Saudi Arabia

Arabs, Russia Pat Themselves on Back over Syria

March 13, 2012 by

Russia has again demonstrated its diplomatic ability to gloss over differences even when none of the sides are prepared to make concessions. Although the positions of Russia and Arab countries on Syria are very different and the crisis in Syria is growing worse, it seemed after the weekend that peace is just around the corner – after all, everybody is actively pursuing peace.

Netanyahu’s and Obama’s Unsavory Choices on Iran

March 8, 2012 by

Whether Iran’s goal is ultimately to produce a nuclear weapon is unknown, but as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said last weekend during his meetings in Washington, if is looks, walks and talks like a duck, it is usually a duck. He also asked a simple question – Would Iran be producing its missile program simply to place medical isotopes on top of their missiles? At least one world leader is asking the right questions and looking this issue squarely in the face.

Reciprocity, Lawfare, and Self-Defense: Targeted Killing

March 6, 2012 by

There is an emergent Israeli/American controversy on the lawfulness of targeted killing. Although the policy has not yet attained the status of being a national debate, there are signs that it may be about to happen, especially in light of the Attorney General, Eric Holder’s Northwestern Law School speech on March 5, 2012 outlining the Obama’s administration’s controversial approach to targeted killing in some detail.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar Ratchet Up Pressure on Assad

March 3, 2012 by

Running counter to the wishes of the United States and other western nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar recently announced that they are taking steps to arm the Free Syria Army (FSA). Despite the significance of this step, it is unlikely to shift the civil war in favor of the rebels. The FSA, armed with light weapons, suffered a number of strategic setbacks. Their tactical retreat from the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs paints a picture of a rebel group that lacks the operational capacity to challenge the Assad regime directly.

When Free Speech and Islam Collide

February 24, 2012 by

Demands for religious and speech freedoms in Saudi Arabia have taken a heightened tone of urgency in the Western media following Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari’s ill-advised tweets allegedly denigrating God and the Prophet Muhammad. Imaginary conversations with the Prophet, deemed an insult in Islam, landed Kashgari in jail pending trial for blasphemy. Kashgari’s remarks have sparked outrage in the West over how a man’s seemingly crisis of faith could lead to a death sentence.