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.
While the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may not change the course of Saudi oil policy, Meghan O'Sullivan writes that interesting changes to the Kingdom's cabinet roster and other energy policies could be closer than most realize.
With the Saudi's threatening to "shift" from their American-cnetric policy, Washington is quietly trying to figure out whether Riyadh is spooked by Obama or is trying to spooke him into clearly defining U.S. policy in the Mideast, says Leslie H. Gelb.
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.
Najwa and Omar bin Laden--first wife and fourth son of Osama bin Laden--paint a "horrifying portrait" of one of the greatest criminals of our time, writes Thomas Lippman in his review of their book, "Growing Up Bin Laden." Written with Jean Sasson, the book provides intimate details about the bin Ladens' family life but does not add much to our understanding of al-Qaeda, says Lippman.
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Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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