The COVID-19 response has resulted in significant limitations for Saudi citizens. Restrictions on protests and street demonstrations were tightened, much as in the period during and following the Arab Spring. Some progress, however, was made with regard to the situation of Saudi women.

The global oil price slump has taken a toll on the Saudi economy. In addition, emergency measures dealing with the pandemic depleted Saudi foreign exchange reserves significantly and forced the country to cut and divert $8 billion from its ambitious Vision 2030 budget.

After fighting a protracted political, economic and diplomatic war for three years, King Salman reconciled with Qatar in 2021. Saudi Arabia’s decision to support Bahrain’s and the United Arab Emirates’ normalization of relations with Israel has helped to thaw Arab-Israeli relations. The government successfully contained the pandemic through a high degree of policy coordination between different government departments and agencies.

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