Creating Frankenstein: The Saudi Export of Wahhabism

August 29, 2016

For Saudi Arabia, the chicken is coming home to roost. The Saudi export and global support for religiously driven groups goes far beyond Wahhabism—its own puritan interpretation of Islam—and is not simply a product of the Faustian bargain that the ruling Saud family made with the...

Islamic State: Ideological Challenge to Saudi Arabia

September 05, 2014

The Islamic State poses an ideological challenge to Saudi Arabia, as it fuels Salafist debate about political Islam. The meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and its declaration of an Islamic State straddling the two Arab countries raises the specter of a militant...

Is Qatar’s Love Affair with the Muslim Brotherhood Really Over?

December 24, 2013

Qatar’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood has not ended. Political analysts are looking at the seismic transfer of power from Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to his 33-year-old son, Sheikh Tamim, in order to examine a number of issues. Sheikh Hamad's abdication occurred just...

Sunni vs Shi’a: The Middle East Chessboard (Part 2/2)

September 06, 2013

Hostility between Sunnis and Shi’as has taken on an increasingly political core. This is the last of a two part series. Read part one here. This being said, gauging from personal interactions with many people hailing from both sects as well as the world of Twitter and Facebook, there is...

Time to Back the Anti-Wahhabi Tide

September 01, 2013

Wahhabism cannot be a moderated geopolitical asset for the West. By Madhav Das Nalapat In 1933, German President Paul von Hindenburg was advised by Franz von Papen and others that the best way to deal with the unrest in Germany caused by economic catastrophe, was to bring the NSDAP (commonly...

Saudi Arabia and Qatar: Royal Rivalry in the Levant (Part 2/2)

August 23, 2013

The rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will not cease to be a factor affecting events in Syria. This is the last of a two part series. Read part one here. The roots of the Saudi-Qatari rivalry run deep. In spite of...

Sunni vs Shi’a: Opposition Fueled by Power Politics

August 08, 2013

The conflict between Sunnis and Shi'as is fueled by Islamists and power politics. Since it became clear in May 2013 that Hezbollah is fighting on the side of the Bashar al-Assad regime in the Syrian Civil War, there has been increasing talk about an escalating religious war between Shi'as and...

Soccer: A Focal Point of Dissent in Saudi Arabia

May 12, 2013

Saudi Arabia is seeing an emergence of political dissent from soccer fans. The country may be on the verge of licensing women’s soccer clubs that currently operate in a legal nether land. Soccer, alongside minority Shiite Muslims and relatives of imprisoned government critics, is...