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Saudi Arabia

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Political Science
POLI 342
Imad Mansour

Foreign Policy: ME Imad Mansour March 10, 2010 Saudi Arabia ●Remains a weak military state-- relies almost entirely on the United States for military protection and security. ●Surrounded by a variety of strong states-- militarily much more powerful than Saudi-Arabia ●Iran/Iraq war: Saudi Arabia had to deal with it ●also borders the Arab-Israeli sub-system, has had to deal with it in a variety of ways ●is also the most powerful of a variety of small Arab Gulf states, had to historically organize and try to play a leading role among smaller Arab Gulf states ●has huge borders, significant stretch of land: leaves a great opportunity for its territory to be violated: military and security liability ●when a country relies almost exclusively on the sale of oil, it cannot play around with the supply of oil to the market ●the gulf region have been effectively under the full government of the British ●the major powers were effectively responsible for the administration of the local states ●security of the region fell under the control of the Western powers: definitely NOT the USSR Foreign Policy Patterns ●Global Policy ●security and military benefits: the main interest SA has in the global system, its relationship with a variety of states ● historically it has had very strong ties with the US and Western Block ●economic exchanges-- what it can give and take from the global economy, interest has been primarily on the oil market, especially since the 1970s, the interest is mainly what Saudi Arabia can do to be important to global players ●since the cold war, it has been interested in expanding relations and branch out international ties ● Regional Policy ●very status quo oriented-- tried to build bridges and maintain good working relations with Iran ●tentative attempts at leadership: tried to lead on issues such as the Arab-Israeli conflict and Islam, ●despite the fact the Saudi Arabia had established itself as a protector, Islam and the ideas of pan-Arabism were never a determining factor in shaping foreign policy ●it’s role was driven by an interest to diffuse regional tensions Foreign Policy: ME Imad Mansour ●overall: a predictable foreign policy not really driven by religion or ideological comments ●this does not mean that SA or its leaders do not believe firmly in Islam, the foreign policy calculations and the FPs of the kingdom have not reflected an ideological commitment to any one party dogmatically External Influences on Saudi FP ●the international political economy-- constrains foreign policy options, environment offers a variety of avenues for oil sale and to gain money ●occurred after 1970 ●asymmetric relationship-- is not diversified so it’s not compensated in its sale of oil with other things, this is to its disadvantage ●relationship with the US ●reliance on American military umbrella-- military personnel, training, hardware ●it was almost never an option that SA would ally with the USSR--
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