Saudi Arabia

CrisisWatch Saudi Arabia

Unchanged Situation

Tensions surfaced with Iran as Riyadh anticipated potential attacks, while govt and Huthis held back-channel talks.

Riyadh warned of imminent Iranian attacks. Media reports 1 Nov reported that U.S. officials had said Saudi Arabia shared intelligence suggesting imminent Iranian attack on kingdom and Iraq’s Kurdistan region, prompting Saudi and U.S. militaries to go on high alert; Iran’s foreign ministry next day said claims were “baseless”. Iranian intelligence minister 9 Nov warned Tehran’s “strategic patience” could run out and threatened “glass palaces will crumble” if Iran decides to retaliate. U.S. 11 Nov announced two B-52H bombers flew over region to demonstrate “commitment to regional security”, as Israel said two of its fighter jets accompanied bombers on exercise.

Govt held back-channel talks with Huthis, amid sign of improved intra-Gulf ties. Govt and Huthis held back-channel talks following Yemen truce’s expiry in Oct and amid Huthi attacks and threats of escalation (see Yemen). FIFA World Cup in Qatar 20 Nov commenced; alongside other Gulf leaders, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended opening ceremony, in sign of slow but steady intra-Gulf reconciliation process after Al-Ula agreement officially ended intra-Gulf rift in Jan 2021. Meanwhile, U.S. govt 17 Nov spoke out in support of Crown Prince and PM Mohammed bin Salman’s claim to sovereign immunity in lawsuit over murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

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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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