Far from charting a new course in the Middle East, Biden’s fumbling strategy has taken America back to the Obama playbook — but in a world that is very different from 2008. A simple thing Biden can do to restore American prestige is not to replace handshakes with fist bumps but to erase the space between words and deeds.
Years before the Saudi leadership turned its back on the native Islamists who co-founded the kingdom, the movement had already been in decline. It is these longstanding problems, not just the current political environment, that make the Wahhabi decay irreversible.
Fear of ending up in a state-run Home of Care was echoed in every interview I conducted with women who sought asylum abroad after leaving the kingdom. Understanding this institution is crucial to understanding what the women are running away from.
In early 2020, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman executed two plans — an oil war and a crackdown on dissident family members — that exemplify his blunt, risky methods of consolidating power for himself and raising Saudi Arabia’s profile.