Author: Joshua YapheWith 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
Author: Francisco Salvador Barroso Cortés and Joseph A. KéchichianWith a dubious mandate, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) remained a political football in the hands of wily politicians anxious to preserve cherished sectarian prerogatives, even if such steps proved to be detrimental both to the LAF as a military institution as well as the country. Notwithstanding their denials this excessive politicization benefitted senior LAF leaders since most staff officers aspired to higher, and often lucrative, positions, all of which required that they maintain very close connections with political elites, especially those from their own religious communities. This study examines what were the various pressures that compelled the LAF to transform itself
Author: Mohamed Al-SbitliThis publication is available in Arabic only.
Author: Louis BlinThe emergence of the first Saudi state and its territorial expansion coincided with a period of weakening and internal crisis in France, resulting in a lack of interest in political developments in the Arabian Peninsula. But Bonaparte revived the French ambition of undoing the British hold on India by landing in Egypt in 1798. He then failed to forge an alliance against the British with the grand Sharif of Mecca. Once back in France, his interest in developments in the interior of Arabia shows that he was simultaneously exploring the land route to India. In 1803 he instructed his consul in Baghdad, Olivier de Corancez, to get in touch with the Amir Saud ibn Abdelaziz, in case th
Author: Ammeke KatemanThis article analyzes a cluster of Moroccan ḥajj accounts – all related to the popular Kattāniyya Sufi order in Fez – to explore the role of the ḥajj and the Ḥijāz in these pilgrims’ own words, at a time when the experiences of imperialism, new technologies and globalization were inevitable for any Moroccan ḥajj traveller. Studying the accounts of the journeys of shaykh Muḥammad bin ʿAbd al-Kabīr al-Kattānī (1873-1909) (written by his follower ʿAbd al-Salām bin Muḥammad al-Muʿṭī al-ʿAmrānī) and his cousin, the ḥadīth-scholar and biographer Muḥammad bin Jaʿfar al-Kattānī (1858-1927), this article show
Author: Joshua YapheDiscussions about post-oil planning in the Middle East were rather common around fifteen years ago, when experts sought to focus attention on the need for economic diversification and consultancies aimed to help clients prepare long-term strategic visions. Governments that had the foresight to recognize the scope of the problem and the political will to commit real resources to it, have already begun the lengthy, arduous process of changing public mind-sets, bureaucratic cultures, and regulatory regimes. Some will succeed, gaining a competitive advantage over regional neighbors in terms of technology, efficiency, and productivity, making them valued partners for the internationa
Author: Mohammed AlrmizanAs a part of series of reports on the Saudi bilateral relations in the southern Caucasus, and following the first report on Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia (2019), this report analyzes the prospects of Armenia and Saudi Arabia, potential diplomacy, and current barriers. First, the report introduces the historical background and highlights Saudi foreign policy in the southern Caucasus. Second, it explores Armenia’s international relations and geopolitical strategies. And third, it focuses on potential Armenian–Saudi rapprochement while considering regional barriers. In the end, while this report finds some events that may lead to the rapprochement between the two countrie
Author: Joseph A. KéchichianThis Commentary asks whether Turkish and Iranian officials’ aspirations to lead the Muslim world are realistic. The author states that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey, claiming to represent Sunnis, challenges Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the Arab world while ‘Ali Khamenei’s Iran seeks revenge on the Arab successors to the ‘Umayyad Empire, to avenge the “martyred” family of the Caliph ‘Ali, especially his son Hussein. The Commentary argues that such goals are unrealistic to implement.