You are looking at 1 - 10 of 23 items for
- Author: Robert Mason x
- Refine by access: All content x
In the context of political transitions taking place at the domestic, regional and international levels, this book maps a series of key Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) bilateral relations incorporating the Middle East, the US, Europe, China, Russia, the Horn of Africa, India, Pakistan, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia. It argues that established modes of analysis such as riyal politik and the Islamisation of Saudi foreign policy are somewhat redundant in a changing economic climate and amid evidence of uncertain returns, whilst political consolidation amounting to Sultanism tells only part of the story. The book underscores the role of youth, background, and western affinity in leadership, as well as liberalisation, hyper-nationalism, secularisation, ‘Push East’ pressure and broader economic statecraft as being the new touchstones of Saudi and UAE foreign policy. This volume also sheds light on aspects of offensive realism, dependency theory, alliance patterns, ‘challenger states’ and political legitimacy in a region dominated by competition, securitisation and proxy warfare.
Saudi Vision 2030 was touted as a plan to move the Kingdom away from dependence on oil, aided by the 2016–2020 National Transformation Plan. However, as this chapter argues, the rapid and concurrent changes taking place in Saudi society and political economy are profound on multiple levels. Some incidents and trends have led to reputational damage, which is affecting the Kingdom's economic policy and revenues through its immediate ability to retain capital, complete large-scale public–private projects, and attract foreign direct investment. Others, such as the Yemen conflict, mean that the national economy cannot be disconnected from equally profound changes taking place in Saudi Arabia’s regional and international politics. The chapter builds on a wide range of literature on rentierism, Saudi economic studies, political economy, and international relations. The chapter’s main contribution lies in explaining the interplay between the pace and nature of structural reform and the consolidation of governance that utilises unprecedented measures aimed at supporting the bottom line, elite, and national security interests in the near term.
For millennia, the Red Sea has been one of the main bodies of water which has facilitated trade, connected ancient kingdoms and ports, and become a linchpin of maritime supremacy, security and control. Today that calculation for states with interests spanning the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean has not changed. This chapter charts the evolution of historic, Cold War, and emerging superpower competition, and dissects the political and security preferences within the Horn of Africa, including economic choices vis-à-vis China and states’ search for relative autonomy in the international system. It also asserts that a resurgent Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates (primarily linked to their threat perception and participation in the Yemen conflict) and Egypt (primarily due to its national security concerns such as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) represent challenges and opportunities for the Horn of Africa states.
This chapter draws attention to a series of developments which have impacted on the policy of Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Horn of Africa, including: bilateral tensions; the policies of regional and international rivals or adversaries; the logistical requirements of the Yemen conflict; the drop in the international oil price; the economic impact of COVID-19 and sanctions. Employing a case study approach, the chapter identifies the leading dynamics at play in each Horn of Africa state, how these have evolved, and what role non-state actors such as Hezbollah and intergovernmental organisations such as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the Red Sea Forum play in obstructing or extending cooperation. The chapter concludes with a note on proximity and the Red Sea serving as a potential fulcrum for an interregional security complex.
The conclusion answers the book’s guiding research questions. It covers a number of conceptual bases including threat perception, modified decision making, absent effective regional security structures, as well as transitions within and away from riyal politik and economic statecraft. The chapter also dwells on the role of oil policy and other strategic economic relations in the conduct of Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) foreign policy and international relations, such as expatriate labour opportunities, labour remittances and the Hajj. The chapter discusses new or revitalised trade patterns generally associated with the Saudi and UAE Visions strategies, alongside shifts in US policy. Alliance patterns, hegemony, dependency, leverage, patron–client relations, hedging and political legitimacy are analysed within this new context.
This chapter sets the tone for further discussion on Saudi foreign policy by reflecting on Saudi statehood, survival and regional relations in historical context. It then moves on to assess contemporary transitions affecting sectarianism, secularism and liberalism. This is followed by coverage on dissent and repression and the ‘anti-corruption drive’ in the kingdom, encompassing the Ritz Carlton episode in 2017. The chapter then turns to the Saudi economy, role of sovereign wealth funds and climate change policies within that, and defence and national security issues, including counterterrorism issues. The conclusion analyses which domestic factors are likely to have a major bearing on Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and international relations well into the twenty-first century.
The panoply of contemporary US–Arab Gulf relations is covered in this chapter. Across the Obama, Trump and Biden administrations, a comprehensive picture is built up about the extent to which US policy, including a carte blanche and transactional approach pursued by the Trump administration, and uncertain relations into the Biden administration, has conditioned Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) foreign policy. The main structural issues in US policy towards the Middle East and the GCC states are laid out, including over energy relations, the Global War on Terror; tensions over the JCPOA (and renegotiation) with Iran, congressional disdain over 9/11 (i.e. Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act) and the war in Yemen. These have been joined by some human rights criticism, a question over US security guarantees during the 2019 attacks on Khurais and Abqaiq, over arms exports such as the F-35 to the UAE, over discrepancies between US and UAE Syria policy; and the ebb and flow of personal relations. The 2022 war in Ukraine is shown to be a potential inversion point to Saudi and UAE relations with the US, highlighting the importance to these GCC states and their continued relevance in the global economy.
This omnibus chapter outlines the orientation of Saudi and United Arab Emirates policy and regionalism within the Gulf Cooperation Council, where sources of contrast and rivalry persist between these and other protagonists. The chapter utilises a limited number of case studies to illustrate the dominant paradigms of diplomatic and economic intervention through traditional riyal politik and broader economic statecraft, as well as through proxy warfare and military intervention. Special attention is given to the cases of Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.
After an introductory note about United Arab Emirates (UAE) national history, this chapter outlines the major domestic themes affecting UAE foreign policy, including the government’s struggle with Islamism, especially violent Islamism in the form of Al Qaeda and ISIS. The evolution of relations with conservative groups is also surveyed, notably Al Islah and the wider Muslim Brotherhood. The chapter goes on to discuss national security issues, particularly recent revelations about the UAE’s cyber-surveillance strategy and human rights writ large. The chapter then transitions to questions concerning state-led capitalism and diversification, including energy policy and the role of sovereign wealth funds. A review of UAE hard and soft power sources follows, with reference to economic statecraft. The chapter shows how the UAE has developed under Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed and charts significant power shifts in intra-Emirati politics, from the 2008–9 financial crisis up to a new visa regime implemented post-COVID-19. The conclusion sums up the conceptual issues most applicable in this case.
Saudi and United Arab Emirates (UAE) relations with Iran are central to their respective threat perceptions and their wider regional and international calculations. This chapter outlines key shaping factors that drive these ’states’ contemporary interactions and provides some additional context for their (dis)engagement, notably due to Hajj incidents and to US policy ranging from rising sectarian tensions after the US intervention in Iraq in 2003, to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which failed to address Iranian missile developments and Iranian relations with militia groups. However, shifting calculations concerning US Middle East policy under successive administrations, especially on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, has created a new landscape for diplomatic engagement. The UAE, with its own historical contentions with Iran, doubled down on efforts to engage Iran with health diplomacy during COVID-19, and both Saudi Arabia and the UAE used the election of President Ebrahim Raisi as an opportunity to elevate contact and diplomacy further. The chapter, coupled with the following one on regional relations, underscores the main dynamics of Saudi–Iranian contestation and expression.