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AssessmentsOct 23, 2020 | 18:21 GMT
Fans of the Saudi national football team cheer during a match against Qatar at the King Fahad International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Nov. 26, 2014.
Budget Cuts Will Test Saudis’ Loyalty to Their Government
New survey data suggests that Saudi Arabia’s citizens remain politically aligned with and supportive of the government, though that support may quickly dissipate as Riyadh makes difficult decisions on economic restructuring. The Arab Opinion Index, a survey compiled by the Doha Institute in Qatar, gives rare insight into regional social and political trends in the Middle East. For Saudi Arabia, the latest survey findings reveal a population largely content with their economic and political situations. Saudis’ economic well-being, however, will be undercut as pandemic-related losses of oil revenue and the arrival of peak oil demand force their government to make deeper cuts to crucial social programs, creating pockets of unrest across the kingdom.
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AssessmentsSep 19, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
A Saudi Defense Ministry official speaks in Riyadh on Sept. 18, 2019, following Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Aramco facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.
Saudi Oil Infrastructure Offers a Target-Rich Environment for Iran
For years Iran has threatened that if it were no longer able to export oil because of U.S. sanctions, then no one else would be able to either. The Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s Abqaiq and Khurais oil processing complexes and two earlier attacks on the Saudi oil sector gave life to longstanding fears of Iranian attacks on Saudi critical infrastructure. Iran has clearly made the strategic decision to escalate its attacks against oil industry targets in the region in response to U.S. sanctions pressure and Washington's departure from the Iranian nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The challenge for Saudi Arabia will be trying to protect a large number of critical targets across its large territory. But unfortunately for Saudi Arabia, the billions of dollars it spends annually on defense -- including a planned $51 billion in 2019 -- simply cannot protect all Saudi infrastructure
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AssessmentsApr 29, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
More than three-quarters of Saudis live in the kingdom's big cities, like the capital, Riyadh, where jobs and other opportunities are rich.
Why Business as Usual May Soon Change in Saudi Arabia
As their country moves away from its economic model based largely on hydrocarbon production, Saudis hungry for economic and social opportunity find themselves drawn to the kingdom's central cities. But even those who get the education necessary to compete for better jobs and take lifestyle risks in pursuit of a slice of the new Saudi dream by moving to the big cities don't always find success. That has only sharpened the division between the haves in Saudi Arabia's core regions and the have nots in its outlying provinces. But even within the economically more vibrant big cities, Saudis are discovering a financially frustrating life ahead of them. The strains being placed on the Saudi social fabric by its opportunity gaps will make it increasingly more difficult for the kingdom to enact its economic reforms, and likely will help goad Saudi Arabia to change the way development is handled in the country.
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AssessmentsAug 24, 2018 | 09:30 GMT
Port Khalifa in the United Arab Emirates became operational in 2012.
Geopolitics and Shipping: The 5 Biggest Ports in Saudi Arabia and the UAE
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have the first and second largest economies in the Persian Gulf, respectively, thanks to their massive oil reserves. But both countries are looking to the future, anticipating the perhaps-far-away but still eventual decline in oil value. They are thus embarking on ambitious economic diversification plans as part of larger social modernization efforts, and given their locations along trade routes, the two countries have come to see that there is money to be made in the business of ports. But though ports and their accompanying shipping jobs are -- and will continue to be -- a safe bet financially, the Saudi and Emirati governments may still be drawn to exert socio-political influence that is at odds with good business practice.
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GuidanceMar 8, 2018 | 12:26 GMT
A woman with the female gender pictogram made up on her face attends a demonstration as part of the 40th International Women's Day on March 8, 2017 in Marseille.
What Trends We're Tracking on International Women's Day
International Women's Day acknowledges the rights and accomplishments of women around the world across very different social climates. At Stratfor, we look at the world through a geopolitical lens, examining how humans' interactions with one another are shaped by their environment. We focus on why and how power shifts on an international level, and women's roles across the world can sometimes intersect with that endeavor in unique ways.
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Contributor PerspectivesJan 29, 2018 | 08:00 GMT
North and South Korea will march under a unified banner as the Winter Olympics kick off in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Play-by-Play: A Cultural Opening in Saudi Soccer and an Olympics Detente
Two international events will dominate the global sporting consciousness over the next few months. For two weeks in February, Pyeongchang, South Korea, will become the center of the sporting universe, drawing the eyes of billions of even the most casual of sports fans as it plays host to the 23rd Winter Olympics. A few months after the Pyeongchang Games end, the soccer world's attention will shift a few thousand kilometers northwest to Russia, where the world's elite squads will battle for the World Cup in June. Preparations for both events are entering their final stages, and athletes are tuning up for the competitions ahead. The geopolitical ramifications of the Olympics, which seem to be enforcing a pause in the crisis that has enveloped the Korean Peninsula over the past couple of years, are particularly sharp. Some less dramatic but not insignificant developments are playing out in the soccer world in
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AssessmentsMay 20, 2016 | 09:31 GMT
Saudi security forces inspect the site of an Islamic State suicide bombing that targeted a Shiite mosque in Dammam last year.
The Next Phase of the Jihadist Threat in Saudi Arabia
Jihadism has deep roots in Saudi Arabia, the second-largest source of foreign militants in Iraq and Syria since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. Since the mid-2000s, Saudi security forces have contained the jihadist threat in the kingdom, aware of the economic and security dangers it could pose if left unchecked. But in the past year, Islamic State activity in the kingdom -- and a recent series of raids against alleged militants -- has raised fears that the threat may be growing beyond authorities' control.
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AssessmentsApr 5, 2016 | 22:34 GMT
In Saudi Arabia, Sunni Militancy Claims Another Victim
In Saudi Arabia, Sunni Militancy Claims Another Victim
The Islamic State's April 5 assassination of a Saudi army officer underscores a disquieting trend that has emerged over the past two years: The number of attacks perpetrated by Sunni militants is rising. Saudi Arabia has long fought to maintain its internal security, which is why the growing operational tempo of attacks in the Sunni core -- predominantly in and around Riyadh, an area commonly known as the Najd -- is of such concern. And although Sunni militant violence is not necessarily new to Saudi Arabia, the evolution of the Islamic State and its self-declared caliphate serves to both reinvigorate and modify the patterns of violence associated with Sunni groups. As the Islamic State core loses territory elsewhere, more militants are returning home from the battlefront, bringing greater numbers and practical combat experience with them.
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