Saudi activist and renowned academic Dr Madawi Al-Rashid has outlined a series of failures in Saudi foreign policy since the beginning of the Arab Spring that she claims have led to the current situation in the Arab region, but more specifically in Yemen, which has been almost completely taken over by Houthis rebels.
Al-Rashid said in a series of tweets that "the Saudi regime is reaping the fruits of the failure of its foreign policy since the beginning of the Arab revolutions, which the regime considered a direct threat to the hereditary regime. The Saudi regime stood in the face of the inclination of the masses of all forms especially the Islamic masses, which joined the democratic process and succeeded in the elections. The Saudi regime has reaped the enmity of the most horizontally widespread current in the Arab societies but stood alone and found none but new dictatorships to stand by it."
Al-Rashid went on to say: "In North Africa, the Saudi regime contributed to the re-production of despotism in a new format especially upon dreading what happened in Egypt after the revolution and in Iraq after its occupation, to which the Saudi regime contributed. The Saudi regime did not succeed in restoring Iraq to the Arab house. Instead it took a hostile position toward it, permitting Iran to penetrate it freely."
Al-Rashid pointed out that the Saudi regime failed in Syria too, and was not able to save it from Iranian influence. Instead, it considered the Syrian revolution a vehicle for bringing down the regime in Syria without any consideration for the interests of the Syrian people. It also failed in Lebanon when the Saudi operation fell after the Saudi regime "held the Lebanese responsible for the Israeli war in 2006 and hence took the side of the aggressor rather than the victim."
Al-Rashid also commented that "in Palestine, the Saudi regime sided by one faction against another and therefore its claims and initiatives for Palestinian reconciliation were no good." Also, "the Saudi regime erred in reading Washington's policy under the Obama administration when it thought it was the cornerstone in the administration's Middle East policy. But Washington pulled the rug from underneath its feet. Washington surpassed Riyadh and went straight ahead to initiate dialogue with Iran. It was in this way that the siege was tightened on the Saudi regime and it ended standing alone."
According to Al-Rashid, the Saudi regime's policies also failed in Bahrain, where it managed to preserve the monarchy but at the expense of dialogue between Bahrain and its opposition.
As for Yemen, "Saudi Arabia believed that it had allies in Yemen but they turned against its initiative and today it is incapable of military intervention and is just watching the begetting of a new entity in Yemen."
Dr Al-Rashid concluded that, "this foreign policy needs a new Saudi approach that includes sitting down around a table to have dialogue with the regional players Iran and Turkey instead of the alleged Sunni coalition, which will fail because politics cannot simply be based on an alleged Shiite-Sunni conflict."
Al-Rashid also believes that "the current situation necessitates changing those who are in charge of foreign policy in Saudi Arabia. A new team, who thinks strategically and not in a stupid sectarian fashion, should be appointed. Saudi Arabia also needs to disengage its internal fears about a popular movement from its foreign policy. The revolutionary tide cannot simply be stopped. It should not embroil itself in a military adventure in Yemen while knowing that Yemen is a nest of wasps that will sooner or later come back to sting it."
It is worth noting that Dr Al-Rashid's tweets came in the aftermath of reports about clashes within the city of Aden and the seizure of the airport by troops loyal to deposed president Ali Abdullah Salih, not to mention reports that President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi has fled to a location outside Yemen. Some reports have talked about his presence in Saudi Arabia.