Middle East and North Africa | Wilson Center

Middle East and North Africa

Will Saudi Women Finally Be Allowed to Drive?

Jeddah—Will Saudi women finally be allowed to drive? Recently, three women were named Chief Executive Officer of two banks and the national stock exchange, creating heightened expectations for such a breakthrough in the last country in the world that bans women from driving.

“There are so many signs society is ready for it,” said Samar Fatany, a talk radio host, columnist, book author, and activist. She even predicted the ban on women driving might be lifted in the next few months. Others Saudi feminists expressed skepticism.

Women Behind the Scenes: How Modernity is Catching on Before Law in the United Arab Emirates

Through the Delphi method, this paper offers a new perspective from the voices of Emirati women in politics, policy, business, and university on the status of women in their country in light of the international treaties, conventions, and laws available for women’s empowerment. Drawing on true stories from daily life, it reveals that culture in the UAE is in the process of changing.

Is Hamas Rebranding with New Manifesto?

On May 1, Hamas issued a new “Document of General Principles and Policies,” which seems to be an effort to modernize and update the Palestinian Islamist movement’s original principles. Modernizing its ideology in some form has been under discussion within the organization for years.

Finding the Key to Middle Eastern Secrets in Prague

When the first flurries of snow started falling from the sky, I wanted to cry. Prague was already too cold for me. Being an Israeli, I was accustomed to mild winters. Nothing compared to the harsh, biting frost sweeping across the Czech capital. Every time I entered a restaurant I had only one request: polevka (soup). I hoped it would warm me somewhat. Why had cruel destiny placed me in Prague in November 2004?

Satire Under a Bright Red Star

A look at Iran’s Chelengar, 1950-1953

The period leading to the August 19, 1953, coup against Mohammad Mossadegh marked a unique instance in the history of the modern Iranian press. The weakness of the royal court, the limited state censorship imposed by Mossadegh’s National Front government, and the relative strength of opposition parties were all factors conducive to a lively and unique press scene in Iran, one on which the global Cold War cast a strong influence.

Russian and US Roles in the Middle East: the View from Israel

Israel occupies a unique position in relations with the U.S. and Russia. Israel’s traditionally close ties with the U.S. were undermined by deep differences and growing mistrust during the Obama administration. At the same time, despite profound contradictions in interests and agenda, Israel has developed close relations with Russia. Therefore, Israel serves as a valuable lens through which to view the changing engagement of Russia and America in the region. George F. Kennan Expert Yuri Teper discussed these shifts and their implications for the new U.S. administration.

Saudi Anxiety Grows Over Vision 2030 for the Kingdom

Riyadh—The official slogan of the financially besieged King Abdullah Financial District here is “Journey Into the Sky.” Years behind schedule, wildly ambitious, ill-conceived, and out of money, the project stands as a sobering reminder of past grandiose schemes gone awry in the kingdom's long pursuit to shake its addiction to oil.

Change and Consequences: Is Saudi Arabia at the Dawn of a New Era?

Four experts discussed the current challenges Saudi Arabia is facing and the short- and long-term steps the kingdom’s leadership has taken to address these issues.

The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East

 Guy Laron will discuss his latest book, The Six-Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East, which investigates the causes and consequences of one of the most significant moments in the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as the Cold War in the Middle East.