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.
President Trump set off a firestorm Tuesday when he conducted diplomacy-by-tweet. The President took credit for the decision by Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries to cut off ties with Qatar, an ally that is home to a large base with as many as 10,000 U.S. military personnel. The tweets were a huge surprise given that a day earlier, top U.S. officials had sought to downplay the dispute. “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
The day before President Trump met with Pope Francis, Cardinal Peter Turkson juxtaposed the president’s speech in Saudi Arabia with what the Pope said in Egypt. Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “Pope Francis & Pres Trump reach out to Islam-world to exorcise it of [religious violence]. One offers peace of dialogue, the other security of arms.” [...] Yet the Ghanaian cardinal, Francis’ chief “minister” for matters of peace, suggesting that the “peace of dialogue” is the path to be preferred over the “security of arms.”
Mark Dillen on the negative image of President Trump's first trip overseas.