German spy agency says Saudi Arabia is ‘source of regional instability’

Prince Mohammed bin SalmanA report by Germany’s primary intelligence agency warns that internal power struggles and broader geopolitical changes are turning the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into a major source of regional instability. The report was produced by the German Federal Intelligence Service, known as BND, and is entitled: “Saudi Arabia: A Sunni Regional Power Torn Between a Paradigm Shift in Foreign Policy and Domestic Power Consolidation”. It explains the energy-rich Kingdom’s new forceful approach to regional problems as an outcome of both domestic and external factors.

On the domestic scene, the BND report connects the changes in Saudi Arabia’s regional stance with an unfolding power-struggle between two factions inside the country’s royal family. On the one side is the ‘traditionalist’ faction led by King Salman, who was enthroned in January of this year following the death of his predecessor, King Abdullah. This faction is being challenged by a group of royal family members led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who currently serves as the country’s minister of defense. According to the BND report, Prince Mohammed, who is second-in-line to the throne, is trying to solidify his position in the royal succession by promoting a more radical and militarized foreign policy. This, says the BND, can be seen in Saudi Arabia’s ongoing military intervention in Yemen, as well as in its highly interventionist policy in support of anti-government rebels in Syria.

The German intelligence report suggests that Prince Mohammed’s policies are also the result of a widespread view among some senior members of the Saudi royal family that the United States is gradually disengaging from the Middle East, and that the country is not any more a strong guarantor of Saudi Arabia’s security. As a result, the Kingdom is “prepared to take unprecedented risks” in the military, diplomatic and financial domains in order to project itself as a strong regional actor and “avoid falling behind in regional affairs” in its struggle for dominance against its neighboring rival, Iran.

But this new policy, says the BND, comes with considerable financial demands, which are challenging the limits of Saudi Arabia’s financial might. This year alone, notes the German report, the Kingdom is expected to announce a budget deficit that will be in the neighborhood of $120 billion. This is angering many senior members of the royal family who are opposed to Prince Mohammed’s aggressive regional stance. These ‘traditionalists’ have repeatedly criticized the prince’s “impulsive policy of intervention”, which they claim is jeopardizing the Kingdom’s relationship with important regional allies, as well as with Washington.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 4 October 2015 | Permalink

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3 Responses to German spy agency says Saudi Arabia is ‘source of regional instability’

  1. Pete says:

    Looks credible. The BND has a respected reputation for independent accuracy in the Middle East (unadulterated by 5 Eyes Alliance political concerns).

  2. ahmad says:

    This kind of reports have been given from the regional agencies too even leas than a year back Minister in Pakistan spoke openly against Saudi funding to the local groups to finance terrorism in Pakistan . One correction please , Saudi school of thoughts is wahabism. They are the followers of Abdul wahab najdi , they have nothing to do with sunnism , Sunnism and wahabism are totally opposite school of thoughts . They are like worst enemies in arab world and especially in Pakistan Wahabi school of thoughts is very much involved in the attacking on sunnis and financing the wahabism in the region . Kindly term used Sunnis is totally wrong in this article . Good the difference between Sunni and wahabi and you will find the clear difference regarding that . West always declare them sunnis as they have nothing to do with sunnism , Sunnism is based on sufism and shrines , the one which these wahabis are demolishing all over the world . correct that please . thanks .

  3. Depuydt Marc says:

    Exactly, as you write sunnism and wahabism is completly different. It is time that the Islam has the renaissance as we have get after the middle Age. Moderate Muslims, stand up!!!
    The report of the BND is very accurate.

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