And what does all this mean for Israel?

The week has been hectic in the Middle East and, for once, the two revolutionary facts - perhaps only one, but we will come back to it - do not directly involve Israel.

Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS, his acronym), the newly appointed Saudi Crown Prince, has placed a number of his rivals under house arrest, and Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri has resigned, saying that his country has is not manageable as long as Iran interferes in its affairs.

But obviously, Israel is involved: Are there events in the Middle East that do not involve Israel?

What happened ? Part I

Mohammed, 32, was appointed Crown Prince by his father, King Salman, in June. It was an upheaval in itself, because the succession is an obscure and delicate process aimed at preserving the balance among the confusion of the descendants of the founder of the kingdom, Abdulaziz. Salman's statement that his son would succeed him greatly shook the family.

Already Minister of Defense since 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed has been quick to point out that he was a leader (his father was sick). As Crown Prince, he placed his predecessor under house arrest, repeatedly expressed his desire to modernize the kingdom and kept his promise when his father decreed that women could now drive.

Quel est l'impact des troubles politiques en Arabie saoudite et au Liban pour Israël ?
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner at the Royal Saudi Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP)

This weekend, he gathered 11 princes and other dozens of senior officials and placed them under house arrest, many at Ryad's Ritz Carlton. Officially, father and son repressed corruption.

What happened ? Part II

Guess who else was in Ryad? Hariri, the Lebanese Prime Minister supported by Saudi Arabia. Former Prime Minister, he said he was resigning because Iran controls the country through his ally, Hezbollah, and he feared for his life.

Hezbollah controls a terrorist militia that overshadows the Lebanese army. He is believed to have killed Hariri's father, Rafik, who was also prime minister in 2005.

So why stop now?

It may be the same story.

Since becoming Defense Minister in 2015, the Crown Prince has been behind an aggressive Saudi attempt to reassert his dominance in the region against an increasingly authoritarian Iran. He leads Saudi Arabia's war with Houthi rebels backed by Iran in Yemen. Bringing Hariri out of Lebanon is part of a broader strategy to keep Iran out of the way.

While guiding Saudi Arabia toward more daring confrontations with Iran in the region, the Crown Prince may feel that he needs to consolidate his power at home.

"MBS has taken a very strong approach to Saudi foreign policy," said Tamara Cofman Wittes, principal investigator at the Brookings Institution's Center for Middle East Policy. "This is happening simultaneously with his efforts to consolidate internal control. "

So, Saudi Arabia faces Iran - it's good for Israel, is not it?

The Israeli government seems to think so. Ron Dermer, his ambassador to Washington, told the Israeli Council on Monday that he was "more optimistic now because I see a change in the region."

Dermer did not refer directly to weekend events but to broader changes. Nevertheless, it was significant that he delivered what has become a familiar message of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the resignation of Hariri and the purge in the kingdom of Ryad.

Quel est l'impact des troubles politiques en Arabie saoudite et au Liban pour Israël ?
From left to right: Yaakov Nagel, National Security Advisor, Eliezer Toledano, Prime Minister's Military Attaché, Yoav Horovitz, Prime Minister's Office Director, Ron Dermer, Israel's Ambassador to the United States, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the Blair House in Washington, DC, on February 13, 2017. (Credit: Avi Ohayun / GPO)

"The Arab governments are not where they were five years ago, or 10 or 15 years ago, because they think our interests are aligned with theirs," said Dermer quoted by the Jewish Insider. "A lot of things happen under the surface, a lot of things are remarkable. "

The Tenth Israeli Channel reported to the diplomats a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry which listed pro-Saudi talking points about Hariri's resignation and the kingdom's intervention in Yemen.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said the Netanyahu government was seizing an obvious opportunity.

The resignation of Hariri "is just an indicator of more than one possible regional architecture that could be built between Sunni states and Israel," he said. "If MBS manages to create a modern Saudi Arabia, one can imagine a Saudi Arabia somewhere where Israel and Saudi Arabia could have open links. "

Schanzer warned, however, "but we are in the early stages. "

Nimrod Novik, a former Israeli peace negotiator, said Saudi Arabia's sudden invocation of Abbas was another positive sign signaling the moderating position of Crown Prince Mohammed.

Novik, who is now a member of Israel's Israel Political Forum, said it was significant that the summons came a week after a quiet visit to Saudi Arabia by Kushner, son-in-law and senior advisor to President Donald Trump. The Trump administration wants Abbas to reaffirm control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

Saudi Arabia, working with other Sunni moderates in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, is asking Abbas to take the necessary risks by offering him a "bullet-proof vest," as Novik said, offer only qualified support for Israeli-Palestinian peace movements.

"I wish I was a fly on the wall" in Ryad, he said.

Do not pack

There are many risks for Israel in the recent upheaval.

Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador to the Institute for National Security Studies in Israel, said Israel should be wary of a war with Hezbollah, an attack that would undermine Hezbollah, a key goal of the Crown Prince Mohammed, but which would cost little to Saudi Arabia and Israel.

"Israel and Saudi Arabia can be strategically aligned" by trying to contain Iran, Shapiro said, "but they are not tactically aligned."

Quel est l'impact des troubles politiques en Arabie saoudite et au Liban pour Israël ?
Daniel Shapiro, United States Ambassador to Israel, speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, November 9, 2016 (Andrew Tobin / JTA)

"It could speed up the confrontation that Hezbollah already wants with Israel because [the war with Israel] would be a unifying event" for the Lebanese, Shapiro said.

Lori Plotkin Boghardt, a researcher on the Persian Gulf at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the Saudis may be coordinating with Israel behind the scenes, but there is no such thing as reasons to make the relationship open. his colleague Simon Henderson, joining her in a conference call for journalists, said that there was still plenty of reason to keep this relationship private, especially popular opinion, noting the hostile welcome of Israeli athletes at a judo competition in Abu Dhabi.

"This is an indication of the difficulty of selling a pro-Israel policy to these people," he said.

What about Jared?

Kushner said his visit to Saudi Arabia was simply to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace. Jason Greenblatt accompanied him to Ryad, whose mission is to negotiate peace. Greenblatt continued to Israel and the Palestinian areas.

Iran prefers to see a conspiracy. Javad Zarif, his foreign minister, said on Twitter that Kushner's visit "has led to the strange resignation of Hariri abroad."

Quel est l'impact des troubles politiques en Arabie saoudite et au Liban pour Israël ?

It was also the buzz in Washington.

David Ignatius, a Washington Post columnist known for his deep-rooted sources in the US intelligence community, wrote after the events in Riyadh that "it's probably no coincidence that last month, Jared Kushner, senior adviser and son-in-law of Trump , personally visited in Ryad. It is said that the two princes stayed up until four in the evening, exchanging stories and planning their strategy. "

Trump may have spurred the conspiracy theories on Monday night when he tweeted his support for Crown Prince Mohammed's crackdown.

"I have great faith in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing," he said on Twitter.

Brookings Institution's Wittes said that MBS did nothing but Kushner or anyone else in the Trump administration, but rather filled a void created by what sometimes seemed like a US foreign policy without direction.

"The US government is not putting anything on the table," she said. "In the absence of this, what you see is that Israel and Saudi Arabia are trying to attract the United States to the region. "