It’s Not All Bad News for the Gulf

October 11, 2021

Gulf Arab states are in a pickle. They fear that the emerging parameters of a reconfigured US commitment to security in the Middle East threaten to upend a pillar of regional security and leave them with no good alternatives. The shaky pillar is the Gulf monarchies’ reliance on a powerful...

For Saudi Arabia, Iran Looms, Israel Beckons and the Taliban Cause Goosebumps

August 26, 2021

Prince Khalid bin Salman may not have planned it that way, but the timing of his trip to Moscow last week and message to Washington resounded loud and clear. By not postponing the visit, the Saudi deputy defense minister signaled that he was trying to hedge his kingdom’s bets by signing a...

What Starts in Afghanistan Does Not Stay in Afghanistan

August 16, 2021

The Taliban’s offensive in Afghanistan has shifted the Central Asian playing field on which China, India and the United States compete with rival infrastructure-driven approaches. At first glance, a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would give China a 2:0 advantage against the US and India, but...

Can Saudi Arabia Balance Social and Economic Change?

August 09, 2021

The World Bank issued a stark warning in its 2018 outlook for the Saudi economy: “The Kingdom likely faces a looming poverty problem.” The bank has since noted in its 2019 and 2020 outlooks that “while no official information is available on poverty, identifying and...

Personality and Ambition Fuel Saudi-UAE Divide

July 14, 2021

Personality and the conflation of national interests with personal ambition are contributing to the widening gap between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It was only a matter of time before Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) would want to go out on his own and no longer be seen...

Saudi Seeks to Replace UAE and Qatar

June 14, 2021

Saudi Arabia has stepped up efforts to outflank the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as the commercial, cultural and/or geostrategic hub in the Gulf. The Saudis recently expanded their challenge to the smaller Gulf states by seeking to position Saudi Arabia as the region’s foremost sports...

Athletes Shake Up Sports Governance

April 14, 2021

Sports governance worldwide has had its legs knocked out from under it. Yet national and international sports administrators are slow in realizing the magnitude of what has hit them. Tectonic plates underlying the guiding principle that sports and politics are unrelated have shifted, driven by a...

Pakistan Takes Cues From China to Clamp Down on Freedom of Expression

February 17, 2020

Sweeping new regulations restricting social media in Pakistan put freedom of expression and the media at the heart of the struggle to counter both civilizationalist and authoritarian aspects of an emerging new world order. The regulations, adopted without public debate, position US social...

The Gulf Wants to Buy the English Premier League

May 30, 2019

The rush to buy English football clubs is, at least in part, the latest round in the Gulf crisis. The bitter rift between Qatar and its Saudi and Emirati-led detractors could spill onto the pitches of English football. A flurry of reports suggest that the Gulf rivals are seeking to buy big-name...

The Battle for the Future of the Arab World

April 24, 2019

Today’s protesters have a leg up on their counterparts from the Arab Spring of 2011. Momentous developments across North and East Africa suggest the long-drawn-out process of political transition in the region — as well as the Middle East — is still in its infancy. So too does popular...

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