Stories about Saudi Arabia

Why in the world is Donald Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?

It is almost impossible to see the logic behind Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and possibly moving the US embassy to Israel there – before it even unveils what’s certain to be a controversial plan for Middle East peace, which will be tough enough to sell. The White House is probably betting that, despite the noises in the Arab world against such a move, their key allies in Saudi Arabia and Egypt will limit their opposition – already publicly voiced – to lip service, as they are all interested in protecting relations with Trump over more urgent issues, such as fighting militancy ...

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How Saudi women will soon be the driving force of Saudi Arabia’s economy

After decades of inactivity, obscurity and an identity crisis, Saudi women are suddenly caught in a frenzy of excitement and events that promise something for them to look forward to. When a royal decree was passed, lifting the ban on women driving in the country, it was followed not only by jubilation, but seemed to have opened a wide range of opportunities for the female population in Saudi Arabia. From receiving offers to be female cab drivers, to job vacancies in women-only outlets, to grabbing key posts in the bureaucracy, Saudi women are now starting to make their presence felt in a ...

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The truth about why Saudi Arabia and Israel are forming an alliance to destabilise Lebanon

Despite Saudi Arabia’s tough rhetoric and brutal assault against its neighbour, Yemen (the poorest country in the region), the unfortunate reality is that Saudi Arabia is not the strongman it has hopelessly painted itself to be. This isn’t conjecture, nor is it an attempt to needlessly bolster and promote regional rivals such as Iran, as has become the trend among anti-imperialist  commentators. Yes, Saudi Arabia is an oil-rich country who uses its money to great effect on the international level. Saudi Arabia’s relationships with the nuclear powers, Russia and China, have also been intensifying. However, what the media won’t tell you is that there is actually ...

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The scapegoat and $33 billion – The hidden truth behind Saudi Arabia’s royal crisis

According to the Washington Post’s Fareed Zakaria, in order to understand how traditionally secular Muslim countries became hubs of radicalisation in recent years, you need just one example – Saudi Arabia. Zakaria explains: “In Southeast Asia, almost all observers whom I have spoken with believe that there is another crucial cause (behind the ‘cancer’ of extremism) – exported money and ideology from the Middle East, chiefly Saudi Arabia. A Singaporean official told me, ‘Travel around Asia and you will see so many new mosques and madrassas built in the last 30 years that have had funding from the Gulf. They are modern, clean, air-conditioned, well-equipped, and Wahhabi (Saudi Arabia’s ...

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A ‘progressive’ Saudi Arabia that practises moderate Islam – possibility or a sham?

Is Saudi Arabia turning over a new leaf, or are these new policies just an anomaly; perhaps a misdirected confidence of an individual who is trying to change the society in his own image? Only time will tell. The recently appointed crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), has embarked on an impressive but debatable development plan for the oil-rich country. This plan will see Saudi radically transform from its archaic system of governance and develop an over-the-top modern, high tech city which, according to MBS, is “The first capitalist city in the world… this is the unique thing that will be revolutionary.” This effort, ...

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The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no longer the main game in the Middle East; it is now merely an irritant in the Arab backyard

The recently announced deal between Hamas and Al Fatah, the two main Palestinian factions, is being lauded as a historic move for the future of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Through this political reconciliation, Hamas would cede control of Gaza’s borders and allow the rival Palestinian authority to take over the day-to-day running of the territory. A broad Arab coalition is backing the deal, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), with Hamas expecting substantial help from the Emirati and the Saudis and also getting a green light from America. One positive aspect of the deal is that it will ease ...

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Saudi women are eager to take the wheel, but are they ready to be harassed even more?

On September 26th, a much-awaited milestone was achieved in Saudi Arabia – a royal decree issued by King Salman that allows Saudi women to drive. The Kingdom, which received much backlash for being the only country in the world that doesn’t already allow women to drive, has finally been relieved of this tarnish. Saudi women will no longer need their guardians’ permission to obtain a driving license nor need a man present with them in the car. After decades of struggle to get the ban uplifted, people took to social media to welcome the landmark decision, which is part of new reforms in the ...

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With one royal decree, Saudi Arabia has driven away decades of injustice

I was at the wheel of my own motor when the news came over BBC: King Salman of Saudi Arabia has issued a decree permitting Saudi women the right to drive. In one royal decree, he had swept away decades of injustice against half of the Kingdom. As I navigated the evening rush hour in New York, I felt the tears welling up in my eyes. An almost unintelligible Saudi women activist speaking to the BBC babbled with joy at the news, announcing that she would now drive her dream car – a Ford Mustang convertible. Saudi Arabia until today was the only country in the world to ban women from ...

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Why is Pakistan assumed to be the only saviour of the entire Islamic world?

Many individuals have been crying hoarse over how the Pakistan Army should be sent to Myanmar to help out the Rohingya Muslims that are being brutally massacred. I would like to ask the said individuals to reconsider their stance. Yes, we are truly upset and shocked at what is happening in Myanmar, but we already have enough going on in our own country and we have to protect our people first. Our soldiers are constantly on their feet on the Line of Control (LoC) as well as the Durrand Line, especially given the recent skirmishes. Moreover, our soldiers are valiantly fighting against militants in North ...

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16 years after 9/11: Its tragic memory, surreal aftermath and the insecure world it left behind

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, young men like me who had posed as ‘Marxists’ across the 80s were overwhelmed by a sense of both sadness and dread. And yet we knew that things in our beloved Soviet Union were not quite like what we had imagined – a socialist Utopia in which the working classes (the proletariat) had risen above economic, religious and social biases to consolidate their own rule according to the noble dictates of Marxist-Leninism. I was 22 in 1988 and about to head out to a university in Moscow on a scholarship. The plan was ...

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