Is the Diplomatic Tide Shifting in the Rivalry Between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

Is the Diplomatic Tide Shifting in the Rivalry Between Saudi Arabia and Iran?
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis departs after meeting with Saudi Arabian Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman, Riyadh, April 19, 2017 (Pool photo by Jonathan Ernst via AP).

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran are nothing new, but in recent days the level of acrimony has been increasing exponentially. Amid a shifting geopolitical landscape, the two countries have been sounding downright menacing toward one another, dispensing with the diplomatic practice of veiling their threats and creating new dangers in an already tumultuous region.

Two questions arise: Why is the hostility worsening? And which of the two countries is growing stronger relative to the other?

The latest round of public fulminations burst on the airwaves last week, when the powerful Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave a widely disseminated television interview. Prince Mohammed, who is also the Saudi minister of defense, spoke at length on a variety of subjects. It was a rare and important moment, highlighting the 31-year-old’s status as the rising power in the kingdom.

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