The deep spending cuts in Saudi Arabia’s 2016 budget, unveiled this week, confirm Geopolitical Futures’ assessment of the kingdom as being in a state of slow weakening due to growing internal and external stressors. Heavily reliant on revenues from crude sales, the sharp 50 percent decline in oil prices over the last year has constrain the ability of the Saudis to deal with the historic transition underway at home, which is taking place amid growing instability in the region. The Saudi need to cut spending at home is also bad news for the Arab world, which relies on the kingdom as the only remaining Arab bulwark against the spread of anarchy.
On Dec. 28, the Saudi government unveiled its 2016 budget, which runs a $98 billion deficit – roughly 15 percent of the country’s GDP. The government said it will spend $224 billion in 2016, down from the $260 billion it expects to have spent in the outgoing year – a 14 percent decrease. The government explained that the 2015 budget