On Wednesday 3 May, LINKS (DAR) hosted a panel discussion at the Brussels Press Club on the theme “Saudi Arabia in an era of transformation”. The panellists, Adel Hamaizia, Dr Courtney Freer and Dr Jamal Abdallah made presentations on current processes in Saudi domestic and foreign policy, and answered questions from an engaged audience including representatives of various EU institutions, diplomats, researchers and journalists.
Opening the discussion, LINKS Director, Dr Dennis Sammut said that the event was the first in a series aimed at widening understanding in Europe on issues related to the Gulf and Red Sea region, which despite its importance and relevance for the EU, was often ignored or misunderstood. He said that Saudi Arabia was a pivitol country in the region, and was at the moment going through a process of massive transformation as a result of the policies being spearheaded by the Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. These policies were finding some resistance among the more conservative elements of society. Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen was also testing the Kingdom’s military and diplomatic capacity.