The Man Behind The Plan

With a Middle East peace initiative, Crown Prince Abdullah rolls out a new, assertive Saudi style

Crown Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has rounded up a few brothers, sons and friends for a weekend game of lawn bowling. Wearing a Bedouin robe and an incongruous pair of striped Adidas running shoes, the ruler--in fact if not in name--of Saudi Arabia hurls a ball down the turf and coaches a TIME correspondent in the finer points of the sport. "Be careful of the topography," he warns, using his palm to illustrate the hazards. "Even a slight grade can send the ball off course."

It is that type of wary caution that has typified Saudi rulers since...

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