Since 2011, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has emerged as an assertive regional player in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has actively intervened using military force in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, and using financial leverage in Egypt and Jordan. Along with these foreign policy shifts, the kingdom is on the verge of an unprecedented historical change: the succession of power from the sons of King Abdulaziz Al Saud to his grandsons. Questions of succession are even more pressing given the rise of ambitious Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salam, who put forward the Vision 2030 plan to prepare the kingdom for a future without oil. What are the spoilers and drivers of the recent Saudi regional ambitions? How do internal and external challenges play out in the kingdom’s quest for leadership? How well is the kingdom prepared for a transition to a sustainable future beyond oil?
Introduction and Chair:
Dr. Jana Warkotsch is research fellow at GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies.
Dr. May Darwich is lecturer in IR of the Middle East at the School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University.
Dr. Thomas Richter is senior research fellow at GIGA Institute of Middle East Studies.
Thomas F. Schneider is head of Middle East Division at the Federal Foreign Office.
The GIGA Talk will be held in English.
Please confirm your attendance by 10 June 2016 by sending an e-mail to
Unfortunately, the venue is not wheelchair accessible.