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- Merkel, refugees and the need for Arab cultural diplomacy – August 2nd, 2016. It was certainly interesting to have been in Berlin over the past few days. Coincidentally, I was participating at an Arab World focused symposium organized by the Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (ICD), when the Syrian refugee crisis once again dominated the headlines and intensified what seems to be an already existing rift within Germany.
- How can there be guardianship over women in a modern Saudi Arabia? – June 28th, 2016. So much has happened over the past two weeks: a terrorist attack in France on Bastille Day, a failed Turkish coup, Donald Trump officially became the Republican Party nominee and Pakistani reality star Qandeel Baloch was brutally murdered in a so-called “honor killing”.
- Neither Chilcot nor Brexit are a reason for Arabs to rejoice – July 10th, 2016. Pity the Arabs, so desperate for a victory that many of us would even rush to celebrate a non-achievement, or even worse, an adversity. Two examples of this sad phenomenon emerged recently out of the United Kingdom: Brexit, where a slim majority of the British population voted to leave the European Union, and the recently announced Chilcot report findings.
- Attacking the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah: Significance and consequences – July 7th, 2016. Just when you thought Daesh (so-called IS) militants couldn’t add anything more gruesome to their image, they proved us all wrong again on Tuesday when they targeted the Prophet Mohammad’s Mosque in Madinah. The Mosque (known in Arabic as Al-Masjid Al-Nabawi) is one of two holy shrines the Kingdom hosts, and was one of three locations in Saudi Arabia targeted by terrorists on the same day.
- Brexit and the Arab Spring: An uncanny resemblance – June 29th, 2016. Brexit bears too much resemblance to the Arab Spring, and, unfortunately, this is not meant in a good way. In fact, in terms of both pretext and the handling of the surprising outcome, there is just so much in common, that one cannot but fear that the same disastrous aftermath of the 2011 Arab revolutions will – inevitably – also be replicated in Europe.
- What do the Saudis want from America? – June 23rd, 2016. Much has been said about the ongoing visit to the United States of Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense. However, regardless of the intense speculation by some analysts about the tour’s agenda; I think the trip should be seen as an insight into the new “business as usual” in Saudi Arabia.
- God bless America, land of ‘no religious tests’ – June 17th, 2016. There is a lot one can disagree with when it comes to President Obama’s foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. The situation today is far worse than it was when he first assumed office in 2009.
- From Russia with love? For now, ‘it’s complicated’ – June 11th, 2016. I write this from my hotel room overseeing the Russian Foreign Ministry’s iconic main building, a gigantic Stalinist-style skyscraper that was built as one of Moscow’s famous “Seven Sisters” between 1947 and 1953. Having witnessed the rise and fall of the Soviet empire, the building has recently re-emerged as a global power broker, particularly when it comes to the Middle East.
- Uber deal actually empowers Saudi women! – June 7th, 2016. Saudi Arabia’s $3.5 billion investment in global transportation company, Uber, grabbed headlines on Saturday, and rightly so. After all, it was the largest single investment ever made in a private company. The generally mixed reactions were also understandable given that Saudi Arabia has numerous critics. However, one can’t help but say that some of the criticism appeared blatantly misguided and extremely far from the realities on the ground.
- Restoring Arab passion for science: Mission impossible? – March 4th, 2016. At a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Al-Arabiya English, we asked what has gone wrong with Arabs and science given our historical achievements. I asked Science Editor of pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, Dr. Ahmed Moghrabi, whether it really is “mission impossible” to restore the passion for innovation.
- Davos: With the Saudis absent, Zarif’s fairy tales prevailed – Jan. 26th, 2016. Iranian Foreign Minster Mohammad Javad Zarif certainly got a free ride at this year’s World Economic Forum. His views on the region went completely unchallenged in the absence of a counter-argument, and due to the format of his session, members of the audience were not able to ask questions or intervene.
- An unshackled Iran can only be countered by a firm Saudi Arabia – Jan. 22nd, 2016. With the nuclear deal sealed and sanctions lifted, an unshackled Iran is now a reality. The region – and the world at large – now holds its breath in anticipation of what kind of global player the Islamic Republic wants to be.
- By cutting ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia executed the 48th terrorist – Jan. 7th, 2016. It was as if Saudi Arabia had executed yet another terrorist when Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir announced the severing of ties with Iran on Sunday.
- Friday 13th: The price France had to pay for doing what’s right! – Nov. 17th, 2015. Paris will never be the same after Friday night, and as the French mourn their dead — and we all mourn with them — the reality is that Friday, Nov. 13 will inevitably leave a permanent scar on the face of this beautiful city, just like 9/11 did to New York or 7/7 did to London.
- PM Trudeau, many best wishes from the Middle East – Nov. 14th, 2015. Though it is only a few days into his tenure, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to be on track to restore Canada’s image as the fair, liberal, caring and proudly-diverse nation it was once perceived to be, particularly among many in the Middle East.
- British FM Philip Hammond says it’s ‘business as usual’ with Saudi Arabia – Nov. 2nd, 2015. British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond has said his country’s working relationship with Saudi Arabia is deep rooted and strong, despite recent media reports of tension between Riyadh and London.
- Sheikh Mohammed’s ‘Marshall Plan’ may be the region’s last chance – Oct. 14th, 2015. I hate to sound pessimistic, but the Arab world’s increasingly disastrous status leaves very little room for positivity. After all, what else can be said of the devastating wars tearing apart Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, a humiliating occupation in Palestine, severe divisions and intense corruption and unrest in Lebanon, Egypt and Sudan?
- Why Operation Decisive Storm was needed in Yemen – March 27th, 2015. For far too long, the Iranian-backed Houthi movement was left to meddle in Yemen. Now, while one realizes that war should always be used as a last resort and that every effort to use political and peaceful means should be exhausted; the reality is time after time, Iran and its agents continue to prove that they can’t be trusted and that they will always behave as the rogue players that they are.
- King Salman needed only 10 out of his ‘first 100 days’ – Feb. 6th 2015. In US politics, we often hear the term “the first 100 days” which is traditionally used to measure the success and accomplishments of recently elected presidents during the time that their power and influence is at its greatest.
- A spinner of false stories – Jan. 19th 2015. At first, one would think he has stumbled upon a made-up story on “The Onion” or the “Pan Arabia Enquirer”, but no; the headline “Bashar Al-Assad says he is against killing of civilians” wasn’t satire, it was real … albeit, this is classic example of matter that would have been extremely funny, if wasn’t so sad!
- How to win the ideological war against IS – Oct. 4th 2014. There has been a surge in voices critical of the coalition air strikes against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State. Indeed, some critics have voiced concerns over the likelihood of accidentally targeting civilians whilst others have refuted the whole idea, arguing that the war against IS shouldn’t be physical but ideological.
- Welcome back, President Obama! – August 12th 2014. One hopes that the US has finally come to its senses about the dangers of leaving a vacuum in the region and one also hopes that for the remainder of his term, the US president will work closely with America’s longtime allies to bring a bit of peace and sanity to the region.
- In response to Patrick Cockburn and Sir Richard Dearlove – July 17th 2014. In a recent article in The Independent, Patrick Cockburn made a number of wide and questionable assumptions relating to Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the recent crisis in Iraq.
- UAE’s ‘water aid’ campaign – July 8th 2014. Surely saving the lives of five million people around the world must be a story worth writing about, and given all the negative stories about Islam and Muslims in international press, I think it is only fair that initiatives like UAE Water Aid get their fair share of column inches.
- ‘Shut up your mouse, Obama!’ – March 17th 2014. Little did that Egyptian woman know that her spontaneous rant against the US president would be repeated by so many, and that her words would be rejigged into a techno remix that would go viral within days.
- Qatar’s ‘small state syndrome’– March 9th 2014. With friends like Qatar, who needs enemies?
- Successful women are not failures – March 4th 2013. History was made in Saudi Arabia when the recently sworn-in Shoura Council, the country’s consultative assembly, held its first session with 30 women appointees participating for the first time.
- New radar system enhances Patriot missiles by up to 50 percent: Raytheon executive – Feb. 24th 2013. At the acclaimed International Defence Expo (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, Al Arabiya caught up with Tim R. Glaeser, Vice president for Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD), Patriot Programs, Integrated Defense Systems (IDS).
- Happy New Year, Dubai! – Jan. 4th 2014. Yes, Dubai is part of the Arab world, but the Arab world has a very long way to go to become a part of what Dubai has become.
- Saudi women must drive more than just cars! – Sept. 23rd 2013. We – as a society – need to first accept that a women’s place is not behind a man… but next to him!
- Giving Assad a license to kill – Sept. 16th 2013. Of all American politicians, it is Senator John McCain who seems to really “get it” when it comes to dealing with the Assad regime.
- Journalism 101 for Professor Marc Lynch – August 1st 2013. In an article recently published in Foreign Policy magazine, renowned American academic and author Marc Lynch criticized an opinion piece by Al Arabiya English columnist Abdelatif El-Menawy, describing it as “astonishing.”
- ‘It’s the economy, stupid!’ – July 6th 2013. Military coup or not, there were tens of millions of Egyptians out on the streets who demanded and then ultimately celebrated the ousting of (now former) President Mohamed Morsi.
- Is Al-Jazeera really number one? – June 16th 2013. Times must be turbulent at Al-Jazeera. It was incredibly sad to see the Qatari state-owned broadcaster resort to citing a seemingly non-existent study to claim that it is the most-watched channel in the Middle East and North Africa.