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Strategic Posture Review: Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

As the Middle East undergoes historic changes, Saudi Arabia continues to gradually shift its foreign and defense policies to reflect both new realities in its region and changes in the global landscape. The two main components of this shift include an ongoing effort to deter Iran and enhance stability among its regional allies through a sizable buildup of its conventional military forces, including a proposed record $90 billion arms sale from the United States, and a broadening of its economic and political ties with emerging global powers such as China and India. Ties between Saudi Arabia and its longtime backer the United States remain close but have experienced serious strains in recent years as a result of the Iraq War, the recent political changes in the region and broader geopolitical shifts.

Barring unforeseen instances of internal turmoil or external shocks such as another war in the region, Saudi Arabia is quite likely to continue making measured adjustments to its foreign and defense policies in the coming years. Incremental evolution is more likely than dramatic revolution for Saudi foreign affairs as long as the country avoids an internal leadership crisis and maintains its oil wealth as a cushion to buffer against changes spreading across the region. ...

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