Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Where to even begin. IRAQ With Qaim under control, the Iraqi plan is to move back east along the Euphrates and take the town of Rawa while simultaneously clearing out the rest of the Syrian border area. The focus for now seems to be back on ISIS, though conflict with the Kurds could flare up… Continue reading Middle East update: November 4-5 2017

Middle East update: June 21 2017

SAUDI ARABIA OK, time for some more BIG, BREAKING news on today’s huge shakeup in the Saudi line of succession…but, you know what? There really hasn’t been any. If you were hoping for some serious Saud family drama, then at the very least you’re going to have to keep hoping for a while longer, assuming… Continue reading Middle East update: June 21 2017

Middle East update: June 19-20 2017

BREAKING: Well, I suppose this was inevitable: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, placing him firmly as first-in-line to the throne and removing the country’s counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the royal line of succession. In a series of royal decrees… Continue reading Middle East update: June 19-20 2017

Princes behaving badly

The House of Saud isn’t just beset by princes getting busted for drug possession in foreign airports; there’s also apparently at least one Saudi prince talking out of school about King Salman, according to The Guardian’s Hugh Miles: A senior Saudi prince has launched an unprecedented call for change in the country’s leadership, as it… Continue reading Princes behaving badly

Are Saudi Arabia’s “Sudairi Seven” consolidating power?

Earlier today, or late last night if you’re in the US, there came 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… Continue reading Are Saudi Arabia’s “Sudairi Seven” consolidating power?

The reformer who didn’t really reform anything

There seems to be a theme in the early eulogizing of the recently departed Saudi King Abdullah. 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 nearly as big a surprise as it probably comes to… Continue reading The reformer who didn’t really reform anything

Well, he had a nice run

They say only the good die young…and on an unrelated note Saudi King Abdullah b. Abd al-Aziz died earlier today at age 90 (or so; his exact birthdate appears to be up for debate). Rest in Peace. He’s succeeded by his middle-aged brother Salman (79), and the new heir apparent is the positively youthful Prince… Continue reading Well, he had a nice run