The world of politics can be exhausting to follow, even if you only set sights on your home country. Unfortunately, to stay up-to-date on international affairs, you are going to have to put in some work. One of the most politically relevant and politically confusing regions on Earth is the Middle East. The Middle East is considered a transcontinental region that encompasses parts of Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. As a hotbed for cultural and political strife, the Middle East is seemingly always under some sort of transformation. To stay up-to-date on the region and its importance, consider paying close attention to a few of the following Middle Eastern scholars and journalists.

1) Robert Fisk – Robert Fisk is an English journalist and writer who has been covering the Middle East since 1976. Fisk is a particularly well-known name thanks to his work for The Independent which is based out of Beirut. Fisk is something of an international icon in the journalism world with SEVEN Press Awards Foreign Reporter of the Year victories to his name. One of Fisk’s most notable claims to fame is his trio of interviews with Osama bin Laden. Fisk is one of only a handful of journalists from the West to ever sit down with Bin Laden for an interview.

2) Amir Handjani – Next up we have Mr. Handjani, an energy attorney who lives and works in the U.A.E. while splitting his time in Washington D.C. Handjani has extensively covered the Middle East during his career, though his focus has been extensively on Iran and its Nuclear Deal. Handjani is a Security Fellow with the Truman Project as well as a constant source of up-to-the-hour news regarding developments in Iran. Handjani can be followed on Twitter for his most up-to-date content releases.

3) Dalia Dassa Kaye – Now we have Dalia Dassa Kay, the Director at the Center for Middle East Public Policy. Dassa Kaye is a highly experienced researcher and political science expert with her PH.D., M.A., and B.A. in Political science from the University of California. Kaye has written and published several books with her most recent release focused on the Iranian nuclear deal, “The Days After a Deal With Iran: Regional Responses to a Final Nuclear Agreement.” Dassa Kaye also works as a Senior Political Scientist for the RAND Corporation.

4) Peter van Agtmael – Mr. Agtmael doesn’t fit into the same category as the aforementioned scholars, though we felt obligated to include him based on the importance of his work. Peter van Agtmael is a professional photographer who belongs to Magnum Photos. Van Agtmael is most famous for his work in the Middle East where he photographed the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the corresponding consequences of U.S. involvement in the region.

Understanding the Middle East is not a project that can be tackled in a single day. The massive region is always undergoing a change in both positive and negative ways. In order to stay up-to-date on the area, consider adding the aforementioned journalists and scholars to your reading list.