Posts

Showing posts from November, 2018

JMD on NBN: Sumantra Bose, "Secular States, Religious Politics, India, Turkey and the Future of Secularism"

Image
SUMANTRA BOSE Secular States, Religious Politics: India, Turkey and the Future of Secularism CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS 2018 November 28, 2018  James M. Dorsey

Sumantra Bose‘s new book Secular States, Religious Politics: India, Turkey and the Future of Secularism(Cambridge University Press, 2018) is a fascinating comparison of the rise of religious parties in the non-Western world’s two major attempts to establish a post-colonial secular state. The secular experiments in Turkey and India were considered success stories for the longest period of time but that has changed with the rise of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party in Turkey and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in India and the capture of state power by political forces with an anti-secular vision of nationhood. In his ground-breaking book, Bose attributes the rise of secularism to the fact that non-Western states like Turkey and India never adopted the Western principle of separation o…

Saudi diplomatic offensive seeks to put Khashoggi behind it and thwart Qatar

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available onSoundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
As Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman tours friendly Arab nations in advance of the Group of 20 (G-20) industrialized nations summit in Argentina, Saudi diplomacy aims to achieve two goals: put the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi behind it and thwart Qatari efforts to benefit from the kingdom’s predicament.
The Saudi campaign is producing predictably mixed results. It is proving successful with nations willing to back it for political, financial or economic gain, such as Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and Palestine or nations like the United Arab Emirates, Russia and China that share Saudi Arabia’s illiberal, authoritarian values.
Prince Mohammed and the kingdom’s ties to Western nations, even those like the United States that have opted for maintaining close ties in the face of mounting criticism in their national legislatures, hang in the balance despite having survived the…

Nuclear energy; Saudi Arabia’s coming Washington battle

Image
Nuclear energy; Saudi Arabia’s coming Washington battle
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
When Saudi General Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz went shopping in the late 1980s for Chinese medium-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear, chemical or biological warheads he made no bones about keeping the United States, one of the kingdom’s closest allies, in the dark.
it was “my task to negotiate the deal, devise an appropriate deception plan, choose a team of Saudi officers and men and arrange for their training in both Saudi Arabia and China, build and defend operation bases and storage facilities in different parts of the kingdom, arrange for the shipment of the missiles from China and, at every stage, be ready to defend the project against sabotage or any form of attack,” General Bin Sultan, a son of the late Saudi crown prince and defense minister, Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al Saud, and commander of the US-led inte…

Chinese consulate attack puts Pakistan between a rock and a hard place

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
Two attacks in Pakistan, including a brazen assault on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, are likely to complicate prime minister Imran Khan’s efforts to renegotiate China’s massive, controversial Belt and Road investments as well as an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout and ensure that Pakistan is shielded from blacklisting by an international anti-money laundering and terrorism finance watchdog.
The attack on the consulate by three members of the Balochistan Liberation Army, a militant nationalist group seeking what it terms self-determination for the troubled, resource-rich, sparsely populated Pakistani province that constitutes the heartland of China’s US$45 billion investment and the crown jewel of its infrastructure and energy generation-driven Belt and Road initiative.
The attack, together with an unrelated suicide bombing by unidentified militants that killed 26 pe…

The Khashoggi crisis: (Re)Shaping US politics as well as relations with Saudi Arabia

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
The killers of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi may have gotten more than they bargained for.
The killing has sparked multiple battles that are likely in coming months to shape relationships ranging from that between the United States and Saudi Arabia to those between US President Donald J, Trump, his Republican party, the US Congress, and the country’s intelligence community.
The fallout of the killing could also shape Mr. Trump’s ability to pursue his policy goals in the Middle East, including forcing Iran to its knees and imposing a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Rather than putting an end to differences over how to respond to Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, Mr. Trump’s decision to stand by Saudi Arabia and its crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, irrespective of who may have been responsible for the murder, marks the opening of a new round in what prominent journalis…

Saudi sports diplomacy: A mirror image of the kingdom’s already challenged policies

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
Saudi sports diplomacy is proving to be a mirror image of the kingdom’s challenged domestic, regional and foreign policies.
Overlorded by sports czar Turki al-Sheikh, Saudi sports diplomacy, like the kingdom’s broader policies, has produced at best mixed results, suggesting that financial muscle coupled with varying degrees of coercion does not guarantee success.
Mr. Al-Sheikh, a 37-year old brash and often blunt former honorary president of Saudi soccer club Al Taawoun based in Buraidah, a stronghold of religious ultra-conservatism, and a former bodyguard of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, is together with Saud al-Qahtani among the king-in-waiting’s closest associates.
Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the kingdom’s wealthiest investors, acknowledged Mr. Al-Sheikh’s ranking in the Saudi hierarchy when he made a donation of more than a half-million dollars to Saudi soccer cl…

The Khashoggi crisis: Saudi Arabia braces for tougher post-election US attitude

Image
By James M. Dorsey
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
Saudi Arabia is bracing itself for a potentially more strained relationship with the United States in the wake of Democrats gaining control of the House of Representatives in this week’s mid-term elections and mounting Turkish efforts to corner the kingdom in the Khashoggi crisis.
To counter possible US pressure, the kingdom is exploring opportunities to diversify its arms suppliers and build a domestic defense industry. It is also rallying the wagons at home with financial handouts and new development projects in a bid to bolster domestic support for crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The Democrats’ election victory has strengthened Saudi concerns that the Trump administration may pressure the kingdom to back down on key issues like the Yemen war that has sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two and the 17-month old Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led econom…

Strange bedfellows: Ideology trumps defense of ethnic, religious and minority rights

Image
A podcast version of this story is available on Soundcloud, Stitcher, TuneIn and Tumblr.
By James M. Dorsey
A global rise of nationalist and populist tendencies has not only given anti-migrant, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic and racist tendencies a new lease on life, but opened the door to alliances between groups that once would have had nothing to do with one another.
Developments in Israel, Indonesia and Germany suggest renewed nationalism and populism is in some cases redefining how states perceive concepts of national interest and purpose and how religious and ethnic communities seek to shield themselves against discrimination, persecution and/or extremism.
The redefinition was no more evident than when Israel, founded as a safe haven for Jews irrespective of creed, sect or political belief, sided against its own ambassador with authoritarian Hungarian President Victor Orban, a proponent of Christianity rather than multi-culturalism as the glue of European society, in denouncing bill…