For Saudi Arabia, All Politics Is Local

MIN READNov 22, 2017 | 08:00 GMT

Saudi, Egyptian and Emirati officials convene in Cairo for a meeting Nov. 19 at the Arab League headquarters.

Saudi Arabia's focus on local relations has given rise to a narrow perspective in which the needs of the ruling tribe take precedence above all.


The recent political shake-up in Saudi Arabia extends beyond the kingdom's borders. On Nov. 4, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned from office unexpectedly after being hastily summoned to Riyadh. Reports that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman coerced Hariri, a Saudi citizen, to step down while in custody created a wave of international backlash. Officials from the United Kingdom, the European Union and Germany all spoke out condemning Saudi Arabia's meddling in Lebanon's domestic politics. France's president, Emmanuel Macron, brought the full weight of French diplomacy to bear on the situation and invited Hariri to Paris to ensure his freedom. Despite Riyadh's insistence that it had not restricted his movement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel issued a stern warning against keeping the former prime minister from traveling to France and said Europe would not abide Saudi Arabia's "adventurism." The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded by recalling the kingdom's...

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