New and Noteworthy in Arab and Islamic Affairs, 9-8-17

A delay in Saudi economic reforms, a shift in Saudi discourse, and an axis of neutrality in North Africa. To subscribe to this daily roundup, click here.

Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” undergoes a revision. “An internal document seen by the Financial Times labels the amended plan NTP 2.0 and adds: ’The timeline of the NTP will continue to 2020, but the plan requires implementation of objectives for 2025 and 2030.’ Importantly, the kingdom’s most closely watched reform effort, the partial privatisation of state oil monopoly Saudi Aramco, sits outside the NPT. No suggestion is made that the NTP’s redrafting will affect the initial public offering of 5 per cent of Saudi Aramco, planned for next year.”

So does rhetoric toward Israel and Iran in Saudi media. A directive was reportedly issued to all Saudi media outlets calling for a “lightening of language” in discussions of the two countries.

Four North African states adopt neutrality toward the crisis in the Gulf. A Washington Post report cites a combination of “fears of hegemonic expansionism and the lure of Qatari investments” as reasons why Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya have avoided taking a side in the dispute between Qatar on the one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt on the other.


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