ASSESSMENTS

Austerity Will Force Saudi Arabia to Revise Its Military Priorities

MIN READJun 8, 2020 | 10:00 GMT

Members of the Saudi special forces stand aboard a landing ship off the coast of Bahrain during a military exercise in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 5, 2019.

Saudi soldiers stand aboard a landing ship off the coast of Bahrain during a military exercise in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 5, 2019.

(KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

Facing severe budgetary strain due to COVID-19 and low oil prices, Saudi Arabia will likely reduce its arms purchases, while avoiding spending cuts that could impede its internal security or the development of its defense sector. Riyadh will be careful not to trim spending that hampers the monarchy’s internal security or goal of building its domestic defense production capacity. Saudi leadership will calibrate its decisions and seek to limit damage to its Vision 2030 goals, as it keeps an eye on the U.S. presidential election and plans for increasing U.S. scrutiny of its human rights and security policies....

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