Mohammed Bin Salman is deftly playing a chess game aimed at positioning the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a foreign policy leader both regionally and internationally, exploiting each of the great powers’ primary weaknesses (and desires): energy prices in the US, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and China’s desperation to assert its regional dominance. His sudden rise to the head of the desert kingdom was consolidated recently with his appointment as Prime Minister and heir apparent to his aging father, securing his untouchability and immunity when it comes to human rights violations, putting partners like the United States in the particular quandry of not being able to use their traditional soft power levers and leaving evermore domestic dissidents at risk.
- An Israel with a collapsed government will host Joe Biden in mid-July, amid uncertain political legacy and perspectives.
- How are Sunni and Shiite countries viewing the Taliban’s reconquest of Afghanistan? How will that impact on Islamist movements across the region?
- Women, religion, economic growth: prince Bin Salman’s reform programme proceeds, bringing relief to part of the society, but also many questions.
- Almost all sides are winners for now, but a third GCC confrontation remains possible, writes Hussein Ibish
- What the normalization and the freeze of Israel’s annexation of West Bank territories means for the Middle East, the Arab world and the Palestinians.
- The Crown Prince may be soon called to relpace his old father and lead the Kingdom. But there are also growing signs of his vulnerability.
- Regional polarization, coupled with domestic problems and/or daring economic processes resulted into a more securitized Gulf, where citizens have higher expectations vis-à-vis states’ duties and their own prerogatives, but civil freedom remain a top-down matter: when regime security juxtaposes with national security, human security always loses.
- There is increasing awareness in Arab States that challenges posed by economic development can no longer be ignored, and that science, technology, innovation and higher education cannot be treated as secondary factors, addressed only by the planet’s wealthier regions. Arab governments are therefore attempting to create economies based on scientific development. This revolution is led by Saudi Arabia, also within the university environment. We debate this subject with Egyptian professor Wagdy Sawahel, a policy-maker in the scientific sector and an expert on higher education, who has worked with international and national institutions. He is the founder and general coordinator of the network for the development of science, www.sciencedev.net, and of the virtual incubator for scientific business at www.visdev.net.Interview by Elisa Pierandrei