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How Saudi regional moves impact Israel

The Saudi desire to change its role from a behind-the-scenes player to a forefront leader pushes it to engage in the US-led Mideast peace initiative.

Something dramatic is occurring in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which might soon impact the Israeli-Palestinian negotiation renewal. While most pundits are trying to figure out the consequences of the latest events there, they missed the shift in the kingdom’s traditional policy. Saudi Arabia has moved away from its role as a behind-the-scenes player to the position of a forefront leader. But as it is an extremely closed system, with little media transparency, it is difficult to assess the full significance of the internal purge that the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has undertaken.

In fact, in parallel with the purging campaign, Mohammed had expressed very strong positions against Iran and its proxy Hezbollah’s terror activities both in Yemen and Lebanon. And so, the crown prince is clearly preparing for both domestic reforms and for realizing Saudi Arabia’s regional ambitions. He wants Saudi Arabia to fulfill the role of a leader in the Islamic world, perceiving Iran as its greatest ideological and strategic foe. The prince knows that positioning Saudi Arabia as a regional leader goes hand in hand with a US-Saudi rapprochement and also with taking more visible steps on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. And it seems that he is ready to advance on both these fronts.

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