TEHRAN (Press Shia) – A senior expert on West Asia pointed to the recent appointment of Ibrahim al-Assaf as the new Saudi foreign minister as part of a major cabinet reshuffle in the Arab country and said although he is a rational person, he lacks the power to change Riyadh’s foreign policy.
Speaking to the Press Shia News Agency, Sabah Zanganeh, a former Iranian envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), pointed to the recent move by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman to replace Adel al-Jubeir by Assaf, saying, “Jubeir was an employee and agent.”
“Saudi Arabia’s policy is mostly determined by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman,” he said, adding, “These policies are adopted by consulting with Emirati, American, and sometimes Israeli advisers.”
The analyst added that one should not expect these policies to change by replacing an individual.
“The new Saudi foreign minister, Assaf, is a logical person and can add some weight to Saudi Arabia in international circles and world forums, but he will not have the power to change the country’s policies,” he went on to say.
A Saudi royal decree on Wednesday demoted outgoing chief diplomat Adel al-Jubeir to the position of minister of state for foreign affairs and named Ibrahim al-Assaf as his replacement.
The shake-up is the first since the October 2 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul by a Saudi hit squad.
The murder, as well as the Saudi government's shifting narratives, sparked international outrage and jeopardized Riyadh's relations with its Western allies.
Turkey and Western intelligence agencies have either hinted at or directly named King Salman's son, the crown prince, as the mastermind behind the Saudi journalist's murder but the monarch left his heir's portfolios unchanged in the latest reshuffle.