Category Archives: Gulf States

Projecting Islamic ‘soft power’ in wake of failed Arab Spring


U.S. disengagement from the daily irritations of Middle East politics has encouraged Arab allies—particularly Saudi Arabia—to adopt more aggressive foreign policies, which has in turn required an ideological language for… Read more »

Saudis and Iran using sectarian non-state actors to shape Middle East


The Saudi-Iran rivalry playing out in the Middle East’s divided societies, such as the ‘proxy arenas’ of Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon, and particularly Syria and Yemen, has cultivated sectarian difference that… Read more »

‘Marshall Plan’ program would counter extremist distortions of Islam


In his new book, The House of Islam, former Islamist radical Ed Husain arrives at the conclusion that the spread of this rigid, literalist interpretation of Islam “rejected by the vast majority… Read more »

‘Principled realism’ needs better ideas to combat extremist ideology


A “coalition of nations” in the Middle East is needed to stamp out “extremism,” U.S. President Donald Trump told the weekend’s Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. “This is… Read more »

Make MENA’s ‘green shoots of change’ scalable and durable


Creating the means for government and civic groups to communicate and cooperate is essential to ensuring that good ideas are scalable across societies and durable over time, says the Final… Read more »

What is the Arabic for democracy?


The collapse of the post-colonial Arab system is, at its heart, a crisis of legitimacy. The impact of colonialism, often blamed by Arabs for their woes, should not be an… Read more »

Requiem for the Arab Spring


Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution shook the Middle East, setting off the hopeful uprisings that came to be known as the Arab Spring, AFP reports: But five years later, the countries that… Read more »

Authoritarian cooperation vs. democracy promotion?


Do authoritarian countries cooperate to counter the worldwide spread of democracy? A growing number of observers have raised this concern, note analysts Daniel Odinius and Philipp Kuntz. Authoritarian powers such as Russia, China, and Saudi… Read more »

‘Something wicked…’? Aftermath of Arab Spring


  It is currently fashionable to decry the mass movements in the Arab world of four years as a failure through which autocracy has reproduced itself or chaos has penetrated… Read more »