Defending the Heartland: Saudi Arabia’s Response to the Arab Spring

  • James Bowden


Saudi Arabian foreign policy is built on a foundation of preserving the state and turning the Greater Middle East region into a defensive buffer zone. It looks at the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and peninsular nations as merely the first circle of concentric foreign policy zones that need to be managed differently with the chief goal constantly in mind. This posture is key in preventing Western, anti-Islamic, or different Islamic forces from reaching its territory whether these are in the form of sectarian, ideological, or social movements that threaten to undo traditional Saudi values and standards of Islamic practice. This defensive foreign policy means that Saudi Arabia is not only continually engaged in foreign affairs and is highly active in world diplomacy but that it is also more aggressive and less tolerant of rebuff. Most foreign policy analysis of Saudi Arabia centers on the issues of oil and Iran; however, with this perspective it is easier to see that it is more likely that these are aspects or tools of their foreign policy rather than the sum total of their objective.


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Speeches & Web Resources

  1. Al-Faisal, T. (2013). Saudi Arabia’s New Foreign Policy Doctrine in the Aftermath of the Arab Awakening. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Bowden
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherTampaUSA

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