Saudi Arabia: Transformation of Power and Policy

1279
DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-4-59-67

G. Kosach (g.kosach@mail.ru),
Russian State University for Humanities, Faculty of History, Political Science and Law, Miusskaya Pl., 6, Moscow, 125993, Russian Federation

Abstract. The period after 2015, when Salman bin Abdel Aziz came to the throne of Saudi Arabia, became the era of deep changes in the system of Saudi power as well as in the spheres of economy and policy. The attempt to overcome a “vagueness” of power, which was connected with a big number of fractures in the ruling family, promoted the rise of Prince Salman who occupied the leading positions in the national “ruling class” and began to control uniformed services. The project of socio-economic transformation “Vision: 2030” proposed by the Prince as “a reform of power”, was supported by the national “educated class” considering it as a possibility to realize their own aspirations connected with diversification of economy, elimination of addiction to oil, expansion of the private sector’s activity, amelioration of life quality, women’s emancipation and reduction of religious establishment influence. This support strengthens Mohammed bin Salman’s positions in the ruling dynasty, which was confirmed during the anticorruption company and by consequences of international scandal around “Jamal Khashoggi affair” inside Saudi Arabia. The support mentioned above was not shaken by cruel methods against those who stand for more freedom of speech inside Saudi Arabia. The article also analyzes the reasons of the Saudi foreign policy “tightening” explained by the Saudi political establishment as a result of the “Arab Spring”, Iranian expansion policy, the task to oppose regional terror and ineffectiveness of President Obama’s policy. For Riyadh, the development of relations with President Trump’s administration is “a reanimation” of relationship with its strategic partner and “an instrument to curb the Iranian regime”, despite the contradictions with this administration appearing on the question of Jerusalem in particular. In its turn, Saudi-Russian relations, in spite of the mutual interest in its development, are not able to overcome the existing differences concerning the most burning issues of the Middle East. The amelioration of economic relations which was marked during King Selman’s visit to Moscow in October 2017 is fragile because historically it is not based on a diverse system of bilateral contacts as in the American case.

Keywords: Saudi Arabia, prince Muhammad bin Salman, “Vision: 2030”, Saudi “educated class”, Saudi foreign policy, Iran, United States, Russia


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For citation:
Kosach G. Saudi Arabia: Transformation of Power and Policy. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, No 4, pp. 59-67. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-4-59-67



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