Centralising power in Saudi Arabia while the big issues remain

Centralising power in Saudi Arabia while the big issues remain

Monday, November 06, 2017

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Neil Partrick

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  1. 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.
  2. Kuwait: the Permanent Struggle for Security
    14 Aug, 2018
    Kuwait: the Permanent Struggle for Security
    There is much social media speculation that Kuwait has agreed to lease its strategic northern islands to China for 99 years. Although strongly denied by the Kuwait Government and dismissed by Kuwaiti[1] and other Gulf analysts,  some expert Kuwaiti opinion believes there is substance to it. There is certainly no doubt that Kuwait is seeking Beijing’s financial and security assistance. Nervousness about Iraq has been compounded by weeks of unrest in neighbouring southern cities and the Iraqi
  3. Kuwait: The struggle for leadership and reform
    09 Mar, 2018
    Kuwait: The struggle for leadership and reform
    Kuwait’s succession struggle is becoming clearer, with a son of a serving emir having a good chance of taking over the running of the country for the first time in over a century. Sheikh Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad Al-Sabah is though currently fourth in the formal political hierarchy and needs to cultivate the national assembly and to ensure he has public support. The future of Kuwait, and its need for substantial economic change, depends on a smooth succession from the rule of Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad,
  4. UK and Saudi: necessary cooperation but to what end?
    06 Mar, 2018
    UK and Saudi: necessary cooperation but to what end?
    No 10 says that tomorrow's visit by the Saudi crown prince could assist our mutual fight against terrorism and contribute to relieving suffering in Yemen. It would be foolish to cold shoulder Mohammed bin Salman, a young man largely in control in an important Middle Eastern country. However, a year ago the UK Cabinet was divided over unrestricted defence sales to Saudi Arabia, and the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was saying that both Saudi Arabia and Iran were dangerously stirring the
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. "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
  9. 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