"If the United States manages to secure a viable nuclear deal with Iran, it would reduce the risk of war and create pressures and opportunities to build more constructive relations—anathema to a grand strategy built around regional confrontation with Tehran. Still, the fact that Saudi Arabia has so publicly lambasted the Obama administration suggests that the Saudis don't actually fear abandonment all that much. If they did, they might be more keen to find ways to reassure rather than to confront Washington," writes Marc Lynch for the Washington Post.
"Two camps are emerging: one led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which maintains that political Islam is a perilous force that should be confronted; and the other led by Qatar and Turkey's ruling party, which believes in political Islam's ability to transform the region. 'This confrontation has not reached its peak yet,' [Tarek Osman] says. Saudi Arabia's policies might be pursued in the name of stability. But they could well achieve the opposite," writes Roula Khalaf in the Financial Times.
"Younger rank-and-file Brothers in Saudi, like those in other Brotherhood franchises outside Egypt, are starting to lose hope in peaceful political change. That frustration can lead to apathy. But it can also lead to violence—and if it does, the Saudi government's decision to declare the group a terrorist organization will have been a self-fulfilling prophecy," writes William McCants in Foreign Affairs.
After WTO Ruling, Rare-Earth Element Prices Expected to Drop
The Geneva-based Human Rights Council on Thursday approved an investigation into allegations of human rights violations committed on both sides of a civil war fought by the government and Tamil rebels that ended in May 2009 (AP).
A new high court was sworn in on Thursday to hear a treason case against President Amadou Toumani Toure, who was toppled in a 2012 coup after failing to put down a separatist movement that ushered in armed Islamist groups (Reuters).
Turkey Adds YouTube to Pre-Election Media Restrictions
The Justice and Development Party moved to block YouTube on Thursday after the leak of a recording in which senior officials allegedly discussed military intervention in Syria. The move follows a widely circumvented block of Twitter and pressure on local media in the run-up to municipal elections Sunday that are seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Today's Zaman).
Many have called on President Abdullah Gul to rein in Erdogan's authoritarian measure, but he is unlikely to do so, writes Steven Cook in Foreign Affairs.