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Saudi Arabia is playing destabilising role in the Middle East, German intelligence warns

Published 07/12/2015

Saudi Arabia's King Salman (AP)
Saudi Arabia's King Salman (AP)
President Barack Obama meets with new Saudi Arabian King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, in Riyadh. (AP)
Charles raised the plight of a jailed Saudi blogger with King Salman, right, during his Middle East tour
File photo dated 30/10/07 of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia with Queen Elizabeth II before a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in London. Photo: PA
President Bush stands with Saudi Prince Salman, brother of Saudi King Abdullah, while watching a traditional sword dance at the Al Murabba Palace and Natural History Muesum in Al Janadriyah, Saudi Arabia

German intelligence has warned that Saudi Arabia is playing an increasingly destabilising role in the Middle East.

The country's foreign intelligence agency, known as the BND, released a memo to select journalists warning of the negative effects the game of thrones being played within Saudi Arabia's royal family could cause.

"The cautious diplomatic stance of the older leading members of the royal family is being replaced by an impulsive policy of intervention," said the memo, seen by the New York TImes.

The one and a half page memo focuses on the role of Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the 30-year-old son of King Salman who was recently appointed deputy crown prince and defence minister.

“The concentration of economic and foreign policy power on Mohammed bin Salman contains the latent danger that, in an attempt to establish himself in the royal succession while his father is still alive, he could overreach with expensive measures or reforms that would unsettle other members of the royal family and the population," the memo observes.

"That could overstrain the relations to friendly and above all to allied states in the region.”

Germany's Foreign Ministry in Berlin has distanced itself from the memo, saying the German Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had issued a statement to say "the BND statement reported by media is not the position of the federal government."

Both Prince Mohammed and King Salman want Saudi Arabia to be seen as "the leader of the Arab world," the memo states, and are trying to extend its foreign policy "with a strong military component and new regional allies."

In addition to his role as deputy crown prince and defence minister, Prince Salman also oversees the country's top economic council and Saudi oil policy.


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