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The UK-Saudi Arabia security relationship

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Research by the Policy Institute for the Oxford Research Group assesses the costs and benefits to the UK of its defence and security relationship with Saudi Arabia, as well as the extent to which the UK is able to exert leverage and influence over Saudi Arabian foreign policy.

It finds that:

  • There is little evidence, based on publicly available information, that the UK exerts either influence or leverage over Saudi Arabia. In fact, there is greater evidence that Saudi Arabia exerts influence over the UK.
  • There is a contradiction between the UK presenting itself as a progressive, liberal country and defender the international rules-based order, while at the same time providing diplomatic cover for a regime, which, based on this analysis, is undermining that rules-based order.
  • The UK appears to be incurring reputational costs as a result of its relationship with Saudi Arabia, while the economic benefits to the UK are questionable.