​​Neil Partrick

Centralising power in Saudi Arabia while the big issues remain

Centralising power in Saudi Arabia while the big issues remain

Monday, November 06, 2017


Neil Partrick


  1. Saudi Arabia: Middle class fun and mass unemployment
    02 Jan, 2018
    Saudi Arabia: Middle class fun and mass unemployment
    The de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has amassed almost unlimited power over the Kingdom’s affairs. A young man in a hurry to achieve both domestic and regional objectives, he has had few constraints, whether at home or from the White House. This has resulted in the Saudi strategic and political miscalculation of a nearly three year long war in Yemen. MbS may yet find a way to withdraw from that conflict, but is unlikely to do so with any concrete achievements in terms of the Saudi
  2. Kuwait to open an embassy in Ramallah
    14 Dec, 2017
    Kuwait to open an embassy in Ramallah
    According to a report in today’s Al-Rai, the Arabic language Kuwaiti newspaper, Kuwait might open a “safara”  i.e. an embassy in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Embassies are placed in capitals. The Palestinian capital, Arab states have been very publicly re-asserting of late, is in Jerusalem. Sheikh Ahmed Al-Nasser, a senior Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry official whose photo (see above) accompanies the story ("Kuwaiti embassy in Ramallah?" by Khalid Al-Shuraqawi), reportedly said that Kuwait has
  3. Palestinians should out-trump Trump on Jerusalem
    11 Dec, 2017
    Palestinians should out-trump Trump on Jerusalem
    How much has really been changed by Trump’s statement on Jerusalem? His announcement is, on paper, a huge legal concession freely pocketed by Israel. However, the US is in effect saying that west Jerusalem is where the Israeli government is, and therefore that’s where the US’ diplomatic focus will be in official, not just de facto, terms. This probably means that somewhere in west Jerusalem a new US embassy building will be constructed in place of the existing US consulate general on that side
  4. "Revolution" in Egypt and Russia:  the triumph of ignorance
    09 Nov, 2017
    "Revolution" in Egypt and Russia: the triumph of ignorance
    Unpublished Letter to the Editor, The International New York Times, October 25 2017 Dear Sir, Jack Shenker’s article “The journalist and the revolution” (International New York Times, October 17) exemplified the lack of historical and analytical rigour often found among journalists when reporting on supposedly popular uprisings. Shenker, who has elsewhere written about his experience of the 2011 Egyptian uprising, was given a generous platform to tell us of how his inspiration for abandoning
  5. Saving Syria: Sami’s Peace Plan
    12 Sep, 2017
    Saving Syria: Sami’s Peace Plan
    Sami Khiyami was the Syrian ambassador to the UK until March 2012. As the fighting in his home country raged and his recommendations were ignored, he asked President Assad to allow him to resign his post. After some deliberation Assad reluctantly agreed to what Khiyami wanted, on the understanding that he would not be defecting but simply stepping aside. Since then Sami Khiyami, like many Syrians, has been based in neighbouring Lebanon. For more than a year he has been trying to build support
  6. Qatar's foreign policy leverage
    12 Jun, 2017
    Qatar's foreign policy leverage
    I had this short opinion piece published by Sada, the online publication of the Carnegie Endowment in Washington DC in mid-June 2017. It was part of a four person analysis of the Qatar-GCC crisis. Read it and the opinions of the other analysts by clicking here.
  7. Terror puts question mark over UK's relations with Saudi and Qatar
    07 Jun, 2017
    Terror puts question mark over UK's relations with Saudi and Qatar
    The latest terror attack in the UK coinciding with the action of a Saudi-led Arab coalition to snuff out an independent Qatari foreign policy, has once more explicitly joined these two worlds. In the aftermath of Manchester and London,  Saudi Arabia is in the dock as an alleged source of violent extremism on the streets of the UK while in the Middle East, it is Qatar that is accused of backing terrorism. The UK’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron argued that
  8. Lebanon in the eye of the storm
    01 Jun, 2017
    Lebanon in the eye of the storm
    Hizbollah are defiant. They know that the regular Lebanese armed forces are weak and that most Lebanese, mindful of the horror show next door in Syria, think that the Shia militia is crucial to their national security. However Hizbollah is under increasing US financial pressure, while US and allied forces could weaken Hizbollah’s position in Syria. At the same time Israel recently targeted its Damascus airport supply line and could restart the confrontation with Hizbollah in south Lebanon.
  9. "Counterproductive US-Saudi Security Ties"
    31 Mar, 2017
    "Counterproductive US-Saudi Security Ties"
    Sada, the online Middle Eastern analysis journal of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, published Neil Partrick's analysis of the Saudi-US security relationship  under the heading "Counterproductive US-Saudi security ties" It argues that the Saudi-US joint goal of containing Iran and Sunni armed militants may, paradoxically, be set back by their approach. It also notes, however, that the incipient Saudi-Emirati naval competition in the Red Sea area may constrain an overuse of military