Donald Trump meets Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud Whitout Handshake.
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President Donald Trump during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh earlier this year
While Trump's been cavorting in Asia this past week distracting the corporate MSM's attention a most ominous development has occurred elsewhere on the international front.
That ominous development has occurred in Saudi Arabia which has the potential to explode into a wider war in the Middle East.
Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the 32-year-old crown prince to his father the senile 82-year-old King Salman, has initiated a purge against his rivals--a palace coup if you will--within the Saudi hierarchy consolidating his power in the kingdom.
All this occurred after Houthi rebels in Yemen fired a missile north of the Saudi capital Riyadh blaming Iran for supplying the weapon calling it an "act of war" on the part of Iran.
At this time Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visiting Saudi Arabia at the request of King Salman suddenly announces his retirement on Saudi radio for "acts of aggression" by Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah for destabilizing the government in Lebanon and threatening his life. Then the Saudi's incongruently blame Hezbollah for "attacking" Saudi Arabia--didn't happen--also calling it "an act of war".
Meanwhile the Saudis having developed a not-so-secret alliance with Israel and according to a video by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah saying the Saudis are pushing Israel to attack Lebanon. Of note Israel just completed its largest war games in the Mediterranean. Also MbS has told his Saudi citizens in Beirut to leave the country.
From afar Trump threw his support for bin Salman calling his purge a "cleanup against corruption", applauding his "liberalization of women in Saudi Arabia-allowing them to drive a car--while also naming Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
It's hard not to conclude volatility has been ratcheted up with these developments.
As for diplomacy in this situation it's nowhere to be found.
What's unclear to this observer is the role of Putin and Russia in these latest developments. To say the least they've become a major player in Syria. Russia's entry into the Syrian war since September 2015 along with Iran, Hezbollah, Iraq alongside Assad's Syrian Arab army saved the regime of President Assad, helping to rid the country of proxy, mercenary jihadist ISIS and al Qaeda terrorists that have been primarily supported by the US and Saudi Arabia not the regime change in Syria they expected.
Which begs the question--would Russia stand idly by if its Hezbollah ally in Syria is attacked in the air in Lebanon? Russia doesn't announce its military actions beforehand. And Russia would not intervene in Lebanon unless the Lebanese government formally requested their assistance.
What seems assured if Hezbollah positions in Lebanon are attacked in the air by Israel Hezbollah most undoubtedly would fire missiles into Israel. Hamas could/would fire its missiles from Gaza into Israel and a wider conflagration will ensue, possibly with the Israeli IDF invading Lebanon.
Abdul Bari Atwan, the former editor-in-chief of Rai-al-Youm, a London-based pan Arab newspaper, writes,  "In a few days or weeks' time... military confrontations... will arise... the start of a Saudi/Iranian military clash with Saudi Arabia sealing all Yemini ground, air and sea outlets under the pretext of closing all the breaches and preventing Iranian missiles from reaching the Houthi's.
"The bombardment of Lebanon... trying to eradicate Hezbollah. They may retaliate by bombarding the Israeli state with thousands of missiles... with the possibility of Iranian and Syrian intervention.