Tag Archive: Saudi Arabia

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives at the airport for a state visit to China in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2017.Xinhua SIPA USA / PA Images

Spreading the Gospel: Asian Leaders Wary of Saudi Religious Diplomacy

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…
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Assad in the Ascendant?

Back in the glory days of the so-called “Arab Spring”, when Middle Eastern dictators were falling like ninepins, it seemed that the overthrow of Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt, Gaddafi of Libya and Saleh of Yemen would inevitably be followed by the downfall of President Bashar Assad of Syria. But, it now seems, providence had reserved a different fate for Assad. A determination to cling to power, however ruthless or inhumane the methods, allied to a favourable concatenation of political circumstances, has enabled Assad to emerge from a long, multi-faceted combat battered, depleted territorially and logistically, but still…
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Pakistan - Saudi - Iran

Pakistani Military Engagement: Walking a Fine Line Between Saudi Arabia & Iran

Pakistan is emerging as an important military player in the Gulf as its struggles to balance complex relations with regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran and diverging approaches by different branches of its government. Pakistan’s military engagement with the Gulf goes far beyond increased involvement in a Saudi-led, 41-nation military alliance that officially was established to counter terrorism, but is widely suspected to also be a bid to garner support for the kingdom’s troubled intervention in Yemen and create an anti-Iranian Sunni Muslim grouping.

This week’s sanctioning of one of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers, ZTE, by the US Commerce Department, and an investigation of Huawei, ZTE’s foremost Chinese competitor, could not have come at a more auspicious moment for Saudi King Salman as he visits China on the third leg of his month-long Asian tour.

China Maneuverers Between Saudi Arabia and Iran

This week’s sanctioning of one of China’s largest telecom equipment manufacturers, ZTE, by the US Commerce Department, and an investigation of Huawei, ZTE’s foremost Chinese competitor, could not have come at a more auspicious moment for Saudi King Salman as he visits China on the third leg of his month-long Asian tour. King Salman’s visit aims to strengthen economic and military ties and persuade China that Saudi Arabia rather than Iran is its most useful regional ally. The penalties and investigation of the two Chinese companies related to violations of US sanctions on Iran as well as North Korea signal the Trump…
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© Photo: MPC Journal

Iran emboldened – Op-Ed

Emboldened by the misconceived policies of ex-US President Obama, Iran has become positively confrontational under President Donald Trump. Iran and the US always backed different sides of the wars in Syria and Yemen, but now they stand ideologically opposed on most issues involving the region. Early in February Iran tested a ballistic missile, claiming that to do so was not in contravention of its nuclear deal, but the new US ambassador to the United Nations called the test “unacceptable”. Washington put the Islamic Republic “on notice” and imposed sanctions on more than two dozen individuals and companies involved in procuring ballistic…
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The state of Lebanon

The state of Lebanon

Uniquely among the 50 Muslim-majority nations of the world, Lebanon has a Christian president. The inauguration of Michel Aoun on 1 November 2016 ended a 29-month power vacuum and a political stalemate that had frozen the country’s constitutional processes.    “Not before time” would be a natural reaction, considering the length of the presidential inter-regnum. The truth, however, is that the absence of a largely figurehead president over that period, while politically inconvenient and somewhat of an embarrassment, made little difference to Lebanon as it ambled along under the guidance of prime minister Tammam Salam.

Wahabbi Clerics, Saudi Arabia

Wahhabist Ideology: Why It’s a Problem

A year ago, Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel of Germany rebuked Saudi Arabia for financing Wahhabi mosques worldwide. In the case of Germany, he added, such mosques had fostered extremists who threatened public security. That campaign by Saudi Arabia as well as other nations or organizations in the Gulf has been fueled by oil-wealth and has taken strategic advantage of Saudi control of the holy sites in Mecca and Medina. And it has been carried out by states that rely on the military, security, and economic ties with the United States and by other Western nations. Is Wahhabist ideology a problem, and if so,…
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Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died at age 90

Jailed and Tortured for Being Atheist

MAY GOD HELP HIM – The hardline Islamic state of Saudi Arabia has a law defining atheist beliefs as ‘terrorism’ A COURT in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to ten years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism on Twitter. The 28-year-old reportedly refused to repent, insisting what he wrote reflected his beliefs and that he had the right to express them. The hardline Islamic state’s religious police in charge of monitoring social networks found more than 600 tweets denying the existence of God, ridiculing Koranic verses, accusing all prophets of lies and saying their teaching fuelled hostilities. The court…
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