Saudi Arabia

Iran and Saudi Arabia Revisit Their Strategies

| January 24, 2018

Expressions of support for the Iranian anti-government protests by US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have provided grist for Iranian claims that the protests were instigated by foreign powers. The assertions, while largely baseless, nonetheless offer insight into the very different strategies adopted by Iran and Saudi Arabia in their vicious struggle for regional dominance.

Iranian Protests Reveal Leadership Fault Lines in the Muslim World

| January 16, 2018

If week-long anti-government protests in Iran exposed the Islamic Republic’s deep-seated economic and political problems, they also laid bare Saudi Arabia’s structural inability to establish itself as the leader of the Sunni Muslim world.

US-Saudi Nuclear Talks: A Middle East Barometer?

| January 10, 2018

Talks aimed at transferring US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia serve as an indicator of where the Saudi-Iranian rivalry is heading as well as the strength of the informal Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran. The possible transfer could spark a new arms race in the Middle East and constitutes one explanation why Saudi responses to President Donald J. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel were muted and limited to rhetorical statements.

Iranian Protests Raise Tricky Questions for US and Saudi Policymakers

| January 2, 2018

In many ways, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad faces the same considerations in deciding how to respond to the protests in Iran as does US President Donald J. Trump. Support for the protesters could amount to support for hardline conservative factions in Iran.

Ten Tips for Israel when Negotiating with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World

Speculation is rife about the possibility of normalizing relations between Israel and the nations of the Arabian Peninsula (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, and Qatar). If such negotiations do take place, the Israeli government will need to approach them in such a way as to avoid repeating mistakes that were made in the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.

Qatari vs. Saudi Wahhabism and the Perils of Top-Down Change

| December 7, 2017

Qatar and Saudi Arabia share a Wahhabi tradition, yet Qatar’s secular social character is more similar to that of Turkey. Despite their current antagonism, the leaders of the two countries share a forward-looking, less socially conservative vision. But a government-engineered modernizing process will be ineffective if it is not accompanied by political change.

Tackling Corruption: Why Saudi Prince Muhammad’s Approach Raises Questions

| December 4, 2017

Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s recent moves against the Saudi elite look more like a power and asset grab than a credible effort to eradicate corruption. He would be well advised to focus more on structural and institutional change.

Keeping Our Cool with Saudi Arabia

In view of Saudi Arabia’s deep concern over Iran’s ascendancy, Israel is presented with a unique opportunity to dictate terms of engagement to the kingdom. It is unwise for Israel to tip its hand by displaying fawning enthusiasm over the slightest gesture by the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia’s Lebanon Gamble Might Pay Off

| December 1, 2017

Time will tell, but Saudi Arabia’s gamble to pressure Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed, Lebanese Shiite militia, by forcing Saad Hariri, the country’s prime minister, to resign, may be paying off despite widespread perceptions that the maneuver backfired.

The Political Crisis in Lebanon: An Opportunity to Strengthen Israeli-Saudi Cooperation Against Iran

| December 1, 2017

By strengthening cooperation behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia and Israel can take significant advantage of the political crisis in Lebanon and the regional developments that may result from it. Riyadh and Jerusalem should do their best to cooperate vis-à-vis the superpowers involved in Syria and Iraq, especially the US, as they attempt to shift the strategic balance towards their aligning interests.