Showing posts with label Arab World. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arab World. Show all posts

20 October 2018

The US-Saudi Relationship After Khashoggi

BARAK BARFI

The US-Saudi relationship has been a rocky one, and its setbacks and scandals have mostly played out away from the public eye. This time, too, common interests and mutual dependence will almost certainly prevail over the desire to hold the Saudis to the standards expected of other close US allies. The alleged killing of the Saudi Arabian dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a permanent resident of the United States, in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul has unleashed a tidal wave of criticism. In the US Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike have promised to end weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and impose sanctions if its government is shown to have murdered Khashoggi.

Washington’s Silent War against Hezbollah in Latin America

by Joseph M. Humire

On July 11, 2018, the government of Argentina took its first action against Hezbollah by freezing the financial assets of 14 individuals belonging to the Barakat clan in South America. Last week, Brazilian Federal Police arrested the leader of this clan, Assad Ahmad Barakat, who was sanctioned by U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in 2004 and is considered one of Hezbollah’s most important financiers. These recent actions against Hezbollah in Latin America signal a shift in the priorities of regional governments, with Washington’s help.

Iran's Idea of Human Rights: Persecute Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim

In a speech before the United Nations on September 20, 2017, presumably as a way to support his claim that Israel is "a rogue and racist regime [that] trample[s] upon the most basic rights of the Palestinians," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly portrayed his government as dedicated to "moderation and respect for human rights," adding: "We in Iran strive to build peace and promote the human rights of peoples and nations. We never condone tyranny and we always defend the voiceless. We never threaten anyone..." One need only look to Iran's Christians -- who form 1% of its entire population -- to test these claims. Unlike the persecution other Christian minorities experience in Muslim majority nations -- which often comes at the hands of Muslim individuals, mobs, or professional terrorists -- the primary driver of Christian persecution in Iran is the government itself.

19 October 2018

‘Curse the Jews,’ Yemen’s Houthi Rebel Slogan Handed out at University

by Seth Frantzman

“Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam,” is the slogan printed on small cards handed out at Sana’a University in Yemen. Nadwa Dawsari, a specialist on conflict and tribes in Yemen, posted a photo of a laminated “student and staff ID” on October 9 on Twitter.

Now Houthis slogan "Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse the Jews, Victory to Islam" is stamped on public university student and staff IDs. #Yemen pic.twitter.com/to9PX4tfDD

— Nadwa Dawsari (@Ndawsari) October 9, 2018

The slogan has been used for years according to Dave McAvoy, a security and risk analyst who tracks developments in the region.

Turkey's Revolution Looks like Iran's - but in Slow Motion

by A.J. Caschetta

Watching Turkey's transformation into an authoritarian Islamist nation over the last 16 years has been eerily like watching Iran's rapid fall in 1979 -- but in slow motion. Whereas Iran went from a secularist American ally to an implacable Islamist foe in a matter of months, Turkey has been on a similar path but led by a more cautious Islamist, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has moved at a much slower rate. 

Rise to Power

The Pahlavi Shah of Iran exiled Ruhollah Khomeini (to Turkey, coincidentally) in 1964. When he returned to Iran on February 1, 1979, Khomeini seized absolute power almost immediately. With the Shah out of the country seeking treatment for his cancer, there was little to stop Khomeini and his clerical allies. He quickly created the Islamic 

Saudi Arabia Does a Big Favor for Iran

KRISHNADEV CALAMUR
Source Link

When the Trump administration talks about “severe punishment” for a country in the Middle East, it is generally referring to Iran, a country whose regional influence troubles both its Arab neighbors as well as the United States. Yet on Sunday, President Donald Trump used those words to describe what could happen to Saudi Arabia— arguably the closest U.S. ally in the Muslim world— if investigations determine that the regime is complicit in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist. 

18 October 2018

Saudi Vision 2030: A Progress Report – Analysis

By Neville Teller

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is such an established feature of today’s Middle East that it comes as something of a surprise to realize that it is less than a hundred years old. It was only in 1932 that Abdul Aziz ibn Saud emerged from many years of political and military struggle against other local chieftains and the Ottoman empire and was able to name the area that he had conquered “Saudi Arabia”, and proclaim himself monarch. It was doubtless with an eye to the eventual centenary celebrations of the monarchy and the kingdom that in April 2016 Saudi’s dynamic young crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman (known as MBS), launched Saudi Vision 2030, an ambitious plan to revitalize the nation. If it succeeds, by 2032 Saudi Arabia will have been transformed from its current dependency on oil revenues into a modern, liberalized, thriving, entrepreneurial society, its prosperity underpinned by flourishing industrial, financial, economic and commercial sectors.

17 October 2018

The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and a Crown Prince’s False Promise

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

The disappearance of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has focused much attention in Washington, D.C., where Khashoggi had been living in self-imposed exile, on the stream of bad news coming out of Saudi Arabia in recent months. Ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman returned from a month-long trip abroad in March and April, with stops in Egypt, the United Kingdom, the United States, France and Spain, a succession of developments have cast serious doubt on the credibility of the reform narrative the crown prince and his entourage were so energetically pushing, to often eager applause.

16 October 2018

How a Saudi Journalist's Disappearance Could Have a Global Impact


The mere suggestion that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered will have a chilling effect on all Saudi citizens who criticize Riyadh's policies. Saudi Arabia might calculate that any move against dissidents is unlikely to produce too many international consequences, but it could jeopardize much-needed foreign investment. If Riyadh and Ankara's stories continue to clash, however, relations could sour with Turkey, a key regional influence in the Sunni world. Jamal Khashoggi only needed to take care of some routine paperwork. On Oct. 3, the respected Saudi journalist and government critic arrived at his country's consulate in Istanbul to finalize divorce proceedings as his fiancee waited outside. Khashoggi, however, failed to reappear. And three days later, Turkish authorities announced that they had reason to believe a 15-person Saudi security team had tortured, murdered and dismembered the Washington Post journalist. The bombshell has given the unsettling disappearance a drastic, new level of seriousness that is sure to have repercussions across the region.

Stop Military Aid to Saudi Arabia

BY RAND PAUL

By now you’ve seen the headlines: An American resident, a Saudi Arabian journalist who wrote for The Washington Post, has gone missing abroad and is presumed dead. Jamal Khashoggi was last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish security officials believe he was killed “on the orders of the Saudi royal court,” according to The New York Times. He was a vocal critic of the lack of free speech in Saudi Arabia, which makes his sudden disappearance all the more suspicious given the Saudis’ aversion to public dissent.

How a Saudi Journalist's Disappearance Could Have a Global Impact


The mere suggestion that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered will have a chilling effect on all Saudi citizens who criticize Riyadh's policies. Saudi Arabia might calculate that any move against dissidents is unlikely to produce too many international consequences, but it could jeopardize much-needed foreign investment. If Riyadh and Ankara's stories continue to clash, however, relations could sour with Turkey, a key regional influence in the Sunni world.

15 October 2018

Can Re-Imposition Of US Sanctions On Iran Cause Any Disruption In Oil Trade? – OpEd


With November 4, 2018, the date for re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran drawing closer, uncertainty about how much of global oil supply will be affected is running high. Mixed signals are coming from some of Iran’s biggest oil customers. Analysts fear that uncertainty is likely to linger on even after the sanctions become effective. There is a need to understand the motive behind the US decision.
There is growing consensus that the US decision is based on achieving three key objectives: 1) weakening Iran economically to stop it from becoming a regional power. Both the US and Israel have learnt that an economically strong Iran is the biggest hurdle in maintaining their hegemony in the region, 2) by creating rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the US also succeed in selling more arms to Saudi Arabia, which has been brainwashed to an extent where the monarch considers Iran a bigger threat as compared to Israel and 3) the biggest beneficiary of high oil price is the US that has attained the status of largest oil producing country.

According to energy sector analysts, if crude price plunge below US$50/barrel most of the US shale companies will go bankrupt. It is on record that in the past when crude price touched US$147/barrel the number of active rigs rose to around 1,600. When the price plunged to less than US$40/barrel the number of active rigs declined to less than 600.
One of the objectives of western media is to keep the level of uncertainty high by promoting geopolitical crises. By keeping level of uncertainty high, speculators are facilitated and one thing has been proved without any doubt that even the hawkish statements of the US present keeps oil prices volatile.

Why Do Middle East Studies Academics Want to Hide ISIS Documents?

Source Link

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

October 08, 2018


Original title: "Why Is the Middle East Studies Association Trying to Stop the Online Publication of Islamic State Documents?"


Why would the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), the primary umbrella organization for the field of Middle East studies, oppose the New York Times partnering with George Washington University (GWU)’s Program On Extremism to produce a public archive of the thousands of Islamic State (ISIS) documents the newspaper retrieved from northern Iraq? 

Analysis based on solid evidence, after all, is far superior to speculation and guesswork that may be proven erroneous. While there are many media articles about ISIS and propaganda material from the group itself, there is a deficiency of internal documents in the open-source realm for researchers to use in order to understand the inner workings of ISIS’s state project during the peak of its power. 

I have a personal stake in this debate: as a researcher of Iraqi origin, I have aimed to help scholars and others with my own archive of over 1,000 ISIS documents. My work inspired Times correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, who obtained the collection for the newspaper, and I helped her verify many of the documents in question.

14 October 2018

ISIS’s New Plans to Get Rich and Wreak Havoc

BY COLIN P. CLARKE
Source Link

Although the Islamic State has lost nearly 98 percent of the territory it once controlled, the group is ripe for a comeback in Sunni-majority areas of Iraq and Syria. The main reason is its existing war chest, coupled with its skill at developing new streams of revenue. The Islamic State used to mostly rely on the territory it controlled, including cities and urban strongholds, to amass billions of dollars through extortion, taxation, robbery, and the sale of pilfered oil. But the group has proven that it is capable of making money even without controlling large population centers.

Turkish Officials Say Khashoggi Was Killed on Order of Saudi Leadership

By David D. Kirkpatrick and Carlotta Gall
Source Link

ANKARA, Turkey — Top Turkish security officials have concluded that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said Tuesday. The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulateby a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said.

Iran's Imploding Strategy

by Jonathan Spyer

Originally published under the headline "The logic behind Iranian moves in the Middle East."
The effort by the US and its allies to contain and ultimately roll back the gains made by Iran in the region over the last half decade is currently taking shape, and is set to form the central strategic process in the Middle East in the period now opening up. New sanctions on the export of Iranian oil are due to be implemented from November 4. Israel’s campaign against Iranian entrenchment in Syria is the most important current file on the table of the defense establishment.

ISIS’S NEW PLANS TO GET RICH AND WREAK HAVOC

by Colin P. Clarke 

Although the Islamic State has lost nearly 98 percent of the territory it once controlled, the group is ripe for a comeback in Sunni-majority areas of Iraq and Syria. The main reason is its existing war chest, coupled with its skill at developing new streams of revenue. The Islamic State used to mostly rely on the territory it controlled, including cities and urban strongholds, to amass billions of dollars through extortion, taxation, robbery, and the sale of pilfered oil. But the group has proven that it is capable of making money even without controlling large population centers.

13 October 2018

The EU Can’t Avoid U.S. Sanctions on Iran

By Elizabeth Rosenberg

Late last month, the European Union and China announced that they intended to set up a special global payments system to allow companies to continue to trade with Iran despite U.S. sanctions. Some of the sanctions are already in place, but the bulk will to go into effect in November, thanks to the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year. The announcement marks a small but notable step toward the fragmentation of the global economic order. Friends and foes of the United States were already seeking paths away from the traditional, dollar-dominated financial system. The Trump administration’s policy on Iran provided additional incentive to those who strive to undermine U.S. economic primacy and the effectiveness of U.S. economic statecraft. Washington should take note of the danger.

12 October 2018

Will Israel and Iran Go To War in Syria?

By Daniel Byman

Israel was dealt a bad hand when it comes to regional security, and Syria is the latest—and trickiest—card in the deck. On the one hand, the weakness of the Bashar al-Assad regime diminishes a leader whose country has never reconciled its past conflicts and territorial disputes with Israel and often proved a remorseless foe. On the other hand, Iran and Hezbollah are exploiting Syria’s instability, and Israelis fear the country will become a new launching pad for Iranian influence and attacks—essentially, another Lebanon. Ehud Yaari, a respected Israeli analyst, describes the risk of war between Iran and Israel in Syria as “almost inevitable.”

Predicting the Next ISIS

by Colin P. Clarke

With the Islamic State’s caliphate in ruins, one of its affiliates could grow to become even more deadly and operationally capable than the core organization was during its peak in 2015. With ISIS franchise groups and affiliates across the globe, there is no shortage of contenders to supplant ISIS as the world’s most dangerous terrorist group. Many factors could fuel the rise of a new Islamic State (ISIS) offshoot, including the relative weakness of the security forces in the area where the terrorists are operating, so it difficult to discern which affiliate could become the next major threat. Additionally, measuring the threat will require an intimate understanding of an affiliates’ capabilities, the degree to which safe haven and sanctuary are available, and the relative ease with which the group can replenish its resources.