The kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s conservatism is well-known. It is religious, social, and political. Saudi Arabia is a monarchy whose legitimacy is supported by clerical authority. Many outsiders, particularly Westerners, assume from this that the country is entirely retrograde, that reform of its institutions, laws and society may never come. Continue reading
Last Saturday, three events in Saudi Arabia caught the attention of the world.
The first was the remarkable news that the kingdom had intercepted and neutralised a missile over Riyadh. This was quickly determined to have been launched from Yemen, which was swiftly blockaded, with its sea, land and air ports abruptly closed. Continue reading
The situation on the Korean peninsula has not been good for a long time. But the ceasefire agreed in the 1950s, following years of open warfare, seems more strained now than at any moment in recent memory. Continue reading
The war in Yemen is far away. But it is never far from significance. A British ally, Saudi Arabia, is leading an Arab coalition engaged in intervening in the country. This intervention is primarily directed against Houthi rebels, who have received material and moral support from Iran. British special forces are in the country; a supply of British arms plays an undeniable role. Continue reading
Barack Obama had Cairo. That was where he delivered a speech calculated in its intention and high-flown in its language. It was 2009. He had just ascended to office. It was his moment: a young, fresh-faced American president on his first major visit to a Muslim country. He turned his address into an invocation, extended to the Muslim world at large. Continue reading
Donald Trump is not a humanitarian by nature. He is a hard-headed businessman, a guy for whom winning, in a notably zero-sum way, is all.
He wants the United States to win at the expense of everyone else – be it in trade or in war. Morally, the president says he will stop at nothing to achieve this ambition. Continue reading
Saudi Arabia is more, in many ways, than a country. It is also a potent symbol Continue reading