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...

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...

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...

Turkey’s Improved Relations With Egypt and Saudi Arabia

June 09, 2021

Turkey’s relationships with Egypt and Saudi Arabia have improved following years of friction. Esra Pakin Albayrakoglu, a professor at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul and a visiting professor at the National Defense University, discusses the dynamics influencing Ankara’s foreign policy.

What Will It Take for MBS to Rehabilitate His Image?

April 28, 2021

On April 10, the Saudi Ministry of Defense announced the execution of three soldiers after what it called a “fair trial” in a specialist court. The men were convicted and sentenced to death for the crimes of “high treason” and “cooperating with the enemy.” Aside from the...

Mohammed bin Salman’s Neom: A Case of Giga-Narcissism

March 31, 2021

Despite rumors to the contrary due to the somewhat soiled reputation of a leader better known for, according to US intelligence, commanding the murder of a Washington Post journalist than his contribution to the future of humankind, Business Insider reassuringly reports that “work is pressing...

The Talented Mr. Bin Salman

March 04, 2021

Mohammed bin Salman is a charming fellow. The tall, dark and handsome Saudi prince known as MBS has seduced world leaders and eager pundits left and right. To his supporters, MBS became first in line to the Saudi throne by championing reform in a deeply conservative Gulf kingdom, taking on...

Working Together Toward Peace in Yemen

February 11, 2021

Nothing in recent memory could have possibly done more damage to America’s relations with the Yemeni people and to its image in the region than Washington’s support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen. The conflict produced the worst manmade catastrophe — one that never had to...

The Line: Mohammed bin Salman’s Green Blockbuster

January 14, 2021

It’s called The Line, a spanking new AI city to be built in the northwest of Saudi Arabia as part of the kingdom’s $500-billion NEOM project. The Line will be a “carbon-positive” community “powered by 100 per cent clean energy” strung, yes in a line, from the Red Sea coast into the...

Saudi Arabia’s Mission to Correct “Distorted Narrative”

November 23, 2020

The virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia this past weekend was intended to be a moment of triumph for Riyadh and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It was the first time an Arab state has hosted the gathering, which represented a golden opportunity to flaunt on the global stage the...

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