The Saudi leadership feels threatened, first of all by Shi'ite Iran, but also by the extremist Islamic State (IS), the Muslim Brotherhood and even liberal intellectuals. Low oil prices cause growing deficits, while youth unemployment remains huge. Is the House of Saud on the verge of collapse? This paper first addresses the recent succession, as a result of which new King Salman's young son, Muhammad bin Salman, accumulated unparalleled power. It asks whether his ambitious plans to modernize the Saudi economy can save the kingdom or if his fast rise will unleash a power struggle. This paper also looks at the war in Yemen which Muhammad bin Salman started and that might deepen the already problematic state of the Saudi economy. Finally, it explores a number of scenarios from muddling through to total implosion.

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