Commentaries


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Author: Mohamed Al-Sbitli
This publication is available in Arabic only. 
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Author: Rizwan Rafi Togoo
The commentary investigates recent political developments in Malaysia and their impact on bilateral relations between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, arguing that as a result of the recent change in power structures in Malaysia, the country will shift to a non-confrontational foreign policy based on economic pragmatism. Given Malaysia’s recent political developments, the commentary highlights the prospects for enhanced Saudi-Malaysian relations following a brief period of strained relations under the Mahathir Mohammed-led administration.
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Author: Hifa Almutawa
Since 2020, the conflict in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region has been one of the most terrifying  and challenging the Horn of Africa has confronted in decades. It has been more than a year since  Ethiopia’s federal government, under the direction of the prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched  a military campaign against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray. Moreover,  the two sides appear to have dug in, taking Ethiopia to the brink of collapse. Since late 2020, many  thousands of people have died, while others have been internally displaced or fled across the border  into neighboring Sudan. The United Nations Sec
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Author: Amal Kandeel
The need for access to and use of safe and clean energy resources is universal. But energy access and use are often constrained in challenging socioeconomic contexts and for disadvantaged communities. There is a real risk that vulnerable rural communities worldwide will continue to be left out of whatever energy development achievements are made in their respective regions or countries. This risk is elevated for rural communities in some agriculture-based Arab countries where poverty is widespread, and the scarcity of freshwater is high and rising due to population growth and the climate crisis. Improving energy security within these communities and reducing the risk that they w
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Author: Mohammed Al-Sudairi
The commentary investigates China’s position on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, arguing that it is unlikely to extend substantive support to Russia over the short or medium terms. The commentary then highlights some of the lessons its stance might have for observers in the Gulf.
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Author: Mohamed Al-Sbitli
This publication is available in Arabic only. 
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Author: Adam Michael Baron
The situation in Yemen is arguably as confusing as ever, but what does seem clear is that the year has started with a series of conflagrations. Military escalation on the ground has seen the most significant and sudden battlefield shifts in quite some time. Simultaneously, cross-border attacks have seen the Houthi movement, or Ansar Allah—a predominately Zaidi Shia revivalist movement that has upset the region’s geopolitical balance— launch missile strikes that directly hit Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Characterizations of a frozen conflict have been turned on their head—all the while underlining the seemingly intractable nature of the con
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Author: Zaki Shaikh
This article begins by analyzing the factors contributing to the recent unrest in Kazakhstan and how Russian commentators have leveraged media debates to call for the deployment of peacekeeping troops to the Central Asian country. Next, it explores the possible motivations driving Kazakh and Russian leaders’ cooperation in the deployment, along with the longer-term implications for their two countries. Finally, the article discusses the lessons that can be drawn from the recent events in Kazakhstan and what they might mean for Central Asia writ large.
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Author: Mona Alami
The results of the 2021 Iraqi elections were, at first glance, somewhat surprising. The Sadrist movement secured a sweeping victory while the pro-Iran wing within the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), which ran under the banner of the Fatah Alliance, lost over 70 percent of the seats they held in the previous parliament. The elections came on the heels of mass protests by citizens hailing from Shiite areas, previously a stronghold for supporters of Iran. The demonstrators denounced corruption, social injustice, and Iranian influence. Iranian consulates were subject to arson attacks, while pro-Iranian militias brutally cracked down on protesters (with over 600 killed) and k
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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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