It’s no secret that Iran and Saudi Arabia hate one another for reasons that are too numerous to describe in the course of this analysis, though which have been exploited by both the US and Israel to their collective divide-and-rule ends, so in and of itself there’s nothing strange about Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah trash-talking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, though this time the polemics were unprecedented because of the stunning role reversal that they represent.
Instead of Saudi Arabia being under the control of Israel, Nasrallah implied that it’s actually Israel which is under the control of the Kingdom’s “Red Prince” when he spoke about how Riyadh is trying to incite Tel Aviv to attack Lebanon by bribing it with billions of dollars, some of which it could be assumed might come from the upwards of $800 billion in assets that Mohammed Bin Salman might seize from his country’s oligarchs.
Hezbollah has a reputation for being accurate and sincere with its statements, so it shouldn’t be dismissed that what Nasrallah just warned about might actually be on the brink of happening if Riyadh and Tel Aviv are indeed holding talks on this scenario, though he added that he doesn’t think that Israel will ultimately go through with it because of the high price that it would pay if it did.
In any case, what’s important to dwell on is that Hezbollah — and by extent, it can logically be presumed Iran, as well — believes that the 32-year-old future King holds tremendous power in being able to control the group’s hated Zionist foe, unlike his predecessors who it was claimed (and convincingly seen) acted on its behalf.
Given that Nasrallah isn’t known for being careless with his words, one should accept that there is a very serious message that Hezbollah and its Iranian ally intend to send to all of their Resistance supporters by saying this, and it’s namely that the “Red Prince” is one of the most dangerous threats to the world.
Mohammed Bin Salman did indeed commence the disastrous War on Yemen that’s already claimed over 10,000 lives and consequently contributed to one of the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crises, and he also has obscene amounts of blood on his hands for his clandestine involvement in the War on Syria since becoming the Saudi Defense Minister in early 2015, but up until now he was always considered as a Zionist tool and in no sense capable of controlling actors as powerful as Netanyahu.
What’s changed in the years since is that the “Red Prince” just undertook an unparalleled power grab over the weekend in centralizing his authority over the country and cunningly overcoming the divided decision-making process of the Kingdom’s royal court by jailing the most influential members of his family and the Saudi oligarchy who oppose him on the pretext of an anti-corruption campaign, all with the full support of the national security services.
Iran considers this to be a disturbing change in the regional balance of power because it removes all prior “checks and balances” to Saudi activity abroad by placing Riyadh’s foreign and military policies solely in the hands of the “Red Prince”, thus making the country an even more formidable adversary in the sense that it now has the potential to act decisively if the choice is made.
Not only does this mean that Saudi Arabia could behave more unpredictably, but that there’s less of a chance that any of Tehran’s traditional efforts to dissuade Riyadh with its credible deterrence will succeed, because they no longer have to convince just a couple of influential and easily impressionable princes out of several hundred of them that Iran means business in order to disrupt Saudi Arabia’s decision-making capability and give it second thoughts about whatever it might be planning to do, but Iran now faces the much more difficult challenge of only swaying the notoriously stubborn Mohammed Bin Salman if it hopes to ever restrain Riyadh in the future.
Having said that, it appears at this moment that it’s a lot less likely that the “Red Prince” will carry through on his regional threats against Iran and its interests because it’s so important for him right now to concentrate on securing his power grab and ensuring the continued loyalty of the military and security services, which is why a lot of what Mohammed Bin Salman says right now should be considered as internally directed and nothing more than a young firebrand letting off a lot of hot air.
What the “Red Prince” really wants to do is revolutionize his Kingdom by taking it out of feudalism and into the future through a combination of socio-economic and religious reforms initiated by his Vision 2030 public works project, a large chunk of which it can be assumed could end up being funded by seized oligarchic assets (hence his sobriquet), and it’s this long-term desire to correct Saudi Arabia’s structural weaknesses that Iran sees as the most destabilizing development in upsetting the regional balance of power.
Instead of continuing along its downward trajectory and eventually imploding in an orgy of extremist, sectarian, and generational violence as oil funds dry up and the Kingdom’s many domestic problems become unmanageable, Iran would have to possibly contend with a much stronger enemy than it had previously imagined if the “Red Prince’s” “revolution” is successful, which is still a big if and could conceivably be offset in the timeframe that it needs for making tangible progress.
It’s for these reasons why Iran and its Hezbollah ally see Mohammed Bin Salman as such a threat and handed him the dishonorable distinction of supposedly being able to control Israel, with the expectation that this dramatic message could convey to their Resistance supporters just how serious of a long-term threat the “Red Prince” is to their regional vision of peace and stability in the Mideast.
On the other hand, this message might be interpreted by Iran’s American and Israeli enemies as confirmation of Mohammed Bin Salman’s future geopolitical potential, and therefore prompt them to support him even more than before, which is important to keep in mind since it might be what’s needed for the US “deep state” to put aside its discomfiture over his game-changing Great Power partnerships with China and Russia in throwing their full support behind the “Red Prince” as the ultimate anti-Iranian counterweight for “containing” the Islamic Republic.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.