Unmarried and childless, Qaboos bin Said Al-Said, Sultan of Oman, is something of a rarity in the Arab world. His reign has already lasted for 45 years. Confusion still remains, however, over the identity of his successor. What is clear is that whoever it is will not have it easy. By Anne AllmelingMore
Far away from the attention of Western media, the oil-rich Gulf monarchies are currently trying to avoid being hit by the wave of uprisings and revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. So far, they have not only been successful in doing so, they've even managed to exploit the uprisings for their own purposes. Matthias Sailer reportsMore
Rawabi (″the hills″ in Arabic) – vision of Nablus-born entrepreneur and billionaire Bashar al-Masri – is the first planned Palestinian city and the largest private sector project in Palestinian history. Mockingly referred to by some as ″the first Palestinian settlement", Rawabi is not without its critics, who argue it merely serves to sugarcoat the Israeli occupation.
The development has also faced difficulties connecting to the water supply: infrastructure had to be built across Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under Israeli civil and security control – the necessary permits were eventually granted, but the main access road remains unauthorised. By Ylenia Gostoli