Arabia Saudí

Paisaje de Marib, Yemen. Foto: Biblioteca de Arte / Art Library Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. Fernando Varanda

Tema

Arabia Saudí es un actor clave en Yemen. El conflicto actual, que entra en su séptimo año, asiste a un renovado impulso por alcanzar una resolución al tiempo que se recrudece la violencia. El reino saudí ha manifestado su intención de retirarse militarmente de una campaña sin triunfos evidentes, pero hay una serie de factores y desafíos que ponen trabas y preceden a su salida de Yemen.

Resumen

Este análisis pone el foco sobre la política de Arabia Saudí hacia Yemen y los factores que la condicionan en relación con el conflicto. Atendiendo al contexto nacional e internacional, se plantean varios desafíos y líneas de acción que podrían demarcar el futuro de Yemen.…  Seguir leyendo »

An advertisement for Saudi Arabia's city of NEOM

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is planning a $500 billion model city in the desert of northwest Saudi Arabia. Built from scratch, NEOM will purportedly be powered by clean energy, run by artificial intelligence, enhanced by machine learning, serviced by robot maids and flying taxis, and illuminated every night by a giant artificial moon.

History suggests, though, that the tens of thousands of migrant workers who build NEOM will experience few of the upsides of the promised future city or escape the exploitation endured by millions of other migrant workers already toiling in Saudi Arabia. If the large multinational businesses contracted to develop NEOM want to avoid complicity in Saudi's systemic exploitation of migrant workers, they will have to put in place policies and practices that effectively safeguard their workers' rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

Observation deck of the Dubai Frame, which is positioned so visitors can see landmarks of modern Dubai from one side, while older parts of the city are seen from the other. Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images.

The recent doom and gloom between UAE and Saudi Arabia appears to be lifting as both sides soften – there is nothing more sobering than demand destruction looming on the horizon – but unless the hardwired distance between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is bridged, further OPEC+ negotiations could be derailed and a period of uncapped price volatility ushered in.

This is the second time the UAE has made clear its displeasure with the rudiments of the April 2020 production agreement – the first time was following the November OPEC meeting – and it is hard to imagine either Emiratis or Saudis backing down from their fundamental positions at the next OPEC Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC) and set of ministerial meetings.…  Seguir leyendo »

When reports surfaced in April that senior security officials from Saudi Arabia and Iran had met in Baghdad to discuss their two countries' troubled relationship, at least three pertinent observations came to mind about the state of the cold war that has played out in the Gulf region ever since Iran's Islamic revolution in 1979. For one, the arrival of the Biden administration and its distinctly diverging Iran strategy from the Trump administration helped convince the Saudis of the need to recalculate their own approach toward Iran. For another, in pursuing talks, Saudi leaders are suggesting that diplomacy may stand a better chance of achieving their objective of containing Iran than confrontation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Delegates speak together as they attend the fourth edition of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference at the capital Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel on 27 January 2021. Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images.

The rapidly changing investment landscape in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is drawing much attention to the region. In Saudi Arabia, the economic diversification project is led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), a sovereign wealth fund. PIF aims to stimulate the non-oil private sector through both foreign and domestic investment as well as by fuelling the local start-up ecosystem with new funding bodies, venture capital and angel investor networks. PIF has sought to generate more funds for these initiatives by borrowing, taking 5% of Saudi Aramco public and selling their full stake in the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released from prison earlier this month after serving 1001 days in prison for "crimes" that included contacting human rights groups and trying to change Saudi Arabia's restrictive male guardianship laws. Loujain is by no means free, though. She is banned from traveling for five years and remains on a three-year probation, living under the constant threat of being jailed again.

Travel bans are not new in Saudi Arabia. But past rulers used them more sparingly. Since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) took power, they have increasingly become a key instrument in his struggle to extinguish any semblance of dissent.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Yemeni looks through the wreckage of a building after it was hit by an airstrike on the northern outskirts of the capital, Sanaa, in 2017. (Yahya Arhab/EPA)

In early February, the Biden administration announced several shifts in U.S. policy toward the war in Yemen — a conflict that has left 20 million near starvation and 80 percent of Yemen’s population dependent on humanitarian assistance. The changes include ending U.S. support for Saudi-led offensive operations; reversing the Trump administration’s last-minute designation of the Houthi forces as a foreign terrorist organization; and supporting a special envoy to Yemen and diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

After 2015, the United States played a critical role in sustaining the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen. U.S. support provided Saudi Arabia with intelligence, targeting data, in-air refueling of Saudi aircraft (this ceased in 2018), sales of precision-guided munitions and other arms, and ongoing maintenance and support for Saudi aircraft.…  Seguir leyendo »

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia, January 2021. Photograph: AP

The apparent end to the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar and a reconciliation among the states involved prompts the question: when will the Saudi government release the citizens who were caught up in the conflict and imprisoned during the three and a half-year crisis?

In a breakthrough, it was announced on 4 January that Saudi Arabia had opened its land border with Qatar, paving the way for an easing of tensions that had led to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain severing diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in mid-2017. On 5 January, the annual GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) summit took place in Saudi Arabia’s north-western Al-Ula province.…  Seguir leyendo »

Prince Mohammed bin Salman, right, welcomes Qatar's Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia on Jan. 5. (Getty Images Agency/Anadolu) (Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani traveled to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 5 for the annual summit of Gulf Cooperation Council countries — and signed an agreement ending the 43-month air, land and sea blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt.

While the specific terms of the agreement have not been made public, Saudi Arabia has reopened its land border and airspace to Qatar and the Qataris are likely to withdraw legal claims against the four blockading states.

Why did the blockade happen?

Saudi Arabia and the other three countries launched the blockade without warning on June 5, 2017, cutting diplomatic ties with Qatar and closing their airspace and ports to Qatari traffic.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump was an unabashed supporter of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

On Monday, a court in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, sentenced Loujain al-Hathloul, the Saudi activist, to five years and eight months in prison. Ms. al-Hathloul, who campaigned for the right of women to drive, was convicted of “trying to harm national security” and advancing “a foreign agenda.” She has already been in prison for two and a half years. A combination of time served and partial sentence suspension could lead to her release in a month or so.

Ms. al-Hathloul’s case has attracted international attention and condemnation from United Nations human rights experts, the U.S. House of Representatives and numerous rights organizations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul is seen in an undated photo. (Reuters)

This week, some of the most powerful women from around the world attended the virtual Women20 (W20) conference, part of the Group of 20 summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia. But who was missing? For one, my sister Loujain al-Hathloul, an award-winning women’s rights activist, who is in a maximum-security prison cell only 25 miles from Riyadh.

In recent years, my sister was one of the only Saudi women who dared to attend international conferences outside of the kingdom to discuss the truth about women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. She spoke out about the injustice of the repressive patriarchal systems in the kingdom, which grant men almost total superiority before the law and give them the absolute right to guardianship over their wives and children.…  Seguir leyendo »

It’s time for democratic change in Saudi Arabia

On Wednesday, as Saudi Arabia celebrated its National Day with regime propaganda extolling 90 years of prosperity and security, a group of exiles based in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and elsewhere announced the formation of the National Assembly Party (NAAS), a party rooted in democratic principles seeking to restore basic rights for Saudi society, such as freedom of speech, accountability, elections and respect international law.

We consider it a matter of urgency to break the silence over the Saudi regime’s ongoing domestic repression and violation of international norms.

Two years after Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal killing, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues to rule by the sword.…  Seguir leyendo »

The legal challenges against Saudi Arabia must continue

When Jamal Khashoggi and I worked together, I remember asking him about the infamous purge orchestrated by Mohammed bin Salman in 2017, when he detained scores of princes, other members of the royal family and wealthy Saudi businessmen at the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton. At the time, the crown prince framed the arrests as a crackdown on high-level corruption.

Jamal said he supported reigning in the corruption that had been a massive drain on Saudi economic development. “Still, shouldn’t there be trials?” I asked. I argued that was the best way to get the rest of the world to have confidence in doing business in Saudi Arabia.…  Seguir leyendo »

We have been deprived of Jamal Khashoggi’s voice

Two years ago, I believed I was embarking soon on one of the happiest days of my life. But today, I am writing this in memory of a tragic day that should not be forgotten by anyone — the day my fiance, Jamal Khashoggi, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and was brutally murdered.

Over the past two years, I have had to deal with the pain and disappointment that those who committed this heinous crime and killed an innocent man in the most brutal way, and those who ordered this monstrosity, remain unprosecuted and unpunished. Starting with United States, most of the governments of the world have done nothing to push forward this case.…  Seguir leyendo »

Meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations in the Saudi capital Riyadh on February 23, 2020. Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images.

The G20 summit in November was to be a moment when the world focused its attention on Saudi Arabia. As the leaders of the world's 20 largest economies came together for the first time in an Arab capital and presided over the world’s greatest challenges and opportunities, King Salman would have taken centre stage with his son and crown prince Mohammed bin Salman not far behind in the spotlight.

However this will now be a virtual summit, and that is probably a blessing in disguise for the kingdom and its leadership which has not enjoyed a good year. It shares responsibility for crashing the price of oil, which, in conjunction with COVID-19, has brought the global economy to its knees.…  Seguir leyendo »

In July, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio joined three Democratic colleagues, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, in a letter to President Trump urging action on a case that has gotten far too little media attention — the apparent detention of the son and daughter of Saad al Jabri.

The lawmakers expressed grave concern that Omar and Sarah al Jabri were being held against their will to compel their father’s return from Canada to Riyadh to face charges of corruption.

Mr. al Jabri served under former Minister of Interior Muhammad bin Nayef (widely known as MBN), the onetime next-in-line for the Saudi throne who has been displaced by now-Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MBS).…  Seguir leyendo »

Pilgrims circumambulating around the Kaaba inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca in 2019. Credit Abdel Ghani Bashir/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Despite the pandemic gripping the world, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, the holiest site in Islam, is still officially scheduled for late July. Although the kingdom has asked Muslims to postpone their trips, unless it suspends the hajj, it poses devastating health risks.

Every year, more than two million perform the pilgrimage, gathering for a set of rituals in Mecca, traveling together to several sites in the outskirts of the city and then visiting the holy city of Medina, 300 miles away, where the Prophet Muhammad is buried.

The hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the confession of monotheism, prayers five times a day, annual charity and fasting in the month of Ramadan, which commenced on Friday.…  Seguir leyendo »

La reciente decisión de Arabia Saudita de aumentar su producción petrolera representa un cambio brutal en su pensamiento sobre los mercados energéticos y su propia dependencia de las reservas petrolíferas. Atrás quedaron los días en que las reservas petrolíferas sauditas eran gestionadas prudentemente para las generaciones futuras. Al abandonar la banda específica para los precios del petróleo y utilizar su capacidad productiva excedente, el Reino se está alejando del papel que mantuvo durante mucho tiempo como productor responsable de las fluctuaciones del mercado.

El cambio refleja la visión del príncipe heredero Mohamed bin Salmán (MBS): Arabia Saudita cuenta con una ventana de oportunidad relativamente limitada para monetizar sus grandes reservas petroleras.…  Seguir leyendo »

El pasado día 1, mi país, el Reino de Arabia Saudí, asumió oficialmente la presidencia anual del G-20, grupo que integra a las veinte economías mundiales más potentes. Este acontecimiento pone de manifiesto el lugar que el Reino de Arabia Saudí ostenta a nivel mundial, al tiempo que supone un reconocimiento del papel que desempeña para el crecimiento y la estabilidad de la economía mundial. Por lo tanto, a partir de ahora y hasta la cita de la cumbre del G-20, en noviembre de 2020, se celebrarán más de cien congresos, reuniones y eventos cuyo objetivo será debatir cuestiones tendentes a construir un futuro mejor para nuestras sociedades y contribuir a buscar soluciones a los desafíos que el mundo afronta.…  Seguir leyendo »

UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said the murder was likely "premeditated execution."

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi should be hailed a hero for paying the ultimate price for his belief in free speech. Instead, his murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year serves as a cautionary tale: no matter how brutal the crime, no matter how well-known the victim might be, no matter how incriminating the evidence, justice proves elusive for those who speak truth to power.

Last year was one of the most dangerous for the media. The number of reporters who were murdered and disappeared in 2018 went up on the previous year, and "journalists have never before been subjected to as much violence and abusive treatment as in 2018," according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).…  Seguir leyendo »