Friday, May 1, 2015

A Toolkit for Combatting Extremism in the Middle East


In his Harvard International Law Journal Commentary, “Saving an Ancient Community,” Jonathan A. Pride argues for a three-prong strategy to save Iraq’s ancient Christian community, now on the brink of extinction. His strategy consists of the following three-point plan:

-       The Iraqi government should act to deconstruct the “other” identity of Christians by enacting constitutional changes providing for equal protection and implementing the post-ethnic conflict reintegration methods that were effective in the Balkans;

-       The Christian area in the Kurdistan Nineveh Plain should be given a “safe zone” status, allowing villages to assemble local police forces to ensure security; and

-       The international community must invest in and help rebuild Iraq’s economy to help keep repatriation open as a viable option for Christians that have fled Iraq.

In addition to Mr. Pride’s suggestions for combatting the extinction of Christians in Iraq, I argue in favor of one additional, under-utilized tool: Islamic law. Because sectarian Islamic armed groups refuse to acknowledge the validity of non-Islamic international humanitarian law, there is a critical need for peace-loving Muslims to engage these armed groups from within the framework of Islamic law, the very system they claim to implement. This can be achieved by Islamic scholars and Imams, operating from within the framework of Islamic law, challenging armed groups’ interpretations of the sacred texts they use to justify attacks on Christians and other civilians, debating the apologists of jihād and highlighting the discrepancies between these armed groups’ acts and the acts strictly forbidden by Islamic law, including looting, the mutilation of corpses and the murder of non-combatants in times of war.

A full discussion of my Commentary has been published by the DesmondTutu Peace Foundation.

Monday, June 16, 2014

New book on investing in Saudi Arabia launched by Thomson Reuters

I am pleased to announce that our long-awaited book on investing in Saudi Arabia, co-authored with my colleague Amgad Husein, managing partner of Dentons-Riyadh, has at last been published. A Legal Guide to Doing Business in Saudi Arabia fills a gap in the legal literature on the Middle East's largest economy, bringing clarity and practical insight to foreign companies investing in Saudi Arabia or considering registering a local presence.
 
The Legal Guide, published by Thomson Reuters,  provides legal and practical advice on Saudi commercial, labour, tax and financial regulations as well as an overview of Saudi dispute resolution, including local and international arbitration. It includes a chapter on the key principles of the Shari'a (Islamic law) that foreign investors are likely to encounter when entering into contracts, financing projects and resolving disputes. Substantial appendices include explanations of the Capital Market Law, protective measures when drafting contracts and entering into leases, practical tips on obtaining publicly-available information on Saudi companies and advice on the Saudi employment visa and residency card application process. Annual annexes will provide updates to the ever-changing Saudi licensing and commercial regulations. 
 
The book offers a comprehensive overview of the regulations governing foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. Reviewers have commented that the Legal Guide is indispensable to any company that is serious about establishing a Saudi presence. Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, former British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, has noted that the Guide is the "essential vade mecum for any foreign investor in Saudi Arabia" and strongly "commends the book to all with interest in any form of commercial engagement with the Middle East’s most significant economy." Eng. Saleh Ahmad Hefni, Deputy Chairman of Al Ahli Takaful Company, has commented that the Guide "will prove useful to lawyers new to Saudi Arabia, seasoned practitioners and in-house counsel of companies doing business in Saudi Arabia."

The book is available for purchase from Sweet & Maxwell.