This Middle East Institute Policy Brief examines Saudi strategy and response if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, concluding that the Saudis would much prefer an accommodation with Iran and progress toward its long-stated goal of making the entire region a zone free of nuclear weapons.
Authors: Christopher M. Blanchard and Alfred B. Prados
This CRS report for Congress reviews allegations of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing together with Saudi rebuttals, discusses the question of Saudi support for Palestinian organizations and religious charities and schools abroad, discusses recent steps taken by Saudi Arabia to counter terrorist financing (many in conjunction with the United States), and suggests some implications of recent Saudi actions for the war on terrorism.
After the attacks of September 11, 2001, a 2004 Saudi royal study group recognized the exigency to reform educational material in Saudi Arabia's public school curriculum. The study found that the Saudi public education system advocates a problematic legacy in their religious curriculum that condones violence, repression, and intolerance. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, made public claims that the Saudi curriculum had been recently reviewed and revised to meet the needs of a more modern education. However, recent copies of Islamic Saudi textbooks that have been translated into English reveal a lack of modernization, which contradicts assertions of Saudi educational reform.
Joseph McMillan argues in this USIP report that in the near future, U.S. and Saudi perspectives on Iraq will be quite similar with both countries tightly focused on restoring peace and order and preventing the propagation of terrorism. However, there is also ample room for divergence. Saudi Arabia values its ties to Washington, but its ability to cooperate with U.S. policy will be limited by regional and domestic pressures. Ensuring that Saudi Arabia is a force for stability in the Gulf rather than a source of disruption is a continuing challenge for U.S. diplomacy.
Authors: Alfred B. Prados and Christopher M. Blanchard
This report reviews allegations of Saudi involvement in terrorist financing together with Saudi rebuttals, discusses the question of Saudi support for religious charities and schools (madrasas) abroad, discusses recent steps taken by Saudi Arabia to counter terrorist financing (many in conjunction with the United States), and suggests some implications of recent Saudi actions for the war on terrorism.
Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis, but its elite is bitterly divided on how to escape it. Crown Prince Abdullah leads a camp of liberal reformers seeking rapprochement with the West, while Prince Nayef, the interior minister, sides with an anti-American Wahhabi religious establishment that has much in common with al Qaeda. Abdullah cuts a higher profile abroad -- but at home Nayef casts a longer and darker shadow.
As the United States confronts a volatile Middle East, Saudi Arabia is "a central player—sometimes in accord with U.S. policy, sometimes not—in Arab-Israeli peace negotiations, in the quest for stability in Iraq, in Persian Gulf regional security issues focusing on Iran, and in the global struggle to promote a peaceful vision of Islam over jihadist violence," writes Thomas Lippman in a new book, Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally.
The U.S.-Saudi relationship has become strained by increasing mistrust and misunderstanding—most recently over Egypt and Bahrain—and gone are the old foundations of the informal alliance: the Cold War and U.S. operation of Riyadh's oil fields. This is the judgment of F. Gregory Gause III of the University of Vermont, in Saudi Arabia in the New Middle East. The two countries can no longer expect to act in close concert, and the United States should recast the relationship as transactional, one based on cooperation when interests dictate, he argues.
Council Senior Fellow and Director for Middle East and Gulf Studies Rachel Bronson reveals why the U.S.-Saudi partnership became so intimate and how the countries' shared interests sowed the seeds of today's most pressing problem -- Islamic radicalism.
Elliott Abrams says the return of Bandar bin Sultan as head of Saudi Arabia's intelligence service may "bring Saudi views and interests back to the center of Arab decision making as well as the inner circles in many other world capitals."
Ray Takeyh says that the reaction of Iran's opposition and its establishment figures to Washington's recent accusations that Tehran was involved in an assassination plot on U.S. soil suggests a more tenuous relationship between the Islamist regime and Iranian nationalism than generally thought.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon says that King Abdullah's granting the right to vote to Saudi Arabian women is another sign that the spirit of reform blowing through the region is making it increasingly hard to defend women's lack of basic rights.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
2011 Corporate Conference: Recaps and Highlights
To encourage the free flow of conversation, the 2011 Corporate Conference was entirely not-for-attribution; however, several conference speakers joined us for sideline interviews further exploring their areas of expertise.
Former Treasury secretary Robert E. Rubin and Nobel Laureate economist Michael Spence on the global economic outlook.
Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose and Edward Morse on energy geopolitics.