The Blog / Opinion

Le Beck analysts write in The Cairo Review about the conflict in Yemen

Regional Security Analyst (RSA) Team Lead Miriam Eps and RSA Intern Kierat Ranautta-Sambhi wrote about Yemen in the aftermath of former President Saleh’s death for The Cairo Review of Global Affairs.

“It is not clear, however, whether his death was a turning point. This still largely depends on Saleh’s former allies—the Houthis—and how they perceive their strategic and tactical position. On the one hand,  the collapse of the alliance impacted Houthi military capabilities and their upperhand position while Saleh’s assassination created an additional enemy from many of his supporters who are adhering to the alliance’s break. On the other hand, the Houthis are not without friends and they continue to receive external backing from Iran.

With Russia, one of the last diplomatic holdouts in Sanaa, recently moving its embassy to Riyadh due to the “deteriorating security situation” and Saleh’s son promising to destroy the Houthis, the needle seems to point more toward continued conflict than finding a political solution. However, because conflicts are tricky—and Yemen’s is particularly so—it is not impossible that Saleh’s death will, in fact, be a turning point that will help lead to a resolution rather than represent just another reason for the fighting to continue. So what happens next?

The worst case scenario will be to continue pursuing the military option. This will likely result in increased violence and an intensified campaign against the Houthis instead of a politically navigated path forward.”

Read the full oped here

Le Beck writes in Newsweek about the Saudi corruption crackdown

Very rarely are major moves, or any event on the international stage for that matter, mono-causal, particularly ones that are—and I do not use this term loosely—unprecedented. But they do not answer some key questions: Why now and why so many individuals who are not members of the royal family?

What if their main goal really is to address white collar, financial crimes?


Saudi Arabia’s citizenry will increasingly be confronted with a centuries-old situation many before them have faced: Taxation without representation. The government realises this is problematic and a serious crackdown on corruption also sends a very clear message to the country’s population, of which two-thirds are under 30 and very aware of the world around them: We may be asking you to give us more money, but we’ll make damn sure that every riyal is spent on improving this country and your quality of life.

Read the full oped here

Le Beck writes in IB Times UK about the impact of a Trump presidency

I won’t pretend to have predicted a Trump presidency. In fact, I expected quite the opposite, going so far as to pen a similar piece on a Hillary Clinton presidency that was to be published following the results of November 8.

But regardless of my personal opinions on the suitability of Donald J Trump, now is the time to redirect my attention toward the future. It is important to begin sorting through the information available (the platform, various campaign promises, post-election comments, etc) in order to assess, to the best of my ability, how a Trump presidency will stand up against the reality check of existing circumstances and policies in key areas of the Middle East.

During the campaign, Syria and Iraq (and the so-called Islamic State) received the bulk of the attention. But as a Gulf analyst, I direct your attention to the GCC, Iran, and Yemen.

Read the full article here

Le Beck writes about Lebanon’s new president in The Jerusalem Post

Aoun’s election is good for Lebanon. Not necessarily because of who he is (there is no doubt he is a controversial figure), but because the presidential vacuum was deadlocking the political system.

Political parties would protest the inability to elect a president by boycotting Parliament sessions, thereby preventing a quorum from being reached and rendering Parliament nearly impotent. In fact, it was the first time in about two years that Parliament saw all 127 members in attendance (there are usually 128, but one resigned and there have been no new elections). With a president now in power, the boycotts should largely cease, paving the way for much needed legislation and reform related to salaries, refugees, corruption, the garbage crisis and more.

Read the full article

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