Summary by Rami G. Khouri
Perhaps the most dramatic aspect of the succession in Saudi Arabia last week was how undramatic it was.
The third major dimension of Saudi society and state – regional policy – is the most dynamic and intriguing, because it responds heavily to the actions of others who are not under the control of the Saudi system.
Today’s Middle Eastern and global orders present a very different picture from the previous 80 years of Saudi statehood.
So King Salman is now engaging with regional and global orders marked by several new patterns: total chaos in some areas, partial state collapse in others, widespread use of political violence and terrorism, and massive intervention by foreign actors.
The late King Abdullah responded to these realities quite forcefully, and quickly grasped the new factor in the Middle East that his successor, King Salman, now faces: There are no more local conflicts in this region, and all local or national conflicts are directly linked to greater regional powers and sometimes global confrontations.