With oil prices collapsing, Saudi Arabia is facing similar problems that the Soviet Union faced decades ago. Saudi policymakers’ economic reform strategies also echo those of Mikhail Gorbachev. However, different from Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, Saud Arabia’s foreign policy is both confrontational and interventionist. Saudi seeks change, but hopes to keep it in bounds, and may want the world to remain a dangerous place.
Vali R. Nasr, dean of Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, discusses rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the subsequent escalation of sectarian conflict throughout the region.
Anyone watching this meltdown unfold has every reason to think of worse-case scenarios, as it will only deepen the Middle East’s widening sectarian divide, intensify the region’s multiple conflicts, and set back efforts to defeat the Islamic State and end the bloodshed in Syria.
The Saudi establishment’s misconceptions about the relationship between their Shiite community and Iran is proving dangerous, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Denigrating Shias as heretics will only inflame their grievances and radicalize the political culture of the region.
The shifting politics of the Middle East has created a convergence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. The United States can help by moderating a strategic dialogue that has the potential to counter Iranian influence and rejuvenate the peace process.
The U.S.-Saudi relationship, long bound by common interests in oil and security, is showing strains over what some analysts see as waning U.S. involvement in the Middle East and a more assertive Saudi foreign policy.
Writing in Politico, Philip Gordon explores the key issues the United States and Saudi Arabia should address during King Salman’s visit to Washington. It’s good the leaders are talking, but fundamental strategic gaps remain.
Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen marks a more assertive foreign policy that is less inclined to rely on the United States and could intensify the sectarian rift with Iran across the region, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh.
The Saudi-led military incursion into Yemen signals a major shift in Saudi policy toward the region, one more suited for a post-American phase, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Perceiving that they are unable to reliably depend upon support from the United States, Saudi Arabia is adopting a more independent and aggressive policy to ensure its security.
In National Review, Elliott Abrams wondered why President Obama brought a huge delegation with him on his condolence trip—far more than the occasion deserved, unwieldy, and perhaps a reaction to having sent no one at all to Paris.
While the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may not change the course of Saudi oil policy, Meghan O'Sullivan writes that interesting changes to the Kingdom's cabinet roster and other energy policies could be closer than most realize.
The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
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