Yemen’s divided Huthi movement is sending mixed signals to the US. After President Trump vetoed Congress’ bipartisan resolution to end Washington’s support for the Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen, Mohammed Abdelsalam, the spokesman and top negotiator of the Huthi movement, stated that this proves the Americans were also “behind the [Saudi] decision to go to war” in 2015. “Surely we are interested in having a good relationship with the United States.
Since Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s de facto takeover of Saudi Arabia’s rule, the kingdom has been trying to adapt and adjust to his reformism. From the promotion of Vision 2030, which opened up to top-down socio-economic reforms to an assertive foreign policy – the push for the embargo on Qatar and the conflict in Yemen, above all – the Crown Prince has been in the spotlight both domestically and internationally. While opportunities lie ahead, so do challenges.
In NATO-Gulf monarchies relations, military education is the most effective vector of cooperation. Moreover, individual partnerships work definitely better than a multilateral format. For this reason, the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), launched in 2004 as a practical cooperation framework between NATO and some Arab Gulf states (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait) has showed all its limits so far, slightly changing its nature - or rather adapting - on course.
Since the end of Lebanon’s civil war in 1990, the Saudi pumped billions of dollars into the reconstruction of Lebanon, employed hundreds of thousands of Lebanese, and supported the country economically, only to watch as Hezbollah grew into a political force to be reckoned with.
On 13 June, the Saudi-led coalition started airstrikes on Hodeida, the biggest urban centre of Yemen’s Western, Red Sea coast. A city of 600.000 inhabitants, Hodeida is controlled by the Iranian-backed Huthi insurgents since 2015.
Six years after the first free elections in Egypt’s post-Arab uprisings era, the Persian Gulf media’s attention to the country’s presidential election has considerably changed. Although the Gulf countries’ political support for Egypt remains unchanged – also expressed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s two-day visit to Cairo earlier this month in which he reaffirmed the highest level of bilateral cooperation – this election appears to be less important for Cairo’s Arab allies.
In the Arab Gulf states, the military has turned the page: a new, national-oriented pattern of civil-military relations is in the making, triggered by foreign projection and, in some cases, mandatory military service.
The building for conjugal visits on the right, the ceremony hall on the left, and in front of us the massive complex of Hair prisons, few kilometres away from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. "We have nothing to hide, the doors of our prisons are open" is the slogan welcoming visitors at the entrance. In these prisons, the de-radicalization program starts and it continues in the rehabilitation center.
Oil is the main pillar of Saudi Arabia’s economy and the cornerstone of its development. According to the IMF's latest data(1), oil receipts accounted for around 85% of exports and almost 90% of fiscal revenue, while the oil sector comprises over 40% of overall GDP.
Russia’s military intervention in Syria at the end of September 2015 undoubtedly strengthened and sustained the Bashar Al-Assad regime. For the first time since the height of the Cold War Russian military personnel were actively involved in the Middle East as a combatant force with significant political leverage to counterbalance the roles of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the Syrian conflict and thus the wider Middle East.
In this summer of geopolitical realignments, Oman confirms to be the subtle centre of Middle Eastern diplomacy: in these days, Muscat has been hosting informal talks on the Yemeni crisis and seeks to find a minimum room for dialogue about Syria. Oman is the first Arab country that has received Damascus’ foreign minister since 2011.
Following to the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Sa‘ud, announced on the early morning of January 23rd on Saudi state television, and the crowing of his half-brother Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Sa‘ud, the world has moved to understand nuances in the transition from the old to the new King.