Saudi Arabia’s petroleum wealth has allowed the country to weather the anarchy that has spread throughout the Middle East. However, the kingdom is under a great deal of internal and external strain, which will lead to its weakening over the course of the next few years. A weakened Saudi polity will worsen the region’s growing insecurity, given that Saudi Arabia is the only major state to have survived the Arab Spring and is playing the lead role in protecting against further erosion of state authority in the Middle East. The world’s largest exporter of crude is itself at risk of becoming a haven for jihadist actors, which is a worrying sign for the Arab regimes it is trying to prop up.
In an unusual development, Germany Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier late last week publicly rebuked Berlin’s intelligence service for providing the media with a very blunt memo criticizing the Saudi regime for being a destabilizing force in the Middle East. Steinmeier said that the BND’s r