Monday 19 Feb 2018 | 19:32 | SYDNEY
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Saudi Arabia

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Politics slows Saudi reform plans

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

Riyadh’s Shia two-step

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

Saudi Arabia’s change of tack on Iraq

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

Saudi succession shuffle

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's

A no-fly zone for Yemen?

For much of the post-World War II era, Saudi Arabia has enjoyed a special relationship with Washington. As America's key regional ally, primary energy provider and key arms market, Riyadh’s ideological mismatch with Western liberal values has traditionally been overlooked, but the contemporary

Bad moon not rising: the myth of the Shi'a crescent

Accusations that a Shi'a crescent is emerging in the Arab world following the rise of a Shi'a government in Iraq and the actions of Hizbullah in Lebanon, have provoked much discussion and highlighted fears of Iran's co-religionists gaining political power at the expense of the traditional Sunni