saudi arabia

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to create a tourism hotspot nearly twice the size of Wales on its unspoilt Red Sea coastline, in a bid to help double the number of visitors to the Middle Eastern country. The Kingdom has also indicated that it is prepared to relax its strict laws, such as bans on drinking alcohol, to entice more western holidaymakers.

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Ilhem Allagui looks at the Qatari government's successful crisis management amid a GCC breakup threat.

 
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Philip Seib looks at the history of Al Jazeera and why it is a point of contention for some Middle Eastern countries.

Arab world’s leading TV channel is used to controversy – but now it fears for its future as Saudi Arabia wants it shut down.

June 13, 2017

Saudi Arabia's religious leaders have labelled some areas of Western culture as harmful and corrupting. They've banned movie theaters and rarely permit public concerts. But this is slowly changing -- and one Japanese orchestra is taking center stage. Over 80 musicians and a conductor arrived in Riyadh in April to give the first classical concert Saudi Arabia has allowed in decades.

Two unprecedented events this week shook one of the wealthiest regions on earth to its core. It underscores the urgency for diplomacy and a global engagement suited to the 21st century. They also emphasize the need to end egotistic "140-word" foreign policy strategies and bullying of nations. [...]  In what’s becoming a new norm in diplomatic exchanges, however, UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Bin Mohammad Gargash, “tweeted” that "Qatar’s seeking protection from two non-Arab states 'Turkey and Iran' is tragic and comical."

The ambassadors of countries with embassies in Turkey attended an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner Tuesday evening hosted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the capital Ankara. [...] Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to Turkey, whose country spearheaded efforts to isolate Qatar over what it calls support for extremists, was seated near Qatari Ambassador as both envoys briefly engaged in a warm conversation, according to a journalist from Hürriyet daily who attended the dinner.

Now that Qatar is embroiled in controversy with nearly the entire Sunni Islamic world, led by Saudi Arabia, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is suddenly at risk. The Qatar World Cup has been dogged by controversy since the day it was announced in 2012. But even years of international and humanitarian moral outrage could not do to Qatar what Saudi Arabia proved able to do almost instantly: isolate Qatar’s ruling emir and take away his biggest soft-power achievement.

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