When news of the death of Saudi King Abdullah was announced, Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa were one of the first networks to report on it, pre-empting regular programming to bring breaking news coverage to the region. Both networks provided extensive analysis of King Salman’s impact on Saudi domestic issues, as well as international relations in the region and with the U.S.
Alhurra’s in-depth coverage included American analysts that discussed the future of Saudi-U.S. relations as King Salman ascended to the throne, such as noted U.S. experts on the Middle East including Michelle Dunne and John Hannah.
Hiwar Cairo focused on how the death of King Abdullah will impact Saudi-Egyptian relations. Alhurra’s 30 Minutes discussed the changes in the political dynamics in Saudi Arabia where American and Saudi analysts agreed that King Salman may have domestic changes, but that he would probably stay the course with international affairs. Alhurra’s coverage also included statements made by the State Department and the White House.
Radio Sawa interviewed the Secretary General of the Gulf Corporation Council, a representative from the Arab League, a former member of the Shura Council, and the former Moroccan Foreign Minister regarding King Abdullah’s death. The radio network also had reaction from the White House and the Pentagon. Sawa Magazine delved into how the new King will handle relationships with Saudi allies.
The extensive coverage on Alhurra and Radio Sawa continued as U.S. President Obama visited Saudi Arabia to meet with King Salman.
Al Youm had an in-depth report on the challenges, both foreign and domestic facing King Salman. These include managing the country’s relationship with the US, threats posed by ISIL, a power vacuum in Yemen and the decline in oil prices and its impact on the Saudi population. The program looked at the impact of President Obama’s trip to Saudi Arabia as the two leaders meet to discuss the relationship of the two nations moving forward. The program also interviewed Joshua Baker, State Department Deputy Director and Regional Arabic Language Deputy Spokesperson about President Obama’s trip.
Alhurra’s Free Hour also explored the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia following President Barack Obama’s visit to Riyadh to give personal condolences after the death of the late King Abdullah. Guests said that the visit was critical in order to have trust between the two nations. They also discussed that the policies of the new King will be closer to those of King Fahd than those of King Abdullah.
Radio Sawa aired excerpts of President Obama’s comments and hosted a former member of the Shura Council, while Sawa Magazine discussed the future of U.S./Saudi relations with an American and a Saudi analyst.