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Saudi Arabia

Is Saudi pivoting towards Russia?

At a first glance, Saudi Arabia and Russia have not much in common in terms of foreign policy: the former is one of America’s closest allies, whereas the latter is its main geostrategic competitor along with China. But in the complex geopolitics of the Middle East, their bilateral relations are more multifaceted than it may seem; and recent events may drive them closer.…

Why is Israel cultivating ties with Oman?

In late October the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman, the sleepy Sultanate on the south-eastern edge of the Arabian Peninsula. Whilst the visit is consistent with Israel’s thawing relationship with a number of Arab countries, including Egypt and the Gulf states, nevertheless the visit to Muscat took observes by surprise.

That is mainly because Oman has been traditionally close to Iran, a deep-rooted relationship which tends to get stronger when Iran comes under severe pressure, as it is now with the re-imposition of tough and far-reaching US sanctions.

Therefore, by embracing Israel, Oman is risking its strong and fruitful ties to Iran, a political and strategic risk which Oman can ill afford in the long term.

The Geopolitics of Oman

Unlike some of her Gulf neighbours Oman has a long and proud history. Back in the 18th century the Sultanate of Oman successfully competed with Britain, Portugal and Iran for influence in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. The country has been more or less independent since the middle of the 16th century.

From a political point of view, the country is distinctive by the fact that it was ruled for a long time by an Imamate system based on the al-Ibadiyyah school of Islam. A derivative of the original Khawarij tendency, the al-Ibadiyyah survives only in Oman and small pockets in North Africa, notably Algeria.

Oman’s Ibadi identity is central to the country’s geopolitical profile. It sets Oman firmly apart from her Gulf neighbours which to varying degrees, and at an official level, follow a Wahhabi interpretation of Islam. It also sets it apart from Yemen and the Iranian Shia giant across the Gulf.

The Ibadi faith has also had a profound impact on Oman’s domestic politics and associated socio-economic and cultural institutions. In the popular imagination Oman is often characterised as a sleepy, benign and insular society. Regular travellers to Oman would likely attest to this description of the Sultanate.

Oman’s Foreign Policy

The guiding principles of Oman’s foreign policy was set down firmly in the 1970s. Up to that point and for much of the 20th century Oman was too consumed by internal division and strife to formulate and implement an effective foreign policy. This was a far cry from Oman’s role in previous centuries as a small empire on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula.

The turning point in the late 20th century came in the form of the so-called Dhofar rebellion (referencing the Omani province by that name) spearheaded by Marxist-Leninist rebels. The embattled Omani state finally managed to defeat this determined rebellion primarily with the help of British and more importantly Iranian military support (more on this later).

The most important point about the Dhofar conflict and its aftermath is that it forced the Omani ruling system to undertake deep and far-reaching structural and institutional reforms to elevate it to a level consistent with 20th century standards. For the first six decades …

Does America need Saudi Arabia?

America is pretty much less dependent on Saudi oil now, but why does it still need Saudi Arabia?

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Are Saudi-Turkish relations deteriorating?

The relations between Turkey and Saudi Arabia are now becoming a subject of mediatic interest following the alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khoshoggi, a critic of Riyadh’s current government, in his country’s consulate in Istanbul. To better understand this event and its consequences, it is necessary to put it in the broader context of the bilateral relations between the two states, which dates back to the 1920s.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its aftermath.

Once the main power in the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire was dismantled in both political and territorial terms in the wake of its defeat in WWI; thus reshaping the region’s geopolitical order. Many of its former lands became de facto colonies under the rule of either Great Britain or France (on the basis of the Sykes-Picot agreement), but two cases stand out as exceptions: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Turkey.

During the Great War, Britain was fighting against the Ottoman Empire, who was allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary. In this context, the British were actively supporting an Arab uprising to weaken the Ottomans and extend their influence on the Middle East. This led to a deal with the Saud family: in exchange of aid against the Ottomans, the House of Saud would rule an independent kingdom after the end of the war.  This resulted into the establishment of Saudi Arabia (which takes its name from the ruling al-Saud dynasty) in 1932.  An important aspect of the newborns state was its affiliation to Wahhabism, a juridical and religious doctrine of Islam known for its conservatism and that became the basis of the Saudi political system. This made the Kingdom the champion of Sunni Islam, even though its adherence to Wahhabism has recently become less marked under the influence of Crown Prince bin Salman. After the discovery of huge oil reserves in the 1930s, Saudi Arabia gradually became a major producer and started accumulating wealth. During the Cold War, it forged an alliance with the United States, thus becoming (in spite of occasional divergences, like the 1973 oil crisis) one of its main allies in the Middle East. As of today, the House of Saud is still in power and its cooperation with the US remains a central element of its foreign policy.

On its part, the Ottoman Empire was weakened by war, politically delegitimized and in social unrest; and had to face the consequences of defeat. With the nationalist movement led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk gaining more and more influence, the imperial rule did not last. The last Sultan (and Caliph) was deposed, and a Republic was proclaimed. But its territory was much smaller than the pre-war Empire. Other than Iraq, Syria, Palestine and Arabia, it even lost some lands in mainland Anatolia; which it recovered after a war with Greece in 1919-22 that gave the country its current shape. Atatürk promoted westernization in the newly-born Republic, notably to transform it into a secular state after centuries of religious-based …

Will SAUDI ARABIA fail or succeed the NEOM CITY project? – KJ Vids

The NEOM city project is born from the ambition of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan which seeks to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy and develop public service sectors. NEOM is the world’s first zone to extend across three countries, stretching its borders into neighbouring Jordan and Egypt.

But is this gigantic project likely to materialise? I’m Kasim, this is KJ Vids and in this video, we will look at Saudi Arabia’s plans to build the NEOM city.

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The Geopolitics of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has an estimated population of 32 million, the 40th largest in the world and 6th largest in the Arab world.

Its territory is roughly the size of Turkey, France, Germany and Japan put together.

But much of this territory is desert. Saudi Arabia’s arable land per capita, according to the World Bank, is just 0.1 hectares per person.

The Saudi state is an artefact of Western imperialism, growing out of the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

Ever since, Saudi has fallen prey to sectarian politics and have relied on the support from Britain and the US.

Looking out from Riyadh, the Saudi leadership sees potential border-region threats in almost every direction.

During the Cold war they tried to combat the Shiite Iranians, the Pan Arab Nasserites in Egypt and the Ba’athists in Iraq.

Today Saudi Arabia attempts to project its influence in various ways in countries like Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria Lebanon and Yemen.

Along its maritime borders the Saudis are insecure, a result of the narrowness of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

Saudi Arabia is outnumbered in the Gulf even just by the Kuwaitis, Qataris, and Emiratis, with 15 million people combined.

Saudi is also worried about threats from within. Foreign-born labourers outnumbercitizens in many of these Gulf States.

Finally, with a tribalistic power structure and large divided Royal family, Saudi’s leaders constantly face threats from their own blood.

Without the support for Saudi Arabia from an outside power like the US, Saudi would barely be able to survive.

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Saudi Crown Prince – Bin Salman’s Billion Dollar Shopping Spree

Saudi Crown Prince – Bin Salman’s Billion Dollar Shopping Spree

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KJ Poll Result – 80% of Muslims believe Saudi Arabia DOES NOT represent Islamic Governance

On November 20th 2017, KJ Vids ran a poll amongst it’s 270,000 Facebook fans and asked the question “Do you believe Saudi Arabia is representative of Islamic Governance?”

We received a total of 7,000 votes and the results were a vehement “NO” with 80% of people voting no to the question and only 20% voting yes.

Do you believe Saudi Arabia is representative of Islamic Governance?

Posted by KJ Vids on Monday, November 20, 2017

We decided to run this poll in light of the chaos that is currently occurring in Saudi Arabia with Mohammed Bin Salman’s  preparations to take over the throne from his father King Salman.

In the recent weeks, we have seen domestic upheaval in Saudi Arabia, which saw the arrest of princes, ministers and high-profile businessmen carried out by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was seen as a sign to crush dissent under the banner of cracking down on corruption.

More recently, we have begun to see the public normalisation of ties with Israel, albeit the covert relationship that has existed behind the doors for decades. The chief of staff of Israel’s military (IDF) said that his country is ready to share intelligence on Iran with Riyadh.

“With [US] President Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for a new international alliance in the region and a major strategic plan to stop the Iranian threat,” Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)

https://youtu.be/kIntIUPEtAU

“The political changes in Saudi Arabia and the desire to consolidate power is the main reason why these relations with Israel were opened,” said Mahjoob Zweiri, an associate professor with the Gulf Studies Program department at Qatar University.

“These Arab states are motivated by the survival of their regimes, and that is what pushes them to the stronger state in the region,” said Khalil Shaheen, a political analyst based in the West Bank city of Ramallah. It is clear that Washington is playing in the convergence between two of its oldest and closest Mideast allies.

Days before Ibn Salman’s crushing of dissent, Jared Kushner — Trump’s son-in-law was in Saudi Arabia. He reportedly spent late nights talking with Prince Mohammed.

Whilst we are only able to ascertain limited information from our Facebook poll regarding the demographics of the votes, we can certainly say that majority of the votes were from the Muslim World as KJ fan’s demographics are largely from countries including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh that have large populations of Muslims. In addition to this, KJ Vids has, as of today, 11,740 fans from Saudi Arabia itself.

The results are not surprising considering a plethora of violations against Islam and Muslims by the Saudi regime throughout recent decades. It’s logistical support for America’s war on Iraq, it’s war on Yemen and now it’s lust with Trump and normalisation of diplomatic ties with Israel does not go well with Muslims at all.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) presents U.S. President Donald Trump with the

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