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Divisions will hamper Saudi regional security alliance

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Subject

Saudi Arabia's Sunni Arab alliance.

Significance

King Salman bin Abd-al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia held talks in Riyadh with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on March 1. It was the latest in a series of meetings the king has had with the leaders of the kingdom's main Arab allies -- the five other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), plus Jordan. Since coming to power in January King Salman has prioritised efforts to resolve differences among some of those allies and strengthen coordination in the face of perceived security challenges emanating from the conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and from Iranian influence in the region. The new king appears to be seeking to put his stamp on the monarchy by restoring Saudi Arabia's traditional leadership of regional policy and security.

Impacts

  • The fragile truce between Cairo and Doha is likely to break down.
  • Prospects have improved for greater regional cooperation to help the mainstream Syrian opposition.
  • Saudi proxy intervention in Yemen is likely to escalate, complicating efforts to resolve the stand-off with the Huthis.
  • The UAE and Egypt will step up intervention via proxies in Libya.
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