Ready for some real conspiracy theory juiciness? Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu concluded the Shalit deal with Hamas now in order to clear the path for an attack on Iran that was now possible with the American-delivered bunker buster bombs. The plot on the Saudi ambassador primed the US public for increased hostility against Iran while opening Saudi Arabia up to cooperating with Israel on the attack on Iran. … More The “What-The-Hell-Is-Going-On” Iranian Terror Plot
“We refuse to marginalize the role of women in Saudi society in every field of work.” Those were the words of King Abdullah after the Saudi monarch made the historic decision to allow women the right to vote and serve on the Shoura Council, his advisory body. The decision is certainly a big one, but … More Saudi Women Can Vote, but Not Drive to the Polls
Abe Greenwald certainly thinks so. As Matt Duss points out, Greenwald’s piece in Commentary is just another effort to create a false conclusion about the war. From Greenwald: It was the Freedom Agenda of the George W. Bush administration—delineated and formulated as a conscious alternative to jihadism—that showed the way. Indeed, the costly American nation-building in … More Is There a Link Between the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and the Arab Spring?
Mathew Reed has a piece up on Middle East Progress looking at the amount of money spent by the Gulf monarchies on other countries: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is busy. In March they announced a $10 billion bail-out for Oman and Bahrain, the two poorest member states suffering from upheaval. Following the Egyptian revolution, Saudi … More The GCC and Buying Stability
In contrast to Iran and Saudi Arabia, Turkey has been far more patient in its policy towards Syria and the Syrian uprising. Meanwhile Iran has completely backed Assad and Saudi has thrown its lot in with the protesters. Each decision has clear regional implications (as I recently discussed) based on national interests, but it seems … More Turkey’s Syrian Waiting Game
Joseph Bahout has an interview in Le Journal de dimanche in which he expands on the competing interests of Iran and Saudi Arabia (and Turkey as well,) noting that the recent isolation of Syria has left Assad with only Iranian support. Bahout calls the fall of the Assad regime a ‘red line’ and says … More The Iranian-Saudi Testing Ground (aka Syria)
There are many challenges to real reform in the Middle East. These are none of them Now that these longstanding rulers are no longer in power in the two countries, where do these seemingly leaderless Arab revolts take Tunisians and Egyptians, and how will they effect change to their systems of governance? Virtually all previous … More Stupid Reasons to be Skeptical of the Arab Spring
National dialogues talks are set to begin in Bahrain in a week, but already things are not looking promising for the scarred and divided island nation. The opposition movement saw its entry into the Arab Spring violently struck by the ruling Khalifa family while hundreds of opposition members were arrested and thrown in jail. The … More Minor Obstacles for National Dialogue in Bahrain
Hat tip to the Gulf Blog for this unusual find. I spent just far too much time in Saudi Arabia and yet was still unable to find a party like this. My evenings were spent in a male only coffee shop or pretending to be married in order to go to the family section of … More Saudi Arabian Gold Diggers: Throwing Money at Strippers
After the relatively peaceful revolution in Tunisia, many were shocked by the escalated violence utilized by the Mubarak regime in Egypt. Yet after the vicious response to protests by Qaddafi in Libya, hindsight has perhaps redefined the definition of a peaceful revolution. Rather than adopting the mass protest styles that resulted in regime collapse in … More Is Syria The New Libya?