Sameera Casmod | firstname.lastname@example.org
28 August 2023 | 12:45pm SAST
During the Middle East Report on Friday 25 August 2023, geopolitical expert James Dorsey discussed various topics ranging from the Swedish-Kurdish dilemma to Saudi-Iranian relations and the challenges faced by Gulf states regarding aid and economic reforms.
Dorsey shed light on the complex situation surrounding Sweden’s relationship with the Kurds. He acknowledged that while Sweden has historically provided asylum to Kurds, recent concerns have arisen regarding Sweden’s stance on Kurdish interests. The Kurdish community fears that Sweden may be prioritising its NATO membership over their concerns. Dorsey pointed out that while Sweden has surrendered its neutrality in favour of NATO membership, Turkey’s influence and its view of the Kurds as terrorists complicate the situation.
Moving on to Saudi-Iranian relations, Dorsey analysed the aftermath of diplomatic restoration between the two nations. Although the restoration reduced tensions, he explained that key objectives for both countries – Saudi assistance in exiting the Yemen war and Iranian economic cooperation – remain unfulfilled. Iranian support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, Dorsey noted, falls short of Saudi expectations. Additionally, the US sanctions against Iran limit possibilities for economic cooperation, dampening both countries’ aspirations for the restored relations.
Discussing Saudi Arabia’s recent involvement in the BRICS Union and allegations of human rights abuses, Dorsey underlined the delicate balance between Saudi Arabia’s international aspirations and its reputation. Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the killing of Ethiopian migrants at the Yemeni border drew international attention. Dorsey emphasised that these allegations could significantly damage the country’s reputation. He pointed out that while these migrants were returning to Yemen, not trying to enter Saudi Arabia, the incident raises questions about human rights violations and the need for an independent international investigation.
Finally, Dorsey examined the dynamics between Gulf states and Egypt, highlighting the challenges of linking aid to economic reforms. Gulf states have historically provided financial support to countries like Egypt, but there has been a shift towards tying aid to IMF-style reforms. Dorsey revealed that the UAE’s recent agreement to fund Egyptian wheat imports without linking it to economic reforms presents a dilemma for Gulf states. While reforms are desired for sustainable growth, withholding aid from a government unwilling to reform could lead to economic instability, as seen in Egypt.
Listen to the Middle East Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.