Ahmad al-Akla writes about people’s return to rebel-controlled Idlib, Syria.
Showing posts for "Saudi Arabia"
During one of my last semesters in graduate school, I was a teaching assistant for a course called “How Do You Know?” The goal of the class was to expose students to the way different disciplines in the social sciences, humanities, and hard sciences evaluate evidence. It was a terrific course. The students loved it and the instructors loved it. I hope the University of Pennsylvania still offers it because many of the people writing about Saudi Arabia after King Abdullah’s death on Friday morning (Saudi time) should enroll. It may not help, however. In too many instances commentators, be they declared “experts” or run-of the-mill pundits, are not dealing with any evidence at all. They are just repeating rumors or making up deep-sounding pronouncements after apparently crash-watching David Lean’s 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia, which, by the way, had nothing to do with the al-Saud family, but rather their Hejazi rivals, the Hashemites. Here is my advice: Let’s everyone step back from their metaphorical desert tent, take a deep breath, sip some cardamom coffee, munch on a date, and understand—as best we can—what has and what has not happened in Saudi Arabia. Read more »
The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) just published this report that I coauthored with Jacob Stokes, Bacevich fellow at CNAS, and my research associate Alexander Brock.
“The Contest for Regional Leadership in the New Middle East” shows how, in addition to the historic political change occurring within the major states of the Middle East, there is a transformative process underway remaking the dynamics among the states of the region. The reordering of the geopolitics of the region has exposed rivalries among the contenders for leadership, as well as different ideological, economic, nationalistic and sectarian agendas. The report argues that Washington has sought to accommodate these changes in a way that continues to secure its strategic interests. What role the United States will play in a “new Middle East” is the subject of intense debate among Americans, Arabs and Turks. Nevertheless, it is clear that with all the problems regional powers have confronted trying to shape the politics of the region, American leadership will continue to be indispensable. Read more »
David Roberts, lecturer in the Defence Studies Department at King’s College London, based at the Joaan Bin Jassim Staff College in Qatar, offers expert insight into the recent tensions among the major GCC states.
“I love all the countries of the Gulf, and they all love me.” With this less than subtle statement, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the vocal Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood scholar tried to do his part to repair regional relations in the Gulf that have badly frayed in recent weeks. Long-brewing discontent erupted in early March with the unprecedented withdrawal of the Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini ambassadors from Qatar. Subsequent mediation from Kuwait’s Emir has led the protagonists to the cusp of a modus vivendi, and a vague document has been agreed upon. Read more »
Last Friday, the Saudi government declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, lumping the Brothers in with Jabhat al Nusra, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and al Qaeda. The announcement was not terribly surprising. Riyadh has proven to be Cairo’s staunchest patron since the July 3 coup d’état and both governments have led the effort to delegitimize the Brotherhood ever since. This actually has much more to do with politics than it does with terrorism, which prompted me to tweet: Read more »
From the Potomac to the Euphrates examines how debates about Mideast policy in Washington connect to the region, with a special focus on Egypt and Turkey.