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Saudi Emerges as New Regional Leader

ABU DHABI — Within a 24-hour period, King Salman of Saudi Arabia delivered a firm shock to the Iranian intelligence services, established the kingdom as the leader of the Arab world and realigned regional powers to establish a formidable alliance to fend off Iranian influence in the region.

The launch of operation Decisive Storm has been in play for months since the accession of Salman Bin Abdul Aziz to the throne of Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi analysts

The operation also has addressed internal worries about the Houthi presence along the kingdom’s southern borders, according to regional political analyst and author Ali Shihabi.

“This operation is a very significant move by Saudi. First of all it addresses Saudi public opinion, which was getting increasingly worried about Iranian power surrounding the kingdom and the perceived Saudi impotence in the face of it and the fact that the US is pulling back from the region, thus leaving the arena free for Iran to expand its influence. So the fact that Saudi took aggressive action now is a source of wide public satisfaction within the kingdom,” he said.

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