Saudi Arabia and its ambitious crown prince are looking ahead to a new world in which it will enjoy a more prominent place. Yet unless the kingdom makes further changes on both the diplomatic and domestic fronts, its aspirations are likely to run into roadblocks.
Riyadh criticised Israel following outbreak of war with Hamas, which likely indefinitely postponed Saudi-Israel normalisation process.
Saudi Arabia called for de-escalation in Gaza, condemned Israel. Following outbreak of war between Hamas and Israel on 7 Oct (see Israel-Palestine), Saudi Arabia 7 Oct called for de-escalation and condemned Israel’s “continued occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities”. After Israel 13 Oct ordered over 1m Palestinian in northern Gaza to evacuate south, Riyadh 13 Oct affirmed its “categorical rejection of the calls for the forcible displacement”. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman 15 Oct met U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken in capital Riyadh to discuss conflict; 20 Oct met United Arab Emirates President Mohammed bin Zayed in Riyadh. Meanwhile, sources reported that normalisation efforts with Israel were put on ice, although FM Faisal bin Farhan 24 Oct asserted “the Arabs are serious” about returning to a peace process and U.S. President Biden and Mohammad Bin Salman in call same day agreed to build on “the work that was already under way”.
Saudi and Iranian leaders held phone call. Mohammad Bin Salman 11 Oct spoke directly with Iranian President Raisi for first time since restoration of diplomatic ties in March, stressing kingdom was engaging “with all international and regional parties to halt the ongoing escalation” in Israel-Palestine.
The Saudi leadership is … aware of its domestic audience and the continuing importance of the Palestinian issue among the Saudi population and throughout the Arab world.
Saudi-Iran rapprochement is still in its early phases, and it’s still very unclear how the two sides will address their many points of friction.
In the realm of US domestic politics, Saudi-Israel normalization would be a foreign policy win for the Biden administration.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to assert itself more and more on the international stage through mediation and raising its diplomatic profile.
Many experts still assume that whoever is in the White House will guide Saudi policy on Iran, but that simply isn’t true today.
Lowering the temperature with Iran is a smart way to lower tensions across the region and mitigate some of the proxy battles surrounding Saudi Arabia.
The four-year blockade of Qatar by rival Gulf powers is over, but fault lines among these states remain. If the gaps are not bridged, the competition could exacerbate conflicts – and spark new ones – well outside the region.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard talks with Abdulaziz Sager, Crisis Group’s Trustee and Founder and Chairman of the Gulf Research Center, about Riyadh’s foreign policy and diplomatic efforts seemingly aimed at mending ties in the region.
On 10 March, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed to restore diplomatic relations as part of a Chinese-sponsored initiative that appears aimed at reducing tensions across the Middle East. Crisis Group experts offer a 360-degree view of the implications for the region’s many flashpoints.
Dr. Abdulaziz Sager, Founder of the Gulf Research Center and member of Crisis Group’s Board of Trustees, talks about the revival of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a deal brokered by China.
On 10 March, prodded by China, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to reestablish diplomatic relations within two months, after seven years of severed ties. In this Q&A, Crisis Group experts Dina Esfandiary and Anna Jacobs look at the emerging rapprochement.
Dialogue efforts in the Gulf have stalled amid rising tensions. In this excerpt from the Watch List 2023, Crisis Group explains how the EU and its member states can help revive Saudi-Iranian and other talks.
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood speaks with Crisis Group’s Middle East experts Joost Hiltermann and Dina Esfandiary about the World Cup in Qatar, regional politics and friction between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Israel would like to forge a military alliance with the Gulf Arab monarchies as part of its strategy for checking Iran’s power projection in the region. For Gulf capitals, however, the Israeli ambitions risk too much and offer too little.
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