The Syrian Kurds may not remain on the sidelines for much longer after being dragged into the uprising against the al-Assad regime. But their influence on the future of Syria and the Middle East is hard to determine. By Nick AmiesMore
As secular and Islamic groups prepare for Egypt's first free elections later this year, the unchecked rise of the Islamist Salafi sect is causing concern among Egyptians who fear its violent extremist agenda. Nick Amies reportsMore
In northwestern Mauritania lies Chinguetti, a historic trading post and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city still has several libraries with Arabic manuscripts – many of them from the late Middle Ages.