National Security

Reports: Saudi Crown Prince to Ascend Throne, War With Iran Looms

“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been a vocal opponent against Iranian influence in the region, and his reign is expected to take a much more hardline position on the Islamic Republic.”

Reports from Saudi Arabia seemingly confirm recent speculations that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is planning to abdicate the throne in order to name his son Mohammed as his successor.  With the recent consolidations of power, the stage now appears to be set for an imminent transfer of power.  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been a vocal opponent against Iranian influence in the region, and his reign is expected to take a much more hardline position on the Islamic Republic.

While many in the Saudi royal family have called for a more passive approach when dealing with Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the crown prince has taken a much more aggressive position.  Additionally, the crown prince has taken a much more collaborative approach with Israel than has been the standard for Saudi Arabia or the rest of the Middle East.

The US has voiced strong support for King Salman and his son, applauding their tough stance on countering Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Arabian Peninsula.

His plan is to reportedly enlist the Israeli military to help crush Hezbollah on all fronts, with a special emphasis on Lebanon.  This support would be rewarded with billions of dollars in compensation.  According to the source leaking this information, the crown prince is aware that taking on Hezbollah and Iran will not be possible without Israeli support.

The US has voiced strong support for King Salman and his son, applauding their tough stance on countering Iran’s destabilizing influence in the Arabian Peninsula.  The Islamic Republic of Iran has been fighting a proxy war against the West and Saudi Arabia on the battlefields of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen.  However, the Saudis know that they cannot rely on the US for direct combat support against Hezbollah or Iran, making Israel’s military and intelligence capabilities an essential part of any Saudi plan of attack.

While Israel’s leaders have said that Iran is the leading threat in the Middle East, IDF Chief of Staff Gady Eisenkot says that Israel “isn’t interested in a war now with the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, despite Iranian attempts to bring about an escalation.”

Israel has emphasized that they are open to a coalition but have stressed the importance of US involvement.  “With President Donald Trump, there is an opportunity for a new international coalition in the region for stopping the Iranian threat,” Eisenkot told the UK-based and Saudi-owned news site Elaph.

This leads many observers to think that the monetary support of Crown Prince Mohammed will not be enough to draw Israel into a direct conflict with Iran.  According to sources inside the Saudi royal family, Mohammed’s backup plan is to target and engage Hezbollah in Syria.

It remains to be seen if Israel will indeed move ahead with the Saudi plan, which in many ways mirrors Israel’s plan to deal with the threat in Iran five years ago; if the IDF enters the conflict, eventually the US will join their ally in military action.  Given the current US administration’s hesitancy to expand direct involvement on new battlefields, this does not seem a likely course of action that Israel or Saudi Arabia can rely upon.

Chris Erickson

Chris Erickson is an OpsLens Contributor and former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier. He spent over 10 years in the Army and performed multiple combat deployments, as well as various global training missions throughout the world. He is still active in the veteran community and currently works in the communications industry. Follow him @EricksonPrime on Twitter.

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