Mohammed bin Salman © Faisal Al Nasser / Reuters

Riyadh Explores Anti-Iranian Embrace of Israel – But Risks 1979-Like Blowback

The semi-secret security alliance between Saudi Arabia and Israel may be expanding into the sphere of ideology and street politics, but Riyadh may be at risk of tripping a conservative Islamist backlash. The existence of some form of security and intelligence cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel is hardly news for Middle East observers. United …

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Saudi Arabia’s Protesting Princes: Public Relations Disaster for Whom?

Saudi Arabia arrested 11 princes who were protesting the government’s recent decision to stop paying their utility bills. Riyadh implemented a mild austerity plan at the start of the year that also saw the elimination of other state subsidies such as those for gas as well as the introduction of a 5% sales tax on …

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Don’t Expect Trump to Send in the Cavalry If MbS Has to Circle Wagons

Whether or not he is a purveyor of “alternative facts”, Michael Wolff in Fire and Fury tries to get inside the mind of Donald Trump when working out Washington’s new Middle East foreign policy. In Wolff’s words, this is what the United States president was thinking. “There are basically four players [or at least we can forget …

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House of Saud’s Power Struggle Could Turn Bloody

Over the coming months, the current power struggle within the House of Saud may develop into a bloody affair. For a long time Al-Saud boasted that unlike previous emirates and sheikhdoms that had previously ruled Arabia, they avoided bloody power struggles among themselves. The situation now seems to be different. In 2007, the Al-Saud invented …

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A ‘Stable Genius’ or White Trash in the White House?

One of the delights of reading Michael Wolff’s account of life in the White House is to picture the US president doing the same. You can see him wearing his golf face, stomping up and down the cramped presidential lodgings, screaming down his mobile phone. As he does so, his signature comb-over starts to unravel, …

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‘Only Game in Town’: Saudi Heir Allegedly Urges Abbas to Accept US Peace Plan

Mohammad bin Salman has held talks with Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid the heightened tensions over the US decision to recognize the whole city of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. The heir to the Saudi crown has tried to convince the president of the Palestinian Authority to accept the peace scheme proposed by the …

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Mohammed Bin Salman’s Ill-Advised Ventures Have Weakened Saudi Arabia

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of Saudi Arabia is the undoubted Middle East man of the year, but his great impact stems more from his failures than his successes. He is accused of being Machiavellian in clearing his way to the throne by the elimination of opponents inside and outside the royal family. But, …

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Trump, Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman: Destroyers of the Neoliberal World Order

The neoliberal world order has been in crisis for some years now, with no signs of recovery. Trump's victory is an expression of a breach of trust between the American people and the national elites. The perfect storm. This is what the situation in the Middle East looks like. More and more events in the region seem to be …

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