Queen's Policy Engagement

Contagion effect and the Saudi grand game in the Middle East

The willingness of Mohammed bin Salman to embark on a series of moves against Iranian power in the Middle East already shows evidence of severe miscalculation says Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards.

Contagion effect and the Saudi grand game in the Middle East

Domestic politics in the Middle East especially in a country like Saudi Arabia never stays that way for long. Recent events in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, demonstrate the contagion effect not only on the politics in the Middle East but internationally too.

On November 3, regime forces of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman embarked on an arrest purge of some of the most powerful figures in the country. They called it an anti-corruption drive and in some international capitals such as Washington the ‘cover story’ was parroted.

Despite the cover story about a corruption drive, it is clear that the moves reflect the ongoing power-grab by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince as he clears the way both internally and externally to accede power from his father and remove perceived opponents.

The regional dimension of moves in Riyadh were apparent when the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri who had allegedly been called to visit the Saudi capital city then made a televised announcement of his resignation.

The Saudi regime also contended with a missile attack targeting Riyadh fired from neighbouring Yemen and responded by closing ports and borders on this broken state.

Continue reading on the openDemocracy Blog.


The featured image has been used courtesy of a Creative Commons license. 


Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards
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Beverley Milton-Edwards is a Professor of Politics at the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University where she specialises in research and teaching on violence, terrorism and security, as well as the Politics of the Middle East and Political Islam. Professor Milton-Edwards has worked as a Special Advisor to a number of high-level governmental representatives, including the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the EU’s Middle East Peace Envoy. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at Brookings Doha Center.

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