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Saudi women drivers: the red light that never changes

Wednesday, 13. November 2013 6:28

(also published on European Council on Foreign Relations website)

Saudi liberals have been predicting for years that a decision to allow women to drive is imminent. The predictions started with Abdullah taking over the managing of state affairs as crown prince in the late 1990s and intensified after he became king in 2005. Nothing happened then and nothing has happened now, as women make considerable efforts to promote the issue through social and political activism. [...]

Category:Commentary, Published articles - 2013 | Comment (0) | Autor:

A very Gulf coup

Friday, 1. November 2013 17:31

(From the latest issue of Turkish Review, Volume 3 Issue 5:

When Hosni Mubarak handed over power to his military peers in Egypt two years ago in the face of over two weeks of determined protests, the shock and fear in the Gulf was profound. As much as the US and Israel, if not more so, Saudi Arabia in particular had long bet on the strong arm of Mubarak’s police state, with the military in the background, to maintain the ‘stability’ that kept dangerous democratic forces in check [...]

Category:Published articles - 2013 | Comment (0) | Autor:

Ali Anouzla’s Saudi Article – The Last Straw?

Wednesday, 25. September 2013 22:10

This article appeared on on 12 September and there is some speculation in Morocco that it was the spark that led to the arrest of journalist and editor Ali Anouzla five days later. Accusing Saudi Arabia of being the central force ruining the “Arab awakening” that begin in Tunisia in 2010, it was an argument rarely stated in so forthright a manner in Arab media – a reflection of the power and manipulation of Saudi Arabia in Arab media and politics. Anouzla’s web newspaper project had been infuriating the Moroccan authorities for some time – not least for its strong coverage of King Mohammed’s pardon of a Spaniard convicted of paedophilia. Prosecutors say it was the posting of an al-Qa’ida video that explains the move against Anouzla now, but few are taking that seriously. He is being held in Morocco’s worst prison, Sale near Rabat, where suspected militants are held – one indication of the government’s determination to make Anouzla pay. Just in case the Saudi article disappears completely from the Lakome website, here is the Arabic below. [...]

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Street politics and manipulation in Egypt

Friday, 5. July 2013 19:44

Street politics is an inherently unstable and risky affair. Bypassing normal rules of political engagement, it can bring great dividends and or it can be an arena for sinister manipulation. Fortunately nothing has emerged from the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings of 2011 to suggest there was any of the kind of foul play involved in the street protests of 1953 in Iran against elected prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, now widely regarded as part of a CIA-orchestrated coup. [...]

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Qatar: For My Next Trick…

Sunday, 9. June 2013 19:25

Qatar coup stories are of course dime-a-dozen. Doha has many potential enemies, from Iran and pro-Assad groups, to anti-Muslim Brotherhood regimes like Saudi Arabia who are with Qatar in the anti-Assad camp. The latest in the rumour mill is a bit more intriguing – that the Emir could be preparing to transfer much if not most of his powers to the heir apparent Prince Tameem. [...]

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Saudi Succession Struggle: One Man Down

Sunday, 21. April 2013 20:41

The news on Sunday that the deputy Saudi defence minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan had been removed from his post comes after a series of position changes among senior Saudi princes that have sped up in recent months as King Abdullah closes in on 90 years old, if he isn’t already there. Things began to heat up in earnest from 2009 when veteran interior minister Prince Nayef, like Abdullah, one of the first generation of sons of the modern state’s founder King Abdulaziz, was made second deputy prime minister, a surprise move from a king who was known not to get on with a powerful half-brother seen as the real strongman on the ground. Nayef died last year, since which time the jockeying among the sons of the main sons of Abdulaziz – Abdullah, Fahd, Nayef, Salman, Sultan – has intensified dramatically, or at least what we might call dramatic in the Saudi context. [...]

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Why Doha isn’t about to give up the Brotherhood

Thursday, 18. April 2013 22:52

It has become rather fashionable in some circles to predict the imminent demise of Qatar’s alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Brotherhood calques around the Arab world. I don’t see it happening, and here’s why: [...]

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The Human Touch in Jeddah: A Saudi Film

Monday, 15. April 2013 3:14

Ahd Kamel’s Sanctity was a real surprise at the Gulf Film Festival. Saudi cinema has taken off in recent years despite a multitude of obtacles – an informal ban on public cinema houses and state funding of cinema, and frequent interference from the religious police in attempts to promote cinema such as the Jeddah film festival that began in 2007. Individuals such as Saudi director Haifaa Mansour have, however, represented a beacon of hope for budding directors, with a series of works that have been well-received in international film forums, including last year’s Wadjda [...]

Category:cinema, Literature, Popculture | Comments (1) | Autor:

The Islamic Utopia: some snippets

Thursday, 25. October 2012 12:37

Here is a chapter list and short bits of random text:


“Given the brutal police states that some of the nation-state regimes in the Arab region became, Saudi Arabia could have been viewed as an indigenous model that survived colonialism: the Najd region where the Saudi-Wahhabi state first emerged in the mid-eighteenth century was one of the few areas of the Arabian peninsula to avoid direct European control and imperial subjugation. Indeed, since the oil boom of the 1970s, white- and blue-collar labour from around the world clamoured to live in Saudi Arabia for a job, a better wage and a better living. Saudis are ensured education and welfare coverage in a relatively safe and clean environment; the Muslim is offered sanitised access to certain aspects of modernity – fast-food restaurants, high-tech gadgetry, the internet, designer home furnishings. Only Westerners complain because there is no easy, regularised access to branded alcohol and corporatised nightlife. [...]

Category:Literature | Comment (0) | Autor:

A Book is Born

Tuesday, 16. October 2012 20:23

Pluto Press Logo - Independent Progressive Publishing

Middle East Studies

Category:Literature | Comment (0) | Autor: