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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe?

In this edition of Wilson Center NOW we speak with David Ottaway, who provides an update on U.S.-Saudi relations five months after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.  Has the relationship further deteriorated and how are Mohammed bin Salman’s internal political and economic reforms proceeding within the kingdom?


As U.S.-Saudi Relationship Sours, a New Suitor Has Come Calling

In withdrawing American troops from Syria, President Trump has served notice that he is ready to abandon U.S. partners in the Middle East on a tweet's notice.

This doubtlessly sent shivers down the spine of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), who has bet on Trump’s rhetorical fulminations against Iran to assume strong American backing for his confrontation with Iran for primacy in the Arab world.

Saudia Arabia’s Crown Prince Went a Ghastly Step Too Far

According to news reports, Saudi Arabia’s leaders might be preparing to announce that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was indeed killed inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Apparently they plan to explain away his death as a botched abduction attempt carried out by “rogue” killers — an extremely unlikely scenario, given the ruthlessly centralized structure of the Saudi regime.

Will Saudi Arabia’s Social Revolution Provoke a Wahhabi Backlash?

Saudi Arabia’s new de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is pushing his country at breakneck speed into major social reforms, rousing concern about a backlash from the kingdom’s ultra-conservative Wahhabi religious establishment, the bedrock of the ruling House of Saud for over two and a half centuries.  Senior clerics who were speaking out loudly against these reforms have been summarily silenced or thrown into jail, but they have millions of followers on social media who have yet to be heard from.

The Crown Prince Completes His U.S. Visit: Mission Accomplished?

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman concluded his coast-to-coast U.S. tour and has moved on to various European capitals. Has his so-called “charm offensive” worked, and what does it mean for the future of U.S.-Saudi relations?  We asked Wilson Center’s Middle East Fellow David Ottaway to provide highlights and analysis in this edition of Wilson Center NOW.