Somayya Jabarti is making her mark in a man's world. She has been appointed Saudi Arabia's first female newspaper editor.
In the Old Testament, camels made for a very useful literary device. Primarily, they represent great wealth; When Abraham journeys to Egypt, the Pharaoh offers him a huge bounty, including sheep, servants and -- the crème de la crème -- camels, in exchange for Abraham's wife, Sarah (though in fairness, the Pharaoh thought they were siblings).
Like other Saudi women, she's not allowed to drive or move around freely. But Somayya Jabarti will soon be setting the news agenda for thousands of readers in the Middle Eastern kingdom.
When Jwdat Abu Ghrb spotted a dark shape last summer in the waters off Gaza, where he was diving for fish, he initially thought it was a corpse.
For most people plunging into the ocean's cold, dark depths without an oxygen tank would be an alarming experience. But for Ahmad Tahilmet and his friends its one of life's greatest pleasures.
What is it like to live in the tallest building in the world?
CNN's Sara Sidner meets Emiratis diving as deep as 30 meters, without oxygen tanks.
If you think drag racing is extreme, you should try doing it uphill and on sand.
What is life like for the men who build Dubai's skyscrapers?
"Champ of the Camp" is a documentary exploring the lives of the South Asian laborers who helped build the city's skyline.
CNN's Sara Sidner explores the tradition of pearl diving which helped many Emiratis earn a living in the past.
CNN's Sara Sidner explores Dubai -- one of seven Emirates that form the UAE.
CNN's Sara Sidner explores the booming arts scene in Sharjah, the most conservative Emirate in the UAE.
CNN's Jon Jensen reports on an unusual competition in one of the most remote places in the UAE.
A priest's flock is crowd-funding $35,000 to restore a renowned Lebanese library, which was set on fire a few weeks ago.
A Saudi man has lost more than 700 pounds (320 kilograms) -- more than half his body weight -- since Saudi Arabia's King ordered him hospitalized in August, according to a Saudi magazine that interviewed him at a hospital.
For palaeontologists, the Middle East has long proven a bit of a blind spot.
Imagine a warm brew of lager so heady you had to plunge a straw through the thick surface scum to get to the fermented liquor below.
What do you give the sheik who's already checked palaces and private planes off his royal wish list?
There are moments when reality television can highlight a country's sensitivities.
In Egypt, the words "street food" and "gourmet" don't often go hand in hand.
Egypt's revolution in 2011 gave birth to an explosion of new creativity, especially street art.
Leone Lakhani meets two business partners who are putting a fresh spin on traditional street food.
CNN's Leone Lakhani explores how Egypt's revolution has given new life to creativity.
Leone Lakhani discovers how art, music and food are all influenced by the bustling streets of the Egyptian capital.
With its vast shopping malls, indoor skiing centers and artificial indoor beaches Dubai can lay claim to the dubious distinction of being one of the most air-conditioned cities in the world.
Hot, thirsty, frustrated and exhausted, British adventurers Alastair Humphreys and Leon McCarron were already feeling despair set in.
Jersey, Guernsey, Holstein; the world's dairy cattle breeds bear the names of some of the wettest, lushest, and greenest places in Europe, testament to the fact that to produce milk you need a lot of water.
American Jennifer Grout fell just short of the top prize in the "Arabs Got Talent" competition after a remarkable run to the finals by a 23-year-old from Massachusetts who barely speaks Arabic.
Think of the Arab souk -- the fabled marketplaces of the Middle East -- and it immediately conjures up images straight from the Arabian Nights: mountains of yellow turmeric, shafts of light through lattices and the air thick with incense smoke.
Sara Sidner gives you backstage access to what really happens behind the scenes at Inside the Middle East.
Sara Sidner looks back at some of the most fascinating culinary stories covered this year on Inside the Middle East.
CNN's Sara Sidner looks back at some of the most memorable stories covered this year.
When all-American Jennifer Grout first stepped on stage to audition, nobody could have anticipated how this 23-year-old from Massachusetts would take the Middle East by storm.
Next year's college applicants have some difficult choices to make. Is it better to go to state school or private? Stay close to home or ship out to Abu Dhabi?
This summer 23 year-old Mohammed Assaf won the "Arab Idol" singing competition and with his silky smooth vocals has united Arabs across the world.
Sometimes, residents of the Middle East have a hard time taking a joke. This, at least, is how the editor of the satirical blog the Pan-Arabia Enquirer sees it. The website, based in Dubai and self-dubbed "the world's only 7-star satirical news source," gets roughly 400,000 page views per month and is often likened to The Onion. According to its editor, some of the most popular stories are often confused for bona fide fact.
When charity and creativity go hand in hand, the result can be a work of art -- quite literally.
Inside the Middle East looks at the tradition of making handmade leather at one of the oldest tanneries in the world.
Inside the Middle East travels to Morocco, where Hala Gorani meets a famous musical group reborn after 50 years.
Inside the Middle East travels to Morocco, where Hala Gorani explores the real Casablanca.
Development in Bahrain has not been slow. In half a century, the small Gulf Island has grown from a hilly, desert landscape with 143,000 inhabitants to an overcrowded metropolis of 1.2 million residents. The most striking change, however, has been topographical.
Saudi Arabian women defy authorities over female driving ban. CNN's Mohammad Jamjoom reports.
Saudi women plan to demonstrate against their nation's no-women driving laws. More from CNN's Natalie Allen.
There's something extraordinary happening in Saudi Arabia right now. I should know -- you see, I was born there, lived there half my life, speak the language and understand the customs. Lately, I'm both amazed at and humbled by what I'm seeing: Extremely brave Saudi women, more driven than ever to change their society, despite the sad fact that they still aren't allowed to drive.
At first glance, it seems the graffiti revolution that descended on the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring has largely bypassed Dubai. The city's public transport -- usually an irresistible canvas for taggers -- remains remarkably glistening. The walls of the city's myriad new builds are unmarred by aerosol sketches. Head indoors, however, and you're likely to find a different story.
Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive. Mohammed Jamjoom reports a growing number of women want to change that.
Jomana Karadsheh visits a Jordan eco-lodge hotel which transports people back in time.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh visits the Jordan Museum which will exhibit more than 4,000 artifacts once it opens.
History enthusiast Stellan Lind has made it his mission to reenact ancient gladiator battles.
Jomana Karadsheh visits a hotel designed as one of Jordan's first eco-lodges which transports people back in time.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh visits the Jordan Museum which will exhibit more than 4,000 artifacts once it opens.
Jomana Karadsheh looks at how the Arab nation has been influenced by Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans, Arabs and Europeans.
Few books truly invade a national psyche. When a work manages to do so for 1,000 years, it's a pretty spectacular feat.
In many ways, the Middle East makes a strange -- and at times perilous -- hotbed for caricature.
Traditionally, Saudi Arabia hasn't had much time for film. The country boasts no cinemas, and until last year, nothing but a handful of shorts had ever even been filmed on Saudi soil.
Last April, images of Kurdish men dressed in drag started making the rounds on Facebook.
A few weeks ago, an Arabic campaign exploded on Twitter. The Arabic hashtag -- #??????_??????_?????? (loosely translated as "the salary does not meet my needs") -- reached 17 million tweets in the first two weeks.
Chef Arda Turkmen stops for dessert at Gulluoglu, one of the oldest baklava bakeries in the world.
Chef Arda Turkmen meets the owner of a restaurant that's bringing historic food back to life in Istanbul, Turkey.
Chef Arda Turkmen explores the Turkish city's buzzing food scene, a great way to experience its rich past.
Turkish restaurant owner Batur Durmay is a leading voice in Ottoman cuisine with recipes dating back hundreds of years
Chef Arda Turkmen discovers the city's street food -- including a market that sells barbecued sheep heads.
Turkish chef Arda Turkmen stops for dessert at Gulluoglu, one of the oldest baklava bakeries in the world.
The Middle East is currently the setting of a new form of airspace race. As the economies grow in a handful of countries in the region, so too do ambitions -- and few things symbolize a country's aspirations as aptly as an airport.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has intervened to help a man who has become one of the heaviest people in the world.
Climbing the world's highest mountain is challenge enough, but for Raha Moharrak, it also meant breaking a taboo.
Two Israeli bands, one Jewish and one Arab, are joining together in "metal brotherhood" to spread a message of peace through rock 'n roll.
The Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan, ended this week, marked across the Islamic world by the feasts of Eid el Fitr.
Tel Hazor in northern Israel has long been a treasure trove for archeologists, but a recent discovery of part of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx has been a most unexpected find.
As Ramadan has drawn to a close -- and with it, mandatory daytime fasting -- Muslims can breathe a sigh of relief as their diets return to normal. Many, however, will be surprised to find their clothes a little snugger, and their health in a perilous state.
CNN's Leone Lakhani meets an archeologist whose team has made a discovery that could rewrite history.
CNN's Leone Lakhani visits Acre, an Israeli city with both rich history and cultural diversity.
CNN's Leone Lakhani meets Amnon Ben-Tor who manages Tel Hazor, the largest archaeological site in Israel.
CNN's Leone Lakhani visits Sebastia, an ancient city in desperate need of preservation.
Leone Lakhani travels to the Israeli city of Acre, one of the best preserved and oldest settlements in the Middle East.
The Arab world's relationship with media is -- like the region itself -- complicated and often contradictory and one that has been changing rapidly since the Arab Spring.
Can car-loving Saudis be convinced to step out of their air-conditioned comfort and take public transport?
A young Yemeni girl stares defiantly into the camera. Her question is a shocking one, coming from an 11-year-old:
For those that live and work in the Middle East, Ramadan is a period of considerable downtime. In many countries, special laws require the working day is reduced to accommodate those fasting (observers are meant to abstain from food, water, cigarettes -- even gossip -- during the daylight hours of the month-long holiday).
I approached Baalbek on a hot, dry day out of Beirut, down a broken road where children played, oblivious to passing cars.
In the scorching desert of Qatar, scientists are showing that saltwater can be used to help grow crops.
Things are looking up for entrepreneurs in the Middle East as a new breed of crowdfunding is emerging to help bring life to innovative ideas from the region.
Qatar's youthful new ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has acquired another jewel in his burgeoning crown. The archaeological site of Al Zubarah on the northern tip of the tiny Arab emirate has been added by UNESCO to its list of World Heritage sites.
High in the hills between Ramallah and Nablus in the West Bank sits a huge construction site its developers hope will transform the lives of Palestinians for generations to come.
Fancy a stroll around the observation deck of the tallest building in the world?
Leaping from rooftops and doing backflips off walls is when Prince Haydar feels the most free.
Those countries in the Middle East that have been spared political upheaval find themselves enmeshed in a different sort of battle of late. As Qatar, the UAE and Jordan split what's left of the region's tourists, each is fighting to pull in the lion's share. Their weapon of choice? Theme parks.
A land of superlatives.
Even during difficult times, Iraqi Airways is aiming high.
Filing nervously into a sports hall in Mosul, northern Iraq, around 20 girls prepared to practice gymnastics. Compared to their male counterparts at Mosul University's Faculty of Sport, their number is small. Another difference is that the gates to the sports hall were locked behind them and an announcement made that the hall was exclusively allocated for women.
Playboy magazine recently published its first Hebrew language edition in Israel -- but has anyone actually been reading the articles to notice?
In the last few months Iranians have found themselves in a cyber no-man's land.
The United Arab Emirates is no stranger to superlatives: the world's tallest building, among the world's most expensive hotels, even the largest kebab.
In popular culture, butlers are usually portrayed as "Made in Britain" and tend to stately homes somewhere in the English countryside. The last few years has revealed a different reality, however. Increasingly, "Jeeves" and his ilk are as likely to be found managing a palace in Saudi Arabia as a manor in England.
One contestant on "Arab Idol," the Middle Eastern version of American Idol, has been drawing attention because of more than just his impressive vocals.
Last month, thousands of people in Saudi Arabia opened up their newspapers to find a full-page picture of a woman with a black eye clearly visible underneath her burqa.
If Facebook is the ultimate popularity test, then the most famous art institute on the planet is not in Paris, New York or London.
It has been a rocky couple of years for the people of Egypt. Since the 2011 revolution, the economy has tanked, street protests are an almost daily occurrence and the political situation remains volatile.
The arts are thriving around the Arabian peninsula. From Doha to the smallest state of the United Arab Emirates, museums and galleries are making an ambitious mark on the Middle East's cultural landscape.
For the generation of Iraqi artists who came of age under Saddam Hussein's regime in the 1980s, one common subject was the dictator himself, often depicted holding a sword or riding an Arabian horse.
Young Egyptian comedians explain their craft and how their newfound freedom allows them to expand on material.
CNN's Leone Lakhani meets Sara Rahbar, an Iranian-born artist who uses the U.S. flag as her canvas.
Inside the Middle East meets two young comedians who are on a mission to make Qataris laugh.
Iraqi artist Natiq Al-Alousi, who once worked for Saddam Hussein, struggles to find buyers in the UAE.
Aisha Al Khater, director of Doha's Museum of Islamic Art, talks about making the city a cultural capital.
A mysterious, circular structure, with a diameter greater than the length of a Boeing 747 jet, has been discovered submerged about 30 feet (9 meters) underneath the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
In 2003, former newspaper editor Ali Reza Eshraghi made a mistake that cost him his freedom: he published a cartoon.
Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has reiterated his support for giving women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia, announcing via Twitter that it would help the economy and reduce the number of foreign workers there.
Dubai already has the world's tallest building, the world's largest shopping mall, and the largest man-made archipelago. So it's no surprise that the country's police would drive one of the world's most extravagant and expensive cars.
After generations of conflict, the clamor of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute has the tendency to drown out other voices and stories from the region.
Beset by war and sectarian violence, Iraq has not had a lot to laugh about in recent years.
Babylon was one of the glories of the ancient world, its walls and mythic hanging gardens listed among the Seven Wonders.
"Ako Fad Wahed" ("There is this guy") is pushing social boundaries in Iraq -- and angering some conservatives.
Arwa Damon gets taken white water rafting by a group of Iraqis hoping to turn Kurdistan into a haven for eco-tourists.
Iraq's autonomous northern region of Kurdistan is eager to display its distinct cultural heritage and booming economy.
The newest residents of the ancient city are fighting to protect a site trampled by Saddam Hussein and new developers.
Once the world's capital of literature, mathematics and the arts, Baghdad is struggling to recapture its former glory.
Film-making was not an obvious career path for the young Annemarie Jacir.
Getting anyone in Lebanon to weigh in on where to find the best shawarma or falafel is asking for trouble.
In a remote corner of the United Arab Emirates, a blue lake shimmers amid the sand dunes.
Bone-chilling cold is virtually unimaginable to the people of Oman, where temperatures routinely hit 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) during the hot season.
A dusty track in the remote western region of the United Arab Emirates is one of the last places you'd expect to find a beauty pageant.
CNN's Sara Sidner meets two filmmakers whose documentaries were nominated for Academy Awards this year.
CNN's Leone Lakhani reports from the annual Muscat Festival which celebrates Oman's history and its animals.
CNN's Leone Lakhani looks at how Muscat is taking center stage on the cultural map with both opera and filmmaking.
CNN's Leone Lakhani reports on a lake that experts say formed as a side effect of increased desalination usage.
CNN's Leone Lakhani meets two men who are preparing for a remote research expedition.
CNN's Leone Lakhani explores how Oman is using its rich history to attract tourism.
Soraya Bahgat, a Cairo-based HR executive and postgraduate student, was on her way to join Tahrir Square protests on November 25 when an unwelcome thought stopped her in her tracks.
They've been described as the voice of their generation -- though not one that everyone is comfortable hearing.
Film-maker and artist Tina Gharavi grew up idolizing Muhammad Ali, the trailblazing American boxing great who was a hero to her Iranian father and millions of others around the world.
Lebanese women are taking to the streets to demand that the government takes domestic violence seriously, by introducing laws to protect women from abusive partners.
I come from Palestine. I have lived my entire life under military occupation, and I have no memory of a time without struggle.
Lebanon prides itself on its image as a melting pot on the Mediterranean: an ancient bastion of civilization boasting a diverse tapestry of cultures and creeds.
Arwa Damon speaks to a rights activist who says women are sold "superficial fake freedoms."
CNN's Arwa Damon explains what makes Beirut a top skiing destination in the Middle East.
Arwa Damon speaks to a band that doesn't shy away from controversy, singing about everything from politics to sexuality.
Arwa Damon speaks with Lebanon's Minister of Tourism who says defeating racism is key for the country's tourism industry.
CNN's Arwa Damon meets a British couple who claim Lebanon is a 'crown jewel' for those seeking an expat lifestyle.
An image juxtaposing a famous painting of lovers and the ruins of a building in Syria has gone viral, becoming a powerful symbol of the country's devastation from civil war.
Politicians, generals and clerics have all played their part in shaping the new Iraq, with varying results.
On the starting line of the Emirates Motorplex on Thursday (Jan 24) will be professional drift racing, one of the most dangerous disciplines in motorsport.
This month, Inside the Middle East travels to Beirut, the cosmopolitan, multi-lingual capital of Lebanon. Beirut's popularity among expatriate residents has not waned, despite the increased fears of instability spilling over from the conflict in neighboring Syria. Host Arwa Damon explores Beirut, discovering why the "Paris of the Middle East" is so appealing to foreign residents of the city.
When artist Nadia Jelassi exhibited work in Tunis last year, she hoped the piece would prove a talking point.
CNN's Ian Lee meets a 12-year-old boy who lost a leg to a landmine from World War II.
A new play in Abu Dhabi explores the heroic, and sometimes dark, history of Lebanese-American poet Khalil Gibran.
CNN's Leone Lakhani looks at how life has changed in Tunisia, the country where the Arab Spring started in early 2011.
Authorities in the Palestinian town of Bethlehem are hoping it won't be a silent night this Christmas Eve, following a spate of tourist cancellations due to recent violence in Gaza.
Women stood at the forefront of the Arab Spring, taking to the streets shoulder to shoulder with men in an effort to overturn oppressive old orders.