Turkey moves to presidential system. Odds on AKP victory, but opposition in with a chance. Importance for the Arab world.
The Eid holiday likely to begin on 15 June and lasts several days. A happy religious and secular occasion with a mix of traditional and modern.
a euphemism for extra judicial killing to protect the reputation of a family. Ancient and widespread, but information other than anecdotal exceptionally hard to find.
Final chapter in forthcoming e-book considers what will happen when the Saudi and Egyptian regimes fall and the West’s struggle against Jihad.
Saudi women are to be allowed to drive next year. A welcome decision but some opposition. Saudi government may be feeling its way towards wider reforms, but likely to be slow.
Hajj next week. History, significance, massive scale. Politics – last year Iran, this year Qatar.
Following eclipse of Western-style nationalism, socialism and fake democracy, political Islam prevailed in MENA for 40 years. But degraded by violence, now losing support and giving way to autocracy.
Atheism, apostasy, blasphemy, heresy condemned but much confusion about definitions. Atheists even in Saudi Arabia, keeping their heads down.
Isra and Mi’raj – amajor Muslim festival on 24 April, celebrated with prayers and light. Some political complications.
Iranians to participate in the Hajj again this year, despite continuing disagreement. On 17 March the Saudi and Iranian authorities announced that agreement had been reached between the Saudi Ministry of Hajj (pilgrimage) and the Iranian Hajj Pilgrimage Organisation that Iranians will take part in the Hajj this year, due at the end of August. According to the Iranian announcement more than 85,000 pilgrims will go from Iran (a relatively small number in a total likely to be approaching two million). In previous postings (16 September 2015 and 19 …