Commentaries


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Author: Aisha Al-Sarihi
Saudi Arabia joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and, in 2016, ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, which was adopted in 2015. For a country that has not significantly contributed to the historic accumulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but at the same time has an economy underpinned by the windfall profits from hydrocarbon exports, Saudi Arabia has adopted a cautious position toward climate action. Specifically, Saudi Arabia’s cautious approach toward global climate change mitigation measures has allowed time for the Kingdom to strategically identify its own climate mitigation measures that take into considerat
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Author: David R. Stroup
Since 2018, a campaign to “Sinicize” so-called “Arabic Style” mosques has been carried out in ethnic Hui minority communities in China. These mosques, built in the wake of China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) feature overtly Islamic architectural features: onion domes, tall minarets, spires topped by crescent moons. Building mosques in this style gained popularity over the last 40 years, and many Hui felt the buildings symbolized the re-emergence of Islam after years of suppression. Further, for numerous Hui communities, building in the “Arab Style” allowed congregants to feel a renewed connection to their Islamic heritage. In Siniciz
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Author: Mohamed Al-Sbitli
This publication is available in Arabic only.    
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Author: Hamza Kashgari
On April 3, 2021, twenty-two royal mummies were transferred from the Egyptian National Museum in central Cairo to the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in eastern Cairo. According to an official of the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, an attempt to emulate the past “just as it was in the age of the pharaohs” was made in order to capture the significance of the event. To accomplish this aim, an emblem of religious signification was designed, as were a number of other symbols, both ancient and religious or mythological. The symbols contained references to actual archaeological artifacts, without which the simulation would be empty. Religious rituals
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Author: Mohamed Al-Sbitli
This publication is available in Arabic only.    
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Author: Sarah Aljishi
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river, the world’s longest river, is part of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s vision to transform Ethiopia into a major regional player, and to a unite what is now a divided Ethiopia. However, negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, the three states sharing the river, on how to operate and allocate this water supply has come to a deadlock. In 2011, Ethiopia officially announced the construction of the GERD, and these three states have been in negotiations ever since. The African Union (AU) led by South Africa has been involved as mediator in these negotiations to ease tensions between the nations, and make su
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Author: Fahad L. Alghalib Alsharif
In recent decades, the Gulf states’ kafala sponsorship system (henceforth “kafala”) has been systematically scrutinized due to widespread violations of international labor and human rights conventions and norms. While some Gulf states have previously attempted to reform their kafala, Saudi Arabia has boldly announced comprehensive labor reforms in October 2020 by rigorously imposing strict and clear Islamic rules, which are principally rooted in fair and just treatment of migrant labor. These kafala reforms are in line with Saudi Arabia’s economic and political interests, as well as complementary to its Islamic religiou
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Author: Faisal Abualhassan
Recent debate about Islam in France and the discourses of French President Emmanuel Macron, following his October 2020 speech on the “fight against separatism” and his government’s calls for strengthened security laws to control French mosques following the beheading of the high-school teacher Samuel Paty in the same month, have seen the French president and his supporters rally around the need for “republican values” in French Islam, namely respect for laïcité, a word that is too often accepted in France as synonymous with secularism. This commentary seeks to clarify the concept of laïcité, both in French history in
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Author: Joshua Yaphe
With a transition in Washington, discussions in Western capitals will inevitably turn to the issues of how to deal with Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Yemen and Libya, and so forth. Alongside those issues, almost underpinning some of them in a sense, is the matter of reassessing the security architecture in the Gulf and in the region more broadly. Policy planners in Western capitals will have their own ideas for desired outcomes in the region, but as they weigh their options they should consider how the format and structure of a security architecture can inadvertently shape and limit its effectiveness. The design and process of con
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Author: Mohamed Al-Sbitli
This publication is available in Arabic only.
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