Topic:

Saudi Arabia

The 1981 AWACS Deal: AIPAC and Israel Challenge Reagan

| November 8, 2018

In 1981, US President Ronald Reagan’s decision to implement a large arms deal with Saudi Arabia involving aircraft, tanks, and Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) prompted a determined campaign against it spearheaded by the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and the Israeli government found the inclusion of the AWACS in the deal particularly troubling, as they threatened to speed up the regional arms race and erode Israel’s technological edge. President Reagan was equally determined to see the deal go through, as failure to do so would have had a detrimental effect on his authority and international standing. In his first major policy challenge in the White House, Reagan led a no-holds-barred effort to convince Congress to approve the deal.

This conflict between a US president and Israel illustrates the peril into which a small state wades when it asserts its own perceived national interest at the expense of that of a far more powerful ally. This dynamic would come to the fore once again decades later, when Benjamin Netanyahu would openly resist the efforts of President Barack Obama to
reach a nuclear accord with Iran.

Muhammad bin Salman: For Better or for Worse?

| November 2, 2018

Embattled Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman could prove to be not only a cat with nine lives but a cat that makes surprising jumps. Though his reputation has taken a beating in the wake of the Khashoggi killing, he may well emerge defiant rather than chastened.

The Khashoggi Crisis: A Blessing in Disguise for Pakistan’s Imran Khan

| October 30, 2018

The death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is proving to be a blessing in disguise for cash-strapped Pakistani PM Imran Khan. Khan’s blessing is also likely to offer Saudi Arabia geopolitical advantage.

Khashoggi Rejiggers Middle East at a Horrible Cost

| October 23, 2018

The fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, assuming that his disappearance and apparent murder was the work of Saudi security and military officials, threatens to upend the fundaments of fault lines in the Middle East.

How Trump Should Handle the Jamal Khashoggi Killing

| October 23, 2018

On October 2, Saudi-born journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul to obtain documentation for his upcoming marriage to his Turkish fiancée. He was never seen exiting the compound and has not been seen or heard from since. This has sparked intense speculation that he was the victim of a hit arranged by the Saudi government, of which he had been sharply critical in his writings. President Trump now has an opportunity to pressure the Saudi leadership to incorporate journalistic freedom into its program of domestic reform.

Regional Players Maneuver to Reengineer the Israeli-Palestinian Landscape

| September 2, 2018

A possible ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, may be about more than ending the ongoing, escalating violence that threatens to spark yet another Gaza war. It could also be an attempt to pave the way for the return of Muhammad Dahlan as successor to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Amid Ethnic Protests, Iran Warns of Foreign Meddling

| August 26, 2018

Iran has raised the specter of a US-Saudi effort to destabilize the country by exploiting economic grievances against the backdrop of circumstantial evidence that Washington and Riyadh are playing with scenarios for stirring unrest among the Islamic Republic’s ethnic minorities.

Russian Hacking in the US and the Gulf

| July 23, 2018

The covert cyberwar that helped spark the 13-month-old Gulf crisis, which pits a Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led alliance against Qatar, may have just gotten murkier with the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence agents by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Saudi Arabia and Israel: Know Thine Enemy

| July 20, 2018

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel have reached new heights in the past two years, culminating in a recent report that a meeting had taken place between Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israelis should exercise caution, however, before they read too much into this relationship. Riyadh continues to foment hatred of Israel at home.

Saudi Religious Diplomacy Targets Jerusalem

| July 8, 2018

A United Arab Emirates-backed Saudi effort to wrest control from Jordan of Islam’s holy places in Jerusalem signals a sharper, more overt edge to Saudi religious diplomacy. The kingdom’s quest for regional hegemony risks deepening divides in the Muslim world.