Saudi Arabia’s reigning monarch Salman bin Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud is scheduled to visit tiny Maldives next month amid strong rumours that he will sign an important agreement, wherein the island nation is expected to sell or lease out its Faafu Atoll, for up to 99 years, to develop a Special Economic Zone.
The initial reaction among the security and geopolitical experts on this move was an uncomfortable one, as any Saudi-Maldives collaboration leads to suspicion that Islamic forces may see a visible reinforcement, or there may be a renewed radicalisation within the Maldives. As it is, according to intelligence sources, hundreds of radicalised Maldivians had reached Syria and joined the rank and file of the Islamic State in their pursuit of jihad. Which is why this reaction wasn’t surprising.
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