Saudi Arabia's powerful crown prince relies on a small core group of advisers. One of them is Thamer al-Sabhan, the fiercely anti-Iran government minister. As Saudi minister for Gulf affairs, al-Sabhan has a hand in helping shape the kingdom's plans to counter rival Iran, a report published in Fox New revealed Wednesday.
For days before Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's surprise resignation, al-Sabhan issued threats against Iran and its ally Hezbollah via Twitter.
Three months earlier, al-Sabhan had been sent to Beirut to meet with Hariri and deliver a blunt warning against concessions that could favor Iran's allies in Lebanon.
Saudi Arabia has succeeded in pressuring Hezbollah and bringing attention to the Shiite militant group's expanding regional footprint.
The 50-year-old al-Sabhan was at the center of it all.
Al-Sabhan's first trip to Washington, in March, was with Mohammed bin Salman, who just months later would be named crown prince and heir to the Saudi throne. It was a pivotal visit that would cement Riyadh's relationship with the newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump.
The 32-year-old Saudi crown prince's policies against Iran are largely embodied and amplified in al-Sabhan. Nowhere is that spelled out more clearly than on Twitter, where al-Sabhan has referred to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah as the "Party of Satan."
A few days before Hariri's resignation, al-Sabhan warned in an interview with a Lebanese TV station that there would be "astonishing" developments to topple the Shiite militant group in Lebanon.
He also said that Lebanon's government — headed by Hariri — would be dealt with as a hostile government that's declared war against Saudi Arabia because of Hezbollah's power-sharing role.
Al-Sabhan was appointed to his current ministerial post, where he has used Twitter to vocalize the kingdom's brash anti-Iran rhetoric.
He's also been sent on missions far and wide. He was spotted last month in the Syrian city of Raqqa with a US official after ISIS’ de facto capital was recaptured by Syrian US-backed and Kurdish-led forces.
In Saudi Arabia, al-Sabhan has sat in on high-level meetings and welcomed Lebanon's Maronite patriarch when he visited the Sunni Muslim country in a first ever such trip. He was also present at the patriarch's meeting with King Salman.
Al-Sabhan has also sat in on the king's meeting with Turkey's foreign minister in June, the crown prince's meeting in August with prominent Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and meetings with Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
On Twitter, al-Sabhan has openly tried to call the shots in Lebanon, demanding that Hezbollah be kicked out of the government and calling on the Lebanese to confront the militant group. He even got into a Twitter spat with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.