Due to its specific history, Saudi Arabia’s domestic and international politics are inextricably linked together. In the shaping and implementation of the kingdom’s essentially defensive international behavior, Islam has kept a central position as a legitimizing factor and as a tool of ‘soft power’ foreign policy. This paper firstly aims to explore the position that religion holds in the Saudi perceptions of stability in the post-2011 era, where safeguarding the status quo remained the priority, while the new administration responded to external pressure by shifting towards a ‘hard power’ foreign policy with questionable results. Furthermore, the paper explores the links between foreign policy choices and the promotion of a new, modern image for the kingdom whereas the regime has appropriated for itself the notion of ‘moderate Islam’ in order to restore its international image and attract investments for the ‘Vision 2030’ reform program. Finally, it proposes a discussion of the position of Islam in the future direction of the country, amidst an increasing authoritarian rule.
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