Yemen Intervention Highlights a New Generation of Saudi Leaders and a New Foreign Policy

(Washington Post) Nawaf Obaid - Just two months after the passing of King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's extensive intervention in Yemen on Thursday should serve notice that a major generational shift is underway in the kingdom that is sure to have far-reaching ramifications. With almost 90% of Muslims identifying as Sunni, and the Saudis at the epicenter of the Sunni world, the Saudis believe they can meet an urgent need for a united Sunni front against Shiite Iran, as well as the terrorist movements tearing the Arab world apart. The Saudis are watching the Iranian nuclear negotiations closely. Saudi Arabia simply cannot allow Iran under any scenario to use its "near status" as a nuclear power to expand its influence and prestige around the region. Settling for a so-called U.S. "nuclear umbrella" is unfathomable to Riyadh. Whatever deal the Iranians get, the Saudis will pursue an equivalent program to reach nuclear parity. The writer is a visiting fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

2015-03-27 00:00:00

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