For decades, Saudi Arabia was a stable and reliable economic and strategic partner of the United States. That country no longer exists.
The Saudi Arabia that preferred caution to confrontation in international affairs, that emphasized stability at home and that kept royal family disputes private, has been disassembled by the ambitious young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has seized control of all instruments of policy and power in the kingdom.
With a flurry of arrests of princes and business tycoons over the weekend, the crown prince jettisoned the longstanding practice among Saudi rulers of seeking consensus, or at least acquiescence, from all branches of the family and from the country’s business elite.… Seguir leyendo »
A social revolution began in Saudi Arabia this month, and it has little if anything to do with the Arab Spring. Women are going to work in lingerie shops.
The Ministry of Labor is enforcing a royal decree issued last summer ordering that sales personnel in shops selling garments and other goods, like cosmetics, that are only for women must be female. More than 28,000 women applied for the jobs, the ministry said. Anywhere else in the world, it would not be news that sales assistants in shops selling panties and bras were female. In Saudi Arabia, where women have always been excluded from the public work force, it is a critical breakthrough.… Seguir leyendo »
The political crisis in Bahrain appears to have subsided, even if the issues that provoked it remain unresolved. Now, the challenge before Washington is redefining the terms on which it deals with an important but seriously tarnished ally.
Bahrain is a major center of U.S. military operations and strategic commitment. It houses the headquarters of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet and is a prolific purchaser of American military equipment. A recent Congressional Research Service report found that the United States has undertaken a $580 million expansion of naval and air-base facilities there. In 2002 the island nation was officially designated a “major non-NATO ally,” putting it in an exclusive group of U.S.… Seguir leyendo »