All Posts

Israel must embrace reality, not ignore it

Once the dust settles post-Hamas, it will be crucial for Israelis to confront the harsh reality of the attack on Oct. 7. The escapist impulse to reduce the motive for the assault to “pure evil” inhibits a deeper examination of the conditions and context that led to these horrors. Even the most extreme and shocking […]

The Audacity of Iran’s Foreign Minister

If the Persian language had a term for chutzpah, it should have been the title for Javad Zarif’s recent essay in The Atlantic. Written by Iran’s foreign minister and master propagandist, a man who has perfected the art of spoon-feeding credulous Westerners his spin, the article depicts an odious Iranian regime that has spread chaos and destruction throughout the […]

Muhammad Bin Salman Is Here to Stay

On Oct. 2, 2018, the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. After his disappearance, politicians and pundits called on the United States and its allies to hold Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the crime. “It should be United States policy,” former National Security Advisor Susan Rice wrote in the New York […]

Is Saudi Arabia Really So Angry at Canada Over a Tweet?

Last week, the Saudi government expelled the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh, and canceled flights, educational exchanges, and trade and investment activities between the two countries. This crisis was precipitated by a tweet — published both in English and, crucially, in Arabic — on Aug. 3 from the Canadian foreign ministry saying it was “gravely concerned” about the arrest […]

Scapegoating Saudi Arabia Won’t Help Us Fight Terrorism

Terrorism is a problem that we all still struggle to understand. That challenge only increases when partisan politics are injected into the mix. This is what happened earlier this month, when President Trump visited Saudi Arabia, provoking the publication of a flurry of articles such as Fareed Zakaria’s “How Saudi Arabia played Donald Trump” criticizing […]

Visions And Misperceptions On The Road To An Aramco IPO

Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) 2016 announcement of Saudi Vision 2030, commentators and analysts have maligned the plan’s “unrealistic” goals and time lines. Their negative assessment is based on a fundamental misreading of Vision 2030 as a foreordained business plan cast in stone, rather than a preliminary road map designed to send a […]

Saudi Arabia Post the Khashoggi Tragedy

WASHINGTON – The killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi has left the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its weakest diplomatic position since the horrific terror attacks of September 11. Khashoggi’s murder followed a series of Saudi missteps that had already left many questioning the country’s trajectory, including the arrests of women activists, the Saudi-German and Saudi-Canadian […]

The Saudi Perspective on Iran

Since 1979, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has seen itself as facing a radical, militaristic and expansionist Iran that leverages Shi’a disenfranchisement, local power vacuums and a vast and growing network of well-armed and well-trained proxies to export its Islamic Revolution throughout the Middle East. From the Saudi perspective, the kingdom is fighting a rearguard […]

ISIS’s Ultimate Target Is Saudi Arabia

As custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, and as leader of the 41-nation Islamic coalition established to combat terror, Saudi Arabia is on the front line of the global fight against radical jihadi terrorism. It is also the ultimate target of terrorist organizations that dream of controlling the center of the Islamic world […]

What Saudi Arabia needs to hear from Trump

WASHINGTON — When Air Force One touches down in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week, President Trump can be sure of one thing: His Saudi hosts have firmly pressed the reset button on a relationship that became strained in the latter years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Mr. Obama made four visits to Saudi Arabia, more than […]

The Hashemite Kingdom of "Palestine"

The recently announced Bantustan-like “deal of the century” and the basically insurmountable power imbalance between the Arabs and Israelis, let alone between the Palestinians and Israelis, argues for a radical rethinking of the approach to solving the Palestine problem. Israel is a reality firmly implanted on the ground that has to be accepted, however grudgingly, […]

Iran Seeks to Dominate Its Region

Arab and Muslim leaders have just concluded a series of emergency summits in Mecca to discuss recent attacks on Saudi and Emirati territory which US officials have linked to Iran and its proxies.  While both Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have repeatedly said they do not want war with Iran,they have strongly backed Washington’s decision to impose sweeping sanctions on the […]

Saudi Reform Essential but Perilous

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a perilous, but essential transformation. Those wishing to safeguard one of the last bastions of Middle East stability should support Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) dramatic socioeconomic reforms and also appreciate the challenges, resistance, and limitations amid which he is forced to operate. As rapid reform risks destabilizing the kingdom’s […]