• Threats and Neighbors: A Conversation with Gregory Gause

    SUSRIS | Pat Ryan | 8.20.14

    Threats and Neighbors: A Conversation with Gregory Gause Well I think that the most important consideration is that to the extent ISIS, or the Islamic State, consolidates itself in Iraq it becomes a very powerful pole of attraction for Saudis who don’t like their government and who are drawn to the ... Continue Reading Salafi jihadist message. To the extent that the Saudis have an internal threat — I don’t think it’s Shia, and I don’t think it’s unemployment, and I don’t think it’s the economy these days. I think that the most serious domestic security threat are Salafi jihadists, whether from the al Qaeda wing – and we saw them in the mid-2000s – who present serious security issues within the Kingdom, or now from ISIS. hide

    Afghan Special Forces Brace for Exit of Elite US Troops

    Defense News/AFP | 8.20.14

    If Afghanistan is to avoid the chaotic breakdown seen in Iraq, US-trained special forces undergoing instruction at a drill camp outside Kabul must play a key part in imposing security — and building public confidence. The huge base, ... Continue Reading surrounded by barren hills, is the scene of an all-round education for commandos who have been hand-picked from the regular army to replace elite US units now withdrawing from Afghanistan. hide

    Saudi Petromin to pump $666m into petrol, service stations

    Emirates 24/7 | 8.20.14

    Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Petromin oil lubricants producer is planning to invest SR2.5 billion ($666 million) to construct 200 new petrol stations and 600 road service centres, its CEO said in remarks published on Tuesday. Samir Nawar said ... Continue Reading the project is part of plans by the largest Arab economy to expand road services and upgrade petrol stations, adding that the new stations would cost an average SR12.5 million ($3.3 million) each. hide

    Qatar-GCC diplomatic dispute not resolved

    Asharq Alawsat | 8.20.14

    The Gulf’s diplomatic crisis over Qatar is ongoing, a high-level Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) diplomat told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday, as a deadline announced last week for Qatar to implement the Doha Agreement is set to expire on Wednesday. hide

    Pakistan cleric’s supporters attempt to blockade parliament, but MPs escape

    Reuters | Katharine Houreld and Syed Raza Hassan | 8.20.14

    Thousands of Pakistani protesters tried to blockade parliament on Wednesday after an anti-government cleric told them not to allow anyone in or out, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inside at the time, but the lawmakers left by a back ... Continue Reading entrance. The protesters have taken to the streets of Islamabad for five days, led by cricket star turned opposition leader Imran Khan and cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, who runs a network of Islamic schools and hide

    Russia, Iran and Egypt Heckle U.S. About Tactics in Ferguson

    New York Times | Robert Mackey | 8.20.14

    After St. Louis county police officers in full battle gear trained sniper rifles on peaceful protesters in the suburb of Ferguson last week, and then proceeded to douse the streets in tear gas and round up journalists, a Russia analyst named ... Continue Reading Mark Adomanis observed that images of a crackdown on dissent in the United States would make life easier for the man recently put in charge of propaganda for the Kremlin, Dmitry Kiselyov. hide

    Opinion: How Sisi Won the Gaza-Israel Conflict

    Al-Monitor | Mahmoud Salem | 8.20.14

    The Palestinian conflict has always been a trump card in the hands of whoever assumes the role of president in Egypt, but that has always been within a framework that the US administrations have created and managed. hide

    Next Leader May Echo Maliki, But Iraqis Hope for New Results

    New York Times | Tim Arango and Michael R. Gordon | 8.20.14

    The last time the United States pushed Iraqis to choose a new prime minister who could unite the country to confront a sectarian civil war was in 2006, and the Iraqis chose Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The result was another civil war. This time, with ... Continue Reading the country again on the edge of collapse, they have chosen Haider al-Abadi. hide

    August 19th, 2014 Edition

    Syria’s Most Lethal Chemical Weapons Destroyed With Little Fanfare

    Foreign Policy | Kate Brannen | 8.19.14

    Almost a year after a sarin gas attack killed more than 1,400 people outside Damascus, the U.S. Defense Department quietly announced Monday that Syria's most dangerous chemicals have been neutralized. hide

    The Real Middle East Crisis Is Economic

    New York Times | Michael Singh | 8.19.14

    The Real Middle East Crisis Is Economic The economies of the Middle East are not only detached from the world’s, but from one another. Most exports in North America, Europe and Asia remain within those regions. Two-thirds of exports to Europe are also from Europe. In the Middle East, ... Continue Reading only 16 percent of exports to the region as a whole are from other Middle Eastern states. hide

    Saudi Stock Market Opening Rumors: 20%? 10%?

    Gulf Base | 8.19.14

    Saudi Stock Market Opening Rumors: 20%? 10%? If foreigners are limited to owning only 10 percent of the overall Saudi market, which has a capitalisation of about $580 billion, that could disappoint investors; foreign ownership of some other major emerging markets around the world is ... Continue Reading considerably higher. A CMA spokesman, contacted by telephone, said the rules were still in the final consultation stage in the CMA's legal department, and would be published in a few days for public consultation. hide

    Opinion: A New Thirty Years War?

    SUSRIS | Theodore Karasik | 8.19.14

    Opinion: A New Thirty Years War? The Thirty Years War was fought from 1618 until 1648 between Protestants and Catholics and political struggles between the Holy Roman Empire and other powers. It ended with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The rivalry and destruction brought ... Continue Reading famine and economic hardship to all of Europe. Some pundits are arguing that MENA may be entering a period of long-term instability with no end in sight. The expansion of the Islamic State, the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli violence, and the arc of instability across Africa may see several decades of upheaval and change. Are we in the beginning of such a period of time? The answer is yes. hide

    Saudis reject al-Qaeda’s incitement attempts via social media

    Al-Shorfa | Sultan Al-Barei | 8.19.14

    Social media platforms such as Twitter are now superseding online forums as a conduit for extremist communication and recruitment, according to Ibn al-Waleed Studies and Field Research Centre new media department director Mazen Zaki. This has ... Continue Reading become more evident following the escalation of the crisis in Syria and the emergence of al-Qaeda branches such as al-Nusra Front (ANF) and ISIL, Zaki said. "The current modus operandi tends to use hashtags that incite fighting alongside the 'opposition' in Syria, or performing 'money jihad' if the person is incapable of waging jihad personally, which is what these groups ultimately seek, for all they are after is the money of Saudis who are known to donate generously to ravaged peoples," he said. hide

    Saudi Arabia amends working hours

    Arabian Business | Courtney Trenwith | 8.19.14

    Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor has amended legal working hours, giving employees a break of at least half-an-hour every five hours. Employers now also can force workers in jobs that do not require “continuous attention”, such as in ... Continue Reading restaurants, hotels, hospitals, barber shops and fuel stations, to work nine hours a day, according to Saudi Gazette. hide

    Saudi Arabia: World’s tallest clock ‘tourist attraction’

    BBC | 8.19.14

    While hundreds of thousands of people visit Mecca every year for pilgrimages, the tower has apparently revived secular tourism in the city. "The Clock Tower revived our business during the last three years," says Abbas Subhi, the marketing ... Continue Reading manager of one of the hotels in the Clock Tower complex. "Most visitors come only to stay in our roof to enjoy the panoramic view of the Grand Mosque," he says. hide