2020 could be defined as a year of global crises – health, political, environmental and economic. The G20 is caught among all four, and how the forum responds raises questions about whether it is facing its own existential crisis.
With a chaotic US election and presidential transition as well as
Pakistan–Saudi Arabia relations are at a historically low ebb. In November 2018, Saudi Arabia announced a US$6.2 billion loan package for cash-strapped Pakistan. The package included a total of $3 billion in loans and an oil credit facility amounting to $3.2 billion. Then, however, Riyad
Big moves in the Middle East often seek to take advantage of a favourable political climate in Washington. And there has rarely been as favourable time in Washington for some Middle East leaders as under the Trump administration. But in pro-US capitals across the region, leaders are no doubt bracing
In his recently published book, MBS: Mohamed bin Salman and the Rise to Power, New York Times Beirut Bureau Chief Ben Hubbard details how the favoured son of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has upended the kingdom’s ultraconservative society and reimagined its place in the world – but not
The ramifications from the oil war that has pitted Saudi Arabia against Russia but also dragged in the United States may end up being most significant for Riyadh. To misquote Oscar Wilde, “To lose one war may be regarded as misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness.”
Early efforts to contain Covid-19 focused on quarantining those travelling by air, leaving the impression of coronavirus as a disease mostly affecting stable and industrialised nations with busy transport networks. Of course, the danger was always more widespread, particularly in
Little has surprised me more than spending my Saturday night Googling how to buy tickets to watch a game of football in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – perhaps only that it was for a female football league announced by the Saudi sports authorities just last week. That I might stand in a stadium in
The weekend’s attack on the Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq is the most dramatic escalation of the Persian Gulf tensions since the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018. At the time of writing, the weapons used have allegedly been traced to Iran, while the Yemeni Houthi movement has
Nassima ran as a candidate in local elections in 2015 before authorities removed her name from the ballot.
Hatoon is a professor of women’s history and among the first women to acquire a driver’s license in Saudi Arabia.
Every Saudi woman must have a male guardian who has the power to
“Wait, let’s take a picture!” Osama Zeid al Homran shouted to his friends. In the video the boys, aged six to eleven, are laughing and joking with one another on the bus on the way to an excursion to celebrate the end of term at their school in Sa’dah, a region of Yemen bordering on Saudi
For the past 14 years, the small Gulf nation of Bahrain has convened sheikhs, soldiers, statesmen, and the occasional humble researcher for the IISS Manama Dialogue to discuss matters of strategy in the Middle East. The forum’s traditionally anodyne tone was punctured this year by the murder of
The alleged extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi, and the international condemnation that followed, reflects not only rivalry in the Middle East, but also greater anxiety about the direction of liberal democracy and the international rule of law more broadly.
Last week, US President Donald
Saudi Arabia was the first country Imran Khan visited after assuming office as Pakistan’s new Prime Minister. As he made the trip last month, he asked for financial help for Pakistan’s turbulent economy.
Soon after his return, it was announced that Pakistan had invited Saudi
Now that the shock of the news that Riyadh may have been so bold as to kill one of its American-based critics inside its consulate in Istanbul has largely sunk in, thoughts inevitably turn to what can be done to express disgust.
Naturally this will need to await the outcome of the Turkish
Even by the standards of Saudi politics, the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi is head-scratchingly bizarre. He entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday, supposedly to sort out paperwork for his upcoming marriage. He hasn’t been seen since.
The Saudi consul-
Twitter has come to play a central role in how nations conduct their affairs, with the social media site an active component of policy projection, direct communication, and diplomacy. While analysts look to distinguish between actual policy that is created by the White House and the “
For many months, Saudi Arabia’s young tyro Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) has given the impression he is a very different kind of Saudi leader: more dynamic, more decisive, and, most importantly of all, more transformative than his predecessors.
Mohammad bin Salman is
Before a ball had even been kicked at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, star Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah was courted for a photo-op with Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Big international sports tournaments have been a familiar platform for countries to attempt to normalise global
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been on an extended tour of the United States, trying to present a friendly face to the American public and bring them on side in the same way he’s won over the Trump administration. This began with a 60 Minutes extended interview
The 4 November missile launch by Houthi rebels in Yemen towards the Saudi capital Riyadh prompted an unexpectedly harsh response. Almost immediately, the Saudi-led coalition announced a complete land, sea and air embargo on Yemen.
The Saudis have since reopened air, land and sea access to ports
The arrests in early November of dozens of Saudi royals, bureaucrats and businessmen has brought fresh international attention to Saudi politics and palace intrigue. The arrests have been widely, and correctly, attributed to 32-year-old crown prince Muhammad Ibn Salman, nicknamed MbS.
Tensions between the Iraqi military and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters are once again threatening to boil over. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has ordered the military to 'impose security' in and around the oilfields and airport in the province of Kirkuk, a region the Kurds took back from Islamic
Even to the Saudi leaders looking at the consultants' PowerPoint presentation last year, Saudia Arabia's 2020 'National Transformation Plan' must have looked improbable. Unemployment to be cut by a fifth in just three years, 1.2 million additional jobs in five years, half of the Saudi workforce
Saudi Aramco, Riyadh's state-owned oil behemoth, has been investing heavily in Malaysia's economy, injecting $7 billion into the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development project – a contribution that tops ASEAN's merger and acquisition activity for the first half of 2017. Thanks
Iraqi Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's reconciliation tour of Sunni-run Gulf states continued this week, following up his visit to Riyadh to see Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with a visit to the UAE. There he was met by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayad.
There is little doubt
For too long, the Saudis have complained about the 'loss' of Iraq to Iranian influence without acknowledging that their almost complete refusal to establish ties with Baghdad achieved little other than creating the vacuum that Tehran has sought to fill. But there are signs that Riyadh has
A recent interview with Christopher Pyne in his capacity as Minister for Defence Industry was somewhat unusual in the way in which he apparently advocated defence export-led closer engagement with Middle Eastern countries.
The problem with defence exports, of course, is that ideally we
It was Marlon Brando’s character in The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone who uttered the famous words ‘I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse’. In the current imbroglio between Qatar and the Saudi-led bloc, the 13-point list of demands issued by Riyadh could well be described as making Doha an
Closing Al Jazeera and all its affiliates is among the top demands from the Saudi-backed alliance in its three-week-old trade and diplomatic embargo of Qatar.
While the Saudi alliance accuses Qatar of using its powerful media empire to incite extremism, back Islamist groups and interfere in
Today's announcement that Saudi Arabia's King Salman has reshuffled the line of succession in favour of his son Mohammed bin Salman is surprising, but not unexpected.
MBS, as he is often referred to, has been moved from Deputy Crown Prince to Crown Prince, while Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN), the King'
Saudi King Salman’s month-long tour of Asia marks a rare occurrence for Saudi monarchs, who rarely engage in such prolonged diplomatic activities. The arc of the King’s sojourn takes him through a range of regional middle and lesser powers, with stops in Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and the
As a scholar of contemporary foreign policy in Saudi Arabia, I am starkly aware of the decoupage nature of researching in the field. Work detailing the external relations of the Gulf state is spread across an eclectic array of individual journal articles, book chapters and conference papers, with no
'His highness criticised the actions of the United States in the South China Sea, describing such measures as being in conflict with Chinese and Saudi interests.'
This was the last line of an otherwise unremarkable article published last week in the Saudi newspaper, al-Watan. The Highness referred
Saudi Arabia's recent actions have caused a great deal of anxiety within its region. On 4 February, a military spokesman suggested that Saudi Arabia was ready to send troops ground troops to fight ISIS in Syria. A week later Saudi Arabia announced that it will send combat aircraft and soldiers