German Agency Warns of “Impulsive” Saudi Policies

German Agency Warns of  “Impulsive” Saudi PoliciesGerman Agency Warns of  “Impulsive” Saudi Policies

Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency, in an unusual public statement issued on Wednesday, voiced concern that Saudi Arabia was becoming impulsive in its foreign policy, as powerful, young Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman asserts himself.

The BND also said that with Saudi Arabia—the world’s No. 1 oil exporter—losing confidence in the United States as a guarantor of Middle East order, Riyadh appeared ready to take more risks in its bid to gain regional supremacy.

Since King Salman took power in January, Saudi Arabia has orchestrated a military coalition to intervene in neighboring Yemen, increased support for Syrian rebels and made big changes in the royal succession, Reuters reported.

Riyadh has long regarded “Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia militias as aggravating sectarian tensions and destabilizing the region. But under Salman, it has moved more assertively” to counter its perceived regional threat.

Germany’s BND pointed to Saudi efforts to shape events in Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq by increasingly taking military, political and financial risks to ensure it does not lose influence in the region.

“The thus far cautious diplomatic stance of the elder leaders in the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive interventionist policy,” the BND said, adding the Saudis remain committed to the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The BND issued the 1-1/2 page report, entitled “Saudi Arabia—Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation”, to some German media.

It pointed to risks stemming from the concentration of power in Prince Mohammad, who it said could get carried away with efforts to secure the royal family succession in his favor.

Saudi Arabia faces a budget deficit that economists estimate could total $120 billion or more this year. This has led the Saudi Finance Ministry to close its national accounts a month early to control spending.