Saudi Arabia

CrisisWatch Saudi Arabia

Unchanged Situation

Saudi-U.S. relationship faced strains following decision to cut oil production.

Oil cuts fuelled tensions with U.S. Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies (OPEC+) 5 Oct agreed to 2mn barrel cut in daily oil production, sparking heavy criticism from U.S., which perceives higher oil prices as helping Russia mitigate impact of Western sanctions. Chairman of U.S. Foreign Relations Committee 10 Oct called for freezing all cooperation with Riyadh; U.S. President Biden next day vowed “consequences” for U.S.-Saudi relations, as media reported U.S. cancelled U.S.-Gulf Cooperation Council Working Group on Iran meeting scheduled 17 Oct; Riyadh 13 Oct maintained move was based only “on economic considerations”. Meanwhile, Court 3 Oct reportedly sentenced U.S.-Saudi dual citizen Saad Ibrahim Almadi to 16 years in prison for tweets criticising govt.

After Yemen’s truce lapsed, Riyadh continued engagement with Yemen’s govt and met Huthis. As April truce expired without parties committing to extension, Huthis 2 Oct threatened to target oil companies operating in Saudi Arabia; Saudi officials discussed truce renewal with Yemeni officials and potential prisoner swap with Huthis (see Yemen).

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In The News

14 Oct 2022
The US-Saudi relationship has gone through periods of intense strain before, but in my view the current low point represents a crack but not a rupture. AFP

Anna Jacobs

Senior Analyst, Gulf states
14 Dec 2021
The fact that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are becoming more willing to engage the Iranians will bring them closer to the other countries in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council... Al Jazeera

Dina Esfandiary

Senior Advisor, Middle East and North Africa
18 Jul 2021
[Saudi Arabia can] reassert its role, particularly in the charity aid sector, which it always has been traditionally proud of [...] I think we can see [Saudi Arabia] expa... Washington Post

Elham Fakhro

Former Senior Analyst, Gulf States
10 Apr 2020
Implementing a cease-fire [between Saudi Arabia and Yemen] is no small matter, and the first test of this is going to be whether the parties show up for this virtual meet... New York Times

April Longley Alley

Former Deputy Program Director, Middle East and North Africa
19 May 2019
Riyadh may not want war with Iran, but there are risks to this strategy of rhetorical confrontation. The Wall Street Journal

Elizabeth Dickinson

Senior Analyst, Colombia
22 Nov 2018
Les deux partis au Congrès perdent patience face à la campagne menée par l’Arabie Saoudite au Yémen. Il y a des raisons d’espérer que le Congrès interviendra pour contrer... L'Orient-le-jour

Stephen Pomper

Chief of Policy

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