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Creating new perspectives since 2009

 

Omar Ahmed

Omar has an MSc International Security and Global Governance from Birkbeck, University of London. He has travelled throughout the Middle East, including studying Arabic in Egypt as part of his undergraduate degree. His interests include the politics, history and religion of the MENA region.

 

Items by Omar Ahmed

  • Tehran embassy photo threatens ties with Iran unless apologies are made

    Iran’s outgoing Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, yesterday expressed sentiments shared by many of his compatriots following an “inappropriate” post on social media by the Russian Embassy in Tehran. The image posted online shows Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan meeting his recently-appointed British counterpart, Simon Shercliff, in a quasi-recreation of an...

  • The Arab Conquests: The spread of Islam and the first caliphates

    The sheer speed and scale of the early Islamic conquests following the death of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 632 CE has captivated the imaginations of historians and writers for centuries. Against the odds, the pioneering Muslim armies from the recently unified Arabian Peninsula took on the...

  • Opposing the Imam: The Legacy of the Nawasib in Islamic Literature

    It is safe to say that Ali Ibn Abi Talib is one of the most important figures in early Islamic history, recognised as the fourth Rightly Guided Caliph by the majority Sunni sect and the first Imam by the Shia. He is also highly revered by Sufis for whom...

  • Is the bromance over between Bin Salman and Bin Zayed?

    The disagreement between the UAE and Saudi Arabia over a proposed deal by OPEC+ to increase oil production is the latest sign that the close relations between the two Gulf states, and in particular those of their respective de facto rulers, are turning into a bitter rivalry. The Saudi-led cartel...

  • Taking over Shia websites is more than about Iran; the US has exposed its fear of revolutionary religion

    Towards the end of the Trump administration last year, the US Department of Justice announced that two American citizens and one Pakistani national had been charged with the federal crime of moving US dollars to Iran on behalf of the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in 2018 and 2019....

  • The only Turkish boots on the ground in Palestine are on Israeli soldiers’ feet

    When last month’s ceasefire was agreed between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza, the head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, thanked Iran for its support. “The Islamic Republic of Iran did not hold back with money, weapons, and technical support,” he said. Haniyeh also thanked Qatar...

  • Israel superhero gets ‘ratioed’ by Captain Palestine  

    The comic book superhero genre is one of the great American art forms of the 20th century, its impact on popular culture is immense and it continues to thrive through other media such as blockbuster movie franchises and video games, not to mention a new generation of comics and...

  • ‘Please sir mention India’, Hindutva Twitter reacts to Netanyahu snub 

    One could easily be mistaken into thinking that some of the most ardent and vocal supporters of Zionism on social media are Israeli Jews or certain Evangelical Christians in the US. However over the past several years, far-right Hindu nationalists from India, who subscribe to the ideology known as...

  • According to Khamenei’s prediction Israel has 19 years left, for Kissinger it’s next year  

    Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei first claimed back in 2015 that Israel won’t see the next 25 years, “Firstly, you will not see the next 25 years,” Khamenei said. “God willing, there will be no such thing as a Zionist regime in 25 years. Until then, struggling,...

  • Sunnis and Shi’a: A Political History

    I’ve read several books on Islam’s Sunni-Shia split, with each having provided informative insights on this ancient schism steeped in both theology and politics. The latter is the primary focus through which Laurence Louër’s Sunnis and Shi’a: A Political History attempts to explain how this division has manifested throughout...

  • No Conquest, No Defeat: Iran’s National Security Strategy

    There is a common assumption that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strategic thinking and foreign policy are fundamentally different from those of the pre-revolution era. The theocratic government’s worldview and its enmity towards the US and Israel are certainly noteworthy points of departure from the Imperial State of Iran...

  • Saudi reconciliation could see Turkey on the wrong side of history in Yemen 

    After Qatar reconciled with its Gulf neighbours at the start of this year, chief among them Saudi Arabia, an almost four-year blockade came to an end. It was perhaps inevitable that talk of reconciliation between Qatar’s ally Turkey and Riyadh would follow. As a precursor to such a warming...

  • The BBC’s coverage of the Pope’s visit to Iraq was biased and misleading 

    The historic visit by the head of the Catholic Church to Iraq was intended to promote interfaith dialogue and help in uplifting the country as it deals with an array of political, security, and economic challenges. Pope Francis’s visit went ahead having been postponed last year owing to security...

  • Remembering the Bahraini Uprising

    Known as the “Forgotten Uprising”, the largely peaceful pro-democracy protests erupted across the tiny island Kingdom of Bahrain ten years ago, only to be faced with a brutal crackdown by the police and finally be suppressed weeks later by the military intervention of neighbouring Saudi Arabia. In its wake,...

  • Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj 

    Michael Christopher Low’s book Imperial Mecca: Ottoman Arabia and the Indian Ocean Hajj is a fascinating account of the Hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest city of Makkah (“Mecca”) during the 19th century. It was a time when the semi-autonomous Sharifate in the Hijaz province was effectively at the crossroads...

  • Pompeo’s attempts to link Iran to Al-Qaeda reveal the failure of ‘maximum pressure’ 

    Last week, the outgoing US Secretary of State and former head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, announced a flurry of last-minute sanctions against rivals and foes China, Cuba and Iran. This was perceived widely as a desperate attempt to undermine the incoming Democrat Biden administration. He also designated Yemen’s...

  • Profile: Kahlil Gibran (6 Jan 1883 – 10 April 1931) 

    Kahlil Gibran is regarded as the third-best-selling poet of all time after Lao Tzu and William Shakespeare, largely because of his book The Prophet. First published in 1923 it has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide and is among the most translated of all books. Despite these achievements,...

  • Failure to realise Yemen’s political reality prolongs the conflict and crisis

    Exiled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi announced the formation of a new unity government on Friday, just over a year after the power-sharing agreement was signed with the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) in the Saudi capital Riyadh. I wrote last November that the Saudi-brokered peace deal —...

  • This year began and drew to a close with Iran being baited into war 

    The single main story of the year has without a doubt been the coronavirus pandemic which has thus far claimed over 1.5 million lives around the world amid encouraging news about vaccine development. However it is now easy to forget that before this story became a near permanent fixture...

  • Bahrain is yet to normalise ties with its own people 

    If the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen was known as “the forgotten war”, the 2011 anti-government protests in Bahrain soon became “the forgotten uprising”. Forgotten in the sense that following the so-called Arab Spring, to which both events were linked, most of the world’s attention had shifted to...

  • Remembering Taha Hussein: ‘The Dean of Arabic literature’

    According to most accounts, Taha Hussein, one of Egypt’s most esteemed writers and intellectuals and a giant in modern Arabic literature, was born on 14 November, 1889, in the Upper Egyptian village of Izbet Al-Kilo in the Minya governorate. He had humble beginnings hailing from a large lower middle-class...

  • The Humanity of Muhammad: A Christian View

    Recent events in France have once again pushed the notion of a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West onto centre stage. Last month the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished caricatures of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him); this was followed by the gruesome murder of a French...

  • With defiance and perseverance, Iran has once again demonstrated its independence

    The 13-year arms embargo imposed on Iran by the UN Security Council expired on Sunday in accordance with Resolution 2231 of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the 2015 nuclear deal. This means that Iran is free to buy and sell conventional weapons, a diplomatic...

  • Casting of Israel’s Gal Gadot as Cleopatra prompts debate on social media

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot confirmed yesterday that she will be playing the role of Egyptian Queen Cleopatra...