U.S. President Donald Trump meets Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the White House, March 2017.
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

In late April, the King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, appointed one of his sons, Prince Khalid bin Salman, as the kingdom’s new ambassador to the United States. The appointment was part of larger reshuffling at the top of the Saudi government. Khalid’s ascent was a sign of the growing power of his older brother, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi minister of defense.

Khalid’s appointment is also largely seen as an attempt by King Salman to boost ties between the Saudi royal family and U.S. President Donald Trump, who himself has delegated significant foreign policy responsibilities to his son-in-law Jared Kushner. After years of strained relations with former President Barack Obama, the Saudis appear to be optimistic about the new president. Trump has a well-established record of hostility toward the kingdom’s main rival, Iran, and in particular toward the Obama

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  • YOEL GUZANSKY is a Research Fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, a National Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, a 2016–17 Israel Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar. SIGURD NEUBAUER is a Nonresident Fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and works for a U.S. defense consultancy.
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