Happy Birthday Al Ajnabee!

We started blogging at Al Ajnabee one year ago this week. In that short year, we’ve had about 7,000 visitors. WordPress tells me that half were from the United States and UK. The rest were from the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, Israel, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates are all well represented in our statistics. I speak for everyone when I say we’re very glad to know our commentary is reaching the people who care most about current events because they are directly affected by them.

In our first year, we’ve published over 100 posts, averaging 2-3 a week. With that said, we hope the next year will be more productive and consistent. If you check our Authors page, you’ll notice a new contributor named Robert Hatem, who’s written twice before for this website. I expect Robert will balance our commentary and help us branch out from the power politics of the Gulf. He is most interested in Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Kurdish issues. We’ve also reached out to more guest contributors. By the end of summer, readers should see more original articles on the Syrian crisis and Iran.

This blog was originally established so that a few friends would have an excuse to follow the Middle East more closely. It offered us the chance to research issues that weren’t getting enough attention, write about developments we thought were important, and make sense of the manifold changes wrought by the competing trends of revolt and reform, democracy and authoritarianism, etc. Our goal from the outset was never to answer every question. We simply wanted to raise more questions, correct narratives we thought were flawed, and frame developments as they relate to every level of international relations–be it the regional environment or international politics. In just one year we’ve managed to comment on everything from IR theory to the nuts-and-bolts of oil politics to the troubles with transitions in Libya and Egypt. Other Middle East watchers have been kind enough to share our commentary on Twitter and other blogs.

Thanks for reading and sharing. Stay tuned.

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