Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's
new Middle East Real Time
blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas
, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program
, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq
, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions
, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon
, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival
, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world
. Previous non-paywalled WSJ
Real Time blogs include Korea
, Emerging Europe
posted by mediareport
on May 9, 2013 -
This weekend marks the time of the Hajj
, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity
venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God.
Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites
, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat
and the ritual stoning of Shaitan
to the circling of the sacred Kaaba
cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily
) and kissing the Black Stone
(colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite
While the city has modernized
to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich
, and tent cities the size of Seattle
-- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders
Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise
to write a rare travelogue
, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine
journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt]
, a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey.
Browse the manual
to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream
to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 4, 2011 -
Rebellion brewing in Saudi city
The tiny city of Sakaka in the remote al-Jouf province that borders Iraq may seem an unlikely setting for the beginning of a revolution against the ruling al-Saud family.
But one does not have to spend too long here to realise that this is what is happening.
posted by Postroad
on Jan 28, 2004 -
With friends like the Saudis, who needs enemies?
"There is, then, no real need for us to be frightened by the loss of the kingdom's oil friendship. But we should be concerned by the evidence of its strategic enmity. It may be true that the Saudis are neither Iraqis nor Iranians nor Libyans; but it is quite dangerous enough that they are Saudis."
posted by homunculus
on Jul 9, 2002 -
Arab Experts Fault Saudi's Idea Based on Land-for-Peace Trade
Let's see if I have this right. Five arab nations attacked Israel a few times and Israel, winning, occupied land, waiting for a peace settlement. Now the very influential ruler of Saudi Arabia has a plan that will tgive back all occupied land to the Palestinians and give them a state and give them their place in Jerusalem. But other Arab "thinkers"--academics, so to speak, think this is unwsise because it would help Sharon. Instead, Israel, the victor in these wars, ought to give all back and them hope that the losers in the struggle will in turn recognize Israel's right to exist in peace.
Seems a rather odd way to win or lose in warfare and suggest to mea certain intransigence when this might be the beginning of a breakthrough that the world has waited for. What think?
posted by Postroad
on Feb 17, 2002 -
Covering for our "oil buddies"
It seems there were some choice statements about Saudi support for Osama's terrorism that were removed from last week's "party tape". Wouldn't want to mess with Bush/Cheney's oil pals, now would we?
posted by owillis
on Dec 20, 2001 -
Did the government hinder the FBI to investigate against the Bin Laden family?
Transcript from last night's BBC Newsnight:
The CIA and Saudi Arabia, the Bushes and the Bin Ladens. Did their connections cause America to turn a blind eye to terrorism?
There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government.
JOE TRENTO, (AUTHOR, "SECRET HISTORY OF THE CIA"):
The sad thing is that thousands of Americans had to die needlessly.
posted by alex63
on Nov 22, 2001 -