🌍 Inside The Middle East — Feb. 17

U.A.E. Princess Held Hostage by Own Father, U.S. Base Attacked, Saudi Women’s Activist Released, World’s Oldest Brewery Found in Egypt, Gazan Women Permission to Travel, Iconic Palestinian Poet Dies

Hey there folks, Happy Wednesday! We have a seriously packed edition today with so much happening on multiple fronts…

We’ll travel to the U.A.E. where explosive footage shows Princess Latifa has been held in solitary confinement for almost three years by her own father; to the Kurdish region of Iraq where a series of rockets hit a U.S. military base; to Saudi Arabia where a prominent women’s rights activist was released from prison after more than 1,000 days; to Egypt where the oldest mass-production brewery was found; to Gaza where a court ruled that women must gain the permission of a male guardian to travel; and we'll finish with the news that iconic Palestinian poet and writer Mourid Barghouti has passed away.

Jobs and data below, let’s get to it!


Job Corner ✍️

New jobs this weekend include at the likes of ABC News, Barrons, the Center for Public Integrity, Channel 4 (UK), ESPN, MSNBC, Sky News, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and TIME.

Due to a limit on the number of people that can be added to a Google Spreadsheet, I’ve made two versions listing exactly the same jobs, so no need to have access to both. If you’re a paying member, you’ll have access to one of the two below links/buttons… 👇

Job Board: w/c Feb. 15 (Version 1)

Job Board: w/c February 15 (Version 2)

Preview of the 1,600+ vacancies currently on the job board 👇


Data Corner 🧮

A couple datasets we used today…

  1. Women’s Rights: Women, Peace, and Security Index, from the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security

  2. Terrorist Attacks: Global Terrorism Database, from the University of Maryland


U.A.E. Princess Hostage Footage Released

We start this week in the U.A.E. where Princess Latifa Al Maktoum, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, has allegedly been held hostage since 2018 when she tried to flee the country. Dubai and the U.A.E. had previously said she was in the care of family, but videos shared with BBC Panorama show Latifa has been kept in solitary confinement for much of the past three years. There’s so much detail and context involved, that it’s probably better to let you watch the below video explaining all… 👇


Saudi Releases Women’s Rights Activist From Prison

To Saudi Arabia next where well-known women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from prison, less than two months after she received a sentence of almost six years. Al-Hathloul was held for 1,001 days after being detained in 2018 on charges of “agitating for change, pursuing a foreign agenda and using the internet to harm public order”, according to Al Jazeera, which was met with international condemnation. For the first three months, she had no access to her family or lawyer, and was beaten, waterboarded and threatened with rape and murder, according to Amnesty International.

Al-Hathloul rose to prominence in 2013 when she posted a series of videos on social media of herself driving, in a country where it only became legal for women to do so in 2018. In 2015, the first time women were allowed to vote and stand for election, she stood as a recognized candidate, but her name was never added to the ballot. Al-Hathloul’s fight for freedom isn’t over, though, as she’ll have to adhere to a five-year travel ban and three-year probation.


Last Time on Inside The Middle East…

🌍 Inside The Middle East — Feb. 10

🌍 Inside The Middle East — Feb. 3

🌍 Inside The Middle East — Jan. 27

🌍 Inside The Middle East — Jan. 20


Rockets Strike U.S. Base in Iraq

We move to the Kurdish region of Iraq next, where multiple rockets hit a U.S. military base and surrounding residential areas in the region’s main city of Erbil. The attack saw approximately 14 rockets fired, and killed one person and injured nine others, including an Iraqi civilian left in critical condition. It was the deadliest attack to hit U.S.-led coalition forces in almost a year, and was claimed by a newly-formed Shia group called Saraya Awliya al-Dam, or Guardians of Blood, though no evidence has yet been given.

All eyes now turn to the U.S. to see how the new Biden administration will react, in what is its first real test of its Middle East policy. An Iraqi-U.S. investigation into what happened is already underway, with U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price saying “We will, in coordination with our Iraqi partners, reserve the right to respond at a time and place of our choosing.”


Gazan Women Must Gain Permission to Travel

To Gaza next where a Hamas-run court ruled that women must have the permission of a male guardian to travel, further restricting the rights of women in a place where their freedom is already significantly hampered. While the decision targets unmarried women, the ruling’s language heavily suggests that married women would need approval by their husband, which must be registered at the court. Men could also be prevented from travelling by their father or grandfather, but they wouldn’t need prior permission.

Head of the Supreme Judicial Council Hassan al-Jojo said the ruling was “balanced” and consistent with Islamic and civil laws. But after condemnation over the decision, Gaza’s top Islamic judge said he would revise the law, though no specifics were announced.


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World’s Oldest Mass-Production Brewery Found in Egypt

We head west next to Egypt, where an Egyptian-American team of archaeologists found what is believed to be the oldest brewery of its kind, dating back to the era of King Narmer, the first king of Egypt more than 5,000 years ago. Narmer unified ancient Upper and Lower Egypt at the beginning of the First Dynastic Period.

According to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, British archaeologists discovered the brewery’s existence in the early 1900s, but its exact location had never previously been determined. Along with a string of other recent ancient discoveries, the brewery offers hope that the country’s reeling tourism industry can rebound post pandemic.


Iconic Palestinian Poet Mourid Barghouti Dies

We end this week in Jordan, where Palestinian poet and writer Mourid Barghouti passed away aged 76. Born in 1944, four years before the state of Israel was created, most of Barghouti’s life was spent in exile. In 1967, he was studying English Literature at Cairo University in Egypt when the Six-Day War broke out, and he wouldn’t return to his home town Deir Ghassanah near Ramallah for 30 years.

Much of Barghouti’s work dwelled on the meaning of displacement, and in 1997 he won the Naguib Mahfouz Award for Literature, the most prestigious award for the best contemporary novel written in Arabic and not available in English, for his internationally acclaimed I Saw Ramallah. We’ll leave you with a particularly powerful passage…

It is easy to blur the truth with a simple linguistic trick: start your story from "Secondly." Yes, this is what Rabin did. He simply neglected to speak of what happened first. Start your story with "Secondly," and the world will be turned upside-down. Start your story with "Secondly," and the arrows of the Red Indians are the original criminals and the guns of the white men are entirely the victims. It is enough to start with "Secondly," for the anger of the black man against the white to be barbarous. Start with "Secondly," and Gandhi becomes responsible for the tragedies of the British.

Mourid Barghouti talks about 'I Was Born There, I Was Born Here' 👇


That’s all for today, see you on Friday for more global news! 👋