Amwaj is a UK-based media startup which focuses on news coverage of the Gulf countries, Iran and Iraq. Their content is in English, Arabic and Persian.

Case in point: The perhaps most known of present media platforms featuring regional contributors lacks entirely a Persian section while its Arabic sections are weak. Perhaps more importantly, these sites make no attempt at bringing contributors together within a dialectical framework, thus rather presenting readers with a series of monologues. Most of all, as with most other outlets, the senior editorial teams are entirely based in Washington DC and constituted almost exclusively of individuals with no background in the region, let alone knowledge of local languages and politics. These same unfortunate dynamics are seen at other endeavors in the same genre.

Imperative: The need for accurate and balanced information on the politics and economies of West Asia is critical, and particularly at this point in history. There is a pressing need for direct exchanges among experts and scholars of the regional countries, and for the outcome of these exchanges to be channeled into the mainstream media and thus policy communities in North America and Western Europe. Unless this shortcoming is rectified, it will continue to be structurally difficult – if not impossible – to rebalance the discursive framework surrounding regional developments, both of which are presently dominated by voices in places such as Washington DC.

To rebalance the narrative framework of regional politics, it is vital to proactively take steps to directly shape the debate within the ecosystem of ideas (i.e. the web between academia, think tanks and media) in the form of a new and engaging platform for news, analysis and debate. If not, dubious notions which have over time become self-fulfilling prophecies will continue to emerge whether with reference to supposedly “ancient” and “unbridgeable” sect-based or ethnic “divides”.