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There are few problems in the wider Middle East that cannot be traced back to the power rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.As defense minister, Prince Mohammad has continued the Saudi policy of backing anti-Assad rebels in Syria, in concert with Turkey, while unleashing a war on pro-Iranian tribesmen in Yemen (at an enormous humanitarian cost). He has also backed, if not instigated, an increase in domestic repression, and has launched an economic offensive against Iran – the consequences of which have been seen, until recently, in plunging global oil prices.For now, the Saudis are flooding the market. They are seeking to rein in Iran and Russia, both of which need higher oil prices to sustain economic growth. The Saudi oil offensive has helped convince Iran and Russia to drag Assad, kicking and screaming, to the negotiating table.Prince Mohammad's new economic plan, Vision 2030, unveiled in May, is another front in the economic war, designed to show that Saudi Arabia is immune to the domestic economic pressures afflicting Iran and Russia. Iran and Russia can never be more than foothold powers in the Arab world.
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