What is happening in Saudi Arabia? This is a question that is repeated by many observers of Saudi affairs around the world due to the new and different developments there that are atypical of Saudi policy. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been known to manage crises behind the scenes and its calm rhythm.
Saudi Arabia has developed claws and fangs in its approach to foreign and military policy. It has decided to play a leading and proactive role in reducing the negative developments in the region whether that is by combatting extremist and terrorist organisations or confronting Iran’s increasing regional aspirations.
Saudi Arabia quickly realised that it has a growing responsibility to find new ways of confronting these challenges because the West in general and the United States specifically no longer has the conviction, appetite and ability to intervene militarily in the region as it used to do. Saudi Arabia also knows that its position in the Arab and Islamic worlds means that it cannot choose to stand in the ranks of spectators and watch the consequences of political and security issues in the region that are unprecedented and crazy.
Of course, all of this has implications on relations with neighbouring countries. Those countries that wanted to join in with these efforts are most welcome and those that do not should not be trusted at all- an example of this is what happened to Lebanon recently.
A sense of responsibility and its leading position made Saudi Arabia take these proactive steps in an influential and remarkable way. This is a new and changing world; the major powers have redrawn the map of priorities and Russia is preoccupied with sorting its issues out and maintaining the security of its back door. The old European continent is afflicted with a series of violent social and economic crises that have made it miserable. Even its most important economic and security partner the United States is showing strange and unprecedented negativity and is not offering any assistance to solve European problems.
Finally, the United States itself is preoccupied with new social challenges and monitoring China’s growth and the threats that this poses. It is trying to stop this danger affecting them and their interests. Thus the Middle East has become an empty playground for every extremist group and regional powers with an appetite, dubious agendas and plans to export odd revolutions and this is what is happening now.
Saudi Arabia has changed, yes; because circumstances dictate a change of this kind. The region is still in the stage of instability because the elements that cause concern still exist. However, the Saudi position that influences the Arab and Muslim positions sends the message that Saudi Arabia will not stand by and watch what is happening.