Saudi Arabia

King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz ascended to the throne in 2005. Major terrorist attacks in 2003 spurred a strong on-going campaign against domestic terrorism and extremism. King Abdallah has continued the reform program begun when he was crown prince. The king instituted an interfaith dialogue initiative in 2008 to encourage religious tolerance on a global level; in 2009, he reshuffled the cabinet, which led to more moderates holding ministerial and judicial positions, and appointed the first female to the cabinet. The 2010-12 uprisings across Middle Eastern and North African countries sparked modest incidents in Saudi cities. In response to the unrest, King Abdallah in February and March 2011 announced a series of benefits to Saudi. To promote increased political participation, the government held elections nationwide in September 2011 for half the members of 285 municipal councils. Also in September, the king announced that women will be allowed to run for and vote in future municipal elections - first held in 2005 - and serve as full members of the advisory Consultative Council. During 2012, Shia protests increased in violence, while peaceful Sunni protests expanded.

Syria’s Sectarian Ripples across the Gulf

This Peace Brief, one of a five-part series on sectarianism in the Middle East, reviews how the Syrian crisis has affected the Gulf Arab states.

Frederic Wehrey

Summary

  • Like the Iraq war and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon’s 2006 war, Syria’s internecine conflict has enabled the Gulf’s ruling families, media commentators, clerics, parliamentarians, and activists to invoke and amplify Sunni-Shia identities, often for goals that are rooted in local power politics.
  • By-products of the mounting sectarian tension include the fraying of reform cooperation among sects and regions, and pressure on the Gulf’s formal political institutions.
Mon, 11/18/2013 - 15:44

USIP-Wilson Center Series on Arab Spring Impacts Concludes

In the last of a five-part series of papers and meetings on “Reshaping the Strategic Culture of the Middle East,” regional specialist Adeed Dawisha told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) on June 12 that, contrary to some expectations, no clear political or ideological breach has opened up between the revolutionary states of the Arab Spring and the region’s status quo powers.

USIP Staff

The Arab Spring has produced “little palpable change” so far in spreading “robust democratic structures” throughout the region, said Dawisha, a political scientist at Miami University in Ohio and author most recently of “The Second Arab Awakening: Revolution, Democracy, and the Islamist Challenge from Tunis to Damascus.” Dawisha’s paper has been published jointly by USIP and the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars; as with other papers in the s

Thu, 06/13/2013 - 10:26
Type of Article: 

Reform, Revolution or Status Quo? Regional Dynamics in a Changing Arab World

Wed, 06/12/2013 - 10:00
Wed, 06/12/2013 - 11:30

Some experts predicted that the Arab rebellions which began in spring 2011 would widen the strategic and political gap between Arab states undergoing dramatic change and those defending the status quo. Dr. Adeed Dawisha argues that in fact, sectarian tensions and economic constraints have dampened the demonstration effect of the Arab uprisings on regional politics and transformation.

Experts: 

This meeting wass co-sponsored by the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Type of Event or Course: 

"The Peace Puzzle:" A New Book Aims to Set the Record Straight on U.S. Peacemaking in the Middle East

The story of American diplomatic engagement with the Middle East peace process, it seems, is primarily written through the memoirs of former senior policymakers. These are volumes full of exclusive, high-level insights and recollections that are critical to our understanding of the subject, but they also inevitably prompt suspicions of bias and self-serving memories. Those memoirs, valuable as many are, don’t eliminate the need for dispassionate, questioning analysis.

America's Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 13:00
Tue, 02/19/2013 - 15:00
Subtitle: 
What Lies Ahead
Public Event

As President Barack Obama embarks on his second term and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu builds his coalition government, many warn that time is running out for the two-state solution. On the occasion of its publication, the authors of “The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace” discussed their own views on whether and why that door is closing, and what the next Obama administration can do to keep it open.

As President Barack Obama embarks on his second term and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu builds his coalition government, many warn that time is running out for the two-state solution. On the occasion of its publication, David Ignatius joined three of the authors of “The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace” and USIP's Lucy Kurtzer-Ellenbogen to discuss their own views on whether and why that door is closing, and what the next Obama administration can do to keep it open.

Type of Event or Course: 

The Peace Puzzle: Appendices and Resources

The last 20 years of American efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict have seen many more failures than successes. The Peace Puzzle offers uniquely objective account of the American role in the post-Cold War era. In writing The Peace Puzzle, the members of USIP's Study Group on Arab-Israeli Peacemaking had broad access to key policymakers and official archives in their research process, making this book one of few that offers a comprehensive history from the Madrid Conference through the end of Senator George Mitchell's term as Special Envoy to the Middle East in 2011.

The last 20 years of American efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict have seen many more failures than successes and "The Peace Puzzle" offers uniquely objective account of the American role in the post-Cold War era. "The Peace Puzzle" is the second volume published by USIP's Study Group on Arab-Israeli Peacemaking.

Daniel C. Kurtzer, Scott B. Lasensky, William B Quandt, Steven L. Spiegel, and Shibley Z. Telhami
Tue, 01/22/2013 - 13:00

Women Leading Change in Transitioning Societies

The U.S. Institute of Peace, in collaboration with Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, explored the kinds of leadership that are most effective in societies undergoing upheaval and/or transition. Women leaders from Liberia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Samoa and Mexico offered compelling accounts of their innovative leadership approaches in two sessions at USIP on June 5. These women, who have just been recognized as the 2012 honorees of the annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, are leading change in their transitioning societies through civil society, political activities, and private business.

 

Women Leading Change in Transitioning Societies

Tue, 06/05/2012 - 10:00
Tue, 06/05/2012 - 12:30
Public Event

The U.S. Institute of Peace, in collaboration with Vital Voices Global Partnership and the Royal Norwegian Embassy, explored the kinds of leadership that are most effective in societies undergoing upheaval and/or transition. Women leaders from Liberia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Samoa and Mexico offered compelling accounts of their innovative leadership approaches in two sessions at USIP on June 5. These women, who have just been recognized as the 2012 honorees of the annual Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards, are leading change in their transitioning societies through civil society, political activities, and private business.

What kind of leadership is most effective in societies undergoing upheaval and/or transition?  To address this pivotal question, women leaders from Liberia, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Samoa and Mexico offered compelling accounts of their innovative leadership approaches in a two-part panel event.

Type of Event or Course: 

The Arab Awakening and its Aftermath: How to Shape the Path Ahead

USIP's Steven Heydemann moderates a discussion about the Arab Awakening with the Institute's Stephen Hadley and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Marwan Muasher.

ARAB SPRING TO WINTER: SHAPING THE MIDDLE EAST – If the U.S. is to have any chance of shaping the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Awakening, it must stay engaged and it must pay attention, said USIP’s Steve Hadley at a USIP-organized breakfast at the Reserve Officers Association’s headquarters on Capitol Hill. “There is a role for us to play and it is in our interest to play that role,” Hadley said.

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 16:47
Type of Article: 

Articles & Analysis

November 18, 2013

Just outside Washington D.C., Arlington County encourages residents to practice a “Car-Free Diet” on occasion. I practiced a “car-free diet” for more than two years when I lived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The most recent wave of protests by Saudi women to press – again – for the right to drive sheds light on the battle of values playing out in the public squares (and on the roads) of the reclusive Kingdom. The outcome of this struggle has consequences well beyond Saudi society, because it frames the contributions that women are allowed to make.

Learn More

Publications

By:
Frederic Wehrey
This Peace Brief, one of a five-part series on sectarianism in the Middle East, reviews how the Syrian crisis has affected the Gulf Arab states.
In the last of a five-part series of papers and meetings on “Reshaping the Strategic Culture of the Middle East,” regional specialist Adeed Dawisha told an audience at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) on June 12 that, contrary to some expectations, no clear political or ideological breach has opened up between the revolutionary states of the Arab Spring and the region’s status quo powers.