There are a number of other publications that can help you gain a broader perspective on world events, particularly in volatile regions such as the Middle East. This will help increase readers’ familiarity with the full range of dialogue taking place in scholarly, diplomatic, policy-focused, and humanitarian circles today.
Although each of the following often offers granular detail and a high level of discussion, they are also accessible to the generally educated reader with a basic understanding of Mideast history and politics. Here are just a few of the best-known and most influential news sources for this region:
- The Middle East Forum
The Middle East Forum (online at MEForum.org) is well-known for its solid news and opinion pieces about this crucial part of the world. The MEF’s website offers deeply researched articles on a wide range of domestic and international issues as they play out across the region.
Its focus is on promoting Western values of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. It also takes a strong position in support of Israel, emphasizes the case for Palestinian and global acceptance of the Jewish State, and promotes constructive engagement on containing the nuclear threat posed by Iran and countering the world-wide problem of Islamist terrorism.
- 2. The Middle East Journal
The Middle East Journal (MEI.edu), published by the Middle East Institute, is the oldest currently published, peer-reviewed publication covering post-World War II developments throughout the region. Ever since 1947, the Journal has offered original research accompanied by incisive analysis and citations to additional sources.
Contributors include area experts, experienced foreign policy hands, and scholars with international reputations. The Journal’s book reviews—although often covering extremely specialized, even niche, topics—are worth regular perusal, acquainting readers with more detailed treatments of the topics discussed in its articles.
There’s a problem with the Journal, though, and it has to do with the fact that the funding sources of the Institute automatically call its objectivity into question. The United Arab Emirates has contributed tens of millions of dollars in recent years, and Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar are other major donors.
Although its leadership has publicly committed to the value of editorial independence—and although the MEI bills itself as “non-partisan”—expect a viewpoint often more in line with a traditional “Arabist” outlook, or with the current interests of large donor nations.
- 3. Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs, published since 1922 and available online at ForeignAffairs.com, promotes itself as “not just a magazine, an education.” Its editors work to provide readers with a one-stop shop with comprehensive views of current and historical events. The focus is global, with a heavy emphasis on Middle East coverage, simply because of the importance of the region.
The magazine is a product of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), which promotes itself as a non-partisan, independent think tank. Over the generations, this magazine has served as one of the leading watering holes for both conservative and liberal establishment policy influencers. Multiple United States Secretaries of State have written for Foreign Affairs, as have luminaries like the late Colin Powell and, several generations ago, W. E. B. DuBois.
Recent articles have dealt with the rise in sectarianism in the wake of American withdrawal from the Mideast; the machinations of strongman leaders like Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; and the historic lessons we can draw from Henry Kissinger’s Middle East policy.
- 4. Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy (ForeignPolicy.com) magazine can be considered somewhat akin him to Foreign Affairs. Founded in 1970 and published by The FP Group (a division of a holding company formerly known as The Washington Post Company), this magazine got its start as a deliberate alternative to the mainstream foreign policy press during the tense times of the Vietnam War.
The co-founders were wealthy financier Warren Demian Manshel and political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, author of the influential—and controversial—1996 book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. (Ironically, Foreign Affairs magazine published Huntington’s original statement of his Clash of Civilizations thesis.)
Like Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy states that its aim is to offer comprehensive news and commentary on geopolitics and international relations. Its recent Mideast sections have included articles on how Russia’s attack on Ukraine affects Middle Eastern affairs; how economic devastation in Lebanon is driving people to join jihadi groups; and an analysis of the election debacle in Libya.
- 5. The Jerusalem Post
Looking at media actually based in the Middle East, the Jerusalem Post (JPost.com) stands out among newspapers for its high degree of professionalism and its thorough coverage of regional and global affairs. Founded in pre-State Israel in 1932, the Post works to adhere to a rational centrist worldview, with a focus on exposing political corruption. Today, it’s Israel’s oldest—and largest-circulation—daily paper, read by political, economic, and cultural leaders worldwide.
Recent articles have closely followed developments in Iran’s nuclear program, offering interviews with, and op-eds by, individuals at the top levels of Israeli government. Another focus has been on Israel’s fraught relationship with Russia in regard to Syria, and yet another on concerns surrounding the Taliban’s renewed power in Afghanistan.
If it affects Israel, you’ll read about it in the Post.