Saudi Arabia

June 29, 2017
Last Friday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt provided Qatar with a list of 13 harsh demands that Qatar must meet within 10 days in order to have sanctions lifted, some of which include shutting down the Al Jazeera network, severing all ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, reducing ties
June 29, 2017
The dispute between Qatar and its Arab neighbors has now entered its fourth week, causing an uptick in tension throughout the Middle East. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with Marcelle Wahba, former U.S.
June 29, 2017
The tense standoff between Qatar and a group of Middle East countries that includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates is nearing the one-month mark with no resolution in sight.
June 27, 2017
Two weeks have passed since I wrote the column about the Saudi-Qatar split, and as of today the Trump administration seems still unable to get its mixed messages together so Washington can play the traditional U.S. leadership role in keeping its Gulf partners together.
June 15, 2017
Saudi-China bilateral relations took a notable upswing this March after Saudi King Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping signed landmark economic deals worth approximately $65 billion. The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel spoke with Gary Grappo, former U.S.
June 15, 2017
As a major importer of oil from both Saudi Arabia and Iran, and with expanding economic interests in the Middle East, China has a stake in maintaining stability in the volatile region.
June 15, 2017
China, for some time, has performed a delicate balancing act in the Middle East. As a major importer of oil from two archrivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Beijing has managed to pursue its economic ambitions despite divisive regional politics.
June 13, 2017
Today’s diplomatic chaos pitting Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt, and other Sunni states against Qatar, can be partly blamed on Trump’s ill thought out utterances and his administration’s resultant mixed messaging in the controversy.
June 1, 2017
The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Emad Kiyaei, Policy Advisor at the American Iranian Council to discuss Iran’s recent elections, U.S. President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East, and how Iran could react to the establishment of an “Arab NATO.”
May 30, 2017
What’s the outcome of President Trump’s trip last week to the Middle East? I’ll focus mainly on what may be the after effects of the first days of his trip in Saudi Arabia, where he was treated like a visiting potentate.
February 19, 2017
At a time that several Middle Eastern nations are plagued with civil strife, the Gulf Cooperation Council is a beacon of unity that has contributed to security and stability in the Arabian Gulf and beyond.
February 19, 2017
The Cipher Brief sat down with Marcelle Wahba, President of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, to discuss internal dynamics within the Gulf Cooperation Council.
January 8, 2017
Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, subscribed to the philosophy, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” a line attributed to Sun Tzu, the famous sixth-century Chinese military strategist. Mr.
October 26, 2016
Saudi Arabia’s decision at the informal gathering of OPEC countries in Algeria on September 28th to reverse course and agree to participate in a production cut took markets by surprise. It immediately had its intended effect.
September 30, 2016
The relationship between military spending and GDP growth in peacetime seems an easy equation. When a country’s economy is healthy and growing, it can splurge on fancy new equipment and a larger standing army.
September 30, 2016
How steady are the hands on the steering wheel of Saudi Arabia?
September 15, 2016
Throughout American electoral history, Saudi Arabia’s ruling Al Saud family, particularly the kings, has refrained from commenting on U.S. presidential candidates. But if they could now or even cast a vote, for whom would it be?
September 15, 2016
If Donald Trump, the Republican Party nominee for the presidency of the United States, found it convenient to propose a ban of all Muslims from entering the country, his vision on how to go about his deed shocked one of America’s closest allies.  Hundreds of thousands of Saudis who studied in the
September 15, 2016
As we draw closer to November 8 and the U.S. presidential race heats up, countries around the world have focused on how the potential election of either Republican nominee Donald Trump or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will impact their relations with the United States.
June 15, 2016
On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, arrived in Washington, D.C. to hold high-level talks with top U.S. officials, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
June 15, 2016
Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Riyadh in April, and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit to the U.S. this week, friction in the U.S.-Saudi relationship remains palpable.
June 15, 2016
Despite a semblance of rocky ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, bilateral relations between the two countries remains vital to the U.S. and extremely vital to Saudi Arabia.
June 9, 2016
The sixteen months since Salman bin Abdul Aziz became king of Saudi Arabia have been stressful times as the Kingdom has faced economic and strategic challenges as well as strains in its critical partnership with the United States.
June 1, 2016
Saudi Arabia is confronting a pivotal moment in its history.
June 1, 2016
Ripple effects have been felt across the Kingdom as the Saudi royal family transitions to a new generation of leaders. According to former U.S.
June 1, 2016
For almost a century, Kool-Aid experts on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia saw little more than gloom and doom, imminent collapse of the ruling family, social backwardness and economic failure.
May 26, 2016
Arguably any nation’s foreign policy begins with an understanding of its security concerns.  To understand Saudi Arabia’s current foreign policy, often confusing to many given its current venture into Yemen, one must first assess security considerations as the Saudis see them.  Their view is diff
May 26, 2016
Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy has taken on a new face. In Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, and elsewhere, Saudi military intervention has signaled a drastic shift from its traditionally cautious foreign policy to one that is increasingly assertive and aggressive.
May 26, 2016
As dynamics in the Middle East continue to shift, Saudi Arabia has taken on a more aggressive foreign policy approach.
April 21, 2016
The Saudis and the Houthis are not talking.
April 21, 2016
Peace talks between the Saudi Arabians – who support the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in Yemen – and the Houthis were set to begin Monday, after a UN-backed ceasefire went into effect April 10.
April 21, 2016
Peace talks are stalled and a ceasefire between the Saudis and the Houthis in Yemen is not holding. This is exactly what terrorist groups, like al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamic State, want.
February 25, 2016
The chaos we’re seeing today throughout the Mideast continues to escalate and shows no signs of subsiding.
February 25, 2016
In the past five years, the Middle East has suffered from a double collapse. 
February 25, 2016
A couple years ago, when the Middle East was in turmoil but considerably less complicated than today, I was at a small gathering of foreign policy specialists, including one eminent Middle East expert who has followed the region for 25 years.  As we speculated about the region's future, this expe
February 18, 2016
Jordan’s past experience battling al-Qaeda in Iraq has prepared it for its ongoing offensive against ISIS, explained Dr. Musa Keilani to The Cipher Brief. A former Jordanian Ambassador to Bahrain, Dr.
February 18, 2016
According to Dr. Jamal Al Shalabi, Professor of Political Science at the Hashemite University, turmoil in the Middle East has prompted Jordan to strengthen cooperation with its neighbors.
February 18, 2016
As threats in the Middle East continue to loom large, Jordan’s successes in battling ISIS on the frontlines and promoting cooperation in the Middle East have proven critical.
February 7, 2016
Former head of Israel’s Shin Bet and current Knesset member Yaakov Perry discussed Israel’s cooperation with its neighbors to combat regional threats.
February 7, 2016
The collapse or weakening of state authority in different parts of the Middle East and Africa, together with growing inner challenges and chronic instability in large parts of the region and the widening and escalating Iranian-Arab power struggle, creates a chaotic environment militant Islamic gr
January 25, 2016
On Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Iran, the last stop on a whirlwind tour of the Middle East, which included visits to Egypt and Saudi Arabia as well.
January 25, 2016
President Xi Jinxing’s visit to the Middle East last week appeared to be business as usual.
January 20, 2016
Although the sanctions on Iran have been lifted as part of the nuclear deal, former Treasury Department official Adam Smith said the U.S. will continue to impose sanctions on Iran for its terrorist, human rights, and ballistic missile activities.
January 20, 2016
The year 1979 is remembered by most Americans for the takeover of the United States embassy in Tehran.  That year was pivotal for people in the region, as it marked the establishment of an Islamist government in Iran and the takeover of the Holy Mosque in Mecca by a group of fundamentalists led b
January 20, 2016
Speaking from the White House on the day after the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, President Obama proudly declared “Today is a good day” demonstrating what is possible with “strong American dip
January 20, 2016
Iran’s every move will be closely scrutinized by the international community now that sanctions have been lifted over its nuclear program, providing Iran access to tens of billions of dollars in frozen assets.
December 17, 2015
The Arab Spring was the beacon of hope that would free millions from the grip of autocratic rulers.   At first, it looked promising.  One by one, the dictators fell: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Moammar Khadafy in Libya, Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen.   Many believed
December 17, 2015
The “Arab Spring” of 2011-12 has profoundly changed the Middle East, but much is misunderstood about its effects.  First, it did not produce, other than in Tunisia, lasting liberalization and more democracy in the states of the region.
December 17, 2015
When the so-called Arab Spring burst upon the Middle East five years ago, Henry Kissinger remarked that this was only “scene one of act one of a five act play.”  How right he was.
December 17, 2015
As the citizens of Arab nations reflect on the fifth anniversary of the popular revolts of 2011, they are likely to feel a sense of malaise and frustration.

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