Author: David Kenner and Kameal Al-AhmadThis paper provides an overview of the US-Saudi economic relationship, excluding oil and arms sales. It begins by describing the growth of US exports to Saudi Arabia and the influx of Saudi students to the United States, and their impact on the US economy. It goes on to discuss US businesses’ investment in Saudi Arabia and their participation in new economic sectors opened by the Vision 2030 reforms. And it concludes with an examination of Saudi investments in the United States through a variety of privately and publicly owned institutions. The paper’s authors reach the conclusion that the economic relationship between the two countries is more co
| Kafala Sponsorship Reforms in Saudi Arabia: Converging Toward International Labor Standards
2021-02-28 | Kafala Sponsorship Reforms in Saudi Arabia: Converging Toward International Labor Standards
Author: Fahad L. Alghalib AlsharifIn 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
| What is Laïcité? A History of French Understandings of Secularism vis-à-vis the French Muslim Question
2021-02-18 | What is Laïcité? A History of French Understandings of Secularism vis-à-vis the French Muslim Question
Author: Faisal AbualhassanRecent 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
Author: Solaiman Abdulrahman Al-TheebThis publication is available in Arabic only.
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.