Essay Writing

Saudi Arabian Foreign Policy and its Aggressive Nature

Saudi Arabian Foreign Policy and its Aggressive Nature

Saudi Arabian Foreign Policy and its Aggressive Nature


Many foreign policy analysts noticed a new pattern of behavior for the Saudi foreign policy, which was known over the past decades, with its calm and extreme caution. At the regional level, Saudi Arabia is currently leading a major military campaign in Yemen that began in 2015 which caused a major humanitarian crisis. Saudi has also intervened militarily in Bahrain by sending battalions of its soldiers to quell protest movements in conjunction with the Arab Spring. Moreover, contrary to its common approach of not favoring revolutions and regime change in the Arab world, Saudi is now taking a firm stand against Assad’s regime in Syria, demanding that he should be expelled to start a new political process. For Lebanon, Saudi Arabia has been accused of detaining Prime Minister Saad Hariri and forcing him to resign in July 2018. These interventional movements, which were not prevalent in the conduct of Saudi foreign policy, have also been applied in dealing with Qatar, a small country bordering Saudi Arabia, which is also a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The paradox here is that GCC has always been considered as one of the most successful regional organizations in promoting cooperation among countries in the Arab world. Two years have passed since Saudi Arabia took stringent measures against Qatar, where diplomatic and economic ties were cut to the point of closing land borders and preventing Qatari aircraft from crossing Saudi airspace. The relationship with Iran confirms this new offensive course in Saudi foreign policy, where the differences between the two countries reached the highest levels of tension after the severance of diplomatic relations in 2016, which was followed by several hostile and very sharp statements by the Saudi Crown Prince towards the Iranian regime and its policies within the region. This trend towards more rigid and hostile policies is accompanied by a noticeable interest of the Saudi leadership in forming two military alliances, including the Arab alliance, which is currently led by Saudi Arabia in its war with Yemen in addition to the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition. This Islamic military coalition which headquartered in Riyadh promotes the most massive military cooperation among Islamic nations by including more than 30 countries. 

Beyond the borders of the Middle East, Saudi foreign policy has also begun to take another unexpected direction as its behavior has begun to be firm and assertive in interacting with many issues on the international arena. Several disagreements and tensions have begun to emerge in public about the new face of Saudi foreign policy. This began in 2012 when Saudi Arabia refused its seat on the UN Security Council on the backdrop of its condemnation of the weak role played by the Council in facing the challenges and crises in the Middle East. The last years of President Obama’s term also witnessed some differences and tensions in the US-Saudi relations. In the last visit for Obama to Saudi Arabia in 2016, the US president did not receive a proper reception at the airport. This event was interpreted by many as an indication of the extent of the differences between the two countries regarding America’s position on several Middle East issues (Iran, Arab-Israeli conflict, Arab Spring). Relations with Germany also saw some tension and arms deals between the two countries were halted. Relations with Sweden have also been tense, leading Riyadh to withdraw its ambassador from there after criticism by the secretary of state to put human rights in Saudi Arabia. In a similar move, Saudi Arabia, in 2018, also cut off diplomatic and economic ties with Canada quickly and decisively after criticism by Canadian officials of human rights and women in Saudi Arabia.

Research Question & Hypothesis:

Rather than describing the new course in Saudi foreign policy, this paper will make an attempt to theoretically identify and understand the structure of factors behind this new path that Saudi foreign policy has begun to take form. The main question that the paper aims to answer is: What accounts for this shift in Saudi foreign policy? The initial hypothesis that the research will embrace here is that a complex combination of regional-structural factors is behind this change in Saudi policies. The hypothesis argues that the international and regional structure and Saudi geostrategic position within it have been severely undermined by two critical upheavals: the first is the events of September 11 and its interactions that led to the US invasion of Iraq. The second is the Arab Spring which led to the overthrow of several regimes in the Middle East region. Both upheavals have severe implications on the regional structure and its stability and consequently on the network of Saudi’s interests and alliances through many destabilizing mechanisms: First, Saudi strategic positioning and the balance of power in the region have changed in opposition to Saudi interests. Secondly, Saudi Arabia was no longer able to use its Wahhabi religious influence to serve its interests and strengthen its presence in the region because of the post-9/11 circumstances and America’s anti-terrorist strategies, which required Saudi Arabia to redefine its relationship with jihadist forces and religious militias. Third, the semi- harmonious network of regional and international alliances used by Saudi Arabia to ensure its security and interests began to collapse, leading to the emergence of divisions in the region exploited by other rivalries such as Russia and Iran. All these are coinciding with the new US strategy of declining its presence in the Middle East which had been a significant source that Saudi Arabia relied on for decades. The hypothesis of this research argues that all these factors have imposed new challenges to Saudi Arabia, making it adopt a more assertive foreign policy.

Preliminary Literature Review:

In this part of the proposal, I will make a brief preliminary review of the literature that addressed the recent change in Saudi foreign policy. Ennis & Momani (2013) addressed the rapid changes that the (MENA) region has been witnessing and then they argue that significant countries such as Turkey and Saudi had been forced to adopt new directions in their foreign policies to secure their positions with regard to the new evolving opportunities and challenges posed by the new order in the region. Similarly, Patrick (2016) also make an attempt to assess the new trend in Saudi foreign policy. at first, Patrick started with arguing that Saudi Arabia is one of the most critical states in terms of geopolitical position. He also argued that there are many external and internal challenges that could influence Saudi foreign policy outcomes and the potential role it could play in both international and regional stage. He then gave an analysis of Saudi Arabia’s identity and its internal cultural context and how this could affect the foreign policy decision making. Finally, he addressed how Arab uprisings and their messy aftermath have prompted a significant shift in Saudi foreign policy as officials there have become far more assertive especially when dealing with regional affairs. (Matthiesen, 2015) also focuses on the reorientation of Saudi foreign policy during the Arab Spring and the new regional situation.

Further, Teitelbaum (2010) analyzes Saudi Arabia’s strategic stance over many historical phases starting from the collapse of the Soviet Union until 2010. He also showed how Saudi had dealt with many international and regional challenges such as the Afghan Jihad and the occupation of Kuwait. Karim (2017) addresses the role of domestic factors in shaping the new outcomes of Saudi foreign policy. He argues that the centralization of power in the office of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (crown prince) has amounted to a change in foreign policy decision-making. al-Mutairi (2017) also presents a historical analysis of Saudi foreign policy and examines recent changes. Although this emerging body of literature has provided analyses of changes in Saudi foreign policy, they rarely relied on a comprehensive theoretical framework to explain this change. Accordingly, this research will seek to fill this theoretical gap in the literature by analyzing this change in Saudi foreign policy from a theoretical perspective.

Factors Influencing the Aggressive Approach

The Events of 9/11

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 did more than destroy buildings and kill numerous innocent people. They disrupted the American way of life and regular patterns. Importantly, they damaged the image of Muslim with profound blame and finger pointing going against the Middle East Nations. The 9/11 terrorist attacks caused many losses of lives while exposing some frailties in the security system of one of the major superpowers, the United States of America. However, the response of the nation was far from frail as the country eventually developed Homeland Security to prevent such an act from ever occurring. Importantly, the focus on these events in this paper outlined the harsh stance that the United States took against Middle East nations.

Conversely, almost two decades later most nations still blame the Middle East for the terrorist attacks. Notably, in 2018, a US court declined to throw away lawsuits implying that Saudi Arabia aided in the 9/11 terror attacks (Baynes, 2018). Therefore, the United States still blames Saudi Arabia for the attacks while the latter continues to suffer due to the bad reputation resulting from events that transpired at the beginning of the 21st century. Imperatively, the Saudi Arabian government has denied any involvement with the events that transpired, but numerous people who survived are still pushing on in pursuit of justice. The constant fight between the government from Middle East state and the survivors have further intensified the relationships between the two nations thereby urging Saudi Arabia to be more aggressive in designing policies and be prepared for any shortcoming that may arise.

Consequently, the attacks shattered the security system of the United States and depicted a sense of invulnerability among residents of the US. The government was challenged to take up the swift and robust measure. The formation of Homeland Security meant that there was a new body which could foresee these acts of terror before they transpired. Importantly, it gave people hope and a sign of belief in the government. Contrastingly, Middle East nations were pushed to the corner as a major superpower was determined to keep them in check. In relation to the times of war, the ideologies and perception of the Middle East and the United States differed. Importantly, the situation required Saudi Arabia to make a tough call and prepare for any outcome. Importantly, the development of aggressive policies was a move that would offer the country a chance over the developed nations and help Saudi Arabia exist in a world where most nations have allies and enemies.

The acts of 9/11 ushered in a chaotic world while in numerous cases it raised the focus on terrorism (Smith & Zeigler, 2017). Sadly, most Middle East nations regardless of their guilt or innocence suffered due to their religious affiliations and ideological beliefs. People continually labeled them as terrorists. Notably, terrorism has often been related to Muslims, and thus the acts only loosened the credibility of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has been condemned for playing a part in the attacks and thus becoming an interest of the world on a bad light. Therefore, the already crafted image of the nation requires it to take key measures and be ready for any attack either directly or indirectly that might occur in response to the deadly terrorist attacks or due to its practices and beliefs. 

Prior to the events of 9/11, Saudi Arabia was highly uncooperative on counterterrorism mainly being part of the problem rather than the solutions. However, the acts opened up the world to the dangers and consequences of terrorism and thus shaping the world to take up arms. Notably, the uncooperative nations were slowly being viewed as the causes for the disturbing and damaging acts. After the events of September 11, Saudi Arabia took an active role in the battle against terrorism partnering with other nations. Importantly, the move offered the country a chance to create allies and also be in the clear as a major suspect for such events. Importantly, the events that transpired on September 11 influenced the move by Saudi Arabia to develop aggressive policies and approaches. For instance, Saudi Arabia understands the need to be safe and keep its people safe. Secondly, the country knows that there might be nations unwilling to side with it and thus the need to try and maintain a distance between them. Ultimately, the country understands the need by other nations to have an active say in different states and therefore the need to discourage direct western influence on major issues of the country’s decision making and policy-making process.

The Impacts of 9/11 on the Foreign Policy

The events of 9/11 limited Saudi Arabia from developing essential ties with other nations. Notably, most countries branded the region as a base for terrorists following the numerous deaths and injuries that Americans acquired. There were several people who were of Saudi’s affiliation thereby underlining the nation’s involvement. Therefore, Saudi Arabia was unable to use its religious affiliation to influence diverse issues. People developed the notion that Muslims are liable for terrorism and thus damaging the nation’s reputation. Importantly, Saudi Arabia had to respond to these allegations and descriptions by coming up with an aggressive foreign policy that empowered the nation and at the same time helped it remain strong. 

The events of 9/11 outlined the importance of power in the global community. Saudi Arabia was a lesser nation on the global headlines for the wrong reasons, and thus there was the threat of failing to get allies or attain any diplomatic ties because of its involvement. Arguing on the line of Neorealism model on international relations which stipulates that power is the essential factor in international relations, Saudi Arabia had to acquire some status in the world to remain relevant and overcome the numerous shortcomings and barriers. Fast forward and the new king of Saudi Arabia understands this feat. He has been quick to make adjustments during his short tenure. However, he has encountered some shortcomings due to his rash decisions. For instance, there is still some tension between the nation and the United States due to the death of a reporter. Moreover, the country’s rivalry with Iran has intensified over the recent past. The country has also had strained ties with other nations due to its involvement in the Yemen War. However, the decision to use aggressive approaches has primarily defined the region as a risk taker and thus can eventually place it in line with developing nations. Nations with power have a larger say on issues of international relations; for instance, nations such as the United States and China have many nations globally garnering for ties with them because they already have power. The theory of neorealism depicts a static picture of the world but fails to account for progress in international affairs (Lundborg, 2018). Importantly, the theory implies that nations try to have a say on the global platform based on what they bring to the table. Saudi Arabia is trying to use an aggressive measure to attain more results and thus have a more significant say on the global platform. 

Consequently, the events of 9/11 limited Saudi Arabia’s opportunity of expanding its influence and interest in the international arena. The nation had already been on the light for the wrong reasons, and thus it was hard to gain the trust of other nations. Notably, terrorism has been a vice highly criticized, and thus the nation’s involvement damaged its image on the international front. Therefore, the events limited Saudi Arabia from effectively making its mark on the global platform and spreading its influence.

Consequently, the events instigated the move for Saudi’s foreign policy which points out at its dedication and determination to support the United Nations (UN). Notably, the institutional liberalism theory states that international institutions and organizations can improve and instigate cooperation between states. Importantly, the United States and Saudi Arabia have maintained close ties irrespective of the numerous shortcomings such as the attacks of 9/11 or the recent murder of a journalist. Notably, their ties may have been instigated by their role in international institutions and what these organizations require of their members. The attacks of September 11 left many criticizing Saudi Arabia with a lot of focus going to its Islamic ideology and institutions. In response, the government formulated a liberal constituency with the recent regimes underlining the need to embrace diversity (Dekmejia, 2003). Notably, liberal institutions have continually played a role in influencing the approaches in policy making and the relations between Saudi Arabia and other nations.

The events of 9/11 outlined the importance of international politics which describes the realm of power, of accommodation, and of struggle (Waltz, 2010). The focus on international politics shows that nations are somehow like people as they are insecure. Notably, they are insecure about their freedom and thus if they want their freedom, they should accept insecurity. Similarly, the institutions that prioritize ties of authority can increase security and decrease freedom. In the same way, the Saudi foreign policy aims to increase the freedom of the nation and sway away foreign power over the region. However, the move has made the region more prone to criticism and some strains in diplomatic ties. Major nations such as the United States may feel unwanted if Saudi distances itself and thus may cut off their ties. Therefore, it is imperative to retain significant relationships irrespective of the primary cause of the policy. Notably, the use of aggressive approaches in governance aims to dictate the identity of the nation and give it authority over its activities. Imperatively, the country feels the urge to outline its dominance by primarily depending on itself. Therefore, the move to cut down on corruption and try to implement new regulations is profoundly meant to show the nation’s belief in its course.

The Arab Spring

The Arab springs outline a number of anti-government protests, armed rebellions, and uprisings that transpired in the Middle East around the latter stages of 2010. The protests kicked off in Tunisia protesting low standards of living and oppressive regimes. Notably, the numerous protests that transpired across numerous nations had some dire consequences as diverse economies stagnated or declined. Importantly, many countries failed to comprehensively deal with them in time to keep up with other nations. The protests had profound effects on Saudi Arabia and thus influencing the country’s approach in designing aggressive policies and approaches. 

The revolts primarily pressured the Saudi Arabian government along the borders. The Arab Spring caused turmoil across North Africa and the Middle East. Notably, it threatened to derail growth while also affecting the developed diplomatic ties created such as the US-Saudi relationship. With the ties between Saudi Arabia and the United States has taken off, the revolts promised to affect these ties or to derail them from continually benefitting the two parties. Therefore, the constant revolts necessitated the government to make a stand, a bold move to ensure that they did not hinder growth within Saudi Arabia. With Saudi Arabia being a major United States’ ally in the Arab world, the former has benefited continuously and thus has the pleasure to take bold, aggressive steps in a bid to build a better country.

The Arab Spring entailed a rebellion of disaffected youths, a fight against unemployment, human rights abuses, religious and tribal splits, aged leadership and, corruption. With so many nations fighting against their governments and their approach to governance, Saudi Arabia had to improve its approach. Imperatively, aggressive approaches try to make the people adhere to the guidelines rather than undermining them. Importantly, the criminal justice system in many nations has harsh consequences for vile acts to limit their occurrences or comprehensively outdo them. Similarly, the aggressive approach promises results and keeps the people in check. Notably, the approach can be regarded as a dictatorial way of ruling especially if the approaches directly impact on the people. However, Saudi Arabia primarily aimed to limit the existence of other activities that could distract its projects. For instance, the Arab Spring deterred many nations from comprehensively using this period to develop their states. Therefore, the government used up its time and resources trying to deal with the revolt rather than concentrating on the development of the economy.

Saudi Arabia tried to immunize itself from the political change looming around the Middle East due to the numerous springs. Other nations in the region fought to oust their leaders and bad regimes. Notably, with people fighting against old leadership, Saudi Arabia was facing a tough time as their prime minister was 87 years old in 2011 during the revolts. However, he made bold decisions revoking a woman from being lashed ten times for driving her car and offering women to take part in the council elections in 2015. Notably, the Arab Spring increased the intent of the leaders to be stronger with their stand. 

Saudi Arabia has improved its foreign policy keeping it ahead of other monarchies in the counterattack against political change (Saudi Arabia and the Arab spring: absolute monarchy holds the line, 2011). Importantly, the nation has supported other nations with similar beliefs and approaches in a bid to keep their way of governance intact. Imperatively, aggressive approaches have helped the leaders retain their places while influencing the people to align with this system of governance. The Arab Spring was a threatening period which saw three dictators lose their power. Therefore, the period served to test the resolve of Saudi Arabia. Essentially, it outlined the quality of the leaders and their capabilities to deal with challenging times. Importantly, the numerous revolts necessitated a tough approach to curb diverse uprisings that continue to threaten governments. 

The Arab Spring constituted both challenges and opportunities for security. Saudi Arabia managed to remain one of the less affected Arab nations irrespective of the economic, political, and social pressures transpiring. The nation has managed to remain unaffected by the vast political upheavals. Importantly, the latter argument shows the strength of aggressive approaches and the need to maintain them in running the government. The nation has been under constant pressure prior to the Arab Spring on the lines of demands, pressures, and responses (Tamamy, 2014). Therefore, the Arab Spring was more like a milestone that further influenced the policymaking process in Saudi Arabia. Importantly, the nation had an idea on how to respond to the situation. Therefore, it merely improved on its previous approaches and developed a bolder cause of action which outlined aggressive actions and the need to deal with challenges rather than waiting for them to die off.

The Arab Springs outlined a fight against power and domination especially in the Middle-East with Saudi Arabia trying to remain relevant while other governments crumbled. Notably, the Arab Spring exposed the Saudi-Iran rivalry. Importantly, it  is one key situation that outlines the strength of the neorealist theory. For a long time, the two nations have continually tried to outdo each other and thus trying to get more influence over the other. Their rivalry has gone on to entangle Bahrain in the midst of it. The rivalry entails a competition for decades that has fluctuated with both nations having diverse perceptions on their status as a nation and the international situation (Downs, 2013). Saudi Arabia has mainly been driven by the need to maintain its status quo. Therefore, the nation has taken advantage of Bahrain’s dependence on it for stability to influence its beliefs and thoughts on Iran. Notably, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia hold similar perceptions on Iran as an anti-status quo power. Notably, the development of foreign policies and the use of aggressive measures has primarily been in line with neorealism model which outlines the strength of power in international relations. 

Consequently, a lot of nations lost a lot to the Arab Spring. However, Saudi Arabia retained its position over other Arab nation due to its truculent methods. One can view it as a hostile approach, but the nation has enjoyed fruits due to it. Critically, the country has managed to tame rebellion. However, its approach is only useful if it manages to get imperative results. The change in the Saudi foreign policy has tried to avoid other nations from continually adding pressure on the state.

The Arab Spring outlines a situation where Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy started to peak and showed its influence. The foreign policy understands the possible occurrence of shortcomings and thus the need to be prepared for any outcome. The United States has enjoyed some of the greatest success. A focus on the United States outlined the belief that a new and welcome era of peace and affluence would hit the United States but it was shaken by the souring relations with China and Russia in the 21st century, nationalism and popularism continue to rise, and the European Union is wobbling (Walt, 2018). Similarly, Saudi Arabia uses a distinct and more aggressive approach to try and prepare for any risk that may arise unexpectedly. It managed to effectively settle through the Arab Spring irrespective of the numerous risks that presented themselves in the light of vast governments falling in North Africa and the Middle East. 

Crucially, the Arab Spring forced Saudi Arabia to find ways to maintain its dominance in a changing world which was advocating for a change in leadership. Therefore, the foreign strategy of Saudi Arabia has developed to focus on collaboration with the oil-exporting Gulf countries, the support for the United Nations, Islamic Strength and solidarity, and the unity of the Arab world. The change of leadership has outlined a new approach to attaining the outlined goals with bin Salman being pivotal to the success of international politics. Therefore, to attain change, the leader has opted to use more aggressive methods to quickly and easily offer significant influence. The focus on international politics shows the importance of understanding other nations and what they can offer. Saudi Arabia has managed to retain firm bonds with the United States because it understands the impact of this relationship both locally and on a global platform.

New United States Strategies Towards the Middle East

The United States and Saudi Arabia has previously had good bilateral relationships. However, the relationships between the two nations have encountered some few blocks, especially in the recent past due to Saudi Arabia’s more assertive foreign policy. The two states have been in good terms due to their mutual benefits in oil and security. The United States has highly benefited from oil in Saudi Arabia while the latter has been assured of security and alliances with the former. However, the tides are slowly turning as the more assertive foreign policy aims to strengthen Saudi Arabia and distance it from foreign control.

Conversely, the long relations between the two states have hugely been dominated by the United States interest in Saudi Arabia’s oil. The relationship has managed to withstand tough challenges such as the 9/11 attacks and the oil embargo of 1973. The recent administration of Donald Trump and Saudi de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman has helped improve the ties in an effort to counter Saudi’s main rival, Iran. However, the ties are going through a troubling period primarily resulting from the killing of a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. Many members of the US Congress have requested for harsh action against Riyadh, a situation which is actively straining the alliance (U.S.-Saudi Arabia Relations, 2018). Notably, the bilateral relationships between the two nations have been beneficial to both parties. The United States has offered protection and security for the oil-rich Persian Gulf while the US has benefited to gaining access through exports from the region (U.S.-Saudi Arabia Relations, 2018).

Consequently, the new regime of bin Salman has stipulated a new approach to governance and the policymaking process. Importantly, bin Salman developed a vision 2030 initiative before taking power. The initiative aims to expand the Saudi Arabian economy and improve its foreign venture (U.S.-Saudi Arabia Relations, 2018). The new leader has faced criticism for his harsh stance. He launched a regional barricade of Qatar and ordered a corruption crackdown whereby many Saudi elites were arrested and imprisoned without formal charges (U.S.-Saudi Arabia Relations, 2018). Notably, bin Salman offered changes to the older regimes by implementing a swift and aggressive approach. However, the country’s foreign policy has been exposed following the death of the journalist and the mismanagement that transpired while trying to resolve the issue.

Conversely, the foreign policy has failed in some occasions such as the failure to deal with the murder of the journalist, the failed Qatar blockade, the diplomatic row with Canada over human rights issues, the house arrest of Lebanese prime minister, and the war in Yemen (U.S.-Saudi Arabia Relations, 2018). However, the government has continued to prioritize this aggressive foreign policy because it represents an unwavering government that is willing to do what it takes to acquire necessary changes. Importantly, bin Salman is unafraid and is willing to do what it takes to improve the stakes of the country. Therefore, the foreign policy has primarily been influenced by the need to show that the government is willing to take a stand even when other nations fear it might not work out. The United States president has continued to offer the prince support. However, members of the council are critical on the murder against the journalist and thus requesting for punishment. All in all, the aggressive approach has been stipulated by the need to keep up with the United States and thus to outline the need to make hard decisions without being afraid of the consequences. 

Importantly, while looking at the ties between the United States and Saudi Arabia, the latter has decided to come up with a more aggressive foreign policy to regulate the rise of the Iranian influence in the Middle East which continually threatens the stability and security of Saudi Arabia. The world is continually changing thereby influencing local, regional, and global competitions. Saudi Arabia has managed to be one of the leading nations in the Middle East. However, with the threat of being overtaken by Iran appearing, the nation has decided to take vigorous measures. The foreign policy has its miscalculations and thus can be deemed by a few as reckless rather than assertive. However, the move has been developed to curb competition. Saudi Arabia has managed to survive numerous things due to its bold moves and dynamic approaches. The appointment of a new leader has brought into power a man who is willing to take a risk in the policymaking process. Therefore, when some of the acts may be reckless, most of them may stimulate growth in the country. Moreover, the continuous resurgence of Iran continues to threaten the dominance of Saudi Arabia and thus necessitating tough calls in the way the government approaches the policy-making process.


The events of 9/11 limited Saudi Arabia in numerous fronts ranging from their inability to use religious influence to limited stability in the region and thus empowering other nations such as Iraq. The assertive course in Saudi Arabia foreign policy is a necessary course of action after numerous issues shook the nation on its feet. Many developing nations have failed to keep up the pace with developed state due to their limiting foreign policies which empower their allies and make the host nation a victim of exploitation. Therefore, Saudi took an assertive action by designing an aggressive foreign policy that prioritizes a practical approach over a theoretical approach. Saudi Arabia maintains its need to dominate the Middle East and thus to take approaches that would make its rivals such as Iraq at its foot rather than giving them a chance to control the region. Saudi’s foreign policy outlines an approach whereby the nation understands the essence of having allies and trying to maximize on them while at the same time it is still cautious of what they may bring to the table. The nation was highly criticized for its involvement in the 9/11 events while its image globally has been tainted by those acts. Notably, its religious affiliation has been key to the reception it has continually attained and thus the need to find a way to respond to external reactions. 



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