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US policymakers had long sought a more assertive Saudi Arabia. But there's a growing concern outside the White House about the ambitious and untested Saudi crown prince, who is increasingly confronting Iran.
Since the Arab Spring seven years ago, autocratic regimes have spent millions on Western firms' technology to steal activists' contacts, listen in on their conversations, and more.
It's really no shocker that Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies are demanding Qatar close Doha-based Al Jazeera. The pan-Arab TV network has been a thorn in the conservative societies' sides since Day One.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, more an economic reformer than a social one, is charged with helping ensure the House of Saud’s hold on power.
The attacks on two potent symbols, parliament and a shrine to Ayatollah Khomeini, were shocking for Iranians. One result, says a Tehran analyst, will be to quiet the internal debate over the value of battling ISIS in Iraq and Syria.
The childless Sultan Qaboos, who used oil wealth to build the strategically placed nation into an important Gulf Arab player, has put in place a secretive succession process in an attempt to ensure stability, if only for the short term.
Amid calls for immediate US famine relief, or a cessation of US assistance to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, other experts say the military aid could be used as leverage to press for a political solution and more secure food delivery.
Arab leaders are gathered in Jordan, but the region's main movers and shakers – Iran, Russia, and Turkey – are absent, a telling sign that the Arab League's influence over events and its own citizens has waned.
US claims that Saudi Arabia is not doing enough to combat terror have left the kingdom exasperated – and seeking new allies.
Condemnation has followed the missile strike on a funeral, which killed 140 people and crossed what some say are Yemen's red lines. But how hard the US might press Saudi Arabia remains to be seen.
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