Even Saudi allies are questioning its Mideast power plays
Video     Photos     Pakistan     World     Islam     Health     Crime     Islamic News     Business     Society     India     Travel     Middle East     Sport     sci/tech      Contact      RSS
Search

How BBC’s HARDtalk exposed Dawn’s anti-establishment narrative

American officials believe China is likely to buy even more Iranian crude

‘Pakistan has come out of US shadow': Pakistani analyst

Why is Qadri boycotting 2018 elections – Ideology or ground reality?

Refurbished face of Pakistan’s far right

Zaman, Imam rise in latest ICC ODI rankings for batsmen

A failing system makes some students feel like misfits

The inside of extravagant Avenfield Apartments: Pictures

A technocrat setup in sight: Would general elections prove a mirage?

Knesset revokes Israel PM’s power to declare war alone

Yemeni forces fire drone, hit Aramco refinery in Saudi capital

Abid Boxer: A hanging sword on Shahbaz Sharif

Egypt gives Hamas ultimatum to stop flying kites into Israel

Sleeping with extremists: ASWJ announces support to ex-PM Abbasi for July 25 elections

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by nine wickets in third ODI, clinch series

Textbooks — the real culprit

Could Sharif buy flats fairly in early 90s?

Iran, Pakistan to jointly produce defense equipment: Top general

Putin presents Trump World Cup football made in Pakistan

The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible

Dawn's CEO Hameed Haroon admits Dawn leaks issue was an international agenda

PTI leader meets ex-chief of banned outfit for votes

Why didn't Shahbaz Sharif reach to airport: The story of a secrete deal

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman: negotiations with Israel ‘a joke’

Pakistani Student Stabbed to Death in China

Two contentious decisions see Croatia crumble when it mattered most

A new face from Nawaz's dynasty: PML-N consider launching Maryam’s son

PML-N's Sheikh Aftab escapes assassination attempt in Attock

Inside Story: What happened to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz at airport

Nawaz Sharif: Delusions of Grandeur

Pak-Iran improving military ties: A message to US and Israel

35k families displaced by Saudi attacks on Hudaydah: UN

US ready for direct talks with Afghan Taliban: Top cmdr.

Pakistani police open criminal cases against 17,000 members of ex-premier's party

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by nine wickets in second ODI

Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People to Recognize Failure of 16-Year War

Pakistan, Iran army chiefs discuss peace, security issues

Sharif Saga: End of kleptocrats & thugs?

Will Interpol heed red warrant for Ishaq Dar?

Silence on recent bloodbath shows that 'mainstreaming' of radicalised outfits is a doomed plan

Who killed Haroon Bilour: A new story evolves

Saudi Awakening Movement leader arrested for opposing US troops in KSA

Iranian military chief to visit Pakistan soon on counterpart’s invitation

Emirati prince hiding in Qatar accuses UAE rulers of blackmail and corruption

France snatch World Cup glory from Croatia to win second title

China’s Sinopec will continue to buy Iranian oil

Diverting Iranian flights to Najaf to Baghdad

Elections under the threat of terrorism

Waseem floors Mthalane but loses world title via decision

Political campaign under threat: Who is the next target of terrorists?

Russia rejects Israeli call to keep Iranian advisors away from Golan

PML-N leadership booked for terrorism

Family meets Nawaz, Maryam at Adiala jail

Belgium claim 3rd spot at World Cup 2018, beat England 2-0

A matter of growing insecurities: Terror during elections

Maryam Nawaz goes to jail in Gucci

US, Iran Clash in Hormuz Strait: Not an Improbable Scenario

Croatian president can’t wait for final

USA enhances its support to Pakistan in educational sector

Would TLP a major stake holder in the elections?

Trial of remaining NAB references against Sharif family to take place in Adiala Jail

What Nawaz Sharif's Return to Pakistan Means for the Country's Politics

Turkey to sell 30 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan in major military export deal

A deadliest attack: 128 perish as savage attack on Mastung rally stuns nation

Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz likely to be shifted in Adiala Jail

Nawaz, Maryam taken into custody at Lahore airport, passports confiscated

Nawaz Sharif lands at Lahore airport will be arrested shortly

Imam and Khan propel Pakistan to crushing victory over Zimbabwe

Mastaung Blast: Death toll mounts to 90, More than 200 wounded

Blast targets convoy of JUI-F leader Akram Khan Durrani, 4 killed

BAP candidate Nawab Siraj Raisani, 19 others killed in Mastung blast

Bilour’s Assassination: Is TTP trying to reassert itself after Fazlullah’s execution?

Fear of Khalistan: India demands UK to disallow Social Justice meet

Pakistan hosts spy chiefs from Russia, China, Iran

The return of Nawaz Sharif

Nawaz Sharif, Maryam in UAE, to reach Lahore by 6:15pm

World Cup final odds, lines: France the favorite to win it all over Croatia on Sunday

London police take Nawaz Sharif's grandsons into custody

Yemeni forces shoot down Saudi jet in Asir: Ministry

“Harf Kaar” App Lets You Correct Grammatical Mistakes in Urdu Language

Qatar funding pro-Israel US organisations

Beheading increases 70% in Saudi Arabia

Would Pakistan Supreme Court extend accountability to Ex-General?

Shrouded mystery: What was the secrete message Nawaz Sharif ignored?

Reham Khan book published online

Would Zardari play on front foot after Lawai's arrest?

Prison or gallows, I won’t stop, says Nawaz

US softens stance on Iran sanctions amid warnings

Croatia heads to its first World Cup final after beating England 2-1

Ministry asks NAB to probe corruption in Rs3b education project

Reuters: Saudi coalition has reached a dead point in Al-Hudaydah

The nightmare of terrorism: Is TTP back?

Petition seeking disqualification of ASWJ ringleader Ludhianvi referred to Chief Justice

Ishaq Dar seeks political asylum in UK: report

Who makes Cheemas and Fawads?

Is Pakistan serious to pursue Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project?

Nawaz, Maryam to be arrested at Lahore airport on arrival, flown to Islamabad: sources

France reach World Cup final as Belgium's golden generation falls short again

ANP leader Haroon Bilour among 12 killed in Peshawar blast

Israel supplied Saudi Arabia with internationally banned weapons

2018-01-13 05:47:55

Even Saudi allies are questioning its Mideast power plays

Trending on Saudi social media last week was a clip of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman promising to go on the offensive against his country’s biggest rival and take the fight “inside Iran.”

 

What is clear is that the de facto Saudi ruler has made several regional moves against Iran — and has yet to score a win.

 

If the prince’s enemies aren’t sweating it much, his allies are showing signs of alarm. From the Arab Sunni world, the natural sphere of Saudi influence, to the U.S. and Europe, diplomats have dissociated themselves from the kingdom’s ventures or come out against them.

 

That made 2017 a mixed year for the leader known as MBS. At home, he shunted rivals aside, cementing an unprecedented rapid rise to power. But in Yemen, Qatar and Lebanon, regional countries where the Saudis seek leadership and perceive a challenge from Iran, his initiatives have foundered.

 

“MBS approaches domestic and regional politics in a similar, bold fashion,” said Hani Sabra, founder of New York-based Alef Advisory. “Domestically, this has worked well for him. He’s outmaneuvered many influential relatives.” Abroad, the approach “is creating and intensifying risks,” he said.

 

The risk from the war in Yemen has been brought home to Saudi cities. The Houthis, “said by the Saudis to have Iranian backing”, have fired two missiles at Riyadh since November. While causing little damage, they served as a reminder that after almost three years of bombardment, the enemy — mostly ragtag fighters wearing sandals and carrying AK-47s — hasn’t been subdued.

 

The Saudis haven’t found it easy to draft their allies into that fight. Egypt, for example, heavily dependent on Saudi cash, showed little enthusiasm for sending its soldiers to Yemen — or for Prince Mohammed’s wider plan to combat Iran.

 

In Lebanon, the prince’s intervention was political, not military. The unexpected resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri during a visit to Riyadh in November was seen as a Saudi bid to weaken Iran’s Lebanese ally, Hezbollah. Hariri, “a Saudi client”, had been governing in coalition with the [hezbollah]; now he denounced it as a mortal threat.

 

The power-play backfired. Hariri ended up returning to his job, and even Lebanese Sunnis were critical of strong-arm Saudi tactics. Allies in Europe and the U.S. weren’t happy either. French President Emmanuel Macron intervened directly on Hariri’s behalf. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in an unusual rebuke, said Saudi Arabia should “think through the consequences” of its actions.

 

Tillerson cited Yemen, Lebanon — and Qatar, the target of a Saudi-led economic embargo since June. The measure was intended to punish the monarchy for offenses including its cordial ties with Iran.

 

Those relations have only deepened under the boycott; meanwhile Kuwait and Oman, fellow members of the club of [Persian] Gulf monarchies, have expressed unease at the assertive new style of Saudi leadership. And Turkey, a powerful Sunni country once close to the Saudis, has taken Qatar’s side, using the dispute as a chance to forge closer military and commercial ties.

 

Prince Mohammed, has been emboldened by the alliance he’s forged with U.S. President Donald Trump, based on shared antagonism toward Iran.

 

Yet the Saudi leader runs the risk of overplaying his hand, especially if he tries to use the Iranian protests as an opportunity to weaken the [government] in Tehran, according James Dorsey, a Middle East specialist at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

 

Also, the Saudi pushback is dependent on U.S. efforts to contain Iran, he said — “an increasingly risky strategy” given that Trump has little international support. After recognizing [al-Quds] as Israel’s capital, and with a series of deadlines looming that may lead Washington further away from the global consensus on the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. is becoming isolated.

 

Domestically, Prince Mohammed has had more success advancing his agenda. He argues that a drastic economic overhaul is essential to end decades of oil dependence.

 

As well as securing his own position as undisputed heir to his father King Salman’s throne, the prince has launched an anti-corruption campaign, detaining dozens of elite businessmen. He has relaxed some of the kingdom’s strict religious rules and outlined plans to sell state assets, bolster private industry and trim public spending.

 

Similar motives may underlie the new foreign policy. Prince Mohammed is scrapping a tradition of “checkbook” diplomacy that didn’t get results, according to Ali Shihabi, executive director of the Arabia Foundation in Washington, who’s close to the Saudi government.

 

“Saudi leaders funneled billions in aid to friends, many of whom used that money to bankroll their own agendas,” Shihabi said in an e-mail. In the face of rapidly growing threats, he said, “the king and the crown prince concluded that Saudi Arabia could no longer rely on outdated policies.”

 

But the near-absolute power that Prince Mohammed enjoys in the kingdom doesn’t extend beyond its borders. He may not be sensitive to the different approach required in foreign policy, according to Sabra.

 

“MBS is either not acutely aware of, or doesn’t care about the details of the domestic conditions in the region’s other states,” he said. “This is often at the root of the problems.”

 

Arab strongmen of the past have found out the hard way that domestic success — consolidation of power and wealth, marginalization of enemies — didn’t allow them to reshape the Middle East the way they hoped.

 

Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser was unable to win a war in Yemen, and then suffered a shattering defeat at Israel’s hands in 1967. Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq for decades; his ventures abroad, including the 1980 attack on Iran and the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, ended in bloody failure.

 

Prince Mohammed, who’s 32, may be attempting to differentiate himself from previous Saudi leaders and from his 81-year-old father, according to Paul Pillar, a former CIA officer who’s now a professor at Georgetown University.

 

“MBS probably feels urgency to make a mark — to show that he is in charge, and to show that he is not a young pushover,” Pillar said. “This implies a greater need than other leaders might have to take risks. Greater risks means more opportunities for failure.”

pk.shafaqna.com

 

Categories:  
Tags:   Saudia ، Iran ، UAE ، Muhammad Bin Salman ،
From other agencies (RSS Reader)

Gold Price Reduces

- Abb Takk