The death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia sparked immediate speculations over how his successor, Salman, would navigate multiple foreign policy challenges presented by an increasingly volatile region. Although Salman has taken on increasing responsibilities since appointed crown prince in 2012, the new king is expected to keep a majority of the existing cabinet in place while maintaining a high level of oil production as part of a concerted effort to project stability through the continuity of Abdullah’s recent signature policies. Salman, however, is left with little choice but to establish an effective working relationship with U.S. President Barack Obama as his top foreign policy priority. Next, he will have to address the latest political crisis in Yemen, triggered by emboldened Houthi militiamen who forced President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his cabinet to resign on Thursday last week; the Houthis have controlled key parts of the capital of Sanaa since September last year.
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