The future of Saudi foreign policy in the region

Sultan Alsa’ad Alqahtani

Saudi Arabia has always been living under threat since its foundation by the warrior King Abdul Aziz Al Saud. During the founder's reign, disorders had not been completely eliminated, and the king himself was subjected to an assassination attempt. After years, the royal family faced the first public disagreement in its ranks, resulting in the stepping down of a king from power, King Saud, during his lifetime.


Years later, the global situation in the region was bustling with great transformations, in which Saudi Arabia was bombarded by Egyptian planes, the political instability in the Arab world, the conflict with communism, and facing a difficult moment when King Faisal was assassinated.


During the reign of King Khalid, Saudi Arabia faced the influence of the Shah's departure and the hostile regime in Iran, which tried to export the revolution to the countries of the Islamic world, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has lost control of Haram in Mecca for several days, following an operation by the followers of a religious extremist named Juhayman al-Otaibi.


The Gulf War came in King Fahd's era when the kingdom had to face a political and cultural challenge because of the presence of a quarter million Western troops on its land, as well as the cost of the war which had strained the public treasury for several years. The reign of King Fahd also witnessed the events of September 11, and the region as a whole became a burning war zone.


The reign of King Abdullah had witnessed the events of the Arab Spring when the Kingdom's allies in Egypt have fallen, Bahrain was subjected to threat, and Saudi Arabia faced challenges targeting its internal security.


King Salman has faced Iran's threats in several Arab countries, and has decided to face Iran's project in the Middle East pragmatically by rescuing Yemen through an operation called "Al-Hazem Storm".

The above lines were a quick journey in the history of the kingdom with constant threat. It is a journey that makes us understand that it is a kingdom that has lived in danger for more than eight decades.


Through looking at the map of the Kingdom and the neighborhood, I see the need to stabilize the Saudi political orientation within the first circle surrounding the Kingdom. This circle is the geographically adjacent area of the Saudi Arabian borders.


The Middle East region is undergoing highly complex transformations. Therefore, to ensure its national security over the long-term level, Saudi Arabia needs to turn its attention to neighboring countries into a permanent institutional organization.


This is possible through the plan of "Regional Umbrellas" through which the kingdom can consolidate its diplomatic power and keep the doors of dialogue open to contain future problems with neighboring countries.


It is possible to establish political organizations with neighboring countries and its events shall include an annual summit of each organization, similar to the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, during which views can be exchanged, the establishment of alliances with the Kingdom to ensure the security of its borders, and also the early dealing with future threats.


The most important of which is the establishment of:


Forum of countries overlooking the Red Sea

Including Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan, Djibouti, and Eritrea.


Union of States of the Arabian peninsula

In addition to the Arab States of the Gulf, it includes Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen.


Summit of the countries overlooking the Gulf

In addition to the Gulf states, it brings together Iraq and Iran.


Meeting of the neighboring States of the Horn of Africa

It brings together Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia.


Through these regional umbrellas, Saudi Arabia can ensure its stability from external threats and stabilize the rules of movement on its direct borders.


This concludes the first circuit of the Kingdom's national security process, and then the other circuits shall begin and the most important of which will undoubtedly be opening the doors of the political and cultural alliance more with the major powers in Asia.


Asia will be the theater of world history in the coming decades, and will also be the answer paper of the question: what is the next superpower?




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