Dossier: Gulf Region

General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Brigade. Photo: Faresnews

Portrait: Qassem Soleimani

The man who pulls the strings

Iran is battling Saudi Arabia for regional supremacy in the Middle East, and is steadily expanding its sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Behind the scenes, Qassem Soleimani is a key figure who has had more influence on Iran's foreign policy over the last twenty years than almost anyone else. Martina Sabra reportsMore

Ala'a Shehabi (photo: Ala'a Shehabi)

The Bahraini activist Ala'a Shehabi

David versus goliath

The Bahraini economist Ala'a Shehabi has taken up the fight for democracy in her native country. In light of the fact that the repression of activists has increased here over the past three years and that the regime is spending millions on PR, hers is set to be a long, uphill struggle. By Iris MostegelMore

Serious rioting on Tahrir Square in Cairo (photo: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

The political consequences of the Arab Spring

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Some revolts just take longer

Civil war in Syria, a military regime in Egypt ... at first glance, it seems as if the Arab Spring has gone off the rails. But the battle is not over yet: 2014 will be a decisive year for change in the Arab world. An essay by Karim El-GawharyMore

Anti-government protests in Ras Roman near Manama, Bahrain (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Book review: "Sectarian Gulf" by Toby Matthiesen

Sectarianism instead of revolution

The Gulf states were among the many countries enveloped by the Arab Spring. However, authorities there skilfully managed to play Sunnis and Shias off against each other as a means of dividing the protest movement. Initially, the tactic proved successful, writes Toby Matthiesen in his book "Sectarian Gulf". A review by Jannis HagmannMore

King Abdullah and members of the royal family (photo: dpa/picture-alliance)

Saudi Arabia

Facing a Plethora of Fundamental Challenges

The deterioration of Saudi Arabia's political influence has contributed to a growing sense of national decline. King Abdullah's reform efforts have lost steam. An essay by Tarek OsmanMore

Protests against Prism and digital surveillance (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Surveillance and Domestic Security since 9/11

Like Donkeys Carrying Books

The intelligence services' frenzied data analysis is the latest and for the moment, the last in a series of imbalanced responses to the attacks of 11 September 2001, says investigative journalist Stefan Buchen who, according to a report in the German news weekly Der Spiegel, has himself been the subject of security agency investigationsMore

Protests in Tunisia at the start of the Jasmine Revolution (photo: DW/Mounir Khelifi)

Social Fabric and Solidarity in the Arab World

The Indifference of the Arab Middle Class

The upheaval in the Arab world has radically changed the fabric of society there. The Arab Spring has been followed by a shift in affinities towards people's kinship and religion. Moreover, the recent civil war in Syria has shown that Arab solidarity is a myth. An essay by Sami MahroumMore

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Political Pressure Exerted by Gulf States in Egypt

Reaching for the Cheque Book

With economic aid packages running into the billions, Saudi Arabia is leading a campaign to manipulate Egyptian politics, shore up support for the army and eliminate its old rival, the Muslim Brotherhood. Report by Karim El-GawharyMore

Michael Lüders (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Michael Lüders on the Sanctions on Iran

"The Objective Is Regime Change"

For years, the nuclear dispute between the West and Iran has been at a deadlock. In this interview with Thomas Latschan, Middle East expert Michael Lüders says that the West's main objective is not in fact to find a solution to the problem, but to stop Iran from being a power factor in the regionMore

Ahd Kamel (photo: © Ahd Kamel)

Interview with the Saudi Filmmaker Ahd Kamel

''We Live in a Modern World Governed by Ancient Rules''

The film Sanctity tells the story of Areej, a young, pregnant Saudi widow, who will do anything to protect her unborn child. Kamel not only wrote and directed the film, she also played the leading role. It was shot on location in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and is her second film. Igal Avidan met her in Berlin and asked her about women's rights and film-making in a country that has no cinemas.More

Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers pull down a statue of Saddam Hussein in downtown Baghdad, 9 April 2003 (photo: AP/Jerome Delay)

Iraq Ten Years after the Fall of Saddam Hussein

Invasion or Liberation?

Saddam Hussein's reign came to an end ten years ago. Iraq lost a brutal dictator, but found itself faced with new problems – a decade later, Iraqis have a mixed reaction to the US-led invasion. Birgit Svensson reportsMore

Protest against the supply of weapons and surveillance technology to Arab states in Berlin (photo: Michael Gottschalk/dapd)

Weapons Exports to Countries of the Arab Spring

Armed to the Teeth

The Middle East and North Africa region is the most militarised world region. It spends five percent of gross domestic product on arms on average. The global average is only two percent. In regard to military procurement, the revolutions have not made a difference. By Sheila MysorekarMore

Seyed Hossein Mousavian (photo: Reuters)

Interview with Hossein Mousavian

''Iran Will Not Negotiate under Threat''

Seyed Hossein Mousavian, spokesman for the former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rowhani and once the Iranian ambassador to Germany, sees a realistic chance for a resolution of the nuclear crisis despite the escalation of the conflict. Direct talks with the USA are both possible and necessary, says the former diplomat. An interview by Silke MertinsMore

Protests against Yemen's former president Saleh in Sanaa, February 2011 (photo: AP)

Yemen and the Arab Spring

Revolution on Hold

While political turbulence continues unabated in Tunisia and Egypt – the two countries where the Arab Spring started – and a bloody civil war still rages unchecked in Syria, the transition in Yemen seems to have ground to a complete halt. By Nader AlsarrasMore

Bahman Nirumand (photo: dpa)

''Human Rights as an Alibi'' by Bahman Nirumand

The Colonial Era Is Long Gone

In his new book, the German-Iranian journalist Bahman Nirumand appeals to the West to adopt a new foreign policy approach. Western politics should not align itself with the principles of realpolitik, but place much more emphasis on individual values. He says this is the only way to contribute to a stabilisation of the Middle East region. By Laura OvermeyerMore

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