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Saudi Arabia Response to COVID-19

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Wilson Center Scholar David Ottaway offers analysis on the recent actions taken by Saudi Arabia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia has closed down the hajj to Mecca and Medina for the time being for millions of Muslims and will probably keep it closed for the big annual hajj in late July. This weekend, it closed all international flights to and from the kingdom—unheard of before for any reason. The return of the “Hidden Kingdom.”  To make matters worse for itself but better for the world’s consumers, it decided to have a showdown with Russia over who is boss when it comes to oil prices and production levels. So it has cut prices by up to eight dollars a barrel and plans to ramp up production to over 12 million a day in April—two million more a day than now. So gasoline prices should tumble shortly even as Americans are being told to stay at home and so cannot take advantage of lower gasoline prices.

About the Author

David Ottaway image

David Ottaway

Middle East Fellow;
Middle East Specialist and Former Washington Post Correspondent
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Middle East Program

The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program serves as a crucial resource for the policymaking community and beyond, providing analyses and research that helps inform U.S. foreign policymaking, stimulates public debate, and expands knowledge about issues in the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.  Read more