Middle East and North Africa
Letters from Baghdad is the story of a true original — Gertrude Bell — sometimes called the “female Lawrence of Arabia”. Voiced and executive produced by Academy award winning actor Tilda Swinton, the film tells the dramatic story of this British spy, explorer and political powerhouse. Bell traveled widely in Arabia before being recruited by British military intelligence during WWI to help draw the borders of Iraq. This unforgettable documentary takes unique look at both a remarkable woman and the tangled history of Iraq, while transporting us into a past that is eerily current.
Since Yemen’s civil war began in 2014, the country has been embroiled in fighting between forces loyal to the president, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, and Shia Houthi rebels. Is enough consideration of Yemen’s humanitarian contexts being taken in arms exporting and counter-terrorism? With a judicial review aiming to halt UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia beginning in February – and US involvement in the country changing under the Trump administration – we will discuss the role of foreign powers in Yemen’s civil conflict.
Since 2014 the rise of Daesh (ISIS) has shaken the stability of the Middle East and led to a climate of unease in Europe. As the crisis in the region deepens and Daesh continues to recruit members from abroad, Western leaders remain torn on tactics for battling the militant group. His newest book, The Age of Jihad: The Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East, Patrick Cockburn presents a compelling new analysis of the dominant conflict of our time; the Sunni – Shia war and the subsequent origins of Daesh. Cockburn will join us to discuss in depth the current turmoil in the Middle East and the role the West has played in the region from 2001 to present.
Europe is experiencing a wave of migration not seen since the end of World War II. Forced out of their homes by terror and war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, pulled to Europe by the prospect of a better life, huge numbers are risking everything in perilous journeys across land and sea.
Joined by the Guardian‘s inaugural migration correspondent Patrick Kingsley, whose new book The New Odyssey documents these journeys, we will explore what failures lead to the current crisis and what needs to be done to avert it.
Sectarian divides increasingly fuel conflict across the diverse countries of the Middle East, spilling over borders and contributing to ongoing violence in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere. Yet in the nineteenth century the region was considerably more tolerant than Western Europe at the time; a high degree of religious pluralism and self-determination were permitted across the Ottoman Empire’s wide-reaching territories. We will be joined by The Economist‘s Jerusalem correspondent Nicolas Pelham and others to discuss the roots of sectarian violence – as well as hopes for recovery from conflict and a return to plurality.
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with reporter Abi Austen, director Will West and producer Shoaib Sharifi.
Abi Austen served for over four years in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as both a British army officer and as a senior advisor to the US army. In February 2015, she returned to Kandahar with Unreported World to discover just what is going wrong with President Obama’s plan. In this remarkable and eye-opening film, Austen discovers on the frontline that the war in Afghanistan is now at a tipping-point. Her film poses a question for the world: will the West’s legacy in Afghanistan survive, and is that struggle still worth fighting for?
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Farid Eslam via Skype.
From the early days of the Arab Spring that sparked hopes for change to the years of instability and political tension that followed, this enthralling documentary follows the stories of young prominent underground artists from across the Middle East during the period of 2009 to 2013.
For October’s BookNight we are pleased to welcome an author and journalist, James Rodgers, who will present his book Headlines from the Holy Land over an intimate dinner with Frontline Club members. Starting from a historical perspective, Rodger’s latest book identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them.
After years of negotiating world powers have reached a historic deal with Iran, limiting their nuclear activity in return for the lifting of international economic sanctions. For the first First Wednesday after the summer break we will be debating what the Iran deal means for the country, the region and relations with the West.
By Alexandra Sarabia On Wednesday 20 May, a conversation between Emma Sky and The Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black, drew a packed house to the Frontline Club. Interested audience members and former colleagues of Sky were present to listen to the highly-regarded Iraq expert, and to celebrate and discuss her latest book, The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities […]
By Elliot Goat The greatest peril comes not from a lack of analysis but from a lack of imagination.” – Sir William Patey, British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (2007-10)
By Richard Nield In a debate at the Frontline Club on 16 January 2015, in the aftermath of the attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on 7 January, a panel of expert commentators strongly backed the continued promotion of free speech and warned against responding to the attacks with a curtailment of rights and liberties. Members of the […]
By Francis Churchill “It’s just useful when we see today the narrative of conflict to remember that it was actually possible for faiths to coexist quite remarkably,” said Gerard Russell, referring to Baghdad in c. 800 C.E. On Tuesday 13 February, the former United Nations and British diplomat joined an audience at the Frontline Club […]
The Middle East has long been home to many varied and distinctive faiths that have learned to survive the perils of attacks and assimilation, but today with the region in turmoil they face greater threats than ever before. In conversation with The Guardian‘s Middle East editor, Ian Black, former diplomat and author of Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms, Gerard Russell, will be taking us on a journey across the past and present of the Middle East, into the religious communities that have survived for centuries and talking about what needs to be done to ensure their future.
By Elliott Goat “This started before Maliki and will go on long after Maliki.” – Hayder al-Khoei
By Alex Glynn With the Middle East currently seeming to reject the artificial lines drawn by Europeans after WWI, veteran correspondent Scott Anderson was joined by journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue at the Frontline Club on 25 March to discuss how much the romantic historical figure of T. E. Lawrence shaped the region. This is the basis for […]
As one of Britain’s most romantic historical figures the story of Lawrence of Arabia is well known, but to what extent do we know the truth of how his actions shaped the region? In his new book Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East, veteran correspondent Scott Anderson cuts through the legend to offer a reassessment of his story and the secret colonialist plots in which he was involved. Anderson will be joining us in conversation with journalist and author Christopher de Bellaigue, to share his retelling of Lawrence of Arabia, reflecting on the actions of the past and how they continue to shape the region and its future.
By Caroline Schmitt During a conversation with BBC Arabic’s Samir Farah on 15 October, the BBC’s former Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar gave the audience at the fully-booked Frontline Club a first-hand regional snapshot of the post-Arab Spring Middle East. One of the conclusions Danahar has drawn in his recent book The New Middle East: The […]
Nearly three years after the start of the revolution in Tunisia, which was followed by uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, many are beginning to examine what has changed in the region. One of those that has had a front row seat of this recent history is the BBC’s Middle East Bureau Chief, Paul Danahar. He will be joining us in conversation with BBC Arabic’s Samir Farah, to share his insight and analysis of events and what he feels the future holds for the region and it’s relationship with the West.
As Barack Obama enters the second year of his second and final term in office, he faces considerable foreign policy challenges. Join us as we dissect Obama’s foreign policy ambitions, exploring the shifts in focus and how they are playing out. Will he achieve his second term goals? Can he successfully pull focus to Asia or will the conflict in Syria direct attention back to the Middle East?
BBC Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen reflects on the past two years of game-changing moments in the history of the Middle East.
The international sex trade criss-crosses the globe using a sinister network, in a ground-breaking new work of investigative reporting internationally renowned Mexican journalist and campaigner Lydia Cacho follows the trail of the traffickers and their victims from Mexico to Turkey, Thailand to Iraq, Georgia to the UK.
Lydia Cacho will be joining us at the Frontline Club in conversation with executive director of Article 19, Dr Agnès Callamard to talk about her expansive investigation into this world and the work she does reporting on domestic violence, child prostitution, organised crime and political corruption, whilst teaching workshops on how to help victims of trafficking.
It’s all in Lebanon is a journey through modern Lebanon, a country torn between contradictions. Wissam Charaf explores the significance of the image in Lebanese society, showing opposing campaigns of political movements, Hezbollah videos of heroic martyred fighters and music videos of high-heeled, scarcely dressed pop stars.
My Neighbourhood goes beyond the sensational headlines that normally dominate discussions of Jerusalem and captures the rarely heard voices of those striving for a shared future in the city.
Rasha Qandeel, a presenter with BBC Arabic was joined last night by Lindsey Hilsum to discuss her experiences in Libya and her new book Sandstorm Libya in the time of Revolution.
By Charlene Rodrigues Popularly known as the Paris of the Middle East, Lebanon is said to be culturally liberal compared to most Arab countries in the Middle East. However, such is not the belief of Joumana Haddad, a Lebanese journalist and poet based in Beirut. She says, "I feel liberated but I wear a […]
On 15 February 2011, inspired by their Tunisian and Egyptian neighbours, the people of Libya took to the streets in Benghazi calling for the end of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal regime.
Join us at the Frontline Club to discuss the task of rebuilding Libya a year after the uprising began. We will be looking at the work of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and the tensions that remain. What are the prospects of a peaceful future?
Former Director General, Wadah Khanfar, will be joining us at the Frontline Club in conversation with Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow to discuss the rise of Al Jazeera, the role he played in its development and where it can go from here.
by Ivana Davidovic Maryam Al-Khawaja from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights comes from a family of activists, many of whom have been on the receiving end of the police brutality in the Kingdom. So much so that she joked that “Bahrain should adopt family cells in prisons, so family members could spend some time […]