The latest on Saudi Arabia. Speaking yesterday at the Saudi investment forum known as Davos in the Desert, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had nice things to say about Qatar and its economy – a notable shift in tone from the man who masterminded the Qatari blockade of 2017. (He was even rumored to favor regime change.) Also interesting were statements made by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said his government is mediating a resolution in Yemen between Saudi Arabia and Iran. More important, however, is an official announcement from the Saudi king himself that Riyadh would reinstate bonuses to public sector workers. This is the first sign that the ruling family has succumbed to institutional pressure since the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Revoking these payments was an important aspect of MBS’ economic reform. Their resurrection may indicate deeper divisions within the Saudi ruling elite.
Another dimension. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has begun a three-day visit to