Stories about Saudi Arabia

What caused the oil price crash?

To get a keen sense of where the global economy is headed, we need not look any further than the beleaguered global oil market. Oil supply is in abundance, oil companies are on the verge of bankruptcy, storage spaces are filled to the brim, and the only thing lower than oil prices themselves is the current demand for oil. The phenomenon revolves around the demand and supply of oil, and the current excess supply of oil in the global economy can be attributed to two major factors. Firstly, recently Saudi Arabia and Russia got into an oil war. The feud ...

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How Turkey bungled its COVID-19 response

Prominent historian and sociologist Ibn Khaldun’s teachings have had an immense influence on statesmen and educationists in the Republic of Turkey and those belonging to the Ottoman Empire. Khaldun has a significant theory with regards to social cohesion in Turkic communities. He postulates that governments rise to power with their ideologies and often squash opposing ideologies in order to ensure their own authority. However, at the end of the day, governments which engage in such practices lose their power dramatically. Consequently, when the opposing ideology rises to power it too starts crushing the opposition until it too finally loses power. As a result, ...

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The past, present and future of European Muslims – Part II

This article is the second in a two part series which explores the history, current status and future of Muslims in Europe. Read Part I here. ~ Beginnings of a European Islam It will be safe to assume that a European form of Islam is emerging now, and has its roots in European history. The idea is to develop new interpretations of Islamic theology which will be in line with the European intellectual tradition and culture. According to some European Muslim scholars this branch of Islam will be a new religio-cultural off shoot, and will help to thwart extremist ideologies from the Middle East. ...

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Why Pakistan must ban congregational prayers during the COVID-19 crisis

Many years ago, I read Christina Lamb’s famous but controversial book titled Waiting for Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy. Although her book, touched upon various facets of the Pakistani society, it focused on the role of religion. She made two key arguments. First that Pakistan was trapped by the need to adhere to a “true” version of Islam, which impeded its progress. She wrote, “The more the country strives for what its religious scholars see as true Islam, the less equipped it becomes for running a twentieth-century state, and the more it is forced to watch once-lagging competitors such ...

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The scenario for Afghanistan after the US-Taliban deal

The tentative deal signed on February 29, 2020 between the United States (US) and the Afghan Taliban after almost two decades of war hinges on a successful execution of four main points. Firstly, America has to gradually withdraw its troops from Afghanistan over the next 14 months, with 5,600 troops to leave the country within 135 days. Secondly, the Taliban and the Afghan government (which was not a party to the deal) must open direct talks, which will be preceded by the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners currently held by the Afghan government and the release of 1,000 prisoners in Taliban captivity. Thirdly, the Taliban ...

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Israel-GCC ties and the bizarre future of Hasbara

Hasbara is the Hebrew word for Israeli state propaganda and it has always been a top-heavy affair, relying less on quality and more on the stifling of opposition via censorship. Also top-heavy are Israel’s newly-formalised Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partners, from their domestic and foreign policy-making machinery to the distribution of wealth and financial power within their jurisdictions to their media. Zionist organisations and Jewish civil society have already started a socio-religious bonding process of sorts with the GCC. Given the status of the GCC as Arabs, at least from an ethno-linguistic perspective, Hasbara will concurrently need a cosmetic make-over forceful ...

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What does Hafiz Saeed’s arrest mean for Pakistan?

In a recent development, Hafiz Saeed, the head of the proscribed Jamat-ud-Dawah, has been sent to prison for five and a half years by the anti-terrorist court in Lahore. Naturally, this news quickly made it to the the headlines across the globe since Saeed’s name is included in the list of banned terrorists by the United States (US) and United Nations (UN). Saeed is also wanted by India for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But one cannot understand the impact of Saeed’s arrest if one is unaware of exactly what Saeed has been up to for all these years. Saeed ...

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Erdoğan’s Pakistan trip comes at a crucial juncture for both the countries

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is due to visit Pakistan tomorrow, February 13th, for a two-day visit. Erdoğan’s trip is timely for both countries. Turkey is in the middle of a crisis with Syria, where the Syrian government-led forces have attacked Turkish troops in their quest to retain the remaining territory from the opposition forces; with Erdoğan stating that Syria will “pay a very, very heavy price” for the attacks. Similarly, Turkey also deployed its forces in Libya in early January this year to support Fayez al-Sarraj’s government against the eastern opposition led by General Khalifa Hifter. Hence Turkey’s ambitions to remain a regional power ...

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The importance of Imran Khan’s Malaysia visit

Imran Khan’s Malaysia trip has gained an added sense of importance since it comes after last year’s fiasco when Pakistan, at the very last moment, refused to participate in the Kuala Lumpur summit due to Saudi pressure. Although Malaysia, despite knowing the reason for Pakistan’s failure to attend the summit, never showed any discernible annoyance, this Malaysia trip presents Imran with an opportunity to engage in some damage control in light of that decision. This was evident since upon landing in Malaysia one of the first things Imran did was express his regret for missing the Kuala Lumpur summit because,  “Unfortunately, our friends, who are very close to Pakistan as well, felt that somehow ...

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Revisiting Manto’s biting ‘Letters to Uncle Sam’ – Part 2

In this two part series, Raza Naeem translates passages from Manto’s nine Letters to Uncle Sam and discusses their enduring legacy. Read Part 1 here.  ~ Fifth letter In his fifth letter, Manto brilliantly exposes America’s pretensions about maintaining world peace even after acquiring the capability to make hydrogen bombs: “I have heard that you have made the hydrogen bomb just so that there should be absolute world peace. Although God knows better, but I am sure of what you say because I have eaten your wheat and, after all, I’m your nephew. Although the young should readily obey the elderly, but I ask ...

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