Saudi Arabia

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  • Modi’s visit to UAE: Strengthening India’s Gulf link

    Modi’s visit to UAE: Strengthening India’s Gulf link

    Modi’s visit to UAE needs to be seen in the larger context of strengthening ties and further widening the scope of India’s engagement with the Gulf region.

    August 24, 2015

    ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ and Changing Geopolitics in the Gulf

    ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ and Changing Geopolitics in the Gulf

    While both Saudi Arabia and Iran vie for power and influence, Yemenis continue to suffer and the country seems to be slipping into further instability.

    May 26, 2015

    Saudi Arabia: King Salman Faces the 21st Century

    Since assuming the throne on January 23, 2015 following the death of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s new monarch, King Salman, seems to have set about the task of shaking up the ultraconservative kingdom. The punishment or pardoning of Raef Badawi became the litmus test of the new Saudi monarch’s reign as the blogger’s sentence coincided with the last days of the ailing King Abdullah and King Salman was compelled to face his personal past as promoter of Islamic fundamentalism abroad.

    May 2015

    The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Saudi Arabia’s Approach towards the Islamic State

    The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Saudi Arabia’s Approach towards the Islamic State

    Saudi Arabia has joined the war against the IS and it supports more boots on the ground to tackle this challenge. Although it is employing all the options available to it, the success of anti-IS operations depends to a significant extent on the ground situation in Syria and Iraq.

    February 02, 2015

    An Analysis of the US Sale of the Patriot Missile Defence System to Saudi Arabia

    An Analysis of the US Sale of the Patriot Missile Defence System to Saudi Arabia

    The PAC-3 missile defence deal is a win-win package for both the United States and Saudi Arabia in terms of both their bilateral relations and the enhancement of regional security.

    December 10, 2014

    Saudi Arabia’s Nuclear Thinking and the Pakistani Connection

    Riyadh anticipates that in the long run a nuclear Iran will be challenging Saudi’s proxy conflicts with Iran in states like Palestine, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. Amidst such concerns, Riyadh’s rejection of a UN Security Council seat in October 2013 followed by the revelation of the BBC news about possible nuclear weapons cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in November 2013 has raised questions whether Riyadh aspires to acquire nuclear weapons capability.

    January 07, 2014

    Post-Morsi Egypt: Saudi Manoeuvring and Iranian Dilemma

    The issue brief analyses the changing patterns of relationship of Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two major players in the Gulf, with Egypt in the backdrop of the removal of Morsi.

    September 27, 2013

    The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions After the Arab Spring

    The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions After the Arab Spring
    • Publisher: Pentagon Press

    Following the Arab Spring, the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) region is witnessing interactions between the various strands of Islamism-Wahhabiya in Saudi Arabia; the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its affiliates in other Arab countries, and the radical strand represented by Al Qaeda and its associated organisations - in an environment of robust competition and even conflict. This work examines these issues in some details. It provides an overview of the political aspects of Islamic law – the Sharia, as it evolved from early Islam and, over the last two hundred years, experienced the impact of Western colonialism. This book draws on a rich variety of source material which has been embellished by the author’s extensive diplomatic experience in the Arab world over three decades.

    • ISBN 978-81-8274-737-1,
    • Price: ₹. 695/-
    • E-copy available

    Anasur Rahman asked: Why is Saudi Arabia, being a Wahhabi Sunni-dominated nation, opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, unlike Qataris, and supports the interim regime there?

    Gulshan Dietl replies: The Brotherhood is primarily political seeking to confront the imperialist West as also the godless regimes in West Asia. The Saudis, on the other hand, follow Wahhabism, which is primarily religious seeking to purify Islam and restore it to its original glory. At the peak of pan-Arab ideology across the Arab world, Saudi Arabia had provided asylum to the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who sought refuge from Nasser’s Egypt or Hafez al-Assad’s Syria. Since then, the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood have been on divergent paths. Beyond the ideological differences, there are serious political considerations. The onset of “Arab Spring” has seen the ascendance of Muslim Brotherhood in post-Spring states. Egypt has always been an influential regional power in West Asia. The Muslim Brotherhood there could be an inspiration for pro-democracy movements and consequently a threat to stability in the Kingdom. The former Saudi Minister of Interior Prince Nayef was reported to have said, “The Muslim Brotherhood is the cause of most of the Arab World’s problems and has done vast amounts of damage in Saudi Arabia.” Unsurprisingly, therefore, the Saudis have generously supported the interim regime in Egypt.

    The Saudi-Qatari rivalries run deep in spite of the fact that both follow Wahhabism, are rich in energy resources, are ruled by monarchies and have strategic ties with the US. Qatar has a small population and an enormous wealth. In the circumstances, the “Arab Spring” did not manifest itself in Qatar. In fact, it provided the country an opportunity to project its role in the region and beyond. The new ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim al-Thani, is expected to bring about reconciliation between the two royal dynasties.

    Manudev Jain asked: What is there for Saudi Arabia in the India-Saudi partnership, and what is there for India, besides oil?

    Gulshan Dietl replies: Saudi Arabia is a unique country at least in two specific details. One, it possesses more than a quarter of the global oil reserves and has been the largest oil producer for over half-a-century and, more importantly, it is the only country with a spare production capacity. Two, the holiest Islamic shrines are located in Makkah and Medina, placing the country in the epicentre of the Muslim sacred space. In economic terms, oil is the largest component in India-Saudi Arabia relations. One-fourth of India’s oil imports come from Saudi Arabia, making it the fourth largest trading partner for India and India is the fifth largest market for the Saudi exports. The trade between the two stands at $36 billion annually. Nearly two million Indians work in Saudi Arabia, and 136,000 Indians visit Saudi Arabia for performing Hajj every year.

    The Saudis are keen to cooperate with India in educational, research and technological fields. We have agreed to set up institutions of higher learning in Saudi Arabia as also to provide educational opportunities for Saudi students in India. There are Memoranda of Understanding between the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation, the Indian Institute of Science and the King Saud University, the Indian Space Research Organisation and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, and so on.

    Since last year, there are moves to develop cooperation between the defence establishments of both the countries. Last year, the Saudis deported Abu Jundal, who was wanted in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, making counter terrorism a key area of cooperation between the two countries.