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.
Author Archive: James M. Dorsey
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.
Remarks at conference on Regional Cooperation Initiatives in the Asia-Pacific and the Emergence of New Eurasian Geopolitics, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. One thing last week’s US air strikes in Syria highlight is the fact that the sands are continuously shifting as regional and world powers jockey for position in a future Eurasian world order. The strikes raise questions that go far beyond potential greater US involvement in the Syrian conflict. The answer to those questions will likely impact the role America may play in Eurasia and the Asia Pacific.
With no troops to command and a Riyadh-based skeleton staff, General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s recently retired top commander, appeared to slide into a cushy job as commander of a 41-nation, Saudi-led military alliance created to fight terrorism.
The pitfalls are complex and multiple. They range from differences within the 68-member, anti-Islamic State (IS) alliance over what constitutes terrorism to diverging political priorities to varying degrees of willingness to tacitly employ jihadists to pursue geopolitical goals. The pitfalls are most evident in Yemen and Syria and involve two long-standing US allies, NATO ally Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. Big ticket investments and countering political violence dominated the headlines of the king’s tour of Asia together with the extravagance of his travel – an entourage of at least 1,000, 459 tonnes of luggage, a golden electric elevator for the monarch to descend from his private plane, and a specially built toilet for his visit to a Jakarta…