Workers, Finance woes, and Israel (May 1-7)

Foreign workers Saudi papers and media outlets have seen an uptick in discussions of foreign workers - probably concerns over Saudi citizens' employment once the economy starts to open up again + reported COVID-19 cases being disproportionately among expatriate workers in the Kingdom. These have ranged from fairly neutral discussions of statistics and labor markets … Continue reading Workers, Finance woes, and Israel (May 1-7)

Coronavirus

COVID-19 (U.S. Department of State) Government Reactions and Commentary [Update] The government has announced a wave of flight cancellations, although airlines have been left to fill in the details for many cases: First, several MENA destinations along with South Korea and Italy: https://twitter.com/KSAmofaEN/status/1236782999934509056 Then several European destinations, including Germany and France as well as Turkey … Continue reading Coronavirus

The Deal of the Century

The Palestinian Issue Through the (Very Recent) Ages First, check out Ian Black's excellent review of GCC-Israel ties. Now, a look back at the past 5 years or so of prominent commentator Abdelrahman al-Rashed's main articles related to Palestine and the Palestinians. From 2014 - "The Secret of Palestine's Negotiations" I doubt that Kerry’s plan … Continue reading The Deal of the Century

Qassem Suleimani

[To be updated] Official and Semi-official: Restraint The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs was guarded in its official statement, despite implicitly referencing past Iran-associated actions as justification and motivation for the act. The Kingdom “calls for the importance of self-restraint” to avoid “aggravating the situation, with unbearable consequences.” https://twitter.com/KSAmofaEN/status/1213136791966027776 Adel Jubeir (Minister of State for … Continue reading Qassem Suleimani

Aramco, Pensacola, Etc.

" Maj. Gen. Terrence J. McKenrick, US Army Central deputy commanding and Gen. Dhafer bin Ali Al-Shehri, Royal Saudi Land Forces northwest area commander, attend the Earnest Leader 17 closing ceremony held in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on August 10, 2017.  " U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Mark Hanson Pensacola Shooting After a … Continue reading Aramco, Pensacola, Etc.

Riyadh Agreement and Aramco IPO (11/4 to 11/11)

Riyadh Agreement One of the top stories for local media and commentary was the signing of the Riyadh Agreement, which "ended a three-month standoff that threatened to split the anti-Huthi bloc." (Peter Salisbury, ICG). A wide range of commentary presented this is a major diplomatic triumph for the Kingdom: Yemen could have been tossed into … Continue reading Riyadh Agreement and Aramco IPO (11/4 to 11/11)

Russia, Turkey, L. Paul Bremer III

President Vladimir Putin and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, 2018. Source. Saudi-Russia Ties A fair bit of commentary in Okaz on the Kingdom diversifying its relationships by strengthening ties to Russia - to be updated as more comes in. Update [10/17/2019]: Key Themes of Commentary: The Kingdom pursues a flexible foreign policy that balances old … Continue reading Russia, Turkey, L. Paul Bremer III

The Eye of the Storm – Abqaiq and Khurais

Kurais oil facility, one of two sites hit by attacks last weekend, in 2017 (Source: Planet Labs, Inc.) Given the demands of other work I don't have time to cover the Saudi media scene at present in depth - suffice to say that coverage of the (almost certainly but not conclusively Iranian-backed) attacks on oil … Continue reading The Eye of the Storm – Abqaiq and Khurais

Bridging the Gap(s)? (Updated 9/1)

UAE pilot, US-UAE joint exercises, 2012: Air Combat Command The anti-Houthi coalition has witnessed layers of recriminations over the past couple of weeks: the STC accusing the UN-recognized Hadi government as corrupt and incompetent, thereby justifying the STC’s takeover in the Souththe Hadi government accusing the STC and the UAE of acting in concert to … Continue reading Bridging the Gap(s)? (Updated 9/1)

The UAE and its leadership are a red line, yet…

The latest flare-up of KSA-UAE tensions regarding Yemen appears to have come to something of a close with Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan, a major instigator behind a series of international Twitter spats over the weekend, opting to take a 10-day Twitter sabbatical. While it remains to be seen whether Dhahi Khalfan keeps to his … Continue reading The UAE and its leadership are a red line, yet…