Historians of the 20th century Middle East have to reckon with the impact of not one, but two cold wars. The main one was of course the Cold War, in which the United States and Soviet Union jockeyed for power and influence all over the world and particularly in the oil-rich Greater Middle East. The second was … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the North Yemen Civil War begins (1962)
Religious fervor was truly in the air in 1979. Presumably we don't need to go into much detail about that year's Islamic Revolution in Iran, which toppled our old pal Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and his secret police/torture network in favor of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and, uh, his secret police/torture network. But across the Persian Gulf Saudi … Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Grand Mosque seizure (1979)
No, I don't mean this blog. A Saudi woman named Sara Masry decided a couple of years ago to pursue a master's degree in Iranian studies in Tehran. More importantly for us, after a few months in Iran she decided to blog about her experiences. The result is the blog A Saudi in Iran, which … Continue reading You should read this blog even though it may be defunct now
Earlier today, or late last night if you're in the US, we all received a pretty big announcement out of Saudi Arabia: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz sacked his younger half-brother as crown prince and appointed his nephew, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, as the new heir apparent, state television said....King Salman also appointed … Continue reading Are the “Sudairi Seven” consolidating power?
There seems to be a theme in the early eulogizing of Saudi King Abdullah b. Abdulaziz, who died yesterday at the age of 90, give or take. See if you can pick out what it is: Yes, Abdullah was a reformer, which may come as a surprise to some of you at home, but not … Continue reading The reformer who didn’t really reform anything