In a conversation with Marc Lynch, F. Gregory Gause III discusses the relative stability of oil regimes in the Middle East and North Africa, noting the importance of countries’ willingness to spend oil money and maintain patronage networks.
Gause also says he believes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to be stable, but that the country’s foreign policy extends beyond what it is comfortable with. Describing the KSA as “bullish” on stability, Gause says if the country was going to face significant unrest, it would have done so in 2011. Yet the KSA’s recent interventionist tendencies, and its unprecedented generational shift in leadership, implicate change is forthcoming, although it is unlikely to be destabilizing.
In his conclusion, Gause notes there is an immediate academic, theoretical, and policy need to chart and follow what has happened in the region over the last few years. He maintains there is still very little work being completed on Middle East international relations.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.