0503 GMT January 19, 2020
US President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry over his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate a son of his political rival Joe Biden.
This is while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s lawyers reported Wednesday to the first meeting of a pre-indictment hearing on three separate corruption cases.
And, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been embarrassed by the mysterious shooting dead of the personal bodyguard to King Salman, the crown prince’s father. Saudi Arabia is also facing renewed global criticism on the anniversary of the gruesome murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who was critical of the regime.
Numbering other setbacks for Riyadh in the past week, Haartez highlighted a major Yemeni operation in the country’s northern region of Najran against Saudi-led troops.
The operation led to the death of about 200 Saudi-led forces and the capture of another 2,000 troops.
The article went on to describe Iran’s latest international developments in comparison, saying that it had experienced a “relaxed week” despite “pressure of the US sanctions and the country’s economic distress.”
It wrote that “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani received an enthusiastic welcome at the United Nations General Assembly in New York” last week, adding that Trump has been “wooing” the Iranian president in order to get a chance to meet with him.
The daily added that the developments marked a stark contrast with the Trump administration’s initial rhetoric against Iran, when Washington withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year and announced a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Tehran.
Also pointing to Riyadh's change in tone towards Iran, the article highlighted that the Saudi crown prince had urged a “peaceful” solution regarding its tensions with Iran in an interview earlier this week.
The crown prince had stated that a war with Iran would lead to the “total collapse of the global economy.”
Haaretz said such developments came despite Washington and Riyadh’s allegation which blamed Iran for being behind a major September 14 Yemeni drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, an accusation firmly denied by Tehran.
“Not only did the sophisticated and destructive attack on the Saudi oil facilities last month pass without a military response from Riyadh or Washington, but Saudi Arabia even made it clear that it supported dialogue with Tehran,” it wrote.
The Saudi crown prince had been previously known for his exclusively bellicose rhetoric against Tehran.
In May 2017, the Saudi crown prince had accused Tehran of attempting to dominate the Muslim world. He pledged at the time to take the war “inside Iran.”
Following the largest-ever attack on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure last month, some members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family and business elite have expressed frustration with the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
That sparked concern among several prominent branches of the ruling Al Saud family, which numbers around 10,000 members, about the crown prince’s ability to defend and lead the world’s largest oil exporter, according to a senior foreign diplomat and five sources with ties to the royals and business elite. All spoke on condition of anonymity, according to Reuters.
The attack has also fanned discontent among some in elite circles who believe the crown prince, known in the West by the initials MbS, has sought too tight a grip on power, the sources said. Some of these people said the event has also fueled criticism among those who believe he has pursued an overly aggressive stance towards Iran.
“There is a lot of resentment” about the crown prince’s leadership, said one of the sources, a member of the Saudi elite with royal connections. “How were they not able to detect the attack?”
This person added that some people in elite circles are saying they have “no confidence” in the crown prince, an assertion echoed by the four other sources and the senior diplomat.