Online Dissent Thrives in Saudi Arabia
Time released a piece on dissent within Saudi Arabia which profiles Waleed Abu Alkhair and the living room meetings he hosts in his house, which serve as a place for open discussion and debate. It also focuses on online dissent via social media, and the Saudi government’s unwillingness, or inability, to squelch it.
Meanwhile, after facing continued pressure from the International Olympic Committee, Saudi Arabia has changed its position yet again on sending women to the Olympics, and will be sending Sarah Attar and Wodjan Ali Seraj to compete in London, in track & field and judo, respectively. The two women, however, live outside of the kingdom- finding female athletes in the country was practically impossible, owing to the non-existence of women’s sports in the country. Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Washington-based Institute of Gulf Affairs, said that there is more to come: “Of course this will bring backlash from many religious leaders…this fight is far from over.”
Also, Mohamed Morsi and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud met on Thursday, a potential first step toward overcoming years of uneasy relations between the Saudi monarchy and the Muslim Brotherhood, in the name of practical interests. Morsi reportedly came away with a positive impression of the meeting, saying that “our discussions were fruitful and constructive and in the interest of Egypt, of Saudi Arabia and of the people of the region.”
Elliott Abrams writes on the Shia unrest in the Eastern Province this past week, predicting that in both Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, such unrest will likely be met by severe repression, however unsuccessful such a reaction will be in dealing with Shia grievances.