Episode 50: Saudi Arabia: A Changing Kingdom?

As the contours of a new Saudi Arabia emerge under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, we analyse domestic and foreign policy reforms in a changing Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is arguably the most powerful Arab country, and one of the key regional powers in the Middle East today. But Saudi Arabia’s importance goes far beyond the region. Its territory includes the two holiest sites in Islam – Mecca and Medina – giving the Kingdom a special global status. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is the world’s most important oil exporter, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has served to emphasise its crucial role in international energy markets. Through its Crown Prince, the contours of a new Saudi foreign policy seem to be emerging. This includes a changing and often fractious relationship with the US and the West; an increasingly warm and perhaps strategic relationship with China; and a steadfast refusal to break with Russia over its war in Ukraine – regardless of Western pressure.

Host Neil Melvin sits down with RUSI Senior Research Fellow Tobias Borck to discuss the state of Saudi Arabia’s reform efforts. How is the Kingdom navigating the changing global environment, and specifically, how is it approaching its relations with global powers like the US, Russia and China? And does Europe fit into the equation at all?


Dr Neil Melvin

Director, International Security

International Security

View profile

Dr Tobias Borck

Senior Associate Fellow

View profile


Explore our related content