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Saudi Arabia

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The big news today is that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are clubbing together to overthrow the Assad regime. Actually, this is old news. What happened today is that the news embargo was lifted and the AP’s Desmond Butler got to print the scoop. It was apparent for a couple weeks that something along these lines... Read More
From my ever interesting and amusing twitter feed @chinahand, with some minor edits: China Matters crystal ball tells me:  1) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is switching from jihadi strategy to great power negotiations in response to IS fiasco 2) KSA is saying, "OK, we'll help clean up our IS mess, but Assad's gotta go. Syria's... Read More
[Subsequent to e-mailing this piece to China Matters subscribers, I went back and added a paragraph about the "28 pages" and the legal jeopardy they might pose to Saudi Arabia in US courts, and some thoughts about the "anti-IS campaign" as a harbinger of a new US approach to pursuing limited goals in the region.... Read More
Seymour Hersh has an important piece up at the London Review of Books implicating Turkey in the August 2013 sarin gas incident that almost triggered a US attack on Syria.  I wonder how much traction it will get.   Specifically, will it get more traction than the recent clandestine Youtube release of the confab between the... Read More
A year ago there was a certain amount of back and forth as to what it meant that Saudi Arabia had pushed Qatar out of the leadership position on Syria and whether the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was going to go along with the Syria peace process. I was of the opinion that the Kingdom... Read More
As US-Iran rapprochement inches toward at least partial consummation in Geneva, I wish to offer a few observations: 1) The Iran nuclear weapons threat has always been a McGuffin, an excuse for various powers to advance an anti-Iran agenda. 2) Chief among the usual suspects is, of course, Israel under PM Netanyahu. If the Israeli... Read More
Over the last year or so, I’ve taken the bet  that Saudi Arabia is pursuing a strategy of regime collapse in Syria. In practical terms, this means that the KSA won’t support a Syria peace process that achieves a measure of accommodation between the Ba’athist ruling party (with or without Assad) and the opposition, popular,... Read More
My post on the competing strategies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar received a considerable amount of thoughtful comment and pushback by e-mail and on the Web, more than I’m accustomed to receive for a non-China post from somebody who has only an informed layman’s interest in the Middle East. Maybe I came up with something... Read More
With all the reams of reporting on Syria, I am surprised that relatively little is written, in English anyway, about the divergence of aims between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood and, it appears, would not object to a brokered deal to end the insurrection that allows the MB to get its... Read More
Via Laura Rozen, more talk of Hillary Clinton jawboning Saudi Arabia to assure Chinese energy supplies if a) China votes for Iran sanctions and b) Iran’s petroleum exports to China are disrupted as a result. China, of course, considers itself a great power with its own energy allies in the Middle East, not an awkward... Read More
One happened, the other didn’t. Together, they shed some light on the nature of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Middle East affairs. The first was something of a foreign affairs bombshell: Saudi Arabia’s invitation to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad to join this year’s haj...an invitation that Ahmadinejad accepted with alacrity. From the Teheran Times: The standard narrative... Read More
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