Todayʹs turmoil in the Middle East is rooted largely in historical legacies and poor leadership, but the influence of religion hasnʹt helped. So it is good news that, from Saudi Arabia to Israel to Iraq, religion is increasingly being superseded by strategic and security interests in shaping regional affairs. By Shlomo Ben-AmiMore
It is rare that a ruler is able to concentrate so much power in his own hands while remaining popular with his subjects: Sultan Qaboos has achieved a synthesis of tradition and globalisation. By Ingrid ThurnerMore
The list of thirteen demands given to Qatar on Friday by Saudi Arabia and the UAE does not represent a serious attempt to settle the conflict. Even so, a split in the Gulf Cooperation Council seems unlikely. By Anna SunikMore
Achieving gender equality in the Middle East will be a long process, requiring fundamental educational, social and economic reforms. But giving women the right training now can kick-start the process, writes Arib Ali Al-MandhariMore
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
Widely perceived as a Hindu spiritual practice, yoga was not officially permitted for decades in Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam where all non-Muslim worship is banned. But last November the kingdom finally recognised yoga as a sport, despite the risk of hardline opposition.