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Showing posts from November, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s Lebanon gamble may pay off

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Source: MyBeirut@hronicles
By James M. Dorsey
Time will tell, but Saudi Arabia’s gamble to pressure Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, Lebanese Shiite militia, by forcing Saad Hariri, the country’s prime minister, to resign, may be paying off despite widespread perceptions that the manoeuvre backfired.
Broad international support for Mr. Hariri following his announcement from Riyadh in a speech in which he denounced Hezbollah as an Iranian proxy that was wreaking havoc in the Middle East and the prime minister’s decision to put his resignation on hold once he returned to Beirut to a rock star’s welcome reinforced the belief that Saudi Arabia had overplayed his hand.
Mr. Hariri’s decision has, however, opened the door to backroom negotiations in which Hezbollah, a major Lebanese political force, is finding that it may have to compromise to avoid a political breakdown in Lebanon and secure achievement of its most immediate goals.
Mr. Hariri is believed to be demanding that Hezbollah halt i…

'UK and Saudi Arabia are interested in changing the perception of the war in Yemen' - James M. Dorsey on Radio Sputnik

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Gulf Crisis Creates Opportunity for Asian Nations (JMD on Pragati)

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Gulf Crisis Creates Opportunity for Asian NationsJames M. Dorsey 28 Nov, 2017
The rift between the Gulf countries and Qatar has created a space for Asian countries to step in to engage with the small peninsular state.
There’s a silver lining for Asian countries in the six-month old crisis in the Gulf that pits a UAE- Saudi-led alliance against Qatar. That is as long as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates shy away from attempting to harness their financial muscle to shore up lagging international support for their diplomatic and economic boycott of the idiosyncratic Gulf state.
Asian nations, including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,

Targeting Islamic scholars from Malaysia to Tunisia, Saudia Arabia puts itself in the bull’s eye

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Source: Sabsetej By James M. Dorsey
By declaring the Qatar-based International Union of Islamic Scholars (ILUM) a terrorist organization, Saudi Arabia is confronting some of the world’s foremost Islamic political parties and religious personalities, opening itself up to criticism for its overtures to Israel, and fuelling controversy in countries like Malaysia and Tunisia.
In a statement earlier this week, Saudi Arabia charged that ILUM was “using Islamic rhetoric as a cover to facilitate terrorist activities.” The banning of ILUM goes to the heart of the Gulf crisis that pits a UAE-Saudi-led alliance against Qatar and is driven by United Arab Emirates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed’s visceral opposition to any expression of political Islam.
The UAE for several years has sought with little evident success to counter ILUM’s influence by establishing groups like the Muslim Council of Elders and the Global Forum for Prompting Peace in Muslim Societies as well as the Sawab and Hedayah Cen…

Trouble in sport's paradise: Can Qatar overcome the diplomatic crisis?

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By James M. Dorsey
The crisis in the Gulf that pits Qatar against a UAE-Saudi-led alliance is Qatar’s least problem when it comes to the 2022 World Cup.
Beyond the fact that efforts by Gulf states, first and foremost among which the United Arab Emirates, have sought to discredit Qatar as a host long before the UAE and Saudi Arabia in June declared their diplomatic and economic boycott, Qatar has proven capable of addressing potential disruptions.
The import of construction materials may have become more expensive and they may have to travel a longer route, but that does not impair the Gulf state’s ability to complete infrastructure on time.
In some ways, if the Gulf crisis were to last another five years until the World Cup, attendance may prove to be a more important issue. Not because Qatar would still be involved in a dispute with its neighbours. The crisis has already become the new normal. Even if it were resolved today, regional relationships will never return to the status qu…