In The National Interest, Bruce Riedel comments on the al-Qaeda plot to terrorize "Obama's city" of Chicago on the eve of U.S. elections back in 2010, noting that the Saudi spy who defected to our allies underscores the importance of U.S. alliances in the Middle East.
President Obama and Saudi King Abdullah's meeting on June 29 will include difficult conversations about the Middle East, where Saudis want to be convinced that the United States is serious about supporting a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says CFR's Thomas Lippman.
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.
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.
U.S. experts say any new approach to bringing stability to Afghanistan must be regional in scope. Saudi Arabia, with historic ties to the Taliban and Afghan Pashtuns, could hold a principle seat at the table.
F. Gregory Gause III, a leading expert on Iraq and Saudi Arabia, says a lack of leadership among Iraq's Shiite politicians is holding up approval of a U.S.-Iraqi security pact. He also talks about new Saudi efforts to engage the Taliban in a peace parley.
In February, Tamara Cofman Wittes and Isobel Coleman met with business leaders, academics, journalists, and civic activists in Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Among Wittes and Coleman's key findings are that many Saudis welcomed the emergence of a more open atmosphere, pointing to King Abdullah's ascension to the throne, dynamism in neighboring Gulf states, and a new "post-post-9/11" environment as key catalysts for the change. Yet, there was frustration at the unpredictability and arbitrariness of the newly expanded social and political space. The next U.S. administration may have a new, but narrow, window of opportunity to reintroduce itself to Saudi Arabia. Many Saudis argued for the creation of a deeper, multi-dimensional relationship between both countries that engages civil society, not just the government and business sectors.
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.
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.