The campaign aims to establish Turkey as a leader of the Muslim world in competition with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and, to a lesser degree, Morocco. As part of the campaign, Turkey has positioned itself as a cheerleader for Muslim causes such as Jerusalem and the Rohingya at a moment that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other Muslim nations are taking a step back.
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Girls constitute 96 per cent of those fleeing the country. The study, conducted in the Mecca area, shows that the reasons given for running away were: misuse of social media, bad friends, misunderstanding of freedom, copying other cultures, weak beliefs, lack of emotional security, a need for adventure, bad treatment by a spouse, lack of communication with family members, verbal abuse, poverty, no monitoring by parents and violence from a parent or male sibling.
The arrests were a matter of “national security”, said Princess Reema, adding that she did not want to comment further, in part because she knew the families of some of the arrested women. Regarding women’s rights, however, she went on to say, “I actually do have a family that will allow me to be mobile and dynamic, but that is not the reality for a lot of women. And until it’s the reality for a lot of women, I think we need to keep pushing forward.”
Despite the display of unity, neither side could agree on a final summit statement. EU and Arab League foreign ministers also failed to agree on a text after Hungary objected to a section on migration. Nevertheless, the summit was deemed a success for simply bringing so many heads of state together in one place.
Prince Mohammed may emerge from his tour reassured, having been feted – certainly he would be less welcome in Washington or Western European capitals. The ultimate measure, however, will be his ability to manoeuvre and master a minefield of conflicting geopolitical interests, something he has not yet shown he can do.
The Independent has promised that all editorial practices will reflect global standards and hopes to foster debate among new audiences. But critics are weary, fearing that the new platforms will be used to propagate Saudi positions across the region. Such concerns are valid, considering that Reporters Without Borders ranks Saudi Arabia 169 out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index.
More aggressive to US enemies, arguably more erratic with US allies and with the financial benefit to the US at the centre of his foreign policy, Trump’s involvement in the Middle East has not been a stabilizing factor in one of the most turbulent periods of the region’s recent history. With at least two years left in the White House, it is too early to say what his lasting legacy in the Middle East will be, but the signs do not point to a positive one.
If more countries were halting their weapons deals with Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, the Saudi-led coalition might be obliged to stop their war on Yemen – if nothing else, to save face as well as maintain their political and commercial partnerships worldwide. But some countries, like the US, UK and France, apparently need more than a humanitarian crisis and clear violations of international laws to react.