Foreign investment was trending up again in the second quarter of 2017, but it remains to be seen how investors will react to political developments. The political turmoil, which has seen the arrests of dozens of princes, ministers and businessmen in what has been presented as an anti-corruption sweep led by the crown prince, prompted an increase in oil prices but also may have unsettled potential investors
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Judges and political commentators, some renowned for criticizing extremists, have been seized. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd has also been imprisoned. Some critics speculate that Mohammed bin Salman is cracking down on anyone who disagrees with his diplomatic feud with Qatar, especially those who believe that the Gulf crisis has exposed the limits of Saudi Arabia’s power in the region
al-Jubeir has been centre stage in his country’s row with its neighbour, Qatar. With the Saudi monarch busy reshuffling the line of succession and government positions, al-Jubeir has been travelling to Western cities to make a case for the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar, which started as a request for Qatar to halt its alleged support for ‘extremism and terrorism’ but has since expanded beyond the region.
A thaw between Israel and Saudi Arabia relations would thus mark a major shift in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Thus, Saudi Arabia has developed clandestine business deals with Israeli companies in recent years, especially in security and intelligence. Israeli media reports have also claimed that the Israel Defense Forces has offered Saudi Arabia Iron Dome military technology to defend Saudi territory from Yemeni rockets.
Khalid Alkhudair has pushed for additional legislation that will make it easier for women to enter the workforce, such as mandatory maternity leave and onsite nurseries for firms that employ 50 women or more. However, barriers to women’s employment remain, including the continuing ban on women driving.
With no obstacles left in his way, Prince Mohammed may move swiftly to implement his vision, all while giving the kingdom something it has not had in over half a century: a young, energetic king who could rule for decades. Whether he succeeds or fails, Saudi Arabia as we know it will never be the same again.
According to several observers, the plan’s goals, although positive for Saudi Arabia in the long-term, are not compatible with country’s political, social and economic context. “Basically, the regime could collapse by implementing their own plan, but they might also collapse if they don’t,” Kirkegaard explained. “They are in deep structural trouble, and that’s not counting the geopolitical pressure they face over their continued involvement in Syria and Yemen.”