The Saudi Prince’s Dangerous War Games
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is working hard to consolidate power and establish his country as the Middle East’s only hegemon. But his efforts – which include an attempt to trigger a war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon – increasingly look like the work of an immature gambler.
TEL AVIV – A series of stunning political developments, originating in Saudi Arabia, has been roiling an already volatile Middle East. Is a major new war in the offing?
Saudi Arabia’s ambitious 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman (widely known by his initials, MBS), who is overseeing an historic (and destabilizing) transformation of the Kingdom’s economy, has ordered the arrest of many of the country’s most powerful princes and officials. The move, framed as an anti-corruption drive, is a brazen bid to consolidate power.
But MBS’s ambitions extend far beyond his country’s borders. On the same day, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in a live television broadcast from Riyadh, accusing Iran of causing “devastation and chaos” through its meddling in other countries.