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The Evolution of Saudi Foreign Policy and the Role of Decision-making Processes and Actors


Saudi Arabia has witnessed a centralisation of power in the office of the deputy crown prince, which has amounted to a shift in decision-making from consensual and deliberative to swift and adventurous, most markedly in foreign policy. This centralisation is coupled with an increase in institutionalisation. A new decision-making pattern and rising Iranian power in the region have affected the evolution of Saudi foreign policy. The Saudi crown prince’s strict handling of Shia dissidents acknowledges the perceived extension of the Iranian threat to internal security. The relationship between these two princes and Saudi political competition with Iran will affect the evolution of Saudi foreign policy in a critical manner in the future.
Keywords: Saudi Arabia, foreign policy, Mohammad Bin Salman, Muhammad Bin Nayef, decision-making, Iran