Why Israel Should be Concerned about Saudi Arabia’s Internal Politics

Reports from Saudi Arabia are saying that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is fast consolidating his power ahead of becoming King either after his father dies or abdicates.

“Over the last week, 16 people were held, their friends, relatives and associates said in interviews. They include prominent Islamic clerics, academics, a poet, an economist, the head of a youth organization, at least two women and one prince, a son of a former king,” reports the Times of India.

This move to push away dissent from within the regime, is a short term play to ensure the transition to kingship is without protest, but the more the future king consolidates power, the more the protests grow. If a fissure should occur within the kingdom, it could have cataclysmic results for Saudi Arabia.

At a time when oil is dropping and Iran is banging on their door steps, the Saudi royal family can ill afford to have a serious push against it from within.  Iran could easily exploit a serious dispute in the Kingdom by stoking revolt among the Shiites in the oil rich areas in the Southern area of the Kingdom.

Israel Needs to be Careful in Placing Trust in Mohammed bin Salman

It is clear Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has a real interest in building a serious relationship with Israel.  Yet, Israel cannot rely on him.  Any open softening of the Kingdom’s stance towards Israel will weakken the monarchy in the eyes of the street. If there is a real attempted pusch against the potential king, then Bin Salman will be forced to go negative against Israel to ensure his reputation with the Saudi street.

As Mohammed bin Salman moves to take over the Kingdom, there will be more an more resistance. His challenge is balancing his reaction in such a way that it does not spark an actual uprising. The stabity if the entire kingdom depends on it.