The Saudis can't rein in Islamic State. They lost control of global Salafism long ago.

Los Angeles Times

Can a state be both the target of Islamist extremists and responsible for their actions? The attacks on July 4 in three Saudi Arabian cities, almost certainly perpetrated by adherents of Islamic State, have once again raised this question for drive-by analysts. They point out that the official interpretation of Islam in Saudi Arabia, which outsiders refer to as Wahhabism and Saudis refer to as Salafism, shares many elements with extremist ideology. Then they argue that Saudi efforts to proselytize Salafism played a role in the development of the global jihadist movement, and that the Saudis thus bear a special responsibility to rein in their support for Muslim institutions outside their borders and to moderate their practice of Islam at home. The implication is that if the Saudis would only change their behavior, the threat represented by the radicals would be greatly reduced.


What is behind Turkey's strategy in handling the Khashoggi case?

Al Jazeera

Istanbul - Turkish officials leaked information about missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi to the media as part of a carefully calibrated bid to gain political leverage over Saudi Arabia and repair Turkey's relations with the United States, analysts said. Khashoggi, a veteran journalist and contributor to the Washington Post, disappeared more than a week ago following a visit to the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. Days later, in a series of explosive leaks to the media, anonymous Turkish officials told reporters they believed a team of 15 Saudi agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi - a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - in the consulate. The claims, for which Turkey has not offered any evidence, sparked an international uproar, with US President Donald Trump promising the kingdom "severe punishment" if the claims are true. Saudi Arabia has dismissed the allegations as "baseless" but has failed to produce proof that Khashoggi ever left the consulate.


Saudi crown prince orders 2,100 Pakistani prisoners 'released'

Al Jazeera

More than 2,000 Pakistani workers languishing in Saudi jails will be released, Pakistan's information minister announced on Monday during Saudi Arabian crown prince's high-profile visit to Islamabad. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had "ordered the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners", after a request by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Fawad Chaudhry said in a post on Twitter. Prince Mohammed arrived in Pakistan on Sunday at the beginning of an Asian tour which will include China and is seen as an attempt by him to rebuild his reputation after the murder of Saudi critic and journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia on Sunday signed investment agreements with Pakistan worth $20bn. Saudi officials have yet to comment on the Pakistani announcement of a prisoner release.


On Qatar, Pakistan walks a diplomatic tightrope

Al Jazeera

Islamabad, Pakistan - Pakistan's parliament has expressed its "deep concern" over the blockade and severing of ties with Qatar by several Arab states, calling for the government to help mediate in the crisis between the Gulf state and its neighbours. "This House calls upon all countries to show restraint and resolve all differences through dialogue," read a resolution passed by the lower house of parliament on Thursday. The measure came as Pakistan's foreign ministry reiterated the country's "concern" at the escalating situation - but stopped short of endorsing one side or another. "Pakistan believes in unity among Muslim countries and has made consistent and serious efforts for its promotion," Nafees Zakaria, the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson, said on Thursday. "We are therefore concerned at the situation."


9/11 attacks reemerge as a critical test of U.S.-Saudi relationship

Los Angeles Times

The greatest test yet of a U.S.-Saudi relationship already under strain may be the one that has been hiding in plain sight the longest: the Arab kingdom's connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. It has been nearly 15 years since 15 Saudi citizens helped perpetrate the worst terrorist strike on U.S. soil; nonetheless, given the complex geopolitics that arose, the attack forged greater security cooperation between the longtime allies. But on his fourth and final visit as president to Saudi Arabia, which concluded Thursday, President Obama had to reconcile his need for the kingdom's help on regional security with increasing skepticism back home about the relationship, including his own. "There's no question that this is an important alliance that has accrued to the benefit of the United States in many ways," Sen. Christopher S. Murphy (D-Conn.) said Thursday at a forum at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "But as time goes on, it's harder and harder to ignore the holes in the relationship."