What’s in it for Donald? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP thinks America is being ripped off. “We have spent $7trn—trillion with a T—$7trn in the Middle East,” he told a crowd last year, exaggerating slightly.
The desert shall rejoice PINK BOLLWORMS are the scourge of cotton farmers. The insect is less than an inch long, but it has a voracious appetite for the plant’s seeds. As a child living on Kibbutz Ginosar, in Israel’s north, Ofir Schlam would wake up at dawn to inspect leaves for the pest
IT DID NOT take long for America’s decision to withdraw from Syria to be felt across the Middle East. The Syrian regime, along with its Russian and Iranian allies, rejoiced. Arab states hurried to make up with Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad
DRIVE AROUND Riyadh and Saudi Arabia’s economy looks vibrant. Malls in the capital are crowded with shoppers and staff. Young people are eager to spend money on entertainment now that the once-feared religious police are off the streets.
RUNNING A MINORITY government is rarely easy. When your party has just one seat in parliament, it should be impossible. Yet Azali Assoumani, the president of the Comoros (pictured), has largely been given a free hand by MPs
[The Conversation Africa] The past year may have felt politically tumultuous, between Saudi Arabia’s brazen killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, the resurgence of authoritarianism in Eastern Europe and Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to U.S.
[African Arguments] This year was full of spectacular fiction, spine-tingling poetry and hard-hitting non-fiction from Africa. Here is some of the best.
Editor’s note (December 13th 2018):After The Economist went to press the government of Yemen and the Houthi rebels agreed on a ceasefire in Hodeida. This story has been updated to reflect those developments
STRANGE THINGS happen to Nohad al-Shami.
IN THE SAHARA, rain is said to bring good luck. So negotiators from the United Nations should be encouraged by a recent downpour in Laayoune, the capital of Western Sahara. On December 5th they will gather in Geneva to try, yet again, to resolve the differences between Morocco, which rules two-thirds of the territory, and the Polisario Front, a nationalist movement that controls the other (mostly inhospitable) third