Tag: Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Arrests Opponents; Provincial DC Press Blames Trump

 

In a story as old as monarchy itself, Saudi King Salman is clearing the way for his chosen successor. The king’s favorite son and closest advisor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been given more and more royal duties through which he has advanced many economic and policy reforms. He’s trying to modernize the nation’s nearly medieval mindset, opening it to freer markets, religious tolerance, and even to the state of Israel.

On Saturday, the king sacked the powerful head of the Saudi national guard, who had opposed Crown Prince Mohammed. Salman then created a powerful new anticorruption committee and placed the crown prince in charge. Within hours, the committee arrested a slew of his opponents, some of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia.

Eleven princes, four sitting ministers, and “tens” of former ministers were taken into custody, the most prominent of which is billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal. Anyone with an even cursory understanding of history has seen this happen almost every time an aging monarch prepares to hand the crown to a successor.

Can the Saudis Lead the Middle East into the Future?

 

Slowly but surely, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to bring the Saudis into the 21st century. It is happening in fits and starts, and there are still many signs that the country has a long way to go, but I am cautiously optimistic.

Just last Tuesday, the Crown Prince talked about moderating Saudi Arabia’s practice of radical Sunni Islam at an economic forum in Riyadh:

We are returning to what we were before — a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world.

Our Military Won’t Defeat Islamism

 

Does anyone think that Donald Trump’s military plans for Afghanistan and Iraq are going to make a significant difference regarding Islamist violence? Do you believe that “destroying ISIS” will have any significant impact on terrorism in the long term?

I don’t. And I’m concerned that we are deluding ourselves by pursuing these military strategies as a major goal. So what should we do?

We must take a more aggressive approach to defeating political Islam. Let me explain my thinking.

The Middle East: Are Ominous Clouds Forming?

 

It’s no surprise that disruptive situations are developing in the Middle East; that seems to be the normal state of affairs. Lately I’ve noticed some situations that independently would barely raise eyebrows; collectively, however, I’m concerned that the area is heating up more than usual, and I believe these events will affect not only the region, but will have implications for the US.

It’s been widely reported that Qatar supports terrorism, but you may not be aware of the level of that support.

After offering an alternative explanation for why some graduates walked out of Vice President Mike Pence’s commencement speech at Notre Dame, Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump’s speech imploring Middle East leaders to do their part to stamp out terrorists.  They also grimace as polling shows either Democrat running for governor in Virginia winning the general election by double digits.  And they wonder what the Secret Service was thinking when they gave the green light to the elaborate sword dance in Saudi Arabia involving President Trump and members of his cabinet.

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Trump said or implied the following theological & political points in Riyadh yesterday: God chooses life. He condemns the souls of those who murder innocents. We are happy to work with people of all faiths who accept the above principle. Leaders are responsible to and for their people. America will defend its citizens. We will not […]

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First a brief refresher on events in the region from last year: While Saudi Arabia has long meddled in Yemen and focused on combatting al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Riyadh lost sight of developments in Yemen while focusing on other regional fights… It was not that Saudi Arabia was not paying attention to Yemen, […]

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Navy Commander Patrick Dunn was killed at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. His widow Stephanie Ross DeSimone and her now fatherless minor daughter, Alexandra DeSimone, are the first Americans to sue Saudi Arabia. Stephanie was two months pregnant when her husband was killed. You can see the full 54-page lawsuit here. Preview Open

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This may not be politically correct, but I think this bill is ridiculous and don’t blame Obama if he doesn’t sign it. Overwhelmingly passed by both houses, it’s a bill only lawyers will love. Only wealthy, big law firms can afford to take a case like this on contingency, and it will drag through the […]

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Anyone who can’t figure out to whom the headline of this post is directed has been under a rock, in a basement, for the last 8 years.  After reading on Townhall that the President could veto the bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia—on 9/11, it makes my brain and heart weep.  I can’t […]

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Download them here–still redacted, but gives some sense of what the connections were between high-ranking Saudis and the nineteen hijackers. I don’t see a smoking gun here, but there do appear to be some relationships that are sketchy.  Tell me what you think.  Preview Open

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Russia Withdrawing from Syria. Your Move, Amreeka…

 

In a surprise move, Russia has announced that it will be withdrawing its troops from Syria. From the Guardian:

“I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defence Ministry to be generally accomplished,” Vladimir Putin announced matter-of-factly on Monday evening, announcing the imminent withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria.

Iranian Animation Shows Massive Missile Attack on Saudi Arabia

 

A group in Iran has uploaded an animation showing the destruction of Riyadh, oil fields, and military installations across Saudi Arabia. Originally posted on the Internet over the weekend, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translated the video created by Fatemh a’Zahra. The animation group claimed it is in response “to the hallucinations and empty threats of the Saud clan” and that “the arm of vengeance of the Islamic world will emerge from the sleeve of the Yemenis.”

https://youtu.be/W0l7ODVK7l8

Shaking Hands with the Saudis

 

Saudi-Arabi-Executions-001d204362628David Sussman’s attempt to decode the rumors about Israel and Saudi Arabia’s back-channel diplomacy has me thinking about the problem of the Saudis more generally.

Here are some questions I’d like to ask our prospective Commander-in-Chief.

The Saudis’ execution of the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr was a typical human-rights outrage from a regime that may fairly be described as an ISIS that has made it:

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Recently, there has been an outbreak cluster of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Saudi officials have gone so far as to shut the doors of some hospitals to contain MERS; recent headlines suggest they are making progress at getting it under control. Now, this year’s Hajj pilgrimmage to Mecca is […]

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Between a Rock and a Saud Place

 

Few international relationships are more susceptible to criticism than that between the United States and Saudi Arabia. One is the leader of the free world.  The other is antithetical to even the most basic human rights, let alone religious freedom or gender equality.  Saudi Arabia is the most influential Sharia state in existence, a mantle recently challenged by its Shia semblable, Iran.

The Saudi regime has successfully played a highly cynical game since at least the beginnings of the Cold War. After decades of conquest, Ibn Saud unified the modern (the word goes down hard) nation-state of Saudi Arabia in 1932. As stewards of the hijaz and rulers of one of the most conservative populaces in the world, it was incumbent on the Saudis to show their bona fides as good Wahabists. In the ensuing decades, they entrenched a medieval legal system and permeated all aspects of civil society with fundamentalist apparatchiks of the state.

Why Are We Backing the Saudi Campaign in Yemen?

 

yemen-airstrikesTwo weeks ago, I ventured a prediction:

Anyway, how do I bet what little I have left on “Saudis screw this up big time within two weeks? I’ll bet it all. I need the money.

The prediction was correct–that was an easy one–but I regret the insensate tone, not least because this is now yet another humanitarian catastrophe. UN estimates suggest 100,000 people have been displaced. It’s easy to dismiss Yemen as a perennially benighted hellhole, but kids who were born in Yemen have committed no other crime: