The succession of power in Saudi Arabia from the late King Abdallah to his designated successor and half-brother Salman bin Abd al-Aziz Al Sa`ud will have little impact on the Kingdom’s foreign, security and oil policies. Salman’s accession as well as that of the new Crown Prince, Abd al-Aziz’s youngest son Muqrin, were approved months ago in a council established by King Abdallah and representing the major elements of the ruling family.1 And while his decision to maintain oil production despite the slumping market price and insistence on implementing a new succession policy may be unpopular within the family, still the Al Sa`ud will maintain public solidarity and not air differences that could encourage domestic uncertainty in the future.
Saudi national interests do not change with a change in ruler. Saudi security concerns, in particular, remain the same under King Salman as they were under King Abdallah. They are primarily regional ones – the fate of Syrian President Assad, the consequences of the collapse of the Hadi government in Yemen, the confrontation with the Islamic caliphate in Iraq and its threat to the Arabian Peninsula states, and the underlying threat that Iran is believed to pose to Saudi and Gulf security. Riyadh and Washington will continue to share these concerns and cooperate strategically to resolve them in their mutual interest.
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