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About NOREF

Stig Stenslie

Stig Stenslie  is assistant director general and head of the Asia Division of the Norwegian Defence Staff. He has held visiting fellowships at, among others, the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies in Oslo, the National University in Singapore and Columbia University in New York. He holds a doctorate on royal family politics in Saudi Arabia from the University of Oslo. He is the author of several publications on the contemporary Middle East and China, the most recent being, with Marte Kjær Galtung, 49 Myths about China  (Rowman & Littlefield, 2014), Regime Stability in Saudi Arabia: The Challenge of Succession  (Routledge, 2011) and, with Kjetil Selvik, Stability and Change in the Modern Middle East  (IB Tauris, 2011).

Research areas:  Middle East and North Africa , Emerging powers

Publications

Saudi palace intrigues, Yemeni sufferings
Air_strike_in_Sana'a_11_May_by Ibrahem Qasim_2015_01_with CC Licence from Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0 Stig Stenslie 12 October 2015
By the end of September 2015 Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen had lasted for six months. King Salman and his son cannot accept anything other than Saudi-led success in the war in Yemen. The fact that the war is of existential importance for them is a powerful incentive to use disproportionate force to achieve a complete victory. This is bad... more  
King Salman consolidates the Al-Sudayri “palace coup”
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud by Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff with CC licence from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/thejointstaff/14145544277/in/photolist-nxZBur-nLQRZr-nJNmcY-nLNdwU-numfM7-nLxKZv-numfhj-nBiRha-nD5YEi-nAFyQR-njtSus-k56NoP-iefVVh-nyVJ4Q-nAFyiZ-njtKLB-nAvbMd-nArSy4-nAJPH4-mUCE3z-mUCwtr-mUErhQ-mUEjq3-mUEfwG-mUE8s1-mUBYQr-mUC75z-mUBUS4-mUBH3c-mUBySV-mUBnMD-mUBbAR-mUAPyx-mfNVEx-mfEgB5-icYfHN-icYtUX-icYss8-h6twzm-h6mMQH-gVAhxs-gSEUEN-gR2FvS-gupzSD-guo7qh-guoxz6-fX3Fe9-dWRHCH-dUKNCS-dUjqbQ Stig Stenslie 27 May 2015
King Salman’s reshuffling of top posts might increase the long-term risk of political instability in Saudi Arabia. It underpins the notion that the Al-Sudayri clan of the royal family has carried out a "palace coup". more  
“Decisive Storm”: Saudi Arabia’s attack on the Houthis in Yemen
Sudanese Air Force MiG-29 fighters by RA_AZ with CC licence from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/uflinks/16362314974/in/photolist-qXWwtD-rL9NYi-rL1F6Q-rYQw2T-r6AZiy-s1je5u-r6NH7R-rJhfFM-qXj7Q8-rTt27q-rSKUEf-rS9F47-r6AWes-rYTihD-s3tsTs-rL2Vkw-rL1MG5-rzHgQ7-rAMA7T-r6KK6h-rJuDc4-pTC7uA-rHGp13-qVT9bS-rL9ZKY-jXtiMZ-hE5oza-k2Zz4-dmr2ep-68UoUc-4iMecL-bAx5SX-a3vrVg Stig Stenslie 11 May 2015
On March 26th 2015, Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes on the Houthis and their allies in Yemen. The operation,  “Decisive Storm”, was supported by a coalition of Sunni Muslim countries. more  
From ‘Abd Allah to Salman: royal succession in Saudi Arabia
Photo: King Abdullah and younger brother Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, by Tribes of the World under CC BY-SA 2.0 Stig Stenslie 10 April 2015
On January 23rd 2015 Salman succeeded ‘Abd Allah as king of Saudi Arabia. On the same day the new king named his half-brother, Muqrin, crown prince and his nephew, Muhammad bin Nayif, deputy crown prince, making him second in line of succession. The king also named his son, Muhammad bin Salman, defence minister and head of the royal co... more  
Saudi Arabia’s game of thrones: Muqrin named deputy crown prince
Kingdom Centre from Faisaliyya Tower by Christopher Rose with CC licence from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/khowaga/2859955388/in/photolist-5mJ26E-5mJ23o-jntk6-jnt2e-jntjp-tUXuY-tUWNd-tUX1T-tUXcK-8BWPwn-5h4gYM-tUWrL-tUWC8-tUWQT-jnt2H-tUVQV-6R52GK-6R9633-5Yc5Uu-e3mL3G Stig Stenslie 10 July 2014
On March 27th 2014 Saudi Arabia’s King ‘Abd Allah made his half-brother Muqrin deputy crown prince in a royal decree. The appointment ensures regime stability in the short term and postpones the difficult power transfer to the next generation of princes. At the same time it arguably strengthens the candidacy of the king’s son, Prince M... more  
China debates its future role in the Middle East
Beijing January 2011 by Remko Tanis with CC license from Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/remkotanis/5369732250/in/photolist-9bvhjw-wexTm-5MtQBV-884EF2-884sYv-7oDW3R-ncdjzg-9VfgnY-7e1fV6-C3J3w-5My8a7-5My9Sb-5My5gj-5MtTRD-fBQRN-9bsavt-9bsap4-aAg5HH-egHX-bC1aRt-dovsLg-FB61V-7e58K7-8Kxvqv-fFfeQR-zQ7ih-81jWeY-5MtQXn-eTC6n-6XGXmc-jfVbpr-8EkhnY-8s8UZG-3nkG7E-6xYL6E-5My8XS-5MtNPF-5MtRpg-5My8zu-5MtPeZ-5My3Y9-5My7mN-5My5HQ-dcCk3h-4TbyzM-7e59HU-7dDdwy-8ChQao-5F4xav-8ChPt5 Stig Stenslie 30 June 2014
China will be considerably more dependent on oil imports in the coming years because its growth in consumption far exceeds domestic production. As result of this growing energy demand, the country will inevitably be more reliant on the Middle East. more  
Saudi Arabia: the coming royal succession
King Abdullah sign by sioenroux adaptyed with cc license from Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9403670@N07/5471103666/in/photolist-9ksQvy-9kpN5Z-9ksQtU-9ksQx7-9kpNg4-bbFNEp-6VT4Mo-7pPS9t-iuWy53-g2Exer-eXsijw-gaRnzL-iicVGV-i41HTQ-hycgub-isfH7T-hDGann-awaQ2a-bXict3-4BfrMD-dHVALh-4jgo7m-aFZmU4-aFZmx2-aFZmGv-amiwio-amfJt6-amiw57-4gAcjp-7DywzY-7DyuGQ-f1AUHJ-bXices-bXic9S-bXiciE-qwL6e-bXofqs-gaRs8f-78PRCJ-4PS8m9-gaRW7D-7imLJ9-8cZcR7-4PS8tQ-4PMRxt-4PMTyP-4PMV7t-5zmMqb-9w7wyC-5zhvoP-3ip477 Stig Stenslie 19 February 2014
Who will succeed ‘Abd Allah as ruler of Saudi Arabia? What are the likely implications of the coming royal succession for the House of Sa‘ud’s stability? Saudi Arabia’s king is 89 years old and his health is weakening. In 2012 Salman was appointed crown prince and Muqrin was made second deputy prime minister the following year – a post... more  
Not too strong, not too weak: Saudi Arabia’s policy towards Yemen
Untitled by Judith Argila with cc license from Flickr Stig Stenslie 20 March 2013
Saudi Arabia is the most important external player in the fragmented and conflict-ridden Yemen. The kingdom’s overall goal has been to prevent its neighbour to the south from becoming too strong. Today there is little reason to worry about a too powerful Yemen and Saudi concerns are rather that the country will become too weak. The Sau... more  

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