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Saudi Arabia gets ready to change its foreign policy

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Saudi Arabia continues with its preparations for King Salmane’s abdication and for his replacement by his son, Prince Mohammed.

- First: Saudi Arabia is getting ready to withdraw from Yemen. Although Prince Mohammed is at the origin of the conflict, he has now understood that that he just cannot win this battle, and could let the responsibility of this disastrous adventure flow back to his father, King Salmane. This approach is confirmed by emails exchanged between the US ambassador Martin Indyk and the United Arab Emirates ambassador. These e mails were published by Middle East Eye [1].

- Second: Saudi Arabia would stop championing the Sunnis against the Shiites and would start, once again, championing the Arabs against the Persians. This would enable Riyadh to find a way out of the civil war which is currently taking place across the region of Qatif, where the Saudi Shiite populations have risen up [2]. Yet again, it is prince Mohamed with his proposal to execute the Opposition’s leader, Sheikh El-Nimr, who raised this revolt. But a change of king would excuse the errors of the past [3]. This thinking seems confirmed by the official receptions for the Iraqi Shiite leader Moqtada Sadr in Riyadh [4] and the Saudi the chargé d’affaires, Walid Boukhari, in Lebanon, by the Vice President of the Shiite Superior Council, Sheikh Abdel Amir Kabalan. Following through with this logic, Saudi Arabia has just reopened the border posts of Arar and Jumaima with Iraq, posts which have been closed for more than thirty years.

- Once these two changes have been made, the future king, Mohamed, could then announce that Saudi would help reconstruct Syria – an announcement that would put Iran’s generosity into perspective. Here we are talking of significant sums. Riyadh’s decision to stop supporting the jihadists following Donald Trump’s speech on 21 May 2017, also falls into this current of thought. It seems that Syria is also getting ready for this reversal. This is evidenced by the fact that this year, the annual trade fair took place in Damascus, something that had been suspended throughout the duration of the war.

Prince Mohamed acts on impulse and he would be quite capable of challenging his own decisions. Were this to happen, the change of sovereign in Saudi Arabia could usher in peace within Saudi borders as well as in Yemen and Syria.

Translation
Anoosha Boralessa

[1] “EXCLUSIVE : Saudi crown prince wants out of Yemen war, email leak reveals”, Clayton Swisher & David Hearst, Middle East Eye, August 14, 2017.

[2] “The civil war continues in Qatif (Saudi Arabia)”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 15 August 2017.

[3] « La mort du cheikh El-Nimr fait vaciller le régime des Saoud », par André Chamy, Réseau Voltaire, 3 janvier 2016.

[4] “Moqtada Sadr visits Saudi Arabia and the Emirates”, Translation Anoosha Boralessa, Voltaire Network, 22 August 2017.

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