This section profiles established and emerging voices on reform in English and in Arabic with links to their pages. Our only criteria for inclusion are that blogs be focused on reform issues and that they be published on a regular basis. Some blogs provide in-depth analysis of reform trends by established political analysts (academics and commentators), while others are more useful as data aggregators or as a source of local news and developments that are not covered in mainstream media. To suggest a blog, email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Al Bab (Blog)
Brian Whitaker began al-Bab as Yemen Gateway in 1998 as an information hub on Yemen; with his appointment as the Middle East editor of The Guardian, the site soon expanded to cover other countries. The current site is maintained by Whitaker (with most of the blog posts authored by him), though is technically under the aegis of the British-Yemen Society. Al-Bab is as near a comprehensive introduction to the Arab world and its intricacies as the Internet can offer: the index includes links to major newspapers, essays, analyses, and archives to various issues and countries. Initial readers may be a little overwhelmed.
- Informed Comment
Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion
“Juan Cole is Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. For three decades, he has sought to put the relationship of the West and the Muslim world in historical context,” (From About). This blog offers daily informed and critical posts on U.S. policies towards the Arab and Muslim worlds.
“Where others see only a security threat, conflict, or data on a graph, we see a region inhabited by living communities and dynamic societies. Jadaliyya is a comprehensive e-zine on the Arab world and includes posts on culture, politics, the Arab uprisings, interviews, roundtable discussions with academia and reviews of books, movies, and art exhibits. Additionally, there is a “listen” function that allows the reader to have any article read aloud. Its contributors are volunteer specialists from a wide-range of fields who write both in Arabic and English.
- The Middle East Channel
“A vibrant and decidedly non-partisan new site where real expertise and experience take priority over shouting, where the daily debate is informed by dispassionate analysis and original reporting,” (From About).
Edited by Mark Lynch of Abu Aardvark and Daniel Levy, Director of the Middle East Task Force at the New America Foundation, MEC offers a wide array of published material in the form of analytical articles, weekly photo essays, and a daily brief. Besides the channel, they have a more "informal" blog section with photo essays and videos updated daily.
For the founders of Muftah, the “key” to crafting effective U.S. foreign policy towards MENA is understanding the region from within, and not exclusively in terms of U.S. interests. Accordingly, Muftah challenges policy makers to look at the region through a MENA-focused lens, which captures the varying interests and competing forces that continue to shape the region.
More an independent news site than a blog (but with a strong blogging component), Muftah documents breaking news in the Middle East with a plethora of op-ed commentary from bloggers and journalists, aimed specifically at a Washington audience.
- The New Middle East
Eric Davis is professor of political science and former director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University, NJ. He writes on a wide range of issues covering most major subjects on the Middle East, but mainly focuses on Iraq and US foreign policy in the region. His posts tend to be long, timely, well-researched reflections. Occasionally in Arabic.
- Religion and Politics in Bahrain
The Battle of Karbala' still rages between the two sides in the present and in the future. It is being held within the soul, at home and in all areas of life and society. Weekly posts from Justin Gengler, a Political Science Ph D from the University of Michigan, who now resides in Doha. He has a knack for collecting caricatures and political cartoons (as well as a number of other illustrative videos, graphs, and New Media) relevant to his posts’ arguments.
- Nasser Arrabyee
The lastest news stories and independent and balanced reports on the political, security, economic and social developments in Yemen by the Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee.
Arrabyee, a Yemeni journalist based in Sana’a, provides regular updates on the political developments in Yemen. His blog also includes a section with links to articles on Yemen in the Western press.
- Waq al-Waq
Yemen, the Middle East, and the World Beyond
Gregory Johnsen is a former Fulbright Fellow in Yemen who works in the Near Eastern Studies department at Princeton. In 2009, he was a member of the USAID's conflict assessment team for Yemen. He writes almost exclusively on foreign policy issues and Yemen, but makes occasional forays into cultural, linguistic, and literary topics.
“An Egyptian journalist interested in following the state of Islam in Egypt and in the Arab world… I am independent and don’t belong to any party or political organization,” (From About). Abdel Moneim Mahmoud was previously the author of the blog Ana Ikhwan ("I am a Muslim Brother"), but has since decided to blog independently outside his capacity as a member of the Brotherhood.
- The Arabist
A website on Arab politics and culture
“Arabist.net was launched in Cairo in November 2003 […] partly as response to the lack of interest in the domestic politics of Arab countries in much Western media,” (From About). A native of Rabat, Morocco, founder Issandr El Amrani has been living and working as a journalist in Cairo since 2000. Weekly features include especially comprehensive hyperlink round-ups, commentary by El Amrani and Ursula Lindsey, featured guest articles, and a weekly podcast.
½ Egyptian; It’s my country, too, you bastards!
Inanities is a blog written by Sarah Carr, a British-Egyptian, in which she gives first-hand accounts of events and colorful and often acerbic commentary on developments in Egypt (she lives in Cairo). Extensive archive of excellent images.
What’s your story?
“7iber provides original, creative and interesting content, seeking to better inform our audience of untapped Jordanian issues as well as providing local perspectives and first-hand accounts of news, politics, arts and culture,” (From About). The blog’s editors are a group of young Jordanians and include commentary, videos, art, and cultural features in both English and Arabic.
- The Black Iris
Naseem Tarawnah is a Jordanian student who writes on Jordanian political and social issues and their effects on neighboring countries.
- Kurdish Views
Kurdish Blogger, political & security risk analyst with legal background; writing about policy, political & legal reforms in Kurdistan, Iraq and wider Middle East. Special focus on Kurdistan Region oil & gas sector, Hydrocarbon law, investment & economic development. A frequent contributor to the Niqash forum, Shwan Zulal writes prolifically on economic and oil issues particular to Iraqi Kurdistan and its complications.
- Iraq and Gulf Analysis
Reidar Visser is an Iraq historian at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. His posts are usually timely 500-word pieces on the current developments of Iraq’s domestic politics, originally published at Historiae. Gulf Analysis publishes both archives.
- Beirut Spring
Beirut Spring is an alternative, casual take on Lebanese news from the perspective of a Lebanese who lives abroad.
Mustapha Hamoui is a Lebanese blogger from Tripoli who now lives in Ghana as a businessman. He sympathizes with the March 14th Coalition (though he has been critical).
- Qifa Nabki
Elias Muhanna is a PhD candidate in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at Harvard and a Visiting Fellow at the Stanford University Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. Muhanna has written a great deal about Wikileaks cables on Lebanon and has paid particular attention in his coverage to the UN Special Tribunal for Lebanon.
- Ibn Kafka’s Obiter Dicta
Divagations d’un Juriste Marocain en Liberté Surveillée ("Ramblings of a Moroccan lawyer living in monitored freedom"). "Ibn Kafka" is an anonymous Moroccan lawyer. He writes mainly legal analysis in French, but more recently discusses the recent issues of constitutional reform.
Run by bloggers and activists involved in February’s mass protests, Mamfakinch advocates for sweeping political, economic, and social reforms. “Hard news” stories, opinion pieces, and interviews in French and Arabic(some articles are in English) feature regularly.
- The Moor Next Door
Quid novi ex Africa? ("What’s the news from Africa?")
“The Moor Next Door is a weblog interested in the politics, foreign policy and diplomacy of the Maghreb and the Arab Middle East. North Africa and the Sahel are the primary areas of interest from a geopolitical, cultural, and historical perspective (especially Algeria and Mauritania),” (from About). Writing from Boston, “Nouri the Moor” (or “Kal,” as his Twitter feed has him) pays special attention to identity politics in North Africa. He updates several times a week on current events.
- Daoud Kuttab
“Born in Jerusalem in 1955, Kuttab studied in the United States and has been working in journalism ever since 1980… Mr. Kuttab is active in media freedom efforts in the Middle East. He is an award winning journalist and TV producer,” (from About). Daoud Kuttab’s posts are longer analytical pieces on developments in Palestinian politics.
- Tabula Gaza
In between the lines of fact and fiction
Philip Rizk, a German-Egyptian blogger and peace activist, was jailed temporarily by Egyptian security forces for his involvement in a Gaza march in 2009. His last few months’ posts have concentrated more heavily on the evolving situation in Egypt.
“‘We are all partners in the nation’ is a free space launched on May 1, 2003 with the purpose of encouraging discussion around various issues in Syrian, without judgment, based on the idea that we are all partners in Syria,” (from About). All4Syria offers news on political, economic, and cultural developments in Syria. Entirely in Arabic, it links to various news sources and videos, and has been very active in providing information on the Syrian uprising.
Commenting on the Arab world: its history, culture and politics
“Syrian Arab (emphasis on Arab) awakening in a modern world that's gone insane,” (From About). Originally, Maysaloon concerned itself mainly with U.S. policy in the Middle East towards Syria and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Since March 2011 it has concentrated instead on the Syrian uprising. The writer offers an Arab nationalist perspective critical of U.S. and Israeli policies in the region.
- Syria Comment
Syrian Politics, History and Religion
Joshua M. Landis is an Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma and Director of the OU Center for Middle East Studies. He is one of the few Americans who blogs extensively on Syria, and has made close connections through the Syrian Ambassador to the United States. His posts are regularly updated with longer analytical pieces from a wide range of sources—authors include Ehsani, Camille Otrakji, and Landis himself—and feature video interviews with guest speakers.
“Nawaat.org is an independent group blog run by Tunisians. It gives voice to all those who, through their civic involvement, take it, wear it and broadcast…Aware that the conquest of freedom is a battle to be fought daily in total independence, blog Nawaat is independent of any association, organization or government and receives no public subsidy and is funded by any political party.” Since the overthrow of Ben Ali in January 2011, Nawaat has been active in discussing the Tunisian political scene. Posts are in French and Arabic.