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The admission of guilt by the Saudi authorities needs to be accompanied by the release of political prisoners

A year ago today, I spoke on the phone to Hatice Cengiz, who introduced herself, with a trembling voice, as the fiancé of my friend Jamal Khashoggi. She was standing outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, extremely concerned that he…
An Indonesian journalist holds a placard during a protest over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 19, 2018.
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Saudi women's rights activists have been detained for 10 months

  Last week, Loujain al-Hathloul, a prominent Saudi women's rights activist, was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2019.  But Loujain is in jail. She, along with a dozen other women's…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 12, 2018. © 2018 Reuters
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On November 11, 30 senior Obama administration officials issued a statement calling on the Trump administration to end all support for Saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen. This was a positive and thoughtful effort, given America’s…
Remnant of a wing assembly that is mounted on a US-made GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided 500-pound bomb found at the Arhab water drilling site, Sanaa governorate, where at least 31 civilians were killed in an airstrike on September 10, 2016. According to th
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Superficial reforms leave religious minorities behind—and that's dangerous

After generating some positive press earlier this summer by lifting the ban on women driving, Saudi Arabia is once more the target of reproach. In August, the country’s notorious terrorism court sought the death penalty against Israa al…
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Saudi Arabia's new terrorism law might look like a step forward, if only because it's written down. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries with no written criminal penal code, and the penal regulations that authorities have issued are so vague that…
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The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
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Saudi Arabia's deputy foreign minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah, last year hailed an agreement to establish a centre for inter-religious dialogue in Vienna, stating it would "work for establishing peace and justice and prevent misuse of religion for…
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Sectarianism in the Muslim world is dividing people who have lived together for centuries.

The last month hasn't been a good one for religious tolerance. As Egypt teetered on the edge of chaos following the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, unknown assailants killed a Coptic Christian priest in Sinai and Muslim extremists…
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On March 11, 2011, Saudi Arabian activists called for a "Day of Rage" wishing to bring the rising tide of protest to the kingdom. Only one person showed up. But underneath the quiet surface, some things have changed in Saudi Arabia and dissent is brewing…
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In Norway on Saturday, three women stepped up to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. The awarding of the Nobel to Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkul Karman and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a long-awaited and, some may think, overdue testament to women's courage.…
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Saudi authorities react to the ‘Arab Spring' by crushing dissent

Entrenched Arab governments in Jordan, Algeria and even Syria and Yemen reacted to the Arab Spring with a mixture of political concessions and repression. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, offered none of the former while intensifying its crackdown on…
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Is one man's will strong enough to deliver change in Saudi Arabia?

As King Abdullah al-Saud recovers from his recent surgery in the U.S., his subjects in Saudi Arabia may be wondering what their future holds. The 86-year-old monarch has long branded himself an advocate for reform in the conservative kingdom, saying he…
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In a groundbreaking speech at the Newseum on Thursday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reset U.S. policy on Internet freedom, emphasizing the vital need for governments, companies and technology providers to ensure that the World Wide Web is a force…