Tensions on arms exports between Saudi Arabia and its allies

Iran and Yemen are clearly not the only issue for Saudi Arabia. The rise in the ethical and/or human rights protests, combined with the fallout from the Khashoggi case, complicates the Kingdom’s military ambitions and raises concerns about its ability to sustainably maintain its indispensable strategic alliance with Western countries.

One can indeed acknowledge that in just a few months the context has become clearly tense, first with Germany which has suspended all its arms exports to Saudi Arabia and then with the United Kingdom and the United States where parliamentarians have decided to back a similar posture.

Riyadh is alarmed by the unprecedented decisions made by its most valuable allies, with the exception of France where the issue is currently provoking only a few disparate attempts to block the transport of to-be-exported weapons into the ports.

Consequently, the question arises of the credibility of U.S. direct military support in the event of an open conflict with Iran and several analysts no longer hesitate to link such a question to the growing energy independence acquired by Washington in recent years and which has reduced its dependence – and therefore its interest – on/in Riyadh.

In the midst of rising tensions, it is therefore doubt that seems to predominate as to what fundamental orientation Saudi Arabia should take in the future in order to rebuild trust with its Western partners.