The shadow of Jamal Khashoggi isn't hanging over the desert kingdom's investors like last year. Even so, the Iranian threat, muddled policies and more are scaring away many investors from Riyadh's Vision 2030 economic plan.
Major Lebanese patrons like Iran and its top rivals could be forced to update their positions if the country's escalating unrest succeeds in forcing real political change.
So long as Mohammed bin Salman calls the shots in Saudi Arabia, the kingdom will confront the specter of the murdered journalist everywhere it turns.
To deter future attacks on its vital oil sector, Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly weighing whether its next move should be a step closer, or further, from Iran.
Still smarting from Tehran's attacks on its oil facilities two weeks ago, Riyadh finds itself between a rock and a hard place in deciding how to respond.
With its apparent attack on Saudi oil facilities, Iran has decided that maximum provocation is the only palatable antidote to the U.S.'s maximum pressure.
The Sept. 14 attacks left the world scrambling to offset the sharp loss of Saudi oil production. And now, emerging evidence of Iranian involvement could invoke a U.S. response.
Saudi Aramco may in fact be able to get most of its production back online in short order, but additional strikes on Saudi oil and gas infrastructure cannot be ruled out.
While the weekend assaults should have only a limited effect on global markets, their aftermath highlights the vulnerabilities of the kingdom's oil giant, tarnishing its planned IPO and perhaps threatening the OPEC+ alliance.