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Arabia Report
For Iran, Ansarallah (more commonly known as the Houthis) is, arguably, the most convenient proxy to leverage in its current conflict with the United States. Unlike Hezbollah or the Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq, Iran has hidden its support for the Houthis. And while activating its Syrian or Iraqi assets risks provoking a confrontation with US forces, Tehran knows that the US has no direct strategic stake in Yemen—outside of combatting ISIS and al-Qaeda. For the Houthis, their partnership with Iran became necessary after they alienated nearly every single Yemeni ally they once had, leaving Iran and its transnational network as their sole source of support. Even so, Iran’s weaponization of the Houthis was only possible because the Islamic Republic spent several years arming and training the group and decades cultivating critical intellectual, cultural, and ideological ties with North Yemen’s Zaidi community—the religious sect from which the Houthis originate. Click on image to read the full report
Arabia Report
As we watch Venezuela, once dubbed a “terrestrial paradise” by Christopher Columbus, disintegrate, we are reminded that despite their enormous wealth, many of the world’s oil-rich states have delivered very little to their people. Developing oil exporters face a unique set of challenges. Most had only rudimentary political and economic institutions prior to the discovery of petroleum, a resource that creates well-documented distortive effects on development. And, while organizations such as USAID associate “democratic governance” with “long-term sustainable development,” oil states that have experimented with participatory government, such as Iraq and Venezuela, have fared as badly as, if not worse than, their autocratic peers. In view of these challenges, the relative success of Saudi Arabia, whose leadership prioritized stability, the delivery of services, and geopolitical maturity (i.e., avoiding the pitfall of foreign adventurism, which oil wealth tends to encourage) over that of her peers—Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Angola, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria, and Venezuela—deserves attention. Click on image to read the full report
Arabia Report
Although it got little attention at the time, the war in Yemen began more than four years ago in July 2014.
Arabia Report
On June 24, as many as two thousand Saudi women will get behind the wheel for the first time in the kingdom’s history.
Arabia Report
On Sunday, May 6, the Lebanese people will be voting to elect a new parliament for the first time in nine years.
Arabia Report
At the beginning of 2018, Saudi Aramco released a charter in Arabic that includes components typically associated with articles of incorporation and bylaws.
Arabia Report
Saudi Arabia is, understandably, called out for its lack of women’s rights. But, constant scrutiny leaves little room for acknowledging advances as well as the significant social and cultural influences that have affected and will continue to affect the pace of these advances. This work endeavors to recognize the real progress the Kingdom has made over the last decade (i.e. “the good”), acknowledge where it has fallen short (i.e. “the bad”), and pinpoint the challenges we still face in the battle to advance women’s rights (e.g. “the paternalistic”).
Arabia Report
Vision 2030 was announced just over a year ago. The Vision’s aim: to move Saudi Arabia in a new direction—socially, culturally, institutionally, and of course, economically. Critics said it was too ambitious; optimists rebutted with enthusiasm; and, pragmatists argued that even if the strategy fell short- the effort alone would yield positive results. The reality resides somewhere among the three. Substantially, constructive strides were made over the last year; however, as is to be expected with a massive reform process, preliminary mistakes were also made. Although eventually rectified, these mistakes impeded the pace of progress and dented public sentiment. The aim of this brief is to reflect on the Vision’s effect to date, both the positive and the negative aspects.