Articles on Middle East

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The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC) BabelStone

In ancient Mesopotamia, sex among the gods shook heaven and earth

Sex was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia. And the authors of Sumerian love poetry, depicting the exploits of divine couples, showed a wealth of practical knowledge about the stages of female sexual arousal.
EPA/Youssef Badawi

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

The Syrian conflict is a war of many sides. Here's a rundown of the key players.
Protestors stand behind burning barricades during clashes with riot police near the Tunisian capital of Tunis in January 2018. Violent protests over price hikes raised fears of broader unrest in the country that was the birthplace of the Arab Spring. (AP Photo/Amine Landoulsi)

The dismal failure of efforts to empower people in the Arab world

Decentralization in the Middle East and North Africa is supposed to lead to greater public representation in municipal politics. In fact, it is largely strengthening authoritarianism.
Members of the Iraqi police forces sit outside a building in the city of Fallujah on June 30, 2016 after they’ve recaptured the city from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

How Saddam Hussein’s old ideology may have contributed to the modern Islamic State

Was the early conception of IS a branching-out of the old Baath party? Or was it, as some argue, completely separate with no connection at all? Reality is probably a bit of a mix of both.

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