Topic:

Saudi Arabia

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.

The 2018 World Cup Could Become the Middle East’s Latest Battlefield

| June 13, 2018

The simultaneous presence in Russia of the Saudi and Iranian teams for the 2018 World Cup is likely to shine a spotlight on the covert wars between Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran as well as on a related dispute over 2022 World Cup host Qatar, which did not qualify for this year’s tournament. Tensions will be present even if the kingdom and the Islamic Republic fail to meet face to face on the pitch.

Riyadh’s Missile Defense Systems: Strategic Opportunities

| May 18, 2018

Saudi Arabia needs missile defense systems to protect its territory from adversaries. While the US is the obvious choice as a supplier, Russia and Israel are also in the running.

Saudi-Moroccan Soccer Spat Symbolizes the New Arab Politics

| May 17, 2018

The spat over Saudi Arabia’s refusal to support a Moroccan bid for hosting rights of the 2026 World Cup tells the tale of the rise of individual country nationalism at the expense of Arab solidarity, Saudi determination to safeguard its alliance with the US at any cost, and creeping Saudi and UAE efforts to strong-arm countries into supporting their 11-month-old diplomatic and economic boycott of Qatar.

Natural Gas: An Underrated Driver of Saudi Hostility Towards Iran and Qatar

| April 25, 2018

Debilitating hostility between Saudi Arabia and Iran is about lots of things, not least who will have the upper hand in a swath of land stretching from Central Asia to the Atlantic coast of Africa. While attention is focused on ensuring that continued containment of Iran ensures that Saudi Arabia has a leg up, geopolitics is but one side of the equation. Natural gas is the other.

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.