Saudi Arabia

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 [...]

Sectarianism in Bahrain and the New Middle East Cold War

The current Middle East seems to be on the verge of collapse and the revival of the Sunni-Shia divide appears to be the main culprit. The Arab Spring uprisings have altered the existing balance of power and accentuated the sectarian differences in the region. In this context, some states [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Iran’s reconciliation with the world upsets regional balances

During his successful 2013 election campaign, the centrist President Hassan Rouhani pledged ‘to reconcile Iran with the world’, thus indicating that he (and others) felt a degree of personal responsibility for the long 35 years of the country’s distancing from the rest of the world. The framework agreement reached [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Cheaper oil, geopolitical effects

Some see it as the long arm of Saudi Arabia; others as a concerted action with the US; and, finally, there are those who just see the markets move, at a Europe on the brink of recession and a world submerged in a ‘new mediocrity’. The fact is that [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega The strange triad: the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia

This Sunday is the deadline for the US and Iran to agree on limiting the latter’s nuclear programme to peaceful purposes. The current context is one in which the relations between Washington and Tehran, that had been interrupted since the 1979 hostage crisis, have again come to the fore, [...]

Global Spectator, by Andrés Ortega Iraq’s failures

A forgotten duo is making a comeback: Sykes-Picot. In 1916 these two civil servants, one British and the other French, designed –ie, divided up– the map of the Middle East between their countries’ respective areas of influence, creating artificial states such as Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. It was part [...]

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