Global Arms Trade Survives the Pandemic Lockdown

By Thalif Deen UNITED NATIONS (IDN) — As the global economy came to a virtual standstill during the height of the 2020-2021 Covid-19 pandemic, the world’s arms trade remained relatively unscathed. Sales of arms and military services by the 100 largest companies in the industry reached $592 billion in 2021, a 1.9 per cent increase […]

Yemen War Brings Saudi Policies under International Scrutiny

Analysis by Emad Mekay

CAIRO (IDN) – As the then 29-year old young prince Mohammed bin Salman started to prepare himself for the eventual ascension to the throne of Saudi Arabia, his retainers advised him to give TV interviews to win public support. When he did, many Saudis were disappointed. Instead of reigniting pride, the young prince came out bland and unimpressive. His retainers had to find a way to re-catapult him. The Yemen war was hatched.

The young Salman’s self-styled “liberal” marketers came up with the idea of a war that the young prince would win quickly. They tried to sell the young royal as a gallant fighter who does not flinch on using Saudi military muscle, buttressed by decades of costly Western arms purchases that former senile rulers balked at using. So, with much fanfare at the time, they chose to introduce a war on – of all countries – Yemen, the region’s weakest and poorest nation.

After Arms Deal, Trump Unleashes Riyadh in Mideast

Analysis by Emad Mekay

CAIRO (IDN) – The image could have passed for a Harry Potter cover; three powerful leaders with hands on a creepy, lit miniature globe in a darkened room – US President Donald Trump was posing for a photo with two authoritarian Middle East rulers: King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

On a May 20-21 visit to Saudi Arabia, the US president had just vowed to improve ties with Egypt and Saudi Arabia as the three leaders pledged an energised battle under US sponsorship of what they termed “extremist ideology”.

The message from the room was that the head of the world’s most powerful nation is now firmly behind notoriously harsh regimes in measures they take in the name of fighting extremism, a crusade that often turned into a justification for cracking down on opposition and broad abuse of human rights.

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