Dive deeper into the week's biggest stories from the Middle East and around the world with The National's foreign desk. Nuances are often missed in day-to-day headlines. We go Beyond the Headlines by bringing together the voices of experts and those living the news to provide a clearer picture of the region's shifting political and social landscape.
Why some Saudis stop everything to volunteer at Hajj
Every year in Saudi Arabia, as the time of the pilgrimage to Makkah nears, thousands of people from the city and around the country gather to volunteer for Hajj. Often these people will give up their daily lives and work to take time out to help those who visit the holy sites. As Muslims flock to the city to complete one of the essential requirements of their faith, a taskforce of thousands of Saudis is deployed to see to their needs.
On this week’s Beyond the Headlines, host Ayesha Khan looks at the Saudis who put their lives on hold to volunteer at Hajj.
Will Iraq's power problem ever end?
Iraq’s summer is crippling the country. People are having to seek refuge indoors to escape scorching temperatures that regularly reach 50°C. But indoors isn’t much better with regular power blackouts adding to people’s frustrations. So, aside from shade within the four walls of their houses, there is little else that Iraqis can do to cool themselves down. Electricity in the country is scant, and what little there is, is rationed into limited time slots each day.
On this week's Beyond the Headlines, host Suhail Akram asks whether Iraq’s power problem has any end in sight.
South Sudan faced war and famine, but what's next for the world's youngest country?
On July 9, 2011, when South Sudan finally became independent after a 56-year struggle and a bitter secession from Sudan, it was a dream come true for many.
Roughly the size of the United Kingdom and Germany combined, the new country had its own passport, as well as football and basketball teams singing a national anthem under their own flag.
One of the most diverse nations in Africa, with more than 60 languages and dozens of ethnic groups, the creation of South Sudan was hailed as a way out of decades of strife.
But 10 years after independence, visitors to the capital Juba will see a country suffering from underdevelopment and extreme poverty – the direct result of five years of civil war that stymied the transformation of the young country into a viable state.
On this week's Beyond the Headlines Ahmed Maher travelled to South Sudan to see how the world's youngest country has fared during a decade of independence and investigate what the future holds for a nation brought to the brink by years of brutal conflict.
Will there be lasting peace in Tigray?
On June 28, Ethiopia’s federal government declared a ceasefire in Tigray.
Mekelle, the capital of the restive region, sprang to life as thousands flooded the streets chanting and dancing, many draped in Tigrayan flags.
The announcement was supposed to end eight months of war which has left at least 7,500 people dead. Hundreds of thousands more have been forced to flee their homes in the fighting between government troops, their allies and Tigrayan rebels.
But shortly after the ceasefire declaration, the Tigrayan rebels declared they would not stop fighting until all federal troops were removed from the region.
On this week's Beyond the Headlines, Taylor Heyman looks at whether a lasting peace can be found in Tigray.
Behind the scenes ahead of Expo 2020 Dubai
With one hundred days to go before Expo 2020 opens its gates, the grounds are buzzing. The site is bigger than 600 football fields. And there are twenty thousand workers busy building, welding and adding the final touches ahead of the grand opening on October 1. The event, running over six months, will be one of the most ambitious ever held.
This week's host Nilanjana Gupta takes a look behind the scenes of Expo 2020 Dubai.
Is the Turkish President meddling in football?
Like millions in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a football fan. Before he became the country’s leader, he was a semi-professional player.
He publicly backs a small Istanbul team - which won the country’s super league in 2020 - and was the best man at the wedding of Mesut Özil, the German national team footballer who is of Turkish heritage. Mr Erdogan’s love of the game and his close ties to certain clubs and the national team is wrankling with some fans who say the president is politicising a once national-unifier. As the country competes in the delayed Euro 2020 finals, some are even saying the president has made them switch off completely.
On this week's Beyond the Headlines, host James Haines Young asks: is the Turkish President politicising football?