Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman’s foreign policy has caused a splash with a number of foreign policy decisions that have ranged from detaining a sitting prime minister, going to war with a militia, and embarking on a three week tour of the united States lobbying fiercely against the Iran Deal and for wider American institutional support. Nevertheless, far from being proactive, Bin Salman’s foreign policy should be seen as reactive:
- Lebanon: Aoun and Hezbollah alliance forced Hariri detention. Lebanese power balance is mainly composed of these three individuals. Two allying against one puts Saudi Arabia into a corner.
- Yemen: Houthi’s conquering of the capital Sanaa, and subsequent march on Aden, which was met by general inaction from international community, forced a war. From Riyadh’s persepctive, Yemen was about to fall into Tehran’s hands.
- Succession struggle with Head of National Guard Miteb Bin Abdullah forced revamping of state institutions and a necessary influx of loyalists.
- Pro-Iran governments in Iraq, Syria, Houthi-controlled Yemen as well as a generally non-compliant Egypt, forces tougher stance on Tehran. Saudi Arabia feels surrounded.
- Cancellation of Iran Deal raises oil prices that tempers economic pressures brought about by oil glut caused by shale, and lower prices in general.