Saudi Arabia News
Mar 24, 2013
In early January, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz appointed 30 women to Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, which had been an all-male assembly. Fifteen women in nine Arab countries, from Morocco to Egypt and Iraq, reacted to the appointment, and remarks by controversial cleric Ahmed al Abdulqader ― who reportedly called the new council members “prostitutes” on Twitter. Nearly all of the women saw the appointment as an important step in the struggle for women’s rights in the kingdom. But several stipulated that the appointment would make little difference if other reforms are not enacted.
Mar 19, 2013
On March 15, Sheikh Salman al Oudah warned that Saudi government inaction on political prisoners, poverty and corruption could spark violence in the kingdom. “When tempers are high, religious, political, and cultural symbols lose their value. The mob in the street takes control,” the open letter said.
Mar 15, 2013
Women in the Middle East and North Africa are more educated than ever before, but their participation in the workface is 25 percent – about half of the world average, according to a new report by the World Bank. “Often what stands between women and jobs are legal and social barriers,” said Manuela Ferro, Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management in the MENA region. But even some educated women lack the relevant skills currently in demand.
Mar 07, 2013
Many women in the Middle East and North Africa are experiencing physical violence and are being pushed out of public life, according to a new report by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.
Mar 06, 2013
Iran is now viewed unfavorably in 14 out of 20 Arab and Muslim countries, according to a new poll by Zogby Research Services. The survey results show a growing antipathy towards Tehran, especially in Sunni countries. Majorities in all but four countries agreed that Iran is contributing to sectarian division in the Arab world.
Mar 04, 2013
Wajeha al Huwaider reflects on the status of women in Saudi Arabia five years after she started a campaign for the right to drive.
Feb 05, 2013
Many young Saudis admire the youthful protesters of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Bahrain. But they don’t seek to imitate their tactic of massive street protests. One reason why is that they still hope—despite the lack of available evidence—that the Saudi royal family will voluntarily begin to share power with the Saudi people. Presumably then, the government can rest easy? Not necessarily.
Dec 11, 2012
Women played frontline roles in the Arab uprisings, but have since faced growing political hurdles during the transitions. Nine female activists from Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya outlined the specific challenges to women’s participation at a meeting sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in October 2012. They also offered strategies for empowering women.
Nov 05, 2012
Islamic television is increasingly popular and prevalent across the Middle East one year after Islamists began winning democratic elections. Even secular satellite channels are now broadcasting more religious content—and in better prime time slots. The satellite sheikhs vary widely, however. Indeed, the battle over defining Islam in a new political era is now being waged on television screens.
Aug 08, 2012
The Saudi official from the Ministry of Interior’s “ideological security” department was relaxed and confident. The government had uprooted scores of secret al-Qaeda cells, rounded up 5,700 of its followers, and deafened Saudi society to its siren call to jihad to overthrow the ruling al-Saud royal family. For the kingdom, the threat from Islamic terrorists had become manageable. So, what is the main security concern of the Saudi government today? The answer came as something of a surprise: the return of 150,000 Saudis who have been sent abroad to study, nearly one half of whom are now in the United States.