What You Need to Know About Playing Saudi Arabia

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- Keep in mind that Saudi Arabia is one of the major leaders in Arab Politics. This puts a lot of pressure on you to take a prominent role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and your involvement is always essential to calm the “Arab Street.” At the same time, your government's massive network of endowments to other Arab countries gives you incredible leverage over most of your neighbors, particularly Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt. The mere threat of withholding funds has solved many diplomatic disputes in Saudi Arabia's favor.

- Saudi Arabia’s religious significance (the holy cities of Mecca and the city of Medina are within its borders) also causes Muslims around the world to look for your assistance to ”liberate” their third holiest site, the city of Jerusalem, from the Jews. Remember that you are the leader of the Sunni Muslim world, and you seek to counteract Iranian shi’a influence in the Muslim world and Iran’s utilization of the Palestinian cause by taking up the cause yourself.

- Remember that Saudi Arabia is a wealthy nation (the largest exporter of petroleum and a leader in OPEC). Your status has caused a lot of criticism from other Arab/Muslim nations and the Arab Street who see the Saudis as not doing enough to help their Palestinian brethren (such as placing an embargo on shipments of crude oil to all those who support Israel).

- Remember that although you may disagree with the Americans on a lot of its policies, the Saudi monarchy is a close ally of the US, relying on it significantly for strategic support and military supplies. As a consequence of this, you have to balance between your allegiance to the Arab and Muslim world while at the same time not antagonizing the United States.

- Keep in mind that the central institution of Saudi Arabian government is the Saudi monarchy and that the Qur'an is the constitution of the country, which is governed on the basis of Islamic law (Shari'a). Therefore, the Saudi Monarch is unlimited in its power and the final word is always in the hand of the King. This will always limit your actions as a diplomat, ambassador or anyone involved in the politics of Saudi Arabia.

- Terrorist attacks inside Saudi-Arabia by the likes of Osama Ben Laden, using the excuse of the Saudi cooperation with the west and its lack of support for the Palestinians, has led the Saudis, on the one hand, to try to solve the Arab Israeli conflict (Middle East peace initiative with Israel, 2003) while, on the other, keeping a discreet distance from the conflict and its often messy details.

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