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Archive for the category “Middle East”

Saudis Thinking Beyond Oil In Asia Courtship

China’s role and influence in global markets is a big lure to Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s largest energy consumer and the second-biggest importer of crude, after the U.S. Just like the Japanese, China is driven by its need to secure sources of energy. That gives Saudi Arabia an opportunity to solidify its market presence in Asia amid rising competition from Russia.

Read Here – Bloomberg

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The Evolution Of Hamas

Hamas’ dilemma, much like the one Fatah faced in the 1990s, centers on a fundamental question: What happens when a resistance movement stops resisting and starts governing? Hamas has had almost a decade to answer this question, and in October 2016 it came very close.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

The Power Struggle For The Throne And The Saudi ‘Reset’ With Trump

Ultimately, of course, policy differences, not personal ones, will matter most. Everyone in the Saudi leadership shares with the Trump administration a common view on the dangers posed by Iran. But there’s a gap in their respective positions on the war in Yemen and how the kingdom can best be extricated from it.

Read Here – Foreign Policy

Saudis Sharpen Asian Focus With $65bn China Partnership

American disengagement from the Middle East is a factor behind Saudi Arabia’s turn to Asia. The kingdom relies on the U.S. for security. But that country needs Middle Eastern petroleum less nowadays, thanks to its exploitation of domestic shale oil and gas. Ties were further strained by the Obama administration’s overtures to Iran.

Read Here – Nikkei Asian Review

Is An ‘Arab NATO’ In The Works?

The convergence of views between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and US President Donald Trump has seemingly led Trump to turn into a facilitator of Sisi’s dreams. These dreams include banning the Muslim Brotherhood and founding a joint Arab force.

Read Here – Al Monitor

Uncertainty In Iran

In the perennial effort to deduce the likely evolution of the tumultuous relationship between the United States and Iran, all eyes today seem to be trained on Washington. This is understandable; after all, the election of Donald Trump appears to be generating a marked shift away from the Obama Administration’s eight years of seeking to engage with the Islamic Republic, in favour of a more confrontational approach.

Read Here – The Cipher Brief

Saudi Arabia Is Redefining Islam For The World’s Largest Muslim Nation

Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse Indonesia. It has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about 800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers; brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia. All this adds up to a deep network of Saudi influence.

Read Here – The Atlantic

Should The U.S. Maintain Its Alliance With Saudi Arabia?

It is not that the U.S. shouldn’t walk away from Saudi Arabia because it is a major oil producer and a partner in the fight against terrorism, or because the bilateral relationship has benefited Washington. The larger issue is that if Saudi Arabia is left to its own devices, it will sow more chaos in the Middle East. That is something no one needs.

Read Here – Salon

Meet The Powerful Iranian Cleric Looking To Unseat Rouhani

A new and powerful figure has joined the list of candidates among Iranian conservatives for the May presidential election: Ebrahim Raisi, a senior cleric who has gradually risen through the ranks to assume powerful positions. Born in the holy city of Mashhad in northeast Iran — home to the shrine of the eighth Shiite imam — Raisi started his career as the prosecutor general of Karaj — a city just west of the capital city, Tehran — two years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Read Here – Al Monitor

Will Saudi Arabia Allow Pakistani General To Command Military Alliance?

For the last two months, mystery and confusion has shrouded Gen. Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s retired army chief, over whether he will be the supreme commander of the Saudi-led “Islamic military alliance” created by Riyadh in 2015. News of Sharif’s appointment has been widely criticized in Pakistan, and the drama underscores the friction in the Saudi-Pakistani relationship.

Read Here – AlMonitor

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