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The modern history of Saudi–Iranian relations (dating back to the formation of the Saudi state in 1932) can be characterized broadly into five distinct phases. The first is between 1932 and 1979, which is characterized by regional distrust yet a willingness for the two states to engage with each other. The second is the period after the revolution until three years after the end of the Iran–Iraq War – where a catastrophic earthquake provided an opportunity to reset relations – which was driven by existential concerns about the nature of political organization and competition over Islamic legitimacy. The ensuing period from 1991 to 2003 was one in which a burgeoning rapprochement began to unfold, driven by domestic factors across the Gulf. The fourth period ran roughly from 2003 to 2011, in which the bombastic nationalism of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president (2005–13) ran up against the belligerent ‘Axis of Evil’ narrative within the US War on Terror. The fifth period emerged after the Arab Uprisings in 2011, providing the two states with opportunities to exert influence across the Middle East through the provision of support to groups across the region. The events of the Arab Uprisings provided further opportunities to increase their influence, particularly in those states where regime-society relations began to fragment. In this chapter I offer a brief genealogy of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran with a focus on the construction of competing nomoi – visions of regional order – which play out across the transnational field and resonate within states.
This chapter explores efforts to shape Bahrain’s political field and the ways in which its politically charged geographical location as the ‘epicentre’ of the struggle for supremacy between Riyadh and Tehran shapes these efforts. It explores the struggle for Bahrain’s political field and its social reality which has allowed a range of domestic and regional actors to become involved in the contestation over principles of vision and division, deploying economic, political, and religious capital in the process. Central to this is a number of networks and relationships that shape perceptions and behaviour, along tribal, ethnic, and religious lines. As Saudi and Iranian efforts to impose order on the region focused on Bahrain, they intersected with a complex set of intersectional phenomena bringing together tensions between rulers and ruled over social, economic, and political issues, all of which play out in the context of the transnational field.
To understand the way in which Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other groups have become involved in the conflict in Yemen, we must understand the complexities of both political life and the conflict itself. The existence of myriad groups with competing agendas reveals the parabolic pressures working broadly within the context of the Yemeni state. Although largely reduced to either a ‘proxy struggle’ between Saudi Arabia and Iran, or a conflict between the Houthi insurgents and the regime of President Hadi, events on the ground are far more complex. While there are aspects of both narratives that ring true, both require contextualization and must be located within the milieu of Yemeni politics.
The following chapter traces the history of Lebanese politics, reflecting on the structural factors that facilitate the involvement of external powers. It suggests that the structural organization of the state allows for external patronage in support of communal interests and, amid times of crisis, this patronage is seen to be a necessity. Moreover, the geopolitical significance of Lebanon means that external actors also seek local allies as a means of countering rivals who already possess influence across the state while local actors also seek to position themselves within broader regional currents. To understand the competition over Lebanon, we must trace the historical development of the Lebanese state which allows for identification of the structural factors conditioning – or limiting – the deployment of capital and foreign policy activities.
To understand the ways in which Saudi Arabia and Iran have engaged with Iraqi politics and sought to define the principles of vision within Iraq’s political field, one must understand the structural factors conditioning and curtailing the deployment of capital. Here, tracing the evolution of Iraq’s political field is essential as a means of understanding the actions of Riyadh and Tehran. This tracing involves reflecting on identity politics and the interplay between identity groups and the state. The nature of this interplay, in turn, allows for the development of relations with regional powers, on both an individual and a communal level.
In order to understand the ways in which the Saudi–Iranian rivalry plays out in Syria, it is essential to trace the evolution of the political field and its interaction with the transnational field. In doing so, the chapter critically reflects on the evolution of political life in Syria and the position of the state within broader regional currents, with a focus on Ba’athism, the Axis of Resistance, and the Arab Uprisings. Syria’s importance within such movements meant that it became a state of interest for other regional powers, particularly seen in the aftermath of the Arab Uprisings.
Since 1979, few rivalries have affected Middle Eastern politics as much as the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran. However, too often the rivalry has been framed purely in terms of 'proxy wars', sectarian difference or the associated conflicts that have broken out in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen. In this book, Simon Mabon presents a more nuanced assessment of the rivalry, outlining its history and demonstrating its impact across the Middle East. Highlighting the significance of local groups, Mabon shows how regional politics have shaped and been shaped by the rivalry. The book draws from social theory and the work of Pierre Bourdieu to challenge problematic assumptions about 'proxy wars', the role of religion, and sectarianism. Exploring the changing political landscape of the Middle East as a whole and the implications for regional and international security, Mabon paints a complex picture of this frequently discussed but oft-misunderstood rivalry.
Making sense of advance directives, and the regulatory frameworks governing healthcare more generally, in Saudi Arabia requires a careful understanding of the traditional Islamic religious legal framework of Shari’ah. There is much uncertainty about how to interpret Islamic legal principles in making use of advance directives and in providing end-of-life care in Saudi Arabia. In this chapter, we aim to offer clarity on how well-established principles, and Islamic statements of permissible and impermissible behaviour, should be reasoned through to provide an underpinning governance framework for healthcare practices at the end of life. We also review published evidence on the practical application of advance directives in Saudi Arabia and examine the social and cultural factors that may explain the limited uptake of advance directives, We conclude with two suggestions for establishing an appropriate role for advance directives in future – one concerning the need for legal clarity and the other concerning how to bring about improvements in professional knowledge and understanding.
To explore the psychological and economic effects of the COVID-19 epidemic and identify those at higher risk of suffering financial consequences.
A cross-sectional study using an online survey was conducted in Saudi Arabia between June 27 and September 27, 2020. Logistic regression was conducted to determine who was more likely to suffer financially from the COVID-19 epidemic.
A total of 440 individual participated in this study, of whom, 86.8% were aged 19 – 49 years, and 60.0% were females. Around 57.0% reported that they have been affected economically by the pandemic. Around 11.0% of the participants reported that they feel anxious; around 18.0% reported feeling depressed or fearful because of COVID-19. Males were around twice (OR: 1.83; 95% CI: 1.24 – 2.72) as likely to be affected economically during the COVID-19 pandemic (P < 0.01). Saudis were 59.0% less likely to be affected (OR: 0.41; 95% CI: 0.27 – 0.60; P < 0.001).
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the psychological and economic status of individuals in Saudi Arabia deeply. To prevent long-term psychological and economic deterioration and to hasten social recovery, mental, financial, supportive strategies, and programs to aid the entire community in coping with the pandemic are recommended.
In a landmark Fatwa, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority—The Council of Senior Scholars—declared the Islamic permissibility of oocyte cryopreservation. The fatwa sanctioned the retrieval, preservation, and future use of oocytes, ovarian tissue, and whole ovaries from cancer patients receiving gonadotoxic interventions. Although momentous, the fatwa’s specification of cancer patients effectively rendered this technology unavailable to others to whom it may be similarly beneficial, including patients with other medical conditions or patients seeking elective cryopreservation. This article argues in favor of widening reproductive choices through expanded access to oocyte cryopreservation in Saudi Arabia—regardless of the underlying cause of infertility—on three grounds: the technology’s compliance with Islamic law, as a matter of fairness in medical practice, and as a means to support the well-being and flourishing of Saudi women within the context of a national societal and economic transformation strategy closely linked to their success.
This chapter looks at Kevseri’s conflicts with the emerging Salafi trend. It looks first at his approach to ʿAbduh and the modernists, and how it differed from Sabri’s, then reviews the polemical debates between Kevseri and his Salafi opponents as they evolved from the 1920s to the early 1950s. While like Sabri he saw the tajdīd reformers as attempting to transform Islam into a calque on post-Enlightenment religion, Kevseri identified what would become the Salafi movement as more destabilising to the Islamic tradition, since it was speaking more authentically from within it with the aim of radically altering its multivocal, heterogenous disposition. It considers that Kevseri was able to delay the final semantic stabilisation of the term Salafi around the ideas that characterise the ideological movement of that name today, but that Syrian ʿālim Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī used the work of Kevseri as a foil against which he was able to construct ’Salafism’ following Kevseri’s death.
Epilepsy is a common neurological condition. It affects around 1% of the global population. This study aims to evaluate the knowledge and attitudes toward epilepsy.
This is a cross-sectional observational study. An online questionnaire was distributed to medical students in their clinical and preclinical years and interns at Riyadh’s four public universities. Then a comparison was made to see whether attending more courses in medical school would influence the students’ knowledge and attitudes.
In the present study, 95% of medical students had heard about epilepsy or convulsive seizures (a significantly larger proportion of clinical students had heard about epilepsy than preclinical students (99.0% versus 92%, P-value = 0.000)). Furthermore, 34.0% believed that epilepsy could be treated. Moreover, 79.1% of those polled claimed that brain disease originated from epilepsy, followed by genetic factors (64.1%) and convulsions (92.3%) as the most common symptoms.
Regarding medical students’ awareness of epilepsy, it turns out that it is good and better than reported in other research, especially among clinical students rather than preclinical students, who have a negative attitude toward epileptic patients. Consequently, there is a need to further development of their knowledge throughout future campaigns and conferences, and curricula that should be tailored to help improve awareness and attitudes toward epilepsy.
In this major contribution to Muslim intellectual history, Andrew Hammond offers a vital reappraisal of the role of Late Ottoman Turkish scholars in shaping modern Islamic thought. Focusing on a poet, a sheikh and his deputy, Hammond re-evaluates the lives and legacies of three key figures who chose exile in Egypt as radical secular forces seized power in republican Turkey: Mehmed Akif, Mustafa Sabri and Zahid Kevseri. Examining a period when these scholars faced the dual challenge of non-conformist trends in Islam and Western science and philosophy, Hammond argues that these men, alongside Said Nursi who remained in Turkey, were the last bearers of the Ottoman Islamic tradition. Utilising both Arabic and Turkish sources, he transcends disciplinary conventions that divide histories along ethnic, linguistic and national lines, highlighting continuities across geographies and eras. Through this lens, Hammond is able to observe the long-neglected but lasting impact that these Late Ottoman thinkers had upon Turkish and Arab Islamist ideology.
This report provides the first confirmed identifications of wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri) and striped marlin (Kajikia audax) in the Red Sea, expanding the known ranges of these species into the basin. Potential mechanisms responsible for the lack of regional documentation of the two species are further discussed. These findings illustrate the need for systematic biodiversity surveys of pelagic fish assemblages in the Red Sea.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychiatric illness in which the Patients seeking cosmetic surgery are usually unsatisfied with the outcomes of the surgery. Therefore, it is essential to study this phenomenon and increase awareness among physicians to assess for the presence of BDD before any cosmetic treatment.
To assess the presence of BDD among female patients undergoing cosmetic procedures and improve awareness among providers of cosmetic treatment.
This cross-sectional study uses the adult version of the BDD modification of the Y-BOCS (BDD-YBOCS) scale. Its consists of 12 items related to preoccupied thoughts that participants have about their appearance and the effects that these thoughts have on their lives. Questionnaires were distributed on different online platforms among females living in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.
Out of the 220 women who participated, 45 had BDD (prevalence rate of 20.5%), a significant and worrying percentage. The result indicates more among participants in the age group of 20–35 years. Also, it revealed positive correlation exists between BDD and females seeking cosmetic procedures.
One-fifth of the participants were diagnosed to be suffering from BDD. Higher rates were observed among women who underwent cosmetic procedures. Therefore, we recommend physicians conduct screening for patients seeking cosmetic procedures before starting any treatment.
COVID-19 pandemic has many psychological and physical effects. University students are among vulnerable population.
We aimed in this study to assess sleep effects of COVID-19 pandemic on university students in Saudi Arabia.
We conducted cross-sectional study to collect responses of 5,140 participations from Saudi universities, responders completed the demographic questions, psychological scales including insomnia severity scale (ISI) between 24th and 30th of April 2020.
About 41% of the sample suffered from moderate to severe insomnia. Mean ISI score was 12.9 (SD 6.62). Insomnia was associated with female gender, younger age, students from new universities, junior students, if a relative got COVID-19, having a chronic medical illness, and having a psychiatric disorder.
Covid-19 pandemic has clear effect on sleep among Saudi university students. Universities need to plan and implement protective and intervention strategies to deal with this important issue.
This study on adolescents was intended to assess the prevalence of disordered eating attitudes and the nutritional status of adolescent girls in Saudi Arabia. Disordered eating attitudes and behaviour were assessed using the EAT-26. The type of eating disorder (ED) was determined using Diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition. The nutritional status of the adolescent girls was determined by measuring their weight and height twice using standard protocols. The BMI-for-age and height-for-age were defined using WHO growth charts. Comparisons between adolescent girls with and without EDs were conducted using SPSS version 26. Eating disorders (EDs) were prevalent among 10⋅2 % of these girls. Other specified feeding or EDs were the most prevalent ED (7⋅6 %), followed by unspecified feeding or eating disorder (2⋅4 %). Anorexia nervosa was common among 0⋅3 % of the girls. The eating disordered adolescents were either overweight (7⋅7 %), obese (10⋅3 %), stunted (7⋅7 %) or severely stunted (2⋅6 %). ANOVA revealed that the BMI-for-age was influenced by age (P = 0⋅028), the type of ED (P = 0⋅019) and the EAT-26 (P < 0⋅0001). Pearson's correlation showed that the EAT-26 score increased significantly with the BMI (r 0⋅22, P = 0⋅0001), height (r 0⋅12, P = 0⋅019) and weight (r 0⋅22, P = 0⋅0001). The early detection of EDs among adolescents is highly recommended to reduce the risk associated with future impaired health status. Nutrition professionals must target adolescents, teachers and parents and provide nutritional education about the early signs and symptoms of ED and the benefits of following a healthy dietary pattern.
Women’s political leadership is one of the abiding controversial issues among Muslim scholars. The question of whether a Muslim woman can lead in her country is generally answered negatively by Muslim scholars, but some modern scholars explicitly support women’s political leadership without any restriction. Where the scholars stand on the issue is influenced by their social context. With the intent of examining the interaction between social context and Islamic legal methodologies in fatwās—Isalmic legal opinions—related to women, the author discusses as exemplary texts the fatwās issued by two well-known religious institutions, the Dār al-Iftā’ in Saudi Arabia and the Diyanet in Turkey. The institutions function in different social contexts: Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy that applies Islamic law; Turkey is a democratic country whose legal system is based on a secular law. Through a detailed analysis of the spatio-temporal fatwās regarding women’s political leadership, the author provides insight into the influence of contextual elements during the process of issuing fatwās, suggesting that these differences of opinion among Muslim scholars and religious institutions will continue.
The Saudi-led intervention in Yemen is a valuable case study in the coercive use of air power. Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign demonstrates the danger of employing a punishment approach against a subnational actor in a multi-sided internal conflict. Strategies of collective punishment, blockade, and decapitation have all malfunctioned against a stubborn and resilient Houthi adversary. The early audit from Yemen endorses a denial strategy, supports the growing orthodoxy that air attack is most effectively applied in support of ground forces, and offers insight on the relative utility of interdiction and close air support for that purpose. The Saudi-led coalition’s performance also underscores how difficult it is to achieve positive objectives with proxy warfare, regardless of air support. This chapter dissects the campaign, assesses its effectiveness, and draws lessons about air power’s ability to influence the outcome of similar complex civil war scenarios elsewhere.