Dossier: Saudi Arabia

Ertugrul, president of a Muslim homosexual association in Turkey, stands near the Istiklal Avenue as he poses for a photograph in Istanbul on 28 July 2013 (photo: OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)

LGBT asylum seekers

A silent revolution

While it is a well-known fact that LGBT people face discrimination and violence in Muslim and Arab countries, it is not quite as well known that LGBT people seeking asylum in the West also face considerable difficulties and in some cases gross insensitivity. Some of those who have been granted asylum are now using the Internet to try and foster tolerance in their native countries. By Joseph MaytonMore

US President Barack Obama during a meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Rawdat al-Khraim near Riyadh (photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy

Pilgrimage to Pakistan

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has become increasingly estranged from the US, the world power that has held its protective hand over the kingdom for many years. The royal family has now changed the course of its foreign policy and sees Pakistan as a suitable strategic partner and a counterbalance to the influence of Turkey and Iran in the region. By Mai YamaniMore

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (right) speaking to Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal inside 10 Downing Street, London, England on 22 March 2011 (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Review of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK

Has Cameron buckled to pressure from Middle East allies?

During his announcement last week that he had ordered a review of the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK, British Prime Minister David Cameron made several references to violent extremism. Over the past two decades, Britain has introduced a whole raft of anti-terror laws that can be used in cases of violent extremism, so why is it necessary at this point in time to conduct a review into the Muslim Brotherhood? By Susannah TarbushMore

Arabic calligraphy (photo: Fotolia/Ivan Montero)

The Arab world

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Arabic: the last tie that binds

In terms of politics, economics, religion and culture, the paths of the Arab states diverge. The once proclaimed unity between them has been consigned to the history books. Only one thing still binds them together: the Arabic language. By Kersten KnippMore

Russia's President Putin, right, greets Egypt's General Al-Sisi (photo: Reuters)

The Crimean crisis

The Near East: scene of a new Cold War?

The Crimean crisis could mark the beginning of a new confrontation between East and West. Not only is there already talk of a second Cold War, there are already signs of it in the Near East. A commentary by Nora MüllerMore

Cover of the book "Contemporary Artists – Arab World" (source: Steidl-Verlag)

Book review: "Contemporary Artists – Arab World"

Perceptions of reality

The book "Contemporary Artists – Arab World" shows how different Arab artists have reacted to the upheaval in their countries. By Kersten KnippMore

Raif Badawi (photo: Facebook)

The Saudi blogger Raif Badawi

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600 lashes for expressing opinions

On 9 January 2014, a group of protesters organised a sit-in in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Rome, calling for the immediate release of blogger Raif Badawi. According to Elham Manea, he was imprisoned in 2012 on trumped up charges rooted in the ruling dynasty's fear of dissent and rebellion. He now faces the death penaltyMore

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

Raja Alem (photo: Unionsverlag)

Interview with Saudi Arabian writer Raja Alem

"When I write I am free, like flying in my dreams"

The Saudi writer Raja Alem is an outstanding voice in Arabic literature. Zurich's Unionsverlag has just published the German translation of her novel "The Doves' Necklace", which won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2011. Ruth Reif spoke to Raja Alem about her work and influencesMore

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

Laurent Fries's world map, which is based on the Waldseemüller map of 1513 (photo: Wikimedia commons)

Global history

Playing with the relativity of perspectives

A new six-volume work entitled "A History of the World" is the high point of a historiographical boom in the discipline known as "global history". The project attempts to overcome the eurocentrism of traditional writings of history. By Andreas PflitschMore

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in November 2013 (photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)

Saudi Arabia's foreign policy

The bewildered kingdom

The political changes wrought by the Arab Spring in the region, the prospect of increased oil supplies from deposits outside Saudi Arabia and the possibility of an historical rapprochement between the Saudis' long-term ally (US) and their arch enemy (Iran) have been a game-changer for Saudi Arabia in recent years. Mai Yamani takes a closer look at how the kingdom is reacting to these developmentsMore

Volker Perthes (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Interview with Volker Perthes

"It's time for a ceasefire"

Middle East expert Volker Perthes is calling for a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict to allow civil society to recover, which could in turn curb the growing influence of the Islamists. Diana Hodali spoke to himMore

A man reading the Koran (photo: Reuters)

Wahhabism and Salafism

Shared foundation – different methods

Wahhabis and Salafists are often named in the same breath. Yet these two ultra-orthodox faith movements do differ in a number of aspects, writes the doctor of Islam Studies Mohammad GharaibehMore

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

Dr. Elham Manea (photo: private copyright)

Women in Saudi Arabia

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Caught in a System of Gender Apartheid

No professional or vocational training, no visits to the doctor, no lawsuits without male approval. The Yemeni-Swiss political scientist Elham Manea describes the plight of women in Saudi ArabiaMore

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