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

18 November 2017

Qatar Is at the Center of Today's Arab Tangle

David B. Rivkin JrNawaf Obaid

In early November, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s defense forces intercepted a Burkan-2 ballistic missile targeted at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport. Yemen’s Houthi-controlled defense ministry has taken the credit for the launch—but given the extent of the Iranian sway over the Houthi military, the real responsibility for the attack lies with Tehran. Since the airport is a civilian installation and, as such, under international humanitarian law, cannot be attacked, the Iranian missile strike is also a war crime.

Raytheon: Arab-operated Patriots intercepted over 100 tactical ballistic missiles since 2015

By: Barbara Opall-Rome 
Source Link

Correction: This story has been updated to accuratedly identify the owners of the 100 Patriots. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Patriot batteries owned by Arab partners in the Middle East have intercepted more than 100 tactical ballistic missiles launched from Yemen since the Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed Houthis began in 2015, according to U.S. prime contractor Raytheon. That number, which appears on the Raytheon website, is much larger than publicly available data from think tanks, the Saudi government or the other eight Mideast and African nations fighting in the Saudi-led coalition against Iranian-backed militias loyal to former Yemeni President Al Abdullah Saleh.

Climate Change and Water Woes Drove ISIS Recruiting in Iraq


SAMARRA, IRAQIt was a few weeks after the rains failed in the winter of 2009 that residents of Shirqat first noticed the strange bearded men. Circling like vultures among the stalls of the town’s fertilizer market in Iraq’s northern Salahaddin governorate, they’d arrow in on the most shabbily dressed farmers, and tempt them with promises of easy riches. “Join us, and you’ll never have to worry about feeding your family,” Saleh Mohammed Al-Jabouri, a local tribal sheikh, remembers one recruiter saying.

From Proxy Wars to Direct War Between Iran and Saudi Arabia: America’s Options

by Masoud Kazemzadeh and Penny Watson

The Middle East appears on the precipice of a great war. The fundamentalist rulers of Iran are confident that their goal of establishing a coalition of Shia countries and regions under their control is nearing fruition. Saddam’s invasion of Iran in 1980 was a response to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s policy of overthrowing the ruling regimes in Iraq and much of the Middle East. By 1988, that war ended not by victory of one side over the other, but by the exhaustion of Khomeini’s regime and the recognition that no end was in sight. The 1988 ceasefire has been but a respite in the warmongering policy of the fundamentalists, whereby despite military adventurism, many members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) still express bitterness over the acceptance of the ceasefire.

17 November 2017

A Coup Could be in the Works Against Zimbabwe's Mugabe


by John Campbell

The era of coups in Africa is supposed to be over. Nevertheless, one may be underway in Zimbabwe against the regime of nonagenarian Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace. Army Chief General Constantino Chiwenga, along with ninety senior military officers, gave a news conference on Monday in which he said that the army will step in unless the “purging” of the country’s ruling ZANU-PF stops. Though the general did not mention Mugabe by name, the intervention was clearly a response to the president’s firing of his deputy, Emerson Mnangagwa. The move is widely seen as an effort to ensure that Mugabe’s successor will be his wife Grace. On Tuesday, armored vehicles were seen moving toward Harare, the capital, from the military barracks at Inkomo. At the same time, a statement from the ZANU-PF accused General Chiwenga of “treasonable conduct.” 

Saudi Arabia's Strategic Miscalculation in Yemen

by Hilal Khashan

Saudi Arabia seems to have bitten off more than it can chew in Yemen. On March 26, 2015, the kingdom launched Operation Decisive Storm, a broad Arab-Islamic initiative ostensibly aimed at reinstating the government of Yemeni President Abd Rabboh Mansour Hadi, whom insurgents had forced from the capital, Sanaa, a month earlier. More than two and a half years on, Saudi Arabia is no closer to its goal, embroiled in a war that it can't win.

16 November 2017

Saudi Crown Prince clears a path to the throne

Just two weeks ago, the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh took place to international acclaim. Now, investor interest has turned to intense uncertainty, as power shifts unfold in the Gulf. But despite the short-term risks, Alex Damianou argues that the long term impact should be positive.

The 4th of November was an historic day in Saudi Arabia. King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), demonstrated their continued, almost Machiavellian determination to execute social and economic reforms under Vision 2030. Their goals – to usher in a new area of transformation, consolidate power, and re-assert themselves on the regional battleground towards Iran.

15 November 2017

The Middle East Is Nearing an Explosion

ROBERT MALLEY

BEIRUT—Lebanon has long been a mirror for the broader Middle East. The region’s more powerful actors use it, variously, as a venue for their proxy wars, an arena in which to play out the Arab-Israeli conflict, and a testing ground for periodic bouts of Saudi-Iranian coexistence. It’s where the region wages its wars and brokers its temporary truces. This past week, like in so many others, the Middle East has not been kind to Lebanon.

14 November 2017

What the End of ISIS Means

BY STEPHEN M. WALT

Unless you’re someone who thinks beheading people is an appropriate way to advance a repressive political cause, the imminent demise of the Islamic State is welcome news. But we should be wary of a premature “Mission Accomplished” moment and be judicious in drawing lessons from an outcome that otherwise merits celebration.

Toward that end, here is a preliminary assessment of what the defeat of the Islamic State means, in the form of five questions and some provisional answers.

Was the Islamic State a genuine “revolutionary state”?

Profiling Lebanon: The Western Front of a Proxy War


By Kamran Bokhari

If the Middle East is at least in part a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, then Lebanon may be called its western front. For nearly two generations, Riyadh and Tehran have vied for influence there, as the country has been, with a few interruptions of stability, at once a hostage to and the object of their competition. The competition resumed this week, and it appears that Saudi Arabia is losing.

13 November 2017

Reckoning in Saudi Arabia

Aaron David Miller Richard Sokolsky

Pundits are describing recent events in Saudi Arabia as a Saudi version of Game of Thrones; and King Salman’s bloodless purges—orchestrated by his son Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)—have many of the hallmarks of palace and royal intrigue; a kind of Shakespearean trifecta of Hamlet, Lear and Macbeth without the blood and gore. But the purges conducted in the Saudi style (the reported use of the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh as a venue for house arrests is one of the lighter aspects of the affair) should not mask its deadly seriousness. A young thirtysomething with limited experience in governance is making an unprecedented bid for control. And if he succeeds, which is impossible to know at this point, the impact could very well change Saudi Arabia and its regional role for years to come. Still, the United States would be wise not to attach itself to MBS like a barnacle to the side of a boat lest its own Middle East policy goes down with the ship.

12 November 2017

Israel’s National Security since the Yom Kippur War

Joshua Krasna

Israeli troops during the Arab-Israeli War. From the booklet “President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War.”

For the Jewish people, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (which fell this year on September 30), is the holiest day of the year. It is a day for solemn retrospection and repentance. In Israel, Yom Kippur is a phenomenon: it is the one day of the year when Israel’s borders and airspace are closed; while no law forbids it, only emergency vehicles are on the road in Jewish cities and neighborhoods; all shops are closed. Sixty percent of Jewish Israelis report that they fast on Yom Kippur.

11 November 2017

*** Saudi Arabia’s Saturday Night Massacre

By George Friedman

For nearly a century, Saudi Arabia has been ruled by the elders of a royal family that now finds itself effectively controlled by a 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. He helms the Defense Ministry, he has extravagant plans for economic development, and last week arranged for the arrest of some of the most powerful ministers and princes in the country. A day before the arrests were announced, Houthi tribesmen in Yemen but allied with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, fired a ballistic missile at Riyadh. The Saudis claim the missile came from Iran and that its firing might be considered “an act of war.”

Arrests in Saudi Arabia: Causes and Implications


Q1: What caused the sudden arrest of dozens of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful individuals?

A1: These individuals were swept up by an anticorruption commission that King Salman had created merely hours before the arrests. Reports claim that the arrested include some of the most important economic actors in Saudi Arabia. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world’s most prominent Saudi investor, has gotten a great deal of attention, but the sweep included other billionaires, senior royals from other branches of the family, and technocrats who began guiding Saudi Arabia’s economic reform program under King Abdullah. These include Adel Fakieh, who served as minister of labor before becoming minister of economy and planning, and Ibrahim al-Assaf, who was minister of finance. While businesspeople in Saudi Arabia complain about the problems of corruption, and some of it involves granting special favors to the royal family, the pattern of these arrests suggest that they were intended to consolidate power and loyalty behind Crown Prince Mohammed and his ambitious plans to move the kingdom forward economically and socially. The arrests of two of the late King Abdullah’s sons, Prince Miteb and Prince Turki, suggest a strategic political calculus. Miteb commanded the National Guard, which was an armed force separate from the army to protect the royal family and could have blocked some of Mohammed’s moves against the family; Turki was governor of Riyadh, which gave him a political role building support among royals, a job King Salman himself used to great effect for decades.

Saudi Arabia has united with Israel against Iran – and a desert storm is brewing

John R. Bradley

Mass arrests are the Crown Prince’s opening salvo in a fight against corruption and an embrace of moderate Islam

Until last weekend, the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh’s exclusive Diplomatic Quarter was colloquially known as the Princes’ Hotel. It was a luxurious retreat from the heat, where royals could engage in the kind of wheeling and dealing with the global business elite that had made them millionaires on the back of the 1970s oil boom. No deal could be brokered without paying a bribe to at least one prince. Last Saturday that era of boundless opportunity and total impunity came to a dramatic end. The VIP guests were booted out, the front doors were shuttered, and heavily armed security forces took up positions around the perimeter.

The cancer of Islamist extremism spreads around the world

By Fareed Zakaria 

This week’s tragic terrorist attack in New York was the kind of isolated incident by one troubled man that should not lead to generalizations. In the 16 years since 9/11, the city has proved astonishingly safe from jihadist groups and individuals. And yet, speaking about it to officials in this major global hub 10,000 miles away, the conclusions they reach are worrying. “The New York attack might be a way to remind us all that while ISIS is being defeated militarily, the ideological threat from radical Islam is spreading,” says Singaporean Home Minister K. Shanmugam. “The trend line is moving in the wrong direction.”

A Strategy for the Post-ISIS Middle East

Suzanne Maloney and Michael O’Hanlon
Source Link

The stakes are highest, and the current dilemmas most acute, in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Jordan.

With Islamic State nearly vanquished in Syria and Iraq, it’s time for a serious debate about the broader U.S. security strategy in the Middle East. Leaving aside the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and its unpromising near-term prospects, this debate must address the array of issues affecting American interests in the region: violent conflict, alliances, political and economic reform, and the central challenge of dealing with Iran.

10 November 2017

A Strategy for the Post-ISIS Middle East

By Suzanne Maloney and Michael O’Hanlon

With Islamic State nearly vanquished in Syria and Iraq, it’s time for a serious debate about the broader U.S. security strategy in the Middle East. Leaving aside the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and its unpromising near-term prospects, this debate must address the array of issues affecting American interests in the region: violent conflict, alliances, political and economic reform, and the central challenge of dealing with Iran.

The U.S. currently leads a military coalition in support of the Iraqi government and moderate...

The cancer of Islamist extremism spreads around the world

By Fareed Zakaria 

This week’s tragic terrorist attack in New York was the kind of isolated incident by one troubled man that should not lead to generalizations. In the 16 years since 9/11, the city has proved astonishingly safe from jihadist groups and individuals. And yet, speaking about it to officials in this major global hub 10,000 miles away, the conclusions they reach are worrying. “The New York attack might be a way to remind us all that while ISIS is being defeated militarily, the ideological threat from radical Islam is spreading,” says Singaporean Home Minister K. Shanmugam. “The trend line is moving in the wrong direction.”

Shifting Sands: The Arab Spring Comes To The House Of Saud


As folk singer Bob Dylan once sang, “things, they are a’changing.” The Arab Spring which ushered in a wave of revolutionary uprisings in late 2010 across North Africa and Middle East — but, seemed to bypass the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The death of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz in January 2015 however, created a vacuum at the top of the House of Saud; and, the ingredients for the events that occurred this past weekend. I am referring of course, to the high-profile arrests of 11 princes, including the well-known Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal; as well as the former head of the Saudi National Guard — a very powerful position within the kingdom. The official charge was corruption. These arrests “sent shock-waves throughout the kingdom,” and across the globe, David Kirkpatrick wrote in the November 6, 2017 edition of the New York Times. He added, “the sweeping campaign of arrests, appears to be the latest move to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son, and top adviser to King Salman. At 32, the crown prince is already the dominant voice in the Saudi military, foreign, economic, and social policies, stirring murmurs of discontent in the royal family [some 15K princes] that he has amassed too much power; and, at such a young age.”