Saudi Arabia

Non-starter
April 04, 2007

Here are Saudi Arabia's terms for the big pow-wow between Israel and certain Arab states: that Israel agree in advance to all the points in the Saudi peace plan. Why don't they all just skip the conferring and go to the celebrating. No drinks. Just a hookah. The story is in today's Ha'aretz.

The Saudi Ambassador
March 12, 2007

You may recall when, not so long ago, I posted on The Spine the news that Adel Al-Jubeir had become the Saudi ambassador to Washington. I ventured to suggest that this appointment might augur a new, active and forward-looking participant in the search for some negotiated formula to ease the hundred-year struggle in ancient Palestine. That participant is Saudi Arabia, whose government Al-Jubeir represents in Washington and which he has for years been trying to drag into the realities of the modern world.

This Is A Scoop... A Scoop About Saudi Arabia
December 22, 2006

This is a scoop. I didn't post when I'd heard that Prince Turki al-Faisal was being brought back from Washington to Riyadh. I should have. I knew it before anyone else. Well, not exactly. Not before the London personage who informed me. Sorry. But, if you want a very reliable explanation of why this royal has been retired so soon after arriving, you can read in a January 16 Wall Street Journal column, "Talking Turki," by the savvy Simon Henderson. In any case, what's past is past. It's the future that counts. And here's the news.

The New Hegemon
December 18, 2006

Vali Nasr on life under a nuclear Iran.

Talk, Talk, Talk
November 27, 2006

I am not sure that there is anything that we can do with our army in Iraq that won't make things worse than they are. That may be an un-American sentiment. (Isn't there always something to do, and aren't we always the ones who can do it?) But what are our options? Should we "stay the course"? That only means more of the same awfulness. Bring in more troops? That might have worked a few years ago; now, it would only generate more resistance and make the awfulness more awful. In any case, it is politically impossible here at home. Withdraw immediately?

Ignore James Baker
November 27, 2006

The man who has come to rescue U.S.

Force Everyone to the Table
November 27, 2006

It's time to make a virtue of necessity in Iraq. The country is sliding into full-blown civil war. The government is weak and getting weaker by the day; it also shows little willingness to make the minimum commitments necessary for stability--amending the constitution to guarantee Sunnis their share of national oil revenue, allowing lower-level Baathist officials to be rehabilitated, and disarming the militias. The Bush administration and many Democrats have been strenuously resisting these conclusions. But they may, in fact, be our most valuable diplomatic asset. If we accept this reality and

Hot House
November 21, 2006

"Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this," Senator Barbara Boxer declared in a conference call with reporters last week, referring to global warming. The California Democrat will take over as chair of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee in January, and she has already vowed to make climate change a top priority, reversing a decade of inaction by congressional Republicans.

Baker's Choice
November 13, 2006

These days, the diplomatic energy spent on Iraq isn't coming from Foggy Bottom or the Pentagon, but from an office building near Dupont Circle, where the 76-year-old Baker and nine other Washington establishmentarians have spent the last eight months working on Iraq policy options to be presented sometime before February. Technically, Baker is merely the co-chairman of the commission, which is officially known as the Iraq Study Group.

Crude Awakening
October 02, 2006

Earlier this year, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in China—and quickly made himself at home. The occasion was a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional group linking China, Russia, and Central Asia. During the summit, Ahmadinejad seemed to be everywhere. He posed, arms linked, with Russian and Chinese officials, who said nothing as he called for “impartial and independent experts” to investigate whether the Holocaust happened. He delivered a major address broadcast on Chinese state television.

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