Military expressions of national identity are helping Gulf countries boost loyalty to the state yet are likely to exacerbate regional polarization.
Berlin’s security concerns over Salafi extremism in Germany could easily reignite latent tensions with Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia is applying its same harsh interpretation of “terrorism” it uses to repress domestic activists to silence criticism from abroad.
Although Tunisia’s leadership appears to be warming to Saudi Arabia at a critical moment for the kingdom, Riyadh cannot rely on its allegiance.
By mediating conflicts and combining their assets in the Horn of Africa, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are slowly cementing an arc of political influence across the region.
Saudi Arabia’s spat with Canada aims to rally nationalist sentiment among citizens, but has made regional allies and international investors more anxious.
The overlapping jurisdictions of Saudi Arabia’s governing bodies and the state’s hyper-centralized nature doom such initiatives as Vision 2030.
Gulf economic aid has averted Jordan’s debt crisis for now, but further support may require concessions regarding the kingdom’s previously independent foreign policy.
Saudi Arabia’s efforts at reforming its armed forces may be more about politics and PR than substantive change.
The Saudi state manipulates religious discourse to legitimize its power and undermine independent voices that may pressure the state for political reform.
Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption campaign shows how the public prosecution is used to provide a veil of legality for pursuing targets.
While countries in the Maghreb and the Gulf are increasing their security cooperation, they lack a long-term strategic understanding.
As Riyadh’s rivalry with Tehran in the Levant turns to Lebanon, its increasing pressure on Hezbollah threatens to severely destabilize the country.
Saudi Arabia’s recent waves of arrests reveal the political system’s increased use of security measures to control the public while promising limited reforms to stave off instability.
Recent succession and foreign policy moves in Saudi Arabia may get in the way of the kingdom’s planned economic reforms.
The rapid escalation of tensions over the past few weeks carries significant implications for unity, security, and balance of power in the Gulf.
Expanded U.S.–Saudi security cooperation in the region could empower their shared enemies of Iran and militant Sunni Islamists.
Saudi Arabia is betting that oil markets will rebalance themselves at higher prices, and it has no economic backup plan if prices remain low.
Saudi Arabia’s plans of privatizing the economy to overcome oil dependence hinge on opening up its political sphere.
Regional competition and the lack of a cooperation strategy with its neighbors are compounding Saudi Arabia’s inability to act as an oil price setter.