Hilal Khashan is a professor of political science and a department chair at the American University in Beirut, as well as a Shillman/Ginsberg writing fellow. He has authored five books and more than 90 articles. His work has appeared in journals such as the Middle East Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Orbis, the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Security Dialogue. He is currently working on a new book discussing the political evolution of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The kingdom's leaders equivocate about their exact reasons for launching the air campaign against Houthi rebels more than two and a half years ago. But a look at the history of the Saudi state offers insight into Riyadh's dilemma in Yemen.
As the Emirati ambassador to the United States recently demonstrated, the United Arab Emirates can't even pay lip service to the notion of secularism without jeopardizing its legitimacy back home.
In a desperate attempt to rescue the kingdom's foundering finances, Saudi rulers have hastily pulled together a plan to diversify the economy and end its dependence on oil once and for all. But instead of saving Saudi Arabia, the solution Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has proposed will almost certainly lead to its ruin.
When the Arab Spring began, the Christians of the Middle East hoped they would soon be considered equal to the region's Muslims. But contrary to their expectations, discrimination against Christians has risen to new heights in the wake of the uprisings. Minimal tolerance wears the guise of religious freedom, and ruling officials routinely call for the elimination of what few allowances Christians have left. In the Gulf, where social reform is slow to take hold, real change -- though possible -- remains a distant prospect.