King Salman moves despite US ‘reassurances’ over Iran

Insights Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

On 5 March 2015, Secretary of State John Kerry visited Riyadh and met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in order to allay fears over the potential of a nuclear deal with Iran. The message was that any deal will not compromise the security of the Gulf States and that the United States is aware of all of Iran’s activities …

Hadi does not possess the strength to oust Houthi, and Obama knows this

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Yemen

The stage is set; Houthi backed by Iran in the north, and Hadi in Aden backed by the international community. Many have rushed to claim that the idea that Iran will continue to support Houthi despite international pressure and recognition of Hadi in Aden in its bid to place greater pressure on Saudi Arabia is fanciful at best. These critics …

Egypt bombs militants loyal to ISIL in Libya following beheadings video

Sami Hamdi Egypt, Middle East/North Africa, World Politics

Egypt has announced that it has bombed militants who have pledged loyalty to ISIL following a video that was posted on the twitter feed of a website that supports ISIL purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addressed the nation on state television hours after the release of the video condemning the killings and …

King Abdullah dies, and King Salman ends the succession struggle

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

On 22nd January 2015, King Abdullah bin AbdelAziz Al Saud passed away after ruling for nearly 10 years. Through a number of swift and shrewd decrees his successor, King Salman, has ensured the continued stability of the Kingdom and ended-for now-any discussion regarding the transition of power from the first to the second generation, by appointing the interior minister Muhammad …

Editor’s Piece: ISIL thrives as the West blunders

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, World Politics

ISIL’s explosive rise has upended the political status quo in the Middle East. Despite international efforts to contain and defeat the group, ISIL appears to be in solid control of its territory, demonstrating a daring and unprecedented financial self-efficiency not seen in other terrorist groups – even trading in oil with Mosul as its capital. More so, ISIL has demonstrated …

Interview with Laura Kasinof, author of ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Bullets: An Accidental War Correspondent in Yemen’

Sami Hamdi Discussion, Documentaries/Videos, Middle East/North Africa, Yemen

On 9 December 2014, Editor Sami Hamdi interviewed Laura Kasinof, a freelance journalist whose work focuses on the Middle East. From 2011-2012, Kasinof reported for the New York Times from Yemen, covering anti-government protests and conflict that was part of the political upheaval unfolding across the Arab World. Kasinof has recently authored her new book Don’t be Afraid of the …

Editor’s Piece: Obama’s Iraqi gamble

Sami Hamdi Iran, Iraq, Middle East/North Africa

On Monday 21st October, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi succeeded in forming a complete government after a delay of over one month as a result of disagreements over appointments to the Defence and Interior ministries. Mohammed Salem Ghabban was appointed as Interior minister whilst Khaled al-Obeidi was given the post of Defence Minister. These two ministries were previously the subject of …

Tunisian elections and the story of Mahabba

Sami Hamdi Middle East/North Africa, Tunisia, World Politics

Around the world, people are celebrating the long awaited success of the Arab Spring reflected in the successful elections taking place in Tunisia. As Libya and Syria continue to be mired in civil war and Egypt suffers from the military coup that ended any hope for a democratic process in the country, Tunisia now symbolises a successful transition from a …

Editor’s Piece: Iran at Saudi Arabia’s doors

Sami Hamdi Iran, Middle East/North Africa, Saudi Arabia

On Friday, Sadr al-Din al Qabanji in Najaf criticised the Saudi verdict to execute the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, one of the most influential figures amongst the minority Shia population to the east of the Kingdom. Following the verdict, Iran and its proxies – Houthi in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon – issued a series of threats prompting concerns of …

Editor Sami Hamdi presents debate on the blockade of Sanaa by the Houthi forces

Sami Hamdi Documentaries/Videos, Middle East/North Africa, World Politics, Yemen

Sami HamdiSami Hamdi is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Interest. An experienced geopolitical risk consultant, Sami assists blue-chip clients around the world in monitoring and advising on highly volatile business environments. Sami has extensive experience in the MENA region having been a television reporter and talk-show host for over 10 years. He has reported on key events in the region …