Archive for the ‘Saudi Arabia’ Category

Qatar Expels Members of Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

The Government of Qatar  has been asked to expel certain Muslim Brotherhood officials from their country. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates view the Muslim Brotherhood’s political Islam as a domestic threat to their own government, and they do not want the spread of the Islamist movement they are creating. We have seen some of their movement’s effect back in Egypt following the military’s overthrowing of Mubarak’s government.

When the Muslim Brotherhood were in Egypt, Qatar supported them, to improve the relations between the two countries. Now that Egypt  has expelled  the Muslim Brotherhood,  Qatar is considered the only and last place  the leadership of the movement.

New York Times
Middle East Eye

What do you think of the beliefs of the Muslim Brotherhood?
Why do some countries view the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group and some others view them as a political party?
What is the difference between a terrorist group and a political organization?


Saudi Arabia Denies Having Contact with Israel on Iran’s Nuclear Development

Monday, November 18th, 2013

On Monday November 18, 2013, Saudi Arabia made it clear to the world that no partnerships were being made with Israel with the intent to go against Iran. Both Israeli and Saudi Arabian governments are known to be unhappy with the prospect of Iran gaining the right to have nuclear energy, but they are far from having any kind of partnership. Saudi Arabia supports the right or return for Palestinians, which has caused tensions between the two countries. These tensions would make it difficult for the two countries to come to any partnership regarding Iran.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was quoted saying that the fact that Israel and other Arab countries agree on not letting Iran have nuclear energy is “one of the few cases in memory, if not the first case in modern times” that Israel has come to any agreement with Arab countries. However, the Saudi Arabian government is determined to let the world know that they are in no way looking to have relations with Israel. The Saudi Arabian powers will not be letting Israel use their air space to fight Iran at any point in the near future.

Why is Saudi Arabia so determined to let the world know that they have no relations with Israel? Are they afraid they will be rejected by the rest of the Arab world if they are found to have any kind of partnership with Israel?

Would an alliance with Israel have the potential to help Saudi Arabia in their fight against Iran’s nuclear development?



The Jerusalem Post

France Promises Israelis Tough Stance on Iran

Monday, November 18th, 2013

“French President Francois Hollande assured Israel on Sunday that his country would continue to oppose an easing of economic sanctions against Iran until it was convinced Tehran had ended a pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

France is going to continue opposing Iran’s use of nuclear energy, with the agreement from Israel that it will begin to make peace amends with Palestine. One “gesture” as it called by France is Israel releasing Palestinian prisoners. Another “gesture” they are hoping to get from Israel has to do with Israeli settlers in Palestinian territory. But they do expect Palestine to do its share of “gestures” as well.

Although Israel is presenting gestures to France, it continues to prolong Peace talks with Palestinians. “it was creating a needless confrontation with the international community at a time when Israel was trying to get across an urgent message about stopping a nuclear Iran.”



Why do you think France is opposing the other powers to gain Israel’s support?

Do you think that these peace talks will be successful with France facilitating instead of the United States?

Does this change the relationship that Israel has with the U.S?



Women Appointed to Saudi King’s Shura

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Saudi King Abdullah, in a first for women in the kingdom, has sworn in thirty women to the previously all male shura  (“council”), an advisory body to the king.

Story at the BBC


Saudi King Abdullah A-OK…

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Saudi King Abdullah has appeared in public for the first time since his surgery, putting away rumors and fears that his condition had deteriorated following his back surgery.


The Chicago Tribune discusses the effect of those rumors on stability in the region and the global markets. Reason enough for Saudi opponents to stir up trouble…

A Hilton in Mecca

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Paris Hilton and Mecca seem an unlikely pairing. It is about as incongruous as you can get.


And yet…CNN reports on the Hilton heiress’ 5th store opening within the Kingdom in Mecca.



Saudia Arabian King Survives Surgery

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Saudi King Abdullah has recently undergone back surgery in Riyadh.  The King had been complaining of pain in his back, but came out of the surgery healthy.

After his complaints of pain, King Abdullah was admitted to The National Guard’s King Abdulaziz Medical City in Riyadh, where a ligament in his upper back was tightened.

This isn’t the king’s first surgery, though.  In October of 2010 he underwent two back surgeries, where it was discovered that he had a blood clot and a herniated disk in his lower back.  At that time his surgeries were done in the United States, and were also successful.

The risk of his most recent surgery was his age.  He is in his late eighties, with estimates putting him anywhere from 86 to 89.

The other danger was about the fate of the world’s number two oil supplier, and what impact the death of its leader would have on those that depend on it.

But fortunately, King Abdullah has come out of his surgery.  He has named Prince Salman as his heir, but Saudi Arabia is relieved that he will remain king.  Saudi Arabia has managed to maintain a stable government by giving generous money to their citizens and banning public demonstrations.

Seeing as Saudi Arabia is an important U.S. Ally, why was it key that King Abdullah survive his surgery?  How would the world, and particularly the U.S. do, if King Abdullah had not survived this surgery?  Would Prince Salman be able to maintain a stable Saudi government?

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Dawn

Nigerian Female Pilgrims Detained in Saudi Arabia

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

This week, approximately 1,000 Nigerian women making the pilgrimage to Mecca have been detained in Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah. 150 of those women have since been forced to return to Nigeria. (The National Hajj Commission says these are not deportations, but rather actions taken in order to prevent deportations. Not all news sources agree with this statement.)  The detainments began on Friday, and Nigerian women between the ages of 25 and 35 travelling without a male relative were the sole targets. Traditionally, women are not allowed to make the Hajj without a male relative, but Nigeria had, in the past, reached an understanding with Hajj organizers which allowed Nigerian women to travel without male relatives as long as they were accompanied by their local Hajj committee official and were willing to pay an extra $4,000 (not all sources agree on the fee). Now however, that agreement is apparently no longer valid, and the women have not been permitted to make the pilgrimage. Some of the women returning home after deportation say that from Friday to Sunday they were given no food, water, or place to sleep, and in some cases were asked not to leave the aircrafts. The Nigerian government has since intervened, so conditions at the airports have improved, but the fate of the approximately 900 remaining women remains unclear. Interestingly enough, at a smaller airport in Medina, some Nigerian women have passed through unaccompanied without issue. By contrast, at King Abdulaziz Airport, some Muslim women travelling with their husbands have been withheld because they did not take their husband’s name after marriage, and so their surname differs from their husbands on official documents.It is  common practice in Nigeria for a woman to keep her birth name, and this practice does not go against Muslim faith in any way, but it is evidently an issue for the Saudi airport control.


Do you think the Saudi government has the right to detain these women? Do these women have the right to make the pilgrimage while violating Muslim codes which don’t allow women to travel alone? Whose responsibility is it to right this problem? How can they?

Sources: BBC, Washington Post, Global Post

U.S. Dependence on Saudi Oil is on the Rise Again

Friday, August 17th, 2012

“The increase in Saudi oil exports to the United States began slowly last summer and has picked up pace this year. Until then, the United States had decreased its dependence on foreign oil and from the Gulf in particular.

This reversal is driven in part by the battle over Iran’s nuclear program. The United States tightened sanctions that hampered Iran’s ability to sell crude, the lifeline of its troubled economy, and Saudi Arabia agreed to increase production to help guarantee that the price did not skyrocket. While prices have remained relatively stable, and Tehran’s treasury has been squeezed, the United States is left increasingly vulnerable to a region in turmoil.”

Clifford Krauss, “U.S. Reliance on Saudi Oil Heads Back Up,” New York Times, August 17, 2012


Sectarian Violence in Saudi Arabia

Monday, July 9th, 2012

 ”The oil-rich Eastern Province is home to a Shia majority that has long complained of marginalisation at the hands of the Sunni ruling family.”

             —  BBC report

More on Shia Islam