January 21
  • Egypt: January 25
  • Yemen: January 27
  • Morocco: January 30
  • Bahrain: February 14
  • Libya: February 15
Rank Country


(full country profile)
  • Average Life Satisfaction: 5.2/10
  • Population: 10.5 million
  • Political System: Republic
  • 83.8% of people feel personal safety*
  • 14.8% of people find others trustworthy*

Saudi Arabia

(full country profile)
  • Average Life Satisfaction: 6.1/10
  • Population: 26.1 million
  • Political System: Monarchy
  • 78.2% of people feel personal safety*
  • 37.1% of people find others trustworthy*


(full country profile)
  • Average Life Satisfaction: 4.7/10
  • Population: 32 million
  • Political System: Constitutional Monarchy
  • 75.1% of people feel personal safety*
  • 58.5% of people find others trustworthy*


(full country profile)
  • Average Life Satisfaction: 5.6/10
  • Population: 35.5 million
  • Political System: Republic
  • 39% of people feel personal safety*
  • 15.8% of people find others trustworthy*


(full country profile)
  • Average Life Satisfaction: 5.1/10
  • Population: 78.2 million
  • Political System: Republic
  • 72.7% of people feel personal safety*
  • 18.2% of people find others trustworthy*


(full country profile)
  • Average Life Satisfaction: 4.8/10
  • Population: 24.4 million
  • Political System: Republic
  • 65.6% of people feel personal safety*
  • 26.9% of people find others trustworthy*

Middle East from the Compass Blog

Seeing the Mideast Through a Cold W

While I took issue with Andrew Sullivan's idea that Vladimir Putin now "owned" the mess in Syria, ...

John Kerry's Priorities

According to Josh Rogin and Eli Lake, Secretary Kerry has spent "years" trying to nudge the Israel...

Saudi Arabia Expelling Handsome Men

Saudi Arabia engages in all manner of dubious practices: restricting a woman's ability to drive, c...

How the Israelis and Palestinians V

As President Obama stumps for a resumption of the peace process, Gallup has published some polling...

Kerry's Magic Words Will Keep Arms

Secretary of State John Kerry has a plan to stop Gulf state weapons from ending up in jihadist's h...

Latest News from Middle East

Israel's Shimon Peres suffers 'mild

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's 92-year-old former President Shimon Peres suffered a "mild&quo...

Indonesian authorities warned last

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — The deadly attacks Thursday in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, were not...

Istanbul attack deals fresh blow to

This week's suicide attack in Istanbul has dealt a fresh blow to tourism in Turkey, which had a...

Palestinian refugee driven into new

BAHARKA REFUGEE CAMP, Iraq (AP) — As a nine-year-old boy, Ibrahim Mahmoud fled his hometown of Hai...

Top Asian News 4:59 a.m. GMT

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A massive explosion rocked downtown Jakarta in front of a popular shoppi...