Critics in the Maldives likely sighed relief when Saudi King Salman this week postponed his visit because of an outbreak of flu. The flu is however unlikely to halt a planned massive Saudi investment or the impact on Maldives society of the kingdom’s religion-driven public diplomacy. Big ticket investments and countering political violence dominated the headlines of the king’s tour of Asia...

Pakistan is emerging as an important military player in the Gulf as it struggles to balance complex relations with regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran and diverging approaches by different branches of its government. Pakistan’s military engagement with the Gulf goes far beyond increased involvement in a Saudi-led, 41-nation military alliance that officially was established to counter terrorism, but...

The July 29 announcement by Jabhat al-Nusra on severing affiliation ties with Al Qaeda and changing its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham came as a blessing for Qatar, which for a long time has tried to encourage the group of making such a move. Doha is interested in using the significant fighting capabilities of al-Nusra on the ground to pursue one of its foreign policy goals in the Middle East – the...

The (un)expected turning point occurred in the energy market when one of the world’s biggest crude oil exporters – Saudi Arabia declared that it will cut dependence on oil revenue by 2020. The new ambitious strategic concept intends to lay out a new economic trajectory amid the deep crisis in the oil market. The chief mastermind behind this ambitious plan is Minister of defence of the Kingdom...