Prince Mohammad and his cousin the crown prince are the first from a new generation to reach the highest ranks of power in 64 years. REUTERS
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Two years after launching headfirst into a conflict in Yemen that has no end in sight, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have astonished the world again, this time with a severe boycott of neighboring Qatar. Like the Yemen war, which has killed more than 10,000 people, the rift with Qatar is most closely associated with a new generation of leaders in the energy-rich Gulf who are more hawkish than conservative predecessors given more to cautious, consensual policymaking.The new, muscular policy is embodied in two powerful young leaders: 31-year-old Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the 56-year-old crown prince of Abu Dhabi.Qatar's ruler Sheikh Tamim weathered a smaller dispute with Gulf neighbors in 2014 . He pledged to distinguish himself from his more overtly anti-Saudi father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who took power in a palace coup in 1995 and crafted Qatar's independent-minded foreign policy before stepping down in favor of his young son four years ago.Unlike Yemen, already desperately poor before the war, Qatar is plugged into the global economy, with the world's highest income per capita.
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