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Image by Elizabeth Dickinson. Saudi Arabia, 2015.

Saudi Arabia is the U.S.'s key ally in the Arab world and a crucial counter-balance to Iran's ambitions as a regional superpower. King Salman has been on the throne since January 2015, but already has signaled important shifts in the country's internal governance and foreign policy.

In a kingdom used to slow, evolutionary change, this reshuffling of Saudi Arabia's top leadership is tectonic. The changes in the line of succession and in several key ministries announced in April were not entirely unexpected, though few expected it would be so soon.

Journalist Elizabeth Dickinson explores how Saudi foreign policy—under new leadership—works on the ground, and how it could change in response new challenges in the Middle East. Her reporting takes place against the backdrop of growing sectarianism in the region and a rivalry between Riyadh and Tehran that has spilled into battlefields from Yemen to Iraq to Syria.