Her clients were women who protested the obligatory dress code by taking off their hijab in public in 2018, an act that the authorities equate with treason. Sotoudeh was already well-known for having represented jailed opposition activists and politicians following the disputed June 2009 presidential elections as well as prisoners sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors.
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For Russia, extending its hand to the region might indeed be useful; for Saudi Arabia, the decision appears more pragmatic as its once go-to allies for economic cooperation have been the US and Europe. However, the Saudis have several reasons to no longer trust the West and to seek support elsewhere.
Despite some drastic changes since the early years of the Islamic Revolution, the state is still reluctant to give more freedom to musicians to express themselves. Women, in particular, face severe restrictions when it comes to producing and disseminating music. Although women can play instruments on stage, they are not allowed to sing solo in public. As a result, solo women singers primarily produce music overseas.
Over the following centuries, Hashashin appeared in other regions around the world although adherents became known as Nizaris, who constitute the majority of Ismaili Muslims. Today, the sect runs more than 140 for-profit and not-for-profit organizations spanning more than 30 countries to serve the Ismaili community. These organizations employ approximately 58,000 staff and about 20,000 volunteers.
However, the Royal Family Council decided to respect the sultan’s will, which named his cousin Haitham as his chosen successor. Article 4 of the White Book states: ‘The system of governance is Sultani, hereditary in the male descendants of Sayyid Turki bin Said bin Sultan, provided that whomever is to be chosen from among them as successor shall be a Muslim, mature, rational and the legitimate son of Omani Muslim parents.’
The US operates at least 30 military bases in the Middle East, ranging from small outposts in Syria and military encampments shared with host nations to airbases under full US control. Some are large and visible while others remain highly secretive, likely managed by a combination of CIA or US special forces personnel. These range from a navy-run medical research lab in Egypt and naval and airbases in Qatar (the biggest in the region) and the United Arab Emirates to remote outposts in the contested desert zones of Syria.