Ever since Muhammad Bin Salman otherwise known as MBS assumed the de facto leadership of Saudi Arabia, his rule has evidently been synonymous with one controversy after the next.
Arbitrary detentions of critics, torturing family members during shakedowns, executing a revered cleric, creating a catastrophe in Yemen and of course sending servants of the absolute monarchy to bone-saw and then dismember a dissident journalist at its consular properties in Istanbul.
That these actions ultimately stem from a profound sense of insecurity about his family’s near-century old grip on power waning partly from a growing lack of domestic legitimacy, is of little surprise.
However, a more decisive factor that’s been feeding into his insecurities has been a sense of helplessness induced by an inability to impede the growing regional influence of arch-rival Iran which the House of Saud has historically perceived as malign and divisive.
Yet it would be a combined drone and missile strike claimed by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi movement against the Kingdom’s largest oil processing plant at Abqaiq in 2019 – knocking out half its daily production of oil together with five per cent of global supply in the process – that changed his balance of calculations on internal security.
The Islamic Republics support for the Houthi movement which continues to result in regular attacks against critical Saudi infrastructure, its controversial nuclear program, asymmetric expansion in the Middle East and championing of the Palestinian issue – long cause cèlébre of the region