Saudi Arabia, in a first move to pressure mostly Muslim majority states to join its campaign against Qatar, has persuaded six sub-Saharan African nations with threats of reduced financial aid and restricted quotas for the haj, the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, to follow its lead in taking punitive steps against Qatar.
Author Archive: James M. Dorsey
Pakistani General Raheel Sharif walked into a hornet’s nest when he stepped off a private jet in Riyadh two weeks ago to take command of a Saudi-led, 41-nation military alliance. Things have gone from bad to worse since.
Turkey’s parliament is this week fast tracking the dispatch of up to 3,000 troops to Qatar, home to the country’s military base in the Middle East. Certain to stiffen Qatar’s resolve to resist Saudi and UAE-led pressure to force it to change policies, the Turkish move comes amid hints that the kingdom and its allies may seek to undermine the rule of Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
A Saudi and UAE-driven campaign to isolate Qatar and by extension Iran puts non-Muslim Arab states in a bind and tests the degree of Saudi soft power garnered in decades of massive spending on the propagation of anti-Iranian, anti-Shiite Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism. The Saudi-UAE campaign, building on an increasingly vicious cyber and media war against Qatar, kicked into high gear on Monday, 5 June 2017 with the kingdom, the Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt breaking off diplomatic relations and cutting air and sea traffic with Qatar and a 41-nation Saudi-led, Pakistani-commanded military alliance suspending Qatar’s participation in operations in Yemen. The…
Cracks have appeared in a Saudi-led, US-backed anti-terrorist political and military alliance days after US President Donald J. Trump ended a historic visit to Saudi Arabia. The cracks stem from Qatar’s long-standing fundamental policy differences with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates about Iran and the role of political Islam.
A leaked long-term plan for China’s massive $56 billion investment in Pakistan projects the goals of the Beijing’s One Belt, One Road initiative as a ploy for economic domination, the creation of surveillance states, and allowing China to shape media landscapes.
An Iranian warning that it may attack militant bases in the troubled province of Balochistan threatens to bring Pakistan’s house of cards crashing down.
Blasphemy has joined terrorism as a catchall phrase to intimidate, incarcerate and kill critics and political opponents as well as stifle unfettered debate and settle scores.
Billed as a bid to stimulate inter-faith dialogue, Pope Francis, on a visit to Egypt, is tiptoeing through a religious and geopolitical minefield.
Forced to acknowledge that Iran is complying with the nuclear agreement it concluded two years ago with the world’s major powers, US President Donald J. Trump appears to be groping for ways to provoke Iran to back out of the deal. If successful, Mr. Trump could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East at a time that a Chinese agreement to build a drone manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia could initiate a similar drone race that threatens to take hostilities in the region to a whole new, more dangerous level.