The POMED Wire

Saudi Arabia’s King Vows to Fight Corruption, Comes Under Fire for Rights Violations


Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia

Photo Credit: The Guardian

Saudi Arabia’s new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, gave his first major speech since ascending the throne earlier this year. Throughout the speech Saud emphasized that “Saudi foreign policy would be committed to the teachings of Islam,” his commitment “to maintain the kingdom’s Sharia Islamic law,” as well as his promise to tackle corruption and unemployment. The speech comes as Saudi Arabia became the number one global arms importer, spending $6.4 billion to acquire foreign arms this year. When combined with the arms imports of the United Arab Emirates, both Gulf countries spent more on foreign arms acquisition than all of Western Europe combined.

Meanwhile, David Andrew Weinberg, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, just released a report analyzing the “consequences that could result if the United States continues to condone or ignore human rights abuses by the Saudi Arabian government.” In the report, Mr. Weinberg notes that Saudi Arabia is threatening human rights by “destroying the domestic constituencies required to achieve a stable future with the rule of law and economic inclusion,” supporting “extremist ideologies that underpin recruitment for terrorist organizations,” and “promoting a renewed wave of authoritarianism …

Rift Emerges in Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood

The Shura Council of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan held an emergency meeting Monday evening to devise and announce new measures. This comes after the reformist wing of the party independently renewed the group’s official license, which essentially ousted existing leadership and put prominent leader Abdul Majeed Thneibat at the helm. The action served to further distance the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood from the Egyptian Brotherhood, a move Thneibat justified, insisting reform was necessary in the wake of Egypt’s 2013 declaration that the Muslim Brotherhood was a terrorist organization. Thneibat told the Jordanian Times that “as per the law, we are the legal representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood [in Jordan] now,” demanding full control of the group’s financial assets. In reaction to what many Brotherhood supporters are calling a coup, a spokesperson from the original Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood condemned the licensing, noting that the Shura Council is the highest authority in the brotherhood and therefore has final jurisdiction over the group’s actions. Thneibat responded to the leadership’s condemnations by saying that the new organization does not feel it is necessary to be affiliated with the international group. “We are a Jordanian association sharing the same ideology of the international organization,” he …

U.N. Libya Talks Delayed as the Islamic State Presence Grows

Photo Credit: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Libya’s internationally recognized parliament has asked the United Nations to delay peace talks by a week. Farraj Hashem, a parliament spokesman, stated, “We are asking for a one-week delay to discuss a road map for the next government, its competences, time frame and relationship with the House of Representatives.” Meanwhile, Libya’s ongoing turmoil has allowed the Islamic State’s presence to grow, as the two warring factions continue to attack one other. On Monday, officials stated that Islamic State (IS) affiliated militants kidnapped nine foreigners working at the al-Ghani oilfield south of Libya’s capital, Tripoli.

Frederic Wehrey recently noted that the Islamic State’s “spread into Libya began early in 2014 as Libyan jihadists began to return from Syria,” and that the political vacuum in the country has “enabled the Islamic State to grow.” According to Wehrey, a number disparate Islamist factions now all share the “perception that Hifter is a more threatening common enemy,” referring to General Khalifa Hiftar, who leads an anti-Islamist fighting force in the country’s east.

Meanwhile, Aref Ali Nayed argues that in order for “Libya’s emerging democracy not to collapse into a sham endorsement of tyrannical Islamist rule,” factions like Operation Dawn …

POMED Notes – Iran: Beyond the Nuclear

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, the American Foreign Policy Council held a conference entitled “Iran: Beyond the Nuclear.” Panelists included Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Michael Eisenstadt, Director of the Military & Security Studies Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy; J. Matthew McInnis, Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; and Michael Doran, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. The panel was moderated by Ilan Berman, the Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council. Robert “Bud” McFarlane, the National Security Adviser for Ronald Reagan, was also in attendance.

For full notes, continue reading or click here for a PDF.

Ilan Berman introduced the session by talking about how the Obama administration views the current nuclear negotiations as a kind of “reset.” The agreement itself is tactical, but there is a larger overarching political and diplomatic plan in place. He took issue with a recent article in The Economist, entitled “The Revolution is Over,” saying the article skirts the question of what Iran holds dear. He mentioned how during the Cold War, the U.S. was given a blueprint on the thinking of the USSR …

Sisi Calls for Increased U.S. Military Aid on Eve of Economic Development Conference

Photo Credit: Reuters

On Monday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi advocated for increased U.S. military aid and a regional Arab coalition to defeat the Islamic State (IS). Sisi characterized the need for more military aid and equipment as “dire,” noting that “Egyptians feel they are fighting terrorism and they would like to feel the United States is standing by them in that fight…” Later this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Egypt to attend the Economic Development Conference, which will include representatives from over 80 countries and seeks to encourage foreign direct investment. He will also meet with Sisi separately to discuss a wider range of bilateral and regional issues. Meanwhile, the State Department reiterated U.S. economic support for the country, highlighting its ”work with the Egyptian Government to help the Egyptian people stabilize and grow the economy, create jobs, educate young people, improve access to health care, and to help realize the aspirations of the Egyptian people for an inclusive, rights-and-freedoms-respecting, and peaceful political climate.”

Amr Adly contends that “the legitimacy of [Sisi's] regime is being tested by its ability to launch an economic recovery” and the conference offers “an opportunity to highlight the economic …

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