The Bid for Regional Leadership and Saudi Arabia: Changing Threats and New Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia has been pursuing a more assertive foreign policy since the start of uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East which are widely known as the “Arab Spring.” By forming new alliances, by using force in different conflict zones and by implementing reform in its domestic political and social structure, Saudi Arabia has been reformatting its foreign policy and seeking leadership in the region. Direct intervention in Bahrain’s uprising against the government, sending military troops to Yemen, implementing a blockade on Qatar, distancing itself from the Israeli- Palestinian question, and a new armament program are some examples of this new policy. In this article, the reasons of this change in Saudi foreign policy and its consequences for the region are analysed through regional systemic changes, domestic political factors and the theory of rational choice.