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Middle East & North Africa

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Anti-war protest in central London

Autocracy and War: Russian-Middle Eastern ties and the Ukraine War

In the past few years, Middle Eastern governments have deepened their ties with the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin and his regime were equally enthusiastic about intervening in Middle Eastern politics and propping up the region’s autocracies to restore Russia’s status as a global superpower. Today, both sides collaborate on various political and security issues affecting the Middle East. This relationship now influences how various Middle Eastern governments respond to the ongoing war in Ukraine. The response has been mostly ambivalent, as most of the region’s governments see Russia as a valuable ally that they cannot afford to alienate.

Dawn on Charles V palace in Alhambra, Granada, Spain.

Inventing the Islamic ‘Golden Age’

The Muslim Golden Age is a historiographical creation like many other conceptions that influence our view of Medieval history. Muslim culture and civilisation flourished throughout an age of exception stability and wealth until at least the early thirteenth century (Kafadar, 2010). The Golden Age highlights the greatest achievements accomplished by the Muslim world between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, with the Ottomans and Mughals, who are normally disregarded, being included as part of this time period.

Wall between Israel & Palestine

Convening a Summit for Democracy while militarily aiding Israel’s regime

As one examines the human rights violations in Palestine, aiming to promote democratic principles in other corners of the globe seems duplicitous. The problems that we encounter when trying to promote human rights principles question the point of vying for respect for these principles: it seems that, if they are not on the agenda of the most powerful states, it may turn out to be a lost cause. Rights and principles are often addressed when concrete national interests are affected. But also because of national interests, or due to a particular conception of national interests, states are willing to remain silent or even whitewash international crimes.