Websites of the Month

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By  Cleona Godinho Published  March 1, 2007

Secret Dubai Diary|~||~||~|The five sites shortlisted for the Middle East and Africa prize at this year’s ‘Bloggies’ Awards begin with this revelationary and incendiary expat blog. Secret Dubai Diary, a sometimes controversial, previously blocked UAE offering examines everything to do with living and working in the Emirates, from cultural differences and aggravations to national issues, the treatment of workers, the region’s media and much, much more. There’s even a still-more-out-there e-newsletter you can sign-up to should you want yet more hot regional gossip delivered direct to your inbox. ||**||Jordan Blogs|~||~||~|This site acts as a hosting centre for the individual postings of numerous Jordanian bloggers. We recommend searching out ‘Life as an Arab’, and then in contrast to this, ‘Dave, an American in Jordan’. ‘Body on the Line’ meanwhile provides the kind of regional news comment that you mightn’t find in the Jordanian news press, whilst Loza’s random musings take in everything from job issues to graphic design, with inspirational quotes from both the Holy Quran and the Bible thrown in for good measure. ||**||Bits and bites of Syria|~||~||~|Ihsan Attar is a self-described “realistic dreamer from Damascus”. His comments on Syrian life are not only entertaining but informative to boot, and he’s very much an internet pioneer in that part of the world, having helped persuade the team behind Souria.com to finally open up free forums on the site. Don’t miss his recent post, ‘Until further notice...’, a heart-weary detailing of how he lost faith in the Americans’ Iraq project, how this has led to dire situations in his country for many female Iraqi immigrants and why he supports the Syrian regime over American democracy. A real eye-opener for this region’s expat readers. ||**||Iraq the Model|~||~||~|Described by the tagline, ‘New points of view about the future of Iraq’, this site is a continuously updated report on the situation there, complete with pictures of choppers flying ahead and smoke filled streets. If you have an interest in how the country is developing on a day-to-day basis, you’ll find the detail on offer here much more fulfilling than almost all news channels can provide. Also second to none are this site’s blog-link lists down the right-hand side of the page. These feature several categories - from general Middle East blogs to military pages and Iraqi press pages - and are well worth exploring further. ||**||

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