Playing the Diversity Card: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Policy under the Salmans
Since the 2003 regime change in Iraq and the 2011 Arab uprisings, the political map of the Middle East has been in flux. Regional actors have taken advantage of emerging windows of opportunity, which have affected the outcome of this process. Saudi Arabia’s role as an aspiring regional hegemon in the region is salient: the country’s assertive course in shaping its neighbourhood coincides with a more independent foreign policy that goes beyond the traditional US alliance and seeks to diversify its international partners. This diversification of Saudi foreign policy since the ascension to the throne of King Salman in 2015 is explained by using the IR concept of hedging.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia, foreign policy, Arab uprisings, hedging, regime survival