President Obama is visiting Saudia Arabia today. Nicolas Pelham, The Economist's Middle East affairs correspondent who has covered the Arab region for New York Review of Books, BBC, Financial Times, and the author of Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East, talks about the destruction unleashed in the Middle East by European nationalism and need to… more
When President Obama goes to Riyadh on Thursday, he should meet not just the Al Sauds, but the Saudis the rulers deem politic to hide under a bushel. If he does so, he will discover a country which defies the western stereotype of a bland killjoy state, and away from the religious police preserves as variegated… more
With ISIS dug in, the Israel-Palestine peace process in worse shape than ever, and the advances of the Arab Spring largely rolled back in almost every country in the region, it is hard to have hope for the Middle East. But in Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East, Nicolas Pelham, Middle East correspondent for The Economist, presents an original… more
In Holy Lands, longtime Middle East journalist Nicolas Pelham presents a strikingly original and startlingly optimistic look at the region. Sure, there's plenty of bad news and cruelty to report on, but Pelham also tells the story of those who are embracing diversity and trying to live side by side with all types of people, in the… more
In 1979, when armed jihadis seized the Grand Mosque at Mecca and killed well over a hundred worshippers, the high-drama narrative didn’t make the splash you might expect. It was, as one scholar put it, “the age before Al-Jazeera,” and the Saudi authorities saw no reason to allow negative news coverage of the pilgrimage that… more
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