The Cradle: a journalist-driven publication

The Cradle is a wonderful journalist-driven publication covering West Asia, representing tens of millions of regional voices not heard in the world’s English-language media.

02 September 2021 | James Porteous | Clipper Media

I first found out about The Cradle after reading one of their Pepe Escobar articles reprinted in another publication. As usual, it told me more about the Taliban than anything else I have read. Ever.

If you are familiar with Escobar’s work there is nothing more you need to know about The Cradle, but there is much more to know.

Read The Cradle (Also available via Telegram)

It is in fact an oasis ‘covering West Asia that represents the tens of millions of regional voices not heard in the world’s English-language media.’

The West Asia region comprises 12 member countries: Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, State of Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

But again it is more than that. I think that one of the great issues in ‘news’ now is not necessarily ‘fake news,’ -governments have intentionally left huge gaps in communication, seemingly in the hope that it would be filled with opinionist pap- but the abandonment of any reasonable dialogue in so many ‘alternative’ publications or voices. And it is only going to get worse.

Below is Sharmine Narwani’s overview of the publication.

James Porteous | Clipper Media

Sharmine Narwani: About Cradle

Finally, a journalist-driven publication covering West Asia that represents the tens of millions of regional voices not heard in the world’s English-language media.

That’s not our only differentiator. We are also not owned by any of our donors, and so they have no say over what we write or don’t write.

We chose the name The Cradle as a reminder that the cradle of civilization was borne of this region, when men and women decided to settle in a single (no doubt, gorgeous) spot and grow their food. West Asia is the start of history in so many ways, but today the region has lost its roots largely because non-sovereign states act as pawns in the geopolitical calculations of The Other.

Bleak as the outlook may be, there is cause for optimism. For the first time in centuries, West Asia has within it a group of states and actors that demonstrate genuine efficiency and share common cause. You need a vision and a direction to extricate yourself from pandemonium, but it is efficiency that will help realize your objective. And so ‘efficiency’ is a word I place much stock in. As should you, our readers.

As the global geopolitical contest between Great Powers once more gets distilled into two poles, you will find that the winners will always be those with efficiency.

It is because they start with the correct fundamentals: rock-solid alliances based on common objectives; smart diplomacy; leading with soft power but prepared to use the hard kind; respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law; and a clear vision of the world they seek. They’re also hungry for it.

They are today’s realists, and they are rising in West Asia, their goal to undo the chaos and eject The Other that creates so much of it. But don’t assume The Cradle will slavishly champion one side. We are journalists and analysts and seek mainly to make the battlefield apparent to all.

We hope to provide transparency where it is lacking, name names, hold a fire under authority, and call a spade a spade. Journalism that doesn’t get into trouble with authority is not journalism at all. And we embrace that fighting spirit.

The Cradle will commence tentatively at first, to give ourselves the space to find what works, and to build up a stable of bold, well-respected journalists and experts. These are not so easy to find in the English-language as they have not had a platform before.

What we are discovering, however, is that there are gems in this region who have the kinds of connections and access that foreign-language reporters – who get all the plaudits – could not amass in a lifetime. There are a lot of secrets in this region and we plan to reveal them at every opportunity, because people need that information to make choices and form opinions.

The Cradle launches today and we hope, within three months, to be running at full throttle. Please consider contributing to The Cradle to support our journalism. Many of us entered the profession because we wanted to know much more about events surrounding us. Provide us with the means and we will do your legwork.

Sharmine Narwani

Sharmine Narwani is a Beirut-based writer and analyst of West Asian geopolitics


Political Map of Countries of Western Asia

Caravanserai in the Dasht-e Lut in the Kerman Province of Iran. The Lut Desert is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Image: Erik Albers

he southwestern part of Asia is called by many names: West Asia, Western Asia, Southwest Asia, Middle East or Near East. The southwestern-most part of Asia is a region at the crossroads between Asia, Africa, and Europe. The terms have to some extent a similar notion as ‘Middle East’.

Western Asia is bounded in the west by the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, in the north by the Black Sea, the Caucasus, and the Caspian Sea, on the east by the fringing mountains of Iran, and in the south by the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

The various regions of Western Asia include Asia Minor, aka Anatolia (peninsula), the Caucasus region, the Eastern Mediterranean or Levant, the historical region of Mesopotamia, the Armenian Highlands, the historical region of Syria, the geographical and historical region of Palestine, the Sinai Peninsula, the Arabian Peninsula with the Arabian desert ecoregion, and the Iranian Highlands (see maps below).

Map of Western Asia, including the Middle East and African countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.


Political Map of Western Asia, the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and adjacent countries with borders, capitals and major cities.

The map shows Western Asia with international borders, capitals and major cities of the Middle East region, the Arabian Peninsula and African countries with a shoreline at the Red Sea.

 You are free to use the above map for educational purposes (fair use); please refer to the Nations Online Project.

More about Western Asia

Topographic map of Western Asia
Topographic map of Western Asia.

James Porteous

James Porteous is an author, photographer and researcher. Clipper Media News is a daily publicatioin featuring news and views you can use.

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