Our Man in Riyadh

Our Man in Riyadh

WIB politics November 28, 2018

What does Pres. Donald Trump’s recent nomination of retired Army general John Abizaid to become the next U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia signify? Next to nothing — and arguably quite a lot. Abizaid’s proposed appointment is both a non-event and an opportunity not to be wasted. It means next... Read more
There’s One Reason America Refuses to Hold Saudi Arabia Responsible for Murder
The apparent extrajudicial execution of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey on Oct. 2, 2018 seemed like a watershed moment in the protracted push to hold the autocratic, theocratic Saudi regime accountable. The moment seems to have passed. The recent U.S. elections have overshadowed the story, and neither... Read more
The Royal Touch

The Royal Touch

WIB politics October 5, 2018

 It was May 2017. The Saudis were growing increasingly nervous. For more than two years they had been relying heavily on U.S. military support and bombs to defeat Houthi rebels in Yemen. Now, the U.S. Senate was considering a bipartisan resolution to cut off military aid and halt a... Read more
The Houthis’ Do-It-Yourself Air Defenses
Read parts one and two. When the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, it quickly neutralized most of the Houthis’ air defenses. Nearly all of the radars and launchers belonging to the Houthis’ five air-defense brigades were destroyed by mid-April 2015. Elements of two air-defense brigades... Read more
Two Impulsive Leaders Fan the Middle East’s Flames
The Middle East. Could there be a more perilous place on Earth, including North Korea?  Not likely. The planet’s two leading nuclear armed powers backing battling proxies amply supplied with conventional weapons; terror groups splitting and spreading; religious-sectarian wars threatening amid a plethora of ongoing armed hostilities stretching from... Read more
The Saudi Regime Is Playing the U.S. Government
At this point, it’s no great surprise when U.S. Pres. Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi... Read more
In Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s Fight, Iran Is the Real Winner
While most Americans focused on domestic issues in the past month, the Middle East somehow grew more dangerous. Thanks in part to a hack allegedly carried out by Russian intelligence, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are close to war. The Saudi kingdom has blockaded Qatar and several Gulf states have... Read more
The Qatari Military Is Terribly Outgunned
It’s been less than a week since the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council—the closest thing to an Arab NATO—blockaded Qatar by sea, land and air, setting off a chaotic series of diplomatic maneuvers led by Kuwait. Wars have begun over less. If that wasn’t bad enough, were the standoff to... Read more
The West’s War on Terror Depends on the Wrong Allies
The same week that U.S. Pres. Donald Trump inaugurated a new effort to enlist the Sunni Arab world’s help in bringing jihadist terrorism to an end, a troubled young British man blew himself up at a pop singer’s concert in Manchester, killing 22 people—mostly young girls. This was the... Read more
Saudi Arabia Can’t Win Its Own Battles
Saudi Arabia has relied heavily on air power since its campaign against the Houthis in Yemen began more than two years ago. The kingdom has also sought help from other countries for the ground war—because Saudi Arabia cannot win wars on its own. Saudi Arabia sought to substitute its lack of... Read more

Paul Iddon

Contributing writer

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