Topic:

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Moderation? Prince Muhammad Is on Shaky Ground

| April 12, 2018

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has dazzled international media and public opinion by lifting some restrictions on women’s rights and holding out hope for the abolishment of others, vowing to return the kingdom to a vague form of moderate Islam that many believe is defined by the social reforms he has already implemented, and curbing the powers of the country’s ultra-conservative leadership. But his top-down approach to social change, which brushes aside Saudi history, rests on shaky ground.

Churchill vs. May: A Revealing Study in Contrasts

| April 9, 2018

Unlike Winston Churchill, who did not hesitate to light up a cigar and pour himself a drink in the company of Saudi King Abdulaziz, modern-day Western leaders like Theresa May disdain their own cultures in deference to Islam even as they decry the Muslim world’s chronic human rights abuses. The fallout from their refusal to stand up for democratic values might prove very costly over the long term.

The Middle East’s Nuclear Technology Clock Is Ticking

| March 20, 2018

The Middle East’s nuclear technology clock is ticking as nations in the region pursue peaceful capabilities that could leave the door open to military options in the future.

The Qatar Opposition: Avoiding the Hariri Miscalculation

| March 12, 2018

The widely criticized attempted resignation by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri backfired as a political move against Iran for two reasons: first, because Hezbollah is already largely in control of the Lebanese government; and second, because the Saudis, who backed the move, have little leverage inside the country. Continuing efforts to effect similar change inside another Iran proxy, Qatar, are bound to fail for similar reasons. In order to succeed, the Saudis and their allies should build authentic relationships with potential supporters and create an environment receptive to their interests.

The Arabs Leverage Lucrative Nuclear Contracts

| March 9, 2018

Controversy in South Korea over a secret military clause in a nine-year-old agreement to build the United Arab Emirates’ first nuclear reactor raises a Pandora’s Box of questions about political and military demands that Arab nations may seek to impose as they embark on a nuclear trajectory.

Iran and Saudi Arabia Revisit Their Strategies

| January 24, 2018

Expressions of support for the Iranian anti-government protests by US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have provided grist for Iranian claims that the protests were instigated by foreign powers. The assertions, while largely baseless, nonetheless offer insight into the very different strategies adopted by Iran and Saudi Arabia in their vicious struggle for regional dominance.

Iranian Protests Reveal Leadership Fault Lines in the Muslim World

| January 16, 2018

If week-long anti-government protests in Iran exposed the Islamic Republic’s deep-seated economic and political problems, they also laid bare Saudi Arabia’s structural inability to establish itself as the leader of the Sunni Muslim world.

US-Saudi Nuclear Talks: A Middle East Barometer?

| January 10, 2018

Talks aimed at transferring US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia serve as an indicator of where the Saudi-Iranian rivalry is heading as well as the strength of the informal Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran. The possible transfer could spark a new arms race in the Middle East and constitutes one explanation why Saudi responses to President Donald J. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel were muted and limited to rhetorical statements.

Iranian Protests Raise Tricky Questions for US and Saudi Policymakers

| January 2, 2018

In many ways, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad faces the same considerations in deciding how to respond to the protests in Iran as does US President Donald J. Trump. Support for the protesters could amount to support for hardline conservative factions in Iran.

Ten Tips for Israel when Negotiating with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World

Speculation is rife about the possibility of normalizing relations between Israel and the nations of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar). If such negotiations do take place, the Israeli government will need to approach them in such a way as to avoid repeating mistakes that were made in the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.