Saudi Arabia

Pirates (of football) in the Gulf versus Qatar’s soft power

Two years ago, in the summer of 2017, a dispute between Arab neighbours was on the point of escalating into a military conflict. Today it has turned into a battle of sports rights that extends as far as the main international competitions, including Spain’s top-flight football competition, La Liga. [...]

The Middle East global presence: between Latin America and Africa

The Elcano Global Presence Index includes all countries of the Middle East, with the exception of Bahrein and Palestine. Affected by a variety of conflicts, such as those of Syria and Yemen, the region ranks 5th and has the lowest growth since 1990 after Latin America. Two major poles [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Riyadh-Tehran: intertwined destinies

An antagonism, a profound enmity, dominates the Middle East: the rivalry that pits Iran against Saudi Arabia. Its roots go back a long way, to before the Khomeini revolution of 1979, to the difference between Shiites and Sunnis, but also to diverse geopolitical interests. The year 1979 marked a [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega The destabilising effect of cheap oil

The low cost of oil may come as an ongoing relief to many economies, such as Spain’s, but it is creating political and social volatility in numerous producer countries, both among Spain’s neighbours and further afield, reliant as they are on the income from oil to maintain their youthful [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Winners and losers in the fall of Aleppo

The fall of Aleppo in the hands of the government forces of Bashar al-Assad, with the military support of Russia and Iran, is producing both winners and losers; on both sides this new state of affairs will have repercussions over the short, medium and long terms that go far [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Saudi Arabia vs Iran: the real rivalry in the Middle East

Without it, nothing makes sense, and it has now emerged into broad daylight following the execution of the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr alongside 46 other prisoners –43 of them convicted of al-Qaeda terrorist activities– and the subsequent riots and assault and torching of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Syria: thank you, Putin

Due to the authoritarian nature of his regime (a format now known as ‘illiberal democracy’, since he actually wins elections), to the way he annexed Crimea and intervened in the Eastern Ukraine, to his homophobia and other similar traits, Vladimir Putin is the object of widespread distaste in the [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega The New Silk Road passes through Iran

The agreement between the six world powers and Iran is important not only because it will prevent a war or a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but because it paves the way for reintegrating the country into both regional and global frameworks. But this does not mean [...]

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