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Old 02-13-2013   #21
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Default Will the rulers listen and learn?

A rare commentary on Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, with a Shia majority, who can have an unhappy relationship with their rulers. Interesting to see some Sunni-Shia dialogue.

Link:http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/20...-promises/ffnh

Ends with:
Quote:
Finally, many in the province point approvingly to a sweeping investigation into the disturbances of the East published last year by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies and leaked to an opposition website. Based on extensive interviews, the 125-page document is remarkable for its objectivity and detail in identifying the roots of dissent in the Eastern Province as an entrenched social, economic, and political problem—rather than as the usual explanations of criminality or Iranian-assisted subversion. “It is Saudi Arabia’s own Bassiouni Report,” noted one Shia activist in Safwa, referring to the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Sadly though, the document may suffer a similar fate as its Bahraini counterpart; it seems unclear as to whether or not Saudi authorities have the power—or even the will—to act on its recommendations.
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Old 03-09-2013   #22
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Default Bubbling along Saudi style

Small protests in Suadi Arabia, including in Riyadh; from a previously unknown source via a reputable hat tip:http://muftah.org/saudi-arabia-on-lo...exWNvk.twitter

A taster:
Quote:
The Saudi regime’s failure to deal in a just manner with calls for reforms and civil and human rights has exacerbated popular frustration, and increased challenges to the government’s legitimacy.
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Old 03-23-2013   #23
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Default Kuwait's deepening political turmoil

An IISS Strategic Comment, which opens with:
Quote:
With a popularly elected parliament and relatively open political system, Kuwait is an exception among Gulf states. The resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammed in November 2011 marked the first time in the region that public pressure had succeeded in ousting a head of government. However, after nearly 18 months of feuding and two dissolutions of parliament, there is no sign of an end to the power struggle between the government and opposition factions. As Gulf governments harden their positions in the face of domestic unrest following the 2011 Arab uprisings, the relative openness of Kuwaiti politics may be at risk.

(And ends)As the constitutional court's verdict nears, the government will have to decide whether appeasement or containment of opposition groups is the best way to harmonise and restore balance to Kuwait's political structure. A radical transformation may be unlikely, but a compromise between different political factions could temporarily bring the crisis to a halt. The challenge for Kuwait is to attain stable government and at the same time accommodate an increasingly ambitious opposition.
Link:http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...tical-turmoil/

There is a thread on The US-Kuwaiti strategic relationship, from 2007-2008:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3924
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Old 04-11-2013   #24
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Default Can Saudi Arabia survive?

Yesterday my wife and I watched the hour-long documentary by the BBC's security correspondent Frank Gardner, who had returned to Saudi Arabia, where he was shot by Al Qaeda in 2004, and his explanation how it has so far avoided an Arab Spring revolution. My wife would normally not watch such TV, but remarked it was very good.

Frank Gardner is a fluent Arabic speaker which helps, even if this was made with official "minders" it featured numerous critics.

Sometimes such BBC TV is not available beyond the UK, but assuming it is the link is:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode..._Saudi_Arabia/
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Old 07-12-2013   #25
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Default A Gulf Sheikdom after UAE94

Christopher Davidson, author of 'After the Sheikhs: The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies', spoke this week:
Quote:
... the "UAE 94" trial provides a useful example of how these monarchies deal with opposition.
Ah, what is the UAE 94? Very briefly:
Quote:
Last week, just a day before Morsi's ousting, verdicts were announced in the "UAE 94" case – a mass trial of Emirati activists which has been condemned by human rights organisations as fundamentally unfair. Of the 94 accused, 69 were given jail sentences of between seven and 15 years, while 25 others were acquitted. Many – but by no means all – of them are members of al-Islah, a local Islamic movement which the authorities have been eager to link to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Link:http://www.al-bab.com/blog/2013/july...opposition.htm
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Old 01-14-2014   #26
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Default Insight on offer

Alerted via Twitter to a new book 'Sectarian Politics in the Gulf: From the Iraq War to the Arab Uprising' (Pub. Columbia University Press, December 2013), by Frederic Wehrey, from Carnegie:carnegieendowment.org/experts/?fa=709

Amazon.com link:http://www.amazon.com/Sectarian-Poli...+Arab+Uprising

One review, my emphasis:
Quote:
Sectarian Politics in the Gulf represents the most up-to-date and insightful study on the politics of sectarianism in three key Gulf countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain. Far from being an intrinsic or innate feature of these societies, Prof. Wehrey shows in careful detail how sectarianism is invoked, produced and instrumentalized, and for very specific goals by governments, clerics as well as members of the Shii opposition. The book's argument situates sectarianism within local and regional political dynamics and contexts, and through this underscores that as a political phenomenon sectarianism cannot be apprehended by historically-rooted religious hatred. Based on a careful reading of primary sources and extensive fieldwork in the region, including in-depth interviews with many of the key activists, this book provides the most comprehensive and readable account of religious politics in the Gulf today.
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Old 04-16-2014   #27
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Default What do the Emirs & Kings need? Muscle - not their own

Logical and almost predictable for the Gulf sheikhdoms & KSA:
Quote:
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has invited Jordan and Morocco to form a military alliance to resolve the bloc’s manpower issues....The most recent move, according to the Jordanian official, is seen as another step in solidifying the relationship between the only remaining monarchies in the Arab world.
Link:http://www.defensenews.com/article/2...Jordan-Morocco

Now whether the people accept fellow Arabs from elsewhere is a moot point. Who says mercenaries are history?
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