Arabian Peninsula

A demonstrator holds a picture of Jamal Khashoggi during a protest in front of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul [Osman Orsal/Reuters]

Khashoggi Rejiggers the Middle East at Potentially Horrible Cost

  The fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, assuming that his disappearance was the work of Saudi security and military officials, threatens to upend the fundaments of fault lines in the Middle East. At stake is not only the fate of a widely respected journalist and the future of Turkish-Saudi relations.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman denies that Saudi Arabia abducted Jamal Khashoggi (Reuters)

Saudi’s Long History of Abductions

Riyadh has repeatedly been accused of kidnapping and sending dissidents back to the Gulf kingdom, accusations it denies. Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday to pick up a document. Handing his phone to his fiance, he told her to call for help if he did not come out. Hours later Khashoggi was nowhere to be seen, raising fears that the outspoken Saudi journalist had been kidnapped and possibly rendered to Saudi Arabia. Since then, the Turkish police have launched a probe and claimed that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate. A claim Saudi Arabia has…
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yemen - © Photo: Collin Anderson flickr.cc

Peace in Yemen – It All Depends on the Houthis

Yemen has become a vast battlefield, the scene of unending armed conflict. As a result the civilian population is now in the throes of what is universally described as “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.” On the brink of famine, the nation faces mounting rubbish, failing sewerage and wrecked water supplies, all of which have led to the worst cholera outbreak in recent history. The UN reckons three-quarters of Yemen’s 28 million people need some kind of humanitarian aid. What has led to this catastrophic state of affairs? Even more relevant, of course, is what can be done to bring it…
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Canada– Saudi Arabia: Questions about Saudi Concept of Sovereignty

The failure of Western allies to rally around Canada in its dispute with Saudi Arabia risks luring the kingdom into a false belief that economic sanctions will shield it from, if not reverse mounting criticism of its human rights record and conduct of the war in Yemen. It also risks convincing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that acting with impunity will not impinge on his efforts to attract badly needed foreign investment.

Palestinian-Israeli Flags – © Image: The Yorker. MPC Journal

What Trump Actually Said about Jerusalem

President Donald Trump’s declaration about Jerusalem on 6 December 2017 gave rise to instant and almost universal condemnation. Western governments saw it as an unnecessary provocation, guaranteed to set back the prospects of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and likely to generate violent protests in the Arab world. Muslim condemnation was immediate. Although notably muted from Sunni Arab states, it was at its strongest from Turkey, Iran and the Palestinian Authority. At a specially convened meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas were vehement in their…
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Whither Wahhabism?

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could well dash expectations that he is gunning for a break with Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism rather than a shaving off of the rough edges of Wahhabi ideology that has been woven into the kingdom’s fabric since its founding more than eighty years ago.

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Saudi Engagement in Iraq: The Exception that Confirms the Rule?

 Stepped up Saudi efforts to forge close diplomatic, economic and cultural ties to Shia-majority Iraq in a bid to counter significant Iranian influence in the country appear to be paying off. The Saudi initiative demonstrates the kingdom’s ability to engage rather than exclusively pursue a muscular, assertive and confrontational policy towards the Islamic republic and its perceived allies. It raises the question whether it is a one-off or could become a model for Saudi policy elsewhere in the region.

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The Enigma That Is Qatar

It is not easy to pigeon-hole Qatar, a stand-alone Middle Eastern state in more ways than one − geographically, politically, economically, influentially.  Itself a small peninsula projecting into the Persian Gulf from the vast Arabian Peninsula, Qatar clearly aspires to become a major player in the region and beyond.  In pursuit of this objective, its tactics have sometimes puzzled, sometimes infuriated, its neighbours. But then, as one of the world’s wealthiest nations – and certainly number one on a per capita basis – Qatar has reckoned for a long time that it could afford the luxury of proceeding along its own…
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