The Arab Spring in Review

Five years later, the dismal record of the Arab Spring is all too apparent.  Syria burns, Egypt's new Pharaoh goes from strength to strength, while the Gulf monarchs, having launched war in Yemen, have rarely seemed so lethal.  Democracy, it is clear, did not sweep in with the revolutions of the 2011-12. But that's no … Continue reading The Arab Spring in Review

Little Bahrain and Its Very Big Problems

Sex! Drugs! ATM bombs!  A long-running violent uprising against the government!  What's not to love? When I first visited Bahrain in February 2011, just a few weeks before the mass uprising that would happen later that month, immigration stamped my passport with a big, "BUSINESS FRIENDLY BAHRAIN" before waving me through the mostly empty airport. … Continue reading Little Bahrain and Its Very Big Problems

2013 in Review (Or, A Cliche but Highly Traditional Way to Ring in A New Year)

I'll be off on holiday for the next few weeks, so there'll be no updates until January 6, 2014.  So why not end this year with a review of that which happened, that which didn't happen, and that which might come next, in a final geopolitical round-up of the year. It was shit to be … Continue reading 2013 in Review (Or, A Cliche but Highly Traditional Way to Ring in A New Year)

Saudi Arabia is Primed to Blow Up (And the good news is, the world can let it)

I've already written about Saudi's totally screwed future, but it's nice to hear others saying as much.  If you're not about to click that old link and read that rather long piece, I'll quickly summarize the Bad Things going against Saudi. 1). It's not a nation-state Saudi's still a kingdom; kingdoms are essentially giant mafia … Continue reading Saudi Arabia is Primed to Blow Up (And the good news is, the world can let it)

Egypt is an Ungovernable Mess (and will stay so for a long time)

Egypt’s coup caught some people off-guard. It shouldn’t have. Egypt’s becoming increasingly hard to rule. In the short and medium term, Egypt’s going to experience more and more chaos. Alas, because of Egypt’s deeply-rooted problems, no government – Brotherhood or military, secular or Islamist – is going to be able to govern Egypt successfully anytime … Continue reading Egypt is an Ungovernable Mess (and will stay so for a long time)

Why Saudi Arabia Is Doomed

(January 9th, 2016: So this post is super popular, but probably not for the right reasons.  Some of you are here for porn: this is not porn.  It has never been porn, and it was my mistake for swearing in this post.  So it's been edited for swearing to cut down on that traffic.) Even the … Continue reading Why Saudi Arabia Is Doomed