The “reformist” face of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) that appears to the West is a camouflage to a more sinister face of repression, dictatorship and state terrorism. The real face of the Saudi regime was laid bare this week when regime’s troops stormed the Eastern city of Qatif, raided many houses and detained scores of innocent people.
Saudi Arabia’s increasingly erratic behavior has raised question marks around the world. After decades in which Riyadh kept a low profile and mainly intervened in world affairs by using its oil wealth, the Saudi military and intelligence machine is now pursuing a brutal war in Yemen, has put little Qatar under boycott, has attempted to destabilize Lebanon, is licking its wounds from defeat in Syria, and is cultivating potential clients in Iraq.
I stood in front of a mosque in the city of Qatif, Saudi Arabia, interviewing people for a story. Suddenly, two city police cars pulled up. Several minutes later plain clothes officers from the secret police began questioning me. I had entered the country with a journalist visa, but committed the grave crime of practicing journalism without official permission.
New charges levied against Sheikh Ali Salman Bahraini authorities have sought new charges against Sheikh Ali Salman, Secretary General of Al Wefaq, accusing him of working as a spy for the state of Qatar. He is now due to stand trial on 26th November, with two other individuals indicted, Hassan Sultan and Ali Alaswad, a former MP now residing in London.
As the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar intensifies, bleak economic prospects have been predicted for the region. The International Monetary Fund warned in its Regional Economic Outlook released yesterday that if the crisis drags on, it will negatively impact mid-term growth prospects for the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to attend sporting events in three of the country’s stadiums raises as many questions as it provide answers that go to the core of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms and the kingdom’s sports policy.
The US state department has approved a $3.8 billion arms sale to Bahrain, despite continued criticism of the Gulf regime due to gross human rights abuses. The US state department has approved a $3.8 billion arms sale to Bahrain, despite growing unease about the Gulf state’s human rights abuses and blockade of Washington ally Qatar.
Gulf governments have sustained their campaigns to silence peaceful critics during the first half of 2017, Human Rights Watch said today, updating an interactive website, created in November 2016, featuring targeted human rights activists.
A year-long investigation by BBC Arabic and a Danish newspaper has uncovered evidence that the UK defence giant BAE Systems has made large-scale sales across the Middle East of sophisticated surveillance technology, including to many repressive governments. These sales have also included decryption software which could be used against the UK and its allies.
President Donald Trump’s attempt to bring peace and stability to the Middle East has backfired spectacularly. He has put a major U.S. ally, Qatar, in a serious geopolitical crisis and damaged the efforts of his own cabinet to calm regional tensions.