Saudi Arabia

Leonardo and the oligarchs

Cath Fletcher reviews 'The Last Leonardo' by Ben Lewis (William Collins, 2019)

On 13 April 2019, The Times splashed on the headline “Fresh doubt over world’s most expensive painting”.

Accompanied by a picture of the Salvator Mundi, controversially attributed to Leonardo da Vinci in a National Gallery exhibition of 2011, the newspaper reported on claims in Ben Lewis’s book The Last Leonardo that the attribution was now in doubt.

Pitfalls of knee-jerk “blame Israel”

Morad Shirin (Solidarity 511) has casually speculated that Israel (or, perhaps, another regional power allied to the USA, but no other state is thought worthy of mention) is probably responsible for the attacks on the Norwegian and Japanese oil tankers.

No evidence is offered, but rather a Galloway-style deduction based on which state would benefit from the most obvious suspect being punished. It isn’t often, thankfully, that this type of argument is promoted in the pages of Solidarity.

Trump’s bluster, Assad’s strength

Author

Simon Nelson

On 19 December, US president Donald Trump announced a snap decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. At first he said the troops would be out within 30 days, but now it looks like several months at least. The plan is now conditional on assurances from Turkey regarding the safety of the Kurds in Northern Syria.

Khashoggi murder shows Saudi state under pressure

Author

Dan Katz

Saudi Arabia’s regime is a stain on the modern world.

And the Saudi state’s decades-old campaign to export an extreme, fundamentalist version of political Islam, funded by vast amounts of oil money, is a world-wide political pollutant.

Tories welcome “modernising” Saudi Prince

Author

Ralph Peters

This month’s visit to the UK of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MbS), at the head of a large delegation of Saudi military and business leaders, marks a new low for the Tory government.

It also indicates a major strategic economic priority for the Tory government, as Emily Thornberry put it, “to plug the hole that will be left in Britain’s trade and growth prospects … after Brexit”.

Yemen: end this war!

Author

Dan Katz

Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen, which began in 2015 in an effort to prop up the regime of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi against internal rebellion, is a disaster for Yemen's people.

Hariri resignation stokes up regional tension

Author

Simon Nelson

The bizarre resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Saudi state media has opened up another battleground between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional dominance. Hariri said his life was in danger, pointed the finger at Iran and by extension the Shia sectarian Hezbollah, one of his government’s coalition partners.

Daesh driven out of Raqqa

Author

Ralph Peters

The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) have scored remarkable victories over the last three years against Daesh in northern Syria.

Saudis back off

Author

Dan Katz

The Saudi Arabian-led blockade of its smaller Gulf neighbour Qatar began on 5 June. The Saudis, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt put in place economic and political sanctions including closing their airspace to Qatari flights, shutting the Saudi-Qatar land border, forcing their citizens to leave Qatar and expelling Qataris from their territories.

Saudi Arabia tries to push Qatar into line

Author

Dan Katz

A simmering conflict between the Gulf State of Qatar and its larger neighbour, Saudi Arabia, has abruptly flared into an open, serious stand-off.

Beginning on 5 June, a Saudi-led grouping of states including Egypt, Bahrain and UAE broke off diplomatic relations, and implemented travel and trade bans against Qatar. Qatar has said it will not retaliate.Saudi Arabia has closed Qatar’s only land border and ordered its citizens to leave Qatar.

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