The Saudi Driving Ban and the Shadow of the Ikhwan

Reuters reports the historic driving ban reversal: “Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop,” Manal al-Sharif, who was arrested in 2011 after a driving protest, said in an online statement. King Salman announced the historic change on Tuesday, ending a conservative tradition which limited women’s mobility and … Continue reading The Saudi Driving Ban and the Shadow of the Ikhwan

Saudi Arabia Tries The Waters Of Retrenchment

In 2015, Saudi Arabia's new Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman sent the Kingdom's armies to Yemen.  In 2017, shortly before usurping the position of Crown Prince, Salman organized a blockade on little Qatar, who had dared defy the Kingdom's geopolitical priorities.Both were bold moves fraught with risk.  The Yemen war was meant to roll … Continue reading Saudi Arabia Tries The Waters Of Retrenchment

To Save Saudi Arabia, They Needed A Young King

By most metrics, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is running out of time.  It's finding it impossible to balance its budget after trying to wage a failed price war on shale oil.  It is lurching towards a knowledge economy but hoping that knowledge does not bring a demand for political freedom along the way.  Its … Continue reading To Save Saudi Arabia, They Needed A Young King

Meet Mohammed bin Salman, the Last King of Saudi Arabia

From Reuters: Mohammed bin Salman, 31, was appointed crown prince by his father King Salman on Wednesday, replacing his cousin who is 26 years his senior. This made the prince, who already oversaw defense and energy policy, the most powerful figure in the country by some stretch after the octogenarian monarch. Already more than a … Continue reading Meet Mohammed bin Salman, the Last King of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Plans To Starve Yemen’s Houthis Into Submission

From Reuters: Global food crises worsened significantly in 2016 and conditions look set to deteriorate further this year in some areas with an increasing risk of famine, a report said on Friday. "There is a high risk of famine in some areas of north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen because of armed conflict, drought … Continue reading Saudi Arabia Plans To Starve Yemen’s Houthis Into Submission

Why Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Want Those 28 Pages Declassified

The answer, it may seem, is simple: yet another cover-up, yet another scandal brushed under the rug, more nasty men in the halls of power getting away with the terrible things they do. Such a narrative gives us a simple good vs. bad tale of morality, with evil Saudi princes laughing behind closed doors.  As … Continue reading Why Saudi Arabia Doesn’t Want Those 28 Pages Declassified

More than meets the eye: The Saudis aren’t going into Syria just because they hate Assad

As if the war in Syria weren't worrisome enough, Saudi Arabia is now contemplating open intervention to match the Russians.  Beyond the obvious implications of Saudi special forces shooting down Russian jets, with all the madness that would entail, is an essential question: why?  Why would Saudi Arabia, long one of the few quiet, reliably … Continue reading More than meets the eye: The Saudis aren’t going into Syria just because they hate Assad

Bad news made worse: Saudi Arabia is in freefall

It's important to look forward as one year ends and another begins: to make resolutions, regret our mistakes, and to wonder where it could all go wrong in the next 12 months. There are fewer countries on Earth that have as much explosive potential in 2016 as Saudi Arabia. Yes, there are failed or nearly … Continue reading Bad news made worse: Saudi Arabia is in freefall